Interviews

We're still talking about sexual assault because it's still happening. And although the #MeToo movement has motivated us to have important conversations about sexual violence and trauma, we hardly ever talk about the aftermath of sexual assault. How do survivors navigate their lives post-trauma? What helps them "heal" and "move on"?

Amy Robichaud

Amy Robichaud is an advocate and speaker, and the new executive director of Dress For Success Vancouver, a non-profit organization dedicated to economically empowering women by providing career resources, professional attire, and training in areas such as leadership and interview skills. In the following interview she discusses how Dress For Success contributes to anti-poverty work, the "invisible power" one can draw from a favourite outfit, and more.

Friend and TV writing goddess Jocelyn Tennant is back! This week Mica and Joss are chatting about all things TV, with a focus on three shows (Shrill, Pen15, and Fleabag) that they are currently obsessed with. Alongside these shows, they chat about the representation of fat women on screen, why "puberty TV" can be so cathartic for millennial women, and why Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the creator of Fleabag, is quite possibly the coolest person alive.

Amy Fung

Amy Fung is a writer, researcher and curator born in Kowloon, Hong Kong, and spent her formative years in and around Edmonton on Treaty 6 Territory. Her writing has been published and commissioned by national and international publications, galleries, museums, festivals, and journals since 2007. Her multifarious curatorial projects have spanned exhibitions, cinematic and live presentations, as well as discursive events across Canada and abroad. In the following interview with Room editor Isabella Wang, she discusses her first book, Before I was a Critic I Was a Human Being (Book*Hug, 2019).

Jasmine Gui

Jasmine Gui is the first guest on this upcoming season of podcast episodes. Listen to learn more about Looseleaf Magazine, what she as an editor looks for in submissions, common problems with submissions received by Looseleaf, and how she mixes her art practice with her primary identity as a poet.

Mica recently interviewed a lot of men about platonic love, and how they feel about saying "I love you" to their friends, and she is here to unpack her findings! Are there differences in how men and women express love to their friends? Sometimes, yes. Does that question assume a binary that is complete bullshit? Yeah, probably. These questions, and more, will be tremendously overthought on this episode!

Bernadette Dyer

Bernadette Gabay Dyer was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and has lived in Toronto Canada for several years. She is a poet, a storyteller, an artist, a playwright and an author. Her work has been anthologized widely, and her short stories and poetry have been published in Canadian literary magazines, as well as the University of Miami’s journal, and London England’s St. Mary’s University’s Wasafiri. Bernadette works for Toronto Public Libraries, and is also the facilitator for an Open Mic Program, that gives an opportunity for writers of all genres to share their work with an audience. She is the author of three novels: Waltzes I Have Not Forgotten, Abductors, Chasing the Banyan Wind, and short story collection, Villa Fair.

Cardy Raper is a 94-year-old mycologist (basically, a mushroom scientist) who trail-blazed her way into a biology career when women scientists were almost unheard-of. In this episode, Cardy chats with Mica about what it was like to come of age in the 30s and 40s, what political activism meant to her in post WWII Chicago, and why she thinks this generation may be the least happy of all the generations she's lived through.

Black and white photo of author and creative non-fiction judge Terese Marie Mailhot looking into the camera

Terese Marie Mailhot’s Heart Berries has been loved by all since its debut. A New York Times bestseller, Heart Berries was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for English-Language Nonfiction, was selected by no other than Emma Watson as the Our Shared Shelf Book Club Pick for March/April 2018. Terese Marie Mailhot’s work has appeared in Guernica, Pacific Standard, Granta, Mother Jones, Medium, the Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a 2019 Whiting Award, the Electra Quinney Award for Published Stories, a Clara Johnson Award, and she is also the recipient of the Spalding Prize for the Promotion of Peace and Justice in Literature. Room is honoured to have Terese Marie Mailhot judge our 2019 Creative Non-Fiction Contest and we were beyond thrilled to sit down for a chat.

There's a common misconception that being a "real feminist" means prioritizing your career over your romantic life, but Mica is here to discuss why that's a load of bunk! Part of being a feminist is doing what makes you feel happy and empowered, and sometimes that means following your heart. In this episode, Mica examines the tension between feminism and romance, and recounts a particularly formative experience in which she "took a chance on love."

