Category Archives: Events

Medieval Manuscripts: a talk

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As someone who works in the archives, and is often dependent on digitized collections, I am deeply grateful to those who make materials available. Here’s your chance to hear more about the process, pitfalls, and pluses, as UWaterloo’s Medieval Lecture Series kicks off this year with a talk by Karen Beck, Manager Historical and Special Collections, Harvard Law Library. The talk is titled “Digitizing Early Manuscripts at the Harvard Law Library.”


Thursday, September 28, reception at 4:30 p.m., SJ2, talk to follow, SJ2-2002.


Reading Series Announced

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If you’re new to campus, you might not know about the annual reading series hosted by and held at St. Jerome’s at UWaterloo.  This year’s theme is Languages of Home. Visiting writers find language for their personal and cultural homes, revealing how diversely the experience of home can be understood and expressed.


Elizabeth Greene, Friday 20 October 2017, 4:30pm, SJ1 3027
* Her collection, Understories, “is an exploration of things visible mostly to the inner eye and memory, things below the surface. It explores loss, but also recovery through memory and language. Two poems in Understories were short-listed for the Descant/ Winston Collins Prize.”

Raoul Fernandes, Friday 24 November 2017, 4:30pm, SJ1 3027
* His first book of poetry, Transmitter and Receiver, won the Dorothy Livesay Award and the Debut-litzer Prize in 2016 and was a finalist for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and the Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry


Mariam Pirbhai, Friday 12 January 2018, 4:30pm
* Her debut short story collection, Outside People and Other Stories, will be published by Toronto’s Inanna Publications, in fall 2017.

Kate Cayley, Friday 2 February 2018, 4:30pm
* Playwright-in-residence at Tarragon Theatre, her short story collection How You Were Born won the Trillium Book Award.

Liz Howard, Friday 2 March 2018, 4:30pm
* Howard’s debut poetry collection, Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent, was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award, and the Griffin Poetry Prize.

…plus a bonus Spring reading by Sarah Tolmie. Stay tuned!

Hope to see you at the readings. The readings are free and all are welcome, so please spread the word!

For updates see the reading series website.

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.

Wild Writers Festival

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Do you know about The New Quarterly, an award-winning literary journal housed at St. Jerome’s at University of Waterloo? If not, you should–they host the Wild Writers Festival. You can attend writing workshops, readings, and more. Kathleen Winter (nominee for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction) will be leading a workshop on childhood as literary inspiration; Amanda Leduc (shortlisted for the UK Daily Mail First Novel Award, PRISM International’s 2008 Short Fiction Contest, and the 2006 CBC Literary Awards) is giving a workshop on marketing yourself as a writer. For more events and opportunities, see below.


Friday, November 3 @ 7:00pm – CIGI Campus Auditorium
67 Erb St. W, Waterloo:

Friday Night Showcase with Alison Pick and Kathleen Winter in Conversation with Craig Norris

+ winners of The New Quarterly’s fiction, non-fiction, and poetry contests

$10 earlybird ticket price (+ 13% HST); $15 at the door 

– or FREE with a print subscription to The New Quarterly OR featured book purchase at Words Worth Books.

Saturday, November 4 – Balsillie School of International Affairs (CIGI campus)
67 Erb St. W, Waterloo

8:30 – 9:30 am:


9:30 – 10:50 am:

Crafting the Poem with Evelyn Lau – $20 earlybird ticket price (+ 13% HST); $25 at the door

The Publishing Panel: The Joy of Litmags – Free!

First Word, First Sentence, First Paragraph with Robert Rotenberg – $20 earlybird ticket price (+ 13% HST); $25 at the door

11:10 – 12:30 pm:

Writer’s Craft Class: On Character with Alison Pick – $20 earlybird ticket price (+ 13% HST); $25 at the door

The Shape Shifters: Writing in Multiple Genres – Free!

Wild Writers Panel: Displacement Narratives – Free!

12:30 – 1:30 pm

Book Signing and Lunch 

1:30 – 2:50 pm

Writer’s Craft Class: Interactive Possibilities of Creative Nonfiction with Betsy Warland –  $20 earlybird ticket price (+ 13% HST); $25 at the door

The Fiction Panel with Lori McNulty, Alicia Elliott, Trevor Corkum, and Rebecca Rosenblum – Free!

