CanLit Author Spotlights

Sensing Different Worlds: Christine Kim’s “On Disposability and a ‘Desire for Life’”

September 20, 2021

Christine Kim is an Associate Professor in the Department of English Language and Literatures at UBC and the editor of Canadian Literature. Previously, she was an Associate Professor of English at Simon Fraser University, and a founding co-Director of SFU’s Institute for Transpacific Cultural Research. Her research focuses on diasporic literatures and cultures in Canada, and considers how they are embedded in global structures of settler colonialism, imperialism, and nationalism. Christine is the author of The Minor Intimacies of Race: Asian Publics in North America (University of Illinois Press, 2016) and co-editor of special issues of Inter-Asia Journal of Cultural Studies, Canadian Literature, a section of West Coast Line, and Cultural Grammars of Nation, Diaspora, and Indigeneity in Canada (WLUP, 2012). Her current SSHRC-funded project, Brutalist Imaginary: North Korea in a Post-Cold War Order, examines representations of North Korea, cultural fantasies, and Cold War legacies.



In the aftermath of the March 16, 2021 shootings in Atlanta, Kim reflects on the media coverage of the events that glossed over the women’s identities while humanizing the assailant. She centres the women, considering the importance of stories and story telling in these instances of racialized violence: “Our own stories are the specific entry points into how we begin to make meaning from this moment, and grow connections with others that are increasingly expansive and caring.” Kim calls for an intersectional approach to social justice, “one that takes into account the complexities of race, gender, sexuality, class, age, relationship to the English language, and migration.”


Canadian Literature issue 244, Sensing Different Worlds, is available at


Returns: Author Spotlight – Forum Authors

September 15, 2021

Forum: Smaro Kamboureli’s Scandalous Bodies at Twenty

Paul Barrett

Paul Barrett is an Assistant Professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph where he teaches Canadian Literature and Digital Humanities. He is the author of Blackening Canada: Diaspora, Race, Multiculturalism and the editor of ‘Membering Austin Clarke. His current research project considers the history of humanism in Canadian literature from the 1850s to the present.


Introduction: A New Set of Questions” & “New Correspondence


Myra Bloom

Myra Bloom is an Assistant Professor in the English Department at York University’s Glendon College, where she teaches Canadian and modern literature. Her current book project, Evasive Maneuvers, examines women’s confessional writing practices in Canada.


Scandalous Bodies at Twenty: An Interview with Smaro Kamboureli


Malissa Phung

Malissa Phung is honoured and privileged to live and work as an uninvited guest on the territories of the Huron-Wendat, Mississauga, Haudenosaunee, and Anishinaabe peoples. She is a second-generation settler descendant of Sino-Vietnamese refugees who have resettled on the territories of the Cree, Blackfoot, Métis, Nakoda, and Tongva peoples.


The Powers of Representation and Transgressive Fires: Reflecting on the Impact of Smaro Kamboureli’s Scandalous Bodies


Andrea Davis

Andrea A. Davis is Associate Professor in Black Cultures of the Americas in the Department of Humanities at York University. She holds cross-appointments in the graduate programs in English; Interdisciplinary Studies; and Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies. Her research focuses on the literary productions of Black women in the Americas. She is particularly interested in the intersections of the literatures of the Caribbean, the United States, and Canada, and her work encourages an intertextual cross-cultural dialogue about Black women’s experiences in diaspora. She is the author of the forthcoming Horizon, Sea, Sound: A Cultural Critique of the Nation.


Which Scandalous Bodies? Black Women Writers Refuse Nation Narratives


Asha Varadharajan

Asha Varadharajan is Associate Professor of English at Queen’s University in Canada. She is the author of Exotic Parodies: Subjectivity in Adorno, Said, and Spivak. Her current research reconceptualizes the category of the refugee and the realm of “refugeedom.” Her most recent publications comment on the crisis of the humanities, the subaltern in contemporaneity, violence against women and the discourse of human rights, decolonizing pedagogy, postcolonial temporalities, humanitarian intervention, and the legacy of the Frankfurt School. The most fun she has had writing was while composing her entry on Eric Idle for the Dictionary of Literary Biography. The most chuffed she has been lately was when she received the Queen’s University 2021 Principal’s Promoting Student Inquiry Teaching Award.


Justice, Not Identity: What a Woke Multiculturalism Looks Like


Sarah Dowling

Sarah Dowling is an Assistant Professor in the Centre for Comparative Literature and Victoria College at the University of Toronto. A literary critic as well as a poet, Sarah is the author of Translingual Poetics: Writing Personhood under Settler Colonialism, as well as Entering Sappho, DOWN, and Security Posture.


