May 2, 2017
We are pleased to congratulate André Alexis on winning Canada Reads 2017 for his novel Fifteen Dogs! Since its inception in 2002, the program has invited academic interest from many publications, Canadian Literature included. Editor-in-chief Laura Moss asks:
Why is it imperative that we, those who work on and in Canadian literature, take [Canada Reads] seriously? As a public presentation of a literature that is depicted as coming of age, Canada Reads has helped to open up Canadian literary works to a large market. Over the three years, it has brought eighteen writers’ names into prominence in the public domain. (Margaret Atwood and Yann Martel are listed twice.) It has become an important indicator of public support of the literary arts in Canada.
With these assertions in mind, we published a special issue on the program in 2007. Other critical works on Canada Reads from our journal include:
- “Canada Reads.”(PDF) By Laura Moss. #182 (Autumn 2004): 6–10.
- “Listening to the Readers of Canada Reads.” (PDF) By Danielle Fuller. #193 (Summer 2007): 11–34.
- “Lullabies for Literature: An Interview with Heather O’Neill.” (HTML) By Kristin McHale. #193 (Summer 2007): 175–177.
- “A Book that All Canadians Should be Proud to Read: Canada Reads and Joseph Boyden’s Three Day Road.” By Anouk Lang. #215 (Winter 2012): 120–36.
We invite you to take a look at the critical works that have been published on this annual battle of the books, as well as our review of the winning novel by Hilary Turner. Happy readings!
April 25, 2017
The Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles (DCHP-1) was first published in 1967, on the anniversary of Confederation. Fifty years later, Stefan Dollinger (editor-in-chief) and former Canadian Literature editor Margery Fee (associate editor), both professors in the UBC Department of English, have launched a revised and updated edition of the Dictionary (DCHP-2). This revision includes the legacy data of the first edition, along with new twentieth- and twenty-first-century terms and definitions to highlight the changes over time. And just in time for Canada’s 150th anniversary!
From the press release:
This new edition (DCHP-2) is the result of the work of a team of UBC linguists of English over 11 years and explains, for 1239 meanings for the first time, why a given meaning is Canadian (in 1103 cases) and why not (in 136 cases). Words such as garburator, parkade, and eh are explained in accessible language based on precise data, such as newly discovered and less-widely known Canadianisms, e.g. idiot string, take up a test etc. or to table (legislation) etc. In addition to the 10,974 entries taken over from DCHP-1, DCHP-2 offers information on some 12,000 Canadian words, meanings and expressions, past to present.
For more information about the project and to browse the open access dictionary, please see the website. Happy searching!
March 21, 2017
Canadian Literature’s Issue 228-229 (Spring/Summer 2016), Emerging Scholars 2, is now available for order. Editor Laura Moss introduces this issue:
In the pages of a journal whose name implies a cultural nationalist mandate, given the current political climate, it is important to consider what is done in the name of nationalism, to scrutinize exclusionary, and often dangerous, paradigms, and to think about what role Canadian writers and critics have had and continue to have in resistance, protest, and activism. How have they been killjoys?
—Laura Moss, “Notes from a CanLit Killjoy”
Emerging Scholars 2 features articles by Paul Barrett, Janie Beriault, Sharlee Cranston-Reimer, Jeff Fedoruk, Brenna Clarke Gray, Melissa Li Sheung Ying, Lucia Lorenzi, Jessica McDonald, Shane Neilson, Kate Siklosi, and Shaun A. Stevenson; new poetry; and new book reviews.
The new issue can be ordered through our online store. Happy reading!
March 2, 2017
Vancouver, located on the unceded Coast Salish territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Watuth, and Stó:lō First Nations, is an important urban nexus of art, literature, activism, and other forms of social and political organizing and expression within Canada. While its diversity has led to the emergence of well-developed cultural and political communities, writers and artists in Vancouver have also originated new and innovative collaborations across disciplinary boundaries. Sometimes this transdisciplinary work has been inspired by political causes, such as the environmentalist resistance to pipelines and old-growth logging or the Indigenous-led challenges to the effects of settler-colonialism (including land rights, discussions of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Idle No More, ReMatriate, Red Power, and more) or the ongoing fights against neoliberalism and gentrification (especially of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside). Sometimes this transdisciplinary work has been inspired by aesthetic initiatives, such as the McLuhan-inspired intermedia work (of the Western Front) in the 1960s and 1970s, or the experiments with interdisciplinary Surrealism in the 1970s and 1980s, or the fusion of various visual arts and literary communities across the past century. Authors and artists in the 1960s wrote about Vancouver as a marginal community, outside of the glare of international attention. Today, though, Vancouver’s situation on the west coast as a vibrant hub in a trans-Pacific network of overlapping business and cultural industries demands a reconceptualization of the city that reflects its overwhelming connectedness. For better and for worse, the city has become a cultural capital. Papers are encouraged to address any combination of the arts, literatures, and politics of Vancouver, and the interconnections these have with other scales of engagement, including the national and planetary issues in which Vancouver participates.
