Dr. Deborah C. Bowen

Professor Emerita of English

Phone: 9056482131 Ext:


Office: 219M

Department: English


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, 1950-Present (ENG-357)
  • British Literature, 1900-1950 (ENG-347)
  • 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 Christian and confessional academic conferences and public 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

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 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

“‘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, 2020.

“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.

“‘What’s the Use of Stories That Aren’t Even True?’ Salman Rushdie, Religion, and the Magic Real.” Visions and Revisions: The Word and the Text. Ed. Roger Kojecký and Andrew Tate. Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013. 51-65.

“Postmodern realism and photographic subjectivity in The Stone Diaries.” In Re:Reading the Postmodern: a Canadian Literature Symposium. Ed. Robert Stacey. U of Ottawa P, 2010. 229-248.

“Annie Dillard on Holy Ground: the Artist as Nun in the Postmodern Sublime.” In Suffering, the Sacred, and the Sublime: Trauma and Transcendence in Literature. Ed. Holly Faith Nelson, Lynn Szabo, and Jens Zimmermann.  Wilfrid Laurier U P, 2010. 317-26.

Literature and Shalom: Teaching Freshman Students to Read.” In Teaching to Justice: Christian Faculty Seek ‘Shalom’ in Different Disciplines . Ed. Julia K. Stronks, Whitworth College. Online anthology. Summer 2008. (Also in Council for Christian Colleges and Universities online Research Library.)

Selected Articles

“Listening to the Voice of Creation: How Contemporary Ontarian Creative Writers Hear the Natural World.” Christianity and Literature, May 2020.

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

‘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.

‘Seeing Beyond the Scenery’: Exploring the World Through Metaphor.” Canadian Theological Review2.1 (2013): 59-78.

“Jesus Christ the Apple Tree. Preparing for Good Friday in a Literature and Environment Course.” Journal of Education and Christian Belief 15.1 (Spring 2011): 43-52.
“’What’s the use of stories that aren’t even true?’– Narrative and the Christian reader.” Comment Magazine, Spring 2011: 55-64.

“John Terpstra and the Place of the Sacred: The Body of his Work.” Canadian Poetry 67
(Fall/Winter 2010): 129-45.

Selected Book Reviews

David Lyle Jeffrey, Scripture and the English Poetic Imagination (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker
Academic, 2019). Christian Scholars Review. Forthcoming 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.

Anne Carson, Red Doc> (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2013). Journal of Canadian Poetry
30 (for 2013).

Ann Scowcroft, The Truth of Houses (London, ON: Brick Books, 2011). The Goose, Issue 11
(summer 2012): 87-8.

Robert Kroetsch, Too Bad: Sketches Toward a Self-Portrait (Edmonton: U of Alberta P, 2010). Journal of Canadian Poetry 27 (for 2010): 49-52.

Navigating the boat of faith.” Rev. of John Terpstra, Skin Boat: Acts of Faith and Other  Navigations (Kentville, N.S.: Gaspereau P., 2009). Canadian Literature, n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2010.

“A persevering presence.” Rev. of Margaret Avison, I Am Here and Not Not-There: An  Autobiography (The Porcupine’s Quill, 2009) and A Kind of Perseverance: Two Essays (1993; rpt. The Porcupine’s Quill, 2010). Canadian Literature, n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2010.

How to honour dead poets: P.K. Page and the glosa form.”Review of Hologram, by P.K. Page. Comment online, October 8, 2010.


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