VIU's Portal Magazine Celebrates 30 Years of Literary Excellence

Portal magazine's 30th anniversary cover pops with orange and yellow bubbles

Portal 2021, 30th anniversary edition cover. Image courtesy of Portal Designer Chantelle Calitz

April 26, 2021 - 10:45am

Portal is hosting a virtual launch of its 30th anniversary edition on Friday, April 30.

For 30 years Portal, Vancouver Island University’s (VIU’s) nationally distributed literary magazine, has amplified the voices of emerging writers and showcased the works of up-and-coming illustrators, photographers and artists.

Portal is hosting a Zoom virtual launch on Friday, April 30, 7-9 pm, to celebrate its 30th anniversary, expanded, 108-page full-colour edition, featuring contributor readings, a slideshow, recognition of faculty and awards.

This year’s issue pays homage to the past while also charting a new course for a more diverse and inclusive future. The magazine has a renewed mandate and website, which features an inclusivity statement and a commitment to have an annual Portfolio Spotlight section showcasing underrepresented voices.

“There was a concerted effort to address the cultural moment we’re in, with respect to the Black Lives Matter movement and anti-racist initiatives. There was an emphasis on trying to put our money where our mouth is and not just pay lip service to these ideas, but put them into practice,” says Joy Gugeler, a VIU Creative Writing and Journalism Professor and the magazine’s Publisher. “We are trying to reach out to every population on campus to welcome them into the pages of Portal, not just as contributors, but as members of the class and masthead.”

The 30th anniversary edition is the largest yet, with four special-edition features, including profiles on three Portal alumnae Jessica Key, Sarah Corsie and Meagan Dyer; an in-depth interview with VIU’s 2020-21 Gustafson Distinguished Poet Lillian Allen; and a discussion with staff from literary magazines Fiddlehead,Prism and The New Quarterly about how literary magazines function as the frontline workers of the publishing industry. 

In the fourth special feature, a Portfolio Spotlight, “Raising the Spirits: Speaking To and For the Dead Across Cultures,” three contributors – Danielle Minnis, Gabriel Villasmil and Kesu Beaton – share pieces about cultural traditions in the Bahamas, Venezuela, and Tla'amin and Líl̓wat Nations.

Portal Co-Managing Editor Kiara Strijack is proud of the range of pieces included in this edition.

“It’s really rewarding to see how all the fantastic poetry, scripts, fiction, non-fiction, and special features have developed through the editing process,” says Strijack. “I’m very excited about this issue.”

Strijack said the team faced unique challenges assembling this year’s edition because of the pandemic, putting the magazine together through Zoom and emails.

“There were a lot of email check-ins just to keep things organized and make sure people were managing in the online environment under time and personal pressures, mental health checks to make sure it was a supportive and healthy space,” says Strijack.

Gugeler says the students showed remarkable tenacity and determination this year.

“It was really a testament to how human we can be with each other despite a screen between us,” she says. “The teamwork was more concerted than in previous years. Perhaps they overcompensated because they were in little black boxes on Zoom and didn’t see each other face-to-face every week, but I felt a sense of loyalty to each other and to the magazine, a real congeniality and professionalism, that I hadn’t seen in previous classes to the same extent.”

To learn more visit Portal magazine’s websiteFacebook pageInstagram or Twitter accounts.



Rachel Stern, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

C: 250.618.0373 l E: | T: @VIUNews

Tags: Art and Design | Creative Writing and Journalism | Announcements

Sign up for our VIU news and experts email