We all want our brains to feel good, but sometimes they are stubborn and silly and uncooperative and BLEGH WHY. Writer and wonder-woman Rachel Jansen knows all about this, and she's hear to give us the scoop on OCD, anxiety, and why getting medicated was the right choice for her.
Mica discusses the recent passing of one of her all-time favourite patriarchs, Donald, aka her grandfather, aka "the charismatic misogynist," who is proof that you can love some wholeheartedly while still being somewhat critical of their behaviour. Mica also chats about the concept of grief, cliches in the face of death, drunken emotional outbursts, and looking for signs in the wake of devastation. Tangents include a teaser for Netflix's The Princess Swap (the perfect bereavement film!) and pretentious quotes from Gwyneth Paltrow, who should not be a role model to anyone ever. Also, love you, Gramps.
Kim Fu is a Canadian-born writer, living in Seattle, Washington. Her most recent novel, The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore, was published in February 2018, and her previous novel, For Today I Am a Boy, won the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Fu’s debut poetry collection, How Festive the Ambulance, received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, and includes a 2017 National Magazine Awards Silver Medal winner and a Best Canadian Poetry 2016 selection. Fu, our commissioned author in the winter 2018 issue, spoke to us about writing, her featured story, “Liddy, First to Fly,” and her advice for emerging writers.
Molly and Mica chat about the innate humour of farts, how Molly came to earn a rep as the "masturbation girl" in her poetry circle, and why pussy is probably the best word for vagina, so long as it's not weaponized against you.
While Casey Plett was in Vancouver to present at Growing Room 2018, Room editor Arielle Spence spoke with her about working in publishing, winning a Lambda, co-editing the anthology Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Science Fiction and Fantasy by Transgender Writers (Topside Press, 2017), and her new novel, Little Fish.
In this solo episode, Mica tells us how she makes the big bucks (spoiler alert: she does not make big bucks, but she does OK) through a combination of freelance writing, podcasting, and Christmas elf work. She also outlines in painstaking detail how she got to where she is now, running through her history with university a cappella, failed dance auditions, and shockingly bad applications to academic institutions. Mica also defends her so-called "fluff" articles for Vice.com, and tells us why masturbation stories have their place in the digital dialogue.
All-star guest and friend Mallory Tater is back to discuss the glory of matrimony and how she and poet-husband Curtis Leblanc pulled off the most spectacularly woke engagement and wedding probably ever on earth. We discuss and dissect traditions such as: elaborate surprise engagements, the father giving away the bride (like a dang mule for trade), the garter toss (gag me), white dresses, and the shocking and sexually violent significance of cutting the cake.
When Room decided to launch a Short Forms Contest a few years ago, we wanted to create an avenue for writers who write flash fiction, non-fiction, and/or prose poems—and perhaps writers who experiment with blending and bending genres—to submit their work. (Contest entrants are not required to clarify which genre they are writing in.) The contest itself was kind of an experiment, but two contests and more than 450 submissions later, we are now running the third contest (deadline: November 1, 2018).
“Don’t be such a snob about pop music!” could also be the title of this episode, which features Vancouver pop princess Celina K., also known as the musical act “future star.” Celina and I chat about why we love pop music and how pop stars such as Ariana Grande and Kesha can be beacons of light in difficult times.
Acclaimed author and wonderful human Eden Robinson is here to discuss what it's like to have your book turned into a movie! Eden chats with Mica about what a mind trip it is to visit a film set and hear actors saying lines you wrote, and why she ultimately prefers writing novels over screenplays. Eden also talks about why she chose her home town of Kitamaat Village as the setting for the book and movie version of Monkey Beach, and why pipelines are such a fraught issue in northern coastal towns. She also teases her upcoming trashy band council romance novel, and doesn't that sound great?
Room was excited to have the opportunity to sit down with Billy-Ray Belcourt to chat about obsessions, long form poetry, and struggle at the edge of language. Billy-Ray Belcourt appears at this year’s Vancouver Writer’s Festival in several events including The Poetry Bash on Friday, October 19th at Performance Works.
