Celebrating our graduates–in person!

It took a while, but finally in-person convocation came back! We have been pleased to celebrate the graduates of 2020, spring 2021, fall 2021, and now… spring 2022! Above, you can see recent PhD graduate, Dr. Keely Cronin, with her advisor, Dr. Veronica Austen. Congratulations to all of our graduates, from 2020-2022, with the most recent listed below.

Graduate Students

PhD

Keely Cronin
Sara Gallagher
Christin Taylor
John Yoon

MA (Experimental Digital Media)

Matthew Bandura
Rowan Gnaniah

MA (Literary Studies)

Atefa Abdallah
Manahil Bandukwala
Wendy Rosart

MA (Rhetoric and Communication Design)

Alyssa Clarkson
Laura Gordon
Anoja Parameswaran
Olivia Roth
Stefani Starivlah

Undergraduate Students

Honours English Literature

Ann Caroline Chiodo
Meg Erb
Saxon Leigh Grimes
Kyle Harrington
Ellie Marchant
Emma Katherine McLaughlin
Emily O’Neil
Adrian Kaleb Quijano
Alex Rewutzsky
Ammaarah Shiraz
Jeanette Adele Weatherill
David Michael Weiler
Caroline Wesley
Rachel Zehr

Honours English Literature and Rhetoric

Natasha Clara Angeloni
Alexandra Battaglini
Nicole Bourque
Bella Goudie
Zackary Aidan Gowland
Christopher Hughes
Jacob Daniel Neal
Angela Peters
Mika Seguin-Forest
Kassidy Jean Shaw
Nicola Elizabeth Tidbury
Wren Tourout
Greyson Hunter Vanderwoude

Honours English Rhetoric, Media, and Professional Communication

Patrick Bantug
Catherine Bergs
Manreet Kaur Birdi
Justin Blake
Sarah Margaret Casey
Salman Dalla-Ali
Dante Salvatore Francesco Diaco
Brian Hoi Yiu Fong
Abbie Christine Gowans
James Guo
Ali Hanif
Emma Kate Johnston
Ravnish Kaur
Beck Koole
Alyssa Lynn Livermore
Rency Luan
Phillip Luong
Jaye Lynne Mindus
Sara Mohammadi Azad
Alexis Joy Nagum
Thanyaa Navaneethan
Christina Arianna Piruchta
Maanasa Rajaguru
Julia Anna Rathbone
Miriam Rusu
Alexis Hope Young

New Major in English: Creative and Professional Writing

Beginning in Fall 2023, UWaterloo English is excited to offer a new Major in English – Creative and Professional Writing. CPW students will hone their creative writing skills while learning from published authors of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.  They will also acquire skills in editing, communication design, and professional writing. Unique in Canada, this Major will teach students to write just about anything, from marketing materials to the next great Canadian novel! Interested? To learn more, contact the Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies, Dr. Victoria Lamont: vlamont@uwaterloo.ca

Grade 11 Writing in Colour Colloquium

On Monday, May 16, the UWaterloo English department was honoured to host five talented high school students for a day in the department. The event was the inaugural Writing in Colour Colloquium – a new Grade 11 award competition for Black, Indigenous, and Students of Colour. An initiative begun by Drs Andrea Jonahs and Megan Selinger, this competition has three phases: an essay competition, a colloquium in the department for the 5 top finalists, and a $1000 prize and a year of mentorship for the winner. 

Knowing the importance of mentorship for students of colour and the benefit of early engagement with university culture, this award was created as a commitment to racial equity goals and an investment in the long-term success of BIPOC students in our community. Furthermore, we wanted to support and strengthen the students’ interest and talent in writing by holding a writing workshop at the event.  

We were thrilled to have so many entries from across the Waterloo Region, Southwestern Ontario, and the GTA. Our topic for this first year of the prize was “Culture”: grade 11 students were invited to approach the topic broadly and were offered prompts like “How does culture provide an understanding of a community?” and “How is culture censored, eroded, or appropriated?” The essays that were submitted were truly impressive! We read about the role of artists in building community, the importance of cultural inclusion, and creative ways to tackle cultural stereotypes. Many thanks to our judge Dr. Vershawn Young for the difficult task of picking just five finalists to join us for our colloquium! 

Our top five finalists all wrote essays distinguished by the best in storytelling techniques – personal, detailed, and engaging. Alice Crosby began her essay with an introduction: “Tanshi, Dishinikawson Alice. Hello my name is Alice, I belong to the Metis, Mi’kmaq,and Mohawk nations. I am Indigenous, Caucasian, and African American.” Alice’s essay told of the importance of language to culture and community. Diya Dugh told the harrowing story of her grandmother becoming a refugee during the partition of India, centring on the image of turmeric stains on clothes to communicate emotions and memories. Shaian Harris’ essay “I love my crown” showed how coming to love her own Black hair took Shaian on a journey of history, family, and self-acceptance. Aishwarya Puttur wrote a moving account of her disconnection then connection with her family’s Southern Indian culture, writing, “Embracing one’s culture does not mean just accepting it; it means connection, it means to love, and it means calling out the wrong when it is wrong.” And Dylan Verheyen explored her biracial Filipina identity and the transformation she underwent when confronting the anti-Asian racism that escalated during the pandemic. 

