Monday, December 12, 2011

CBU English Video

Check out our new video on Youtube, complete with original music by Hinson Calabrese.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

CBU English Student a Finalist in International Teleplay Competition

Cape Breton University Honours English Student Stephen MacNeil has been named a finalist in the Creative World Awards Screenwriting and Teleplay competition. MacNeil, a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) English student, was honoured in the existing sitcom category for his hilarious spec script for the CBS hit The Big Bang Theory.

The Creative World Awards is an international competition based in Los Angeles. Its goal is to recognize up and coming talent and encourage writing within the film and television industry. Submitted works must be produced by amateurs, and be written in English. The competition is considered by many to be one of the leading screenplay and teleplay competitions in the world with participation from some of the major production companies in the industry.

In 2008, MacNeil’s spec script for film, The Last Anzian, reached the quarter-finals in the Austin Film Festival drama category, and this year, the same script placed as a preliminary finalist in the Creative World Awards action/adventure category in their feature screenplay competition.

MacNeil is currently in the last year of his degree at CBU and plans on earning a Master’s degree in English with a focus on creative writing to help him in pursuing his interests in film, television, and literature.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Meet Dana Mount!

I spend my few bits of free time these days dreaming up reading lists for my future courses. A reading list is a lot like a playlist: you want it to have a theme, a mood. It should excite people, and maybe even surprise them. But you don’t want to hear my playlists, because I’m pretty hopeless when it comes to music, really. What I do know is books. More specifically (because by this point in our education and careers, we professors get pretty specific), I know postcolonial environmental literature.

I’m Dana Mount, and I’m (delighted to be!) the new professor in World and Indigenous Literatures here at CBU. I’ll tell you a bit about how I came to be where I am today. It’s a story of someone who tried to avoid studying English but kept coming back to it.

Upon leaving high school I was pretty determined to Save the Planet. I enrolled in the Bachelor of Environmental Studies program at York University where I met a bunch of wonderful people who were also pretty determined to Save the Planet. Turns out many of them had a lot more hands-on determination than me. I kept gravitating towards questions about why we were in the state of crisis that we were in, what informed our attitudes towards the environment.

My focus on cultural attitudes towards the environment led me to want to study theories of power and structure in society. I undertook a Masters of Arts in the School of Women’s Studies, also at York University. There I studied theories of race and racism, labour history, gender and sexuality, global development and politics. I met a lot of inspiring people who are working to end oppression.

Throughout these two degrees, though, what sustained me was being able to take courses on literature where I could finally see these larger ideas being expressed, argued, and illuminated in ways theory alone was unable to do. I signed on for a PhD in the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University. I met a lot of people who are passionate about reading and who believe in the power of writing. There I combined my interest in world and indigenous issues, environmentalism, and literature.

And it is that combination that I bring with me here at CBU. Next year I hope to be offering courses in postcolonial literature and theory. I’m working on the reading list right now, and yes, I take requests. Feel free to drop by (CC228) or email me,

Monday, August 15, 2011

New French Courses

FRNC 3701: L’Acadie/Acadia: Translating Literature and Culture
Instructor: Dr. Richard Marchand
Frnc 3701 is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of Acadian culture, its history, language and literature (in the original and in translation). The course will include historical material (Naomi Griffiths – Contexts of Acadian History 1686-1784) revealing both English and French Colonial attitudes and the realities of the Acadian “nation” through the ages. The literary investigation will follow with a focus on poetry (Reves Inachevees – Unfinished Dreams: contemporary Poetry of Acadia), drama (Maillet – La Sagouine) and the novel (Maillet Pelagie la Charette), in the original texts but with English translations for support, although the classroom discussions will be primarily in French. We will also look at the difficulties of translation when what might be called “regional works” are involved.

FRNC 3703: Innovation & Variation in French/Francophone Literature
Instructor: Dr. Bernard Mulo Farenkia
The course will look at forms and functions of innovative language usages (e.g. code-switching, semantic shift, loan word, calquing) and regional variations in the works of some contemporary French / francophone writers (e.g. Ahmadou Kourouma, Yves Viollier, Mongo Beti, Camara Laye, Patrice Nganang, Ferdinand Oyono, Joseph Zobel, etc.). We will further discuss translation difficulties of “regional language usages” and comment on some translation techniques adopted in the English versions of the original texts.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

New Course Description Information for 2011-2012

Looking for detailed information on English, French, or Drama courses for the coming year?

Find all the answers in this handy PDF!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Jesse Ferguson talks about his upcoming creative writing workshop

Jesse Patrick Ferguson currently lives in Sydney, Cape Breton, with his wife and son. Jesse has published poetry and reviews in ten countries, in both print and online formats. Recently, his poems have appeared in Canadian Literature, Prairie Fire, The Walrus, Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry and Harper’s. His work also appears in the anthologies Best Canadian Poetry, 2009 and Rogue Stimulus. Jesse has been a poetry editor for The Fiddlehead and for several other Canadian literary journals. In 2009, Freehand Books published his first full-length poetry collection, Harmonics.

In this one-day workshop, we will explore the craft of poetry writing, within a fun and casual atmosphere. We will discuss some of the basics of poetry (meter, rhyme, metaphor, form, etc.), and in order to reinforce these basics, we will read some classic poems.

Our next task will be to workshop (share/edit) our own poetry. Participants will have the opportunity to share their poems and to receive constructive feedback. Participation is therefore encouraged, but not mandatory.