We were beyond thrilled to have an opportunity to chat with Dionne Brand about her latest novel Theory. Dionne Brand will be at this year’s Vancouver Writer’s Festival in a number of events including Fresh Fiction on Thursday, October 18th at Revue Stage.
Buffy Sainte-Marie is a musical phenom, Indigenous activist, folk hero, and overall powerhouse who has been revolutionizing the Canadian music scene—whether we know it or not—since the early 60s. She is also the subject of Andrea Warner's latest book, Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Authorized Biography, which is not only about Buffy's life as a musician, but also her life as an activist and abuse survivor. In this soul-buoying interview, Andrea chats with Mica about what drew her to Buffy as a subject, and why Buffy's music continues to be relevant—arguably more than ever—in these politically fraught times.
We're thrilled to have the multi-genre author judge our Short Forms Contest this year and took the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her award-winning novels, using magic to explore the construct of gender, and the genre-blurring qualities in her work. DEADLINE EXTENDED TO NOVEMBER 15, 2018!
Vivek Shraya's new bestseller, I'm Afraid of Men, was called "cultural rocket fuel" by Variety—and for good reason. On this episode, Vivek chats with Mica about what inspired the book and its attention-getting title, why toxic masculinity isn't a very productive term, and how the pursuit of self-love can be exhausting and even demoralizing.
The radiant poet Adèle Barclay is here to discuss furry armpits, fuzzy legs, pretty pubes, and why having hair makes her feel feral and alive! Adèle is all about the pursuit of joy, and shaving just doesn't factor into that joy. We also chat queerness, the politics of hair care, and why grooming in service of a partner can be soul-crushing, totally fun, or somewhere in between. If you love discussions that overcomplicate issues of beauty and womanhood, then oh boy oh girl you're in for a treat.
After living in New York for many years, Durga Chew-Bose returned to her hometown of Montréal to finish her debut collection of essays, Too Much and Not the Mood (FSG), which was subsequently named by The Globe and Mail and NPR as one of the best books published in 2017. In the following interview, Room editorial board member Kayi Wong met up with the essayist at a literary festival between her panels, and chatted about Tumblr, the lack of clarity in her writing, and the radical act of liking things as women of colour.
"These queer stories are already ingrained in the land, and I’m just trying to find them. Things are never forgotten, they’re just forgone."—Joshua Whitehead. In an in-depth interview, Room's Jessica Johns chats with Joshua Whitehead, an Oji-Cree Two-Spirit storyteller and academic from Peguis First Nation on Treaty 1 territory in Manitoba, and author of the novel Jonny Appleseed (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2018) and the poetry collection full-metal indigiqueer (TalonBooks, 2017).
Jessica Johns spoke with Arielle Spence, a queer, nonbinary aspiring writer and arts administrator originally from Coldstream, BC (unceded Okanagan Territory). They were the festival director of Growing Room 2017, Room’s inaugural feminist literary festival, one of the assistant editors of the forthcoming queer issue, and are currently editing Room's Magic issue. Here’s a sneak peak of the RoomMate interview.
Zoe Whittall on her recent “zeitgeist” book, sexual harassment in CanLit, how reviews for books by queer writers has changed since her early work, and what she is looking for in submissions to Room’s fiction contest this year.
Currently on Newsstands
Room 42.2, Borderlands
Edited by Rebecca Russell
In this issue:
Selina Boan, Jenna Butler, Leonarda Carranza, Carolina Corcoran, Šari Dale, Marisol Diaz, Sarah Ens, Paola Ferrante, Katie Fewster-Yan, Hannah Hackney, Lori Hahnel, Natalie Homer, Liz Iversen, Jac Jenkins, Jaslyn Marshall, Laura McGavin, Emily McKibbon, Alessandra Naccarato, Ezi Odozor, Caitlin Prince, Rebecca Salazar, Ellie Sawatzky, Alysia Sawchyn, Farihah Aliyah Shah, Josephine Sloyan, Tanya R. Ward, jiaqing wilson-yang, Elana Wolff.