This special issue invites essays that examine the representation of Vancouver in art and literature, that consider individual authors and artists, that explore the state of aesthetic communities (visual, literary, architectural, filmic, etc.) in the city, or that address the confluence of politics and aesthetics. We are particularly interested in papers that explore links between art and resistance, art and the archive and collective/institutional memory, art in the neoliberal gentrification of the city and housing crises, and art and settler-colonial histories and decolonization efforts. We are also interested in papers that consider avant-garde groups and affiliations (such as TISH, the hippy and Beat poets of the 60s and 70s, Press Gang, the Vancouver School of photo-conceptualists, and the Kootenay School of Writing, amongst others), contemporary urban space, the politics of architecture, micro-literary histories, and transnational or transborder considerations. Canadian Literature publishes essays on fiction, poetry, non-fiction, drama, and inter-genre collaborations.
All submissions to Canadian Literature must be original, unpublished work. Essays should follow the bibliographic format of the MLA Handbook, 8th ed. Articles should be between 6,000 and 7,000 words, including endnotes and works cited. Submissions should be uploaded to Canadian Literature’s online submissions system (OJS) by the deadline of August 31, 2017. See our submission guidelines for details. Expected publication date of the issue is fall 2018.
Guest editors of this issue will be Gregory Betts, Julia Polyck-O’Neill, and Andrew McEwan.
January 31, 2017
Margery Fee, past editor of Canadian Literature (2007-2015) and current Brenda and David McLean Chair in Canadian Studies at UBC (2015-2017), will be delivering her McLean Lectures this coming February and March. Her three public lectures on “Decolonizing Conversations: Indigenous Texts in the Pacific Northwest before 1992” will take place at UBC’s Point Grey campus on Thursday evenings at 7:00pm:
February 9: Stories We Didn’t Hear: Controlling Traditional Oral Stories
March 9: Writing We Didn’t Read: Manifestos, Declarations and Other Collective Texts
March 16: Lives We Overlooked: Framing Indigenous Life Stories
Venue: Green College, Coach House (6201 Cecil Green Park Road)
Professor Fee’s lectures will build from her extensive experience in the fields of Indigenous and Canadian literatures, cultures, and languages, discussing the history of oral and written Indigenous texts in the Pacific Northwest. Her “Decolonizing Conversations” promise to open vital dialogue on critical approaches to reading and teaching rich histories of Indigenous cultural production formerly ignored or overlooked within the academy.
The McLean Lectures follow after the publication of Professor Fee’s book, Literary Land Claims: The “Indian Land Question” from Pontiac’s War to Attawapiskat, which was named as a finalist for the 2015 ACQL Gabrielle Roy Prize for Literary Criticism. For more information on the current McLean Chair, see the Canadian Studies website.
We would like to once again congratulate our former editor, and we look forward to her upcoming McLean Lectures.
January 20, 2017
Simon Fraser University (SFU) will be hosting a public symposium on “New Directions in Transpacific Research” from February 9-10, 2017, at SFU’s Harbour Centre in downtown Vancouver. The symposium will feature keynote lectures from Chua Beng Huat (National University of Singapore) and Lisa Yoneyama (University of Toronto), as well as plenary sessions on “The Postcolonial Pacific & Minor Transnationalisms” and “Transpacific Affect and Intimate Geographies,” bringing together an exciting group of international scholars as presenters and discussants. This event marks the launch of SFU’s Institute for Transpacific Cultural Research (ITCR), a multidisciplinary research unit focused on transpacific issues and methodologies in new cultural research and critical analysis.
