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Other Services. Chartchai Parasuk. Nauvarat Suksamran. E-Paper sign in free trial subscribe contact us. New Opposition view topic. New cabinet view topic. Marijuana law view topic. Tham Luang rescue view topic. Other interviews include Malahat editor John Barton and writer Elizabeth Ross on cancer and recovery in her memoir, "Evidence of Disease," published in our recent Autumn issue. Publishing Tips: Canadian writer and blogger Oscar Martens weighs the pros and cons of publishing houses versus self publishing. Do you send your manuscript to a publishing house and endure long waits and rejection, or go the lone-wolf route and take on the staggering task of promotion and publicity?

Great stocking stuffer ideas this Christmas season for a loved one, a friend, or even yourself. Discover all this and more in the December edition of Malahat lite. Deadline is January 22, Contest judge is Janet Rogers. Interview conducted by Malahat editor John Barton. Barton: The atmosphere in "Down Burned Road" is not only a product of the "remote" location of Carrie and Yurig's house, but of the "writerly" resonances I also catch. I know of your interest in H. Lovecraft and the story's mention of the Black Forest makes me think of the Brothers Grimm.

Can you talk about how genre fiction and folk tales may have influenced you in the composition of this story? Baker: You know, I can't escape them even when I try. Even when I'm writing "realism. I guess Grimm's fairy tales were the earliest stories I knew. Not from books, of which we had few, but retold to me by my mother. Fairy tales, folktales, Biblical stories. That's what I cut my teeth on.

All dark, mysterious. We carry those first stories with us, I suppose, no matter the geography we physically in habit. Celebrate the holidays with one-year subscriptions to the Malahat! Great digital stocking stuffers for loved ones or yourself. This gift offer comes but once each year. DE: To what extent are you an "experimental" poet? Are you not also a lyric poet and sometimes a narrative one? What poets served as your initial inspirations?

WC: I think overcategorizing my own creativity isn't productive. I just read lots and allow myself to be influenced by what I've read in equal measure with how I let myself be influenced by the words I write and overwrite on top of previous ideas and texts. The critical thinking I perform that happens before during and after the words flow somehow make it look like poems.

The process is intuitive, slow, and not afraid of changing and shifting. No one should do what fails to surprise them. The issue is filled with exceptional writing—the two winning entries in the Long Poem Prize, and some fantastic pieces of short fiction.

Take a break from election news to read this month's newsletter! Page at A Celebratory Reading in honour of one of Canada's most outstanding writers. A group of close friends will be reading from her work to pay tribute to her life and accomplishments on what would've been her th birthday. Interviews: Weyman Chan's poem, "Here I Am," appears in our latest Autumn issue , and he lets us in on experimental poetry and the Calgary writing scene. Horror aficionado Jacqueline Baker pictured discusses fairy-tale influence in her short story, "Down Burned Road.

Discover all this and more in the November edition of Malahat lite. Immortality is not easy to come by, but if anyone has attained it, it would be Victoria poet P. On Wednesday, November 23rd at the University of Victoria, a group of writers and friends will gather to read from her works and to pay tribute to the life and accomplishments of one of Canada's most celebrated writers on what would have been her one hundredth birthday.

The reading, emceed by Yvonne Blomer, will be followed by a panel discussion, moderated by Nicholas Bradley. Click here for event details on P. Page's Celebratory Reading. Two very well-known authors in the Canadian literary scene made contributions to this issue—P. Page sat on the editorial board, and Michael Ondaatje provided the cover photo. Her entry, "The Equation," was chosen by final judge Lee Maracle from over entries, our biggest creative nonfiction contest draw to date. Check out the full announcement page for Lynn Easton's win.

We received a record number of entries this year, and are excited to post the finalists. Stay tuned for the announcement next week! This year's contest deadline is two weeks away November 1 , and to sweeten the pot, we're giving away a collection of books to one lucky entrant! All you have to do is enter the contest, and you'll be automatically entered to win all seven books! Entrants can mix and match their genres and there's no limit to how many times you can enter. JT: This poem both seems to be a critique of Vancouver and a celebration of it.

Was this what you were going for, or did you see the poem as exalting even annoyances and disappointments? Or was the poem just about letting everything go for you, acknowledging that everything that is here will one day not be? EK: A little bit of all of that. I have a lot of immoderate ambivalence for Vancouver, and that all came out in this poem. But I think one of the only ways to cope with living in Vancouver is to sort of face plant into impermanence.

Read the full interview here, and listen to a special recorded reading of her poem. It's spooky how much great content is in this month's e-newsletter! Interviews: Vancouver writer and spoken word poet Erin Kirsh talks about her Autumn Issue poem, "Attachments Anyway," and reads it aloud in a special Malahat exclusive recording. Publishing Tip: Canadian writer and reviewer Phoebe Wang pictured delivers a handful of excellent tips to both emerging and established writers on pitching work to publishers.

Submit early and submit often! Digital edition: we're offering a new platform to read on tablets, smartphones, and e-readers to Malahat lovers all over the world! Discover all this and more in the October edition of Malahat lite. The Malahat has gone digital! We now offer digital subscriptions and single issues for purchase to read on your phone, tablet, or e-reader! If you would like to receive both the print and digital editions, bundles are available for the cost of the print subscription.

