World Literature Events


A Reading with writer and translator Sarah Riggs - Dec 1st, 2016

Thurs, Dec 1, 2016
SFU Special Collections (Burnaby Campus)
Bennett Library Room 7100    

Sarah will be reading from her new book, Pomme and Granite (1913 Press), as well as from new work related to the 8th century Muslim and mystic poet Rabi'a al-'Adawiyya, a young woman of great importance within the Sufi tradition and Arabic poetry generally.

Anosh Irani's Public Lecture a Big Success!

Anosh Irani's second public talk as World Lit's Writer-in-Residence was extremely well-attended and received!

"Dialogue: The Language of the Unheard" tackled the role that dialogue plays in fiction, film, and drama. Attendees filled the lecture theatre, with standing room only at the back.

After a year of hard work, World Literature’s Lyre Magazine is here and ready to be celebrated! You are cordially invited to attend our launch party Tuesday, October 6th, from 6-9 PM at Club Ilia, located at SFU’s Burnaby Campus. Appetizers and copies of our new issue will be provided.

WL Student Conference
Thursday, April 2


To mark the move to Burnaby, we invite all undergraduates to take part in the first SFU World Literature Student Conference (WLSC). This inaugral event will be held on the Burnaby Mountain campus and is followed by a year‐end gala for World Literature faculty, students and well‐wishers.

As well as giving students an opportunity to present and share scholarly work in the formal setting of an academic conference, this event will give students hands‐on experience in setting up and running an academic conference – from soliciitng and evaluating papers to organizing panels. We hope that students from all four undergraduate year levels of the Program will participate, as well as students taking World Literature courses regardless of their program affiliation.

When and where?

The Conference takes place on Thursday, April 2, 2015 from 4:30-6:30 pm. The event will be held in Suite 2290 of the Maggie Benston Student Service Centre (MBC) at SFU’s Burnaby campus.

Party to follow!

All participants in the conference are invited to the World Literature Year End Gala immediately following the academic portion of the conference.

For more information...

Please email for more information about the event or about submissions.






Fall 2014
Evening with Anosh

Thursday, October 16, 2014
6:30 - 8:30 PM
SFU Surrey, 2600 (Wesminster Savings Theatre)

“The Discomfort Zone: Why Literature Should Unsettle Us”

Terrorism is by definition absurd, so how can we understand it? Anosh Irani will show us how when logic fails, literature takes over....

Please join us as Anosh Irani, well-known author and playwright, introduces us to his plays and novels, povides us a glimpse of who he is and what inspires him to write what he does.

This is a free, public event, but we do require registration for the seats available. Please register here to reserve your seat. Directions to the campus can be found here.

We look forward to meeting you here and getting to know Anosh.

For additional information, please contact or call 778.782.9384.

Spring 2014

An Epistemic Revolution in Arab Late Antiquity:  The Qur'anic Discovery of Writing

Dr. Angelika Neuwirth is Professor of Arabic Studies at Freie Universitat in Berlin and the head of the Corpus Coranicum research project of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. She is one of the world’s leading scholars of the Qur’an and has an honorary doctorate from Yale University’s Department of Religious Studies. Dr. Neuwirth’s research focuses on classical and modern Arabic literature and the Qur’an during Late Antiquity.

Some of her publications include:  The Qur'an in Context (Brill Academic Publishers, 2011), and Arabic Literature: Postmodern Perspectives (Saqi Books, 2010).

When Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 7.00pm
Where SFU Surrey, room TBA
Admission FREE and open to the public. However, space is limited. Register to reserve your seat!

Fall 2013

Lyre Launch and Social

October 24th is the day for your World Lit fix!

World Literature is proud to present the launching of Lyre Magazine!

Date:   Thursday, October 24th
Time:   8:00 pm onwards
Place:  Central City Pub (

Please join us for refreshments and good company to celebrate the launching of the fourth issue of the Lyre Magazine. The editorial board composed of SFU World Literature students has reviewed the ever increasing submissions from students, which has included those outside the World Lit department. The final product is decidedly professional in its appearance and content, and we are pleased to invite you to its official release.

