Kina Cavicchioli came to Canada as a graduate student from the UK looking for adventure, fell in love with BC, and stayed. She has taught at Langara since 2007 and is passionate about showing students how empowering and pleasurable literature and language awareness can be.
She has a BA in English and French Literature from the University of Oxford, an MA in American Studies from the University of East Anglia, and a hauntingly unfinished PhD on Victorian Women's Ghost Stories from UBC.
Kina teaches first-year courses like Communications 1118, English 1127,1129 and 1130, as well as the two-part History of Theatre course (English 1181-1191). She has also taught second-year courses on Pandemic Narratives and the Literature of Madness.
Kina is currently the coordinator of the English Forum, a free monthly gathering hosted by Langara English instructors and guests in which to explore and discuss fiction, film, television, and culture of all kinds. Past Forum topics have included Game of Thrones, the Literature of Happiness, Jane Austen's novels, and Bioshock.
When she isn't teaching, Kina writes poetry, fantasizes about becoming a stand-up comedian, and runs away to Tofino as often as possible.
I most enjoy teaching popular culture, media, literary/cultural theory, prose fiction (especially dystopian fiction) and composition. Before coming to Langara, I taught literature and composition courses at SFU. My courses have included topics such as the centrality of terrorism to twentieth-century American literature, and literature that examines how definitions of the “human” have been transformed by technology. Otherwise, I’ve assisted in literature courses on utopias, violence, the gothic and numerous other topics.
At UBC, I initially drifted between courses in fine art, classical studies and American history, but eventually majored in English, a subject which best combines my interests. I went on to earn my M.A. and PhD in English literature from SFU, where I pursued my enthusiasm for books, films, theory and pop-culture, and developed as a writer and teacher in the process. (I do still draw and remain a pretty good person to tour Roman ruins with though.)
Inspired by the current events of the time, I specialized in contemporary American literature and culture related to terrorism, surveillance and national security. My dissertation examined the relatively recent genre of 9/11 fiction, which consists of stories that explore the historical precedents for and socio-political consequences of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. During my career, I have presented my work at a wide range of academic conferences including the Modern Language Association, American Comparative Literary Association and Marxist Literary Group. I’m currently preparing articles on topics such as surveillance and racial profiling in Martin Amis’s “The Last Days of Muhammad Atta,” subversion of pre-emptive doctrine in the film Minority Report, and the significance of the pre- and post-9/11 work of David Foster Wallace to how scholars of 9/11 literature define literary periods.
I’m probably equally as comfortable with high and low culture. Lately, I’ve been reading Ta-Nehisi Coates, Junot Diaz and William Gibson, as well as almost anything intelligent about American politics, but also have been watching lots of Netflix and Marvel movies. Outside of the classroom (for now), my interests include Japan, hipster music, Beatles lore, Lego engineering, drawing, comic books, archaeology, bad movies and satirical news.
I quit high school and took a job in a factory because I didn’t like school. After a couple of years I decided to go back as a mature student. I studied Economics at the University of Waterloo but after second year jumped into English. After graduating UW I went on to McMaster University and York University. While completing my degrees I had some intriguing jobs. I taught history and literature at a jail for young offenders and I taught contract law, critical thinking and economics at colleges in Toronto. During and between these jobs I worked as a house framer, landscaper, and an auto assembly-line worker, not only to earn a living but to gain experience of the world outside school.
About twenty years ago I came to Vancouver to work in the English Department at UBC, where I taught essay writing, Canadian literature and Eighteenth-Century literature from 1996 until 2003. I also taught courses on the poet/engraver William Blake and on the landscape paintings of the Group of Seven for UBC Continuing Studies. From 2002 to 2006 I was Academic Director of UBC’s Humanities 101 Community Programmes, a pioneering outreach programme—the first of its kind in Canada—in the liberal arts and social sciences for students in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside who encounter economic and social barriers to education. For a year I was also Coordinator at the Humanities Storefront, an educational facility in the DES, at Cordova and Abbott, which brought free lectures and classes to the neighborhood before it was gentrified.
I’ve published essays and articles—on subjects ranging from Post-Colonial Literature to the use of metaphor in advertising and international finance—in Alphabet City, Canadian Dimension, Canadian Literature, English Studies in Canada, Jouvert, Left History, Vancouver Review and West Coast Line—and I regularly write creative nonfiction and commentary essays for subTerrain Magazine, where I’m also Features Editor. A few of my essays have been nominated for national and provincial magazine-writing awards, but none have won. In 2016 I published a book of these essays called Garage Criticism: Cultural Missives in an Age of Distraction, which was a Montaigne Medal Finalist. One of my essays, ‘’No Reading Aloud’’, was selected for publication in Best Canadian Essays 2017; another of my essays, "The Future is the Period a the End of the Sentence," was selected for publication in the Best Canadian Essays 2018.
I’ve been teaching at Langara since 2002. It’s a great place; I like it here. Besides standard first-year courses like English 1100, 1127 and 1130, which I love to teach, I’ve taught second-year courses on Banned Books, Graphic Lit, and Children’s/YA Literature, and more recently I’ve taught English 1125, Contemporary Linguistics, and 2100, Traditional Grammar. I’m here to teach students how to be stronger readers and more persuasive writers by showing them that “Literature” is not an irrelevant or mysteriously subjective field where anything goes but is a discipline built on the application of certain properties of language. When you think about it, so much of your life happens in language—whether on paper, out loud, or on screen—and an English class is an opportunity to figure out how it all works.
