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Barbara-Godard Prize 2015

The winner of the 2015 Barbara Godard Prize for the Best paper by an Emerging Scholar is Alba de Béjar Muiños for her paper “Towards a Posthuman Ethic: Post-Anthropocentrism and the Role of the Cyborg in Larissa Lai’s Oeuvre.” The jury, composed of Sophie Marcotte, Isabelle Kirouac-Massicotte, and Sara Jamieson, was impressed by the essay’s nuanced and complex readings of Lai’s poetry and by its incisive analysis of the links between between language and the concept of the posthuman. This well-structured and well-written paper convincingly situates its close literary analyses within the context of contemporary debates about the posthuman in order to show how Lai’s 2009 collection Automaton Biographies problematizes identity and place in the era of biotechnology.

The jury awarded an honourable mention to Mariève Maréchale for her paper “Générer l’inédit : le traitement du temps dans les écritures lesbiennes québécoises.”


Gabrielle Roy Prize 2014


The Association of Canadian and Quebec Literatures is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2014 Gabrielle Roy Prize (English section), which each year honours the best book of Canadian literary criticism written in English, is Neal McLeod, editor of Indigenous Poetics in Canada (Wilfrid Laurier University Press). The shortlist was chosen by a jury composed of last year’s winner, Paul Martin (MacEwan University), Erin Wunker (Dalhousie University) and Tanis MacDonald (Wilfrid Laurier University). The prize was awarded at a reception held by the Association of Canadian and Quebec Literatures, on the evening of May 30th in Ottawa.



In Indigenous Poetics in Canada, editor Neal McLeod constellates twenty-eight original texts that explore and articulate the dynamics of Indigenous cultural production. The collection, which is divided into four sections—Poetics of Memory, Poetics of Place, Poetics of Performance, and Poetics of Medicine—presents an assemblage of essays, scholarly research, interviews, and stories to situate histories of Indigenous poetics that reach beyond the “conceptions of what poetry is from the Anglo-môniyâw interpretative matrix.” McLeod notes that using poetics as a framing device (a suggestion which he acknowledges was made by Lee Maracle) is a rhetorical and ideological strategy. This collection demonstrates that poetic inquiry becomes a means of exploring and understanding an expansive range of narrative practices as rigorous modes of cultural production. 

The jury would also like to congratulate the three other finalists in this year’s competition: Jennifer Drouin forShakespeare in Quebec: Nation, Gender, Adaptation (University of Toronto Press); Larissa Lai for Slanting I, Imaging We: Asian Canadian Literary Production in the 1980s and 1990s (Wilfrid Laurier University Press); andLinda M. Morra for Unarrested Archives: Case Studies in Twentieth-Century Canadian Women’s Authorship (University of Toronto Press).

In Shakespeare in Quebec, Jennifer Drouin examines how by uniting the Québécois language and Shakespeare’s texts, Québécois adapters embrace cultural hybridity, appropriate Shakespeare’s canonical authority, and legitimize their local struggle for national liberation. The book offers a fascinating look at the rich history of adaptations of Shakespeare since the Quiet Revolution and how these adaptations differ in approach from those that have emerged in other postcolonial contexts.

Larissa Lai’s Slanting I: Imagining We is a long overdue discussion of Asian Canadian literary production and its examination of the rhetoric of a literary nation in relation to ruptures and excesses. The book offers a rigorous examination of political and cultural resistance, especially the final chapter, an indispensable examination of the historical position and legacy of the 1995 Writing Thru Race conference.

Linda M. Morra’s Unarrested Archives delves into the work of women’s withheld or “unarrested” archives dovetailed with affect and the dynamics of preservation in Canadian literary history. Through her study of the archival materials of Pauline Johnson, Emily Carr, Sheila Watson, Jane Rule, and M. NourbeSe Philip, Morra provides a look at the bristling politics of valuation as it encounters the rhetoric of the nation-state.

Upcoming Annual Conference


We are pleased to present you the final program for ACQL’s annual conference, which will take place at the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Ottawa, May 30-June 2, 2015.

Moreover, we are delighted to announce that our keynote speakers for the ACQL annual conference will beJennifer Henderson (English) and Lucie Robert (French), and that our conference will feature two literary readings with writers Gilles Lacombe (in French, in collaboration with APFUCC) and Cyril Dabydeen (in English, in collaboration with CACLALS).