An Evening with Earl Lovelace

October 24th at 6:30 pm.

Word Vancouver

Please look for us at the Village table on September 29th, at the Library Square.

Summer 2013

Indian Summer Festival

SFU World Literature is pleased to sponsor two events:

WHEN: Thursday, July 11 @ 8pm 
WHERE: SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts • 149 W Hastings St, Vancouver  

An all-star cast of writers sit down to talk about the underbellies of cities, from Bombay to Dublin, Vancouver to Hong Kong. 

2. I DON’T WANT TO CHOOSE With Deepa Mehta in conversation with Jeet Thayil
WHEN: Saturday, July 13 @ 6pm 
WHERE: SFU’s Goldcorp Center for the Arts • 149 W Hastings St, Vancouver 

Deepa Mehta occupies a unique place in the Canadian film landscape. She works across geographic boundaries and genres, combining an ease in her medium with experimentation. Jeet Thayil is a poet, novelist, librettist and musician. He switches between registers and countries – he was born in India, grew up in Hong Kong and the US.

Spend an evening with two powerful creative minds as they engage in a freewheeling conversation about each other’s work, motivations and inspirations. The talk will be followed by a Q&A with the audience.

Spring 2013

From Daughters of the Red Land to Lily in the Snow

Friday, March 8
7.00-  9.00pm @ SFU Harbour Centre, Room 7000

This event is free and open to the public. Reservations are recommended. RSVP click here

Yan Li is one of the few female diasporic Chinese writers in North America who have published award-winning novels in the English language.  She was a worker, peasant, soldier and housemaid before coming to Canada for graduate studies at the age of 32.  She is the author of Lily in the Snow (Canadian Scholars/Women's Press, Toronto, 2010), Married to the West Wind (Mirror Books, Hong Kong, 1998 and Arts and LIterature Press, Beijing, 2000), andDaughters of the Red Land (Sister Vision Press, Toronto, 1995).  She has received numerous awards, including Women of the Year in Art/History/Literature, Waterloo, Ontario (1996), and was a finalist for Books in Canada's First Novel Award (1996).  Madame Li is an Adjunct Associate Professor and Director of the Confucius Institue at the University of Waterloo.

Translating a Flawed Masterpiece of Arabic Literature: The Epistle of Forgiveness (Risalat al-Ghufran) by al-Ma'arri (d. 1057)

Thursday, March 14
7.00 - 9.00pm @ SFU Surrey campus, room 3310

This event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Geert Jan van Gelder is Laudian Professor of Arabic in the University of Oxford and Fellow of St John’s College. His research interests include: classical Arabic literature, especially belles-lettres, poetry, poetics, rhetoric, and stylistics, literary criticism, and the history of literary genres. His publications include: Of Dishes and Discourse: Classic Arabic Literary Representations of Food (Routledge, 1999), Close Relationships: Incest and Inbreeding in Classical Arabic Literature ( I.B. Tauris, 2005). His latest book, Classical Arabic Literature: A Library of Arabic Literature Anthology; is scheduled to appear in December with New York University Press.

Talk co-sponsored with the Centre for the Comparative Study of Muslim Societies and Cultures.

World Literature and Its Others - A Roundtable Discussion

Friday, May 10
7.00 - 9.00pm @ SFU Harbour Centre, room 2270

This event is free and open to the public. RSVP at

The World Literature Program warmly invites you to attend this event bringing together some of the most innovative thinkers in world literature.

World literature is often defined by what it is not – not a canon, not national literature, not postcolonial studies, not Great Books, not comparative literature. Some would say that despite this effort to peel away unhelpful accretions, world literature remains stuck in a conceptual bind: seeking to overcome Eurocentrism, it remains a delivery system for Euro-North American ideologies; striving to celebrate difference, it dissolves distinctiveness; and straining to escape commodification, it melts into the “airport novel” market. This roundtable will bring together five specialists in literatures of the world and world literature to examine the possibility and potential for a genuine world literature.


