The 2013 Canadian Women in the Literary Arts Count

October 7, 2014

Canadian Women in the Literary Arts (CWILA) just announced its 3rd annual count of book reviews in Canada. The Count documents the rates at which men and women are published and reviewed in major Canadian publications, indicating concretely where equitable access and representation exists and where it can be improved. According to CWILA, the 2013 Count looked at 5613 book reviews (4354 in English and 1259 in French) published in 31 Canadian publications, including 24 literary magazines, 5 metropolitan newspapers, and 2 national newspapers. Across the board, the 2013 Count found that 56.9% of review space went to writing by male authors and 37% was allocated to writing by female authors. The Count demonstrates in exact numbers the continuing need for improvement to access and representation within Canadian literary culture. See the numbers here.

We are proud to announce that Canadian Literature has continued to demonstrate equal coverage in reviewing books by male and female writers. Canadian Literature is one of the only publications that has consistently proven a commitment to gender parity in its review section. This year 45.95% of review space went to reviews of books by male authors, 46.62% to books by female authors, and 6.76 % of space went to books that were co-authored by male and female authors. The number of female reviewers writing for the journal continues to outpace the number of male reviewers for the third year in a row as well. 58.78% of reviewers were female, whereas 41.22% of reviewers were male.

For more information on the process of reviewing at the journal, see the interview with Reviews Editor Laura Moss.

Click here to view the 2013 CWILA Count Infographic.

New Issue: Tracking CanLit #220 (Spring 2014)

October 2, 2014

Cover of CanLit 220

CanLit 220: Tracking CanLit

Canadian Literature’s Issue 220 (Spring 2014), Tracking CanLit, is now available for order. Acting Editor Laura Moss opens the issue by investigating the applications, roles, and influences of numbers in contemporary literary cultures:

Why is the turn to numbers noteworthy? The diverse sets of data I mention here illustrate the paradox at the intersection of audit and literary cultures. On the one hand, as part of the increasing corporatization of everything in these neoliberal times, people turn to numbers for proof of productivity and the value that can be monitored and measured annually. … On the other hand, people have turned to statistics to strategically bolster support for issues of social justice and as ammunition for important cultural work. If information is power, there is a will to count.

—Laura Moss, Auditing, Counting, and Tracking CanLit

Tracking CanLit contains articles by Jody Mason; Michael Ross and Lorraine York; Roshaya Rodness; Petra Fachinger; Andrea Medovarski; and Rachel Bryant, and additional notes by Alexander Pettit and Dennis Duffy. This issue also features new work by Canadian poets Brian Cullen, Michael Prior, Cyril Dabydeen, Steve Noyes, and Alex Robichaud and a collection of book reviews.

Order now!

New guide, “Producing and Evaluating Canadian Texts,” on CanLit Guides

September 16, 2014

CanLit Guides Logo

CanLit Guides

The latest open access classroom guide is now live on CanLit Guides. Producing and Evaluating Canadian Texts features chapters on Paratexts and Literary Value, CBC’s Canada Reads, and Graphic Fiction— delving into the myriad ways texts are produced and evaluated in Canada.

The guide covers topics such as literary value, awards, celebrity, cultural nationalism, and much more.

<cite>CanLit Guides</cite> is a flexible learning resource, developed by <cite>Canadian Literature</cite>, that introduces students to academic reading and writing. The guides use articles from <a href=””><cite>Canadian Literature&rsquo;s</cite> online archive</a>, helping students navigate scholarly conversations surrounding literature in Canada.

CanLit Guides Video Tutorial

July 8, 2014

CanLit Guides Logo

CanLit Guides

Did you know that CanLit Guides, the online educational resource created by Canadian Literature, can be customized? CanLit Guides features a series of published literature guides on topics such as Nationalism, Gender and Sexuality, and Indigenous Literatures. Literature instructors can use the guides to structure lessons, as assigned course readings, or to foster class discussion.

You can remix (rearrange) the chapter order of any published guide or build your own guide using published chapters. We’ve just created a new video tutorial on how to customize CanLit Guides. Check it out over on YouTube!

New Issue: Contested Migrations #219 (Winter 2013)

June 23, 2014

Cover of CanLit 219

CanLit 219: Contested Migrations

Canadian Literature’s Issue 219 (Winter 2013), Contested Migrations, is now available to order. The issue is led by Acting Editor Laura Moss’ timely editorial, Sustaining the Humanities, which uses an ecological model to work through major issues facing the humanities in higher education:

What if, instead of thinking of the humanities as in a state of crisis as we so often do, we think of the humanities as an ecosystem that is failing to thrive? How do we sustain the humanities as part of a system of diverse communities both within universities and in the public arena? In the face of the resource undernourishment, how can we prosper? How do we promote biodiversity (or a rich variety of communal life, research, and teaching in all its forms and combinations)? How do we protect educational habitats that are endangered by the damaging effects of human populations (be they administrators or voters)? Finally, how can we productively change the climate of graduate training in humanities faculties to create an ecology more conducive to intellectual growth, healthy life, and the maintenance of productive ground for future generations? How green and forward thinking could UBC actually be if the institution, alongside others in Canada, opted to work more equitably?

—Laura Moss, Sustaining the Humanities

Issue 219 also features articles by Vinh Nguyen, Mariam Pirbhai, Rachel Bower, Maude Lapierre, J. I. Little, and David Williams. As always, we bring you new Canadian poetry—from Weyman Chan, David Eso, Armand Garnet Ruffo, Derek Webster, Julie Paul, and Stephen Matthew Brown—and book reviews.