BA, PhD (Columbia). I teach college writing and literature. Students learn how to write better, especially how to write better college essays. Perhaps they can have deeper thoughts as well. Then they can have some of these deep thoughts, expressed in powerful writing, about the literature I teach: stories, novels, plays, poetry (especially poetry), and movies (sometimes).
All this teaching and enlightenment comes packaged in first semester writing courses (1127, 1128, 1100), second-semester introductory literatures courses (1129, 1130) , and 2nd-year literature courses (Survey of English literature, American literature, occasionally Studies in Poetry and Canadian Literature). I tell students what to read, we discuss what everyone has read, and the discussion helps me explain it all to everyone. Everyone attains a higher level of being.
B.A. Psychology (McGill), M.A. English (S.F.U.)
Academic Biography: I started my BA at UBC, but completed it as a Psychology major at McGill University in Montreal. The city was so much fun that I stayed another nine years before deciding to return to BC. My thesis for my Master's degree (SFU) focuses on the reception history of two nineteenth-century Canadian novels, and while a teaching assistant at SFU, I discovered the challenge and satisfaction of teaching, and decided to pursue it as a career. I’ve been an instructor at Langara College since August 1994.
Course Taught: In my years at Langara, I’ve enjoyed teaching ENGL 1121, 1127, 1128, 1129, 1130, 1140, 2224, 2225, and 2237 (Science Fiction as Social Commentary). I’ve also had the pleasure of teaching CMNS 1115, 1118, and 2228.
Academic Interests: I am passionate about exploring the subtleties of words and the meanings that those words create whether in poetry, drama, prose fiction, or prose non-fiction.
Fun: Science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, and history books keep me occupied during my spare time. I also enjoy writing, fencing, and playing with clay.
Ruth has a BA (English Language major and German minor) from UBC, Vancouver BC, 1993, and an MA (Applied Linguistics & Cross- Cultural Communication) from Concordia University, Montreal PQ,1999.
Before coming to Langara, Ruth taught advanced English as a Second Language and College Preparatory Courses (including reading, writing, listening and speaking) at the Vancouver Community College. She has been teaching English as a Second Language at all levels from beginner to advanced, as well as all age groups from children to adults since 1993. She has taught English or the teaching of English in Japan, Germany, Montreal, Vancouver, and Africa.
Ruth has developed a special interest in cross-cultural communication, through her travels (for at least one or more years) in Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and Africa. Teaching English 1107 and 1108 at Langara College involves not only teaching advanced grammar and writing skills, but also requires an understanding of the rhetorical differences across cultures. She feels privileged to receive perspectives from around the globe in her classroom and hopes to reciprocate by sharing a sense of Canadian academic culture for, as Katheryn Freston states, “Magic takes place when we really absorb the knowledge that we are all in this [world] together.”
BA (U.B.C. 1987), MA (U.B.C. 1991), GDDET 2011
Biography: After completing my B.A., I worked in publishing in London and Cambridge, England. After finishing an M.A. in English language, I taught English, ESL and communications for various colleges in the Lower Mainland and for the English Department at UBC. I have taught technical communications courses for the Faculties of Applied Science and Agricultural Sciences at UBC and acted as a professional communication consultant for engineering, accounting and other firms. At Langara, I teach English 1125 (Introduction to Contemporary Linguistic Analysis) and recently created and taught a new second-year course in English traditional grammar: English 2100. In addition to my teaching, I am Chair of the Educational Technology Department and work as the Curriculum Development Coordinator for Langara’s new Teaching and Curriculum Development Centre.
Publications and Activities:
Bowers, Sarah and Julia Denholm. Beyond Online: Adapting and implementing the QM rubric for three modes of delivery. Quality Matters QM Works: The Great Pacific Northwest Regional Conference. April 25 & 26, 2013 Vancouver WA
Implications of BC’s Privacy Law for Higher Education with Roy Sinn LEDC session April 2011
Web 2.0 Social Media in Higher Education LEDC session April 2010
Quality in Online Course Design LEDC session April 2010
The Job Application Package annual guest speaker for Library Tech students 2010 to present
various reviews of ESL and business writing manuscripts for Pearson Education,Harcourt Brace and Company Canada, and Prentice Hall Allyn and Bacon
The Write Way (with Maggie Warbey) Harcourt Brace and Company Canada: Toronto 1997
Academic Interests: English linguistics, traditional grammar, history of the English language, business and technical communications.
Other Interests: yoga, photography and gardening.
Mono Brown has English degrees from University of Waterloo (BA, Rhetoric and Professional Writing) and the University of British Columbia (MA), and is currently completing a PhD in English at UBC. Their research examines the uses of persuasion in health and medical contexts—for example, in public health campaigns. Mono has been an instructor at English at Langara since 2015, and before that worked in the English department at UBC. They also serve on the programming committee for the Vancouver Queer Film Festival and in their spare time enjoy reading, biking, and gardening.
