Category Archives: News

Alumnus Evan Munday on CBC

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You might remember UWaterloo English alumnus Evan Munday from our previous Words in Place interview (in which his time-travelling monkey made an apperance). Now he is featured on CBC, discussing his newest project, #365Canadians. As CBC notes, Munday is “drawing portraits of Canadians you might not find in textbooks — think less John A. MacDonald and more Alexander Milton Ross.” Several Canadian authors feature to date–Lillian Allen, Nalo Hopkinson, Lee Maracle, Mairuth Sarsfield, Richard Wagamese–with more to come.

You can read more at CBC. Or follow the Twitter hashtag #365Canadians.

Welcoming the newest Banting postdoc, Dr. Derek Gladwin

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We are pleased to announce that Dr. Derek Gladwin has been awarded a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship to be held in the Dept of English and under the supervision of Dr. Imre Szeman. This is the second Banting postdoc housed in UWaterloo English.

Derek Gladwin is currently a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in English at the University of British Columbia. He has previously held visiting research fellowships at the National University of Ireland, Galway (2015), University of Edinburgh (2015), Concordia University (2016), and Trinity College Dublin (2017). His research and teaching explore transformations in environment and society within 20th-/21st-Century British and Irish literature, as well as film and media culture. Gladwin’s books include: Contentious Terrains: Boglands, Ireland, Postcolonial Gothic (2016), Unfolding Irish Landscapes (co-ed, 2016), and Eco-Joyce (co-ed, 2014); his forthcoming book is titled Ecological Exile: Spatial Injustice & Environmental Humanities, which is due out with Routledge in 2017. Contentious Terrains has just been nominated for the Ecocriticism Book Award offered by the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment.

Project overview: This Banting PDF project titled Petro-Gothic: Energy, Ecology, Fear explores energy transitions by marking the ways in which creative responses are narrated through fear and then circulated in forms of contemporary British and Irish literature, film, and media. Energy is not only geophysical and economic, but it is also social and cultural in the ways it conceptually and practically influences our lives. As a cultural response to energy, this project explore how literary and visual texts have produced “petro-gothic’ narratives. These narratives about energy transitions and futures inform society and, in some cases, mobilize change by transforming social values and perceptions through image and story. This research examines fear as it relates to energy subjectivity, offshore oil sublime, ecophobia, and post-oil landscapes in works by Bansky, Laura Watts, George Mackay Brown, Greenpeace UK, and China Miéville, among others.

Pokémon Go and English?

English PhD candidate Betsy Brey is in the news, speaking on the Pokémon Go craze. CBC interviewed her for the article “Pokémon Go more than just looking at your phone, UW researcher says.” An excerpt:

“It’s really fun to be walking down the street and see five, six other people doing the exact same thing as you and I’ve had so many casual conversations with people about the game and about what we’re doing and there’s been a lot of high fives on the bus and things like that. So it’s very, very communal,” said Betsy Brey, a researcher at the Games Institute at the University of Waterloo.

Or you can listen to Betsy on the CBC Morning Show, or see her interviewed on CTV. For more on the Games Institute, founded by English’s Prof. Neil Randall, see their website.

Keep those award nominations coming


Congratulations to UWaterloo English’s Dr. Sarah Tolmie, whose novel The Stone Boatmen (Aqueduct 2014) was nominated for the 2015 Crawford Award. This comes on the heels of the announcement that her poetry collection Trio (McGill-Queens UP, 2015) was shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award. And just this week Aqueduct announced the publication of Tolmie’s Two Travelers, a pair of portal fictions. Of this newest volume Publishers Weekly writes:

Author and professor Tolmie (The Stone Boatmen) delivers an exquisite duo of short stories in this slim volume…. Rich with detail, both stories are imbued with baroque sensibilities, a refreshing deviation from the typical medieval setting. Rather than relying on pure exposition, Tolmie uses the characters’ interactions and personalities to bring color to the unique magic of each setting. Tolmie’s investigations of identity, place, and personal meaning are a delight to read and a great contribution to the genre.

For more information, including how to order, visit the McGill-Queens UP and Aqueduct sites.

Passing of Dr. Helen Ellis
Sadly, Dr. Helen Ellis, who joined the English Language and Literature Department at UWaterloo in 1965, passed away yesterday. After completing her PhD at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1964), Dr. Ellis taught at Purdue University before arriving in Canada. An interview with Dr. Ellis was conducted for the department’s fiftieth anniversary. There was not enough room to cover all of her achievements: in addition to all included there, Dr. Ellis also participated in the founding of the PhD, taught our first science fiction class, and collaborated generously with her colleagues in multiple ways. Her training was as a Keats scholar, but she went on to publish on William Blake, Romantic Periodicals, and more.

“In poem after poem and in his letters as well, feasting and sexuality are closely equated, so much so that eating and drinking become persistent metaphors for the hero’s relationship to his mistress.” –Dr. Ellis on Keats

There will be a visitation 7-9pm, Friday, September 25th at the Erb & Good Funeral Home, 171 King Street South, Waterloo, followed by a memorial service Saturday 11am, All Saints Anglican Church, 685 Highpoint Ave, Waterloo (the corner of Northfield and Westmount Road North). For further updates, see here.

Dr. Ellis is on the far right of the photo. Credit here.

Is Setting the Bar Lower for Girls Funny?

TargetWaterloo English professor Aimée Morrison tweeted the above photo, taken by another faculty member, Christine Logel, at a local Target. You know, just the kind of eye-rolling thing you see from time to time and feel compelled to share on social media. But then the internet weighed in, followed by the media: local, national, and international.

If you recall, it was a letter which went viral that caused Lands’ End to announce this year they would now also produce science t-shirts for girls. As of yet, there’s no sign of Target shifting gears. Amusingly, some online trolls seem to think the university will view Morrison’s tweet and follow-up commentary negatively (I’m not even linking–they don’t deserve it). Clearly, they are unaware of the degree to which the University of Waterloo is invested in the recruitment, representation, and success of women in STEM disciplines, which women have been traditionally discouraged from entering.

infant_bodysuit The fun part is the discourse analysis Morrison has brought to the discussion of infant onesies. If you are looking for more fun ways our female faculty and graduate students in English are mixing it up in the digital world, you might check out the GI Janes, dedicated to raising the profile of women in gaming.


Alumna publishes final book in trilogy


Congratulations to UWaterloo graduate Shelly Sanders, who has just completed the final book in her trilogy. Rachel’s Hope will be published in the United States and Canada in fall 2014 by Second Story Press, an independent Toronto-based feminist press best known for Hana’s SuitcaseRachel’s Secret, the first book in the trilogy, received a Starred Review in Booklist and was deemed “critical for its under-explored subject” by Kirkus Reviews.

If you want to see Shelly in person to congratulate her–or just support independent publishing in Canada, a worthy enough cause–she will be signing copies of all three books at Toronto’s Word on the Street on September 21st. There will also be a book launch 2pm, September 28th, at A Different Drummer Books in Burlington. Shelly also has a Facebook page dedicated to the trilogy.