Special literary edition of the Northern Review launches with author readings at Yukon College

Northern Review

WHITEHORSE—Gillian McKee spends a lot of time watching ravens: their swaggers, their struts, their gurgles and squawks. In McKee’s poem The Black Bird Gang, which is featured in the new issue of Yukon College’s Northern Review, she explores how the birds expertly toe… or rather, claw… the line between majestic and absurd.

“I’ve lived alongside ravens for 30 years and they seem to me to be a bit magical because they can shift from looking quite regal to acting very silly,” McKee says. “They’re so full of character and fun to watch.”

Inspired by the ubiquitous northern birds, McKee wrote the poem while taking a course at Yukon College a few years ago. When she saw the journal’s recent call for literary submissions—the first literary issue since 2009 and only the third in the publication’s history—she dusted off the piece, polished the verse, and sent it in.

“It was a wonderful surprise to be selected,” McKee says. It is my first published poem and it definitely gives me a boost to kick some more things out there.”

McKee and a cadre of 24 other emerging and professional writers will see their work in print when the 46th issue of the Northern Review launches at the end of the month. The 264-page issue was a year in the making, with guest editors Maureen Long, Eric Heyne, Andrew Richardson, and Jamella Hagen.

“The editorial team was looking to showcase great writing that is happening in the North,” Long says.

Long teaches English at the College and over the past year she has also been guest editing the new issue, which features short fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction with a northern flavour. Long sees the collection as an antidote to the onslaught of northern-themed reality television shows—such as Gold Rush, Ice Road Truckers, and Yukon Gold—that have overrun the market over the past decade.

“This issue offers readers a slice of the northern experience,” Long says. “It cuts through the clichés and is much more complex.”

The Northern Review is published two to three times each year. Current and past issues are available online at www.yukoncollege.yk.ca/review.

Everyone is invited to attend the Whitehorse launch event on Wednesday, January 31 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Hilltop Bistro at Yukon College, which will include readings from Tara Borin, Norm Easton, Joanna Lilley, Kirsten Madsen, Gillian McKee, Murray Munn, Michael Reynolds, and Katie Zdybel.

Books will be available for sale at the launch and from the Yukon College bookstore. They cost $20 plus GST.

The volume also launched in Fairbanks, Alaska on Saturday, January 20th.

Refreshments will be served.

For further information, please contact:

Deanna McLeod
Managing Editor, The Northern Review
School of Liberal Arts
Applied Arts Division

Michael Vernon
Communications Coordinator
College and External Relations