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Shout, shout, let it all out

In March, Canada's oldest feminist literary journal, Room, will celebrate its longevity with Making Room: Forty Years of Room Magazine, a 400-page, retrospective anthology.

September 13th, 2016

"Room makes sure the story and voice and woman are heard at equal volumes." -- Chelene Knight

We asked current Room editor Chelene Knight to reflect on how the publication has affected her life as a writer.


Chelene Knight recalls:

“The first time I can remember my writing getting any attention at all was when I was eleven years old and my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. McLeod, was dumb-founded that I had filled up yet another notebook with my “intensely-detailed” short stories. I recall her staring at me, furrowed brows, hands on her hips, “Chelene, how do you write so much and so fast?”

“That should have been a catalyst for my writing career very early on. But it wasn’t. I’m not sure if I ever believed I was good enough to do much of anything. I was a shy, paranoid, weird kid who never spoke and instead just wrote a lot; I spoke through writing.

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Chelene Knight

“I had no idea I could shape this skill into a career, and I definitely did not know there was a community of writers just like me out there feeling the same way.

“Before I stumbled onto Room magazine, I was steadily writing poetry and awkwardly-worded 750-word-limit parenting magazine articles, so why would a well-established literary magazine of such stature have any interest in a young girl with limited experience?

“But life works in mysterious ways. I was a new writer trying to find a place to lay down roots and a spot to write, to have my story heard. Room magazine was the first Canadian literary periodical to publish my work. Room magazine was the first literary magazine to say “hey, we want you to be a part of this.”

“Room magazine said, “your voice matters” and they meant it.

“I know for a fact that many women who have published with Room over the past 40 years can easily say the same. Room has instilled an unwavering sort of pride in every woman that comes on board whether staff, volunteer, or contributor. I keep saying this aloud to myself and it is incredible to say, I am a part of this.

“Room has done something and is doing something that no other CanLit mag is doing: making sure the story, the voice, and the woman are heard at equal volumes, above anything else. At Room, we can shout.”

*

Donors who give $75 or more to an IndieGoGo campaign to partially fund the anthology will have their name published in the Anthology on a special Thank You page. All donors (regardless of the amount) will be thanked on the publication’s website and on Twitter.

Confirmed contributors to the anthology thus far Gail Anderson-Dargatz, Elizabeth Bachinsky, Marie Annharte Baker, Juliane Okot Bitek, Kate Braid, Nicole Brossard, Cyndia Cole, Ivan Coyote, Lucas Crawford, Su Croll, Lynn Crosbie, Lorna Crozier, Danielle Daniel, Amber Dawn, Junie Désil, Sandy Frances Duncan, Dorothy Elias, Christine Estima, Tanya Evanson, barbara findlay, Cynthia Flood, Chantal Gibson, Leona Gom, Jane Eaton Hamilton, Nancy Holmes, Anna Humphrey, Mindy Hung, Carole Itter, Helen Kuk, Matea Kulić, Fiona Tinwei Lam, Doretta Lau, Evelyn Lau, Jen Sookfong Lee, Annabel Lyon, Vera Manuel, Daphne Marlatt, Cara-Lyn Morgan, Erín Moure, Susan Musgrave, Alessandra Naccarato, Kellee Ngan, Monica Pacheco, M. NourbeSe Philip, Helen Potrebenko, Sina Queyras, Eden Robinson, Devyani Saltzman, Sigal Samuel, Nilofar Shidmehr, Serena Shipp, Carolyn Smart, Anna Swanson, Souvankham Thammavongsa, Audrey Thomas, Ayelet Tsabari, Chimwemwe Undi and Jia Qing Wilson-Yang.

Initially established in 1975 as Room of One’s Own, Room is published by the West Coast Feminist Literary Magazine Society, a collective based out of Vancouver.

Making Room: Forty Years of Room Magazine will explore the evolution of Canadian feminism as told through fiction, poetry and essays by Canadian writers who identify as women, genderqueer, trans or non-binary.

To contribute to the IndieGoGo fundraising campaign, visit:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/room-s-40th-anniversary-anthology-poetry-feminism#/

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