And so it begins.

The places I’ve called home.

Hello there, and welcome to my blog! My name is Hava, and I am entering my fourth (and hopefully final) year at UBC, where I am a double major in Creative Writing and English Literature. As such, I am very interested in the idea of writing as a medium of self-expression, and am particularly fascinated by the many story-telling opportunities that this course presents.

Whenever I tell anyone that I’m taking a course on Canadian literature, they have one of two reactions. The first reaction is a chuckle: I’m not a Canadian citizen, and I’ve lived in the US, Canada, and Sweden, so people are often amused at my decision to take a course on the literature of a country that isn’t “mine”. The second reaction is a question: “Oh, cool. Like Margaret Atwood, right?” Nope! While Atwood’s contributions to Canadian culture and the literary world at large are nothing less than extraordinary, one of the reasons why I chose this section of English 470 was because it didn’t focus on the traditional Canadian literary canon. An English course I took in second year focused on the writing of indigenous Canadians such as Tomson Highway, and I found this to be much more beneficial to my educational experience than rereading writers I was already familiar with. I am looking forward to making further discoveries like this throughout the duration of 470.

The biggest thing I am looking forward to about this course is learning more about the “non-traditional” literary world that is present in Canada. However, I’m also very excited about the prospect of an online seminar. I have not taken many distance education courses while at UBC, and the set-up of a blog-based class is quite daunting (it took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out how to post this entry, yikes), but I hope that this will help me to sharpen my web-skills, if nothing else! I am looking forward to reading the blogs of my fellow students, and hope to make connections with others as we begin our summer of learning. Best of luck to everyone!


“Create a Map: Map Customizer.” Create a Map: Map Customizer. Web. 13 May 2015. <>.

“2015 Summer Session: ENGL 470 Canadian Studies (3 Credits).” UBC Department of English. University of British Columbia. Web. 13 May 2015. <>.

“Tomson Highway Official Website.” Tomson Highway Official Website. Web. 13 May 2015. <>.


17 thoughts on “And so it begins.

  1. erikapaterson says:

    Hello Hava, your blog looks great – thanks so much and welcome to our course of studies together.

  2. erikapaterson says:

    Hi Hava, one more note – you need to change your settings so that comments do not have to be moderated. The blog site is limited to subscribers, so you do no have to worry about strangers posting – thanks so much. Erika

  3. JamesLong says:

    Hi Hava,
    Thanks for commenting on my blog! I have got to say your blog is a lot more visually appealing then mine! I’m looking forward to see how your American and nearly nomad status lends to the readings we all will tackle together. Here is to a educationally stimulating semester!

  4. Jamie King says:

    Hi Hava,

    Thanks for swinging by my blog! I have to say, I am also very excited to look at Canadian literature that is NOT Margaret Atwood or Michael Ondaatje (they are both brilliant, but looking exclusively at them seems like a rather limited view of the Canadian literary voice).

    I found Thompson Highway as a fantastic break from the Literary ‘norm’ when I started in college and I’m excited to delve more deeply into indigenous Canadian writings! You might have seen I posted about Marie Clement and her play the Edward Curtis Project, but I didn’t really talk about the fact that it was paired with a photo exhibition when it was first presented in 2010. The amazing thing about this show was the multimedia aspect of it, not only within the show itself, but the gallery exhibit was actually an extension of the performance experience – I would recommend checking out the book that Clements published with the photographer, Rita Leistner. You can see an example here of Leistener’s photographs on the Guardian’s website:
    The idea of theatre as multi-staged media presentation is one of the few ways that theatre is continuing to stay relevant, and the vision of this pairing I believe is what puts Clements in the forefront of Canadian theatre-makers!

    I also (as you know) have had some issues with my blog, but I am very excited to develop this ability over the summer!


    • Hava says:

      Hey Jamie (not sure if I said this in my original comment, but I loved your Summer Heights High video–classic)! The photos you linked to are incredible, thanks for sharing them again. I would be very interested in checking out that book. Good luck with your blog issues (I so relate), but I’m sure we can all get through this mishap of technology together!

  5. AlyssaReady says:

    Hi Hava!

    First of all, I think it is very cool that you have gotten the opportunity to live in three different countries, I imagine you are able to bring so many thoughts and ideas to discussions as you have been exposed to different types of thinking.

    I loved your point on how this class does not focus on the traditional Canadian literature that I (and many of us I presume ) grew up reading. That does include Margaret Atwood, Lucy Montgomery, etc. I am excited as well to learn about something that I have not had to opportunity to learn about in a classroom setting. On my own time I have delved into a bit of Canadian literature that is not commonly taught, but I haven’t found enough time to immerse myself in it.

