Elizabeth Greene reads at UW

It’s time for the first event in the annual Canadian Literature Reading Series at St. Jerome’s at UWaterloo. Join us for a reading by Elizabeth Greene at 4:30pm this Friday, 20 October, in SJ1 3027.

Elizabeth Greene has published three books of poetry, The Iron Shoes, Moving, and Understories, the last two with Inanna Press. She edited and contributed to We Who Can Fly: Poems, Essays and Memories in Honour of Adele Wiseman (Cormorant, 1997), which won the Betty and Morris Aaron Prize for Best Canadian Scholarship (Jewish Book Awards). She has published poetry in journals, including The Antigonish Review, FreeFall, The Literary Review of Canada and anthologies, including Shy: An Anthology; Poet to Poet Anthology; and Where the Nights are Twice as Long. Three of her poems were included in the inaugural issue of Juniper: an online poetry journal this past summer. Her poems were short-listed for the Descant/Winston Collins Prize (2011, 2013). Her novel, A Season Among Psychics, is forthcoming from Inanna next spring; her selection of Adele Wiseman’s poetry, The Dowager Empress and Other Poems, will appear from Inanna in 2019. In an earlier incarnation she taught English at Queen’s University, where she was instrumental in introducing Creative Writing to the Department and was one of the founders of Women’s Studies.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.
Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil a investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.


UW English at the Wild Writers Festival

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As you might know from previous posts, the Wild Writers Festival is coming up, and UWaterloo English is participating. There is a Young Creators Masterclass (for writers aged 13-17) with Carrie Snyder, a Governor-General’s Award Fiction finalist and lecturer in UW English, on November 4th. That same day, Masa Torbica, a PhD student in English at UWaterloo, will be a member of the panel on Displacement Narratives which is moderated by Dr. Lamees Al Ethari of our department. From the program:


“From immigrant and refugee narratives to suppressed voices from Indigenous communities, the concept of displacement has incited discussions on migrations, lost homelands, and new ideas of belonging and identity. Meet writers who are finding a language to express their experiences, and who are leading the way, showing how to engage in conversation.”

International Day of the Girl: A Reading List

In honour of International Day of the Girl, I’ve compiled a reading list of books featuring strong female protagonists for the girls and boys in your life. Whether your reader is in middle school or high school, there should be something on this list which will keep them reading.

Five compendiums of awesomeness:

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls (Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo)
From A (Ada Lovelace, scientist) to Z (Zaha Hadid, architect) this book covers it all. Each story is about 250 words and accompanied by a stunning illustration. Animators, boxers, mountaineers, surgeons, spies, and the Notorious RBG are all included.

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History (Vashti Harrison)
The illustrations are pitched at a younger audience than the text, but that might be strategic: hook them when they are young with stories of filmmaker Julie Dash and pilot Bessie Coleman!

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World (Rachel Ignotofsky)
Again, beautiful illustrations accompany biographies of a variety of women. There are short facts peppered throughout as well, for those who might just want to peruse. Interested in Grace Hopper (Rear Admiral and Computer Scientist)? Or Katia Kraft (Geologist and Volcanologist)? Lillian Gilbreath (Psychologist and Industrial Engineer)?

Women who Dared: 52 Stories of Fearless Daredevils, Adventurers, and Rebels (Linda Skeers and Livi Gosling)
If your child has no sense of personal safety, this probably isn’t the right book, as it features tales of early stunt women, women who go over Niagara Falls in a barrel, daring lighthouse keepers, and more. Many are unknown figures from history, meaning there is not significant overlap with other collections.

Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women (Catherine Thimmesh and Melissa Sweet)
Why am I not surprised a woman invented Scotchguard? Or a drip coffee maker? Melitta Bentz is my new hero.

Five YA novels with Fierce Heroines:

Etiquette & Espionage (Gail Carriger)
A steampunk novel for teens. As Booklist writes: “Sophronia is sent to Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy to learn how to be a proper lady. Their carriage is immediately waylaid by flywaymen looking for a mysterious prototype—the first of many clues that this academy will not be the dreadful bore Sophronia expected. Once established at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s (set on a chain of dirigibles!), Sophronia learns that she is a covert recruit into a school that trains girls to be part assassins, part spies, and also always fashionable ladies of quality.”

A Spy in the House (Y. S. Lee)
The first in a series by a Canadian author, the novel features Mary Quinn, an orphaned pickpocket saved from the gallows only to be trained as a spy. Set in 1850s Victorian England, there is significant mystery and action. Mary struggles to conceal her secrets, including her origins as the daughter of a Chinese father and Irish mother

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (E. L. Lockhart)
In a summer, Frankie transforms from geeky girl to beauty, and gains the attention of the people who previously ignored her at her private prep school. But Frankie’s past experiences have made her wary, and she begins to rebel—notably by secretly manipulating the secret society open only to boys. As her brilliantly imaginative pranks escalate, so do the stakes. It was a National Book Award finalist and an ALA Honor Book.

