After being shortlisted for Room's Annual CNF Contest in 2015, Sarah Kabamba won the Fiction Contest in the same year with “They Come Crying.” Subsequently, the writer was published again in Room—this time with her poetry, “Dust”, in the Women of Colour issue. Room's Kayi Wong talked to Sarah about her motivation and diligence when it comes to multiple genres of writing.
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.
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.
In the words of our Festival Director, Arielle Spence, “Growing Room is a celebration, a protest, a reflection, a re-envisioning, a gathering, a question, and a dream. It is the culmination of forty years of hard work and creativity and the start of a new era.” If you're eager to attend but uncertain where to begin, we understand; when the festival was conceptualized two years ago, we did not foresee organizing a five-day festival with twenty-five panels, workshops, readings, and special events, involving over fifty emerging and established writers and artists.
2016 may have sucked, but on the bright side, it inspired some incredible writing (see #3 on this list). Last year we shared our top 15 most-read posts of 2015, and I thought I'd continue the trend—and so, here are the ten most-read posts on roommagazine.com in 2016.
Nav Nagra, who has been an editorial board member and the advertising coordinator at Room since 2014, will be editing an upcoming issue of the magazine on migration. Nav has written poetry and reviews for Project Space, Sad Magazine, Lemon Hound, Room, and the New Vancouver Poets Folio. Kayi Wong spoke to Nav about why she chose migration as a theme, and how reading submissions have changed the way she reads and writes.
More often than not, when Roomies gather, we talk about books. Books we can't put down, books we couldn't put up with, and books that make us talk. For this reading list, eleven of us got together and discussed novels, short story collections, poetry, memoirs, and comics that we have read and loved which happen to be written by Canadian Women of Colour. A few of these are well-known classics, a few are upcoming releases. There are stories set locally and abroad, and also include one in dystopian Toronto. Writing from the Women of Colour perspective is not a genre, but instead a multitude of voices, stories, and experiences coming together. And even though we are honoured to feature a handful of these writers are in our upcoming anthology, we know that this is just a starting point, and by no means a comprehensive list of books written by Canadian WOCs. At Room, we recognize that there is work to do, and we are already working on a part two.
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.
Getting a peek of an avid reader’s bookshelf is one of life’s simple pleasures. If you’ve ever shown up to a house party and gone straight to the host’s bookshelf, you know how satisfying it is to snoop through other readers’ libraries. The editors of Room love reading (obviously), and we’re giving you a glimpse of our shelves and sharing how we get the most out of our sacred reading time.
Currently on Newsstands
Room 40.3, Migration
Edited by Nav Nagra
In this issue:
Rasha Abdulhadi, Juliane Okot Bitek, Ariane Both, Aimee Henny Brown, Leonarda Carranza, Rose-Anne Chabot, Karla Comanda, Marita Dachsel, Stacy Gardner, Branwyn Holroyd, Sandeep Johal, Sharon Kirsch, Katherine Koller, Lydia Kwa, Emily McKibbon, Amanda Merpaw, Shelley Marie Motz, Dorothy Nielsen, Rita O’Grady, Kimberly Peterson, Claire Polders, Ramna Safeer, Nilofar Shidmehr, Arielle Spence, Chanda Stallman, Catherine J. Stewart, Florence Treadwell, Sarah Wolfson, Annie Wong.