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Creative Writing Faculty

Larissa Lai

Associate Professor
Social Sciences 1052
(403) 220-6431

Larissa Lai has authored three novels, When Fox Is a Thousand (Press Gang 1995; Arsenal Pulp 2004), Salt Fish Girl (Thomas Allen 2002) and The Tiger Flu (Arsenal Pulp 2018)two poetry collections, sybil unrest (with Rita Wong; LINEbooks 2008; New Star 2008, 2013) and Automaton Biographies (Arsenal Pulp 2009); a chapbook, Eggs in the Basement (Nomados 2009)and a critical book, Slanting I, Imagining We: Asian Canadian Literary Production in the 1980s and 1990s (Wilfrid Laurier University Press 2014). A recipient of the Astraea Foundation Emerging Writers' Awardshe has been a finalist for the Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Tiptree Award, the Sunburst Award, the City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Award, the bpNichol Chapbook Award, the Dorothy Livesay Prize and the ACQL Gabrielle Roy Prize for Literary Criticism. 

She holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia and a PhD in English from the University of Calgary. She was Assistant Professor in Canadian Literature for seven years at the University of British Columbia before returning to the University of Calgary to take up a CRC II in Creative Writing. Here, she directs The Insurgent Architects' House for Creative Writing. She has held writer-in-residence positions at the University of Guelph, Simon Fraser University and the University of Calgary, and has been visiting professor at the University of Augsburg. Before her return to the academy in her mid-thirties, she worked as a cultural organizer and independent writer. She has given over three hundred talks and readings all over the world from Meiji Gakuin University in Japan to the Ship Inn in St. John's, Newfoundland to the JFK Institute in Berlin to the University of Wollongong, Australia to the Watson Lake Public Library. 

Her fiction is known for the ways it takes up mythic and speculative fiction aspects and combines them with themes of racialization, gender, sexuality, embodiment, relationships and belonging. Her poetry is recognized for its playful yet political engagement with language and its commitment to the social. Her criticism has engaged widely with issues of race, gender, sexuality, representation, movement, land, the body, technology and the nonhuman.

Clem Martini

Professor Department of Drama, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts
Adjunct Professor English Department
Craigie Hall D107
(403) 220-5425

A professor in the University of Calgary Drama Department, Clem Martini is also an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and writer of short fiction. His areas of specialization include playwriting, screenwriting, improvisation, acting, developmental drama and drama creation. He is a winner of the National Playwriting Competition and twice recipient of the Alberta Writer's Guild Playwriting Award. He's an Artistic Associate at Lunchbox Theatre, co founder of the International Institute for Research Of The One Act Play, and works with troubled youths in the capacity of drama consultant through the charitable organization, Woods Homes. His published works include "Illegal Entry", "A Three Martini Lunch" "Turnaround" and "The Unauthorized Oral History of Theatresports". He is currently the President of the Playwrights Guild of Canada.

Suzette Mayr

Associate Professor
Social Sciences 1048
(403) 220-4659

Suzette Mayr holds an M.A. degree from the University of Alberta and a Ph.D. from the University of New South Wales. She is a poet and novelist, the author of the acclaimed novels Moon Honey (Newest, 1995), a finalist for both the Georges Bugnet and Henry Kreisel First Novel Awards, The Widows (Newest, 1998), finalist for the Commonwealth Prize for Best Book in the Canadian-Caribbean Region, Venous Hum (Arsenal Pulp, 2004), longlisted for the ReLit Award; Monoceros (Coach House, 2011), winner of the 2012 ReLit Award and the City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Award; long listed for the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize; nominated for the Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction and the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction, and most recently, Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall (Coach House, 2017).

Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and in collaborations with visual artists. Her fiction, with its original voice, clipped, deadpan satirical style, is on this country's cutting edge of contemporary explorations into issues of race, sex and identity.

Suzette Mayr is widely versed in contemporary 20th century Canadian literature and particularly in representations of race and ethnicity.

Vivek Shraya

Assistant Professor
Social Sciences 1046
(403) 220-3002

Vivek Shraya is an artist whose body of work includes several albums, films, and books. Vivek’s 2017 album with Queer Songbook Orchestra, Part-Time Woman, was included in CBC’s Best Canadian Albums of 2017. Her first book of poetry, even this page is white, won a 2017 Publisher Triangle Award and was long listed for CBC’s Canada Reads. Her debut novel, She of the Mountains, was named one of The Globe and Mail’s Best Books, and her book I’m Afraid of Men was published in autumn 2018 (Penguin Canada). Vivek has read and performed inter­nationally at shows, festivals and post-secondary institutions. She is one half of the music duo Too Attached and the founder of the publishing imprint VS. Books.

A four-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, Vivek was a 2016 Pride Toronto Grand Marshal, and has received honours from the Toronto Arts Foundation and The Writers’ Trust of Canada. Vivek is currently a director on the board of the Tegan & Sara Foundation and an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Calgary.

Aritha van Herk

Professor, AOE, FRSC
Social Sciences 1132
(403) 220-5481

Aritha van Herk, a graduate of the University of Alberta, is both a recognized scholar with a University Professorship, and an internationally recognized Canadian author whose work has been translated into ten languages. Her novels include Judith (1978), winner of the Seal Book Award, No Fixed Address: An Amorous Journey (1986), which was nominated for the Governor General's Award, and Restlessness (1998). Her experiments in creative non-fiction and ficto-criticism are available in A Frozen Tongue (1992), In Visible Ink (1991), and Places from Ellesmere, Explorations on Site: A Geografictione (1990). Mavericks: An Incorrigible History of Alberta (2001) served as the inspiration for the Glenbow Museum's permanent exhibition of the same name, launched in 2007. Her latest works, In This Place and Prairie Gothic (with photographer George Webber) develop the idea of geographical temperament as tonal accompaniment. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a member of the Alberta Order of Excellence, and she is the most recent recipient of the Lorne Pierce Medal, awarded to recognize achievement of special significance and conspicuous merit in imaginative or critical literature in Canada.

Aritha van Herk's work is particularly recognized for her innovations in creative non-fiction and, in her fiction, for the affirmative images of women resisting societal norms and familial expectations. She has been an active editor and strong supporter of her many students' work since the mid 1980s.