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Vol. 11, No.2, February 2014 | WORDSTHAW SYMPOSIUM EDITION

Winter 2013 Issue 185


Canada  |  US  |  International

WordsThaw in the news around Victoria, B.C.


University of Victoria community newspaper The Ring recently published an article about WordsThaw. Read it in full here.


WordsThaw participant Amy Reiswig discusses the writer as witness in the February edition of Focus magazine. Read the article on page 34 (full PDF download here).


Translation Issue

The Malahat Review invites the world’s writers to Canada through works in translation from Canadian translators.

Deadline: March 15, 2014.

More info on our website.

Open Season Award Finalists Announced!

Open "Season 2014

The finalists for our 2014 Open Season Award contest have been chosen! Author names and titles of pieces (poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction) are available for viewing on our Open Season 2014 Finalists page.

Be sure to check our website by February 14, when we announce the winners in each category!

Book Review: Birds, Metals, Stones & Rain by Russell Thornton

Green & Purple Skin of the World

Review by Phoebe Wang

There are powers of observation, but there are also powers within the act of observation itself. Both are hazardous to the poet who sees and records, then undertakes to transform himself or the world through his particular gaze. Russell Thornton, in his fifth collection of poetry, Birds, Metals, Stones & Rain, is well aware of the perils and the potential for alchemy that a close attentiveness can engender.

Read the rest of this book review on our website.

Get Ready for WordsThaw, our Annual Symposium!

The Malahat Review's second annual writing symposium is set to hit Victoria on February 20 - 22!

Panel discussions will range from social media to local history, writing the human spirit to the evolution of the author, and much more. 38 featured writers from Victoria and beyond will be participating in this three-day event!

Visit our WordsThaw 2014 website for details on symposium events and schedules, biographies of panelists, and tickets.


WordsThaw Interviews

Amy ReiswigMalahat Marketing & Promotional Assistant Rachel Lallouz speaks with WordsThaw participant Amy Reiswig on community, creative resistance, and the commitment to one's own writing. Amy will be the moderator for Shining a Light: Writer as Witness on Saturday, February 22.

RL: How would you describe the value that events like WordsThaw bring to the literary community in Victoria and beyond?

AR: It’s a forum to listen, think and talk. So much discussion now happens online, and having an opportunity to come together over particular issues and actually ask questions, hear answers, and have dialogue keeps our minds limber, helps us feel more invested in the issues being discussed. An event like WordsThaw also reminds us what a wealth of great thinkers and writers we have locally! It’s amazing! We, the people in our community, are our most precious resource, and having a forum to tap into that face to face, meet and make connections, can be mind- and even life-changing.

Read the rest of Amy's interview on our website.

Aaron ShepardMalahat volunteer Melissa Hiebert spoke with WordsThaw participant Aaron Shepard on the craft of writing, the benefits of symposiums, and his upcoming novel. Aaron is one of eight writers offering 15-minute critiques as part of Brief Encounters on Saturday, February 22.

MH: In your opinion, what is the best part of events like WordsThaw?

AS: Soaking up new ideas from good writers and people in the publishing business, hearing a turn of phrase I’ve never heard before, just generally being inspired. With work and real life being so busy, the opportunity to talk about books and writing with my peers is a real luxury, and I often come away from these types of events feeling rejuvenated and ready to write.

Read the rest of Aaron's interview on our website.

Madeline SonikMalahat Editorial Assistant Karyn Wisselink recently spoke with WordsThaw participant Madeline Sonik on panel events, creative nonfiction, and why students shouldn't hesitate to submit their work.

KW: What do you find are the greatest benefits of interacting with other writers at events like WordsThaw?

MS: I love to hear the stories writers tell. At the WordsThaw panel discussion I was involved in last year, for example, Patrick Lane told a story about once stealing three tomatoes from a neighbour’s garden so he could feed his young family something more than just plain macaroni. It was such a simple wonderful story that you could feel it resonate in the hearts of everyone. I think whenever a writer tells a story that resonates like that, whether it’s spoken or written, it has an inspirational echo effect. It calls forth other truths about the human condition and, in so doing, makes us all a little bit more human.

Read the rest of Madeline's interview on our website.

A Look Inside Issue #185, Winter 2013

Kate Cayley

Malahat Promotions Manager PJ Grace talks with Kate Cayley on folklore, obsession, and death in her short story, "The Fetch."

PG: The narrator is a retired man who spends his days pottering about the house and spying on his neighbour, Harold, who he believes to be a harbinger of death. How much of the narrator’s paranoia, and his belief in his ex-wife’s folkloric tales, stems from a yearning to find fulfillment, or even excitement, in his otherwise mundane life?

KC: I see him as a man who has lived without self-consciousness. Successful and much-married, he’s been propelled forward by an academic career, serial infidelity, children, the exhilaration of his intellectual life, all things that have distracted him from self-knowledge. His retirement, and the strain of maintaining a marriage to a woman who is decades younger than he is, has completely shattered his composure. He’s come up empty, at the end of his life, and it terrifies him. His obsession with the supernatural, the uncanny, is a response to that. That said, I like this character—he’s an asshole, and a deluded one, but I also find him funny and rueful and brave. As well as nuts.

Read the rest of Kate's interview on our website.


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