Interviews

Spring may not have sprung wherever you are, but at least we have Room 41.4 to look forward to. This is your chance to be published alongside Kim Fu, author of For Today I Am a Boy and The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore and an interview with Ayana Mathis, whose novel The Twelve Tribes of Hattie was selected for Oprah’s Book Club. Don’t forget to submit your best writing on any theme before April 30, 2018! Underrepresented writers—including but not limited to women and nonbinary writers who are Black, Indigenous, people of colour, queer and/or disabled—are especially encouraged to submit.

An interview with Renée Sarojini Saklikar, author of children of air india, un/authorized exhibits and interjections (Nightwood Editions, 2013), which won the Canadian Authors Award for poetry and was short-listed for the Dorothy Livesay Award.

Stacey May Fowles

Stacey May Fowles is a novelist, sportswriter, essayist, and Room’s 2018 creative non-fiction contest judge. She received widespread acclaim for her passionate perspective on baseball and fandom in her 2017 essay collection, Baseball Life Advice. We had a chance to talk to Fowles about finding community in writing and what makes for riveting non-fiction.

Selina Boan

Selina Boan is a poet living on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam, Sḵwxwú7mesh, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. She has been published extensively in literary magazines across Canada, won the Gold National Magazine Award for poetry in 2017, and was shortlisted for the 2016 CBC Poetry Prize. She is currently working on a collection of poems exploring her Cree and European heritage. “Here we go” and “the plot so far” are poems included in this collection and appear in Room’s “Let’s Make Contact” issue 40.4. The love and genuine care that is so evident in Selina’s poems she also puts into the work of the people around her. She champions emerging writers and her friends, and she attends to strengthening community building at every opportunity. Her work is powerful, necessary, and utterly brilliant, and she is very much deserving of Room’s Emerging Writer Award.

Jane Eaton Hamilton is the author of nine books of creative non-fiction, fiction, and poetry, and the judge of Room magazine's 2018 Short Forms Contest (extended to January 29). In the following interview, Jane talks to Room's Mica Lemiski about their upcoming book of flash fiction, Soon I Will Be Dead, the shrinking word counts of literary magazine submissions, blurring genres, and what they look for in a contest submission.

Pictured: Ann YK Choi

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

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.

Sierra Skye Gemma

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.

Zehra Naqvi

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.

Pages

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

    .