Winner of the 2009-10 Langara College Teaching Excellence Award, Karen has taught everything from Apocalyptic, Feminist, Gothic, Horror, to Cult literature & film courses in the Department in addition to teaching Theatre History (thrice on Field Schools), Cinema History, Composition & Introductory Literary & Film Analysis. She also inaugurated a Gothic Field Studies course in 2013, during which she and a co-instructor teach Langara students Gothic literature and film in London, Whitby, Edinburgh & Manchester during the Summer semester.
She says, "I believe in the central importance of a humanist education that allows us to participate in the fictional lives of others as well as articulate issues of personal importance. To that end, I try to engage students with a variety of approaches that suggest connections between the interior and exterior, virtual and "real" stories we create." Karen regularly presents papers at the International Gothic Association and recently completed an MA in Film and Television Production at the Cambridge School of Art in Anglia Ruskin University, where she learned how to make documentary films. She hopes to bring her newfound knowledge into the classroom, "to help make students' stories reality."
Heather Burt has an M.A. in English Literature, a Bachelor's degree in Education, and a Diploma in ESL Education. She regularly teaches first-year English and ESL courses, as well as second-year creative writing. During her non-teaching terms, Heather writes fiction. Her first novel, Adam's Peak, was shortlisted for the 2008 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Visit Heather's website at www.heatherburt.ca.
A prolific writer, Aaron Bushkowsky is a Vancouver-based playwright, film-writer, poet, novelist, and educator. His plays have been produced across Canada, the US, and Europe, and have received 9 Jessie Richardson Theatre nominations, more than any other Canadian playwright, winning two for Outstanding Original Play. Aaron has written over 20 plays and received almost as many professional productions across Canada, the US, and Europe including Farewell, My Lovely produced by Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre. Aaron is a graduate of the prestigious Canadian Film Centre in film-writing. His film-scripts have received many options. Aaron’s short film The Alley was nominated for five Leo awards and won the National Screen Institute’s Drama Prize.
Aaron teaches writing at Vancouver’s highly regarded theatre school Studio 58, and at Kwantlen University, Langara College, and Vancouver Film School. He has several published works, including two books of poetry Mars is for Poems (Oolichan Books) and ed and mabel go to the moon (Oolichan Books) which was nominated for a BC Book Award for Poetry. His published drama includes Strangers Among Us, The Waterhead and other plays, and My Chernobyl all published by Playwrights Canada Press. His first book of fiction was a collection of short stories The Vanishing Man published by Cormorant in 2005. Curtains for Roy, his first novel, was published in August 2014. It's a dark comedy about the Vancouver theatre world which garnered rave reviews from critics and made two Top Ten Book (2014) lists for Vancouver novels and subsequently nominated for the Stephen Leacock Award – Canada’s oldest literary award and only award for humour writing. Aaron is a grad of UBC (Masters, Creative Writing) and U of A (BA, English; B. Ed.)
Aaron also heads Solo Collective Theatre, a professional Vancouver theatre company and has been an influential dramaturge, mentor, and teacher to hundreds of new West Coast writers and students. Aaron is represented in theatre by Marquis Entertainment, Toronto. For more information: www.aaronbushkowsky.com
Toby Chernoff came to Langara as a first-year student when he was 30, after working as a cook, a waiter, a tree planter, a house painter, a scheduler and machine operator in a nail-making factory, and a professional swing dancer. He liked his time here so much that after finishing two degrees at UBC, he came back to teach.
Some of Toby’s recent interests are feminism and gender studies, Star Wars, Geoffrey Chaucer, comic books, Dante’s Divine Comedy, and the best ways to make effective, convincing arguments, both in and out of the classroom. He looks forward to lively, active debates with students who value thinking and participation, and who want to discover connections between the things we talk about in class, and the things that happen in the rest of their lives.
To that end, much of his classwork revolves around how advertising reinforces cultural values and convinces us of stuff, and how reading and writing essays and visual media can make us better students in every field of study, and make us better citizens outside of the classroom.
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 2560
Noel Currie has degrees from Carleton University (MA, Canadian Studies) and UBC (BA, PhD, M.Ed.). She has been an instructor in the English Department at Langara College since 2002. Before coming to Langara College, she taught in departments of English, Educational Studies, and Women’s Studies at UBC and SFU, and for one term at the University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland. She has published articles on First Nations writing, Canadian gothic, and exploration literature, as well as co-edited a teaching anthology of 20th-century literature called Currents: Stories, Essays, Poems, and Plays with Kevin McNeilly, W.H. New, and W.E. Messenger. Her book Constructing Colonial Discourse: Captain Cook at Nootka Sound was published by McGill-Queen’s University Press in 2005.
Glenn Deefholts completed his degrees at SFU: a Bachelors in English with a Minor in Humanities (1994), a Masters in English (1998), and a Masters in Humanities (2015). His graduate work explored connections between philosophy and literature in the UK, France, and Germany in the early twentieth century. His first thesis looked at ways that language can be experienced as ritual and as technology. His second thesis was about Virginia Woolf and the memoir, examining Woolf's assertion that in Europe in 1910, human character changed.
Glenn has a TESOL certificate and, before coming to Langara, taught English for sixteen years to students from over thirty countries.
