Room is one of a handful of Canadian literary magazines that is not attached to or administered by an educational institution. It’s a magazine run solely by volunteers, and as our lives and interests change, the members come and go.

By Clélie Rich in 35.1 (Roomie list is ongoing)

When Virginia Aulin wrote her introduction to Room’s 25th anniversary issue, she looked at the history of the magazine, and of women’s writing in general. When Lisa Manfield and Karin Konstantynowicz wrote their introduction to Room’s 30th anniversary volume, they did the same. While this piece has some elements of a retrospective, my interest is instead the collective, the group of women who have chosen to come together to create, maintain, and nurture Room.

Every collective member has Virginia Woolf’s quote engraved on her heart. “It is necessary to have five hundred [pounds] a year and a room with a lock on the door if you are to write fiction or poetry.” All well and good. Virginia was also blessed with servants, who are of course never mentioned. Consider us, the collective, as those servants. A new Roomie recently said that the collective seems like a secret society. In the past, we’ve always focused on the magazine, rather than the women behind it. But that’s beginning to change. In our newsletter we now introduce the editor of each issue, we welcome new Roomies with a brief introduction, and we say fond farewells to departing Roomies. We’re even considering some kind of blog on our site to enable our readers to get to know us all even better.

Room is one of a handful of Canadian literary magazines that is not attached to or administered by an educational institution. It’s a magazine run by volunteers, and as our lives and interests change, the members come and go.

For readers this means the magazine itself constantly changes to reflect the interests and experience of the current collective. This is perhaps most obvious in the women we choose to profile in our interviews, and in the themes we choose to work on.

For collective members, it means something else entirely. Where else to go to learn all aspects of publishing a literary magazine? Roomies do everything for the magazine, from paying the bills to soliciting commissions, maintaining the website, learning to copy edit and proofread, marketing, handling subscriptions, etc. Everything. Collective members can rotate through all these departments if they wish, taking with them invaluable skills when they move on to other endeavours. In the ten years since our 25th anniversary, Roomies have gone on to become editors, graphic designers, web developers, and GG-nominated and award-winning writers.

Our mandate may be to put together the best quality literary magazine by Canada’s emerging women writers that we can, but in doing so we are also in a position to train some of the next generation of Canadian publishing specialists. And that’s rewarding!

Here is a list of some of the Roomies who have passed through the virtual doors of the magazine since its inception. And if you are a Room alumna whose name is not on here, please forgive me for leaving you out. Sadly, we do not have copies of every single issue, right from the very beginning. Please send me your name and the years you were active. We’ll include you in future lists. (And if you have a copy of an early issue that you want to part with, we’d love to give it a good home in our archives.)

Mindy Abramowitz
Mary Anderson
Sylvia Arnold
Virginia Aulin
Laurie Bagley
Patricia Bartle
Meghan Bell
Robin Bellamy
Tanya Berish
Olivia Bevan
Penny Birnbaum
Gail Blayney
Elaine Bougie Gilligan
Terri Brandmueller
Cullene Bryant
Danielle Bugeaud
Rachel Burns
Anne Camp
Thyrza Cohen
Christina Cooke
Susan Cooper-Sylvestre
Victoria Cseh
Lucille Dahm
Stephanie Dayes
Shawna Delgaty
Jennifer Delisle
Margo Dunn
Amy Dunn Moscoso
Melissa Edwards
Kim Elhatton
Karen Elkan
Verna Feehan
Sylvia Fenichel
Candace Fertile
Adrienne Fitzpatrick
Barbara Fletcher
Leah Golob
Caragh Goudie
Paula Grasdal
Maja Grip
Joy Gugeler
Jane Hamilton
Zoya Harris
Sonya Hirschberg
Amber Hitchen
Beverly Hornal
Taryn Hubbard
Dawn Johnston
Nailah King
Jónína Kirton
Melanie Klingbeil
Chelene Knight
Karin Konstantynowicz
Irina Kovalyova
Laura Leach
Fiona Lehn
Sue Leon
Lora Lippert
Brigid MacAulay
Kathryn MacLeod
Maureen Mahoney
Lisa Manfield
Alissa McArthur
Amy McCall
Xan McCallum
Audrey McClellan
Lora McElhinney
Jade McGregor
Melva McLean
Lorrie Miller
Karol Morris
Rose Morris
Sachi Murakami
Heidi Nagtegaal
Janet Nicol
Bonnie Nish
Lana Okerlund
Liz Orme
Madelen Ortega
Ruth Panofsky
Monica Penner
Nita Pilans
Janet Pollock
Helen Polychronakos
Susan Prosser
Wendy Putman
Gayla Reid
Karen Rempel
Clélie Rich
Patricia Robertson
Patricia Robitaille
Susannah Rohloff
Rebecca Russell
Susan Safyan
Mary Schendlinger
Carrie Schmidt
Chloe Sekouri
Elizabeth Shaffer
Laura Sibbery
Nadine Simcoe
Ikbal Singh
Cathy Smith
Arielle Spence
Maria Stanborough
Christine Stefanitsis
Cathy Stonehouse
Amanda Sun
Joy Tataryn
Betty Taylor
Madeleine Thien
Rachel Thompson
Ana Torres
Anita Ungar
Robin Van Heck
Yvonne Van Ruskenveld
Gail van Varseveld
Eleanor Wachtel
Kim Wakeman
Andrea Warner
Nancy Weaver
Gerda Wever-Rabehl
Jeannie Wexler
Jean Wilson
Kayi Wong
Betty Wood
Kam Sein Yee
JM Young
Jennifer Zilm