Wild Writers Festival, 2018

The New Quarterly
, a  literary magazine based at St Jerome’s at UWaterloo, is proud to present the seventh annual Wild Writers Literary Festival on November 2-4th, 2018. Join us for a celebration of the feral and free and its expression in poetry, the short story, and everything in between. Create, learn, discover and share the art of groundbreaking writing. There are workshops, readings, and food!

Friday the 2nd
Leading off Waterloo Region’s premier literary event will be Jael Richardson, an author and broadcaster, in conversation with Sharon Bala and Rawi Hage. This will take place at the CIGI Campus Auditorium on Erb Street West in Waterloo.

Sharon Bala won the 2017 Journey Prize, presented annually by McClelland and Stewart and the Writers’ Trust of Canada for the best short story published by an emerging writer in a Canadian literary magazine. Her story, “Butter Tea at Starbucks,” was published in The New Quarterly. Sharon’s bestselling debut novel, The Boat People, was a finalist for Canada Reads 2018 and the 2018 Amazon Canada First Novel Award.

Rawi Hage’s new novel, Beirut Hellfire Society, is a finalist for this year’s Governor General’s Literary Award and Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Hage’s debut novel, De Niro’s Game (2006), won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award for English fiction. His second novel, Cockroach (2008), was shortlisted for the Giller, the Governor General’s and the Rogers Fiction Prize.

Saturday the 3rd

…also at CIGI, there’ll be an intriguing mix of writer’s craft classes, panel discussions and masterclasses. These classes will include instruction on writing poetry, creative nonfiction, character development as well as custom crafted ones for young creators and caregivers.

Sunday the 4th
A literary brunch featuring conversations with and readings from Katherine Ashenburg, Claire Cameron and Michael Redhill at the Rhapsody Barrel Bar on King Street in Kitchener.


Katherine Ashenburg is the prize-winning author of three nonfiction books: Going to Town: Architectural Walking Tours in Southern Ontario, The Mourner’s Dance: What We Do When People Die, and The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History.

Claire Cameron has written three novels: The Last Neanderthal, which won the 2018 Evergreen Award; The Bear, longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize); and The Line Painter, nominated for the Arthur Ellis Crime Writing Award for best first novel.

Michael Redhill is a Giller Prize-winning novelist, poet and playwright. He is the author of the novels Consolation, longlisted for Man Booker Prize; Martin Sloane, a finalist for the Giller Prize; and most recently, Bellevue Square, winner of the 2017 Giller Prize.


Jack Halberstam: TRANS* Visual archives of the transgendered body

We are pleased to announce a talk by Jack Halberstam, Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, Gender Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. This is a special lecture and conversation co-sponsored by the Department of English Language & Literature, the Department of Philosophy, the Critical Media Lab, and the Faculty of Arts.​

Halberstam is the author of numerous books and articles, including: Trans* A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variability (UC Press, 2018), Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (Beacon Press, 2012), The Queer Art of Failure (Duke UP, 2011), In A Queer Time and Place (NYU Press, 2005), Female Masculinity (Duke UP, 1998), Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (Duke UP, 1995). His articles that have appeared in numerous journals, magazines and collections. Halberstam is currently working on several projects including a book on Fascism and (homo)sexuality.

Reception starts at 6:00 pm followed by the lecture at 7:00 pm. Everyone is welcome.

Monday, Nov. 19, 7pm
CIGI Auditorium
Balsillie School of International Affairs
67 Erb Street West
Waterloo, Canada

Engl 108P, Popular Potter, now online

Grab your quills and keyboards! As of Winter semester 2019, you can take English 108P, Popular Potter, online. Are you curious about how Rowling draws on mythology and folklore to ground and structure her novels about the boy wizard? Perhaps you have always wanted to talk about the traces of World War II in the novels, or consider how the ideology of the Fabian Society influences Dumbledore’s philosophy and the Order of the Phoenix. Do you have a burning desire to express your frustrations with Harry’s romance with Cho–but in literary terms, which reflect on the limitations of narrative voice? Or maybe you can’t wait to talk about Dobby and why it’s initially funny when he is forced to hurt himself, but then suddenly isn’t humorous at all. Setting aside all of these possibilities, what about the luxury of taking a course for which you probably have already done the reading in advance? Wingardium Leviosa!

Image source: Etsy

Diversity and Change in the Arts: A Conversation

pam patel
Join us on Oct 17th, for “Diversity and Change in the Arts: A Conversation with Pam Patel, Artistic Director of MT Space”

Founded in 2004, MT Space is the Waterloo Region’s first and only multicultural theatre company. Its mandate is to create, produce, and present high quality artistic performances and cultural events reflective of the people who live here. Please join us for a conversation between Pam Patel (Artistic Director, MT Space) and Dr. Lamees Al Ethari (Department of English Language and Literature, University of Waterloo) as we discuss the role of MT Space in fostering meaningful interaction through art and culture in our communities.