This bundle option is a limited offer, so subscribe now! Click here to visit the Malahat 's digital store. The poems form part of McOrmond's larger manuscript, Reckon , a collection that tallys our contemporary way of living and what we owe. JB: I hate to ask about pronouns, but reading your newer poems, I was struck by how they differed from those in your most recent full-length collection, The Good News About Armageddon. In that book, the lyric 'I'—the persona at the centre of the long titular poem—demands the reader's attention, even in the face of apocalypse.

In three of your four poems featured in the Summer issue of The Malahat Review , you've eschewed the first-person singular pronoun; I've noticed a move towards a more detached method of observation in recent pieces. Is this a deliberate stylistic shift, or a reflection of the subject matter of the new work? SM: The narrator of that long poem is in the midst of some kind of psychic breakdown. Most of us are pretty good at tuning out the world and holding our fears at arm's length—we have to be in order to survive. But this speaker's filter is damaged.

He is no longer able to look away or distance himself from the noise and chaos of current events. So the lyric 'I' of that poem is really a kind of messy collision of the personal and political, a train wreck of different end-times narratives from supermarket tabloids to religious tracts.

It's a very self-reflexive, inconsistent and erratic 'I. If you're a university, college, or high school student this academic year, get a one-year subscription for yourself or a classmate to The Malahat Review. That's four isues of award-winning poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction until next year. Continue reading about this week's featured issue write-up by Celina Silva.

Her poem, "Introducing Miss Zelda Zonk," was one of three poems published by the author in Issue She lives in Sherbrooke. I leave my agent's office with a pair of black eyes and a socialite's nose. A blob of bovine matter no bigger than a sleeping capsule now corrects my recessive chin. The lye permeates my hair at the antebellum level, drugging every fibre, transforming my head from pulp to paper.

Read the full excerpted poem here. Poetry contributor Steve McOrmond discusses his poems to appear in the Summer issue. Journey Prize Nomination: Short story writer J. This same story won our annual Jack Hodgins Founders' Award for the best piece of fiction to have been published in Buy one for yourself or a friend! Discover all this and more in the September edition of Malahat lite. We're currently on the hunt for a Marketing and Promotions Assistant.

The successful candidate will have a broad knowledge of current social media tools and will be conversant with Windows-based Word, Excel and WordPress. Hello Malahat. Malahat short story author J. Click here to read an excerpt. This story was originally published in Issue , Autumn , and won the Malahat 's annual Jack Hodgins' Founders Award for Fiction, honouring the best piece published in the previous year.

Read more on McConvey's Journey Prize nomination. The Malahat 's annual Open Season Contest is now accepting entries! Contest deadline is November 1, Entrants can send work for one or all three genres if they wish! All entries come with a complimentary one-year subscription to The Malahat Review. In her article, she explains the careful tug-and-pull of working with an editor, and reiterates what all writers know they'll one day have to do: kill your darlings.

If you've been published, you've probably felt the deft touch of an editor, whether on big picture matters or line-by-line copy edits. It's a privilege. Imagine, someone actually wants to talk about what you've written. And getting to work with a professional editor on someone else's dime is like receiving a windfall. But the benefits are more than monetary. The best editors call up a better me.

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They stretch me as an artist and as a human. Contributors had to send us their work on disks, or else minions like me had to transcribe the story or poem into our computer from the original hard copy I know, right? But it turns out that typing out the poems of others is an excellent exercise for a young wannabe.

In the process, the scribe becomes the poet, breaking lines in the same place and making identical word choices. To produce a good forgery of a Picasso, one must necessarily understand Picasso. The Malahat Review , a literary quarterly published by the University of Victoria, acknowledges that it operates on the unceded territory of the Coast and Straits Salish people, including the Lekwungen family group, Checkonien, and Sungayka village. Get full details on submitting to the Indigenous Perspectives Issue.

Bouchard explores the delicate nature of homelessness, recovery, and moral compromises in his nonfiction piece, "Women and Children," which appears in the Malahat 's Summer issue. FB: Let's start with the genesis of this story. In the footnote, you explain that it came out of the month you spent living in and around the Las Vegas Rescue Mission in Did you go there with the idea that you would write about it at some point? Did you take notes or write anything about the experience at the time?

How did your in-the-moment writing or lack of it help or hinder you in writing "Women and Children"? KB: Yes. I went to the Rescue Mission with the idea of writing about it. The notes and journal entries I made have proved invaluable in writing this piece and in my general reflections on the period. But the fact that I went to the Rescue Mission in order to write about it, and not because I had to, is also one of the most problematic and complicated factors I have to consider whenever I reflect on my time there.

It's an additional layer of the experience that makes writing about it much more complex. The Summer issue has been mailed to Malahat readers across the globe, and we have great interviews to accompany the writing inside! Interviews: fiction board member Lee Henderson speaks with Elyse Friedman about her latest short story, "Seventeen Comments," and the issues it raises about Internet comment sections. Creative nonfiction board member Frances Backhouse talks with Kelly Bouchard about homelessness and spending time in a Las Vegas shelter as depicted in his memoir, "Women and Children.

