About the Journal
Peer Review Process
Please see our website for Canadian Literature's submission guidelines on articles, reviews, and poetry. You can also find information about our policies on conflicts of interest, publishing agreements, obtaining copyright for external materials, peer review, and anonymity. The guidelines can be found in English and in French.
The publication of Canadian Literature is supported by the University of British Columbia, the Faculty of Arts (UBC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada.
1959 – 1977: George Woodcock
In the autumn of 1958, individuals from the University of British Columbia—Roy Daniells (Department Head of English Language and Literature), Stanley E. Read (Professor of English), and Inglis Bell and Neal Harlow (university librarians)—invited lecturer George Woodcock to edit a quarterly devoted solely to the critical discussion of Canadian writing. Woodcock accepted and in autumn 1959, the first issue of Canadian Literature was published. Its title asserted their belief that Canada had its own distinct literature—a concept doubted by some individuals in the literary community, who questioned the existence of a national literature and predicted that the journal would run out of material after only a few issues. However, Woodcock’s highly personal style, his previous experience with English magazine publication, and his international range of contacts helped ensure the journal’s initial success. The arrival of numerous new and talented writers in the 1960s and 1970s—including Margaret Atwood, Margaret Laurence, Mordecai Richler, among others—solidified Canadian Literature’s position as the venue for critical discussions of Canadian writing. Rather than facing a shortage of submissions, Woodcock had to become increasingly selective about which articles and reviews he published. His commitment to a general readership and the lively seriousness that he encouraged in critical writing helped foster a wider academic interest in the Canadian literary field. Woodcock retired in 1977 after editing 73 issues.
1977 – 1995: W. H. New
After Woodcock retired, UBC invited W. H. New to edit the journal. New had been Assistant Editor at Canadian Literature since 1965 and, as a respected voice in Canadian literary criticism, he had the reputation, expertise, and vision to ensure the journal’s continuing success. While preserving the essence of the journal as a general critical magazine, New addressed and adjusted to new developments in Canadian literature by introducing a more thorough examination of connections between cultural and intellectual history. With the help of Associate Editors Eva-Marie Kröller and Laurie Ricou, they planned special issues on areas that they felt were underrepresented in Canadian criticism. The result was issues on Asian Canadian writing, Caribbean Canadian writing, and other minority literatures in Canada. Canadian Literature has also published three special issues on Aboriginal writing (#124/5, #161/2, and #167). He stepped down in 1995 after 72 issues and 18 years as Editor. New was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1986, and in 2007, the Governor General named him an Officer of the Order of Canada.
1995 – 2003: Eva-Marie Kröller
New was replaced by Eva-Marie Kröller. Kröller recruited an editorial board of distinguished scholars from Canada and abroad on top of formalizing the peer review process used by the previous editors. In order to introduce a wider range of opinions and expertise to the journal, she began a tradition of having guest editors plan and supervise special issues, such as Associate Editor Iain Higgins’ Contemporary Poetics issue (1997) and Gabrielle Helms and Susanna Egan’s Auto/biography issue (2002). Kröller’s commitment to representing Canada’s francophone writers led her to appoint Alain-Michel Rocheleau as Associate Editor of francophone writing. Gradually, French-language content increased, and the efforts of his successor Réjean Beaudoin have produced the notable special issues Littérature francophone hors-Québec / Francophone Writing Outside Quebec (2005) and Gabrielle Roy Contemporaine / The Contemporary Gabrielle Roy (2007). Kröller was also responsible for the journal’s transition to electronic publishing, and under her direction, upcoming book reviews were added to the website. Kröller edited 32 issues and held the position of Editor until 2003. She won the Council of Editors of Learned Journals’ Distinguished Editor award in 2004, becoming the first Canadian to receive the honour, and became a fellow of the Royal Society in 2006.
2003 – 2007: Laurie Ricou
Kröller was succeeded as Editor by Laurie Ricou. During his term, Ricou focused on producing special issues such as Black Writing in Canada (2004), The Literature of Atlantic Canada (2006), and South Asian Diaspora (2006). Ricou worked to expand our web presence by relaunching our website and moving the print indexes online. He also introduced CanLit Poets, an ongoing online archive of poems published in Canadian Literature, along with profiles and interviews with the poets themselves. Laurie Ricou became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2006. He also began coordinating Canadian Literature’s 50th Anniversary Gala and 50th Anniversary anthology, From A Speaking Place, and remained on the planning committee after stepping down in summer 2007, having edited 14 issues.