The students’ day in the department was filled with activity! We had a welcome meeting where students met the English department Chair, Dr. Shelley Hulan, followed by a visit to Dr. Frankie Condon’s “Discourse of Dissent” class – an eye-opener for the high school students to see how small our class sizes are and how easy it is for students to discuss with one another. They then spent a stimulating hour with Dr. Lamees Al Ethari in a creative writing workshop, learning how to understand and develop their own writing. A delicious lunch organized by Margaret Ulbrick and Deb Hergott allowed the students a chance to chat about their day so far before they took a tour of the campus. The highlight of the afternoon was the colloquium itself, facilitated by Dr. Clive Forrester. He introduced his own connection to culture via language in Jamaica and the importance of cultural representation, then invited Dylan, Diya, Aishwarya, Shaian, and Alice to talk about their essays, what culture meant to them, and how they were approaching this topic. In the discussion that followed, the students were able to respond to one other, allowing them to form links between essays and their own experiences. It was such a lively and enriching conversation that a couple spectators (parents of the grade 11 students) joined in with a couple comments as well! To finish the event, they watched Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie’s TED talk “The danger of a single story.” Dr. Forrester had them break into groups discussing critical examples they’ve seen in their own life on this topic, and on the importance of writing to combat the single-story narrative. Finally, the winner was announced.  

It was so difficult to pick just one winner, but Shaian Harris’ essay was exceptional, and she is this year’s winner of the prize money and an opportunity to be paired with a mentor from UWaterloo. We look forward to staying in touch with all the finalists and seeing the future accomplishments of this talented group of students. 

All in all, it was a fantastic first year for the Writing in Colour award! We hope to spread the word even more next year, so please share the award link widely:

https://uwaterloo.ca/english/awards/writing-colour

Thank you so much to Margaret and Deb for all their planning support and to Drs Young, Forrester, Al Ethari, and Condon for their contributions as well! 

The Shakespearean Theatre Conference

The 4th Shakespearean Theatre Conference will be held June 15-18, 2022, in Stratford, Ontario.  The conference offers an opportunity to think broadly and creatively about the past, present, and future of Tudor-Stuart drama, and this year places special emphasis on our broad theme of “Shakespeare in a Changing World.”  We will ask how the study and performance of Shakespearean drama might respond to the  rapid and very real changes we are witnessing, while also investigating the relationship of this drama to the similarly rapid changes of Shakespeare’s time.

                                                Plenary speakers:

                                        Antoni Cimolino (Artistic Director, Stratford Festival)

                                                     Brian Cummings (University of York)

                                          Alexa Alice Joubin (George Washington University)

The conference is a joint venture of the University of Waterloo and the Stratford Festival, and will bring together scholars and practitioners to talk about how performance influences scholarship and vice versa. It is the successor to the Elizabethan Theatre Conference, which the University of Waterloo hosted 17 times between 1968 and 2005.  Paper sessions will be held at the University of Waterloo’s Stratford campus, with plays and special events hosted by the Stratford Festival.  Special events include a reception Wednesday, June 15, at 7 p.m., which will serve as the public launch of Shakespeare On Stage and Off (McGill-Queen’s University Press), a volume of essays drawn mainly from previous conferences; and a banquet, Friday at 6 p.m.  Both events will take place in Lazaridis Hall, inside the Tom Patterson Theatre building.

Please note: The 4th Shakespearean Theatre Conference, originally scheduled for June 2021, was postponed until 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will observe all Government of Canada, Government of Ontario, University of Waterloo, and Stratford Festival pandemic restrictions and protocols in place at the time of the conference, and we will let participants know what these are closer to the conference dates. If it proves necessary to postpone the conference again, we will do so no later than six weeks before the scheduled dates. Because attending live performances is an important part of the conference experience, we will not move the conference online.

For more, see: https://uwaterloo.ca/english/shakespeare

Dr. Tolmie’s Literary Garden Party

On Thursday, June 23rd from 4-5:30pm, UWaterloo English’s Dr. Sarah Tolmie is hosting a Literary Garden Party at 273 Glasgow Street, Kitchener. Select local authors will be present and selling their latest books. Here’s your chance to buy your next book AND have it signed by the author!

