Sierra Skye Gemma is Room magazine’s contest coordinator, and the context of what she says about memoir comes from when she looked up the judge’s interview for a contest she was considering submitting to and found his remarks showed her a divide between what is seen as literary—men’s stories, versus women’s stories. This experience made her want to lift up women’s stories. And Sierra does lift up women's stories. In this episode, we jump back into the CanLit dumpster fire, as Sierra shares how her life changed as a complainant in the case at UBC that revealed the dark side of mentoring in Canada’s literary institutions. We talk about how things have changed for her personally and how they have changed for all of us in the past two years since #MeToo.

Reading Room

Picture the girl. See her pull the black cardigan closed in a tight fist as she shoves the heavy door open with her shoulder. The warm evening air hits her like a slap in the face. As she steps out onto the sidewalk and sees the sunset bleeding orange and pink, broad streaks of red and purple, she thinks, That’s it. Childhood is over.

The anonymous woman in bed beside me adamantly shakes my shoulder. She had a name last night. She must have, as part of my hook-and-line I complimented her “pretty name” and said, “it suits you.” Unless a woman’s name is Mavis, I normally compliment her pretty name.

#MeToo backlash is here, and it is exhausting.

Our 2017 Fiction Contest Honourable Mention.

Our 2017 Poetry Contest Honourable Mention.

Currently on Newsstands

  • Room 41.1, Family Secrets
    Edited by Rachel Thompson

    In this issue:

    Jennifer Amos, Fenn Archdekin-Leung, Jenn Ashton, Jamelie Bachaalani, Colleen Baran, Jenny Bartoy, Alexandra Chang, Kristina Corre, Maggie de Vries, Shirley Harshenin, Jia Hwang, Sharon Jinkerson-Brass, Elizabeth Johnston, Tamara Jong, Manal Kamran, Carrianne Leung, Lily Leung, Mary MacDonald, Alissa McArthur, Cosi Nayovitz, Margaret Nowaczyk, Deanna Partridge-David, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Rebekah Rempel

    .

Interview Room

Spring may not have sprung wherever you are, but at least we have Room 41.4 to look forward to. This is your chance to be published alongside Kim Fu, author of For Today I Am a Boy and The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore and an interview with Ayana Mathis, whose novel The Twelve Tribes of Hattie was selected for Oprah’s Book Club. Don’t forget to submit your best writing on any theme before April 30, 2018! Underrepresented writers—including but not limited to women and nonbinary writers who are Black, Indigenous, people of colour, queer and/or disabled—are especially encouraged to submit.

An interview with Renée Sarojini Saklikar, author of children of air india, un/authorized exhibits and interjections (Nightwood Editions, 2013), which won the Canadian Authors Award for poetry and was short-listed for the Dorothy Livesay Award.

Stacey May Fowles

Stacey May Fowles is a novelist, sportswriter, essayist, and Room’s 2018 creative non-fiction contest judge. She received widespread acclaim for her passionate perspective on baseball and fandom in her 2017 essay collection, Baseball Life Advice. We had a chance to talk to Fowles about finding community in writing and what makes for riveting non-fiction.

Reviews

Shit, like its protagonists, is imperfect and unapologetic—and fantastically entertaining.

You may not attend a comedy show in hopes of being taken on an emotional ride other than that of laughing so hard you cry; however, The Lady Show delivers powerful performances filled with commentary and satire.

Echoing the cinematic flare of films like Me, Earl and the Dying Girl, Handsome Devil shows the complicated nature of being a teenager without overplaying its hand.

Room with a View

Fainting Couch Feminists Episode 8: Mozhdah Jamalzadah: Risking Her Life for Feminism

This episode features Mozhdah Jamalzadah, an Afghan-Canadian pop-singer and talk show host deemed "Afghanistan's Oprah" by Time Magazine. In this interview, Mozhdah chats with host Mica about what it's like to prioritize social issues over your own safety (Mozhdah was forced to leave Afghanistan in 2012 because her talk show, which tackled taboo subjects like divorce and domestic abuse, made her vulnerable to extremist threats) and how her singing career was inspired by her political beliefs as opposed to an inherent love of music.

Fainting Couch Feminists Episode 7: She's Just So "Her": Live with Katie-Ellen Humphries!

Live from the back room of R&B brewing, comedian Katie-Ellen Humphries joins host Mica Lemiski to chat about the different roles we perform—whether on stage, through our art, or in our everyday lives. Also included: how NOT to deal with sexism in a writer's room, and why "I don't change for anyone" is not actually a very cool attitude.