In January 2017, Arielle Spence spoke with Ann Y.K. Choi about her debut novel, Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety. Kay’s—which was a finalist for the 2016 Toronto Book Award—charts the coming-of-age of Mary, a Korean Canadian teenager living in Toronto in the 1980s. Over the course of the conversation, Ann spoke about lessons learned from teenagers; motherhood and migration; discovering one’s agency; a Handbook for Debut Novelists; and practicing gratitude.
While the 41.2 editorial team was “taking a break” from sharing their aspirations for the upcoming issue with one another, they chatted about their favourite books and experiences working in the lit mags sphere. Submit your original essays, short stories, poems, and visual art to this open issue by Oct 31st, and you might be published alongside our commissioned author Katherena Vermette and a feature interview with Durga Chew-Bose.
After falling in love with This Accident of Being Lost this past summer, and then quickly devouring almost everything else she’s published, Jessica Johns jumped at the chance to chat with the award-winning writer prior to her trip to Vancouver for this year’s Writers Fest. Here, Leanne Simpson talks about interventions in writing, taking care for Indigenous audiences, and her advice to the community to lift up, listen to, and support Indigenous emerging writers, particularly the two-spirit queer and trans writers.
Katherena Vermette is a Métis writer from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her collection of poetry, North End Love Songs, won the 2013 Governor General’s Award for Poetry, and her debut novel The Break has won numerous awards and was a Canada Reads 2017 finalist. Most recently, she won the 2017 Canadian Screen Award for her documentary This River.
Kelly Morse talks about her resolution to have thirty submssions out at once so she couldn't obsess about one or two journals and writing about Vietnam while mindful of Western stereotypes and orientalism.
Scaachi Koul has risen to prominence over the last few years as perhaps the most recognizable young voice in Canadian media. Currently a culture writer at Buzzfeed, Koul has gained a huge following on Twitter for her unique blend of self-deprecating humour and scathing commentary on racism and misogyny. Koul spoke to Room about female mentorship, racism in Canada, and the challenges of self-care. Look for a longer feature interview with Koul in Room’s upcoming issue 41.1, Family Secrets.
“What if we all stopped the cycle of saying ‘this is who your audience is’?”
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.
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.