  • Ken Seigneurie, Associate Professor and Director, Program in World Literature, Simon Fraser University, Surrey (Moderator)
  • Susan Andrade, Associate Professor of English, University of Pittsburgh
  • Satya P. Mohanty, Professor of English, Cornell University
  • Wen-Chin Ouyang, Reader in Arabic Literature, Department of the Languages and Cultures of Near and Middle East at SOAS, University of London
  • Daniel L. Selden, Professor of Literature, University of California Santa Cruz, and Director, Satyajit Ray Film and Study Center
  • Qian Suoqiao, Associate Professor at City University of Hong Kong and, as of fall 2013, Professor (Chair) of Chinese Studies, and Director of the Confucius Institute at Newcastle University, UK


Spring 2011

American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) Annual Meeting (March 31 - April 3)

All events are free and open to the public and held in Vancouver at The Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, the Hyatt Regency Vancouver, the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, and theVancouver Public Library.  Among the renowned scholars and cultural personalities participating in these events such as Gayatri Chakravorty SpivakDavid DamroschKen LumEleanor Wachtel and many others, we are pleased to include FASS's very own David ChariandySteve Collis and Deanna Reder.

For more information, see the conference program:

 Some of the questions being raised and explored in these events include:

  • How does translation fit in the globalizing cultural world?
  • What is the relationship between Comparative and World Literatures?
  • Whither multi-cultural Canada?
  • How should Humanities specialists respond to the consistent and strategic downsizing of the discipline throughout the North American academy?

For more information contact:

Ken Seigneurie
ACLA 2011 Conference Committee Chair
Director, Program in World Literature
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Simon Fraser University, Surrey Campus

Fall 2011

How Translation Influences & Questions Literature, an Evening with Christophe Claro (Oct 27)

Christophe Claro is a renowned French writer and translator. He is one of the leading promoters of contemporary American literature in France. His translations in French include works by William T. Vollmann, Thomas Pynchon, Mark Z. Danielewski, Salman Rushdie, John Barth, James Flint, William H. Gass and Hubert Selby Jr., amongst many others. One of his novels, Electric Flesh (Chair électrique in French), was translated in English and published in the United States in 2006 (translation by Brian Evenson). After his studies in literature, Claro works as a bookseller and becomes a corrector for different publishing houses. He published his first novel, Ezzelina, in 1986. His first translation, Kilomètre zéro, written by Thomas Sanchez, was published in 1990. Since 2004, Claro is also the co-director of the American fiction series, "Lot 49", within Le Cherche Midi Publishing. He created the blog, Le Clavier Cannibale and describes himself as a "literary treasures hunter".

When: Thursday, October 27th, 6:00-7:30pm
Where: Room 2750 on Podium 2, Simon Fraser University - Surrey, #250 - 13450 102 Avenue 
Admission: FREE and open to the public. However, space is limited. Register below to reserve your seat!

Hosted by Ken Seigneurie, World Literature Director.

Fall 2012

Meet & Greet (Sept 17)

This meeting will be an excellent opportunity to meet with Dr. Seigneurie and WL Faculty about how World Literature can be the springboard you need for your future.

Parent Orientation Evening (Sept 18)

For the families of students entering first year at SFU Surrey. RSVP

Japanese Film Show (Sept 22)

Sponsored by the Consulate General of Japan and the Japan Foundation, a double feature matinee of recent Japanese films is happening on Saturday, September 22nd, at Pacific Cinematique, 1131 Howe Street, Vancouver.  Free Admission.  Seating on a first come basis.

Free Public Reading and Lecture with Nuruddin Farah (Oct 18)

Reading & Lecture by prominent, award-winning Somali novelist, Nuruddin Farah. Followed by Q & A with audience. Annual collaboration with Vancouver International Writers Festival.

