Getting Lit with Linda - The Canadian Literature Podcast
Top Five Picks for a Haunting Hallowe-'en
What does it really mean to be haunted? Is being haunted always a sinister experience? For this Hallowe'en episode, Linda considers
- memory and loss
- and the nature of haunting and feeling haunted
She considers, for example, Emily Bronte's nineteenth-century British novel Wuthering Heights (and Kate Bush's song, "Wuthering Heights" based on the novel) or Mary Shelley's Frankenstein as examples outside of literature in Canada. But then she counts down to her top five books that either haunt her or delineate haunting experiences.
Which five works of literature in Canada make the cut? You'll have to listen to find out ...
In the "Takeaway" section, she recommends Miram Toews' All My Puny Sorrows - an extraordinary novel that challenges us about what our responsibility to others is and means.
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61. Feminist Killjoys - An Interview with Erin Wunker42:15Linda is thrilled to have been able to conduct this interview with one of the foremost feminist scholars in Canada right now—Erin Wunker. They speak about her book Notes from a Feminist Killjoy, published by book*hug, and the important work it undertakes in relation to the labour of being a “feminist killjoy.”Don’t know what a feminist killjoy is? Give this interview a listen to find out more.Here are only some of the key points of the discussion:· About Erin Wunker (2.46) · About the book itself: Notes from a Feminist Killjoy (book*hug press) (1.41)· The meaning of the title (4.39)· What is a killjoy? (1.47)· Sarah Ahmed, as a thinker and community-engaged intellectual (1.58, 5.40, 8.10, 30.08)· About the feminist killjoy (6.20, 7.09, 9.46, 19.40, 24.56) and intersectional feminism (15.57)· Betty Friedan (25.00)· The style of writing (25.30)· Collection action, allyship, friendship (18.55)· The podcast We Can Do Hard Things (Glennon Doyle, 13.08)· Catherine MacKinnon (30.14, 38.04) · Tarana Burke, #MeToo, and Jian Ghomeshi (32.58)
60. Milestones: A Sixtieth and Live Episode - An interview with Catherine Hernandez and Eva Crocker01:14:59In this episode -- recorded live in Tiohtià:ke in the DeSeve Cinema at Concordia University -- Linda interviews award-winning authors, Catherine Hernandez and Eva Crocker. Linda begins by thanking celebrated Montreal-based author, Christopher DiRaddo, who is the director of the Violet Hour and who opens the event with a territorial acknowledgement and with an introduction to the authors. The Violet Hour and the Association of English-Language Publishers of Quebec (AELAQ) co-sponsored the event, so Linda also recognizes the superb professionalism of the team at AELAQ, including Rebecca West, Alex Sweny, and Elise Moser. She also thanks Stephen Burgess, the audio-visual technician who helped to record the event that day.The interview begins with Hernandez and considerations of her three novels, Scarborough (Arsenal Pulp Press), Crosshairs (Simon & Schuster), and The Story of Us (HarperCollins). They also speak about her amazing Wild Strawberry Homestead. Then, Eva Crocker joins them on the stage and so they also discuss her two novels, Back in the Land of the Living (House of Anansi) and All I Ask (House of Anansi).A question period follows the two interviews, as members in the audience also interact with Hernandez and Crocker. It's a longer episode than usual (which is why there is only ONE this month!), but you will appreciate why: the interview is at turns funny, moving, and warm.
59. An Entry Without an Exit: Dionne Brand's A Map to the Door of No Return18:24In this episode, Linda reflects on Dionne Brand's magnificent A Map to the Door of No Return: Notes to Belonging, reprinted by Vintage (a division of Random House) in 2023 - but initially published over twenty years ago. That's the staying power of this particular volume - the "Door of No Return" is a particularly harrowing metaphor and, as Linda notes, there are many expressions that use "doors" in contemporary usage. Just not like this book does! A prolific and accomplished writer and professor, Brand is referring to the Black diaspora vis-a-vis the Black Atlantic slave trade.To set up this discussion, Linda considers her personal fascination with "doors" (consider the gorgeous doors of the Atwater Library in Montreal) and then how they have been used in other works -- like that of Complaint! by Sara Ahmed or The Diamond Grill by Fred Wah or The Door by Margaret Atwood -- and then compares them to how the image is used in Brand's literary text.In the Takeaway, Linda gives a shout-out to the annual Read Quebec Book Fair, that this year is taking place from November 3 to November 4th in the McConnell Building Atrium of Concordia University. Please join her there, where she will be interviewing Catherine Hernandez and Eva Crocker live!
58. And this is how we get here - Keith Barker's This is How We Got Here41:52Linda speaks with Métis playwright, actor, and director, Keith Barker about his play, This is How We Got Here (Playwrights Canada Press) It is a moving interview, as Barker explains the origins and shape of this play.Their discussions touch on the following subjects (among others!):current and past productions of the play (3.00; 28.15; 34.10, 36.00)loss and trauma (1.14, 1.50, 4.30, 6.10, 12.56, 19.20, 33.58)structure of This is How We Got Here (1.20, 22.28, 23.25)representations of grief (3.50, 25.08)structure and shape of the play (5.48, 9.05)fox figure (10.04, 17.01, 18.58, 20.45, 25.10, 33.00, 36.00)play’s epigraph (from Jonathan Livingston Seagull, 10.30, 13.16, 15.40)discussion of suicide (11.51, 21.40)figures from nature (17.58)Catholicism (20.45)meaning of the title of the play (37.50)Linda also invites Barker to read from his play, which he does, selecting the first scene related to the fox figure (25.25).With a special thanks to James Healey, the podcasting studio manager - and Barker's cats, who also made an appearance in this interview!