Entitled “Settler Sense and Indigenous Resurgence” and presented in collaboration with CACLALS, Jennifer Henderson’s address takes note of how the market’s triumphant second coming is sensed by many in terms of loss: a loss of public things, of justifications for social provision, of egalitarian political horizons. Speaking from inside of this sense, her paper considers the ambiguous implications of its melancholy orientation around what is lost, defunct, or dead. Specifically, what does it mean that this historical sense coincides with a moment of Indigenous renaissance or resurgence? Divergent itineraries would seem to stem from the view of the state as agent of cultural genocide, on the one hand, and the at least potential guarantor of social reciprocity and security, on the other. But noticing the historical coincidence of the melancholic response to neoliberalism and what may be a moment of openings for Indigenous self-determination can raise important questions, too. This paper asks what kind of productive cohabitation might be possible between cultural work directed at a ‘radical remembering of the future’ (Leanne Simpson) and work that trains perception on the ruins of settler capitalist modernity (Gail Scott).

Jennifer Henderson is the author of Settler Feminism and Race Making in Canada (2003) and the co-editor ofReconciling Canada: Critical Perspectives on the Culture of Redress (2013) and Trans/Acting Culture, Writing, and Memory: Essays in Honour of Barbara Godard (2013). From 1992 to 2000, she was a co-editor of the journal, Tessera: Feminist Interventions in Writing and Culture. Her criticism has appeared in the journals Canadian Literature, English Studies in Canada, Topia,and Studies in Canadian Literature,as well as the essay collections Home-Work: Postcolonialism, Pedagogy, and Canadian Literature andUnsettled Remains: Canadian Literature and the Postcolonial Gothic. She is an associate professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at Carleton University.


Gabrielle Roy Prize 2014


The Association for Canadian and Quebec Literatures (ACQL) is pleased to announce the finalists for the2014 Gabrielle Roy Prize (English section), which each year honours the best work of Canadian literary criticism published in English. This year’s shortlisted finalists (in alphabetical order) are Jennifer Drouin forShakespeare in Quebec: Nation, Gender, Adaptation (University of Toronto Press); Larissa Lai forSlanting I, Imaging WeAsian Canadian Literary Production in the 1980s and 1990s (Wilfrid Laurier University Press); Neal McLeod, editor, for Indigenous Poetics in Canada(Wilfrid Laurier University Press); and Linda M. Morra for Unarrested Archives: Case Studies in Twentieth-Century Canadian Women’s Authorship (University of Toronto Press). The shortlist was chosen by a jury composed of Paul Martin (MacEwan University), Erin Wunker (Dalhousie University) and Tanis MacDonald (Wilfrid Laurier University). The winner will be announced publicly on May 30th, 2015, at the Gabrielle Roy Prize reception at the Association for Canadian and Quebec Literatures annual conference, which this year will take place in Ottawa, Ontario. The prize reception will be held at the ACQL banquet from 5:30- 8:00 p.m. on May 30th at Vittoria Trattoria, 35 William Street, in the Byward Market area of Ottawa. Since spaces at the banquet are limited, please contact Sara Jamieson if you would like to attend (sara_jamieson@carleton.ca).

Tanis MacDonald
Chair, English section, ACQL/ALCQ
Department of English and Film Studies
Wilfrid Laurier University



2015 Conference


Dear Members,

Please find here the calls for papers for six member-organized sessions for our 2015 conference. We encourage you to participate by submitting a proposal to one of these calls for papers, or to the ACQL general call for papers, “Celebrating Forty Years.” The deadline for all paper proposals has been extended to Feb. 1 2015.


ACQL’s 40th Anniversary


Celebrating 40 Years
Association for Canadian and Quebec Literatures Annual Conference
May 30-June 2, 2015
University of Ottawa

Formed in 1975 by members such as Joanne Burgess, Patricia Morley, Donald Smith, and André Vanasse, ACQL is celebrating its fortieth year in 2015. Like many of its related institutions, ACQL was founded in an era when state policies supporting official bilingualism were newly born and when postcolonial and other contemporary theory was only beginning to exert an effect on the fields of Canadian and Quebec literary studies. Much has changed in forty years. The bicultural model upon which this association was founded has been thoroughly challenged by the rise of postcolonial theory, critical race studies, and diaspora and globalization studies, but, arguably, English / French bilingualism and cross-cultural exchange retain a continuing importance in the study of English-Canadian and Quebec literatures. Moreover, analyzing the sites of exchange between these apparently distant fields grows in importance as the diverse literary cultures of franco-Canadian communities, most of which have strong ties to the anglophone world around them, gain recognition and institutional stature. This anniversary offers us an opportunity to reflect critically on changes in the fields of Canadian and Quebec literary studies, as well as on the ways in which ACQL and other institutions contemporary with it have shaped and /  or responded to shifts in these fields.

