“The Fiction Makes Us Real”: A Celebration of Canadian Literature with poet, writer and critic Nicole Markotić


The Yorkshire Network for Canadian Studies in collaboration with the Lifelong Learning Centre at the University of Leeds are delighted to announce the forthcoming visit to the UK of the Canadian poet, fiction writer and literary critic Nicole Markotić (University of Windsor, Canada).


Nicole is the author of the poetry books connect the dots, Minotaurs & Other Alphabets, Bent at the Spine, and the chapbooks widows & orphans, more excess (which won the bpNichol Chapbook Award), he & [he], and tracking the game. Her fiction includes Yellow Pages, Scrapbook of My Years as a Zealot, and short stories in various literary journals. Her interests include representations of disability, feminist critical and body theory, and twentieth-century Canadian and North American literature and poetics.

Do join us for an evening of entertainment and literary delight at the Lifelong Learning Centre on Canada Day, 1st July 2015, 6-8 pm. Nicole will take us on a whirlwind tour of Canadian literature and treat us to readings of her own work and some other Canadian favourites.

The event is free, but we encourage you to book your seat in advance at http://www.llc.leeds.ac.uk/events/the-fiction-makes-us-real-an-introduction-to-canadian-literature


Siân Harris at the University of Huddersfield, 5th May

The Yorkshire Network for Canadian Studies and the University of Huddersfield are pleased to announce the next speaker of the Canadian Studies research seminar series:


“Apocalypse As One of the Fine Arts: Destructive Creativity in Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy”

Dr. Siân Harris (University of Exeter)

 Tuesday, 5th March, WG/13, West Building, University of Huddersfield, 1.30 pm.


Dr. Siân Harris is a lecturer in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature at the University of Exeter. Her research examines questions genre, gender, creative identity and authorship, especially in detective and historical fiction. Siân has published on various contemporary writers including Ian Rankin, JK Rowling, AS Byatt and Marina Warner; her work on Canadian literature has addressed the writing of L.M. Montgomery, Alice Munro, Margaret Laurence and Margaret Atwood.


Yorkshire’s literary tryst with Toronto’s Don valley

Alissa York in Huddersfield

Alissa York in Huddersfield

“On Monday 16th February Alissa York entertained an enthusiastic Huddersfield audience, who had braved a cold and dark Monday night to come and hear her talk about and read from Fauna. For over an hour Alisa kept us engaged with a combination of anecdote, insights into the writer’s craft, and readings from the novel. With the image of Billy crunching rabbit bones echoing in our ears, we enjoyed Alissa’s impromptu mapping of Toronto on a flipchart, helping us to situate Fauna and its motley collection of people and animals within the rivers, ravines and built environment of the city. Alissa presented disturbing accounts of her research into animal trafficking and exploitation and, after reading extracts where she offers the perspective of the animal, answered questions about the politics and ethics of the relationship between animal and human. Some of the audience had read the book and appreciated the different perspectives Alissa’s talk offered; others went away determined to read Fauna at the earliest opportunity.”  (Dr. Sarah Falcus, University of Huddersfield)

Steve Hewitt at the University of Leeds, 18th March

ShewittThe Yorkshire Network for Canadian Studies, in conjunction with the Leeds Centre for Canadian Studies, are delighted to host the next talk of the Canadian Studies research seminar series:

Dr. Steve Hewitt (University of Birmingham)

Before Ottawa: The Ottawa Attack in Historical Context and the Birth of Modern Canadian Counter-Terrorism, 1970-1985

Wednesday, March 18th, Room 340, Michael Sadler Building, 5:30 pm.

Steve Hewitt is Senior Lecturer in American and Canadian Studies at the University of Birmingham. He is a specialist in historical and contemporary security and intelligence in a US/UK/Canada context. His work has covered a range of topics, such as state surveillance against Canadian universities, UK and US counter-terrorism, a history of informants, and the world’s most famous police force, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He has also appeared on BBC Radio and Television, CBC Television and Radio and published several opinion pieces in the media, including in The Guardian, Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail.


Alissa York in Yorkshire: ‘Fauna: Confronting the Urban Wild’ – 16-18 February

AYBench1The Yorkshire Network for Canadian Studies, in partnership with the Universities of Leeds, Huddersfield and York St. John, Huddersfield Art Gallery and Leeds City Museum, are delighted to announce the Yorkshire tour of the Canadian writer and critic Alissa York. Her internationally acclaimed novels include Mercy, Effigy and, most recently Fauna. York is also the author of the short fiction collection, Any Given Power, stories from which have won the Journey Prize and the Bronwen Wallace Award. Her essays and articles have appeared in such periodicals as The Guardian, The Globe and Mail and Quill & Quire. She has lived all over Canada and now makes her home in Toronto with her husband, artist Clive Holden. Her new novel, The Naturalist, is due out in 2016.

