Jen Sookfong Lee, this year’s short forms judge, was born in Vancouver, where she now lives with her son. Her books include The Conjoined (ECW, 2016), The Better Mother (Knopf, 2011), and The End of East (Knopf, 2007). She is a columnist for The Next Chapter on CBC Radio and teaches writing in the Continuing Studies department at SFU. Room’s Nav Nagra spoke with Jen to learn more about her work and the writing process.
Jillian Tamaki, who will judge our 2016 Cover Art Contest with Hangama Amiri, is a professional illustrator who has contributed artwork to The Walrus, The New Yorker, The New York Times, National Geographic, Drawn & Quarterly, and other publications. She is the co-creator of two award-winning and critically acclaimed graphic novels with her cousin, Mariko Tamaki, SKIM and This One Summer, and the author of SuperMutant Magic Academy. Jillian was kind enough to answer questions about her work in the following interview.
Originally from Belgium, Anne Maizia has spent much of her life in the art centres of the world, developing her artistic style. During her seventeen years living in the New York, she studied mainly at the Art Students League of New York City. Now based in Toronto, Anne is a figurative and abstract painter, who had her first solo show in 2011. Lindsay Glauser Kwan, Room’s art coordinator, spoke to Anne about the many moods of her work.
Hangama Amiri, one of this year’s cover art contest judges, is an Afghan-Canadian artist. She was a Canadian Fulbright and Post-Graduate Fellow at Yale University School of Art and Sciences and has exhibited her painting nationally as well as internationally in such cities as New York, France, Italy, and London. Room’s Geffen Semach spoke with Amiri to learn a little more about her work and her expectations for the contest.
Originally published in Room Issue 35.2 "Shaping the Spark" (June 2012). Room would like to congratulate Madeleine on being short-listed for The Man Booker Prize for her latest novel, Do Not Say We Have Nothing (2016).
An interview with indie-comics pioneer and Canadian Comic Book Hall of Fame inductee Deni Loubert.
Our Annual Cover Art Contest has officially opened again! We took the opportunity and spoke to our first ever winner, Tiffany Mallery, whose winning piece was published recently on the cover our last issue—Room 39.2, Between Shadows. She told us about her life after art school and books that inspire her work. Aside from Room, she has also been published in American Illustration, and Uppercase magazine.
In the lead-up to Room’s food issue we feature an interview with dee Hobsbawn-Smith, award-winning writer, poet, and local food advocate, whose first published poem debuted in Room in 2007.
We’re willing to talk about how snowflakes are unique, and we’re way more complicated than snowflakes.
Joyce Fossella is the Executive Director of the Warriors Against Violence Society (WAVS), where she co-facilitates group sessions, working with men and women addressing family violence. She is a member of the Lil'wat nation in British Columbia. Terri Brandmueller interviewed her for issue 39.2 "Between Shadows."
"I read once that to be born Indigenous is to be born an activist – just the state of being and existing is a form of resistance to oppression. It’s unfair pressure to put on people, but as an artist I can transform that injustice into something larger than myself. Being an artist and an activist is basically being an optimist."
"Writing has saved my emotional, spiritual, and intellectual life in a country where I wasn’t supposed to exist, let alone thrive. It allows me to sort out the mess of structural inequity, bureaucratic obfuscation, colonial racism, and sexism. It allows a space for my voice and sense of self." Room's 2016 poetry contest judge, Marilyn Dumont talks with Jónína Kirton about writing, identity, race, and politics, and how they intertwine.
"Be brave and honest. Sure, we’re making things up when we write fiction, but the thing that makes me fall in love with a piece is emotional honesty. Whatever scares you—go there."
In the following interview, d'bi young anitafrika discusses diversity, performance, Sorplusi, and more.
Chelene talks about editing issue 39.4, her new role as Room's Managing Editor, and about her own writing.
Léonicka Valcius literally wrote the hashtag on diverse Canadian literature.
The first Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD) includes more than twenty-five unique sessions over three days with over thirty of Canada’s most exciting authors in historic downtown Brampton May 6-8 2016.
Just in time for National Poetry Month, Room chats with Jillian Christmas, about the Verses Festival of Words.
"It’s strange to win things. On the one hand, it feels deeply affirming ... [o]n the other hand, these things are set up within competitive frames that sometimes make me uncomfortable."
As readers, we need to actively seek out and challenge reading habits that have been shaped by the gatekeepers of the publishing industry. We talked to writer Nikki Reimer and librarian Mary Duffy about their resolutions to read.
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.