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Issue 6, Volume 18 | June 2021

Issue 214, spring 2021

new spring issue

Featuring Open Season Award winners Matthew Hollett (poetry, "Merchant Vessels"), Zilla Jones (fiction, "Crossing"), and Tanis MacDonald (creative nonfiction, "Mondegreen Girls"). Poetry by Leslie Joy Ahenda, Hussain Ahmed, Manahil Bandukwala, George Bowering, Sophie Crocker, Sa'eed Tavana'ee Marvi translated by Khashayar Mohammadi, Ngwatilo Mawiyoo, Rhiannon Ng Cheng Hin, Tia Paul-Louis, Barbara Pelman, Matt Robinson, Kari Teicher, and Bryce Warnes. Fiction by C.P. Boyko, Bill Gaston, Jeanne Shoemaker, and Andar Wärje. Creative nonfiction by Kelly Norah Drukker and Emily Riddle. Reviews of books by Bertrand Bickersteth, Nicole Brossard, Bronwen Wallace, Mehri Yalfani, Marie-Sissi Labrèche, Randy Lundy, Theresa Kishkan, and Steven Heighton.

Buy now.

2021 National Magazine Awards nominees announced

National Magazine Awards Nominees Announced

Congratulations to all the nominees for the 2021 National Magazine Awards! We're so excited to see that three creative nonfiction pieces published in The Malahat Review were named as finalists.

In the Personal Journalism category:
Joshua Whitehead's "Who Names the Rez Dog Rez?" from issue #210
Daniel Allen Cox's "The Glow of Electrum" from issue #211

In the One of a Kind Storytelling category:
Erin Soros' "Cord" from issue #212

Read the full announcement on the NMA website.

spring issue book review

The Response of Weeds

[The] productive central question that builds on but also challenges Kroetsch’s question becomes: How do you recover the absented Black prairie tradition?

Bickersteth’s poetics show us that the answer to this question, time and again, is that writers must become researchers. The Response of Weeds shows Bickersteth’s deep engagements with Black archival records, but the great pleasure of this book is that Bickersteth transforms his research findings into poetry.

Read the full review by Karina Vernon.

CNF contest now open!

Creative Nonfiction Prize contest

Send us your personal essays, memoirs, narrative nonfiction, social commentary, travel writing, historical accounts, biography, and more! Deadline is August 1, 2021 at 11:59pm PDT. One winner will take home the $1000 (CAD) prize.

Entry fee (comes with a one-year print subscription):
$35 CAD for Canadian entries
$40 USD for entries from the USA
$45 USD for entries from elsewhere

Additional entries cost $15 CAD each, no limit!

This year's judge is Emily Riddle. Read an interview with her below!

Full contest guidelines on our website.


interview with Constance Rooke CNF Prize judge, Emily Riddle

Emily RiddleMalahat Review volunteer Jiejun Wu talks with the Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Prize judge & spring issue #214 cnf contributor about intertextuality, Indigenous governance, and what she's looking for in a winning contest entry.



JW: In addition to being a writer, you are also a researcher, policy analyst, and library worker. How, if it all, do these different aspects of your professional life inform and influence your writing?

ER: I think my background in working in Indigenous governance informs all of my work deeply. Governance is ultimately about how we relate to one another. I have spent time learning about how nehiyaw governance systems used to work and how they have been eroded. I think there is important change to be made in all these realms from canlit, to libraries, to policy. I like inhabiting all these spaces and talking to people to see how we can bring Indigenous processes and ways of knowing to them. I also think creative writing has helped me heal from the boundaries and limitations of policy writing. Within Indigenous policy, we are largely working in settler structures and trying to make the best inside them. In creative writing, I can make an entirely new world, experiment with form, and crack jokes. 

JW: What are you looking for in a winning contest entry?

ER: I am looking for creative nonfiction writing that is bold and unconcerned with form or conventions. I love creative nonfiction that asks me questions I cannot answer or parses out disparate histories or opinions. Tell me about something important that needs to change in the world.

Read the rest of Emily Riddle's interview.


spring issue interview with Andar Wärje on fiction

Andar WärjeMalahat Review Fiction Board intern Mieke deVries talks with the spring issue #214 contributor about endings vs. beginnings, empowerment in digging into the darkness, and new things growing from the decay of the old.



MdV: What was the inspiration for this story? How did the story come into the shape we see it in now? Did it change much as you revised it?

AW: My first inspiration was the strong impulse to describe my own trans experience. The story isn’t autobiographical, but it’s hugely informed by my own life. I think the more trans people tell their own stories, the more nuanced our understanding of trans identity, insight, and power will become. Lack of representation leads to flattened, reduced narratives about marginalized voices instead of by them. I mostly wanted to tell a story about being me.

My other inspiration was the play Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen. It tells the story of a man deemed unfit for heaven or hell because he’s failed to distinguish himself as either good or evil. He’s done some good, but just enough to cancel out his bad deeds. He’s essentially a wasted man, and must be thrown back in the cosmic “button-mould” to be recycled into something more worthwhile. Ibsen’s 1867 play is a searing indictment of the “modern” man who aims for mediocrity, more concerned with what he can get away with than how he can serve his purpose.

My story, written in 2020, is about failing as a man in a different way. As a trans man, I have often felt like a failure and wished I could go back in the mould and be melted down for another try. My main character is a trans man who feels broken and incomplete, and because of that feeling, remains that way. Only when he is able to embrace his own imperfections and see himself as sacred—no messier or less divine than any other being—is he able to escape this endless cycle of failure and pain. 

This story came out pretty much the way you see it on the page now. It was sort of hovering in the wings, I think, waiting to be told.

Read the rest of Andar Wärje's interview.

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