In 2005, Glenn co-edited and contributed to The Way We Were: Anglo-Indian Chronicles, a collection of memoirs written by Anglo-Indians, describing their unique culture in India.
At Langara, Glenn teaches a variety of courses, including English 1107, 1108, 1120, 1121, 1127, and 1129. He likes the cultural diversity and small class sizes, believing that these features enrich the educational experience of students and instructors alike. He writes poetry and fiction, and so especially appreciates having students discover a poem they love or a novel that moves them.
Susan Font has been an English instructor at Langara College since 2010 and relishes working and learning with her students. Previously, she was an instructor at UBC’s English Language Institute for two years.
She has a BA (Hons) in English Studies (Manchester Metropolitan University); a Post-Graduate Diploma in Journalism (Concordia University); an MA in Literature and Medicine (King’s College London); a Post-Graduate Diploma in TESOL (University College London); and a CELTA EAL/ESL certificate.
Susan was a reporter and research fellow in Southeast Asia, and a financial reporter on Fleet Street, London. Also in London, Susan instructed international students at a private English school, teaching general English, Cambridge Certificate courses, Business English, and IELTS/TOEIC preparation courses. She taught English language in various professional sectors in Montreal, and she is a published poet.
English has always been Susan’s passion and she relishes teaching and exploring the transmutable qualities of this language and its usage through varying intersecting spheres, whether the English of literature (ENGL 1127, 1129, 1100); business and technical communications (CMNS 1118, 2228); or grammar precision and linguistics (ENGL 1107/8, 1121).
Her research and writing instincts are multifarious: poetics; literature and the body/mind; socio/psycholinguistics; emerging identities in second and further language acquisition; global development; the history of medicine; and cobbling together her rudimentary French.
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 2559
BA, Honours English, McGill University; MA, Graduate Centre for the Study of Drama, University of Toronto; MFA, Creative Writing, UBC
Kurt Vonnegut said it best. You must practice art in order to make your soul grow. That is the only real reason to take English or Creative Writing classes. High grades and credentials are splendid, but twenty years from now, when you are doing whatever it is that you will do with most of the days of your life, what you will long for is the sound of your soul stirring, whispering to you the truth of what’s inside of you. Writing, reading, discussing and analyzing – as we do in English class - will make you a more sensitive thinker, and a better judge of what matters, and what is good in the universe. It will make you less barbaric, and will turn your attention away from Kim Kardashian breaking the internet, to the flutter that is your heart beating. It will make your soul grow.
Jill Goldberg teaches English 1127, 1100, 1191 (Theatre History), and Creative Writing.
Jill is currently the chair of Canadian Creative Writers and Writing Programs (CCWWP/PPCCL ~ ccwwp.ca).
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 2561
Alexander Grammatikos completed his B.A. Honours at Simon Fraser University (2008); M.A. at The University of York, U.K. (2010); and Ph.D. at Carleton University (2017).
Alex is passionate about teaching a variety of classes, including English 1107, which helps students to better understand the foundations of grammar and college writing, and English 1127, which encourages students to further develop their writing and research skills through an appreciation of short stories and other prose. He likes that the small class sizes at Langara allow for many opportunities for class participation and dialogue. Alex enjoys motivating students to become better writers and discussing various textual ideas and themes with them. Alex also expects to constantly learn from his students and is a firm believer in the idea that students thrive in nurturing settings wherein they are encouraged to pursue their personal interests.
Alex's research specialties include British Romanticism and nineteenth-century Greek literary culture. In his book, British Romantic Literature and the Emerging Modern Greek Nation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), Alex investigates the ways in which late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century British writers constructed Modern Greece and its people, and how these literary engagements with Greece produced and complicated Britain’s relationship with the then emerging Greek nation. Alex has also published articles on women’s involvement in the early nineteenth-century literary print market and British theatre and Greek independence.
Alex's other interests include tennis, hiking, reading, and good food.
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 2459
Ph.D. (UBC) M.A. (UBC) TESL-certificate (UBC) Zwischenprüfung (Albertus Magnus Universität, Köln, Germany)
"Edel sei der Mensch, hilfreich und gut." (Johann Wolfgang Goethe) [my translation, alas, I don't like translation, but here goes: "Humans should be refined, helpful and good."]
Publications - On the Music of the North, Margaret Atwood, Malcolm Lowry, and James Joyce ...
Interests - James Joyce, Modernism, contemporary literature, relations to music, cyber-lit, Science Fiction, chess, soccer ...
Courses Taught - ESL, Survey courses, poetry, drama, film, cyberpunk ...
B.A. English (SFU), M.A. English (SFU): Modernism: Joyce, Lawrence, Pound
Main Courses: English 1121, 1100, 1127, 1129
Creative Writing Courses: Poetry, Short Fiction, Creative Non-fiction
Special Interest Courses: Canadian Literature: The Experimental Novel; Terribly Funny: The Serious Art of Laughter; The Beats: American Counterculture Literature of the 1950s and 1960s
Caroline Harvey's days revolve around reading and analyzing literature with students, saluting the powers of writers, and repeating the word “revise” with conviction. She favours satirical works that are full of brutal irony and spilled blood, but she also relishes writing that flows with revolutionary stances and visionary mantras.