Publishing Tip: Victoria writer Tricia Dower explains the careful tug-and-pull of working with an editor , and reiterates what all writers know they'll one day have to do: kill your darlings. News and Contests: time's running out to submit entries to the Indigenous Perspectives Issue deadline August And we've opened submissions for this year's Open Season Contest! Discover all this and more in the August edition of Malahat lite. Need a few more days of sunshine before you hunker down and finalize your creative nonfiction story?

No worries! We've extended this year's contest deadline until Friday, August 5. Send us your nonfiction eg. All entries come with a new one-year subscription or extension of existing subscription! Click here for full contest details, and to submit your creative nonfiction today!

This stirring and disturbing romp of a poem is also illustrated by one of a series of works by the Nova Scotia-based artist, Lara Martina , that respond to George's take on Shakespeare's tragic hero, as channeled through Sade. Lara is one of Clarke's long time collaborators. To celebrate George's most recent appearance in the Malahat, we've assembled a "reader" composed of separate interviews with the poet and with his illustrator, starting with and departing from "Othello You may read the full text of this poem or listen to George's performance of it, recorded while he was the Ralph Gustafson Distinguished Poet at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo.

Click here for the George Elliott Clarke reader. Ever wanted to add your own comments to a Malahat story? Now's your chance! It satirizes the reality of online comment sections and the role of cyber anonymity as numerous posters flame each other following a review of a trendy new restaurant. We've posted the story online and we're giving readers the chance to add their own comments to it!

Read her story online, and add your own comment to the blog section. This issue begins with "Flight," a not-so-short story by Holley Rubinsky d. At thirty-five pages long, this is a bold choice; the story makes up nearly a third of the issue's length. At the time, Rubinsky had recently won the first ever Journey Prize, and her short story collection Rapid Transits and Other Stories was a few months away from publication. If you're already well-acquainted with George Bowering's work, then as the author's winking persona George Delsing warns the reader in "Ardell," the final story in 10 Women : "I think you might want to skip the next paragraph.

Into his eighth decade, with over publications to his name, Bowering has two Governor General's Literary Awards, one each for poetry and fiction, and has been prolific in all forms, including drama and nonfiction. But in fairness, there may yet be people who haven't read Bowering—or at least, there were before this reviewer agreed to write the piece you're currently reading, before I found myself blitz-reading his memoir of adolescence, Pinboy , and the debut novel Mirror on the Floor , desperate to find out more about this Delsing character.

Read the full book review here by Daniel Perry. This interview was conducted by Jane Eaton Hamilton. JEH: What are you looking for in a creative nonfiction manuscript? What characteristics strike you and make you know this particular manuscript is a winning text? LM: I still believe that the demands of writing in whatever genre are very similar: nonfiction must capture the imagination in a pragmatic and future oriented way. What is different is of course what the reader does with what they imagine and what they imagine becomes knowledge upon reading nonfiction.

Fiction and poetry affect the reader's belief and nonfiction affects the reader's knowledge, but both require the engagement of the imagination. Click here for contest details and to submit your work today. Saadi's entry was selected from over contest submissions by Steven Heighton. The caliber of poem was exceptionally high this year, and for Heighton, " Check out the full announcement for Yusuf Saadi's win. Check out this month's Malahat lite e-newsletter for lots of Summer Issue previews!

Lara Martina , illustrator for Clarke's poems, lets us in on the magic of artistry and what it's like working with Clarke. Discover all this and more in the July edition of Malahat lite. A relationship to nature and a concern for environmental destruction is prominent, making for a relevant read twenty-six years later, and a fitting read to take outside to the beach or backyard. We're pleased to announce the shortlist for the Far Horizons Poetry Contest! Over poems were received in total, and careful readers have whittled them down to 13 finalists. Troy Sebastian , a writer from the Ktunaxa community of?

Alongside Philip Kevin Paul poetry editor and Richard Van Camp fiction editor , Simpson will read all creative nonfiction submissions for consideration. LBS: It represents a prominent Canadian literary review—very few of which have published my work, although I have submitted throughout my career. So in some ways, it represents the unattainable for me—a writing community that I exist outside of.

The summer issue is set to print in late July, and we have all the book reviews online for you to read! Here's one that's sure to grab your attention It might be counterintuitive, but Catherine Owen believes being a writer involves much more than writing. In this provocative book she examines the moving parts of the literary community and explains what makes it tick. Starting with reading, which Owen believes is a fundamental part of being a writer, she considers activities such as reviewing, translating, hosting radio shows and even running small presses.

Drawing from the experiences of over fifty-eight poets, including herself, Owen explores activities such as performing, research, and translation, as well as creative endeavours like running a radio show or small press, and working with different mediums. Owen seems particularly qualified to write a book that champions a life of artistic diversity and adaptability. Five weeks to go until the deadline for this year's CNF Contest! As a proud Canadian magazine, we chose these books as prizes to celebrate the diversity of Canada's history and landscape.

Click here for the list of creative nonfiction books. Hands up: how many of you have heard of Trevor Ferguson? He may well be Canada's Cormac McCarthy. I make the comparison because McCarthy published his first novel in and from that beginning on, his work was seen by critics as something special. But it didn't sell for decades.