Where English and Chemical Engineering Meet

Canadian Cap and Trade Simulation (CCTS) is a serious game/simulation designed to teach undergraduate Chemical Engineering and Environmental Studies students about carbon tax and trade systems in Canada. It was created by UWaterloo English PhD candidate Alex Fleck and Dr. Jason Grove of Chemical Engineering. On Thursday, June 16th, from 2-3pm the two will talk about the CCTS and how it works, as well as their experience in the process of game design and interdisciplinary collaboration in academia fostered by the Games Institute, which is headed by English’s Dr. Neil Randall. Information on registration can be found here.

The New Quarterly Nominated

The National Magazine Award nominations have been announced, and The New Quarterly has been nominated for 4 awards:

“Public Diddler” by Georgina Beatty (Fiction)    
“Soar” by Chyana Marie Sage (Personal Journalism)   
 “2020: A Family Odyssey” by Yohani Mendis (Essay)    
“The Natural History of Clinical Geneticist: A Case History” by Margaret Nowaczyk (Essay)

The winners will be announced on a live stream at 7pm, June 3rd. The New Quarterly is a non-profit Canadian literary magazine housed at St. Jerome’s University at the University of Waterloo. Managing editor, Eleni Zaptses, is a UWaterloo English graduate.

Good Mom on Paper

Those who’ve studied creative writing at UWaterloo may have been fortunate enough to take a course from Carrie Snyder, known for–among other things–her novel Girl Runner, a finalist for the Rogers Writers Trust Prize for fiction, which was published internationally and translated into multiple languages; and also The Juliet Stories, a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for fiction. She has a new novel forthcoming, but in case you can’t wait, Snyder also has an essay included in the recent collection Good Mom on Paper, published by Book*hug.

English and “AI’s wild west”

On May 16th, English’s Critical Media Lab held its third Critical Tech Talk, “AI Five Ways.” The series is sponsored by Communitech, UWaterloo’s Office of Research, and faculties of Arts, Environment, Engineering, Health, Math, and Science at the University of Waterloo. Speakers from the English dept were Kem-Laurin Lubin (PhD candidate) and Dr. Marcel O’Gorman (host/moderator). The event was organized primarily by Alexi Orchard (PhD candidate) and Dr. O’Gorman, with input from an interdisciplinary group that included English’s Dr. Heather Love and faculty in Systems and Design Engineering.

Communitech has produced an overview of the event; for those who are deeply regretting not attending, there’s also a video available online.

Dr. Vershawn Young’s book chosen for UW’s anti-racism book club

A message from the President’s Anti-Racism Taskforce (PART).

Professor Frankie Condon from the Faculty of Arts will facilitate the next Anti-racism book club, scheduled for May 19 at 12 noon. Condon will be joined by her faculty colleague, Vershawn “dr. vay” Young, to discuss his book Your Average Nigga: Performing Race, Literacy, and Masculinity. The conversation promises to be riveting as Condon and Young will delve into the book’s controversial title and its provocative argument.

Your Average Nigga is dr. vay’s autobiographical analysis of the linguistic conflict that he claims exists between Black and white language styles. dr. vay, who teaches in both the departments of Communication Arts and English Language and Literature, draws from his personal experiences to argue against language instruction that requires Black English speakers to give up their language to succeed academically.

“When Black students are forced to choose standard English, they risk alienating themselves from their Black identities, families and communities and if these students are forced to choose to retain their customary speech and behavior then they risk isolating themselves from mainstream society,” dr. vay explains. This dilemma is resolved, according to dr. vay, by integrating these languages in school rather than keeping them segregated.  

Pointing to the bold title of his book, dr. vay is also concerned about banning the N-word on campuses – an issue the University of Waterloo grappled with in 2020. 

“To forbid the N-word actually serves the purposes of white supremacy and resuscitates racism rather than defeat it. I say this because we know our society oppresses Black people. But do you know that we are also culturally suppressed in predominantly white spaces? Barring the N-word functions as a too-easy way to quash the six or seven insightful ways the word functions in Black culture.”

Frankie Condon is excited to co-facilitate the book club with dr.vay, with whom she has collaborated on several projects. Professor Condon and dr. vay are co-authors of Performing Anti-racist Pedagogy in Rhetoric, Writing and Communication. Condon looks forward to a spirited exchange, where she will ask book clubbers to tackle how we look at both race and language. 

“I look forward to this discussion with the campus community,” Condon said. “dr. vay’s text will undoubtedly be a catalyst for engagement on bigger topics surrounding race, ethnicity, and culture.”

Find registration information for PART’s anti-racism book club.

We recognize that the conversations on race and racism can be difficult. If you have any concerns about this article or the upcoming event, please forward your concerns to the Anti-racism communications manager. If you have experienced harm or trauma and would like to make a disclosure, please connect with the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Anti-racism office here.