The Open Collections cover a wide range of topics and disciplines where you can find materials to support your research, teaching, and even hobbies. In this post, we select some of our collections that are related to Canadian literature.

Books

BC Historical Books

The goal of the BC Historical Books project is to build a single searchable database of the bibliography of British Columbia based on full-text searchable versions of the books contained therein. The result will allow scholars, students and the public unparalleled access to knowledge about our province.

The following is useful subject headings related to Canadian literature:

Pastoral literature

Juvenile literature

Canadian poetry

Fiction

Related genres include:

Novels

Travel literature

Poetry

Rural rhymes and the sheep thief, 1896

Snap: a legend of the lone mountain: with thirteen illustrations, 1890

Snap: a legend of the lone mountain: with thirteen illustrations, 1890, pp.94-95

Periodicals

UBC Library has a significant collection of small press literary magazines, most of which are held in Rare Books and Special Collections. These magazines published experimental and non-mainstream writings produced by relatively unknown authors. Some of these materials have been digitized and are available in the Open Collections.

PRISM international

PRISM international (1959 -) is a quarterly magazine out of Vancouver, British Columbia, whose mandate is to publish the best in contemporary writing and translation from Canada and around the world. Writing from PRISM has been featured in Best American Stories, Best American Essays and The Journey Prize Stories, amongst other noted publications.

Through a partnership with the UBC Creative Writing Department, UBC Library digitized all back-issues of PRISM in 2015. The full archive is available in Open Collections. To learn more about this collection, please check out this previous post.

PRISM also published a Cumulative Index Volume at their 25th anniversary, which lists all writings (through 1984) in alphabetical order by author.

Prism international, Oct 31, 1960

Prism international Cumulative Index Volume, 1 – 22, 1959 – 1984

The resources mentioned above all support full-text search. You may also be interested in this research guide: Special Collections: Canadian Literature.

Established in 1959 and published quarterly, PRISM international is the oldest literary magazine in Western Canada. Through a partnership with the UBC Creative Writing Department, UBC Library digitized all back-issues of PRISM in 2015. The full archive is available in Open Collections. All issues are available with a one-year embargo ­– so, consider subscribing to read the most recent issues!

To get a sense of the content published in PRISM international, you can peruse the 25-year (Winter 1984) and 50-year (Winter 2010) retrospective issues by clicking on the covers below:

 

Authors featured in the 25-year retrospective issue include prominent writers such as Margaret Laurence, Robert Kroetsch, A.K. Ramanujan, Margaret Atwood, and Jorge Luis Borges. The editors also opted to feature “unexpected writers”, “represent[ing] the growth, directions, and trends of the magazine since its inception” (Introduction). The 50th anniversary issue includes a few of the same pieces and authors as the 25-year retrospective issue, as well as featuring writing by Michael Ondaatje, Ken Babstock, Carol Shields, and others.

PRISM also published a Cumulative Index Volume for their 25th anniversary, which lists all writings (through 1984) in alphabetical order by author. For example, this shows all of Margaret Atwood’s publications in PRISM to date:

If you are curious about a specific author’s work in PRISM after 1984, you can search Open Collections to pull up issues including that author’s name.

Do you have a favourite issue of PRISM, or a favourite poem, fiction, or non-fiction piece from a past issue? Let us know in the comments!

References

We are excited to announce that we will be digitizing issues of PRISM International, Western Canada’s oldest literary magazine out of Vancouver, British Columbia, whose mandate is to publish the best in contemporary writing and translation from Canada and around the world. The digitization project is in partnership with the UBC Creative Writing department and is set to start in May.

Stay tuned for updates!

 

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Volumes to be digitized

 

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