Ferguson published his first book in and has also since been lauded as a master of literary fiction. But he hasn't won the prizes and isn't a household name. All you have to do to understand why his lack of notoriety is a CanLit wrong that ought to be righted, is to read the first offering in this issue of Malahat. June's Publishing Tip comes to you from Julie Paul , local Victoria poet, short-story writer and former Malahat fiction board member.

Looking to go on a writing retreat? Read her advice, pack your bags, and start writing! The act of writing has many requirements, but above all, it needs time. No matter what type of writing you do, or how accomplished or new you are to the art—a lack of dedicated writing time is often the biggest stumbling block in the way of getting the work done. Sometimes ten minutes at lunch is all you have. But what if you want to dive in deeper?

What if your project needs uninterrupted time in which to grow and flourish? Rather than forcing a bloom, why not try a writing retreat? The Malahat Review is pleased to present the three guest editors for its Indigenous Perspectives Issue! All three are Indigenous writers from Canada with numerous publication and award credits under their belts. Full details here on submitting to Indigenous Perspectives deadline August Alongside Leanne Betasamosake Simpson creative nonfiction editor and Philip Kevin Paul poetry editor , Van Camp will read all fiction submissions for consideration.

TS: Poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction are categories easily familiar within the Canadian literary community. Do these categories fit within Indigenous storytelling canon and tradition? RVC: Yes, I believe we speak pure poetry when we're sharing stories that are based on things that have happened or are still happening.

I know I spruce up stories I retell. I think everyone does. I hope they do, anyway! Many of the short stories in this issue are concerned with isolation, love, and loss. They are voice-driven pieces with quirky characters. Continue reading about this week's featured issue write-up by K'ari Fisher.

This month's e-newsletter has great interviews, tips and contest information! Keep reading for literary goodies Legris' poem "Recto: The Bladder. This issue will be published in January and is accepting poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction from Indigenous writers all over Canada. Former fiction board member Julie Paul , who won the Victoria Book Prize, offers a Publishing Tip to writers looking to get away on retreats.

Read her advice , pack your bags, and start writing! Discover all this and more in the June edition of Malahat lite.

The Pemmican Eaters explores Marilyn Dumont 's sense of history as the dynamic present. The collection takes the stuff of textbook photographs and academic appendixes, and sets the figures into movement—a Red River jig of hybridity and complexity. Jess Taylor recently spoke with J. The story was originally published in Issue , Autumn JT: "Home Range" starts out as a realist short story and continues like this until the ending, where both story and character are transformed into something more fantastical.

Can you tell us a bit about the ending of your story without giving it away and the idea of metamorphosis there? Would you characterize it as a transformation or just as a reveal? JM: The ending came last—it didn't occur to me to take the story in that direction until the revision stage. I don't think of it as a physical transformation, nor as a reveal, at least not of something that was there all along. It's more like a breach: a moment in which Kyle's reality is changing fundamentally, which creates the conditions for a kind of blurring between psychological and physical realms.

It could serve as a justification, or a rebuke or curse. It's up for Kyle, and the reader, to decide. As always, Malahat features writers at different stages of their careers, and this issue is no exception, beginning with a genre-hopping photograph by Michael Ondaatje on the cover. More details on submitting to the Indigenous Perspectives issue submission deadline is August 15, Her story, "Next of Kin," was chosen by the three contest judges as the best of total submissions received. It will be published in the Summer issue of the Malahat. Can't wait for it be in print?

Read her interview with Christine Leclerc below where she talks about her winning piece! CL: Such a number of narrative threads run through "Next of Kin. AMT: As far as I remember, Liz's character came to me first, but I always saw her through the lens of another character—a daughter—who eventually became Marian.

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If Liz was the originating spark, some version of Marian was always the medium as the first-person narrator. And once you give your narrator the "I," she's in the protagonist's seat—unless you're doing something particularly clever with narrative framing. At any rate, Marian's point of view prevailed, and that brought a particular focus. Malahat alumnus Kevin Hardcastle 's debut short story collection, out with Biblioasis, has already received positive reviews and praise. Here's a sample of what book reviewer Jamie Dopp had to say about Hardcastle's stunning collection:.

The eleven stories in this debut collection are set mostly in the resource towns and countryside of the prairies. The characters tend to be scraping by on marginal work, petty or more serious crime, or to be the castoffs and victims—the debris—of the harsh economic and social environment. There is alcohol abuse, family dysfunction, violence, and the kind of exploitation that happens when people are reduced to fighting each other for scraps.

The stories are told with careful precision, free of authorial judgment, in prose that reminded me of the understated lyricism of later Thomas McGuane or of David Adams Richards. Deadline is August 1. Send us your best personal essay, memoir, biography, travel piece, social commentary, or historical account All entrants receive a complimentary one-year subscription to the Malahat.

This year's contest judge is Lee Maracle. Read all about her here interview coming in the July edition of Malahat lite e-newsletter. Submit your entries to the CNF Contest. Issue 85 opens with a searing story from the late Holley Rubinsky I am on the veranda, reading an eviction letter written by some lawyers in Seattle, Washington. Continue reading about this week's featured issue write-up by Stephanie Harrington. The Spring Issue has been distributed to readers all over the globe, and inside you'll find a fantastic story by Governor General's Award finalist and Trillium Book Award winner Kate Cayley.

