New faculty members, a minor program, and a partnership to announce the Scotiabank Giller Prize nominations help mark the 50th anniversary of Canada’s oldest creative writing program
UBC Creative Writing, now in its 50th year, is welcoming two new faces to its faculty. New to UBC, that is; but Timothy Taylor and Nancy Lee are old friends to literary fans the world over.
Taylor shot to fame in 2001 with his novel Stanley Park, which was nominated for a slew of awards and went on to become a bestseller. He won a CBC Bookie Prize for his most recent novel, The Blue Light Project, and is also an accomplished writer of non-fiction that has been published in the likes of Harper’s, Walrus, and The Wall Street Journal.
Lee is the author of the celebrated short story collection Dead Girls, instantly acclaimed on its publication in 2003 for both its exquisite writing and its eerily prescient imagining of a serial killer preying on women in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Her hotly anticipated new novel, The Age, is forthcoming from McClelland and Stewart in spring 2014.
“We’re tremendously excited about the coming year,” says Prof. Steven Galloway, acting chair of UBC’s Creative Writing Program and award-winning author (The Cellist of Sarajevo). “It’s a chance to connect with 50 years of alumni and celebrate their success. We hope to see many alumni at our readings, events, and celebrations throughout the year.”
New minor program
With Lee’s new job comes an exciting responsibility: coordinator of Creative Writing’s brand new minor program. UBC students with a passion for creative writing who don’t want to commit to the BFA major program can now learn to write fiction, non-fiction, screenplay, and poetry in this engaging but less intensive program.
“We see the minor program as an excellent fit with any number of majors,” says Lee. “History, psychology, political science, or for students who intend to study law, just for example. Anyone in a discipline that involves story-telling and a need for good writing will benefit from this program.”
The minor program is not the only innovation in this celebratory year. Creative Writing is also forging new ties to the publishing industry, including a non-fiction workshop sponsored by Random House of Canada. The goal of this class is publication in Random House’s online magazine, Hazlitt. Random House has also generously provided a number of scholarships to the program.
Punching above its weight
These high-profile relationships underscore UBC Creative Writing’s contributions over the years to the Canadian literary scene. The program has consistently punched above its weight in terms of publications by its alumni, prize nominations, and international recognition.
Names like Joseph Boyden (Through Black Spruce), Annabel Lyon (The Golden Mean), Steven Galloway (The Cellist of Sarajevo), Eden Robinson (Monkey Beach), Paulette Bourgeois (Franklin the Turtle), Charlotte Gill (Eating Dirt), Hart Hanson (Bones), Morris Panych (Girl in the Goldfish Bowl), Madeleine Thien (Dogs at the Perimeter), Susan Musgrave (Origami Dove) and Kevin Chong (My Year of the Racehorse) are beloved by readers the world over. But less-known are their affiliations as faculty or alumni of this “little program that could.”
And, indeed, the program is not so little any more. With the introduction of the Optional Residency program in 2005, Creative Writing’s graduate program is has grown dramatically.
About UBC Creative Writing
Past Founded in 1963 by poet Earle Birney to clothe the writer “naked in academe,” UBC Creative Writing is the oldest creative writing program in Canada.
Present New undergraduate minor program, new partnerships with Random House of Canada to fund classes, scholarships, and publication opportunities for students.
Optional Residency Since 2005, the first on-line MFA program in Canada, with students from across Canada and around the world, including England, Singapore, Montreal, Brooklyn, the Netherlands, Chile, Texas, Whitehorse, Cambodia.
Genres Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Writing for Screen, Writing for Television, Writing for Stage, Radio, Writing for Children, Poetry, Translation, Lyric and Libretto, Graphic Novel, Writing for New Media.
Faculty Keith Maillard, Bryan Wade, Linda Svendsen, Andreas Schroeder, Peggy Thompson, Maureen Medved, Rhea Tregebov, Steven Galloway, Annabel Lyon, Timothy Taylor, Nancy Lee, Joseph Boyden, Sara Graefe, Wayne Grady, Susan Musgrave.
Alumni Anosh Irani, Eden Robinson, Steven Galloway, Miranda Hill, Madeleine Thien, Sarah Selecky, Shauna Singh Baldwin, Nancy Lee, Kevin Chong, Lee Henderson, George Bowering, Dennis Foon, Paulette Bourgeois, Jack Hodgins, Morris Panych, Annabel Lyon, Fred Wah, Ian Weir, Carol Shaben, Charlotte Gill, Andrew Westoll and more.