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.
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.
The Offing is an online literary magazine that publishes "work that pushes literary and artistic forms and conventions" and seeks out and supports work by and about those often marginalized in literary spaces. Their new editor-in-Chief, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, is one of fewer than 100 Black American women to ever earn a Ph.D. in Physics. She is an expert in theoretical cosmology and is also internationally recognized for her anti-racist, feminist, and pro-queer writing and activism.
Carmen Aguirre is an author, actor and playwright living in Vancouver. Her book Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter won CBC Canada Reads 2012 and is a #1 national bestseller. Mexican Hooker #1 and My Other Roles Since the Revolution, a Globe and Mail bestseller, was published in April 2016. Room’s Taryn Hubbard had the chance to ask Carmen a few questions about her writing practice and what she’s looking for in a CNF contest submission.
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.
Poet and essayist Nicole Breit is the winner of Room's 2016 CNF contest. Her piece, "An Atmospheric Pressure," is published in our most recent issue—Room 39.4 "This Body's Map"—and explores the complex emotional ground that accompanies the death of a first love. We recently had the chance to chat with Nicole about her writing process for "An Atmospheric Pressure," what it means to excavate a memory, and the revelations that can come from writing about the self.
Eden Robinson is a Haisla/Heiltsuk fiction writer known for her haunting, dark, and beautiful portrayals of contemporary Indigenous life in Northern B.C. and Vancouver. Robinson grew up in Kitamaat Village on Haisla territory where she now lives and writes. She received her BA in Victoria, and lived in Vancouver where she earned an MFA in Creative Writing at UBC. In the following interview, originally published in issue 39.3 "Canadian Gothic", Room's Taryn Hubbard had the chance to ask Robinson about the Canadian Gothic theme and how she sees it playing out in her past and current work.
Erin Wunker is Chair of the Board of the national non-profit organization Canadian Women in the Literary Arts, a teacher of Canadian Literature and cultural production, as well as co-founder, writer, and managing editor of the feminist blog Hook & Eye: Fast Feminism, Slow Academe. Room’s Geffen Semach spoke to Erin Wunker about her new book, the act of refusal, self-care, and what it means to take on the figure of the feminist killjoy.
Natalie Wee is the author of Our Bodies & Other Fine Machines (Words Dance Publishing, 2016) and Once in a Blue Moon (BookThug, 2018). She is the Associate Fiction Editor at Broken Pencil Magazine. Her first book is now available at Amazon and on Goodreads.Room’s Chelene Knight spoke with her about her putting together her first book, and her experience publishing in both the US and in Canada.
Jen Sookfong Lee, this year’s short forms judge, was born in Vancouver, where she now lives with her son. Her books include The Conjoined (ECW, 2016), The Better Mother (Knopf, 2011), and The End of East (Knopf, 2007). She is a columnist for The Next Chapter on CBC Radio and teaches writing in the Continuing Studies department at SFU. Room’s Nav Nagra spoke with Jen to learn more about her work and the writing process.
Jillian Tamaki, who will judge our 2016 Cover Art Contest with Hangama Amiri, is a professional illustrator who has contributed artwork to The Walrus, The New Yorker, The New York Times, National Geographic, Drawn & Quarterly, and other publications. She is the co-creator of two award-winning and critically acclaimed graphic novels with her cousin, Mariko Tamaki, SKIM and This One Summer, and the author of SuperMutant Magic Academy. Jillian was kind enough to answer questions about her work in the following interview.
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.