Since she still actually believes that writers are the unacknowledged legislators of the world--and that they can only thrive with support and recognition--she also teaches various genres of creative writing, helps to judge Langara's magazine of student writing, W49, and runs Langara's Postcard Story Contest.
As a literary journalist, Caroline has interviewed authors and written over fifty book reviews, namely for The Vancouver Sun, and she was the poetry editor for the Vancouver Review for six years. Her own creative writing (personal essays about the alienating moments of urban life) has been published by local newspapers and Vancouver Review.
During her twenty-five plus years as an instructor, she has not once lost her passion for exploring the ways that good writing–and reading–transforms lives and societies. Revise!
Greg Holditch has been part of the Langara English Department since 2010. He teaches literary criticism, composition and business communication. His academic interests include print culture, trauma narrative, graphic novels and video games. His master’s paper challenged the idea of interactive authorship in the videogame Bioshock. Greg is the co-author of WRITE2: Canadian Edition (2016).
Greg firmly believes that Langara offers a unique learning environment (e.g. small class size, instructor availably) that has a fundamental impact on a student’s success. This learning environment informs his own teaching philosophy: his goal as an educator is to make students active participants in their own learning. To this end, he uses interactive group activities, classroom discussion, humour and popular culture to create a classroom environment where students feel comfortable expressing themselves and their ideas.
In his free time, Greg nurtures his video game obsession, bikes at great speeds around Vancouver, plays with his dog and dreams about Scuba diving.
Joanne Horwood has a BA Honours (University of Calgary), an MA and PhD (University of Alberta) in English. After focusing on modern drama and writing about Ibsen, Chekhov, Beckett, Pinter and Stoppard in her PhD dissertation, she has expanded her interests to Theatre History and has worked on an Online Bibliography of Women’s Theatre History.
She found her way to the West Coast in 1990 while still completing her graduate work, and began teaching at Langara College in 2000. She teaches first-year courses, English 1100, 1127, 1128, 1129, 1181 and 1191; second-year English courses 2233, 2234 and 2237; and Communications 1118, Business Writing. Often her first-year classes have a thematic focus that reflects her interest in World Literature: “Out of Africa,” “Caribbean Literature” and “East Meets West."
For the adventurous, Joanne has offered various Field School programs: Theatre History in London and New York, as well as Caribbean Literature in Barbados, Dominica and St Lucia. In 2017, she and Katrina Erdos from Geography are leading a group of students through Italy and London. This new European Field Studies will focus on Theatre History from the Greeks to Shakespeare, as well as the Geography of Tourism, Recreation and Leisure. For more information, see Field Schools under Programs and Courses on the Langara Homepage.
Stephanie is an experienced English as a Second Language instructor who has spent more than 15 years teaching in colleges and academies throughout North America and around the world. Stephanie holds a BA from UBC, a TESOL Diploma and a Master’s in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from Greensboro College in North Carolina.
Stephanie’s areas of focus are academic writing, the fundamentals of English grammar and communication skills for international professionals.
Prior to coming to Langara, Stephanie taught college preparatory classes for English language learners at Vancouver Community College. In her adventurous days, she taught business English in Ecuador, Argentina, and Uruguay, as well as English for newcomers in Durham, North Carolina. She spent a year as the only English speaker in a small rural village in Japan, so she understands how crucial cross-cultural communication skills are.
Stephanie specializes in working with 1106 and 1107 students to improve their writing skills and meet their entrance requirements. She also works with international professionals in specialized programs at Langara to boost their communication skills and achieve their academic and employment goals.
When Stephanie is not teaching, she enjoys exploring hiking trails, traveling and reading.
Heather Jessup holds a BA in Creative Writing and Honours English from the University of Victoria, an MA in Creative Writing and English Literature from Concordia University in Montreal, and a PhD from the University of Toronto, with a focus on contemporary Canadian Literature and Visual Art.
Her first novel, The Lightning Field, was a finalist for the Thomas Head Radall Fiction Award, the Savage First Book Award, and was nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award. Her poetry, short fiction, essays, and book reviews have been published in journals across North America, including: The Malahat Review, PRISM International, Denver Quarterly, Grain, The Dalhousie Review, English Studies in Canada, and Poetry Is Dead Magazine.
Heather has been teaching at Langara since 2013 and loves being an instructor here. She is passionate about thinking critically, writing beautiful sentences, and figuring out how to live an examined and attentive life through the conscious and deliberate use of language.
Before teaching at Langara, Heather was a fiction instructor in the Creative Writing program at Dalhousie University; taught first-year English courses at Saint Mary's University and Concordia University; and taught Critical Theory and Art History at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.
Some of Heather's favourite classes to teach at Langara are English 1100, 1127, 1129, 1130, Communications 1115, and second year Canadian Literature. Right now, Heather especially loves learning more through her students, in the collaborative space of the classroom, about critical theory, concepts of gender and sexuality, race, diaspora, diversity, and indigenous pedagogies. She often teaches literature and writing alongside visual art, comic books, film, photographs, digital narratives, author interviews, philosophy, and linguistics.
