Category Archives: Literature

Calling Wild Writers (and Readers!)

Do you recall that St. Jerome’s University at UWaterloo houses an award-winning literary magazine, The New Quarterly? Have you heard of their annual literary festival? Care to take in a wide-ranging conversation about writing between two highly decorated Canadian authors?

The Wild Writers Festival, November 4 to 6, will feature Rosemary Sullivan and Guy Gavriel Kay discussing alternate histories with CBC’s Craig Norris on the Friday evening at the CIGI campus auditorium in Waterloo.

Sullivan is author of Stalin’s Daughter, which won a host of national and international awards, including the 2016 RBC Charles Taylor Prize, the top accolade for non-fiction in Canada. For her distinguished contributions to Canadian arts and culture, including authoring 14 books, she was conferred as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2012.

Kay has been nominated four times for the World Fantasy Award, with Ysabel winning in 2008. The author of a book of poetry and 13 novels, including this year’s Children of Earth and Sky, his fiction has been translated into 25 languages. Kay was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2014.

As a writer, aspiring and established, care to take in a worthy workshop or engaging panel discussion?

Waterloo Region’s premier literary event will have workshops about writing thrillers, fantasy, young adult/detective, dialogue, non-fiction and poetry. Also on the Saturday at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, panel discussions will shed a light on small press publishing, translations, fiction and poetry.

Saturday evening’s speakeasy at the Berlin in Kitchener will feature Zarqa Nawaz, creator of the hit CBC show Little Mosque on the Prairie.

Sunday’s literary brunch, at the Rhapsody Barrel Bar in Kitchener, will highlight award-winning authors Madeleine Thien, Alissa York and Michael Helm. Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing has been shortlisted for this year’s prestigious Man Booker Prize.

The Wild Writers Festival, now in its fifth year, was created and is managed by The New Quarterly magazine. One of Canada’s most decorated literary magazines resides in Waterloo, and it’s been here for 35 years. The New Quarterly (TNQ) has won 10 gold and seven silver medals and had 31 honourable mentions in the 17 years that it has participated in the National Magazine Awards.

“35&5 is our way to salute thirty-five years of The New Quarterly and five years of the Wild Writers Festival,” says TNQ editor Pamela Mulloy.

The New Quarterly, a charitable not-for-profit organization, has been publishing the best of new Canadian writing — fiction, poetry, author interviews and talk about writing — since 1981.

More information about this year’s Wild Writers Festival can be found at #WildWriters and @tnqwildwriters. Contact TNQ editor Pamela Mulloy at:; 519-884-8111, ext. 28290, or TNQ managing editor Sophie Blom at


Stratford Course and Summer Discounts

Did you know that UWaterloo English professor Alysia Kolentsis teaches a course in conjunction with the Stratford Festival? It’s a “historical, theoretical and analytical introduction to Shakespeare in performance.” Better yet, not only do you get to work with Dr. Kolentsis, the course also features guests from the Stratford Festival. Courses are offered between Monday, July 18, to Friday, August 5; you can find out more information here. And did you know that UWaterloo alumni get discounts at the Stratford Festival? As well as Canada’s Wonderland, The ROM, Ripley’s Aquarium, The Science Centre and more.

Poem for a Friday


If you haven’t heard of Langston Hughes (1902-1967), a poet, playwright, and more who rose to prominence during the Harlem Renaissance (a period of significant African American literary production, beginning with the 1920s), today might be the perfect day to find out more about him. The poem below–drawing on the stylings of jazz and be-bop–is quite famous, and those of you who know Lorraine Hansberry‘s famous play A Raisin in the Sun will recognize her borrowing. –JLH


What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
Like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
Like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

–Langston Hughes, Montage of a Dream Deferred, 1951

Congratulations to our latest MA Grads!

We have three MA degrees in our English department–Literary Studies (LIT), Rhetoric and Communication Design (RCD), and Experimental Digital Media (XDM)–and last week we graduated students in ALL of them! So who did what? Who wrote about diseases in Hamlet? Who partnered with Systems Engineering? Who wrote about a travel guide for African American roadtrippers during the age of segregation? What else did they do?! Read on to find out more, and please join me in congratulating our newest MA alumni.–WIP

MA by Major Research Paper or Thesis
Thien Bui Thai (XDM, Co-op), “MyBerlin: An Exploration of Berlin using Mobile Technologies”
Greg Campbell (RCD), “The Negro Motorist Travel Guide: Navigating Jim Crow Then and Now”
Paisley Cozzarin (XDM), “Monstrous Bodies: Frankenfish and the Abnormal Body”
Alexandra Fournier (LIT), ” ‘My Name is Lizzie Bennet’: Successfully Adapting Jane Austen’s `Pride and Prejudice’ (1813) for the Twenty-First Century With `The Lizzie Bennet Diaries’ (2012-2013)”
Christopher Giannakopoulos (LIT), “Resisting Mimesis: Poetry as Riddle in the poetry and poetics of Gerard Manley Hopkins, Seamus Heaney, and Paul Muldoon”
Zahra Jafari (RCD), “Metaphorized Diseases: A Study of Disease Metaphors in Shakespeare’s Hamlet”
Cayley MacArthur (RCD and Systems Engineering Co-op), “The Effects of Ambiguity: A Feminist Study of Human Signifiers in Human-Computer Interaction”
Giancarlo Mancuso (XDM), “The Case for the Theoretical Application of the Pattern in the Digital Humanities”
Robert Parker, “Creating Critical Messes: Videogame Scholarship Beyond the Core ”
Sophia Pelka (XDM), “Groteskkammer/kabinett: A Grotesque Stroll through Dark Media”
Alana Rigby (RCD, Co-op), “Digital Darwin: Editing The Loves of the Plants as a Case Study of the Theory and Practice of Digital Editions”

MA by course work
Jehan Abyad (LIT)
Natalee Blagden (RCD, Co-op)
Holly-Anne Ellander (LIT, Co-op)
Meredith Fischer (RCD)
Anne Galang (XDM)
Rhasha Ghanem (LIT)
Airlie Heung (LIT)
Kaitlyn Holbein (RCD, Co-op)
Andreaa Irimies (LIT)
Michelle Irvine (RCD)
Chitra Karki (RCD)
Zahra Pazokizadeh (RCD)

Winfried Siemerling takes the prize!