Soraya Chemaly is the author of the critically-acclaimed book, Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger, and that’s exactly what we’re talking about today: women’s anger, its power, and why this anger is often misunderstood and mistreated. We also chat about the tropes associate with angry women (eg. the “angry black woman,” the “crazy white lady,” and “the fiery Latina,”) and dive into how dangerous it can be—both personally and politically—for women to suppress their anger.

Alix Ohlin completed her BA at Harvard, her MFA at the Michener's Center for Writers in Texas, and she's currently the Chair of the UBC Creative Writing Department. But beneath and beyond these accomplishments is someone who used to speak in antiquated pirate language, binge on Potato Smiles, and teach alongside Benedictine Monks (one of whom often had pockets full of bacon). This episode is about how Alix built her life as a writer, and why it's important to recognize our identities as multifaceted and ineffable.

20-year-old Katie Douglas has starred in several films that navigate difficult topics like sexual abuse and the captivity of girls and women, which begs the question: how do actors inhabit a traumatic narrative without becoming traumatized themselves? In this interview, Katie and Mica chat about the popularity (and power) of womens' dystopia, how the film and TV industry has changed since the #MeToo movement, and the pressure actors feel to "do stories justice."

Award-winning writer and novelist Sharon Bala is here! In this episode, we chat about how Sharon makes a living as a full-time writer and break down which sources of income are actually the most profitable and enjoyable. We also discuss Sharon's stint of housewifery in England, whether or not there's a difference between settlers and immigrants, and why writers should not give up on literary journals!

Ayana Mathis

Earlier this year, Room editor Yvonne Robertson spoke with Ayana Mathis about her novel, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie. With a poetic hand, and the Great Migration and promise of a new America as a theme, Mathis writes a captivating story about motherhood, visibility, and the resilience of the human spirit. The following is an engaging and inspiring conversation about creative writing, identity and representation, family and religion, and the transformative power of fiction.

Born female, Lorimer knew he was a boy from the time he was only four or five years old. But Lorimer did not fully come to terms with his transness until he was 50 years old, at which point he chose to undergo gender reassignment surgery. In this episode, Lorimer discusses why his choice to transition was so difficult, why he became disillusioned with police work during the Robert Pickton case, and what it was like to be pregnant as someone who never identified as a woman.

A series in which Isabella is excited about everything that is happening at Growing Room 2019, so she sat down with some festival authors to hear about their work, and what events they are most excited to take part in.

Whitney French

A series in which Isabella is excited about everything that is happening at Growing Room 2019, so she sat down with some festival authors to hear about their work, and what events they are most excited to take part in.

Join Mica as she recounts her history of catastrophizing about illness and spontaneously dropping dead. Mica also discusses her rather dizzying experience of being falsely diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, and she lets everyone know what recreational activities are most likely to get you killed. (Spoiler: base jumping is a very bad idea!)

Catherine Hernandez looking sideways into the camera.

Room’s Annual Fiction Contest is now open until March! First place winner will receive $1,000 and be published in an upcoming issue of Room. This year, short stories will be judged by Catherine Hernandez. Catherine Hernandez is the artistic director of b current performing arts and the award-winning author of Scarborough (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2017). Room's Tamara Jong asks her a few questions about her work, her advice for emerging writers, and what she looks for when judging a contest.

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Currently on Newsstands

  • Room 42.1, Magic
    Edited by Arielle Spence

    In this issue:

    Amy Louise Baker, Jenny Boychuk, Jessica Bromley Bartram, Monica Joy Claesson, Kess Costales, Sophie Crocker, Ruth Daniell, Alex Hall, Cody Klippenstein, Suzanne Langlois, Teresa E Lobos, Lynne M MacLean, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Isabelle Nguyen, Gaëlle Planchenault, Melanie Power, Natasha Ramoutar, Nilofar Shidmehr, jaye simpson, Cristalle Smith, Emily Urquhart, Yilin Wang, Hannah V Warren, Christine Wei, Lan Yao

    .