In Canadian Literature’s recent issue on Asian Canadian Critique Beyond the Nation, scholars productively explored the field of Asian Canadian literature through transpacific and transnational frames of analysis, following the question posed by guest editors Christine Kim and Christopher Lee in their editorial: “How would Asian Canadian critique look if we focused instead on transnational flows of labour, capital, and cultures as well as the logics of empire and processes of settler colonialisms?” The upcoming ITCR Symposium promises two days of stimulating discussion that intersects and expands upon such concerns within the wider interdisciplinary field of transpacific cultural production and criticism.
November 18, 2016
Leonard Cohen—acclaimed Canadian poet, novelist, singer, songwriter, musician, and wordsmith—passed away on November 7. Before his rise to prominence as a singer-songwriter in the late 1960s, Cohen was already an important voice in Canadian literature, having published several collections of poetry and two novels. In 1967, following the publication of Cohen’s controversial and critically acclaimed Beautiful Losers (1966), Canadian Literature produced an issue dedicated to Views of Leonard Cohen. The opening words from Desmond Pacey’s article in that issue, “The Phenomenon of Leonard Cohen,” provide a reflection on Cohen’s cultural influence at the time:
In naming Leonard Cohen a phenomenon, I am motivated by the quantity, quality and variety of his achievement. Still only thirty-three, Cohen has published four books of verse and two novels, and has made a national if not international reputation by his poetry reading, folk-singing, and skill with a guitar. The best of his poems have lyrical grace and verbal inevitability; his two novels are as perceptive in content and as sophisticated in technique as any that have appeared in English since the Second World War; and his voice has a magical incantatory quality which hypnotizes his audiences . . . into a state of bliss if not grace. (5)
Canadian Literature has been reviewing writing by and about Cohen since 1961, and has published several articles and one special issue of criticism on his work. The following list of reviews and articles from our archives speaks to the shifting creative and critical resonances of Cohen’s writing over time:
Reviews of Cohen’s Work
- “The Lean and the Luscious” by David Brominge originally appeared in Canadian Literature 10 (Autumn 1961): 87-88. Rev. of The Spice-Box of Earth by Leonard Cohen.
- “Love and Loss” by George Robertson originally appeared in Salute to E. J. Pratt. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 19 (Winter 1964): 69-70. Rev. of The Favorite Game by Leonard Cohen.
- “Of Beauty and Unmeaning” by Elliott B. Gose, Jr. originally appeared in Apprenticeships in Discovery. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 29 (Summer 1966): 61-63. Rev. of Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen.
- “Inside Leonard Cohen” by George Bowering originally appeared in Publishing in Canada. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 33 (Summer 1967): 71-72. Rev. of Parasites of Heaven by Leonard Cohen.
- “Cohen’s Women” by Tom Wayman originally appeared in Contemporary Canadian Poets. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 60 (Spring 1974): 89-93. Rev. of The Energy of Slaves by Leonard Cohen.
- “Prayers” by Rowland Smith originally appeared in Paradigms of Doubleness. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 104 (Spring 1985): 155-156. Rev. of Book of Mercy by Leonard Cohen.
- “Leonard Cohen: Travels with the ‘Tourist of Beauty’” by Ira Bruce Nadel originally appeared in Gabrielle Roy contemporaine/The Contemporary Gabrielle Roy. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 192 (Spring 2007): 150-151. Rev. of Book of Longing by Leonard Cohen.
Reviews of Books about Cohen
- “Critical Limitations” by Douglas Barbour originally appeared in Views of Novelists. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 49 (Summer 1971): 75-77.
- “Cohen and His Critics” originally appeared in Remembering Roderick Haig-Brown. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 71 (Winter 1976): 110-110.
- “Cohen” by Lorraine McMullen originally appeared in The Making of Modern Poetry. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 87 (Winter 1980): 118-119.
- “Diamonds and Shit” by Peter Cumming originally appeared in Urquhart and Munro. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 150 (Autumn 1996): 134-136.
- “The Two Cohens” by Norman Ravvin originally appeared in Writers Talking. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 183 (Winter 2004): 167-169.
- “Wayward Saint” by Mark Harris originally appeared in Of Borders and Bioregions. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 218 (Autumn 2013): 187.
Articles about Cohen
- “Leonard Cohen: A Personal Look” by A. W. Purdy originally appeared in Modern Canadian Poets. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 23 (Winter 1965): 7-16.
- “Beautiful Losers: All the Polarities” by Linda Hutcheon originally appeared in Lovers and Losers. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 59 (Winter 1974): 42-56.
- “The Poet as Novelist” by Linda Hutcheon originally appeared in The Structure of Fiction. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 86 (Autumn 1980): 6-14.
