Teaching a class? Organizing a book club? Engaging in self-study? Why not explore literary magazines as a source of timely writing by new and established authors? All articles in Understorey Magazine are available online, free of cost. Most articles are under 1500 words. This means everyone in your class or club can get—and finish—the readings.

Understorey publishes stories grounded in life experience and told through fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and visual art. We feature writers who identify as women or non-binary and who also have a strong connection to Canada (see our Submissions page for more details).

Our magazine issues are organized by theme, as listed in the second half of this page and on our Past Issues page. In addition to these “official” themes, many themes relevant to women’s lives run through all of our issues. To help select readings for courses and/or book clubs, we’ve listed these below.

Please contact us with any comments, questions, or requests.


Recurring Themes Across Understorey Issues

By Mi’kmaw Writers and Artists

Empty. Poetry by Melody Martin-Googoo (Issue 1, 2013)
Mothering. Poetry by Tiffany Morris (Issue 3, 2014)
Gathering Mi’kmaq Medicine. Creative nonfiction by Ellen Hunt (Issue 5, 2015)
Three Decades of Silence. Creative nonfiction by shalan joudry (Issue 5, 2015)
Wiklatmu’jk. Poetry by shalan joudry (Issue 5, 2015)
Dancing with the Universe. Visual art by Melissa Labrador (Issue 6, 2015)
Etuaptmumk. Spoken word by Rebecca Thomas (Issue 8, 2016)
Keeper of the Spark of Life. Visual art by Melissa Labrador (Issue 8, 2016)
Elapultiek. Script by shalan joudry (Issue 16, 2019)
Rewilding Under Those Conditions. Poetry by Tiffany Morris (Issue 17, 2019)
On Two-Eyed Seeing. An Interview with Chelsey Purdy. (Issue 18, 2020)
Lucky Strike. Creative nonfiction by Tara Harris. (Issue 21, 2021)


By African Nova Scotian Writers and Artists

Complete Issue 12
On My Dining Room Table. Poetry by Sylvia Hamilton (Issue 1, 2013)
Remembering Marie. Poetry by Sylvia Hamilton (Issue 1, 2013)
Grandmother. Spoken word by Shauntay Grant (Issue 5, 2015)
Women in Prison. Spoken word by El Jones (Issue 8, 2016)
Even If. Poetry by Sophia Wedderburn (Issue 10, 2017)
Power. Poetry by Guyleigh Johnson (Issue 10, 2017)
Island Girl. Prose poem by Susie Brigham (Issue 11, 2017)
Big Chop. Fiction by Kate Foster (Issue 14, 2018)
It’s Not My Childhood. Poetry by Chantal Martineau (Issue 19, 2020)


By Youth Writers

A Five-Step Guide for Young Writers (2nd ed). Advice and resources by Heidi Elder.
Our Future, Our Story. Initial project by Understorey and AMI. Now youth-run.
Complete Issue 10
Conversation with Elizabeth Cromwell. By Sophia Wedderburn (Issue 12, 2017)
Discussion de Famille. Poésie de Morgan McKay (Numéro 15, 2019)
Future. Spoken word by Katia Bannister (Issue 17, 2019)


On Body Image

A Life in Eight Bras. Creative nonfiction by Lindsay Cameron Wilson (Issue 4, 2014)
Scars. Creative nonfiction by Naomi Sears (Issue 8, 2016)
In My Skin. Poetry by Cherrie Amour (Issue 12, 2017)
Beauty. Spoken word by NAT chantal (Issue 12, 2017)
Face. Poetry by Carole Glasser Langille (Issue 14, 2018)
To Dye or Not to Dye. Poetry by Ruth McQuirter (Issue 14, 2018)
Big Chop. Fiction by Kate Foster (Issue 14, 2018)
Shake. Creative nonfiction by Emily Allan (Issue 16, 2019)


On Gender-Based Violence

Remembering Marie. Poetry by Sylvia Hamilton (Issue 1, 2013)
Reena. Poetry by Carole Glasser Langille (Issue 5, 2015)
Incested Girl. Poetry by Andrea Nicki (Issue 8, 2016)
After I Left. Creative nonfiction by Carling M (Issue 8, 2016)
Ice So Thin. Poetry by Lynda Lesny (Issue 8, 2016)
Perhaps, and Yet. Poetry by Abitha Suthakaran (Issue 10, 2017)
She Came Home. Poetry by Wanda R. Graham (Issue 11, 2017)
A Conversation with Jade Brooks. Interview (Issue 12, 2017)
Aged Cumin. Poetry by Rohini Bannerjee (Issue 14, 2018)
Busting Bollywood. Poetry by Rohini Bannerjee (Issue 14, 2018)
#metoo. Script by Lauren Martin (Issue 16, 2019)
Crazed. Poetry by Tanis MacDonald (Issue 20, 2021)


LGBTQ+ Experiences

Your Words Don’t Hurt Us. Poetry by Molly Redden (Issue 10, 2017)
Blood and Vinegar. Fiction by Elliot Gish (Issue 13, 2018)
Asian or Mixed-Race Monologue. Script by Dale Lee Kwong (Issue 16, 2019)
Milky Light of a Clinica’s Infinite Gaze. Poetry by Daze Jefferies (Issue 18, 2020)
still. Poetry by Violet Drake (Issue 21, 2021)


