New editor for iconic literary journal

Fine Arts, Humanities

The Malahat Review has a new editor: long-time editorial board member Iain Higgins will head the prestigious literary journal for the next three years.

Higgins, a writer, translator, critic and professor in the Department of English at UVic, will oversee the internationally known publication, which has been housed at the university since its inception in 1967 and celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.

The quarterly magazine features contemporary Canadian and international works of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction as well as reviews of recently published Canadian literature. It has been a springboard for some of the most recognizable names in Canadian publishing.

“I’m excited to take on the role,” Higgins says. “I’m honoured to maintain the editorial legacy of The Malahat and to continue to work with the boards to publish excellent writing.”

A committee drawn from members of The Malahat’s boards for fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction chose Higgins as the successful candidate, making him the magazine’s seventh editor.

Humanities’ Associate Dean Research Margaret Cameron says that the Faculty of Humanities and Faculty of Fine Arts, which support The Malahat along with the university, are committed to the award-winning journal and its important role for Canadian writing.

“Our goal is to ensure the continued success of The Malahat. We are committed to enhancing the circumstances and resources of the journal,” Cameron says.

Higgins’s books include Then Again, a poetry collection; The Invention of Poetry, a translation of Polish poet Adam Czerniawski’s selected poems; The Book of John Mandeville, a translation of a fictional medieval travel book about the East; and the academic study Writing East: The “Travels” of Sir John Mandeville.

Founding editors Robin Skelton and John Peter, then professors in the Department of English at UVic, established the journal in 1967. The Malahat has had six previous editors over its lifetime: John Barton, Constance Rooke, Derk Wynand, Marlene Cookshaw, Skelton and Peter.

Former editors of The Malahat came from the Faculty of Humanities and Department of Writing, with Barton and Cookshaw serving as non-faculty member editors.

Cameron thanked interim editor Micaela Maftei, who has been managing the magazine since January.

“Micaela’s devotion to The Malahat, in addition to her care and wisdom, have been invaluable over the past six months,” Cameron says, adding that the journal will continue to evolve.

Higgins says the university runs The Malahat “in trust,” and says he takes seriously the concerns recently raised by some in the literary community about the journal’s future with a change of editors.

“We have an obligation to everyone who has a stake in the success of The Malahat,” Higgins says. “The boards and I will look carefully at ensuring The Malahat reflects its diverse readership and the literary communities it serves.”

UVic Libraries, as part of its imprint and publication series, recently produced a limited-edition monograph publication in celebration of the journal’s anniversary. The Malahat Review at Fifty: Canada’s Iconic Literary Magazine is richly illustrated with archival material from UVic Special Collections and University Archives.

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Keywords: literature, writing, The Malahat Review, English, publishing

People: Margaret Cameron, Iain Higgins


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