Portal 2015 Contest


Thursday October 2nd, 2014

2015 CONTEST – $50 CASH PRIZE This year’s contest invites both written and visual works inspired by First Nations culture. Suggested themes include unity and diversity, empowerment, and tradtion and modernity. We encourage exploration of difficult topics, but please remember to be respectful. DEADLINE: NOV 28TH AT MIDNIGHT. Send to: viuportal@gmail.com

For More information find us on:
Facebook – www.facebook.com/portalmag
Twitter – www.twitter.com/PortalMagazine
Instagram – @PortalMagVIU


VIU’s Portal Magazine Launches 2014 Issue April 10 in Nanaimo

Portal 2014, Vancouver Island University’s full-colour annual literary magazine, will be launched on Thursday April 10th at the Nanaimo Curling Club at 106 Wall St. Doors open at 6:30 pm with the event starting at 7 pm. The free semi-formal public event will be catered, and will include live music by the John Lee Trio and readings by 16 of its contributors as well as award-winning Canadian author Ross King. King has penned 2 historical novels, Domino (1995) and Ex-Libris (1998), and 6 books on Italian, French and Canadian art and history including The Judgment of Paris (2006) and Leonardo and the Last Supper (2012), both of which won Governor General’s Awards. Brunelleschi’s Dome (2000), was on The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The San Francisco Chronicle’s bestseller lists.

Portal 2014 celebrates the talent and diversity of VIU students by publishing the best works of fiction, poetry, non-fiction, scripts, as well as pieces of artwork and photography. Within its 90 pages, Jessica Key conducts an enlightening interview with celebrated Canadian author and poet Michael Crummey, 2013’s Gustafson Distinguished Poetry Chair, best known for his novels River Thieves and Galore. Crummey’s lecture “Burn Barrel: Surviving Poetry in the 21st century” will be published as a chapbook in the Gustafson series this summer.

This year’s collage contest featured original artwork or photography and prose, assembling cut text and images to form an entirely new piece. The winner of the 2014 contest is Coby McDougall for her piece entitled “Expand. Special features include Philip Gordon teaching us “How to Write a Poem for a Girl You Like,” Trevor Cooper detecting a “Murder in the Hundred Acre Wood,” and Samantha Ainsworth waving “Amber” flags. Nearly two dozen pieces comprise this stellar issue.

“Many of the works conveyed a sense of dreamlike wonderment, yet several were also dark and otherworldly. Why so moody? Our tagline, ‘Words to transport you,’ certainly is appropriate for this pensive issue. Are these feelings of uncertainty introspective reflections common to student writers, or an exploratory look into greater truths of the world beyond?” asks Heather Gregory, Portal’s Managing Editor. Pick up a copy to find out…

Since 1991, Portal has been put together by a dedicated class of 20 VIU Creative Writing students who have a hand in all aspects of creating the magazine. From September to April they select the writing and art, make design decisions, develop an online presence, fundraise nearly $8000 on their own, work one-on-one with contributors on the editorial process, sell ads, and plan its launch. The class works with a third-year photographic design class and professor Ellen McCluskey to mock up over 75 cover ideas, from which one is chosen. This year Reese Patterson designed the cover and returning star Jessica Reid perfected the interior. At the launch, awards will also be presented to 11 outstanding Creative Writing students from across genres.

Portal 2014 will be available for purchase across newsstands in Canada in April for $10. Copies will also be available for purchase at the launch, or $15 if bundled with the 2013 issue, and at Literacy Central Nanaimo, the Nanaimo Art Gallery and the VIU bookstore. Portal will continue to be offered as an e-zine on Amazon.

More information on this year’s issue and launch and from backissues of Portal can be found:


instagram: @PortalMagVIU

To arrange interviews with contributors or staff or to cover the launch contact:
Natalie Golbeck, Publicity viuportal@gmail.com
Joy Gugeler, Publisher (250) 797-2623

Thursday April 10th, 2014

LAUNCH: April 10th, 2014 at the Nanaimo Curling Club. 106 Wall St. Nanaimo. Dress is semi formal. Doors at 6.30pm and the event starts at 7pm.

Thursday March 6th, 2014

 Portal Magazine is hosting its very own “Bachelor Pad Auction” in the Students’ Union Pub on the Nanaimo Campus of VIU.

Minimum bid for our lovely bachelors and bachelorettes is $10, with all proceeds going to the production of this years Portal Magazine.

Bachelors and Bachelorettes TBA

Thursday February 13th, 2014

Valentine’s Day BAKE SALE will be held in the lobby of Bld 345 on the Nanaimo Campus from 10am-2pm.

Friday January 17th, 2014

Portal Magazine is hosting the 75th Capitol Ball at Spice Lounge in Nanaimo. Tickets are $5 and are available from any member of the Portal team as well as the Student Union Bld. Doors open at 9.30pm. There will be a prize for best costume.

Thursday November 28th, 2013

Beer and Burger Night at the Corner Bistro in Nanaimo. 6pm-9pm with a Silent Auction. Tickets are $16 and available from any member of the Portal team.


