CWILA Announces Critic-in-Residence for 2015: Lucas Crawford

Canadian Women in the Literary Arts (CWILA) is thrilled to announce that Lucas Crawford will be our Critic-in-Residence (CiR) for 2015.

Word from Lucas Crawford: 

Lucas Crawford, 2015 CWILA Critic-in-Residence

Lucas Crawford, 2015 CWILA Critic-in-Residence

“It is with tremendous enthusiasm and gratitude that I receive the news that I am CWILA’s choice for the 2015 Critic-in-Residence position.

CWILA’s commitment to rethinking the highly gender-skewed character of Canada’s literary establishment drew me to apply for this position. I was struck by the fact that CWILA foregrounds the possible role of genderqueer and transgender people in the organization. As such a person engaged in my own poetry practice, this resonated with me.

As Critic-in-Residence, I’ll not just seek ways to ‘include’ trans literature, but will also ask tough questions of mainstream literary circles. Do the canons and new circles of Canadian literature sometimes implicitly rely upon harmful ideas about gender? How many trans authors have our leading presses and periodicals published, and why? What does Canadian literature stand to gain by taking seriously work that re-imagines gender, genres, and nation?

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Lucas Crawford, 2015 CWILA Critic-in-Residence

I approach these questions with hope. It is my contention that the same imagination, flexibility, and unconventional feelings that make the transgender body possible can also work wonders for Canadian literature – by likewise suspending conventions of the body, the nation, and tradition.

To my mind, transgender is nothing if not a high capacity for change and adaptation – something any literary establishment would likely do well to emulate. I look forward to working with CWILA to bring these questions to a bigger audience. I thank the jury of CWILA profusely.”

Word from the 2015 Critic-in-Residence Jury (Libe García Zarranz, Erin Wunker, Shannon Webb-Campbell, Sneja Gunew, and Evelyne Ledoux-Beaugrand):

“This year’s jury is absolutely thrilled to welcome Lucas Crawford as CWILA’s 2015 Critic in Residence! We based our decision on the quality and clarity of the project, the venues for dissemination of the work proposed, the language, style and methodology of the proposal, the candidate’s credentials, and finally, the ways the suggested project would fit into CWILA’s goals. The jury unanimously agreed that Lucas Crawford’s sophisticated proposal not only meets but also expands CWILA’s aims by generating novel conversations on gender, transdisciplinarity, poetics, and performance, among other innovative suggestions for collaboration. In particular, we were intrigued and provoked by some of the questions that Lucas raised in his proposal: How is trans literature integral to women’s literature? How does transgender–as an aesthetic capacity to blur easy boundaries–defy genre? Can we produce statistics about transgender authorship in studies of gender equity in publishing and reviewing? The jury thus firmly believes that Lucas’ background as an award winning scholar, poet, and researcher in the fields of transgender architecture, fat studies, and queer politics will progressively enable a shift in CWILA’s relationship to the transgender literary community. We look forward to the many transformations and collaborations to come. Welcome on board, Lucas!”

Canadian Women in the Literary Arts would also like to extend an enormous thank-you to our outgoing Critic-in-Residence, Shannon Webb-Campbell, who has done incredible work over the past year. You can see the work she did as CiR here.

Welcome, Lucas and thank you, Shannon!

Lucas Crawford is a poet, performer, and occasional professor who was raised in rural Nova Scotia and now lives in Vancouver. Lucas has researched transgender and literature as a doctoral student at the University of Alberta (where his thesis was awarded the Governor General’s Gold Medal), at McGill (where he was a postdoctoral fellow), and now at Simon Fraser University, where he is the Ruth Wynn Woodward Endowment Lecturer. Over the years, he has given over sixty performances of poetry, and perhaps a few of drag. Lucas won the Atlantic Writing Competition (poetry category) in 2005 and is currently nominated for the Pushcart Prize for a poem that appears in Rattle. (Check out an interview about Lucas’s writing practice here: His poetry collection, The High Line Park Scavenger Hunt, was written at the Banff Centre Writing Studio in 2012 and is forthcoming in 2015. His academic book, Transgender Architectonics, will appear in 2015 as well (from Ashgate).

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