2007 – 2015: Margery Fee
Ricou was followed by fellow UBC English professor and Canadian literature specialist Margery Fee, who had worked on the journal as Associate Editor from 1995 to 2000. With an interest in technology and an eye to the future, Fee has concentrated on bringing open access to the journal: issues #1-155 of Canadian Literature are now available on the website and more will follow. Fee also supported our transition from paper to online submissions through CanLit Submit. During her editorship, she has produced a number of special issues, including: Diasporic Women’s Writing (2008), Asian Canadian Studies (2008), Disappearance and Mobility (2009), Sport and the Athletic Body (2009), Queerly Canadian (2010), Mordecai Richler (2011), Twenty-first Century Poetics (guest editors Clint Burnham and Christine Stewart, 2011) and New Directions in Early Canadian Literature (guest editors Janice Fiamengo and Thomas Hodd, 2012), as well as two special emphasis issues: one on Prison Writing (2011) and another called Spectres of Modernism (2011).
2015 – 2020: Laura Moss
Laura Moss is an associate professor of Canadian and postcolonial literatures at the University of British Columbia. She has had a long history of involvement with Canadian Literature and its related projects. Since 2004, she has worked as an associate editor at the journal and, since 2012, she has played a pivotal role as one of the contributing editors for the online teaching resource CanLit Guides. She also served as acting editor in 2009 and 2013-2014, overseeing a number of special and regular issues while contributing editorials and book reviews along the way. Moss is the co-editor (with Cynthia Sugars) of the two-volume Canadian Literature in English: Texts and Contexts (2008, 2009), the editor of Is Canada Postcolonial?: Unsettling Canadian Literature (2003), a scholarly edition of The History of Emily Montague (2001), and Leaving the Shade of the Middle Ground: The Poetry of F. R. Scott (2011). She has also published articles on subjects such as literary pedagogy, magic realism, Canadian broadcasting, public arts policy in Canada, narrative medicine, and public memorials in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
In addition to her research and work with the journal, Moss has had an active presence in numerous university communities. She served as chair of the UBC Canadian Studies Program (2008-2011), director of the International Canadian Studies Centre (2008-2011), and leader of the UBC GRSJ-CWILA Research Network (2013-2014). She was also on the CWILA board of directors from 2012-2014. In 2013, she was awarded a Killam Teaching Prize.
2020 – Present: Christine Kim
Christine Kim is associate professor of English at the University of British Columbia. She specializes in Asian North American literature and theory, diaspora studies, and cultural studies. She is the author of The Minor Intimacies of Race (University of Illinois Press, 2016) and co-editor of Cultural Grammars of Nation, Diaspora and Indigeneity (Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2012). Currently she is working on a SSHRC funded book-length project on representations of North Korea, cultural fantasies, and Cold War legacies.
Over 60 Years of Canadian Literature
In 2009, Canadian Literature celebrated its 50th anniversary with a four-day gala, including a two-day conference titled “The Future of Canadian Literature/Canadian Literature,” featuring Canadian and international academics, graduate students, and acclaimed writers. Since 1959, Canadian Literature has grown and evolved, reflecting changes in Canadian society and in literary studies. Scholarship has become more specialized, eclectic, and international, and so too has the journal. More contributors are now women, and more submissions are concerned with women writers. Ethnicity has become a recurrent theme, reflecting Canada’s increasingly multicultural population. The length of the journal has grown in order to accommodate the broader range of research and higher volume of books being published in and about Canada. In 2011, we launched our online submission system, OJS, in an effort to go paperless. In 2019, Canadian Literature celebrated its 60th anniversary with a reading emceed by Poetry Editor Phinder Dulai. The reading featured Jordan Abel, Sonnet L’Abbé, Daphne Marlatt, Cecily Nicholson, and Shazia Hafiz Ramji, followed by the awarding of the 60th Anniversary Graduate Student Essay Prize.
Canadian Literature continues to take its primary direction from the interests of contributors and readers. Our general issues cover a wide range of time periods and topics, while our themed issues provide insight into specific subjects and specialized works. Since our early days, we have only printed original, unpublished poetry by Canadian poets.
Managing Editor Donna Chin has been responsible for the production and financial affairs at Canadian Literature since 1996. She has undertaken fundraising and promotional projects to enhance the administration and production of the journal as well as increasing brand name recognition of Canadian Literature among publishers. She organized an eAuction in 2005 to raise funds for the CanLit Student Award. This special university scholarship gives UBC Arts Co-op students the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and experience while learning about the world of Canadian literature, publishing, research, and writing through an editorial internship. This experience and her mentorship push many co-op and work-study students towards becoming a new generation of young editors with expertise in the field of Canadian literature and publishing. Chin has coordinated four redesigns and the expansion of the website, initiating many of its most popular features, such as the journal and publisher lists. She is also responsible for the digitization of Canadian Literature’s business operations, particularly the conversion of various databases, to ensure the journal keeps up with evolving technology. Donna Chin received the UBC President's Service Award for Excellence in 2000.
In 1988, Canadian Literature became the first and only journal to win the Gabrielle Roy Prize for best English book-length studies in Canadian and Québec literary criticism. In 2009, Canadian Literature won a Canadian Online Publishing Award for Best Cross Platform for CanLit Poets. Under Donna Chin’s management, Canadian Literature has been funded by the Heritage Canada Magazine Fund and UBC’s Teaching Learning Enhancement Fund.