In 2017, Heather was awarded a New Chapter grant from the Canada Council, with her colleague Dr. Claire Battershill at SFU, to work on a cross-Canada traveling art exhibit, digital library, and archival project - The Prud'homme Library - which launches in Spring 2019 and examines Canadian history, story, myth, and archive, through the remarkable objects found in a bishop's ancient attic.
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 2371
Tiffany Johnstone has a BA from the University of Toronto (2004), an MA from Memorial University of Newfoundland (2005), and a PhD from the University of British Columbia (2012). In the fall of 2016, she began teaching in the English Department at Langara College. In addition to teaching at Langara, she has taught Literature at Memorial University of Newfoundland (2006-2007) as well as Literature, Academic Writing, and Gender Studies at UBC in the Department of English, the Arts Studies in Research and Writing program, the Coordinated Arts Program, and the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice. She has published articles relating to northern travel literature, autobiography, and women's writing, and she also co-edited Bearing Witness: Perspectives on War and Peace in the Arts and Humanities with Sherrill Grace and Patrick Imbert.
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 2652
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 2224
Tanya earned her M.A. from UBC in 2000 as a specialist in Canadian Literature, and has been published in Essays on Canadian Writing and Studies in Canadian Literature. Since her graduation, however, she has expanded her scholarly interests to include film studies, non-fiction, Victorian fiction, and food in literature. Indeed, she developed an English 2233 course, “Consuming Fiction: Examining the Link between Food and Story,” in order to share her enthusiasm for this burgeoning academic field.
What Tanya is most enthusiastic about, though, is teaching, She therefore considers herself lucky to have landed at Langara where she is surrounded by creative colleagues and (mostly) dedicated students. Tanya has been teaching a wide variety of ESL, first-, and second-year courses at Langara since she was hired in 2002, and she looks forward to continuing to do so until her retirement—in about 2034.
Tess MacMillan has been an instructor at Langara College since September 2002. Before arriving at Langara, she taught at UBC's Writing Centre and at Douglas College.
A native Vancouverite, she earned a BA (Hons.) in English from UBC before heading to London, Ontario where she received an MA in English from the University of Western Ontario.
Tess's areas of academic interest include First Nations literature (particularly the works of Thomas King), multicultural literature (especially Canadian and Caribbean), short fiction, and English grammar. Her non-academic interests include popular culture, yoga, and fashion as an artistic medium.
Tess teaches a wide range of first year courses including English 1107, 1110, 1127, and 1129. She enjoys teaching students grammar, writing skills, and literature and believes that everyone can find a poem to love.
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 2361
Erin MacWilliam has been teaching post-secondary English literature and business and technical communication since 2004, and loves teaching the vibrant and intelligent students at Langara. Erin hopes that all students taking her classes find texts that spark joy and critical thought, and gain the tools to express themselves more effectively in writing. She aims to teach diverse works and promote an inclusive and participatory classroom.
A native Vancouverite, Erin has a B.A. (hons.) in English Literature and Geography from Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Quebec, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of British Columbia. Her doctoral research focused on the ways in which British cookbooks published between 1660 and 1760, along with the periodicals, literature, and philosophy of the time, shaped conceptions of physical and aesthetic taste. Erin’s current research interests include writing and literary pedagogy, eighteenth-century literature and didactic writing, print culture, taste and aesthetics, domesticity, and the public sphere. She is a beer-league softball player and chorister, and lets her cat Nubs boss her around.
Paisley Mann has been teaching at Langara since 2014. She has a BA (English and French Literature) and an MA (English Literature) from the University of Victoria and a PhD (English Literature) from the University of British Columbia. Her dissertation and current scholarship focus on representations of the nineteenth-century city, specifically London and Paris, in British fiction and travel guides; she looks at how class, gender, and cultural values shape one’s understanding and experience of the urban environment. She has also published articles on film adaptations of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and on nineteenth-century illustrated serial fiction.
She teaches a variety of courses, including English 1100, 1121, 1127, 1130, and 2224. In particular, she enjoys teaching film studies, introducing students to Victorian literature, and helping students to improve aspects of their writing. She appreciates how Langara’s small class sizes allow for class dialogue and participation, and she strives to create a classroom environment that is both intellectually challenging and supportive. She aims to help students to become good readers of the culture around them and to see that fiction is not a retreat from but an entrance into contemporary debates and social critique.
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 3563
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 2581
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 2453
I began my career at Langara as a student, receiving my Library Technician diploma in the early 1980s. I went on to study English at UBC and at King’s College London (UK), obtaining my PhD in English language in 2000. I’ve been teaching at Langara since 2001.
In 2016, I developed and taught a two-semester course, “Writing Lives,” which is a collaborative initiative between the Langara English Department, the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, and the Azrieli Foundation, an educational foundation based in Toronto. In the first semester, Writing Lives students learn about the Holocaust by studying historical and literary texts. In the second semester, students are teamed up with local Holocaust survivors to interview them and write their memoirs. In 2017/18, Writing Lives was taught for the second time. I’m proud and honoured to be part of this exciting educational initiative.
In my spare time, I translate Yiddish literature. As of fall 2017, a book-length collection of my short story translations is under consideration by Syracuse University Press.