Papers might address the following questions, but are not limited to them :

-   What is the relevance of the ACQL mission statement, which presents ACQL as a “learned society that promotes research, pedagogies, new knowledges, literary criticism and theory about the diverse literatures of Canada and Québec. ACQL also seeks to foster scholarly conversation between those committed to the study and research of these literatures in English and French” ?

-   What are the scholarly and intellectual legacies of the founding members of ACQL?

-   Does bilingualism matter to Canadian and / or Quebec literary studies ?

-   What are the major disciplinary and theoretical shifts that have occurred in Canadian and Quebec literary studies since 1975 (e.g., influence of contemporary theory ; diaspora, globalization, and hemispheric studies ; history of the book ; indigenous studies ; regionalism ; cultural studies)?

-   How have the trajectories of Canadian and Quebec literary studies intersected / collided during the last forty years ?

-   What institutions have mattered most to the making of Canadian and Quebec literatures since 1975 (e.g., funding agencies, state policy, particular university departments, associations, journals ), and do Canadian and Quebec literary studies share concerns about the influence of particular forms of institutionalization?

We also welcome member-organized sessions on topics related to any aspect of Canadian and Quebec literatures. Calls for member-organized sessions should be no more than 200 words. They are due on or before31 October 2014 and will be posted on the ACQL website.

Please send paper proposals (no more than 300 words) with a short biography and a 50-word abstract in Word or RTF to one of the coordinators listed below by 15 January 2015.

All paper or session proposals can be written in French or English. Those who propose papers or sessions must be members of the ACQL by 1 March 2015. See the ACQL website (www.alcq-acql.ca) for membership and registration information.

Coordinator (English)
Professor Jody Mason
Department of English
Carleton University
Dunton Tower 1812
1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, ON
K1S 5B6
Telephone: (613) 520-2600 x8907
Fax: (613) 520-3544
e-mail: jody_mason@carleton.ca

Coordinator (French)
Professor Sylvie Bérard
French Studies
Trent University
1755 West Bank Drive
Peterborough, ON
K9L 1Z6
Telephone: (705) 748-1011 x7383
Fax : (705) 748-1630
e-mail: sberard@trentu.ca

Gabrielle Roy Prize 2013

May 24, 2014: The Association for Canadian and Quebec Literaturesis pleased to announce that the winner of the 2013 Gabrielle Roy Prize (English section), which each year honours the best work of Canadian literary criticism published in English, is Paul Martin for Sanctioned Ignorance: The Politics of Knowledge Production and the Teaching of Literatures in Canada, published by the University of Alberta Press. The book was chosen by a jury composed of Tanis MacDonald (Wilfrid Laurier University), Karis Shearer (University of British Columbia, Okanagan) and Jason Wiens (University of Calgary), from among twenty-one books submitted for the prize. Dr. Martin accepted the prize from jury chair Tanis MacDonald (Peter Midgley photo).

The jury members recognize Sanctioned Ignorance as a book that takes as its goal the troubling of our understandings of teaching Canadian literature in order to call for a greater complexity in canonical and divisional studies and challenge current systems of knowledge production in the study of Canadian literatures in post-secondary institutions. The task Martin undertakes, a reading of the literary landscape through the politics of context, pedagogy, and cultural dissemination, demands attention to the rich and too-often effaced legacies of diasporic, Francophone, and First Nations writers on the way to advocating a more expansive Canadian literary study that is no longer “a prisoner of its own amnesia.” The committee was unanimous in their admiration for Martin’s vital and far-reaching questions about the protocols and pitfalls of creating a Canadian national literature for the future.

The jury would also like to congratulate the three other finalists in this year’s competition, and to note that this was an extremely competitive year for the Gabrielle Roy Prize. Also shortlisted for the Prize were: Gregory Betts for Avant-Garde Canadian Literature: The Early Manifestations (University of Toronto Press); Jody Mason for Writing Unemployment: Worklessness, Mobility, and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century Canadian Literatures (University of Toronto Press); and Lorraine Yorkfor Margaret Atwood and the Labour of Literary Celebrity (University of Toronto Press).

Gregory Betts’ book offers a long overdue discussion of avant-garde traditions as they have appeared in Canada, and also examines avenues of political and cultural resistance to reading the avant-garde as part of our national literature. Beginning with the literature of cosmic consciousness from the beginning of the twentieth century, Avant-Garde Canadian Literatureconsiders a historical arc of more than a hundred years, and Betts debates the varying potentials for avant-garde aesthetics to perform literary and other revolutionary work and, in the process, makes us re-consider the literary history we thought we knew.

