Department of English


English Language and Literature

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Gifts in any amount can make a big difference to the over-all educational experience that the Department can offer its students, and the Department is deeply grateful for the support it receives from alumni and friends.



© Queen's University


The Cappon Trust

Established in 2013 to mark the 125th anniversary of the Department of English, and named for James Cappon, the first Chair appointed in English at Queen's, the Cappon Trust is intended to provide funding to enhance alumni relations and to enrich the experience of the Department of English community. The Trust supports:

  • Summer and Fall Convocation celebrations for graduating undergraduate and graduate students
  • Homecoming events
  • Talks by distinguished alumni

F.H. Varley, <em>Dean James Cappon</em>, 1919.

F.H. Varley, Dean James Cappon, 1919, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University. Photo: Larry Ostrom. © Varley Art Gallery, City of Markham.

Thanks to the generosity of contributors to our Alumni Fund, we were able to establish the Endowment portion of the Cappon Trust with $80,000, allowing us to begin building closer ties with our students, past and present.

A long-term goal of the Trust is to re-instate the Cappon Professorship, a title established in 1960 designed to recognize extraordinary contributions by a faculty member to research in the Department of English. Malcolm Ross, who served as Head of the Department of English (1957–1960), was the first to hold the title Cappon Professor; he was succeeded by John Stedmond, George Whalley, A. C. Hamilton, and George M. Logan, who retired in 2007. Since that time we have been unable to fund a new incumbent, but hope to reinstate this Department tradition through the vision of our donors.

Help us reach our goal of doubling this endowment by the Department’s 130th anniversary in 2018!



The Department of English Alumni Fund

The Alumni Fund enables the Department of English to cultivate and enrich the intellectual and social life of its community, including:

  • Receptions for incoming students
  • Visiting Speaker Series
  • Capstone Experience for Fourth-year Students
  • Wine and Cheese with Profs
  • In 2013, a celebrated performance of T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets
  • Annual Scotiabank Giller-Prize Winner public reading and reception that brings together exceptional students with the best in contemporary Canadian fiction. Past winners hosted by Queen’s include: Elizabeth Hay, Joseph Boyden, Linden McIntyre, Johanna Skibsrud, Esi Edugyan, Will Ferguson, Lynn Coady, and Sean Michaels.

Please consider making a donation to our Alumni Fund: help us continue to support a vibrant life of learning for our students beyond the classroom.



Joanne Page Lecture Fund

Joanne Page

Joanne Page

In 2012 the Department of English inaugurated “The Page Lectures,” its first named lecture in Creative Writing. The series, in which a distinguished Canadian writer is invited to give a lecture on the subject of that most basic unit of composition and study, “the page,” was proposed by that year’s Writer in Residence Phil Hall, in part to honour Kingston poet Joanne Page, and as Phil notes elsewhere, in the hope “that in these times of change in our relations to the book, these lectures will invigorate & challenge the University & Kingston artistic communities.” Since 2012, Phil Hall, Erin Mouré, and Elizabeth Hay have given the lecture.

With Joanne’s passing in 2015, the Joanne Page Lecture Fund was established in her memory. Our goal is to raise a minimum of $75,000 in the next 4 years so that the revenues generated from this endowment will allow us to continue to invite the best Canadian writers who put words on the page to address our students and our community.



The G. Whalley Visiting Professorship

The Whalley Fund was established to honour a key figure in the history of the Department of English. Born in Kingston on 25 July 1915, George Whalley pursued an extraordinary life: Rhodes scholar, athlete, decorated naval officer, poet, and stellar academic. He joined the Department of English at Queen's in 1950, where he was appointed as Cappon Professor in 1962 in recognition of his scholarship, and served as Head of the Department in the years of growth between 1962–67, and 1977–80. During his career Whalley became an internationally respected literary scholar specializing in poetry of the Romantic period. He was also an unusually gifted and charismatic teacher.

"Halifax War Hero Rescues Three When Destroyer Sinks" Sub.-Lieut. A.G.C. Whalley

Sub.-Lieut. A.G.C. Whalley, Queen's University Archives

Following Whalley’s death in 1983 this fund was initiated with the goal of establishing an endowed Chair in his name that would allow the department to hire and retain one additional full faculty member. However, until such time as a major donor steps forward to provide the substantial funding required to sustain a named chair, the Whalley Fund enriches the intellectual life of the department in two key ways:

  • it supports an annual lecture in his name, enabling the Department to invite a distinguished speaker of special merit to campus
  • every 3–5 years a scholar specializing in Romanticism or Critical Theory is invited to teach a course in the graduate program as the G. Whalley Visiting  Professor

In 2015 the Whalley Fund supported a three-day conference in honour of the centenary of Whalley’s birth. Your gift will help us continue the tradition of academic excellence allied to creativity that has been George Whalley’s legacy to the department.



The Writers’ Fund

Kaie Kellough

Kaie Kellough
Photo by: Kevin Calixte

In the past decade Creative Writing has attained an increasingly prominent role in the life of the Department of English. Each year the department hosts a variety of writers who come to give readings and workshops for our students. In 2006, we began our Writer-in-Residence program with the aid of the Canada Council, the Principal’s Development Fund, and our own Writers’ Fund. For one term in each academic year, a distinguished Canadian writer visits the department to participate in a range of literary events and offer mentorship to students involved in creative writing.

Distinguished writers have included:

  • Kaie Kellough (2020)
  • Canisia Lubrin (2019)
  • Catherine Hernandez (2018)
  • Karen Solie (2017)
  • Emily Pohl-Weary (2015)
  • Stephen Heighton (2014)
  • Tim Wynne-Jones (2013)
  • Phil Hall (2012)
  • Diane Shoemperlin (2011)
  • Stuart Ross (2009)
  • Helen Humphries (2008)
  • Billeh Nickerson (2007)
  • Lillian Allan (2006)

As part of his residency Phil Hall developed the idea of the Page Lecture, an annual address in honour of Kingston author Joanne Page. In June 2015 Department of English Alumni Fund made a $25,000 gift to the endowed account of the Visiting Writers Fund in memory of Joanne Page to help secure its sponsorship of this annual event in the calendar of Creative Writing at Queen’s. The Department encourages donations to the Visiting Writers Fund accompanied by a note indicating that such donations are to be used in support of The Page Lectures.

This fund is also used to support the publication of Lake Effect, the biannual anthology, edited by Carolyn Smart, featuring the best poetry and fiction produced by students in our Creative Writing courses.

The generosity of Alumni can help to maintain this rich program of readings, lectures, publication, and mentorships which contribute so much to the experience of our students.



If you prefer to give in other ways, please contact:

Dr Sam McKegney, Head
Department of English
Queen's University
Kingston, ON K7L 3N6