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

Bud Osborn, 1947-2014

May 5, 2014

Vancouver poet and activist for social justice in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood Bud Osborn died on May 6. In his Canadian Literature review of Osborn’s books Hundred Block Road and Keys to Kingdoms, Adam Beardworth notes that Osborn’s work offers piercing observations of society’s marginalized people and the social factors that sustain their dispossession.

Uniting activism and poetry, Osborn memorably wrote:

to raise shit is to actively resist
and we resist with our presence
with our words
with our love
with our courage

derek beaulieu named Calgary Poet Laureate

April 30, 2014

CanLit Guides

CanLit Guides Logo

This week, derek beaulieu was named Calgary Poet Laureate for 2014–16. We featured beaulieu’s work on our CanLit Guides resource on Poetic Visuality and Experimentation. In particular, check out the Reading Visual Poetry chapter for an in-depth close reading of his poem this half is for the ceremony.

You can read more about beaulieu and his work as Calgary Poet Laureate on his blog.

Alistair MacLeod, 1936–2014

April 22, 2014

Cover of CanLit 189

Canadian Literature 189: The Literature of Atlantic Canada

Alistair MacLeod, the acclaimed Cape Breton short story writer and novelist, passed away Sunday. Known for his carefully crafted short stories, MacLeod published just one novel, 1999’s No Great Mischief. The novel was feted both in Canada and abroad, winning multiple prizes including the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Trillium Book Award.

MacLeod’s work also received attention from scholars in the pages of Canadian Literature over the years. The following is a list of articles, reviews of MacLeod’s works, and reviews of scholarship on MacLeod’s writing from our archives:



Book Reviews of Alistair MacLeod’s Works

Reviews of Scholarship on Alistair MacLeod and His Work

  • Editing Talent by Dee Horne. #205 (Summer 2010): 160. HTML available. Review of: Douglas Gibson Unedited: On Editing Robertson Davies, Alice Munro, W.O. Mitchell, Mavis Gallant, Jack Hodgins, Alistair MacLeod, etc. by Christine Evain.
  • Atlantic Myths by Lawrence Mathews. #180 (Spring 2004): 119–20. HTML available. Review of: Alistair MacLeod: Essays on His Work by Irene Guilford.

April is National Poetry Month

April 2, 2014

Cover of CanLit 210/211

CanLit 210/211: 21st-Century Poetics

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? Canadian Literature has been publishing Canadian poems in our journal throughout our history. You can read poems by browsing through back issues, and we have an archive of poems and interviews with poets on our CanLit Poets resource.

You’ll also find lots of poetry content on CanLit Guides, including our guide to Poetic Visuality and Experimentation.

Also make sure to browse through Reading and Writing Canada: A Classroom Guide to Nationalism to find lots of Canadian poems published in Canadian Literature.

The following is a list of poetry-related special issues we’ve published over the years:

Jordan Abel’s The Place of Scraps Shortlisted for BC Book Prize

March 12, 2014

CanLit Guides Logo

CanLit Guides

Today the BC Book Prizes announced their 2014 shortlist. Jordan Abel’s poetry collection The Place of Scraps, which we wrote about on CanLit Guides in the Indigenous Literatures in Canada resource, is among the finalists for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize.

In the chapter Visual Poetry and Indigenous-Settler Issues: Shane Rhodes and Jordan Abel, we compare The Place of Scraps to the visual poetry of Shane Rhodes to consider how the poets engage with assumptions about Indigenous-settler relations in the past and present.

Also check out our guide to Poetic Visuality and Experimentation for help reading visual poetry.

Fred Wah’s Poetry Connection

February 28, 2014

During his time as Parliamentary Poet Laureate, Fred Wah created a collection of resources for teachers and students of Canadian poetry. The collection features a series of videos on YouTube of poets reading their work, and accompanying PDFs that contain the poems, questions and prompts for classroom use.

Wah’s project serves as great accompaniment to the content on CanLit Guides—for example, our guide to Poetic Visuality and Experimentation. We encourage you to check out our guide and apply what you’ve learned to the poems in Wah’s Poetry Connection: Link Up with Canadian Poetry video series!