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Arts UBC sets interviews for Creative Writing chair after Steven Galloway firing

Steven Galloway is pictured at UBC on April 11, 2014.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

The Creative Writing program at the University of British Columbia, formerly led by Steven Galloway, has scheduled interviews with three candidates for the position of chair.

In an e-mail sent to students on Friday, Kathryn Harrison, acting dean of arts, confirms that both Annabel Lyon and Linda Svendsen, who have been acting co-chairs since Galloway was first suspended in November, 2015, have declined to be considered for the position.

"I extend my sincere thanks to both for their excellent service," Harrison wrote. Their terms end at the conclusion of this academic year.

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The candidates, described as "very strong" by Harrison, are Thalia Field from Brown University, Brian Leung from Purdue University and Alix Ohlin from Lafayette College.

Ohlin, who was born in Montreal in 1972, is an associate professor in the English and Film and Media Studies departments at Lafayette in Easton, Pa. She is the author of two novels and two short-story collections. Her novel Inside and the collection Signs and Wonders: Short Stories were released on the same day in 2012 and received glowing reviews from The Globe and Mail. (She occasionally writes reviews for Globe Books as well.) Inside was short-listed for both the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize.

Field was born in Chicago in 1966 and has lived in New York, Paris, Berlin and Juneau, Alaska. She has been teaching fiction and multimedia and interdisciplinary creative/critical practice in the Literary Arts department at Brown, in Rhode Island, since 2000 and also has a theatre background. Her most recent book is Experimental Animals: A Reality Fiction.

Leung was born in San Diego County, Calif., in 1967 to a mother from Battle Ground, Wash., and a father from China. The director of the creative-writing program at Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind., he has published two novels and a short-story collection. He has received numerous awards including the Asian American Literary Award for Fiction and the Lambda Literary Foundation's award for mid-career novelists.

Galloway, a bestselling author (his novels include The Cellist of Sarajevo), was fired last year for breach of trust after a months-long investigation into allegations of misconduct. The main complainant in the case, a former student in the program, has accused him of sexual assault and sexual harassment. Galloway, through his lawyer, has said they had a long-term affair. His lawyer also revealed that an independent investigation by a former B.C. Supreme Court judge found on a balance of probabilities that he had not committed sexual assault. The main complainant, also through her lawyer, has said her complaint to the university was not about a consensual relationship with Galloway.

Galloway, who has not been criminally charged, is appealing his termination. The case is scheduled to be heard next month. The interviews with the three short-listed candidates are also scheduled to take place in March.

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