ACQL mourns the loss of the 215 children whose remains were recently discovered in a mass grave at the Kamloops Indian Residential School, as well as countless more who perished in residential schools across the country as part of Canada’s program of genocide against Indigenous peoples. Moreover, we acknowledge that the harms of the residential school system are ongoing. We call upon the Government of Canada to fully and immediately fund the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action numbers 71 through 76 regarding missing children and burial information at residential schools across Canada. ACQL has made a donation in honour of all of the victims of the residential school system to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.

Recipient of the 2020 Gabrielle Roy Prize

The Association for Canadian and Quebec Literatures (ACQL) is pleased to announce the winner for the 2020 Gabrielle Roy Prize (English section), which each year honours the best work of Canadian literary criticism published in English. This year’s winner is Linda Morra’s edited collection Moving Archives (Wilfrid Laurier University Press). The winner was chosen by a jury composed of Neta Gordon (Brock University), Rob Zacharias (York University), and Veronica Austen (St. Jerome’s University).

Linda Morra’s edited collection Moving Archives brings together a wonderful array of chapters that establish the vital role of affect in archival studies. Playing with the multiple meanings of “moving” – to shift, to travel, and to be moved by – this collection both showcases changes in the field of archival studies and demonstrates that research is a subjective process that requires negotiation between subjects and awareness of the affective economies that shape scholarship. The individual contributions to this collection are noteworthy for their depth and ability to expand our knowledge of Canadian literary and textual studies, and the collection as a whole achieves excellence for the breadth of its focus and ability to unify this focus. In centering itself on the labour of scholarship, Moving Archives reaches across and will impact a wide range of Canadian literary and textual studies.

Recipient of the 2021 Barbara Godard Prize

ACQL is pleased to announce that the 2021 Barbara Godard Prize has been awarded to Marta Croll-Baehre for their paper “‘Imitation of Empire Cuisine’: An Auto-ethnographic Exploration of the Canadian Artisanal Menu in Conversation with Fred Wah’s Diamond Grill.”

Marta is a Ph.D. student in the English and Cultural Studies program at McMaster University. Inspired by questions that Sara Ahmed poses in Strange Encounters, the presentation compares the author’s experience of eating “innovative Canadian cuisine” at the Aberdeen Tavern, a special occasions restaurant in Hamilton, Ontario, with select descriptions of food preparation and consumption in Fred Wah’s semi-fictional memoir Diamond Grill (1996). The jury admired this paper for its innovative approach that combined literary analysis with cultural studies, supported by a detailed and nuanced discussion of methodology, as well as an effective integration of relevant theoretical frameworks.

Program for 2021 conference

This year’s conference will take place from May 29 – May 31 and will be free and accessible to all of our members. The preliminary program is available here. A program with virtual links will be sent later by email.

Withdrawal from Congress 2021 in Support of the Black Canadian Studies Association

Having a bilingual mission as the cornerstone of its identity, the Association of Canadian and Québécois Literatures is an association founded on the principle of relationship-building across a diversity of perspectives and cultural experiences. Given this ideal and given the concerns brought forward by the Black Canadian Studies Association, the Executive Committee of ACQL does not feel that Congress 2021 can provide the space of inclusivity that we would hope to offer our members. As such, the Executive Committee of ACQL has decided to withdraw from participating in Congress 2021 and hold its 2021 conference independently in a virtual format.

Although cognizant of some measures taken by the Federation to address the concerns brought forward, we have made the decision to withdraw from Congress 2021 as an expression of support for our colleagues at the Black Canadian Studies Association whose voices have brought attention to experiences of racism and exclusion that we need to do a better job of confronting and working to eliminate. We also take this action in support of other associations who, like BCSA, have made the difficult decision to withdraw from this year’s Congress. ACQL traditionally looks to Congress as an important site of the exchange of ideas and relationship-building, but with the absence of so many voices, the ACQL Executive does not see that Congress can offer this ideal this year. Furthermore, we recognize that there is work to do to ensure that Congress can be experienced as a more inclusive and safe space in the future and commit to enacting that change.

In voting to hold an independent virtual ACQL conference for 2021, the Executive Committee seeks not only to support those of you who have begun to prepare your presentations, but also to include participants who would otherwise remain absent. In moving to an independent venue, ACQL will honour the commitment originally made by the Federation to waive the conference fees for all conference participants who self-identify as Black or Indigenous.

The Executive has begun to envision ways in which we can effect change, but also recognizes that our association has much work to do. To this end, we offer two immediate starting points. Firstly, we have added to our program a session in which we invite all of you to contribute to a discussion on decolonization and anti-racism in academia. Secondly, at the 2021 annual general meeting, we wish to hold a discussion with our members on more long-term measures that we can enact to make our association more equitable, inclusive, and diverse.

In the weeks to come, we will publish the conference program and provide you with more details regarding our online venue and registration.

