Category Archives: Readings

A Mind Spread Out on the Ground

Award-winning Haudenosaunee author Alicia Elliott is next up in the St. Jerome’s Reading Series, Wednesday, March 4th, 3:30pm, SJ2 1002 (the new Academic Centre at St. Jerome’s, on UWaterloo campus).

Elliott is the author of A Mind Spread Out on the Ground, named one of the best books of 2019 by CBC, Globe and Mail, Quill & Quire, and more. Described as “an urgent and visceral work” A Mind Spread Out on the Ground was also chosen by Tanya Talaga as the recipient for the 2018 RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award, and shortlisted for the 2019 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize.


Barbie as Prototype–and Poet

This isn’t the typical “what we can learn from Barbie” blog post you find on the internet–rather, it’s about what we can learn about our culture by examining Barbie, through poetry. Giovanna Riccio takes this up in her latest poetry collection, as described below. Join us Thursday, January 30th, 4:00pm-5:30pm (Modern Languages Room 354) for more about “Plasticity’s Bombshell.”


In 2019, the Barbie doll turned 60. Plasticity in body and persona allowed the Mattel toy company to position and reposition their high-achieving money-maker as relevant by exploiting social trend, political movements and historical shifts. As a complex international celebrity and feminist bête noir, Barbie is a mirror helping us to reflect on ourselves. This lecture is based on my book, Plastic’s Republic, a poem collection centering on the Barbie doll as an enduring cultural icon. I will examine her creation, her impact on female beauty and discuss how her mouldable nature made her a “capital doll” and free market diva. Following the book’s themes, I will elaborate the philosophical, feminist and social issues she engenders and discuss how Barbie became plastic surgery’s prophet by spawning “plastic positive” humans. Finally, plastic’s reach extends to the dollification of romantic relationships via siliconesex dolls and ends (un)naturally in our plastic infused lives and smothered oceans.

Giovanna Riccio is the author of Vittorio (Lyricalmyrical Press, 2010) Strong Bread (Quattro Books, 2011), and Plastic’s Republic (Guernica Editions, 2019).

Otters, Dinosaurs, and a Poetry Reading

mad long emotion cover

Ben Ladouceur, author of the poetry collections Otter and Mad Long Emotion, will be reading as part of the St. Jerome’s Reading Series. Join us Friday 24 January, 4:30pm, for tales of dinosaurs, houseplants, World War 1, and otters (Academic Staff Association Reading Room, St. Jerome’s University Library). Kristen Marie Fajardo will be opening.

Ladouceur’s first collection of poetry, Otter, was selected as a best book of 2015 by the National Post, nominated for a Lambda Literary Award, and awarded the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award for best debut collection in Canada. His second collection, Mad Long Emotion, was selected as a CBC 2019 Book of the Year.  In 2018, he received the Writers’ Trust Dayne Ogilvie Prize for emerging LGBT writers; in 2019, he was awarded the 2019 National Magazine Award for Poetry, and his short fiction was featured in the Journey Prize Anthology and awarded the Thomas Morton Prize.

Alumnus George Elliott Clarke to read

Screenshot 2019-10-02 12.31.50
Please join the UWaterloo Department of English Language and Literature for a public talk by alumnus Dr. George Elliott Clarke. Dr. Clarke will be reciting from his latest work Canticles, an ongoing project started in Zanzibar in 2008 and expected to conclude in 2021.

Dr. Clarke is has been the Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate, as well as the Poet Laureate of Toronto. His collection Execution Poems won the 2001 Governor General’s Award for poetry; additionally, Clarke has edited numerous anthologies including Border Lines (1995), Eyeing the North Star (1997), Odysseys Home (2002), Fire on the Water (2002), Directions Home (2012), and Locating Home (2017).

Date: November 1, 2019 Time: 2:15-4:30 pm
Location: AL 208

For those wishing to learn more about Dr. Clarke, the CBC has rounded up a host of resources–including the photo above!

Indigenous Speakers Series presents Maria Campbell

If you follow Canadian literature, you may recall that in June this year, Maria Campbell‘s 1973 ground-breaking autobiography Halfbreed was the subject of significant press coverage. The cause was the rediscovery of pages of the manuscript excised by the press without her knowledge or permission “over fears the RCMP would try to halt the book’s publication.” This act of excision is especially resonant, given the issues about which Campbell herself has been so outspoken. For scholars of literature, such a discovery also demands we consider the ways in which the path to publication can involve coerced and involuntary textual violences for writers from historically marginalized publications.

We at UWaterloo are fortunate that Maria Campbell will be joining us on campus as part of the Indigenous Speakers Series on Wednesday, February 13th at 4pm, in Modern Languages Theatre of the Arts. Campbell is a Cree-Métis writer, playwright, filmmaker, scholar, teacher and elder. Campbell’s memoir Halfbreed (1973) is regarded as a foundational piece of Indigenous literature in Canada for its attention to the discrimination, oppression and poverty that some Métis women (and other Indigenous people) experience in Canada.

Campbell has published several other books and plays, and has directed and written scripts for a number of films. As an artist, Campbell has worked with Indigenous youth in community theatre and advocated for the hiring and recognition of Indigenous people in the arts. She has mentored many Indigenous artists during her career. Among many honours and awards, Campbell received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 2005, and was named Officer of the Order of Canada in 2008.

This Indigenous Speakers Series event is co-presented by the Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre, the Faculty of Arts, the Department of History, and the Department of Communication Arts. The Series highlights the voices of Indigenous artists, writers, activists, and leaders from across Turtle Island, offering UWaterloo students, faculty and staff opportunities to learn from, understand, and engage with Indigenous issues.

Photo credit: Ted Whitecalf


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.

St. Jerome’s Reading Series, 2018-2019

Once again, it’s time to announce the St. Jerome’s Reading Series, here at University of Waterloo. The first event is a reading by poet Julie Cameron Gray (pictured above), on Friday, 19 October, 4:30pm, in SJ1 3027. Gray’s most recent collection, Lady Crawford, was shortlisted for the League of Canadian Poets’ 2017 Pat Lowther Award (and was reviewed by Lena Dunham in Lenny). Information about other readings follows–from Canadian football to Lucy Maud Montgomery, this year’s series has it all!

Jael Richardson, Friday 16 November, 4:30pm, SJ1 3027

Richard Cumyn, Friday 1 February, 4:30pm, SJ1 3027

Melanie Fishbane, Friday 8 March, 4:30pm, SJ1 3027

The readings are free and all are welcome. Hope to see you there — and please spread the word

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.