The Art of the Shelfie: Marketing Yourself as a Writer with Amanda Leduc – $20 earlybird ticket price (+ 13% HST); $25 at the door


Poetry Masterclass: Recklessness and Revision in Poetry with Chris Banks – $35 earlybird ticket price (+ 13% HST); $40 at the door

3:10 – 4:30 pm

Finding Home: Tales my Father Never Told Me with Tamas Dobozy and Pasha Malla – $10 earlybird ticket price (+ 13% HST); $15 at the door

Nonfiction Panel: The Art of the Personal Essay – Free!

Childhood and Intuition as Literary Inspiration with Kathleen Winter – $20 earlybird ticket price (+ 13% HST); $25 at the door

4:30 – 5:30 pm

Book Signing

Saturday, November 4 Doors Open @ 7:00pm – Nick & Nat’s Uptown 21
21 King St.N, Waterloo, ON N2J 2W6

Speakeasy: Take Me Out to the Ballgame

A Conversation with Stacey May Fowles and Mark Kingwell
+ Bruce Johnstone as MC
+ Music TBA

$15 earlybird ticket price (+ 13% HST); $20 at the door

Sunday, November 5 @ 10:00am – Rhapsody Barrel Bar
179 King St W, Kitchener, ON N2G 1A9

Literary Brunch: Helen Humphreys, Karen Connelly, and a special guest (TBA)

Moderated by Sharron Smith

Coffee with the authors begins at 9:30 followed by breakfast fare. The writers will discuss their latest work, the writing process, and life as a writer. Intimate, casual, engaging – an ideal way to spend a Sunday morning.

$38 earlybird ticket price (+ 13% HST); $45 at the door. Earlybird ticket prices in effect until November 1, 2017.

PhD student’s play to be performed

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Congratulations to English doctoral candidate Jessica Van de Kemp, whose 10-minute play, Hatching in a Cage, will premiere at the Newmarket National Play Festival on July 22-23, 2017. Hatching in a Cage is one of 24 plays selected from a nation-wide competition and is part of an hour-long program entitled Lost/Found. The competition challenged playwrights “to create fully-realized characters in only 600 seconds that keep the audience fully committed to the truth of the story being told.”

Hatching in a Cage alludes to Daniel Keyes’ short story, Flowers for Algernon, and engages similar themes of happiness and identity to examine how the past affects the present. Directed by Tom McHale, it features actors David Hudyma and Kathleen Welch. It will be performed at the Old Town Hall on the following dates:

July 22 at 4:00pm
July 23 at 1:00pm
July 23 at 8:00pm

Tickets can be purchased online. As part of the festival, Jessica will also be performing original poetry at Books/Café & Things on July 23 at 12:20pm.

Congratulations to our newest graduates!

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Once again it’s the time of year where we celebrate our graduate students who have completed their degrees. Spring 2017 saw five PhD students and sixteen Masters students convocate. From Jerry Seinfeld to torture, PhD dissertations covered it all. Our masters students undertook ambitious projects of their own, some of which were documented on this blog. Congratulations to a fantastic cohort.

PhD Graduates, Spring 2017

Bradley, Adam: Critical Tools: Using Technology to Augment the Process of Literary Analysis

Gibbons, Sarah: Disablement  Diversity  Deviation: Disability in a an Age of Environmental Risk

Henry, G. Josh: ‘That’s Gold  Jerry  Gold!’: The Sophisticated Contradiction at the Heart of Stand-up Comedy

Horton, Christine: Defining the Undefinable: Rhetorics of Democratic Torture Interrogation

Sabzian, Saeed: Aural  Ocular  and Sequential Rhetoric in two Contemporary American Stories  in Prose and Film: Patterns of Anxiety in Fight Club and The Road

MA Graduates, Spring 2017
Ali, Tatiana (LIT)
Barnett, Lucy (XDM-MRP)
Domonchuk, Michael (LIT-MRP)
Dorey, Shawn (XDM)
Irani, Farzaneh (XDM)
Kay, Rosemary (RCD)
Lawlor, Adam (RCD)
Metaxas, Christian (XDM-MRP)
O’Brien, Kaitlin (XDM-MRP)
Perescu, Andreea (RCD-MRP)
Pilon, Marie-Agnes (RCD)
Purba, Parteek (LIT)
Sallows, Aleczandra (RCD)
Schroeder, Emily (LIT-MRP)
Welch, Ryan (RCD)
Wilson, Jackie (RCD)

Image from Toronto Etsy shop Vocatio, which specializes in digital and printable invitations.