Do you know my amazing colleague Dr. Winfried Siemerling? There are all kinds of reasons you should, and now I’m about to give you one more. His book The Black Atlantic Reconsidered just won a major Canadian award. As it should have, because it is truly fantastic. Read on to find out who gave the award, and what they had to say about their choice:
The Association for Canadian and Quebec Literatures is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2015 Gabrielle Roy Prize (English section), which each year honours the best book of Canadian literary criticism written in English, is Winfried Siemerling, author of The Black Atlantic Reconsidered: Black Canadian Writing, Cultural History, and the Presence of the Past (McGill-Queens University Press). The prize was awarded at a reception held by the Association of Canadian and Quebec Literatures, on the evening of May 28th in Calgary.
The jury comments: “Winfried Siemerling’s The Black Atlantic Reconsidered: Black Canadian Writing, Cultural History, and the Presence of the Past is a ground-breaking and consequential volume. It examines black Canadian writing in both English and French from the early eighteenth century to the present, contextualizing it vis-à-vis the nation-state and the transnational black Atlantic. Poised to galvanize scholarly and classroom conversations on this understudied corpus, Siemerling’s book, which analyzes black Canadian literary representations of history, is history-making in its own right.”

National Literary Magazine on Waterloo Campus

TNQ 136 Front Cover
Did you know that there’s an award-winning literary magazine housed at St. Jerome’s University, at the University of Waterloo? And that English students sometimes intern there? And that you can submit your own writing? Find out more about
The New Quarterly, its recent award nominations, and its upcoming writing festival in this guest post by Alister Thomas. –JLH

The New Quarterly and Wild Writers Festival Cover All Things Literary

One of Canada’s most decorated literary magazines resides in Waterloo, and it’s been here for 35 years. The New Quarterly (TNQ) has won 10 gold and seven silver medals and had 29 honourable mentions in the 16 years that it has participated in the National Magazine Awards.

On May 2, 2016, TNQ added two more nominations. For fiction, it was Elisabeth Harvor’s “Ice Woman.” For poetry, it was Michael Prior’s “Murmuration; Fathom; Hibernal Country.” The winners will be announced on June 10 in Toronto.

Last year Tamas Dobozy won the gold medal in fiction for “Krasnagorsk-2,” which was published in TNQ’s war issue.

Later this year, The New Quarterly is launching a new book. Falling In Love with Poetry was edited by Kim Jernigan, UWaterloo alumna and former longtime TNQ editor who in 2014 received the National Magazine Awards’ highest individual award, the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement.

Falling in Love with Poetry features lively and varied essays. “Twenty-seven Canadian poets speak about the poems that summoned them to poetry and influenced the kind of poet, and reader, they became,” says Jernigan in her introduction.

“This is a book for those already under the spell of poetry, but also for those who aren’t, because we are told again and again to put aside our anxiety about what a poem means, about its vocabulary of allusion and symbol and even its narrative thrust, and to experience it instead as sound and feeling, something that engages bodily and emotionally first and foremost and only laterally, if at all, as the communication of an idea.”

tnq 138

Drawing on poets from across Canada, more than one-third of the contributors have roots in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. They include Chris Banks, Tristanne Connolly, Rae Crossman, Gary Draper, Lesley Elliott, Amanda Jernigan, Miriam Maust (a UWaterloo English alumna), Alison Pick, John Vardon, and David Waltner-Toews.

Then this fall, November 4 to 6, TNQ will host the fifth annual Wild Writers Literary Festival (WWF), Waterloo Region’s premier literary event. It will be a grand celebration called 35&5 — TNQ came into this world in 1981 and WWF arose in 2012. “35&5 will be a must-attend event,” says TNQ editor Pamela Mulloy.

The New Quarterly (, small but feisty, is the only literary magazine to be shortlisted in such diverse categories as Sports Writing, Arts & Entertainment, How-To and Best Single Issue. And yes, it is published four times a year.

For more information, contact:
TNQ editor Pamela Mulloy at; 519-884-8111 ext. 28290
TNQ managing editor Sophie Blom at

A Reading with Alumna Rupi Kaur

How did English alumna Rupi Kaur (BA 15) end up on a bestseller list? Find out on Thursday, March 24, 2016 – 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM as the poetess and author of Milk and Honey, will give a poetry reading and chat about her self-publishing experiences that led to Amazon’s bestsellers list.

This unique event combines art, feminism, and entrepreneurship and is generously sponsored by Women’s Studies (Faculty of Arts), and co-presented by The Book Store and Velocity Start.

Read about Rupi’s runaway success with Milk and Honey, and her final English project, period., that sparked a viral sensation and made Instagram change their content policy. As an extra bonus, here is an early Words in Place interview with Rupi where she discusses her experience of the UWaterloo English co-op program.

Register here.

SCH – South Campus Hall

Velocity Start, 2nd floor SCH