QWF Writes: “Hi, I’m ______ ”: Choosing My Author Name

K.B. Thors

“What do we call you?” is a question I’ve gotten used to hearing, especially in the writing world. I write now as K.B. Thors, but up until the end of 2017 I was publishing poetry, translations, and essays under the name K.T. Billey. My legal name is Kara Billey Thordarson. If I meet you, I’ll introduce myself as Kara.

That might seem all over the place, but the evolution of my nom de plume mirrors the development not just of my writing but of my self. I’d encourage any writer to experiment with their own creative license, no matter what a brand expert might say.

PROTECT, REACT, RESIST

Resisting Canada

In November of 2019 I spoke to Nyla Matuk about colonialism, activism, and resistance poetry for the Fall issue of the Montreal Review of Books. Matuk’s book, Resisting Canada, was just about to come out from Véhicule Press, and I for one was excited to see such a revolutionary book in the Canadian literary milieu.

The book is beautiful and searing, an anthology of voices championing defiance against a settler state that silences and abuses its population while simultaneously praising itself for its image as a progressive and liberal melting pot.

There is never a bad time to honestly discuss Canada’s oppressive tactics and colonialist heritage. But right now, as the federal and provincial governments, RCMP, and Coastal GasLink/Transcanada flagrantly violate Wet’suwet’en, Canadian law, and international law, it feels particularly relevant. To quote Erica Violet Lee, the land defense currently being carried out is “an enactment of Indigenous law and an affirmation of Indigenous life.” As we witness Canada’s assault on Indigenous rights, we must take action.

QWF Writes: Why You Should Apply for a Canada Council Grant Every Year until You Die

image_02

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a writer in possession of a good idea, must be in want of a grant. Last year I was on a Canada Council granting jury, and it not only enlightened me as to how the whole process works, it also renewed my faith in the Canada Council in general, and in the granting process in particular.

Over the years some of my writer friends had gotten the distinct impression that the Canada Council was this edifice of insiders. Those who got grants kept getting them, and those on the juries awarded grants to their writer friends. And this bitter conviction stopped many of them from applying. “I’m not going to win anyway, so why try?” It doesn’t help that by default, a writer’s life is an incessant litany of rejection.

But after having been on the jury, I’m now convinced we all should apply annually.

Announcing the Guest Poetry Editor for the Winter 2020 issue of carte blanche: Carolin Huang!

bdd0d204-ab2a-424f-acc9-cb64e152ebd7

carte blanche is pleased to announce Carolin Huang has been named guest poetry editor for the winter 2020 issue of the magazine!

Carolin Huang is a writer, archivist, and academic living in Montreal. In 2019, she participated in the Banff Centre Emerging Writers Intensive and the Jack Kerouac Summer Writing Program.

A Xiákè in Jiānghú: Wǔxiá Fiction, Translations, and #RacismInCanLit

Mt Wudang photo - YW

“I’m writing a novel in English that’s inspired by wǔxiá fiction.”

As I finished speaking in Mandarin, forty middle school students stared back at me with stunned eyes. It was as if I had suddenly transformed into a xiákè, a wandering warrior, who had stepped out of the pages of a wǔxiá novel and into their classroom in Chóngqìng, China. In reality, I was only a visiting writer and translator, with no martial arts skills or supernatural powers, recently returned to visit the land of my birth.

Gasps and questions continued, becoming louder and louder.

Mrs. Hé shushed her students and turned to me with awe. “Wǔxiá fiction is so rooted in traditional Chinese literature and culture. How can you write wǔxiá in English?”

New Managing Editor: Zoe Shaw!

zoe shaw

We, at carte blanche, are thrilled to announce and welcome our new managing editor: Zoe Shaw! Shaw will be taking on the role of managing editor for our Winter 2020 “Visible/Invisible” (38) issue. Read on to read Shaw’s introductory post. Welcome!