57. Taking Exception to Narratives of Exceptionality - Japanese-Canadian Internment Camps & Canadian Literature34:26In this episode, Linda begins by speaking about the kinds of assumptions made about her because of her Italian-Canadian immigrant background - and then expands that consideration to show how making such assumptions can actually be harmful. Case in point? The Christie-Pitts riot on August 16, 1933. There have been two graphic novels written about this riot: one simply titled Christie Pitts and the other titled The Good Fight.A second case in point is the Japanese-Canadian internment camps during the Second World War. She considers four works of literature in Canada that address this subject:Joy Kogawa's ObasanFrances Itani's RequiemKerri Sakamoto's One Hundred Million HeartsMark Sakamoto's Forgiveness: A Gift from my GrandparentsThen, for the Takeaway, she invites scholar, Jennifer Andrews, who addresses narratives of exceptionality and demonstrates what function they serve (and whose) and why they persist. Using her book, Canada Through American Eyes (published by Palgrave in 2023), Jennifer chats with Linda about how narratives of exceptionality are rehearsed in both the United States and Canada - and why we need to challenge them.
56. Manatees and Magical Thinking - Amy Jones' Novel, Pebble & Dove33:13This episode focuses on Amy Jones (2.13), author of Every Little Piece of Me (2.27), We're All in This Together (2.27), What Boys Like (2.37), and Pebble & Dove (2.45), published by McClelland & Stewart -- and the focus of this episode.We also discussed Amy’s appearance at Word on the Street (.39 and 9.08) and her forthcoming appearance at the Eden Mills Literary Festival (5.12 and 8.53) on September 9th (see this link for tickets to the event).Linda interviews Amy, during which time they chat about Family – what it means (7.56), dysfunctional families (9.46), and family secrets (11.00)Multiple points of view in narrative form (13.25)Motherhood (and templates thereof) (18.45)Balancing family and careers, and the impact of family on art (20.30)Manatees (22.25)Did we say manatees? (22.25 -- or just the entire episode!)If you'd like to know more about how to support manatees and the seagrass programs that are important to their survival, visit the Save the Manatee Program.Hosted by Linda Morra, Co-produced by Linda Morra and Marco Timpano, Music by Raphael Krux, Studio (Concordia University) with James Healey
55. People (Do) Change; (C’mon) People, Change - Vivek Shraya's People Change18:23In this episode, Linda first celebrates with her co-producer, Marco Timpano, that the podcast has been named a Finalist for the People's Choice Podcast Awards. Then she chats about the new Barbie movie around which there has been so much hype. She differentiates between change and transformation in relation to gender, and then applies this to the wonderful literary work of Vivek Shraya, including People Change. If you haven't seen her How to Fail as a Popstar, join the club: Linda wasn't able to get tickets, but she was able to hear her speak about this work at the Vancouver Literary Festival and read it in book form. Linda also makes reference to her song, Showing Up - have a listen here (at the 4.17 mark).In the Takeaway, she connects Shani Mootoo's Cerebus Blooms at Night and Moving Foreward Sideways Like a Crab to the notion of transformation.
54. Morality & Well-Meaning - #BelievingWomen in Erum Shazia Hasan's We Meant Well29:22Erum Shazia Hasan’s We Meant Well (ECW Press) – Linda raves about this debut novel by Erum Shazia Hasan. In this novel, Maya’s colleague, Marc, has been accused of assaulting a local girl in Likanni, and so Maya is called from Los Angeles to deal with the crisis. The pressures are mounting for Maya as she tries to contend with this situation, grapple with her complex past, and grapple with her present personal life, which threatens to collapse.In this interview, Hasan talks about how difficult it is to doubt colleagues or people we like or trust, and who have done noble things – things which stand in contrast to the accusations that have been levelled at them. Linda then probes Hasan’s aesthetic choices about this narrative and discusses the following with her:Origins of the novel in Haiti (2.36)#MeToo and #Believe Women movements (20.45; 22.23)Experience and process of writing this novel (5.32)C. S. Richardson (4.28)Characterization of protagonist, Maya (7.11; 15.27)Home country vs. Home culture (8.20, 17.25)Third-wave feminism and Western feminism (8:59)Role of trauma in decision-making (11.14)Moral question related to boundaries (11.50)Intersectionality (13.43)Personal vs political violences (18.03)Love and desire (19.20)Intentions and “we meant well” (24.03)
53. Wider Circles of Love and Faith - Lisa Moore's This is How We Love31:38Linda and Lisa Moore converse about her most recent novel, This is How We Love (House of Anansi). Their conversation traverses various subjects, including the formal aspects of the novel, the job of the novelist (5.40), questions of genre (6.40), the use of Audible, the importance of editors (with a nod to Melanie Little, Lisa's editor, 10.30)and the complexities of loving. One of the most fascinating turns in this discussion relates to Lisa's point about the democracy of loving and voice (8.40 and 27.23), her understanding that reading literature is an anti-capitalist endeavour (16.20). The interview is a wonderful introduction to a compelling, exquisite novel, in which every page is rich in detail and affective complexity.