WHEN: Wednesday, October 17, 4:00pm
WHERE: EV3-Environment 3, Room 4412

Pam Patel is an actor who has toured nationally to cities including Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Victoria, and has traveled overseas to perform in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. She is a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University’s music program. Pam’s creative work has focused on improvisation, in both music and physical theatre, and has had her talents showcased at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival and the Stratford Summer Music Festival. Pam has been an Artistic Associate at MT Space since 2009, and was appointed Artistic Director in July 2016.

Lamees Al Ethari, Ph.D., is a faculty member in English Language and Literature at the University of Waterloo. Her collection From the Wounded Banks of the Tigris was recently published with Baseline Press. Her book Waiting for the Rain: A Memoir, on the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, is due for publication in 2019. Her work is also published in The New Quarterly, About Place Journal, The Malpais Review, the anthology Al Mutanabbi Street Starts Here and has been printed as broadsides. She is currently completing her book, Resistance and Memory in Iraqi Women’s Life Narratives.

New poetry from Dr. Lamees Al Ethari

Congratulations to Dr. Lamees Al Ethari, whose book of poetry From the Wounded Banks of the Tigris has just been published by Baseline Press. There was abook launch last night in London, and copies start shipping soon. From Baseline:

Lamees Al Ethari is an Iraqi writer and artist who immigrated to Canada in 2008. She holds a PhD in English Language and Literature from the University of Waterloo, where she has been teaching academic and creative writing since 2015. Her research focuses on Iraqi North American women’s life narratives of trauma and migration. Her memoir on the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, Waiting for the Rain, is due for publication in 2019.

Drew Hayden Taylor coming to UWaterloo


I first read Drew Hayden Taylor, an Ojibway author from the Curve Lake First Nations in Ontario, during my undergrad. To be honest, I’m not even sure his work was assigned–I may have just stumbled across it. Soon after I was fortunate enough to hear him read from his play The Bootlegger Blues. A synopsis: “This comedy is about love, family, and what to do with too much beer. Set on a reserve, it follows the plight of Martha, a church-going, teetotaling woman who finds herself stuck with 143 cases of beer after a church fundraiser fails. She decides to bootleg the beer, to the horror of her son Andrew, nicknamed Blue, who is a special constable on the reserve. Meanwhile, Andrew has fallen for a young woman he thinks is his cousin, and his sister Marianne is bored with her “Indian Yuppie” husband and finds herself attracted to a handsome dancer at the powwow. ” I was hooked. Now he’s coming to UWaterloo for a screening of his film, Searching for Winnetou, about the very strange German fascination with the Old West as it is immortalized in the Winnetou novels of nineteenth-century writer Karl May. A discussion with Drew Hayden Taylor will follow.

“Drew Hayden Taylor’s Search for Winnetou” is being held in the Balsillie multipurpose room (67 Erb Street W., Waterloo) on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 at 7pm, followed by a Q&A with Drew Hayden Taylor. More information and a link to register for this free event can be found here.

The event is co-sponsored by the Waterloo Centre for German Studies and the Balsillie School of International Affairs Research Cluster for Indigenous Peoples, Decolonization and the Globe.

Celebrating a Nobel Prize with STEM books featuring girls

In honour of Dr. Donna Strickland, UWaterloo professor, receiving the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics, Words in Place presents a list of books featuring female protagonists with STEM themes for everyone from junior readers to young adult ones. Chimps? Epidemiology? Optometry? Entomology? Coding? Poison? Steroids turning the football team into zombies? They are all represented. Congratulations to Dr. Strickland!

Picture Books
Ada Twist, Scientist (Andrea Beaty)
Cleonardo, The Little Inventor (Mary Grandpre)
Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 (Helaine Becker)
The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath (Julia Finley Mosca)
Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code (Laurie Wallmark)
Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles (Patricia Valdez)
Rosie Revere, Engineer (Andrea Beaty)
Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian (Margarita Engle)
The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps (Jeanette Winter)
The World is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid (Jeanette Winter)

Chapter Book Series
Ada Lace (Emily Callandrelli)
Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist (Jim Benton)
Nick and Tesla (Bob Pflugfelder)
Wollstonecraft Detective Agency (Jordan Stratford)
Zoey And Sassafrass (Asia Citro)

Young Adult
Alice Jones: The Impossible Clue (Sarah Rubin)
Bad Taste in Boys (Carrie Harris)
Catalyst (Laurie Halse Anderson)
Chasing Secrets (Gennifer Choldenko)
Code Name Verity (Elizabeth Wein)
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (Jacqueline Kelly)
Flavia de Luce (Alan Bradley) (snuck her in–it is an adult book, but she’s marvelous)
Mechanica (Betsy Cornwell)
Red Blazer Girls (Michael D. Bell)

For more Words in Place posts about children’s books see:
Fifty Children’s Picture Books with Interesting Heroines
Twenty Chapter Book Series with Interesting Heroines for Early Readers, 6-8
25 Classic Book Series, Age 6-10
Back to School with Chapter books featuring boys, 7-9
10 Children’s Books about Refugees
International Day of the Girl: A Reading List
If you have a favorite book you wish to share, please use the comment section below.