Our History

The Master of Arts in Children’s Literature (MACL) Program

The Master of Arts in Children’s Literature (MACL) at UBC is the only graduate program in children’s literature in Canada and one of the most multi-disciplinary children’s literature programs in the world. It is offered through the UBC iSchool (Library, Archival, and Information Studies) with joint participation from the Department of English, the Department of Language and Literacy Education (LLED), and the Creative Writing Program.

Our Conference

Few venues exist in Canada for showcasing emerging scholarship in the area of children’s literature, especially for graduate and upper-division undergraduate students. Holding this conference at UBC provides a conduit to others with similar interests from different backgrounds and creates cross-disciplinary associations inspiring new and innovative connections to support writing and research in this area. It also provides creative writing students an opportunity to showcase their work and receive feedback while obtaining performance experience.
Students from the MACL program have been involved in organizing similar graduate student conferences in the past:


The first one, which took place in 2008, was a Language and Literacy Education Department-sponsored conference held in conjunction with visiting lecturer Aidan Chambers, from the UK.


The following conference was held in 2009 and organized independently by MACL graduate students as an outcome of their enthusiastic response to the 2008 event.

2010 “Second to the Right and Straight on Till Morning”: Navigating the Narrative Realm(s) of Children’s Texts

The third conference, held in 2010, featured Maria Tatar and Philip Nel as the keynote speakers. This event was the beginning of what has become a biennial conference, planned by students in the MACL program and other graduate student volunteers from the affiliated departments and programs. View Program | Poster

2012 Stranger in a Strange Land: Exploring Texts and media for Young People Across Cultures and Continents

“Stranger in a Strange Land” was a one-day children’s literature conference exploring a diverse range of themes in literature and other materials for young people. With Sarah Park and Elizabeth Marshall as keynote speakers, this conference explored the many boundaries, physical and non-physical, that affect children’s media.
View Program


2014 “i Will Be Myself”: Identity in Children’s Literature, Media and Culture

Our 2014 conference explored, questioned, and analyzed the issues surrounding identity in various elements of children’s and young adult literature, with a multimodal approach to children’s media. Across novels, films, apps, picturebooks, we examined themes of identity, which can include liminality, hybridity, Otherness or Othering, gender, and transformation. We were very honoured to welcome Phillip Serrato as our keynote speaker.
View Program | Poster | CFP

2016 Many Worlds to Walk In: Exploring Diversity in Children’s Literature, Librarianship, and Education

Many Worlds to Walk In explored the idea of diversity, encompassing narratives that depict
diversity and the diverse formats we use to create and share narratives with children. Our presenters addressed a wide range of themes, including gender studies, indigenous narratives, immigrant and minority narratives, and diversity in library services and collections. Dr. Naomi Hamer and Dr. Renee Hill were our keynote speakers. View Program | Poster | CFP

2018 In the Shadows: Illuminating Monstrosity in Children’s and Young Adult Literature and Culture

The most recent conference, In the Shadows: Illuminating Monstrosity in Children’s and Young Adult Literature and Culture, took place in 2018 and featured Dr. Elaine Ostry as an academic keynote and the New York Times best-selling novelist Rachel Hartman as a creative keynote. View Program | Poster | CFP

Current: 2021 Fresh from the Fight: Heroes, Tricksters, and Villains in Children’s and Young Adult Literature and Culture