Jody Mason’s Writing Unemployment calls attention to the sociological and economic assumptions underwriting the ideology of the English-Canadian literary canon by examining the representations of unemployment in Canadian writing from the beginning of the twentieth century to the 1970s. Reading these representations in relation to wider discursive constructions of unemployment in government policy and popular media, Mason’s work casts new light on the role of worklessness in the literary nation-state and challenges the materiality of privilege in the Canadian canon.

Lorraine York’s Margaret Atwood and the Labour of Literary Celebrity is a book that delves deep into the dynamics of publication, promotion, and literary stardom in Canada, with the important bonus that it takes as its subject not only Atwood’s work in a wide variety of genres, but also Atwood as social entity, media consumer and user, and cultural commodity negotiating multiple subjectivities. The book offers an engaging narrative that follows Atwood’s personae, both electronic and in person, into the future of literary publishing.

Barbara Godard Emerging Scholar Prize 2014

At the ACQL conference at Brock University, ACQL’s 2014 Barbara Godard Prize for the best paper by an emerging scholar was awarded toJessica Ratcliffe of the University of Saskatchewan for “The Politics of Science Fiction and Nalo Hopkinson’s Brown Girl in the Ring” and toIsabelle Kirouac-Massicotte of the University of Ottawa for “De la colonisation à la prospection minière : la question de la frontier dans ‘Le rêve d’un géant’ de Jeanne-Mance Delisle.”

Jury members Lucie Hotte (presenting the prize to Jessica Ratcliffe, at right), Hannah McGregor, and Wendy Roy called Jessica Ratcliffe’s essay a complex and beautifully constructed examination of genre hierarchies as they relate to science fiction, using Nalo Hopkinson’s 1998 novel Brown Girl in the Ring as a case study. This cogently argued paper engages with the racialized boundaries of genre by questioning what constitutes the “science” in “science fiction”; in so doing, it offers both a fresh reading of Hopkinson’s work and a valuable intervention into the nascent field of science fiction studies. Her essay intriguingly concludes that Brown Girl demonstrates that colonialism can be found in the politics of genre and that, despite the reputation of science fiction as a site for decolonization, rigid genre categorization can be used to submerge narratives of alterity.

The jury judged that Isabelle Kirouac-Massicotte’s essay is a detailed and compelling exploration of the question of the frontier as it is represented in works such as ”Le rêve d’un géant” by Jeanne-Mance Delisle. This elegantly written paper teases out the intersections of colonialism, land exploitation, wealth accumulation, indigenous exploitation, and religious conversion by proposing that Quebec’s north might be productively theorized in terms of the North American frontier myth. Using Delisle’s story as a case study, Kirouac-Massicotte concludes that in certain works of Quebec literature, the northern frontier is the real frontier.


Conference 2014 program

The Association for Canadian and Quebec Literatures is pleased to release the program for our annual conference at Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, on May 24-26, 2014. This year’s Congress theme,“Borders without Boundaries,”encourages us to think about geopolitical borders. In the contemporary context of neoliberalism and globalization, such questioning is increasingly compelling and necessary; indeed, numerous recent studies of Canadian and Québecois literary cultures insist on the cultural and political urgency of examining contemporary geopolitical borders.

The provisional program can be found here; information about the keynote addresses is below.


Keynote address

The English-language plenary speaker for our annual conference at Brock University May 24-26, 2014, is Dean Irvine, Associate Professor of English at Dalhousie University and Director of Editing Modernism in Canada/L’édition du modernisme au Canada (EMiC/EmaC). His presentation is intitled “Salvage Modernisms: Indigenous Knowledges, Indigenization, and Digital Repatriation”.