Head over to our online store to order a copy of this great issue!

Anne Carson, 2014 Griffin Poetry Prize Winner

June 11, 2014

Anne Carson is the Canadian recipient of the 2014 Griffin Poetry Prize for her work Red Doc>. Along with Brenda Hillman, the International winner, Carson was awarded $65,000.

Carson’s work has been discussed frequently in the pages of Canadian Literature, including a special issue dedicated to her work in Spring 2003. We have also published three of her poems. Have a look through our archives to discover more about Anne Carson:



Book Reviews


2013 Canadian Literature Essay Prize Winner

May 28, 2014

Canadian Literature is proud to announce the winner of the 2013 Best Essay Prize.

The winner of the Best Essay Prize goes to Thinking Together: A Forum on Jo-Ann Episkenew’s Taking Back Our Spirits: Indigenous Literature, Public Policy and Healing by Deanna Reder, Susan Gingell, Allison Hargreaves, Daniel Heath Justice, Kristina Bidwell, and Jo-Ann Episkenew. (#214, Autumn 2012)

Jury Citation: According to one jurist, Thinking Together: A Forum is hands down the most productive and stimulating work. Together the jury argued that the forum does a wonderful job of introducing new topics for consideration as well as troubling the very medium of academic discourse. The forum represents multiple engagements with a chosen book; the format is designed to bring this work into conversation with other scholars of different generations working in related areas. The power of this piece lays not only in its attention to the complexities of Indigenous literature and its affective powers, but also in its polyvocal considerations of the transformative potential of literature and its limits. Awarding the prize to an entire forum is unorthodox but the argument about community discourse in the forum justifies the decision.

Honourable Mention goes to Germaine Warkentin for The Age of Frye: Dissecting the Anatomy of Criticism, 1957–1966. (#214, Autumn 2012)

Jury Citation: This article provides an insightful assessment of the early criticism and reception of Frye’s Anatomy of Criticism. In this elegantly styled paper that captures the tone and attitudes of the intellectual elite, Germaine Warkentin also offers a portal through which to view the period, not simply a re-evaluation of Frye’s accomplishment. It is essential reading for those learning about the history of literary criticism in (and outside of) Canada.

Honourable Mention also goes to I. S. MacLaren for Paul Kane’s Wanderings of an Artist and the Rise of Transcontinental Canadian Nationalism. (#213, Summer 2012)

Jury Citation: Through meticulous, immensely detailed historical scholarship, I. S. MacLaren peels back the contemporary designation of Paul Kane as a founding father of Canadian art to reveal an Irish-born, apolitical artist with American connections rather than the customary portrait of a mid-Victorian gentleman who is the symbol of Canadian nationalism. The article demands a new understanding of Kane and the nationalism that created his misrepresentation in Canadian history.

The editor would like to offer profound thanks to the shortlist jury of David Staines, Linda Morra, and Victoria Kuttainen and to the longlist jury of Ian Rae, Patricia Merivale, Cecily Devereux, Jon Kertzer, and David Williams.

Canadian Literature 2013 Best Essay Prize Shortlist Announced

May 14, 2014

Canadian Literature is excited to announce the shortlist for the 2013 Canadian Literature Best Essay Prize. The following five articles have been nominated:

  • Richard Brock, Body/Landscape/Art: Ekphrasis and the North in Jane Urquhart’s The Underpainter (#212, Spring 2012)
  • Ana María Fraile-Marcos, Urban Heterotopias and Racialization in Kim Barry Brunhuber’s Kameleon Man (#214, Autumn 2012)
  • Deanna Reder, Susan Gingell, Allison Hargreaves, Daniel Heath Justice, Kristina Bidwell, and Jo-Ann Episkenew, Thinking Together: A Forum on Jo-Ann Episkenew’s Taking Back Our Spirits: Indigenous Literature, Public Policy and Healing (#214, Autumn 2012)
  • Germaine Warkentin, The Age of Frye: Dissecting the Anatomy of Criticism, 1957–1966 (#214, Autumn 2012)
  • I. S. MacLaren, Paul Kane’s Wanderings of an Artist and the Rise of Transcontinental Nationalism (#213, Summer 2012)

The winner will be announced at the ACQL reception on May 24th at Brock University in the Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Centre, Room 200, from 6 to 7 pm.

Sherrill and John Grace, O.C.

May 8, 2014

Sherrill Garce

Sherrill Grace


This month, UBC English professor and frequent Canadian Literature contributor Sherrill Grace was named an officer of the Order of Canada at a ceremony in Ottawa. Dr. Grace was honoured alongside her husband John Grace, a UBC professor of chemical engineering and a longtime supporter of Canadian Literature.

You can watch the ceremony on the CBC website. Drs. John and Sherrill Grace start appearing at 55:09 in the video.

For more on Sherrill Grace, we have collected her extensive contribuitions to Canadian Literature from our archives.

Farley Mowat, 1921–2014

May 7, 2014


Popular Canadian writer and environmental activist Farley Mowat has died at age 92. Mowat wrote dozens of books and recived many honours, including the Governor General’s Award in 1956 for his children’s book Lost in the Barrens. Although Mowat’s work was beloved by many, it was controversial as well, with experts questioning his portrayal of the Arctic and Inuit peoples. In Canadian Literature 206 (Autumn 2010), Katja Lee wrote about the controversy surrounding Mowat’s 1963 book Never Cry Wolf (order issue #206 to read the article).

Canadian Literature has been reviewing Mowat’s work since 1960—the following is a list of book reviews from our archives:

Book Reviews of Farley Mowat’s Works