SSAWW Pacific Northwest

UBC is honoured to be hosting the Pacific Northwest chapter of the Society for the Study of American Women Writers’ Fall 2017 meeting on Saturday October 21 (2017).

This workshop, organized by Dr. Mary Chapman (Department of English, University of British Columbia) will be attended by graduate students and professors from UBC and other universities in the Pacific Northwest.

The SSAWW, one of the oldest feminist literary scholarly associations in North America, has been hosting semi-annual workshops/reading group meetings since the 1980s. Since its founding, regional chapters (Northeast, Southwest, Pacific Northwest) have been established that also meet twice yearly to discuss new scholarship and newly recovered literary works by American women writers. This will be the first time that any of these groups will meet in Canada.

This meeting will be devoted to a discussion of the work of Ella Rhoads Higginson (1862-1940), guided by invited scholar Dr. Laura Laffrado (Western Washington University).

The first prominent literary author from the Pacific Northwest, Higginson has been largely forgotten as a key American writer. At the turn from the nineteenth century into the twentieth century, readers across the continent were introduced to the remote Pacific Northwest region (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, British Columbia, and Alaska) by Higginson’s descriptions of majestic mountains, vast forests, and scenic waters, as well as her explorations of indigenous cultures and culture of the Pacific Northwest. Higginson was celebrated for her award-winning popular fiction, nonfiction, and lyric poetry, which was set to music and performed internationally. She held the distinguished position as the first Poet Laureate of Washington State. Throughout her literary career, Higginson published nearly one thousand works in leading magazines and newspapers, while also writing books, including the novel Mariella, of Out-West(1902) and the nonfiction work Alaska, the Great Country (1908). Higginson’s reputation faded chiefly due to her singular position as a turn-of-the-century writer of the Pacific Northwest, far from other regions and writers at the time.

Thank you to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and UBC’s Faculty of Arts for their support of this workshop.

Organized by Mary Chapman
Department of English
VancouverBC Canada V6T1Z1