Thursday October 10th, 2013

BAKE SALE in the lobby of building 345 on the Nanaimo Campus. Portal Students will be selling home made baked goods from 11-2.


The 2014 Portal Team has been assembled and are already hard at work! Follow us on:

Twitter: @PortalMagazine

Instagram: @Portalmagviu

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/portalmag

and watch this space to keep up to date on everything Portal has to offer.

A word from one of our Editors

Now in my fourth year as a Creative Writing student, it seemed only natural to join the Portal team. As both a writer and reader of fiction, I was eager to choose a position that would both benefit the magazine and also put my editing skills to good use. Unfortunately, being one of the fiction editors means waiting for the deadline before the real work starts. Until then, I go to class and learn the other fundamentals in publishing a magazine, such as budgeting.
Portal class starts with updates and group check-ins. While my duties as Launch Coordinator and Fiction Editor are on hold until next semester, the work we do as a team means I’m still kept busy with ads, and selling past-issues and baking to raise money.
When I first signed up for the class, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I pictured a colourful room, with past cover photos framed on the walls and comfy beanbag chairs strewn on the floor. I imagined everyone rushing around on a coffee buzz, In fact, building 345, Room 103 is not a very posh workspace, but the dreary walls of the classroom don’t stifle our passion for Portal (or diminish our need for coffee).
On the very first day of class, the eagerness of my fellow classmates was palpable. We worked hard to produce a feasible budget, come up with unique fundraising opportunities, and establish our roles for the magazine. Even after we left the classroom, our work didn’t end as we discussed contest themes and advertising options on D2L.
Now, with midterms coming to an end, Portal students are going to be even busier with fundraising, from our club night on October 17th to the Gustafson poetry lecture student event on the 23rd.
The end of midterms also means we’re closer to reaching our submissions deadline (November 28th). If you haven’t already, now’s the time to get your writing and artwork in for Portal 2015!

-Hannah Smith

Fanning the Flames

Yes, guys and gals, it’s that time of year again, a time when creativity abounds and Portal magazine kicks off its glorious publication schedule for another year. There’s something about Portal that fans the literary flames; it has a fire in it that’s unique to the spirited endeavor that is VIU’s very own student-run magazine.

Even in the first week, I could feel the energy in the classroom as our beloved el capitan talked us through the ins and outs of a year’s predestined journey that would end with a glorious prize: a full-colour issue awaiting the audience’s embrace.

What does this mean for you, the student reader? It means you might be sitting at home reading this blog post and wondering why you haven’t submitted to this bastion of Canadian talent. Wonder no more. Give us your work. Give us your support. Give us, if you would be so obliged, a second to prove ourselves, and we promise you won’t walk away disappointed.
This is just the beginning. You’ll be hearing a lot more from us in the weeks and months to come (and from me in the Navigator on this subject). When you get the launch announcement in March, please, save the date. It wouldn’t be a proper party without you.

– Philip Gordon

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

I’d heard about Portal around campus over the last three years at VIU. I’d seen classmates at its various bake sales and readings, even submitted my own work a few times, waiting on tenterhooks for a reply.
My impression was that it was put together by passionate group of students who each year worked hard to promote their beautiful magazine. Their zeal was infectious. I bought two issues after a reading by award-winning poet and fiction writer Michael Crummey read at the Gustafson lecture last October.
Each textual piece was perfectly complemented by art and I remember carefully turning the pages wondering how this could have come from a university class. I ignored my younger sister’s eye rolling when she said, “Oh God, a literary magazine,” and placed the copies in easy view of guests in my living room, where they still sit today. The last time she stayed the night I caught her reading the 2014 edition.
When I added this class to my timetable this year, I did so with some trepidation. I didn’t have a lot of time to invest in promotions and events, but I saw many familiar faces in the first class and their excitement was palpable. We were getting down to work, together. I knew I would have a blast. It will get busier as we approach the April launch date, but every time I revisit last year’s edition and open it to a new page, I know it will be worth it.

– Tegan Matthews

Primed for Art

As one of the students in Portal 2015 committed to making the magazine as artistically striking as possible, and as Ad Manager, selling enough ads to pay for a full-colour print run, I’ve decided to combine these two things in my first blog post and advertise my art opening, a “Meet the Artist” event from 4 – 5pm. Monday September 29th in building 355.

You may have seen 7 brightly coloured canvases in the corridor outside room 108 and wondered, “What’s going on?” or “What are these paintings all about?” This campus exhibition is an assignment for Jane Cole’s ARTS 484 class. Between now and December, you’ll see student art going where no art has gone before.

Being a full-time student at VIU in the new Major in Fine Art and Minor in Creative Writing means my two passions come together in the Portal Publishing course so I’m donating 10% of art sales at this event to Portal 2015 and 10% to the VIU Arts Club, Progressions 2015.

Below are two paintings from this series “The Primarys” that have already sold, but to see those still available and to support both art and literature, come out on Monday and look around, and submit your own art and literature to Portal by November 28th for consideration in the next issue.



– Deborah Sears