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 2562
Before teaching at Langara, I was a professional songwriter in Los Angeles and Toronto for a variety of production houses and publishing firms; my music has appeared on the radio, on television and in various magazines/newspapers. I’m also the author/illustrator of The Scallywag Solution, Race to Pisa! and Mighty Melvin the Magnificent Mouse!, three graphic novels for young readers that have been published and distributed throughout North America and Europe. Currently, I’m a signed writer with the CookeMcDermid Agency (Toronto).
I’ve also taught at BCIT and VCC. Before that, I spent my academic career at SFU (with a focus on conspiracy theory and the works of Umberto Eco) and UBC (with a focus on contemporary American literature and, in particular, the works of Cormac McCarthy).
Currently, I teach English 1127, 1129 and 1130, all interesting and practical first-year courses. I also teach 2236 (second-year creative writing: prose fiction) on a regular basis in addition to other second-year courses dealing with the relationship between pictures and words in literature, freak culture, and survivor types.
Prior to coming to Langara in the summer of 2012, Kathleen taught English and Creative Writing at Emily Carr University. She is also a playwright and theatre critic for The Georgia Straight, where she has been writing about theatre since 1997. She enjoys sneaking opportunities to introduce students to Vancouver’s vibrant performing arts scene into as many courses as possible.
Kathleen’s first play, Swollen Tongues, is a comedy of love and manners written entirely in rhyming couplets. First produced in 1998 at the Women in View Festival, it has had productions throughout Canada; in London, England, where it earned a Critics’ Choice from Time Out; and a three-month run in Paris (in a French translation by Marie Paule Ramo). Kathleen’s other full-length plays are Carol’s Christmas and The Family Way, which both premiered in Vancouver. She has also written or co-written several shorter plays in English (Beautiful on a Budget) and in French (Snow Queen, Rendez-Vous).
A recurring theme in Kathleen’s plays is that a unique and beautiful power comes from finding one’s voice. In her teaching, she tries to help students find this power within themselves through their writing, whether it takes the form of a job application, a journal, or a research essay. Kathleen believes that any form of writing is an opportunity for playful and meaningful expression.
Camilla Pickard has been teaching courses in English, Creative Writing, Communications and Cultural Studies since 2000, and has taught full time at Langara since 2010.
She holds an Honours degree in English from UVic and an MA in English Literature from UBC. Camilla has also undertaken post-baccalaureate and graduate work in Education and Creative Writing, including professional certification in Education from SFU, and a year in UBC’s Creative Writing MFA program. Areas of special interest include gender roles in literature, contemporary documentary and non-fiction forms, and the televised serial drama.
As a writer, Camilla has collaborated with a variety of Vancouver artists and galleries, creating texts that accompany the artists’ work. She has also co-produced zines and performances under the collective authorship of “Janet” with Amy Modahl and Christine Ferguson.
BA in World Literature, History Extended Minor from Simon Fraser University (British Columbia)
MFA in Creative Writing - Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College (New York)
Daniel is a teacher and a writer. When not teaching, he’s usually reading literature. If he’s not reading literature, he’s writing it. If he’s not reading or writing it, he’s thinking about reading or writing it. Or he’s watching really good TV. Or poor TV, but rarely awful TV. He tries to squeeze in time for video games. He walks his dog regularly. He’s in denial about his grey hairs. He understands the importance of exercise but has little patience for it. His interests are wide ranging, but usually cycle back to analysis of the human condition and alternating narrative points-of-view.
I have a penchant for Japanese writers but am interested in all far-flung literature. I like to look at which writers may have influenced others across space and time. I like to examine why some works translate and travel while others remain fixed. I stress cross-cultural reading and interdisciplinary study because this makes for a more well-rounded citizen of the world and a more attractive potential employee.
I aim to make my classes fun and engaging, but not at the expense of hard work. Learning is hard work; becoming a better writer is hard work. Almost anything worth doing is hard work. And so we’ll work hard, and strive, and grow.
Thor Polukoshko has a B.A. and M.A. in English from Simon Fraser University, and has worked in the Langara English department since 2011.
His academic interests include postcolonial studies, critical disability studies, hip hop, authorship, graphic narrative, and contemporary BC poetry/poetics. His master’s thesis on First Nations rap music, “Playing the Role of the Tribe: The Aesthetics of Appropriation in Canadian Aboriginal Hip Hop,” was published in a collection of essays entitled Selves and Subjectivities: Reflections of Canadian Arts and Culture (2012) by Athabasca University Press. Other publications include poetry, essays, and comics/illustrations in West Coast Line, The Incongruous Quarterly, and Memewar.
When he’s not marking huge stacks of papers, Thor enjoys writing, drawing, playing video games, and cleaning up after his dog. Thor was one of the founding editors of the literary/interdisciplinary magazine Memewar.
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 2117
My area of expertise is twentieth-century American literature, with a focus on life writing, crime, and the American prison system. I have experience teaching in Canada, the US, and the UK. My work has been published in American Studies, Critical Survey, MELUS, and Canadian Literature, and I am currently working on a book project, The Defiant Ones: Masculinity, Race, and the Ex-Convict in Twentieth-Century American Literature.