Accounting for the co-emergence of salvage ethnography and modernist poetics in the early twentieth century, specifically in the context of communicative exchanges between aboriginal mythtellers and (non-)aboriginal ethnographers, translators, and interpreters on Canada’s west coast, this paper calls for a reassessment of the overlapping domains of indigenous and non-indigenous knowledges and their relationship to the emergence of anglophone literary modernism in Canada. According to cultural policy of the period, aboriginal art and orature were treated as natural resources — that is, resources to which it was commonly held no individual indigenous person could make a singular claim and, therefore, could be freely colonized and extracted for use by non-aboriginal ethnographers and creative practitioners. This systematic refusal to recognize aboriginal artistic production as art and to salvage it instead as ethnography — that is, the material and immaterial cultural heritage of a people whose “disappearance” was overseen by state policies of assimilation — cleared ground for the indigenization of modernist visual art and literature in English Canada. This indigenized modernism, whose primitivist modes attempted to translate aboriginal cultural artifacts and knowledges into a modernist aesthetic, furthered the assimilation of aboriginal cultural heritage into a dominant imperial culture.
Because 1922 is widely recognized as the annus mirabilis of international literary modernism and because this is the latest year in which all such texts are available globally in the public domain, international copyright legislation has effectively divided the period into what Paul Saint-Amour calls “a freely accessible early modernism and a heavily protected late one.”  This understanding of public domain reveals acute blind spots in Western conceptions of cultural property, which chronically fail to accommodate non-Western systems of knowledge circulation and preservation. In effect, public domain has re-enacted early twentieth century cultural policy that rendered indigenous knowledges and art as part of a linguistic and aesthetic commons available for expropriation by non-aboriginal peoples. With the digitization of ethnographic materials collected, translated, and published in the early twentieth century — as evidenced by their availability in digital repositories such as Google Books, the Internet Archive, and the HathiTrust —public domain legislates a new phase of salvage ethnography. And along with the concurrent digitization of indigenized modernist texts in the public domain, the recirculation of salvage ethnography looks to recolonize and expropriate indigenous cultural heritage in digital media. Instead of a return to salvage ethnography in new media, this paper proposes the digital repatriation of indigenous cultural heritage, not to facilitate open access but to safeguard traditional knowledges in collaboration with First Nations communities and in observance of the cultural protocols that regulate circulation and preservation.


Gabrielle Roy Prize 2012

June 2, 2013: The Association for Canadian and Quebec Literatures is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2012 Gabrielle Roy Prize (English Section), which each year honours the best work of Canadian literary criticism published in English, has been awarded to Keavy Martinfor Stories in a New Skin: Approaches to Inuit Literature, published by the University of Manitoba Press. The book was chosen by a jury composed of Cecily Devereux (University of Alberta), Cynthia Sugars (University of Ottawa), and Linda Warley (University of Waterloo), from among eighteen books submitted for this year’s prize. The prize was accepted by Keavy’s grandmother, Margaret Robertson, shown below with ACQL English vice-president Sara Jamieson. Photo of Keavy Martin, above, by Shaughn Butts, Edmonton Journal.

The jury members recognized the book as a groundbreaking study of Inuit literature.  Martin has attended to Indigenous authors and critics who have for decades argued that their literature should be analyzed on its own terms, according to tribal and community perspectives and in keeping with Indigenous knowledges. Martin brings a sophisticated approach to Inuit stories by recognizing how both tradition and adaptation have shaped them. Stories in a New Skin radically shifts academic understandings about the nature and location of knowledge. In the view of the entire committee, Stories in a New Skin is not about expanding familiar canons, but about changing the ways we read.

The jury would also like to congratulate the two shortlisted finalists in this year’s competition: Sandra Djwa forJourney with No Maps: A Life of P.K. Page (McGill-Queen’s UP), and Tanis MacDonaldfor The Daughter’s Way: Canadian Women’s Paternal Elegies (Wilfrid Laurier UP).  Sandra Djwa’s biography of P.K. Page builds on her already considerable reputation as one of the best literary biographers in Canada. Having had exclusive access to P.K. Page herself, as well as to her extensive personal and archival papers, Djwa has been able to bring precise attention to the life and career of this most important Canadian poet and artist. Djwa’s biography will be the definitive work upon which all future students of Page’s work will draw.  Tanis MacDonald’s The Daughter’s Way represents a new way of understanding Canadian women’s poetic elegies. Ranging widely across twentieth- and twenty-first century Canadian women’s texts, the study provides a compelling and precisely focused engagement with gender, genre, and nation.  MacDonald (herself a poet) brings a rich understanding of the importance of poetic form. She produces insightful analyses in prose that is crystal clear and a pleasure to read, making readers engage with the evocative power of the “literary” all over again.


Barbara Godard Emerging Scholar Prize

At the 2013 ACQL conference in Victoria, B.C., Hannah McGregor of the University of Guelph was awarded ACQL’s 2013 Barbara Godard Prize for the best paper by an emerging scholar, for her paper “The Anxieties and Affordances of Genre in the Work of Karen Connelly.” The jury members, Lucie Hotte, Joanne Leow, and Wendy Roy, judged that McGregor’s essay provides a nuanced and perceptive exploration of medium, genre, and reception, successfully situating its close literary analysis within the larger context of popular reception and theoretical studies. Succinct, yet complexly-argued, the essay provides a clear portrait of what the author calls Connelly’s “Burmese Trilogy,” elucidating why it is the ideal site to explore how the novel works in contemporary times.

The jury also awarded honorable mentions to Nicole Nolette of McGill University for her paper “Garage Alec, ou la ‘réparation’ par la comédie des langues” and Matt Carrington of York University for his paper “The Canadian Poetry Magazine Online: Clicking Through the Digital Page.”