Appetite for the Stage

Bill Gaston (photo by Clown Bog Studios)

Department of Writing chair and celebrated author Bill Gaston has now adapted his acclaimed short story “Mount Appetite” for the stage, in partnership with his wife, fellow novelist Dede Crane. The solo show Mount Appetite was recently presented as a staged reading at the 2011 edition of the Belfry Theatre’s annual Spark Festival, as directed by David Ferry and performed by Theatre SKAM artistic producer Matthew Payne, both UVic alumni. This is the second play for Gaston, who also penned 1994’s Yardsale. Mount Appetite, the original collection of short stories, was nominated for the 2002 Giller Prize.
And in other Gaston news, the 2007 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize winner (for the short story collection Gargoyles) has also just signed a two-book deal with Penguin for a novel and another short fiction collection, and will also be writing a memoir for Greystone Books.

Beautiful Dreamer

Joy Fisher accepts her non-fiction win in the 2011 Diversity Writing Awards

Second-year writing student Joy Fisher recently won first place in the non-fiction category of the 2011 Diversity Writing Awards for her piece, How Could Anyone Ever Tell You You Were Anything Less Than Beautiful?. Co-sponsored by the adviser on equity and diversity and UVic Libraries, this year’s Diversity Writing Awards attracted 33 entries from both undergrad and graduate students, covering a wide range of diversity-related themes (including ability, race, LGBTQ issues and privilege).
“I was thrilled with the diversity of responses and the calibre of entries. It was difficult to choose the winners,” says Grace Wong Sneddon, adviser on equity and diversity. “Writing gives students opportunities to share things that touch them, things that may be hard lessons. And it gives the community an avenue to hear, listen and learn. What a gift—from them to us and vice versa.”
In addition to Fisher’s non-fiction win, Laura How got the nod for fiction and Timothy Vander Wekken picked up the poetry prize. First-prize winners receive a cash prize of $200, second-prize winners earn $100 and third-prize winners receive a gift basket. The first-prize entries in each category will be published in the Multiplicity newsletter, and are also available here. The annual contest is supported by the Provost’s Steering Committee on Diversity and Equity, the Division of Student Affairs, the vice-president academic, UVic Libraries, the Office of Equity and Human Rights, the Faculty of Graduate Studies and the Malahat Review, with in-kind donations from the UVic Bookstore and Athletics and Recreational Services.
Joy Fisher is a foreign student from the United States, her main interests are creative non-fiction and drama,  and she’s very happy to be living in a country where gay people can marry and where there is universal health care.
To view creative writing student Joy Fisher’s reading of her winning non-fiction entry, How Could I Ever Tell You You Were Anything Less Than Beautiful?, click here.

Lights, Camera, Action

Maureen Bradley

Department of Writing associate professor Maureen Bradley is once again in the cinematic spotlight thanks to her work with the programming committee of the Victoria Film Festival. This is the fourth year that Bradley has been on the committee, and her award-winning short film Pants on Fire will also be screened as part of the VFF’s “Family Fracases” program on February 10 at the Capitol 6 theatre.

Also on view at the VFF are two shorts films by Department of Writing graduate student Scott Amos.

The Victoria Film Festival runs February 4-13, 2011, at various venues downtown.

They Are Where They Are

NatGallery1Three faculty members of UVic’s department of Visual Arts were represented in the National Gallery of Canada’s 2010 Canadian Biennial exhibit, It Is What It Is. Luanne Martineau, Sandra Meigs and Robert Youds are among the 54 Canadian artists represented in the exhibit, which highlights recent acquisitions of new Canadian art. Also included in the same exhibit is UVic MFA graduate Kevin Yates, currently an assistant professor of visual arts at York University.

Those Who Can, Teach


Baden's "Tender Trepanation"

Baden’s “Tender Trepanation”

Iconic UVic Visual Arts retired faculty member Mowry Baden was profiled in the Winter 2010/2011 issue of Canadian Art magazine, as part of their second annual “Art School Special” issue. In the six-page piece titled, “The Great One,” writer Ann Ireland leads with Baden noting, “Teaching is listening. It starts with the student’s vision, however flawed and immature. Somewhere in that vision is the pathway to a deeper and more complex expression.”

The Governor General’s Award-winning Baden, who retired in 1997 after 22 years teaching in UVic’s Visual Arts department, notes that “patience, perseverance and curiosity” cannot be taught, “because these features are in the bloodstream of the creature that stands in front of you—or not. If they can’t hold focus, you can’t implant it.”

Described in the article by sculptor and UVic alum Kim Adams as “the most important sculptor in Canada,” Baden is lauded by current Visual Arts prof Robert Youds for being more than just a teacher: “It was much deeper and more philosophical; he would keep an eye on what students were doing and offer a cryptic response. You never knew it it was in support or a put-down; you had to figure it out.” And Jessica Stockholder, former UVic student and current director of Graduate Studies in Sculpture at Yale, describes Baden as “the best teacher I’ve had.”

The same issue also recognizes UVic’s Visual Arts department as offering “Innovative Options” in the realm of Digital Art education “boasting an impressive inventory of high-tech studio equipment” and noting such graduates as Althea Thauberger and Jackson 2bears.

See the complete article at Canadian Art.