Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, BEd’98, hosted a town hall at UBC’s Okanagan campus on September 6, and more than 2,500 people attended. It was his first visit to UBC since taking office.

Catherine Chick
Catherine Chick

Catherine Chick, BSc’91, MBA (McMaster), has been appointed as the chief information officer at Mitacs, responsible for establishing and implementing the technology vision that supports the organization’s strategic plan. She will be based at Mitacs’ Vancouver office at UBC. Chick joins Mitacs from Seaspan, where she served as VP, Business Services and Technology and has held leadership positions in the technology, manufacturing, financial, and higher education sectors.

Dust Blown Side of the Journey is a book of poetry by Eleonore Schonmaier, MFA’92, that has been published by McGill-Queen’s University Press. Reflecting a childhood in the northern Canadian boreal forest and an adult life lived without borders, her poems show the beauty of the lived and natural world in both wilderness and urban settings.

Maia Kumari Gilman, BA’92, MArch’99, has recent published The Erenwine Agenda, an ecofiction novel about an environmental activist working in New York City who takes on the natural gas industry.

Heather Pattullo, Positively Canadian
Positively Canadian

In her new book, Positively Canadian: A fun guide to Canadian language, culture and history, Heather Pattullo, MEd’92, explores what it means to be Canadian. Whether you are an adult wanting a “refresher” on Canada, an ESL student wanting grammar practice while learning zany Canadian facts, or a new citizen of Canada, there is something here for everyone.

Laura K. Davis, BA’93, has published Margaret Laurence Writes Africa and Canada, the first book to examine how Laurence addresses decolonization and nation building in 1950s Somalia and Ghana, and 1960s and 1970s English Canada. Focusing on Laurence’s published works as well as her unpublished letters not yet discussed by critics, the book articulates how Laurence and her characters are poised between African colonies of occupation during decolonization and the settler-colony of English Canada during the implementation of Canadian multiculturalism.

Derry McDonell
Derry McDonell

Derry McDonell, BCom’96, recently moved his family to Hong Kong, where he has taken up a post as consul for Political, Economic and Public Affairs at the Consulate General of Canada in Hong Kong in Macao. This comes after two years of Mandarin language training and before that a posting at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. They are very excited to explore all that Hong Kong, Macao and China have to offer, and to join the many ranks of Canadians in the region. McDonell looks forward to meeting UBC alumni of all stripes.

Michael V. Smith, MFA’98, has released Bad Ideas, a new collection of poetry that explores the inevitability of loss and triumph with irony and tenderness. Through this dazzling collection of a remembered life, hung out to ogle like laundry on the line, Smith recalls a mother who discovers a sex tape, a man who dreams of birthing his own son and a woman who blends her baby girls into milkshakes. Bad Ideas is a testament to how an altered perspective effects change, how stories can be recast.

A Disappearance in Damascus
A Disappearance in Damascus

Journalist Deborah Campbell, BFA’99, MFA’02, has released A Disappearance in Damascus, winner of the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction. The story begins in 2007, when the author travels undercover to Damascus to report on the exodus of Iraqis into Syria following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. There she meets and hires Ahlam, a refugee working as a “fixer”– providing Western media with trustworthy information and contacts to help get the news out. But one morning Ahlam is seized from her home in front of Campbell’s eyes. Haunted by the prospect that their work together has led to her friend’s arrest, Campbell spends the months that follow desperately trying to find her – all the while fearing she could be next. Through its compelling story of two women caught up in the shadowy politics behind today’s conflict, A Disappearance in Damascus reminds us of the courage of those who risk their lives to bring us the world’s news.

Bob Wakulich, MFA’99, won the 2017 Big Pond Rumours Press Chapbook Contest with a collection of poems entitled Channeling The Masters, a poetic satire which examines contemporary issues in the styles of 17 famous deceased authors.


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