Shadows Cast by Stars (Catherine Knutsson)
More Canadian content: this time a dystopian science fiction novel 200 years in the future, authored by a Métis author. The heroine, Cassandra Mercredi, is one of the indigenous characters whose blood contains the antibodies to a mysterious plague. She and others protect themselves from the government, who would harvest them to create a cure, by retreating to a Coast Salish island. It’s the longest novel on this list, at over 400 pages.

The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas)
A NYT bestseller, about an African American teenager confronting the unknowns around the shooting death of her friend. As Publisher’s Weekly writes: “Though Thomas’s story is heartbreakingly topical, its greatest strength is in its authentic depiction of a teenage girl, her loving family, and her attempts to reconcile what she knows to be true about their lives with the way those lives are depicted—and completely undervalued—by society at large.”

Five Middle School Novels:

Chasing Secrets (Gennifer Choldenko)
Set in Gilded Age San Francisco, this novel features a young girl who wishes to be a doctor. When plague strikes, and Chinatown is quarantined—despite evidence it is not the epicenter—Lizzie discovers the inequities underpinning her world, and engages in a thrilling race-against-time to save the lives of those she loves.

Fly by Night (Frances Hardinge)
Orphaned Mosca Mye depends upon her cantankerous pet goose and her ability to read to help her survive life with her cold uncle. But her world opens up when she attaches herself to a travelling con man (or is he?) and lands herself in the centre of political intrigue in the bustling metropolis of Mandelion. It’s a riotously funny, imaginative, and adventurous book. THE GOOSE!

Amina’s Voice (Hena Khan)
Publishers Weekly writes: “Watching Amina literally and figuratively find her voice—bolstered by community, friendship, and discovered inner strength—makes for rewarding reading.” Will Amina’s best friend change her name to something more “American” sounding? Why does her uncle disapprove of her piano playing? Reading through online reviews it becomes clear how much children—and adults—love this book.

Alanna: The First Adventure (Tamora Pierce)
Young Alanna wants nothing more than to be a knight. Disguising herself as a boy she enters the castle and begins training, overcoming significant odds, including her size and previous lack of training. Set in the magical world of Tortall, the feisty heroine’s struggles are still very realistic, and readers will root for her success through this novel and the sequels.

El Deafo (Cece Bell)
This graphic novel follows the heroine’s return to school wearing a bulky hearing aid, after losing her hearing to a virus. From School Library Journal: “The antics of her hearing aid connected to a FM unit (an amplifier the teacher wears) are spectacularly funny. When Cece’s teacher leaves the FM unit on, Cece hears everything: bathroom visits, even teacher lounge improprieties It is her superpower. She deems herself El Deafo! inspired in part by a bullied Deaf child featured in an Afterschool Special.”

Congratulations Dr. Michael MacDonald!

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Congratulations to Dr. Michael MacDonald on the publication of The Oxford Handbook of Rhetorical Studies. Those of us who have edited collections and handbooks know how exceptionally convoluted the process can be, and how long it can take as various chapters pass through revisions, editing, and more. This makes the completion especially rewarding. Several years in the making, The Oxford Handbook will be an important resource for scholars.

From the press:

One of the most remarkable trends in the humanities and social sciences in recent decades has been the resurgence of interest in the history, theory, and practice of rhetoric: in an age of global media networks and viral communication, rhetoric is once again “contagious” and “communicable” (Friedrich Nietzsche). Featuring sixty commissioned chapters by eminent scholars of rhetoric from twelve countries, The Oxford Handbook of Rhetorical Studies offers students and teachers an engaging and sophisticated introduction to the multidisciplinary field of rhetorical studies.

The Handbook traces the history of Western rhetoric from ancient Greece and Rome to the present and surveys the role of rhetoric in more than thirty academic disciplines and fields of social practice. This combination of historical and topical approaches allows readers to chart the metamorphoses of rhetoric over the centuries while mapping the connections between rhetoric and law, politics, science, education, literature, feminism, poetry, composition, philosophy, drama, criticism, digital media, art, semiotics, architecture, and other fields. Chapters provide the information expected of a handbook-discussion of key concepts, texts, authors, problems, and critical debates-while also posing challenging questions and advancing new arguments.

In addition to offering an accessible and comprehensive introduction to rhetoric in the European and North American context, the Handbook includes a timeline of major works of rhetorical theory, translations of all Greek and Latin passages, extensive cross-referencing between chapters, and a glossary of more than three hundred rhetorical terms. These features will make this volume a valuable scholarly resource for students and teachers in rhetoric, English, classics, comparative literature, media studies, communication, and adjacent fields. As a whole, the Handbook demonstrates that rhetoric is not merely a form of stylish communication but a pragmatic, inventive, and critical art that operates in myriad social contexts and academic disciplines.

New book of poetry from alumna

Congratulations to UWaterloo English alumna Rupi Kaur, whose second book of poetry was released today. the sun and her flowers is published by Simon & Schuster. For those who missed it, Rupi’s debut collection, milk and honey, was a New York Times bestseller.