Pierre-Yves Mocquais, Francophone plenary speaker, ACQL 2021

Pierre-Yves Mocquais, Francophone plenary speaker, ACQL 2021

The ACQL is pleased to announce that Pierre-Yves Mocquais, professor and dean of the University of Alberta’s campus of Saint-Jean, will give a plenary talk at our annual conference at Congress 2021.

Pierre-Yves Mocquais est professeur titulaire et doyen du Campus Saint-Jean de l’Université de l’Alberta. Il est co-président de l’Association des Collèges et Universités de la Francophonie Canadienne (ACUFC) et du Consortium National de Formation en Santé (CNFS). À l’université de Regina, il a été directeur du département de français, fondateur et directeur du Centre canadien de recherche sur les francophonies minoritaires et du Canadian Institute for Peace, Justice and Security et vice-doyen à l’enseignement et à la recherche. À l’Université de Calgary, il a été doyen de la faculté des humanités, doyen fondateur du Language Research Center et président de l’Alliance française de Calgary. Ses recherches ont porté sur la génétique textuelle et l’œuvre de l’écrivain québécois Hubert Aquin, notamment à travers l’ouvrage Hubert Aquin ou la quête interrompue et une édition critique du roman Neige Noire. Plus récemment, ses recherches se sont concentrées sur la francophonie canadienne, la littérature du Québec et du Canada français, la francophonie en contexte linguistique minoritaire, la culture francophone des Prairies, les récits et textes de mémoire et les questions d’identité francophone en milieu minoritaire et de survivances culturelles. Il a été l’éditeur de plusieurs volumes collectifs sur la Francophonie de l’Ouest canadien, notamment Langages et écritures de l’exil. L’ouest canadien, terre d’asile, terre d’exil, publié en 2018 aux Presses de l’Université Laval.

Call for Papers (Reminder)

The deadline of October 31st for submissions for member-organized sessions is fast approaching. Please find the Call for Papers for the 2021 ACQL Conference via the link below. An announcement will be made in early November regarding the nature (in person, hybrid, virtual) of the conference.

Call for Papers

The Winner of the 2019 Gabrielle Roy Prize (English Section)

The Association for Canadian and Quebec Literatures (ACQL) is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2019 Gabrielle Roy Prize (English section), which each year honours the best work of Canadian literary criticism written in English, is Jody Mason for Home Feelings: Liberal Citizenship and the Canadian Reading Camp Movement (McGill-Queen’s University Press). The winner was chosen by a jury composed of Margery Fee (University of British Columbia), Heidi Tiedemann Darroch (Camosun College), and Veronica Austen (St. Jerome’s University). The Prize is expected to be awarded in person at Congress, next Spring 2021.

Jody Mason’s Home Feelings: Liberal Citizenship and the Canadian Reading Camp Movement distinguishes itself for its tremendous research and critical insight. In constructing an analysis of the Canadian Reading Camp Association, the precursor to Frontier College, Mason offers insight into how reading and literacy were used in a citizenship-building project to form workers as liberal subjects and prevent the radicalization of immigrants. She draws on a range of primary sources – reports, letters, government documents – to construct a meticulously detailed historical account that allows her to form new theoretical insight about the ideological construction and functioning of reading and literacy. Mason is to be particularly commended for the impressive rigour of this book.

The jury would also like to congratulate the two other finalists in this year’s competition (in alphabetical order): Tony Tremblay for The Fiddlehead Moment: Pioneering an Alternative Canadian Modernism in New Brunswick (McGill-Queen’s University Press) and J.A. Weingarten for Sharing the Past: The Reinvention of History in Canadian Poetry since 1960 (University of Toronto Press).

Tony Tremblay’s The Fiddlehead Moment: Pioneering an Alternative Canadian Modernism in New Brunswick offers a careful and detailed assessment of the careers of three key New Brunswick writers, Alfred Bailey, Desmond Pacey, and Fred Cogswell. Through a wide-ranging examination of why modernism took the form it did in New Brunswick, Tremblay constructs an impressively detailed history of the Fiddlehead School of modernism. In doing so, Tremblay offers a compelling refashioning of Canadian literary modernism that considers the traditionally neglected role New Brunswick plays in broader national currents of literary modernism. Through this impressive work, our sense of Canadian literary modernism is expanded.

J.A. Weingarten’s Sharing the Past: The Reinvention of History in Canadian Poetry since 1960 astutely examines lyric poetry to expand our view of post-1960 Canadian literature’s engagement with history-making. Noting an overemphasis on postmodernist novels, and subsequently a tendency to view history-making in Canadian literature through the lens of historiographic metafiction, Weingarten pushes the discourse to consider how such writers as Al Purdy, John Newlove, Lorna Crozier, Barry McKinnon, Andrew Suknaski, Margaret Atwood, and Joan Crate move beyond the usual postmodern undermining of knowable truth to investigate local, social, and familial histories. Sharing the Past demonstrates extremely thorough research, and Weingarten’s ability to weave together discussions of the numerous writers and their work creates a wonderfully engaging reading experience.

For more information:

Veronica Austen

Chair of the Jury (Anglophone Section), ACQL/ALCQ