SMACKDOWN Faculty Debate - United Way Community Event (Nov 8)

Don't miss World Literature's very own Melek "Dr. O" Ortabasi in this debate "covering topics of no real importance in a low-budget version of the Oxford Union-style debates." 
For more information


Spring 2009

David Damrosch on "How to Read World Literature" (March 4)

Free public lecture by Dr. David Damrosch, Visiting Professor at Harvard and Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Vancouver Public Library.

Poetry Workshop (April 23)

Poetry masterclass by Indran Amirthanayagam. Amirthanayagam writes poetry in English, Spanish and French. He also translates from Spanish. His first book The Elephants of Reckoning won the 1994 Paterson Poetry Prize. Other books include El Infierno de los Pájaros, Ceylon R.I.P., and El Hombre que Recoge Nidos.

Summer 2009

Les Misérables (May 21)

Evening at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Theatre to attend the acclaimed musical which has swept the world. Based on the novel by French author Victor Hugo. Fantastic group rate; limited seating.

Fall 2009

World Lit Meet & Greet (Sept 22)

This meeting will be an excellent opportunity to brainstorm with Dr. Seigneurie and WL Faculty about how World Literature can be the springboard you need for your future.

'Is It Luck' Career Services session (Sept 28)

A fun, highly interactive workshop that uses video clips and facilitated discussions to examine specific themes about career exploration and decision-making. We look at: uncertainty and change; chance; influences and choice and how these impact career decision making. 

Screening of 'Kamui' at the Vancouver International Film Festival (Oct 5)

Japanese live-action film based on the classic manga, 'The Legend of Kamui', a historical drama which features a ninja as its protagonist. 

"A Conversation on Globalization, Literature and Citizenship" (Oct 23)

With Edmundo Paz Soldán, Assistant Professor, Cornell University, and award-winning novelist. Details here.

“The Bibliothèque Orientale at Saint-Joseph University in Beirut: Its Ongoing Contribution to Scholarship in Lebanon and the Middle East” (Nov 19)

A free public lecture by May Semaan Seigneurie, Director of the Bibliothèque Orientale.

Spring 2010

Ruth Ozeki Reading and Q & A @ VPL (March 8)

Free public lecture by award-winning Japanese-American-Canadian author & filmmaker Ruth Ozeki. Vancouver Public Library.

The Postmodernism Revisited Lecture (March 11)

Sponsored by SFU Department of English, with generous support from SFU World Literature and other programs. 7:00-8:30 pm at SFU Harbour Centre, Room 1400.

'Palestinian Statelessness as the Crux of the Mideast Crisis', presented by Juan Cole (March 23)

SFU World Literature & The Centre for the Comparative Study of Muslim Societies and Cultures present "Palestinian Statelessness as the Crux of the Mideast Crisis", a talk by Dr. Juan R.I. Cole , University of Michigan. Tuesday, March 23 at 7:30-9:00pm, at SFU Surrey, SUR 2600 (theatre on mezzanine level).

Student-Faculty Session with Dr. Juan R.I. Cole (March 24). 11:30am-12:30pm. Location AQ 6229, SFU Burnaby

Summer 2010  

Canada Meets Japan: A Conversation of Authors (May 3rd)

A literary conversation between Japan and Canada: six authors. 7:00-9:30pm at SFU Wosk Centre for Dialogue.

Madama Butterfly (May 27)

Evening at the opera! Puccini's classical opera, set in Nagasaki, Japan. VO’s production features the breath-taking designs of Japanese-born visual artist Jun Kaneko. In Italian with English subtitles. 

'Nostalgia in Lebanese Film', a lecture by Ken Seigneurie (June 15)

WL Director Ken Seigneurie will lecture at the Orient-Institut Beirut on 'The Work of Nostalgia in Lebanese Film'.