In this interview, she talks with Francesca Bianco about artistry, identity and truth as they pertain to her fiction piece. Here's a sample of their conversation:. FB: In "The Ascent," we find a woman—sometimes called "Lady"—who renounces herself "I am not that woman any longer" and puts on a metaphorical habit in order to perform another character.

She embarks on a pilgrimage of self-fabrication that ultimately saves her. Writing can be a kind of performance. What is the nature of that performance for you when putting pen to paper? KC: I think it depends very much on the form. I find short stories probably the most performative because it is possible to sustain a different voice over that briefer journey. With anything longer, the author intrudes. And of course, like Lady finds, the performance becomes itself a real thing. I suppose it is a kind of salvation, in the sense of something that transforms experience.

This month's e-newsletter has lots of info on upcoming theme issues, news and interviews with contest winners, and a National Magazine Award nomination! Winners will be announced at a special gala in Toronto on June 10, and all Malahat staff are crossing their fingers! Founders Award for Fiction winner J. McConvey talks about the theme of grief in his winning piece, "Home Range. Calls for Submissions: we have two theme issues coming up, and we're looking for writers to send us their work! Discover all this and more in the May edition of Malahat lite.

Great news! Canadian writer Susan Olding has been nominated for a National Magazine Award in the Essays category for her nonfiction piece, "White Matter," which originally appears in Issue of the Malahat. This issue, published in January , highlights the best of creative nonfiction in Canada today. Susan Olding's work has won and been nominated for multiple awards, including previous National Magazine Awards. Full list of National Magazine Award nominees here. As I stare at the cover of this particular issue of The Malahat Review , three smiling faces greet me, welcoming me to the realm of their works.

These women, Paulette Jiles, Diana Hartog, and Sharon Thesen, are the focus of this issue, with a generous selection of their poetry and with a preceding interview by editor Constance Rooke. Continue reading about this week's featured issue write-up by Miranda Marini. There's no theme, topic or subject matter we won't consider. This is one contest that's especially geared toward younger poets who are honing their craft.

Click here for full contest details, including submission and payment options. On love, levity, and the false brave face: Malahat volunteer Michelle Brown talks with Issue contributor Martin James Ainsley about family relations and the call of a shiny red '69 Chevy in his poem, "Muscle Car. Michelle: The car is the only female figure in a story about relationships between men, which I found very interesting. She's a "teenage dream", uniquely able to draw the attention of all three male figures in the poem, but also the one thing that stands between the father and the son.

Was feminizing the car a conscious choice? Can you talk a bit about the car's role in the poem? Martin: Yikes. What a question! But when I read it now, I know I was playing a bit cheekily with the whole Oedipal thing. That red sports car was sexy , damn it!

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To celebrate its first half-century and to launch itself into its second, The Malahat Review will publish a theme issue on Victoria writing past, present, and future in Autumn Victoria is known nationally and internationally for a remarkably vibrant writing scene that has a depth of accomplishment spanning more than a century, one equalling, if not rivaling the achievements of literary cities… to the east …that are two, three, even ten times its size.

Since , as an anchor of Victoria writing, The Malahat Review has had the good fortune to launch and sustain the reputations of many Victoria writers by publishing their work at all stages of their careers. More details on the Victoria theme issue announcement page. Not to say that every single poem or short story is necessarily my cup of tea, but that, without exception, one can pull down a random back issue and be largely amazed.

Witness: Number 82, from the Spring of At times the self is revealed as a thing of tricks and shadows—illusory, fragile, and unreliable. The narrator identifies with St. Jude, patron saint of lost causes, and periodically slips into a familiar melancholy, beyond consolation. The poems create a world prone to unravelling, one that leaves us with little to hold onto. Steven: Interest is never enough. What haunts and obsesses you into writing may, with luck and labour, interest your readers.

What merely interests you is sure to bore them. Let failure be your workshop. See it for what it is: the world walking you through a tough but necessary semester, free of tuition. Embrace oblivion. The Novella Prize winner has been chosen! Canadian writer Anne Marie Todkill has been chosen as the grand prize winner of the Novella Prize. More details on the Novella Prize announcement page. Love literary contests? So do we! This edition of Malahat lite is chock full of contest news, interviews, and updates. Far Horizons Poetry Award : this contest runs every other year and is open to emerging poets who have yet to publish their work in book form.

Contest fee is reduced to encourage young writers to submit. Steven Heighton , a prominent Canadian poet, is contest judge -- in an exclusive interview , he dishes hearty advice on poetry! Founders' Awards : each year, the Malahat honours the best in poetry and fiction within its pages.


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See the full list of winners here. Winner will be revealed April 8. Discover all this and more in the April edition of Malahat lite. This year's Founders' Award winners have been announced! In , the chemist Hans Suess reported an analysis of wood from trees grown over the past century, finding that the newer the wood, the higher its ratio of plain carbon to carbon He had detected an increase of fossil carbon in the atmosphere. The amount of fossil carbon that Suess saw added to the atmosphere was barely one percent, a fraction so low that he concluded that the oceans were indeed taking up most of the carbon that came from burning fossil fuels.

