The Twenty-Third Annual Virginia Woolf Conference, Virginia Woolf and the Common(wealth) Reader, was supported by generous contributions from Simon Fraser University Vice President, Academic’s Conference Fund, Lifelong Learning, and the Department of English. Dr. Ann Martin, of the University of Saskatchewan, provided the template for both the conference schedule and the production timeline for this volume. Dr. Kathy Mezei deserves special thanks for the time she devoted to ensuring that the conference was both academically and socially stimulating. The mind-blowing conference graphics were designed by Chanda Stallman, who also organized the production of the conference swag (folder and tote bag) and T-shirts. Helen Chang supervised both the website and the registration process. Wilson Nam was the website guru. Lulu Bersamira kept us financially honest by handling all contracts, invoices, payments, receipts, and the cash at the conference. Behind-the-scenes assistants included Megan Frazer and Natalie Wood-Weins. The conference registration and information table was graced by the presence of some of the best people in the world: Pat Graca (who also was the copy editor for this volume), Lauren Johnstone, Gwen Lew, Amy Robertson, Judy Smith, Yvonne Tabin, and Dale Wikaruk. These Lifelong Learning staff members gave of their time, evenings, and weekends to help make the conference experience especially pleasant for the attendees. Sheena Jary assisted those interested in spending their hard-earned cash at the silent auction.
Elee Kraljii Gardiner was the inspiration behind the wonderful plenary session in which members of the Thursday Writing Collective shared their poetic works and brought the outside in. For more information on the Collective, point your browser to www.thursdayswritingcollective.ca. Renée Sarojini Saklikar organized the “Writing In/Against the Commonwealth” panel, setting the tone for a conference that problematized the very notion of inclusivity. Special recognition is due to the plenary speakers who worked hard to address the complex role played by Bloomsbury in/with Common(wealth): Rosemary Ashton, Paul Delany, Christine Froula, Mary Ann Gillies, Sonita Sarker, and Jane Stafford. Sharon Thesen and Betsy Warland challenged our common assumptions about Woolf and personal geopolitics during their moving readings at the conference banquet.
The staff at Coast Plaza Hotels should be congratulated on providing all of us with a wonderful commons in which to meet, greet, and share our Woolfian wealth. Dr. Mary Ann Gillies, the co-editor, brought her sharp critical eye to the essays included in this volume and framed the result. Dr. Wayne Chapman and his excellent team of production assistants (Charis Chapman, Chelsea Green, and Dustin Mosley) were exceptionally patient with the extended process involved in putting this volume together and are responsible for the aesthetically pleasing outcome. Finally, Ricki Muskett deserves very special thanks for the hours she spent organizing the paper proposals, the conference schedule, and the volunteers from Lifelong Learning. She managed the conference process from beginning to end.
Helen Wussow Simon Fraser University Vancouver, British Columbia March 2014