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Issue 9, Volume 17 | September 2020

Issue 211, Summer 2020

New Summer Issue

Featuring Novella Prize contest winner "Yentas" by Rebecca Păpucaru, and cover art by Sharona Franklin. Poetry by Chris Banks, Ronna Bloom, Alisha Dukelow, Paul Vermeersch, Ron Riekki, Daniel Sarah Karasik, Sarah Venart, Sarah Tolmie, Matthew Hollett, Alamgir Hashmi, and Mike Alexander. Fiction by Xaiver Campbell, Theressa Slind, and Kate Felix. Creative nonfiction by Daniel Allen Cox, Sarah Lord, and more!

Buy now!

Summer Issue Book Review


As a student of my Anishinaabe culture, poet and creative, and assistant professor who has learned from Anishinaabe “Techno Elder” Rene Meshake, I was thrilled to learn of his latest publication and was eager to embark on learning from it. The work of a multi-media artist and educator who has previously written and illustrated children’s books entitled Blueberry Rapids (2008) and Moccasin Creek (2009)—books that exist lovingly in my family library—Injichaag is Elder Meshake’s first creative nonfiction book. Easily situated within the fields of Indigenous Culture, Literatures and Languages, Oral History, and Philosophy, its most salient disciplinary contribution will be to Anishinaabe Studies.

Through her Introduction and Epilogue, Rene’s adopted daughter and Cree/Métis scholar, Kim Anderson makes her own unique contribution by illuminating his life vis-à-vis the philosophy of the Anishinaabe life cycle; and she closes with an emphasis on Indigenous vibrancy and futurity. Simultaneously, this book is historicized within Canada’s colonial structure and processes such as the residential
school system, and as such readers may expect the content to engage pain and trauma. However, where Elder Meshake is obviously shaped by his experience as an Ojibway boy and man in Canada, the soul-in-story that he documents for the present and future focuses on life-giving Anishinaabe ways, the significance of relationships, endurance, good life, and creating. This is not so much a purposeful partitioning off of painful subjects as it is a broad teaching in itself: Anishinaabe life, lifeways, personhood, and the future are much more dynamic and omnipresent than ongoing colonization and its effects.

Read the full review by waaseyaa'sin Christine Sy on our website.

*Injichaag won a 2020 Indigenous Voices Award! Check out the full list of winners on the IVA website.

Enter fiction, poetry, & cnf!

Open Season Awards

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 $10 CAD each, no limit!

Take your best shot for the big prize: three awards of $2,000 CAD! Our annual Open Season Awards contest is underway, and writers of all levels are invited to enter creative nonfiction, poetry, and/or fiction. There's no theme or specific criteria for this contest, so simply send us your best work.

This year's judges are Lishai Peel (cnf), Rebecca Salazar (poetry), and Philip Huynh (fiction). Read interviews with Lishai and Philip below to find out what they're looking for!

Full contest guidelines available on TMR's website.


Open Season Awards: Interviews with the Judges

Lishai Peel - CNF Judge

Lishai PeelMalahat Review volunteer William Thompson talks with the 2021 Open Season Awards creative nonfiction judgeand 2019's Open Season Creative Nonfiction winnerabout what she’s looking for in a winning piece, her background as a performance poet, and the possibility to give or receive a story.


WT: As a contest judge, and also as a former Malahat Review Open Season Awards CNF winner, what are you looking for in a winning entry?

LP: I am so excited to be one of this year’s judges. It is such an honour to experience reading the works of new Canadian talent. This year I am looking forward to reading works that give me pause and honestly invite me into their world. I want to read something that makes me feel deeply and think expansively.

WT: You have also worked variously as a teacher and a consultant. What has working with community groups taught you about yourself and your writing?

LP: I really enjoy the opportunity to work with youth and children in communities. I think as writers we have a certain type of responsibility to readers and other writers to encourage storytelling in all the different forms they take. In these spaces, where there is freedom to share and create, I learn how much people are yearning to tell someone something, to be heard and seen. It serves as a reminder of the necessity to continue to carve out spaces for young voices to shine, especially BIPOC youth who have historically been excluded from traditional literary spaces. This practice of being in community also allows me space to work through questions and ideas that inform my writing.

Read the rest of Lishai's interview on TMR's website.


Philip Huynh - Fiction Judge

Philip HuynhMalahat Review volunteer Emma Pickering talks with the 2021 Open Season Awards fiction judgeand 2011's Open Season Fiction winnerabout what he’s looking for in a winning story, how a short story is like a stick of dynamite, and balancing work, family, and writing.


EP: What are you looking for in a winning fiction piece for the Open Season Awards this year? 

PH: At a minimum I’m looking for a story that distinguishes itself in some manner of craft – crackling dialogue, well-wrought sentences, vivid imagery – these are the bones and sinew of a good story. The great ones also have personality – an indelible voice, or an unforgettable character or two that pulls me completely into their lives, so that their moment becomes a part of my memories. So craft is a must, personality is a plus, and if your story also has novelty – whether it’s an idea, an approach, or something else that catches me off guard – well, that might get you over the top.

So give this contest your best shot. Give me the piece that you workshopped ten times over and have honed to perfection. Or give me that story you love but have shoe-boxed from prying eyes because you think it’s too weird and no one will understand it. You never know, you might be doing the world a favour.

EP: In 2011 you won the Open Season Award for Fiction for your story, “The Investment on Dumfries Street.” How does it feel to now be a judge this year for that same genre and contest? 

PH: The Open Season Awards started it all for me. I still remember dropping the manuscript into the red Canada Post mailbox by my local Shoppers (do people still do that?) and having no idea where it would lead – to my first story published in a major literary journal, which eventually became the opening story in my published collection. I got to work with my first editor, Rhonda Batchelor, did my first interview, and was even invited to Victoria by the journal to do my first reading. So to be able to come full circle as a judge is such a huge privilege. It’s also a responsibility that I do not take lightly, because I know what an important opportunity winning this is for an emerging writer.

Read the rest of Philip's interview on TMR's website.


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