On July 1, UBC Creative Writing bid a fond farewell to Professor Alix Ohlin as its Director, warmly welcoming Professor Annabel Lyon into the role for a three-year term. Ohlin will continue to teach and write within the School.
“It has been my great privilege to serve as the inaugural Director of the School of Creative Writing. Through the hard work of our generous and talented faculty, and our wonderful staff and students, Creative Writing has evolved remarkably over the past five years,” says Ohlin.
“I’ll always be grateful for the support I received when I arrived at UBC, and for the warmth and dedication of my colleagues. I’m inspired by everything that’s happening here at the School, and I look forward to seeing the next chapter unfold under Annabel’s brilliant leadership.”
During Ohlin’s leadership tenure, she capably led faculty, staff and students in substantial and invigorating conversations about the climate of the School, and challenged them to find the most innovative and inclusive ways to teach creative writing. This resulted in the evolution of Creative Writing from a Program to a School; the hiring of a diverse compliment of faculty including experts in Indigenous writing and Black speculative fiction; reworkings of the undergraduate and graduate program to implement more modern pedagogical practices; and the establishment of an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee with representation from key stakeholders across the School.
“It is my honour and privilege to step into the role of Director. I want to thank Alix from the bottom of my heart for her exceptional service to our School, for her consummate grace and hard work, and for providing leadership that I will strive to live up to,” says Lyon.
As Director, Lyon will continue to prioritize pedagogical excellence, and promote equity and diversity in all aspects of Creative Writing. She recognizes the importance of sustained and ongoing engagement with anti-racist and anti-colonial teachings and learning strategies, and Indigenization of the curriculum to the Creative Writing community.
Lyon also wants to foster more connections between students at all levels and industry. She will extend the work of her colleagues already finding professional opportunities and creating strong ties to industry for students, and will help forge clearer pathways to employment.
“I’m interested in finding opportunities for students to collaborate with an eye to breaking down the disciplinary and genre silos that can isolate us, and to help our students find new and inspiring ways to connect with and write about the most pressing issues of the day,” says Lyon.
Creative Writing extends its gratitude to Ohlin for her respected service to the School. The School looks forward to continuing to foster a welcoming and inspiring learning environment for its students under Lyon.