A decade would pass before he reported more accurate studies, which showed a far higher fraction of fossil carbon. Yet already in it was evident that Suess's data were preliminary and insecure. The important thing he had demonstrated was that fossil carbon really was showing up in the atmosphere.

More work on carbon should tell just how carbon was circulating in the planetary system. Some other carbon experts attacked the topic independently, all reaching much the same conclusions. From measurements of how much of the isotope was found in the air and how much in sea water, they calculated the movements of CO 2. It turned out that the ocean surface waters took up a typical molecule of CO 2 from the atmosphere within a decade or so. Measurements of the travels of radioactive carbon from bomb tests meanwhile showed that the oceans turned over completely in several hundred years an estimate soon confirmed by evidence from other studies.

But Revelle had been studying the chemistry of the oceans through his entire career, and he knew that the seas are not just salt water but a complex stew of chemicals. These chemicals create a peculiar buffering mechanism that stabilizes the acidity of sea water. The mechanism had been known for decades, but Revelle now realized that it would prevent the water from retaining all the extra CO 2 it took up. A supplementary essay on Revelle's Discovery tells this crucial story in full, as a detailed example of the complex interactions often found in geophysical research.

Revelle did not at first recognize the full significance of his work. He made a calculation in which he assumed that industry would emit CO 2 at a constant rate like most people at the time, he scarcely grasped how explosively population and industry were rising. Revelle did note that greenhouse effect warming "may become significant during future decades if industrial fuel combustion continues to rise exponentially. As sometimes happens with landmark scientific papers, written in haste while understanding just begins to dawn, Revelle's explanation was hard to grasp.

Other scientists failed to see the point that was obscurely buried in the calculations, and continued to deny there was a greenhouse effect problem. In , when Callendar published a paper to insist once again that CO 2 observations showed a steady rise from the 19th century, he noted Revelle's paper but still confessed that he did not understand why "the oceans have not been accepting additional CO 2 on anything like the accepted scale.

They explained the sea water buffering clearly — so clearly that during the next few years, some scientists cited Bolin and Eriksson's paper for this decisive insight rather than Revelle and Suess's only in later years was Revelle always cited for the discovery.


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To be sure, the chemistry of air and sea water would eventually reach an equilibrium — but that could take thousands of years. Arrhenius had not concerned himself with timescales shorter than that, but geoscientists in the s did. In the late s a few American scientists, starting with Plass, tentatively began to inform the public that greenhouse gases might become a problem within the foreseeable future. Revelle in particular warned journalists and government officials that greenhouse warming deserved serious attention. The stakes were revealed when Bolin and Eriksson pursued the consequences of their calculation to the end.

That was a far swifter rise than anyone before had suggested. As the New York Times reported in a brief note, Bolin suggested that the effect on climate "might be radical. His calculations of the exponential growth of industrial civilization suggested a drastic global warming within the next century or so. Once meteorologists understood that ocean uptake was slow, they found it possible that CO 2 levels had been rising, just as Callendar insisted. By the mid s, researchers were saying that it was important to measure, much more accurately, the concentration of CO 2 in the atmosphere. Their only finding, however, was a high noise level.

Their measurements apparently fluctuated from day to day as different air masses passed through, with differences between stations as high as a factor of two. Only much later was it recognized that their methods of analyzing the air had been inadequate, and responsible for much of the noise.

Charles David Dave Keeling held a different view. As he pursued local measurements of the gas in California, he saw that it might be possible to hunt down and remove the sources of noise. Technical advances in infrared instrumentation allowed an order of magnitude improvement over previous techniques for measuring gases like CO 2. Taking advantage of that, however, would require many costly and exceedingly meticulous measurements, carried out someplace far from disturbances. Most scientists, looking at the large and apparently unavoidable fluctuations in the raw data, thought such precision irrelevant and the instrumentation too expensive.

A supplementary essay tells the precarious story of Keeling's funding and monitoring of CO 2 levels as a detailed example of how essential research and measurements might be fed — or starved. Revelle's simple aim was to establish a baseline "snapshot" of CO 2 values around the world, averaging over the large variations he expected to see from place to place and from time to time. After a couple of decades, somebody could come back, take another snapshot, and see if the average CO 2 concentration had risen.

Keeling did much better than that with his new instruments. With painstaking series of measurements in the pristine air of Antarctica and high atop the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii, he nailed down precisely a stable baseline level of CO 2 in the atmosphere. In , with only two full years of Antarctic data in hand, Keeling reported that this baseline level had risen. The rate of the rise was approximately what would be expected if the oceans were not swallowing up most industrial emissions.

Lack of funds soon closed down the Antarctic station, but Keeling managed to keep the Mauna Loa measurements going with only a short hiatus. As the CO 2 record extended it became increasingly impressive, each year noticeably higher. Soon Keeling's curve, jagged but inexorably rising, was widely cited by scientific review panels and science journalists. New carbon measurements were giving scientists solid data to chew on. Researchers began to work out just how carbon moves through its many forms in the air, ocean, minerals, soils, and living creatures.

They plugged their data into simple models, with boxes representing each reservoir of carbon ocean surface waters, plants, etc. The final goal of most researchers was to figure out how much of the CO 2 produced from fossil fuels was sinking into the oceans, or perhaps was being absorbed by vegetation see above. But along the way there were many curious puzzles, which forced researchers to make inquiries among experts in far distant fields. During the s, these tentative contacts among almost entirely separate research communities developed into ongoing interchanges.

