The Malahat Review celebrates 50 years of literary excellence

The Malahat Review celebrates 50 years of literary excellence

A revered University of Victoria literary journal is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month.

The Malahat Review has been described as a springboard for some of the most recognizable names in Canadian publishing. Yann Martel was in the magazine 14 years before he went on to win the Booker Prize for the international bestseller Life of Pi.

UVic Libraries produced a limited-edition publication that was unveiled on Jan. 25 to commemorate the anniversary.

It is now on display at a special exhibit at the Legacy Maltwood, a gallery in the lower level of the university’s McPherson Library.

The publication, called The Malahat Review at Fifty: Canada?s Iconic Literary Magazine is filled with archival material from UVic Special Collections and University Archives.

The display highlights the role of art in the journal, and includes 200 selected cover images.

“I think of the Malahat Review as an iconic journal of Canadian writing,” said John Barton, an editor at the journal. “[What makes it iconic] is its habit of publishing groundbreaking work and launching important careers for writers in this country.”

Barton edited Ottawa-based Arc Poetry Magazine for 13 years before joining the journal.

He says Martel published his first short story in the Malahat Review in 1988, and greatly appreciated working with the journal.

“Talking to Yann he would say the Malahat made an enormous difference to his confidence in himself as a writer,” said Barton.” He says he would not be a writer without the Malahat Review and I think a lot of writers feel that about this journal.”

In 1977, the journal dedicated an entire issue to Margaret Atwood?s work, before she became internationally known. Poets such as Michael Ondaatje, Dionne Brand, Lorna Crozier and Patricia Young have also appeared in the magazine.

Other contributing authors include broadcaster and UVic Chancellor Shelagh Rogers, from CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter.

“it’s worthy of praise, I always said that my job is icon management,” added Barton.  “It was an icon before I got to the Malahat and it’s been my goal to retain its luster, and it’s been a great honour to do that.”

The exhibit will be on display until May 13.




Julian KolsutJulian Kolsut

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