Dr. Deborah C. Bowen

Professor Emerita of English

Phone: (905) 648-2131   Ext:


Office: 219M

Programs: English Literature, English Writing


Ph.D. (1990), English, University of Ottawa
Dissertation: Mimesis, Magic, Manipulation: A Study of the Photograph in Contemporary British and Canadian Novels.

Cert. Ed. (1971), English, Cambridge University, UK

B.A. Hons (1970) & M.A. (1974), English Language and Literature, Oxford University, UK


  • Ways of Reading: Fiction (ENG-103)
  • Environmental Literature (ENG-241)
  • British Literature, 1900-1950 (ENG-347)
  • British Literature, 1950-Present (ENG-357)
  • Postcolonial Literature (ENG-376)
  • Modern Canadian Poetry (ENG-427)
  • Studies in Postcolonial Literature (ENG-476)


Bowen’s monograph Stories of the Middle Space: Reading the Ethics of Postmodern Realisms (McGill-Queen’s U P, 2010) and her edited collection of essays The Strategic Smorgasbord of Postmodernity: Literature and the Christian Critic (Cambridge Scholars P, 2007) demonstrate her concern with reading contemporary literature from a Christian perspective, and her belief that God is at work in literature even where the divine is not named there. She regularly publishes articles on contemporary British and Canadian fiction and poetry in books and scholarly journals, and has also contributed a number of papers on pedagogy and on the importance of the humanities. She has presented over eighty papers at both Christian and non-confessional academic conferences in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and elsewhere. In the winter semester of 2013, she was the ARCU (Association of Reformed Colleges and Universities) lecturer for the year, and gave lectures at Tyndale U.C., Trinity Christian College in Chicago, Geneva College in Pennsylvania, The King’s University in Edmonton, and the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto. Though Bowen retired from full-time work in June of 2017, she is still teaching part time, and hopes to do so for as long as her family situation allows. Dr. Bowen has just retired as co-director, with Dr. Katherine Quinsey at the University of Windsor, of the national Christianity and Literature Study Group. She has recently been working with a SSHRC grant on The Poetry and Ecology Project, one of whose outcomes is the leaflets posted at With the help of several Redeemer undergraduate and graduate students, she is presently at work on a bigger follow-up project, a curated anthology entitled Poetry in Place: Poetry and Environmental Hope in a Southern Ontario Bioregion.

Research Interests

  • Poetry and ecology
  • The spiritual and the mythical in contemporary English fiction and poetry

Current Research

  • Canadian poetry and environmental concern
  • The voice of Creation in contemporary literature

Recent Research Funding

Awarded a SSHRC Insight Grant to work on Poetry in Place: Poetry and Environmental Hope in a Southern Ontario Bioregion April 2020 – March 2023

Awarded a SSHRC Insight Development Grant to work on “The Voice of Environmental Hope in Contemporary Ontarian Poetry,” June 2016-May 2018.

Awarded a Zylstra grant to work on “EcoAtwood meets EcoChristianity,” April 2015

Stories of the Middle Space: Reading the Ethics of Postmodern Realisms (McGill-Queen’s UP) was awarded an Aid to Scholarly Publications grant by SSHRC.

Recent Publications


Stories of the Middle Space: Reading the Ethics of Postmodern Realisms. Deborah C. Bowen. McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2010.

The Strategic Smorgasbord of Postmodernity: Literature and the Christian Critic, ed. Deborah C. Bowen. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007.

Selected Book Chapters (last five years)

“‘Nature is Never Spent’? The Prophetic Voice in Contemporary Canadian Ecological Poetry.” The Prophetic Word: Poetry, Philosophy and Theology in Conversation.  Mark Burrows, ed.
Routledge, 2021. 233-241.

“Places that Shape Us.” Revised for inclusion in A Sort of Homecoming: Essays Honoring the Academic and Community Work of Brian Walsh. Marcia Boniferro, Amanda Jagt, and Andrew Stephens-Rennie, ed.s. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, an imprint of Wipf and Stock, 2020. 14-22.

“Reading the Devil in the Landscape.” The Hermeneutics of Hell: Devilish Visions and Visions of the Devil in World Literature. Dan Russ and Gregor Thuswaldner, eds. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, July 2017. 291-304

Selected Articles (last five years)

“Preface: Constructing the Past, Reviewing the Present.” In “’Due Influence’: Anita Brookner’s Legacy.” Special issue of Ėtudes Anglaises, guest edited by Laurence Petit. ĖA 74.2 (2021): 131-134.

“‘Let heaven and nature sing’ in poems by Malcolm Guite, Wendell Berry, and John Terpstra.” The Glass No. 34 (Spring 2021):  22-28.

“Listening to the Voice of Creation: How Contemporary Ontarian Creative Writers Hear the Natural World.” Christianity and Literature, 69.2 (June 2020): 219-236.

“The Trees of the Forest Shall Clap Their Hands.” Hamilton Arts and Letters, 12th Anniversary Climate Action Issue, ed. Matthew Zantingh and Alec Follett, 31.1 (June 2020)

Eco-Christianity as Margaret Atwood’s ‘good religion.” Christian Courier, Jan. 7, 2018.

“Ecological Endings and Eschatology: Margaret Atwood’s Post-Apocalyptic Fiction.” Christianity and Literature, 66.4 (Sept. 2017): 691-705.

‘Do you understand what you are reading?’–rhetoric, ethics and aesthetics in the undergraduate classroom.” International Journal of Christianity & Education 20.1 (Winter 2016): 7-19.

Selected Book Reviews (last five years)

Marilyn McEntyre, When Poets Pray (Eerdmans, 2019). The Glass No. 34 (Spring 2021): 48-50.

David Lyle Jeffrey, Scripture and the English Poetic Imagination (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2019). Christian Scholars Review Vol XLIX, No. 4 (Summer 2020).

Allan Hepburn, A Grain of Faith: Religion in Mid-Century British Literature (Oxford U P, 2018). The Glass: Towards a Christian Understanding of Literature 32 (Spring 2020): 60-62.

Tim Lilburn, The Larger Conversation: Contemplation and Place (Edmonton, AB: U of Alberta P, 2017). Journal of Canadian Poetry 34 (for 2017). Forthcoming.

John L. Riley, The Once and Future Great Lakes Country: An Ecological History. (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s UP, 2013). The Goose 16.1 (2017), Article 12.

Heather H. Yeung, Spatial Engagement with Poetry (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2015). The Goose 14.2 (2016), Article 14.

Travis M. Lane, The Witch of the Inner Wood: Collected Long Poems, ed. Shane Neilson (Fredericton: Icehouse/Goose Lane, 2016).  Journal of Canadian Poetry 33 (for 2016): 96-102.


Stories of the Middle Space, find more information HERE

The Strategic Smorgasbord of Postmodernity, find more information HERE

For the Christianity and Literature Study Group (a national organization allied with ACCUTE), find more information HERE.

For the Poetry and Ecology leaflets (2018), find more information  HERE

Related Experience

Dr. Bowen’s CV