    Have you heard of the writer Stuart Mclean? He does a live broadcast as well as shows around Canada about the experiences he has had living in Canada. Here is a link to one of my personal favourites if you would like to give it a listen: I find his story-telling very relatable and he can easily connect with many Canadians. I also like that he uses humour that is smart and respectable to intertwine his narratives on his perspectives. I hope you enjoy!


    Alyssa Ready

    • Hava says:

      Thanks, Alyssa. What Canadian literature have you delved into? I have not heard of Stuart McLean, but am listening to the link you posted right now–thank you for sharing it! I’m very interested to hear his perspectives on Canadian life. I’ve only ever lived in BC, which I don’t think is representative of Canada as a whole, and I love to hear about life in other parts of the country.


  6. cl304 says:

    Hey Hava, I’m also a double-major in English Literature and Creative Writing! Haven’t lived in nearly as many places as you, though 😛

    I definitely agree with departing from the “usual” canon of Canadian writers. Who hasn’t heard of Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro? It’s unfortunate that we often ignore the stories that have existed in this land long before the arrival of the Europeans. I really believe we are the products of the stories that were told to us, and that it’s part of our duty to add our own stories to history (as a writer, I’m certain you know this as well!).

    Really excited to be studying alongside you! (And love the colours on your blog).

    – Char

    • Hava says:

      Hey! Great major choices (not that I’m biased at all). Your point about being the product of the stories we hear really resonates with me, and I think Canada sometimes ignores the fact that it is a product of its pre-colonial stories. I’m excited to study alongside you as well!

  7. HannahVaartnou says:

    Hi Hava!

    Lovely to connect with you! Similar to you, I am inspired by the non-normative literary canon of this course. I wonder which of Thomson Highway’s plays you have read. I have read his Rez Sisters and Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing. I’m a Maclean’s subscriber (arguably my most Canadian attribute), here is a link to an article with Tomson Highway I read a few years ago.

    The article pulls apart what it means to be a Cree/Canadian Playwright who has achieved critical national acclaim. It also touches on the cultural collision within his works. I’m not sure I agree with everything in the article, but I enjoyed hearing Highway’s communicative style.

    I’m an English major, going into my 5th (hopefully final) year at UBC. During my time here, I have attempted a minor in Theatre and double major in GRSJ. I will graduate with a degree in English Literature only, however, the time I’ve spent dipping my toes into the realm of Theatre and GRSJ has left with me a passion for anti-colonialist literature and the counter western narratives. As a third generation Canadian, I am always beguiled at the narratives that my parents and grandparents recite to me over the dinner table. I’m grateful that I am alive in a time where these white colonial narratives are being challenged.

    Looking forward to taking this course alongside you, Hava.

    Happy blogging – I would never have known it was your first time!


    • Hava says:

      Hi Hannah! I’ve read Tomson Highway’s semi-autobiographical novel Kiss of the Fur Queen, which is beautiful and devastating and I would recommend it with hesitation (you definitely need to be in the right emotional state to involve yourself in it, as it deals with very heavy subject matter). I’ve actually read that interview already–he’s got such an approachable and eloquent way of speaking (or so it seems here, at least). It sounds like you’ve got a great educational background, and I’m interested to see what your Theatre experience will bring to the course, as a lot of our classmates have also studied it. Good luck with your blogging!

  8. KathrynCardoso says:

    Hey Hava,

    It is nice to hear when someone has a passion for the courses they are taking. I am just trying to finish my BA so that I am able to do what I truly want to, teach.

    I am from Canada and have lived here my whole life. People are still giving mixed reaction about taking a Canadian Literature course. People just look at me and give a face like, why would you do that over your summer. I think that it is nice that you are looking into another country and the different opinions of what the people have about our country and how we got to where we are now.

    This is my first summer distance course that I have ever taken, and I can understand how daunting setting up the blog is. Took me a while and fiddling around to be able to make everything work. If there is anything tricks I pick up will be sure to let you know.

    Happy Blogging!!

    • Hava says:

      Hey, Kathryn! What do you want to teach? I also am going into education, so I love hearing about what other people are passionate about teaching. Please let me know if you figure out any blogging tips or tricks, I feel like I need to reread the tutorial every time I log into the site…

  9. HaileyFroehler says:

    Hey Hava!

    Another writer here! It’s exciting to know somebody else that is interested in the creative exploration involved in English (I find so often we get so lost in academia that we forget to explore and get creative!)

    I totally agree with your comment about Canadian literature and finding new authors. Sure, we love our famous Canadian authors that have marked their territory on the literary map (I’m a huge fan of dystopian literature and I love Atwood), but it’s also so rewarding to find another author that shares your national identity and beats with similar thoughtful rhythms as you.

    I’m really interested to know about your thoughts regarding Canada’s colonial/oppressive history (specifically Aboriginal and Japanese). Have you read any literature that touches upon these topics? Have you ever read any of Fred Wah’s poetry?


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