Portal 2022

VIU’s student-run and full-colour annual literary magazine is going to be celebrated in-person for the first time in three years thanks to the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. The launch of the new issue will celebrate the accomplishments of the nearly 90 VIU student contributors since 2020. Portal 2022, on newsstands across the country in May, … Continued

Aimee Wall’s Debut

This interview first appeared in an episode of Portal Magazine’s Portfolio series on YouTube, and has been edited for written format. * * * I found myself on Giller Prize-nominated author Aimee Wall’s website after my professor said I needed more biographical details for my book review on Wall’s book We, Jane. My eyes landed on … Continued

Joe Enns

The balancing point of what you want to do and what you need to do to sustain yourself can seem like a near-invisible wire. When I talked to Creative Writing and Journalism (CREW) student Joe Enns, it struck me that he seemed to have cracked the code to living as close to a balanced life … Continued

Global Storytelling

The latest entry in the Arts and Humanities Colloquium Series took place on Friday, February 11. Creative Writing and Journalism professors Craig Taylor and Dr. Sonnet L’Abbé presented on “Listening to The World / Storying A Place” in Malaspina Theatre. It was the second of three events in VIU’s Spring 2022 Colloquium Series, and took … Continued


I check my inbox outside my English classroom and see a new email from The Malahat Review. They’ve decided not to accept the short story I’d sent for their consideration. They say one of the characters was unrealized. I had cut a significant section building his character at the suggestion of one of my Creative … Continued

Robert Hilles’ Book Launch

VIU Creative Writing and Journalism professor Robert Hilles has a book launch coming up this Sunday, October 3rd. The event will be for not one, but two new books: a novel called Don’t Hang Your Soul on That and From God’s Angle, a poetry collection. The launch will take place virtually, via a Zoom webinar … Continued


The roses were decaying, petal by petal. Green leaves overtaken by patches and mottling spasms of brown and grey. The edges and undersides crinkling as though previously burned. They lay crumpled in the trash can, stems twisted and crinkled in all the wrong ways, blossoms and blooms frozen in time except for the march of … Continued


It took Lydia five minutes to pry Pointer away from the door, where he growled and barked incessantly. With one hand buried in his silken gold coat she cracked the door with the other, the dog howling in distress. “Can’t you read?” Lydia yelled over the wails from Pointer, and then flung the door open.  … Continued

A thought on impermanence

When I hear the words “nothing lasts forever,” I think cliché. We’ve heard those words repeated so many times, but it’s a simple truth. “Nothing lasts forever,” so enjoy the moment while you can. I came to VIU in 2015 for the creative writing program. I hadn’t been to Nanaimo except for a campus tour … Continued

Write of Passage no. 2: Into the realm of the dead

The first ghost story I remember hearing came from my Irish-descended grandfather. I was about seven years old at the time, and we were sitting around the kitchen table on the farm. The conversation was amongst adults and I just happened to be in the room. Some neighbours, he said, had just buried their father. … Continued

Write of Passage no. 1: Writers write

VIU students have been contributing to The Nav for 50 years now. During that time, they’ve also submitted to Omniverse, Stump, Shorelines, Atrevida, The Malaspina Review, and Portal. Some have even been published off campus—usually the result of entering a writing contest. The Vancouver Island University—then named Malaspina College—Creative Writing program was established in 1989 … Continued

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