Grief, Bodies, and the Production of Vulnerability


Kit Dobson

Kit Dobson is a Professor at Mount Royal University. He is most recently a co-editor of the books Dissonant Methods: Undoing Discipline in the Humanities Classroom and All the Feels / Tous les sens: Affect and Writing in Canada / Affect et écriture au Canada (both U of Alberta P, 2020).


The Scandal of Bodies: Scandalous Bodies at Twenty


Libe García Zarranz

Libe García Zarranz is Associate Professor of Literature in English in the Department of Teacher Education at NTNU (Norway), working at the intersection of feminist and trans writing in Canada and affect studies. She is also Research Affiliate for the Canadian Literature Centre at the University of Alberta. She is the author of TransCanadian Feminist Fictions: New Cross-Border Ethics (McGill-Queen’s UP, 2017). In 2018, she co-edited a special issue on affect and feminist literary production for Atlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture and Social Justice. Her article “Feeling Sideways: Shani Mootoo and Kai Cheng Thom’s Sustainable Affects” appeared in the University of Toronto Quarterly (2020).


2020 and All’s Well: On Positionality, Transtemporality, and Scandalous Bodies


Smaro Kamboureli

Smaro Kamboureli is the Avie Bennett Chair in Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto. The author of Scandalous Bodies: Diasporic Literature in English Canada, winner of the Gabrielle Roy Prize for Canadian Literary Criticism, she has edited and co-edited many volumes. Her most recent publications include her article “Diaspora” in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature; a bilingual English/Italian edition of her 1985 poetry book, in the second person, in seconda persona; and the co-edited special issue “Literary Solidarities / Critical Accountability: A Mikinaakominis / TransCanadas Special Issue” of the University of Toronto Quarterly to which she has contributed an introduction, “Literary Solidarities: ‘Should I be here?’”


Canadian Literature issue 243, Returns, is available to order through our online store at

Returns: Author Spotlight – Botao Wu

September 8, 2021

Botao Wu received his doctoral degree in Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He has published traditional academic articles and poems in North America and Asia. He is a poet and academic researcher, doing research both creatively and critically. Currently, he is searching for a home, in a non-religious and apolitical way.

Opinions & Notes Title

“A Narrative Inquiry in Search of My Home”


I write about my ordinary life to reconstitute my life, to express my regard for my ancestors, and to search for a home. I explore the notion of home in five dimensions: my actual home, my rented home, my intellectual home, my emotional home, and my spiritual home. This narrative inquiry concludes that a human being’s home is not terrestrial but cosmic and spiritual.


Canadian Literature issue 243, Returns, is available to order through our online store at

Returns: Author Spotlight – Clayton Longstaff

September 1, 2021

Clayton Longstaff is a writer of poetry and prose currently in the process of completing his first chapbook. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in publications including Soliloquies AnthologySpadina Literary ReviewContemporary Verse 2Prism and elsewhere. In addition to writing, Clayton works as a childcare support worker. Visit him virtually at or in person on the unceded territory of the Lekwungen & W̱SÁNEĆ nations.

His poem “Gesture” can be read on our website at


Canadian Literature issue 243, Returns, is available to order through our online store at

Returns: Author Spotlight – Thomas Hodd

August 25, 2021

Thomas Hodd is an Associate Professor of English at Université de Moncton. His recent publications include Mary Melville, the Psychic: A Critical Edition (2019) as well as an article on English-language women poets for Parallel Universe: the Poetries of New Brunswick (2018). He is also editor of A Soldier’s Place: the War Stories of Will R. Bird (2018).


“A Casualty of Genre: The War Short Stories of Will R. Bird”


With the recent re-issuing of works by Canadian war writer, Will R. Bird, scholars are being invited to reconsider his contribution to Canadian war literature of the inter-war period. Although chiefly known for his soldier-memoir, And We Go On (1930), Bird also knew considerable success as a writer of war short stories. Building on Mary Louise Pratt’s notion of the short story as a “fragment or excerpt of a life,” as well as the genre’s displacement of time in favour of other narratological considerations, this introductory essay to Bird’s war short story corpus examines a handful of representative stories in order to illustrate how he privileged the humanity and brotherhood of soldiers over their combat deeds. As a result, Bird’s short stories functioned as a form aesthetic therapeutics for the thousands of veteran readers who not only identified with the situations he described, but also with the emotional and psychological turmoil of his soldier protagonists.

