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Algoma University to Host Contemporary Women’s Writing Association Conference

(SAULT STE. MARIE, ON- June 21, 2019): From July 3-5th, 2019, Algoma University will be hosting this year’s international conference of the Contemporary Women’s Writing Association. Scholars will be gathering from across the globe to discuss literature by contemporary women writers under the conference title, “Locations and Dislocations: Places and Spaces in Contemporary Women’s Writing.” This conference theme was inspired by Algoma University’s unique location in a former residential school located in an industrial border city.The academic papers presented will explore topics such as how women writers depict domestic spaces, how they have written about the city, and what role contemporary women’s writing can play in documenting the refugee crisis. The Contemporary Women’s Writing Association (CWWA) is the UK-based international scholarly society behind the reputable Oxford Journal, Contemporary Women’s Writing.

The conference features two keynote addresses that will be open to the public. The Contemporary Women’s Writing Association Keynote Address on Wednesday, July 3rd at 3:30 pm in the Shingwauk Auditorium will feature Gwen Benaway, an award-winning trans poet of Anishinaabe and Métis descent. She is the author of three collections of poetry: Ceremonies for the Dead, Passage, and Holy Wild. She will present a critical approach to her creative poetic practice.

The Algoma University Keynote Address on Thursday, July 4th at 3:30 pm in the Shingwauk Auditorium will be delivered by the collaborative team of Lee Maracle and her daughter, Columpa Bobb. They will be discussing their recent publication, Hope Matters, a poetic journey through Indigenous people’s experiences from colonization to reconciliation, which they co-wrote with Tania Carter. This keynote is sponsored by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Institutional Grant.

The conference program also includes lunchtime readings by two authors who have featured our local area in their work. Paula McGrath is travelling from Dublin to read from her novel Generation which is partially set in the Sudbury mines her father worked in. Algoma University alumni, Shawna Partridge, will discuss her novel Rule of Seconds, the story of four generations of a Sault Ste. Marie family.

“It is an exciting honour to host the CWWA international conference at Algoma University this year,” shared Dr. Alice Ridout, Associate Professor in the Department of English and History and the Conference Coordinator. “Scholars are travelling from as far away as Taiwan and Pakistan to visit us. It is particularly wonderful to be welcoming to campus such inspiring Indigenous female writers for our keynote addresses. I hope this is the contribution Algoma University can make to the history and culture of the CWWA: to shine a spotlight on just how vibrant the work of Indigenous authors is in this field. We are also innovating by including undergraduate students in the conference. Students enrolled in the third year English course, ‘Contemporary Women’s Writing’ will attend the conference as an experiential learning component in their summer course. On Monday, July 22 at 7 pm in SH509 on campus, our students will be putting on their own mini-conference to apply their learning from the CWWA conference to their own work—all welcome!”

For more information about the conference and to register to attend the academic proceedings please visit: https://www.algomau.ca/CWWA. Any questions can be directed to the conference email: locationsdislocationscwwa@gmail.com or to Dr. Alice Ridout (alice.ridout@algomau.ca).

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