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 2511
B.A, M.A. (UBC)
Roger Semmens teaches first year composition & literature, the second year survey of literature, and he specializes in teaching Creative Writing at the second year level. He is one of the editors of W49 Magazine, Langara's journal of Creative Writing, and he rarely writes about himself in the first person singular. He is a member of the Association of Post-Secondary Creative Writing Instructors in B.C.
Mr. Semmens firmly believes in the following principles:
reading and writing are intimately connected; the more we engage in the first enterprise, the better equipped we are to undertake the second.
reading a lot is a way of understanding & embracing the human landscape in which we wander; writing is a way of blazing a few new trails through it.
writing is essentially a subversive activity; it encourages us to question the fiction of our selves and certainly equips us to challenge the authoritarian & institutional fictions that surround us.
studying theory is helpful, but we really learn by doing ; if we want to produce good writing, we need to practice.
This instructor warmly welcomes to his classes any soul who thinks that reading & writing are more important than fast cars and designer clothes. He wishes happiness to those who do not, but hopes that they take classes from someone else.
Phone: 604.323.5511 ext. 2238
As an undergraduate in England, Sandra Slade studied Law before switching to English Literature, Language and French. She came to Vancouver via Los Angeles where she acquired two Masters degrees in Art History and English Literature. In Vancouver, she learned how to teach English as an additional language, and since 2001, has been teaching an array of developmental and first year courses. Recently, Sandra helped develop the Access Langara Program that she coordinates in the fall and spring semesters.
Her scholarly interests include the healing powers of fiction, material culture and Spanglish lit. Off campus, she enjoys choral singing, fibre arts and vegetarian cuisine.
After studying Fine Arts and Design, I embarked on a decade-long career in the fashion industry: buying, merchandising and traveling. In 1998, I returned to school, earning a Diploma in Classical Studies at Langara, before taking a BA in English Literature at SFU. I was awarded a University Graduate Fellowship to study at UBC, where I earned a Masters degree, concentrating, in particular, on Film adaptations.
I’ve been an instructor at Langara since 2004, where I’ve taught first year courses such as English 1127 & English 1130 (a favourite of mine), in addition to the second year Surveys and specialty courses on Shape-shifters, Biographies, and Romantic Comedies. In 2013, I was co-instructor on Karen Budra’s inaugural UK Gothic Field School, traveling with students through London, Whitby, Edinburgh & Manchester, while focusing on all aspects of the Gothic, from fashion and music to literature and film.
In my view, Langara College offers students exceptional educational opportunities, with a wide array of specialty courses, unique field schools, small classes, & helpful teachers. My advice? Work hard – and enjoy yourself.
My Awful life (A Resume)
I was seventeen when my parents separated. At first I lived with my mother, but we couldn't get along, so I moved in with my father. He took it as a personal victory. On my eighteenth birthday, we got drunk. That evening he said to me, “Son, there's something about your mother we never told you.”
So I quit College and spent six months backpacking in Europe. In Luxemburg I met a girl. Her name was Berenice, and she said she believed in God. She seemed afraid for me that I didn't, she said “Something terrible could happen.” She took me by the hand and guided me past ravines and tunnelled walls, sat with me on cafe terraces, in her yellow miniskirt, her skin like caramel. When the time came for me to leave, she pressed her cheek to mine. “You'll forget me,” she said, “but I won't forget. Not the holes in your shoes, or the way you pronounce my name. Not the things you said, when you thought you were only talking.”
Back home I got work slinging beer. Late nights, afterhours, cycling home as the sun rose. Day by day passed, the same; I felt I was living in a fish bowl. Then one night a regular locked himself in a toilet stall and opened his veins with a broken bottle.
I went back to school. My friends were getting married, taking on mortgages, having kids. My sister married an artist who sold Crystal Meth to pay the bills. At the wedding he was so euphoric he couldn't remember his lines. My mother cried and cried.
I entered university on a four-year B.A. course with Psychology as my major. After the first year I switched to Languages, Italian and French, dropped them after the first semester, and took up Philosophy and Far Eastern Studies. Finally I quit university altogether and joined a band. We hit the road, toured the redneck bars of northern Ontario. In Thunder Bay, a jealous boyfriend kicked our drummer down a set of cement steps; he went into a coma for three days and then died. We packed our equipment and drove home.
Here I am now, in my rainy city. I have no job, I'm on welfare. In this town everyone is rich, or poor, or thinks they're poor. I wait on Granville Street, wait for a plan, wait for direction. The other day I asked someone for spare change and he glared and I saw it was my brother-in-law. As it turns out, he and my sister have been separated for some time. He brushed me off with vague excuses. But as he was leaving, he said to me, "I heard about your mom."
Guy Wilkinson was born in Liverpool, England, the fifth of eight children. At the age of four he moved with his family to Saskatchewan, where there was space enough for such a large family to grow. After graduating from high school, he lived and worked abroad, in Poland and England before returning to Canada to earn an MA at the University of British Columbia. He now resides with his wife and three children in Port Coquitlam. He is the author of a monograph, At Work and Play: Philosophy and Parody in the novels of Witold Gombrowicz (Lambert Academic Publishing), a children’s book co-written with his daughter, The Bluzeziad (Paraguas Books), and a collection of short stories, Home Invasion & Other Stories (Booksmart).