Awards aside, there always seems to be a reason for Writing department faculty, students and alumni to appear in the media. Here’s a quick roundup of who spoke to whom about what this fall.

Check her out—Madeline Sonik was a Human Book!

Check her out—Madeline Sonik was a Human Book!

Recent City of Victoria Butler Book Prize winner Madeline Sonik was selected to be a  “human book” in the Greater Victoria Public Library’s inaugural Human Library Project this fall. Sonik “book” topic was “Creative Being”, and she was also featured in Alisa Gordaneer’s “State of the Arts” column in the November 2012 issue of Boulevard magazine on the same topic—which also happens to be the title of the first-year Fine Arts course she has taught. (To read the article, click here and scan to page 30.)

Looking at other print media, in this Victoria News article about female journalists, Acting Dean of Fine Arts Lynne Van Luven speaks about her years as a community reporter in the 1970s. Van Luven has watched the details of the job change over the years, but she’s seen the difficulties remain the same.

Writing grad and previous City of Victoria Butler Book Prize winner Deborah Willis earned some nice coverage from the Calgary Herald as the new writer-in-residence for the University of Calgary’s Distinguished Writers Program, which will allow her to divide her time between writing and consulting other writers about their manuscripts. And Writing instructor Matthew Hooton was once again a judge in the Times Colonist‘s annual So You Think You Can Write contest . . . which, ironically, was won by Nick Clewley, UVic’s interim Director of Marketing.

Connor Gaston

Connor Gaston

Writing MFA student Connor Gaston attracted a fair bit of attention himself this fall, thanks to his short film Bardo Light being accepted at the Toronto International Film Festival and another short film, Stuck, appearing at the Whistler Film Festival. TIFF programmer Magali Simard described Bardo Light as “a modern-day chiller that merges Mary Shelley with the Tibetan Book of the Dead, [this] is a bold and unique experience.” Listen to this podcast with him from CBC’s All Points West, or read this piece about him from UVic’s Ring. You can also read his “Adventures of TIFF First-Timer” on the Coastal Spectator blog. (“I received the magic phone call and an invitation to premiere my latest short, Bardo Light, at the Toronto International Film Festival . . . I felt like the prettiest girl at the dance.”)

Speaking of which, if you haven’t had a look at Coastal Spectator lately, click on over and spend some time perusing it. There’s a lot of fresh content in this Faculty of Fine Arts-sponsored local arts review site that covers books, film, music, art, theatre and so much more.

The Department of Writing was well-represented at the first annual Victoria Writers Festival in October at Camosun College. Among the many writers featured at the popular event were a number of UVic instructors or alumni including Esi Edugyan, Steven Price, Tim Lilburn, Melanie Siebert, Susan Musgrave, Christin GeallMatthew Hooton, Madeline Sonik, Yasuko Thanh,David Leach and Bill Gaston. Writing instructor John Gould was also one of the organizers. Here’s hoping the event comes back even stronger in 2013!      

MR 180 coverWhile admittedly only tangentially connected to the Department of Writing, it’s worth noting the recent CBC Radio coverage of The Malahat Review‘s east/west literary project with The Fiddlehead. CBC’s Jennifer Chrumka also has a regular feature on local culture called “State of the Arts”, and in this podcast she speaks with Malahat editor John Barton.

Chrumka also spoke with Writing professor Lee Henderson about the changes to, and popularity of, graphic novels in this podcast. It was hooked to his presentation of Guelph-based cartoonist and graphic novelist Marc Bell at the regular Open Word: Readings and Ideas author series at Open Space.

The online queer literary magazine Plenitude—a project by Writing student Andrea Routely—continues to get nice notices since its summer 2012 launch. Recently, they picked up a glowing review from biggie American site Autostraddle (billed as “The World’s Most Popular Independently-Owned Website for Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Women”). Autostraddle notes that “Plentitude stands out among queer publications by, first and foremost, defining queer literature as literature simply created by LGBTTQI people . . .  Plentitude is simply publishing good work by queer people. The topic pool is immediately diversified and expanded and yet, somehow, is still relevant.”

Finally, the Globe & Mail quoted Department of Writing chair Bill Gaston in their October piece about the number of writing dept graduates flooding the Can-lit shelves . . . which I would quote to you if their bloody new paywall didn’t stop me from actually reading the article.