Full STEAM ahead for English students

Maybe you have encountered the acronym STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) but haven’t yet run up against STEAM. Arts is the A, and in this guest post from undergraduate English student Tyler Black we learn all about a special STEAM initiative developed by English alumni, faculty, and students. Thank you to Tyler and all who participated!

“60 Minutes to Save the World” as the STEAM rises
By: Tyler Black – 4th Year English, RMPC

It all began as the brainchild of the English Department’s Advisory Council Chair, Mandy Lam (OpenText). The English Advisory Council is a group of alumni and friends of English who hold positions in several sectors and consult with the department to provide guidance about the future of literary and rhetorical studies in the department. Lam worked with the council’s Vice Chair Ricardo Olenewa (Google) and faculty liaison, Prof. Ashley Mehlenbacher, to plan a workshop for the 2017 Canadian Student Leadership Conference.

Prof. Mehlenbacher recently won an Early Researcher Award from the Ministry of Research, Innovation, and Science, and this opportunity to develop a workshop for CSLC dovetailed nicely with her research on multidisciplinary teams and education. Students from Prof. Mehlenbacher’s Qualitative Methods in Prof. Comm. & UX Research graduate seminar soon joined the team (Justine Fifield, Julie Funk, Stephanie Honour, Salman Jivani, Lindsay Meaning, Aliaa Sidawi, Kari Stewart), along with several research assistants (Tyler Black, Sara Majid, Shawn Corsetti, Zainab Salman, Devon Moriarty, Shania Trepanier), and set off to design a youth outreach workshop.

The Qualitative Methods in Professional Communication and User Experience Research class at Google KW for the design sprint.

Ricardo’s words about the half day ‘design sprint,’ hosted at the Google Kitchener-Waterloo Office (pictured above), echoed into the very heart of the workshop the team was to create: “[A]ctivities like this session normalize the idea that both the University and industry are stronger when we collaborate. The EAC is critical because they create opportunities for that collaboration.” With this belief in mind, the team set forth to create a workshop that balanced education, innovation, and multidisciplinary thinking. The result: “60 Minutes to Save the World.”

Fast-forward four months and all the gears are in place and the STEAM machine is ready to be turned on. The workshop title: “60 Minutes to Save the World,” represents what the workshop was designed to do. The team put together a three station workshop to draw on the innovative minds of the attending high school students to utilize both Arts and STEM knowledge, as well as technology relevant to various industries, to solve environmental and social crises.

The event took place at the Games Institute and consisted of three stations. One of which, the team designed for students to create their own augmented reality experience. This creation as well as those from the other stations contributed to an Impact Wall representing the breadth of knowledge and the broad ranging ideas the students used to solve the posed problems.

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One station utilizing LED lights and batteries to encourage a creative take on scientific practice.

For more coverage of the event, check out the Daily Bulletin article as well as the Faculty of Arts and the Games Institute, who will be providing coverage via their faculty pages and social media.

Addendum from Dr. Ashley Mehlenbacher: Tyler, who wrote this post, also deserves special credit for pulling all of this together and ensuring we ran a flawless event at the CSLC. Tyler’s outstanding work included planning and running practice workshops to ensure timing was spot on, and also troubleshooting the day of the event. All of this complemented the impressive work the rest of the team put in throughout the design process.

Photo Credits: Megan Hood, Devon Moriarty

UWaterloo Writing Contest

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The contest is open to all Waterloo students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

As part of the commitment to the UN Women’s HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative, the University of Waterloo presents the Second Annual HeForShe Writing Contest, launching September 2017.

Gender equity calls for all of our voices and all of our stories. To achieve lasting change, we must connect experiences of gender to a diverse understanding of equity in the Waterloo community and in our world. Everyone in the University of Waterloo community — students, staff, faculty, and alumni — are invited to share their stories, real and imagined, about building a better and more equitable world.

The 2017-18 contest theme is INTERSECTIONS. Participants are asked to consider how gender equity fits into the larger equity story. Where are the overlaps and connections between gender and race, ethnicity, age, ability, class, faith, and/or sexuality? How do the perspectives of gender equity connect to the goal of equality for all people? Can working towards gender equity help to advance equity conversations more broadly?

Through poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction, we welcome your reflections on the past and your hopes, dreams, and directions for the future. When gender equity is connected to the dream of equality for everyone, how is our world made better? Your stories are a part of the Waterloo landscape — today and tomorrow. In what ways are you #HeForShe?

A $500 prize will be awarded for the top submission in each category (poetry, creative non-fiction, and fiction). Selected submissions will also be included in a special University of Waterloo anthology on gender equity that will be published on March 8, 2018 — International Women’s Day. Submissions must not have been previously published. Pieces submitted as part of Waterloo course work will be accepted.

Submissions are due October 27, 2017. For more information see the website.

Image source: BC’s 5to9Woodwork.