Convocation time!

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How many other opportunities in your life will there be to introduce your family to your professors while at least two of you are wearing robes? Take advantage of this one immediately following the 10:00 a.m. convocation ceremony (Wednesday, June 14, 2017).

Our new English undergraduate and graduate alumni and their families are invited to a post-convocation celebration in the SLC Great Hall. Enter the hall and look for the English Language and Literature sign. English faculty and staff will be on hand to congratulate you and wish you all the best for your future. There will be complimentary desserts and refreshments–and after convocation I promise, they will be very welcome. No reservation required. We look forward to seeing you!

SLC – Student Life Centre

200 University Avenue West

Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1


Digital Art at the Critical Media Lab

On April 7, the University of Waterloo English’s Critical Media Lab held its annual exhibit, entitled =SUM(Things), at 44 Gaukel St. in Kitchener. The exhibit featured media and data-based projects and installations from students, including many Master of Experimental Digital Media (XDM) students, as well as staff and community members. Photography by Selina Vesely.

Greyfield/Brightfield by Julie Funk

Julie FunkJulie Funk

Master of Experimental Digital Media (XDM) student Julie Funk’s digital display Greyfield/Brightfield was inspired by the phenomenon of “dead malls.” Shopping malls with less than $150 in sales per square foot and a vacancy rate of more than 10 per cent are given a “greyfield” classification. In this project, users are asked to engage with the digital display, with their movements being used to control the color saturation of the screen, as a way to think about how the interface changes the way they interact with the space.

BasketCase by Caitlin Woodcock

BasketcaseCaitlin Woodcock

Inspired by local Mennonite communities, XDM student Caitlin Woodcock’s BasketCase is an experiment in digital abstinence. When a mobile phone is placed in the handwoven basket, a sensor measures how long it rests there. When the phone is removed, the screen displays a percentage comparing the length of time the device rested to the length of time it took to weave the basket (about 20 hours). This piece highlights craft-making as an alternative to technological productivity and as a way to combat the distractions of our devices.

mindflux, by Megan Honsberger


With the advent of wearable technology like fitness trackers, XDM student Megan Honsberger’s mindflux explores what it means to be online and continuously connected. mindflux attempts to reconcile the desire to unplug and the necessity of staying connected. The project combines a touch sensor on the bracelet with visualizations showing how often and when an individual uses their device.

#muslimban, by Megan Honsberger


XDM student Megan Honsberger’s poem is comprised of words from 18,000 tweets compiled 48 hours after U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order barring individuals from some countries from entering the United States. The tweets were mined using the hashtag #muslimban. The result is a collection of responses by many through a poem spoken by no one.

Sorting 63 Genders by Shawn Dorey

Sorting 63 Genders

XDM student Shawn Dorey’s game, Sorting 63 Genders, is a text-based adventure created in response to U.S. congressman Joe Walsh’s pre-election tweets. The game explores what it means for “a man to be a man, and a woman to be a woman.” Through the game, players attempt to live a binary life without others perceiving their genders differently. Sorting 63 Genders asks players to reconsider actions that might not initially be thought of as gendered and to explore the subtleties of gender expression.

The Pantheon of Dream by Amber O’Brien

The Pantheon of DreamThe Pantheon of DreamThe Pantheon of DreamThe Pantheon of DreamThe Pantheon of DreamThe Pantheon of Dream The Pantheon of Dream The Pantheon of Dream The Pantheon of Dream The Pantheon of Dream

The goal of Master of Literary Studies student Amber O’Brien’s game, The Pantheon of Dream, is to help an unknown dreaming protagonist unlock a memory. Players must create a narrative to help move the protagonist to various locations in sequential order to access this memory. The protagonist must contend with many creatures and beings, each representing an aspect of the mind or memory, who either help or hinder the quest.


The Architectures of Machine Emotion by Becky Anderson

Architectures of Machine Emotion

The Architectures of Machine Emotion shows how emotions might be recognized, identified and replicated by artificially intelligent machines. English Language and Literature doctoral student Becky Anderson printed visualizations from an open-source textual emotion recognition program onto polystyrene plastic sheets.

Originally posted on UWaterloo Arts.