Canadian Literature issue 243, Returns, is available to order through our online store at

Returns: Author Spotlight – Neil Surkan

August 18, 2021

Neil Surkan is the author of the poetry collections Unbecoming (forthcoming Fall 2021) and On High (2018), both from McGill-Queen’s University Press, and the chapbooks Their Queer Tenderness (Knife-Fork-Book, 2020) and Super, Natural (Anstruther Press, 2017). He lives in Calgary.

His poem “Pathetic” can be read on our website at


Canadian Literature issue 243, Returns, is available to order through our online store at

Returns: Author Spotlight – Vikki Visvis

August 11, 2021

Vikki Visvis is a lecturer for the Department of English at the University of Toronto, where she teaches Canadian literature. She has published on Canadian and American fiction by Elizabeth Hay, Eden Robinson, Joseph Boyden, Kerri Sakamoto, Dionne Brand, David Bergen, Michael Ondaatje, and Toni Morrison in Canadian LiteratureStudies in Canadian LiteratureMosaicARIEL, and African American Review.


“Deaf Canada: Disability Discourses and National Constructs in Frances Itani’s Deafening


Although the historical realism of Frances Itani’s Deafening offers accurate representations of Deaf people and communities excluded from the nation on the basis of stigmatized bodily difference, the novel simultaneously engages in subtle historical revisionism by mobilizing disability discourses to suggest deafness as able-bodied is foundational to Canada’s national identity in the early twentieth century. Specifically, Itani’s novel uses its central deaf character, Grania, as a national allegory to reimagine the nation as highly able—whether through a critique of silence as deficit, a challenge to the separation of the senses, or the rehabilitation of the wounded World War One soldier—that changes the contours of the nation in ways which unsettle strict historical realism. The novel, therefore, offers a revised model of the Canadian nation, premised on the Deaf, that is inclusive, not exclusive, of difference.

Canadian Literature issue 243, Returns, is available to order through our online store at

Returns: Author Spotlight – John Reibetanz

August 4, 2021

John Reibetanz lives in Toronto.  His twelfth collection, By Hand, was published by Brick Books in 2019, and his latest collection, Earth Words: Conversing with Three Sages, is forthcoming from McGill-Queen’s University Press in 2021.  Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming from GrainThe Windsor Review, and The Antigonish Review.  

His Poem “Song and Dance” can be read on our website at


Canadian Literature issue 243, Returns, is available to order through our online store at

Returns: Author Spotlight – Margaret Steffler

July 28, 2021

Margaret Steffler is Professor of English Literature at Trent University. She is the editor of P.K. Page’s Mexican Journal (2015) and is editing selected children’s literature by Page. She has published on the work of Miriam Toews, Carol Shields, Alice Munro, L.M. Montgomery, and Sylvia Fraser. Her current research projects focus on the work of Miriam Toews and on narratives of Canadian girlhoods.


“Breaking Patriarchy through Words, Imagination, and Faith: The Hayloft as Spielraum in Miriam Toews’ Women Talking


Published during the #MeToo movement, Miriam Toews’ 2019 novel Women Talking focuses on the importance of listening attentively to women’s words. I argue that the novel’s hayloft functions as a contact zone and more specifically as what Magdalene Redekop in Making Believe: Questions about Mennonites and Art (2020) terms a Spielraum, a dialogical space in which interchanges between genders, generations, time periods, and continents play out, not in forceful movements reaching resolution and closure, but with an acknowledgement of the persistence of differences between many forms of “us and them.” I concentrate on spatial and temporal intersections of language, from the words of Wordsworth to those of Irigaray, arguing that the “wild female imagination,” accused of fabricating stories of rape, works instead in the world of “us and them” to reimagine future spaces as places of love.

Canadian Literature issue 243, Returns, is available to order through our online store at

Returns: Author Spotlight – Jagjeet Sharma

July 21, 2021

Jagjeet Sharma is a freelance journalist, poet and author. She hosts a weekly radio show in Ottawa along with her team of dedicated volunteers on CKCU 93.1fm. She has three collections of poems to her credit. Nature’s Subtle Seductions, published 2018; Fragments, published 2019. Raindrops, her third collection was launched in June 2020.  COVID 19 Chronicles – Reflections on the 2020 pandemic was published in November 2020. This anthology, a limited edition, was launched in December 2020.

Her Poem “Wind chimes” can be read on our website at


Canadian Literature issue 243, Returns, is available to order through our online store at