Scientists who studied biological cycles of elements such as nitrogen and carbon typically supported by forestry and agriculture interests got in touch with, among others, geochemists typically in academic retreats like the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. This emerging carbon-cycle community began to talk with atmospheric scientists who pursued interests in weather prediction typically at government-funded laboratories like the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, or the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, New Jersey.

One valuable example of this crossover of interests was a calculation published by Princeton computer specialists in They had managed to produce a model that simulated something roughly like the actual climate of the planet, with deserts and sea ice and trade winds in all the right places. Out of curiosity they doubled the amount of CO 2 in their simulated atmosphere.

The simulated global temperature rose a couple of degrees. Even before that, in , a prestigious group of scientists had suggested with noteworthy foresight that "By the year the increase in atmospheric CO They addressed the gas as simply one component in their study of biological, oceanographic or meteorological systems.

People did not easily grasp how sensitive the Earth's atmosphere was to biological forces — the totality of the planet's living activity — to say nothing of the fraction of that activity affected by humanity. Leading scientists continued to doubt that anyone needed to worry at all about the greenhouse effect. The veteran climate expert Helmut Landsberg stressed in a review that little was known about how humans might change the climate. Lamb, the outstanding compiler of old climate data, wrote that the effects of CO 2 were "doubtful Many agreed with Lamb that a "rather sharp decline" of Northern Hemisphere temperature that had been observed since the s put the whole matter in question.

They argued that other rapidly increasing types of human pollution, particles like sulfates and factory smoke, were reflecting sunlight and would bring cooling rather than warming. Others continued to concentrate on greenhouse warming. For example, in J. Sawyer correctly predicted, in the leading journal Nature , an 0.

He saw "no immediate cause for alarm" but "certainly need for further study. At this time research on changes in the atmosphere's CO 2 had been, almost by definition, identical to research on the greenhouse effect. But in the late s and early s, calculations found that methane and other gases emitted by human activities could have a greenhouse effect that was sometimes molecule for molecule tens or hundreds of times greater than CO 2. Nevertheless most of the scientific interest continued to revolve around CO 2. During the s, the greenhouse effect became a major topic in many overlapping fields.

Scientists eventually determined that a bit over half of the effect of humans on climate change is due to emissions of CO 2 mainly from fossil fuels but also from deforestation and cement manufacture. The rest of the effect is due to methane and other gases emitted by human activities; atmospheric pollution by smoke and dust; and changes in land use such as replacing dark forest with sunlight-reflecting crops or desert.

These factors are discussed in other topical essays especially those on Other Greenhouse Gases , Aerosols and The Biosphere. The remainder of this essay covers only the developments most directly related to the gas CO 2 itself. Carbon cycle studies proliferated. A major stimulus was a controversy that erupted in the early s and stubbornly resisted resolution. National economic statistics yielded reliable figures for how much CO 2 humanity put into the air each year from burning fossil fuels.

The measurements of the annual increase by Keeling and others showed that less than half of the new carbon could be found in the atmosphere. Where was the rest? Oceanographers calculated how much of the gas the oceans took up, while other scientists calculated how much the biosphere took up or emitted. The numbers didn't add up — some of the carbon was "missing.

Looking at large-scale climate changes, such as between ice ages and warm periods, they turned up a variety of possible interactions with climate involving plant life and ocean chemistry. The papers addressing these topics became increasingly complex. Some scientists took up the old argument that fertilization of plant life by additional CO 2 , together with uptake by the oceans, would keep the level of gas from rising too sharply.

Keeling, however, warned that by the middle of the next century, plants could well reach their limit in taking up carbon as every gardener knows, beyond some point more fertilizer is useless or even harmful. Further, there would eventually be so much CO 2 in the ocean surface waters that the oceans would not be able to absorb additional gas as rapidly as at present. The curve did not climb smoothly, but stuttered through a seasonal cycle, plus mysterious spells of faster and slower growth. But over a long term, say a decade, the rise was clearly as inexorable as the tides.

And global temperatures began to rise again.

Agent of Influence Series by Russell Hamilton

It was getting increasingly difficult for scientists to believe that the greenhouse effect was no cause for worry. Meanwhile global temperatures resumed their rise. The cooling from smoke particles had a limit, for the particles dropped from the atmosphere in weeks whereas the accumulating CO 2 would linger for centuries. It was getting increasingly difficult for scientists to claim that the greenhouse effect was no cause for worry. By the ever more powerful computers had confirmed that it was impossible to construct a model that could mimick the current climate and that did not warm up a few degrees if the level of the gas was doubled.

How would we know if we should take action to avert dangerous climate change? In a couple of experienced climate scientists reviewed the predictions of the best computer models, and compared them with the natural fluctuations of climate observed in the past. Concerns were sharpened by new evidence from holes arduously drilled into the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps.

The long cylinders of ice extracted by the drills contained tiny bubbles with samples of ancient air — by good fortune there was this one thing on the planet that preserved CO 2 intact. Group after group cut samples from cores of ice in hopes of measuring the level. For two decades, every attempt failed to give consistent and plausible results.

