The People Behind and on the Pages of Capilano University’s Own Literary Magazine
Mayumi Izumi // Contributor
Celia PR // Illustrator
Capilano University’s independent literary magazine, The Liar, has been in print for over 30 years, and has evolved from a single-paged flyer named Thursday to having big names like Margaret Atwood, Charles Bukowski and R. Scott Bakker in the magazine as well as CapU’s own Anne Stone. Despite being published from the Creative Writing program at the university, it is open to everyone like other university publications such as UBC’s PRISM International and SFU’s Emerge.
“We love publishing emerging voices … in one issue I published bilingual Jews, disabled women, Indigenous people. I like to publish mostly marginalized voices as [much as] I can and I like to focus on new writers and people who don’t necessarily get that opportunity all the time and I honestly think we put out a great publication,” according to Sarah Rose, the former Editor-in-Chief.
Rose is no longer writing for The Liar but she is now mentoring students. “It’s weird because I consider myself a perpetual student and how am I supposed to mentor someone in something I basically taught myself how to do,” she explained.
She had to navigate everything herself after being, metaphorically handed “the keys” of the magazine in 2017. Rose wasn’t given any direction by the former Editor-in-Chief and although she is quite fond of Roger Farr, the Convenor at the time, she describes how he gave a publication deadline, the funds required and complete freedom. Rose managed to navigate the website, enlisted writers and editors, and collected and organized submissions with the help of her Co-Editor in Chief, Spencer Nash.
Besides learning how to do a multi-layered role at the independent publication, Rose and Nash had to work with a very tight budget. The Liar is funded by CapU with a small grant and was originally published semi-annually and then annually, and as of this year will potentially be moving to an online platform similar to Joyland.
The literary magazine has recently celebrated its 32nd anniversary. This year for the first time in its over thirty year history, The Liar won a grant from Canada Council for the Arts and hosted a writing and design contest.
Leah Bailly, the current Creative Writing Convenor explains that, “… the grant we received was from the COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund, and it was for organizations that saw a dramatic decrease in funding. Our funding was cut by the university this year, and this Canada Council grant allowed us to run our Open Text Visiting Writers Series and launch this contest. There was no application process– the grant was awarded to all arts organizations that had successfully won grants in the past for their operations”.
The writing and design contest has over $1,500 in prizes. The first prize is $500, the second $150, and the third $100. The deadline for submission was December 10 and finalists will be announced shortly in the coming month.
The Liar’s current EIC, Sofia Navarro, explains that, “…a lot of the times the arts are brushed aside. I think they’re not given the priority that they should be…[they] make people happy…”. She adds that with the year of turmoil that we have had with climate change, protests and especially COVID-19, we need something to put our minds at ease.
Navarro suggests that CapU students can support The Liar by sharing the publication on their social media and posting links.
To read more about the Liar and find where you can pick up copies, visit their website at https://theliar.capilanou.ca/