You don’t need an MFA to be taken seriously as a writer. Most of the time, when there’s a writer that you like, you don't know if they have an MFA or not.
I was tagged in a thread on Facebook about the difficulty in naming black Canadian women who had published a novel before the age of forty. I thought about this and began questioning the reason why it was so difficult to come up with even one name. Shortly after seeing this thread, someone posted a link to a CBC radio interview with Donna Bailey Nurse. After listening to the interview twice and hearing her thoughts on black women and their place in the publishing industry, I knew I had to speak with her.
Ricepaper Magazine has been publishing literature and art by Asian Canadians since 1994. Though they transitioned to digital only in 2016, Ricepaper is currently running a Kickstarter campaign for a print anthology, Currents. We spoke to Ricepaper’s fiction editor Karla Comanda and poetry editor Yilin Wang (also a Room collective member!) about the campaign, and changes to their magazine over the years.
In the following interview, Rooney discusses some of the inspirations for her work, the need for complexity in conversations about trauma, and how fiction can set us free.
Waterloo-based artist Amanda Rhodenizer won our 2016 Cover Art contest with her painting “Attachment.” We spoke to Rhodenizer, whose winning piece appeared on the cover of Room 40.2, Our Rubble, Our Loss, about her process and inspirations.
Rachel Thompson interviews Zehra Naqvi, winner of Room's 2016 poetry contest.
Rachel Thompson is the founder of Lit Mag Love, an online course that supports writers in their efforts to submit to literary magazines, the former managing editor of Room, and a current member of the editorial board. She will edit our March 2018 issue, "Family Secrets," which is open to submissions until July 31, 2017. Assistant editor Arielle Spence asked Rachel a few questions about the nature of secret-sharing, her own family secrets, and what she looks for in a submission.
Sigal Samuel is an award-winning novelist, journalist, essayist, and playwright, and the judge of Room's 2017 fiction contest. Sigal took the time to answer a few questions about faith, language, and what she looks for in a short story.
Room’s Geffen Semach had the chance to ask Jónína a few questions about her newly publish book of poetry, An Honest Woman, her writing practice, and what she will be looking for in a poetry contest submission.
An interview with Room's 2016 fiction contest winner, Leslie Beckmann.
Ruth Ozeki received a Kiriyama Prize for her first novel, My Year of Meats (1998), an American Book Award for All Over Creation (2003), and the L.A. Times Book Prize for A Tale for the Time Being (2013), which was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. In the following conversation with Room's Kayi Wong, Ozeki discusses how she went from making videos in high school, to directing corporate-sponsored Japanese TV programs, to juggling the paradoxical relationship between writing and Zen Buddhism.
After witnessing the scarcity of diversity in the arts sector for too long, Kristin Cheung and Megan Lau founded The Future is you and me, a program aimed at creating more opportunities for young women of colour aspiring to work in the art and creative industries—particularly in leadership roles. As they wrapped up the second cohort this “spring”, Kayi Wong spoke to the two founders of the Vancouver-based project, who have taken it upon themselves to enrich the arts community by creating more spaces for more voices in Vancouver's cultural landscape.
Our managing editor Chelene Knight spoke with Alicia Elliott about what it’s like being an Indigenous writer in the CanLit world, and her thoughts on authenticity when telling an experience that isn’t your own.
Jael Richardson is the award-winning author of The Stone Thrower: A Daughter's Lessons, a Father's Life, playwright of my upside down black face, and was the writer-in-residence at the Toronto district school board in 2013. Richardson is also currently a book contributor for CBC's q, and the founder and artistic director of the FOLD, the Festival of Literary Diversity.
Jillian Christmas, artistic director of the Verses Festival of Words, speaks with poet, artist and co-founder of Black Lives Matter – Vancouver, Cicely-Belle Blain.
Metonymy Press is a Montreal-based press that publishes literary fiction and nonfiction by emerging writers. They try to reduce barriers to publishing for authors whose perspectives are underrepresented in order to produce quality materials relevant to queer, feminist, and social justice communities.
Jónína Kirton in conversation with Betsy Warland, from issue 39:4 "This Body's Map."
Brick's Managing Editor, Liz Johnston talks #LitMagLove with Room editor, Rachel Thompson.
Terri Brandmueller is Room’s former poetry submissions co-ordinator, and a great lover of food. A skilled baker, Terri has written about food for Women's Day, Fresh Ideas Magazine, and Eating Well. Her family is equally passionate about all things culinary—her father is a baker and chef, and her kids work in the restaurant industry. To celebrate the launch of Room 40.1 Food, Terri spoke to Room's Alissa McArthur about her life in food and writing.
Heather Giles is a Vancouver-based cook who has been working in kitchens since she was seventeen. She graduated from the Culinary Institute of Canada in 2009 and has worked as a cook at notable Vancouver restaurants Crow Bar, The Acorn, and Wild Rice, where she eventually ran the kitchen. Room's Rose Morris spoke to Heather about her career, vegetarian food, and working with younger cooks.
Currently on Newsstands
Room 41.4, Emergence
Edited by Alissa McArthur
In this issue:
Tharuna Abbu, Farah Ali, Kristin Bjornerud, Michelle Chen, Nomi Chi, Morgan Christie, Kim Fu, Hannah Graff, nancy viva davis halifax, Ceilidh Isadore, Liz Kellebrew, Jo Lee, Kris Ly, Melanie Mah, Sara Mang, Katie McGarry, Estlin McPhee, Triin Paja, Loghan Paylor, Nagmeh Phelan, Oubah Osman, Lisa Rawn, Yvonne Robertson, Erika Thorkelson, Cara Waterfall.