Finally reliable methods were developed. The trick was to clean an ice sample scrupulously, crush it in a vacuum, and quickly measure what came out. In , a team published findings that were definite, unexpected, and momentous. These Greenland measurements were later called into question, but the dramatically lower ice-age level was quickly confirmed by other studies.

They found that the level of atmospheric CO 2 had gone up and down in remarkably close step with temperature. The Vostok core, an ice driller declared, "turned the tide in the greenhouse gas controversy. All through these decades, a few geologists had continued to pursue the original puzzle raised by Tyndall and Chamberlin — had changes of CO 2 been responsible for the greatest of climate changes? These were the vast slow swings, lasting tens of millions of years, between eras like the age of dinosaurs with summer-like climates almost from pole to pole, and eras like our own when continental ice caps waxed and waned.

There was no consensus about the causes of these grand shifts, and nobody had found a way to reliably measure the atmosphere many millions of years back. Nevertheless, by the s, scientists turned up evidence suggesting that CO 2 levels had been elevated during the great warm eras of the past. Lines of thinking converged to emphasize the importance of the greenhouse effect.

For decades geologists had been puzzled by a calculation that astrophysicists insisted was undeniable: the Sun had been dimmer when the Earth was young. Billions of years ago the oceans would have been permanently frozen, if not for high CO 2 levels. Astrophysical theory showed that as the Sun had consumed its nuclear fuel it had gradually grown brighter, yet somehow the Earth's temperature had remained neither too cold nor too hot to sustain life. The best guess was that CO 2 acted as a thermostat for the planet. Volcanoes presumably put the gas into the atmosphere at a fairly constant rate.

But chemical processes run faster at higher temperatures, so on a warmer Earth the weathering of rocks would take up CO 2 faster. As the rocks erode, rivers carry the soil into the seas, where the carbon eventually winds up in compounds deposited on the seabed. Thus a rough self-sustaining balance is maintained among the forces of volcanic emissions, greenhouse warming, weathering, and ocean uptake. Such great disturbances — even a totally glaciated "snowball Earth" — were not a fantasy of oversimplified models. Geologists turned up evidence that more than half a billion years ago the oceans had actually frozen over, if not entirely then mostly.

That seemed impossible, for how could the Earth have escaped the trap and warmed up again? There was at least one obvious way but it was only obvious once someone thought of it, which took some years. Over many thousands of years, volcanoes would have continued to inject CO 2 into the atmosphere. There the gas would have accumulated, since it could not get into the frozen seas. Eventually a colossal greenhouse effect might have melted the ice.

The planet Venus, on the other hand, seemed to have suffered a runaway greenhouse catastrophe: a surface that might once have been only a little warmer than the Earth's had heated up enough to evaporate the carbon in the rocks into the atmosphere while ever more CO 2 was created, making the planet a hellish furnace. All this was speculative, and proved little about our future climate. But it added to the gathering conviction that CO 2 was the very keystone of the planet's climate system — a system by no means as cozily stable as it appeared. Another unusual disturbance had begun.

And the drill was still only partway down; by the time they stopped drilling a dozen years later, the team had recovered ice going back , years, through four complete glacial cycles. The CO 2 levels in their record got as low as parts per million in the cold periods and reached in the warm periods, never higher.

But in the air above the ice, the level of the gas had reached — far above anything seen in this geological era and still climbing. Level of CO 2 in the atmosphere, The curve has been climbing exponentially, much faster now than in the s; despite some attempts to slow down emissions, the quantity of gas added to the atmosphere is doubling every years. See latest results from Scripps CO 2 program. During the s, further ice core measurements indicated that at the end of the last glacial period, the initial rise of temperature in Antarctica had preceded CO 2 changes by several centuries.

Scientists debated whether the dates could be measured so precisely, but certainly around Antarctica the temperature rise had not come much after the rise of CO 2. But in fact the discrepancy was not good news. It seemed that rises or falls in carbon dioxide levels had not initiated the glacial cycles. In fact most scientists had long since abandoned that hypothesis.

In the s, painstaking studies had shown that subtle shifts in our planet's orbit around the Sun called "Milankovitch cycles" matched the timing of ice ages with startling precision. The amount of sunlight that fell in a given latitude and season varied predictably over millenia. As some had pointed out ever since the 19th century, in times when sunlight fell more strongly on northern latitudes in the spring, snow and sea ice would not linger so long; the dark earth and seawater would absorb more sunlight, and get warmer.

However, calculations showed that this subtle effect should cause no more than a small regional warming. How could almost imperceptible changes in the angle of sunlight cause entire continental ice sheets to build up and melt away? The new ice cores suggested that a powerful feedback amplified the changes in sunlight. The crucial fact was that a slight warming would cause the level of greenhouse gases to rise slightly. For one thing, warmer oceans would evaporate out more gas.

For another, as the vast Arctic tundras warmed up, the bogs would emit more CO 2 and another greenhouse gas, methane, also measured in the ice with a lag behind temperature. The greenhouse effect of these gases would raise the temperature a little more, which would cause more emission of gases, which would Many thousands of years later, the process would reverse when the sunlight falling in key latitudes weakened.