- “’Who is the Lord of the World?’: Leonard Cohen’s Beautiful Losers and the Total Vision” by Medrie Purdham originally in Canadian Literature 212 (Spring 2012): 86-102.
November 17, 2016
Les quinze dernières années ont vu un développement important de la littérature produite par des écrivains autochtones francophones au Québec. Le nombre de livres publiés se multiplie de façon exponentielle. Même si l’originalité et la qualité de cette littérature sont évidentes, l’infrastructure littéraire québécoise tarde à donner aux auteurs autochtones la visibilité requise à une véritable émergence. C’est ce créneau que Kwahiatonhk! (« nous écrivons ! » en langue wendat) s’est donné comme mission d’occuper par le SLPN, comme il n’existe au Québec aucun autre festival de ce type. Le Salon du livre des Premières Nations (SLPN) est un événement littéraire à échelle humaine où de véritables rencontres sont possibles entre les auteurs des Premières Nations, les éditeurs et, surtout, le grand public (Source: Kwahiatonk! 2016).
L’ouverture officielle, qui aura lieu le 25 novembre à la Maison de la littérature à Québec, soulignera l’œuvre de la poète innue Joséphine Bacon avec le spectacle littéraire Meshkanatsheu. Puis, le cœur de l’évènement se déroulera les 26 et 27 novembre de 10 h à 16 h, à l’Hôtel-Musée des Premières Nations à Wendake. Une vingtaine d’auteurs seront présents pour des prestations, entrevues, ateliers et discussions avec le grand public. Parmi les invités, notons Sylvain Rivard, Michel Noël, Christine Sioui Wawanoloath, Jean Sioui, Manon Nolin, Joséphine Bacon, Naomi Fontaine, Melissa Mollen Dupuis, Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Rosanna Deerchild, Domingo Cisneros et le bédéiste Jay Odjick.
Voir le programme détaillé ici.
November 16, 2016
Canadian Literature’s Issue 227 (Winter 2015), Asian Canadian Critique Beyond the Nation, is now available for order. Guest Editors Christopher Lee and Christine Kim introduce this special issue:
Extending Canadian Literature’s commitment to Asian Canadian studies, this special issue interrogates how national epistemes have become sedimented in the field itself, often in barely discernible ways. It is this self-reflexivity that we hope distinguishes Asian Canadian critique from the many cultural, activist, political, and institutional projects that have coalesced around this term. How would Asian Canadian critique look if we focused instead on transnational flows of labour, capital, and cultures as well as the logics of empire and processes of settler colonialisms? Historically, Asian Canadian communities were produced through migrations that took place in the shadow of British, American, and other empires. More recently, Asian Canadians have appeared as labourers, merchants, refugees, undocumented migrants, international students, and so on. These “racial forms” have repeatedly placed the Asian Canadian subject at the intersections of capital, empire, and nation.
—Christopher Lee and Christine Kim, “Asian Canadian Critique Beyond the Nation”
Asian Canadian Critique Beyond the Nation features articles by Guy Beauregard, Donald Goellnicht, Helen Hok-Sze Leung, Malissa Phung, Jenny Heijun Wills, and Timothy Yu; a Forum curated by Christopher Lee and Christine Kim; Opinions and Notes by Nicholas Bradley; new poetry; and new book reviews.
The new issue can be ordered through our online store. Happy reading!
November 15, 2016
Canadian Literature is pleased to welcome four new members to our editorial team!
Nicholas Bradley (University of Victoria) has joined us for a three-year term as Associate Editor of Reviews, bringing his expertise in poetry and environmental literatures to the shelves. Sarah Henzi (McGill University), a specialist in Indigenous literary studies, has come on board as Assistant Editor of Francophone Writing for the next year.
We also welcome two new Assistant Editors for the CanLit Guides project. Shannon Smyrl (Thompson Rivers University) and Ceilidh Hart (University of the Fraser Valley) will be working with CanLit Guides Associate Editor Kathryn Grafton (UBC) to bring sixteen new chapters to publication, on topics such as food as metaphor; comics and graphic texts; song lyrics; narratives of technology and identity; Indigenous and diasporic texts; and many more.
With the continued service of Poetry Editor Stephen Collis (SFU) and Glenn Deer (UBC) returning to help with reviews, we now have members of the editorial team from six different universities. We are immensely grateful to our new colleagues for joining us, and we look forward to working with them.