Finally, the class will discuss how to successfully send poetry out for publication in magazines, e-zines and/or books. Students of all experience levels are welcome, though some experience of writing poems is preferable (please bring them if you have any).

In this course you can expect to become a better writer and reader of poetry, gain confidence in your writing and ideas, learn how to get published, and, of course, have fun!

See the Cabot Trail Writers Fest website for further details.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Please join the Department of Languages and Letters on Friday, April 8 as it celebrates student scholarship in literature and writing. The event will be held in Multi-Purpose Room B. A light lunch will be provided. Please join us as we celebrate student achievement.

Schedule of Events

11:00a.m.: Honours Thesis Presentations by Kyle Capstick and Brittany Harnum

12:00: Awarding of Shauna Gillis Prizes for outstanding literary essays in upper-year and first-year categories, and the Mary Keshen Prize for composition.

The short-listed candidates for the Prizes are:

Shauna Gillis Prize
Upper year category: Kyle Capstick, Stephen MacNeil, Mary Vickers

First year category: Carl Kooka, Parker MacNeil, Sarah Penney, Chantelle Zawila

Mary Keshen Prize: Shawn P. Aucoin, Alyssa Kowalczyk, Patricia McCann

12:30 p.m.: Information Session on Upper-year English Courses for the 2011-12 Academic Year.

The Department would also like to thank the Dean of the School of Arts and Social Sciences, Norton Publishers, Pearson Education, Broadview Press, and Oxford UP for their donations and support.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Virtual Vern

Sydney Credit Union Room CE-265

A Video Conference with Vern Thiessen

Vern Thiessen is one of Canada's most produced playwrights. He has written for stage, radio and television. His stage plays have been seen across Canada, the US and Europe, including Shakespeare's Will, Apple, Einstein's Gift, Blowfish, The Resurrection Of John Frum and Vimy.

Thiessen is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award for Outstanding New Play, The City of Edmonton Arts Achievement Award, the University of Alberta Alumni Award for Excellence, The Canadian Jewish Playwriting Competition, and the Governor General's Literary Award, Canada's highest honour for playwriting. He has also been shortlisted for the prestigious Siminovitch Prize in Theatre.

Thiessen received is BA from the University of Winnipeg and an MFA from the University of Alberta. He has served as Playwright in Residence at Workshop West Theatre (where he founded the Playwrights Garage program), and the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton. He is a Past President of both the Playwrights Guild of Canada and the Writer's Guild of Alberta.

Anyone is welcome to attend. To post questions in advance, visit the Facebook Event Page: CBU Vern Thiessen Video Conference.

[Thanks to Scott Sharplin for this information and for organizing the event.]

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Boardmore Playhouse 40th Anniversary Lecture Series

Who doesn’t love a great lecture- especially one with swordplay and a bouncy, up tune?

To celebrate 40 years of groundbreaking, artistic, and academic accomplishments in theatre, CBU Boardmore Theatre, in conjunction with the School of Arts and Social Sciences, present a lecture series like no other. The Anniversary Lectures are part lecture, part play, part story, part song and dance, and all entertainment. Join us at the Boardmore for a rousing look at our theatre through the past four decades.

For a complete schedule visit

Friday, January 7, 2011

It's Award Season at CBU English!

The Shauna Gillis Prize

The Department of Languages and Letters awards annual prizes for student essays on literary topics. The annual prizes are named in honour of the late Shauna Gillis, a UCCB English graduate.

Two categories to enter:
» First-year course
» Upper year course

To be eligible, papers must have been submitted for credit in an English course (English 200 or above) between January 4, 2010 and January 31, 2011. You do not have to be in any specific program.

Winners will receive a certificate, a book prize, and a modest cash award.

To enter: 1. Provide a clean, unmarked paper copy of your essay. The paper itself should include the title, but should not include your name or any other identifying information. Students may revise their papers before submitting them for judging, or they may permit instructors to submit essays on their behalf.
2. Include a cover letter indicating your name, address, telephone number, the title of your essay, and the category you are entering.
Deadline for submissions is February 1, 2011. Submit essays to Nat Leach in CC-275, drop them off at the mailroom, or mail electronically to
For more information, call Nat Leach at 563-1127, or email him at Or contact any of your English professors for a more detailed explanation of the process.
The Mary Keshen English Prize

The Department of Languages and Letters is awarding a prize for achievement in the English 100 series composition courses, English 101, English 105, and English 109.
Named after Mary Keshen, who taught English composition at Cape Breton University for many years, the prize will be given out at a special luncheon honouring achievement in student writing at the end of March 2011. The winner will receive a cash prize and a certificate.

To be considered, papers must have been submitted for credit in an English 100 series course sometime between January 2010 and January 2011. Distance Education students enrolled in the English 100 series courses are also eligible to submit. Students do not have to be in any specific program or in any particular year of their degree to enter an essay in the contest.

How to Enter:
Please submit a clean, unmarked paper copy of your essay. Include the title, but not your name or other identifying information. You may revise your paper prior to submitting it. Include a cover letter with your name, address, telephone number, and title of essay. Instructors, with the permission of the student, may submit an essay on a student’s behalf.

The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2011. Submit paper copies or electronic files to Adam Lawrence. Office: C-253; email: For more information, contact Adam Lawrence at the email address provided or call 563-1930.