Alissa will be speaking at three locations in Yorkshire:

1. Monday, 16th February: Huddersfield Art Gallery, 6 – 7.30 pm;

2. Tuesday, 17th February: Quad South Hall, York St. John University, 7 – 8.30 pm;

3. Wednesday, 18th February: Leeds City Museum, 6.30 – 8 pm.

Alissa’s entertaining and stimulating talk will be followed by a chance to chat with the author over a glass of wine.

Admission is free and open to the public.


“A positive atmosphere of engagement and cooperation” by Sarah Falcus

The first symposium and meeting of the YNCS was enjoyed by a lively group at the University of Huddersfield on Saturday, 8th February 2014. The day was characterised by a positive atmosphere of engagement and cooperation, as well as thoughtful and wide-ranging discussion. The participants came from a range of disciplines, though literature was the area best represented. The areas of Canadian Studies in which we were interested were even more varied, ranging from nationhood and conflict to suburbia and the urban, as related to disciplines such as history and literature, but also, and perhaps more importantly, as explored in inter and transdisciplinary work. After initial introductions, we spent time mapping our various interests and identifying points of connection,which provided us with a series of intersectional points for post-lunch, small-group discussion. Given the noise in the room, it seemed that all groups enjoyed robust and engaging discussions of topics such as borders and boundaries, bodies, and forms. Some fruitful relationships were established and the possibility of research collaboration addressed. The day concluded with some practical round-table discussion of the future development of the network and the hope that more and more people would become involved.
Helped by a wonderful lunch and other refreshments organised by Catherine and Milena, the day was marked by collaboration, cooperation and a shared enthusiasm for all things Canadian. I, for one, certainly look forward to the next event and it’d be great to see all sorts of scholars there, extending the disciplinary mix even further.

Symposium news and more

On February 8th, we held our first Symposium at the University of Huddersfield,  Our goal was to open up to the Yorkshire Network for Canadian Studies to a wider group of people, to meet each other in person, share our research interests and generate some ideas of what we might do next.

It was a fantastic day, attended by folk form Leeds, York, Sheffield and Huddersfield, including seasoned lecturers, creative writers and Masters and Phd students.  We spent the day sharing personal research, discussing areas of interest in groups and having fun trying to join the dots.  We finished the day generating ideas of what to do next, including building a future event around the idea of’Re-Imagining Canada.

Watch this blog for personal reviews from the day (we have a great one coming soon from the wonderful Sarah Falcus).

Reading Between the Sheets – Aritha Van Herk in Huddersfield

‘The Eloquence of Laundry’ was the title of this, the third talk in Aritha’s tour.  She spoke to a packed house of students, lecturers, teachers and other readers.  Despite a few technical glitches, Aritha waltzed through a dizzying variety of representations of laundry in photography, art and film.  From Venice to India, and from Warwick to the Canadian backwoods, we saw hanging laundry and the act of laundering as an expression of the inevitability of grime, the sensuality of colour and cloth and of domestic pride in women. From Paul McCartney displaying his working class roots, through Odysseus’ encounter with laundering sirens, to Canadian settlers ‘advertising’ for women through being photographed with their scrubbing board, we saw a fascinating array of portrayals of masculinity through the depiction of laundry. It was a rich, inspiring  and thought provoking talk.  Everybody who attended loved it, and we could all have talked for hours afterwards.  Aritha is here for two more events in Yorkshire tonight and tomorrow, so do check the companion blog entries for details of those, and do come along if you can.  We’re also hoping to have some contributions from attending dissertation students and alumni, with  a view of Aritha’s talks from the perspective of their own research area, which will be really exciting …. So watch this space!

Susan Billingham at Huddersfield – 18th March

susan billingham

YNCS were thrilled to host Susan Billingham at the University of Huddersfield as part of a series of research seminars.  Susan read from and discussed the writing of Ivan E Coyote, including the collections ‘One in Every Crowd’ and ‘Missed Her’.  ‘One in Every Crowd’ is a collection, especially compiled for young adults and Susan talked about this in the context of her latest project, which focuses on young adult literature with gay, lesbian and queer content. In particular, she explores queer pedagogies, education, and institutional atitudes to queer youth, and it was really interesting  to hear Susan’s first hand accounts of how the parochial nature of the structure of Canada’s school system could be contributing to the slow absorption of LGBTQ literature into syllabuses and school libraries.  ‘One in Every Crowd’ is one of the texts explored in Huddersfield’s Contemporary Women Writers module this year, so it was an absolute treat for the students taking this module to hear Susan speak.  Discussion after the talk was lively, engaged and seemed to end to quickly.  We’d love to thank Susan again for venturing northwards to share her research with us.