On Mental Health and Grief

Are You Listening? Creative Nonfiction by Shelia Morrison (Issue 3; 2014)
To the Teenagers in My Writing Circle, Psychiatric Ward. Poetry by Carole Glasser Langille (Issue 4, 2014)
Postpartum. Poetry by Deanna Foster (Issue 5, 2015)
Psychiatric Protocol. Poetry by Andrea Nicki (Issue 6, 2015)
Shuffle Forward. Poetry by Paula Follet-Comeau (Issue 6, 2015)
Aftershock. Fiction by Jann Everard (Issue 7, 2016)
outpatient i. Poetry by Bonnie MacLeod (Issue 8, 2016)
Twenty-One. Creative nonfiction by Rachel McLay (Issue 13, 2018)
Words Fail Me. Poetry by Janet Barkhouse (Issue 14, 2018)
The Stations of Her Loss. Poetry by Holly Tsun Haggarty (Issue 14, 2018)
The Rapture of Crazy Jane. Poetry by Tanis MacDonald (Issue 14, 2018)
Certified. Script by JD Derbyshire (Issue 16, 2019)
Playing Ball. Libretto by Maria Johnson (Issue 16, 2019)
Dragging My Soul…. Creative nonfiction by Sara Tilley (Issue 16, 2019)
Turning: a climate grief poem. Poetry by Anna Quon (Issue 17, 2019)
Five Pounds of Yellow Onions. Creative nonfiction by Wendy Burton (Issue 19, 2020)
Laughter. Poetry by Anna Quon (Issue 20, 2021)


On Substance Use and Addiction

In the Museum of Your Last Day. Poetry by Susie Berg (Issue 6, 2015)
Filling the Void. Creative nonfiction by Chloe Hundza (Issue 10, 2017)
Services Works. Creative nonfiction by Liane Berry (Issue 11, 2017)


On Coming to Canada as an Immigrant or Refugee

Lebanese Kitchen. Poetry by Jasmine Chater. (Issue 3; 2014)
Recalibrating. Poetry by Shashi Bhat. (Issue 4, 2014)
Her Story Repeats. Creative nonfiction by Damhnait Monaghan. (Issue 9, 2016)
Going Home. Poetry by Ayesha Chatterjee (Issue 9, 2016)
Somewhere Borrowed, Somewhere Blue. Poetry by Ayesha Chatterjee (Issue 9, 2016)
My Mother’s Wounds. Poetry in Arabic and English by Jasmine Chater (Issue 9, 2016)
Imagined Dialogues with My Grandmother. Poetry by Masa Torbica (Issue 9, 2016)
Where Fear Meets Love. Poetry by Zainab Al-Habibi (Issue 9, 2016)
Being a Girl. Poetry by Rebecca D (Issue 9, 2016)
Shelter. Creative nonfiction by Fatima Al-Habibi (Issue 9, 2016)
In Between. Creative nonfiction by Natasha Ramoutar (Issue 10, 2017)
The Unforgettable Journey. Creative nonfiction by Abshiro Abdille (Issue 12, 2017)
Africa: An Apology. Creative nonfiction by Ciana Hamilton (Issue 13, 2018)
England. Script by Keara Barnes (Issue 16, 2019)
On Science and Storytelling: An Interview with Maryam Heba (Issue 18, 2020)
A Feast to Die For. Fiction by Kelly Kaur (Issue 19, 2020)


Official Themes for Understorey Issues

On Motherhood

Motherhood in all its diversity: stories of pregnancy, loss, adoption, guardianship, ageing, caring for mothers, mothering across generations, not knowing your mother, choosing not to be a mother, and parenting through adversity. Issues 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7. (See Past Issues)

Motherhood and disability: stories of mothering with a dis/ability and mothering children with dis/abilities. Topics include autism, multiple sclerosis, selective mutism, Down syndrome, addiction, and dementia. Issue 6.

On Gender and Justice

Stories of social, criminal, racial, and environmental justice and injustice. Issue 8.

On Being Home or Away from Home

Stories of immigration, eviction, adoption, housing cooperatives, coming to Canada as an immigrant or refugee. Issue 9.

On Youth and Power

Stories by young writers about the ways they feel empowered or disempowered. Issue 10.

On Gender and Service

Stories of community service, civil and military service, service to God/faith, servitude, unspoken norms of gender and service. Issue 11.

By African Nova Scotian Women

Stories and visual art by diverse ANS women, including current experiences and historical and structural injustice. Issue 12.

About Blood

Stories of menstruation, family bloodlines, violence, tragedy, love. Issue 13.

On Age and Ageing

Stories of body image, mental health, societal expectations and norms. Issue 14

By Francophone Women in Atlantic Canada

Voices of from the various francophone communities in Atlantic Canada. Issue 15.

On Women in Theatre

Stories from women actors, playwrights, and directors. Excerpts and full scripts, monologues, and librettos. Issue 16.

On Gender and the Climate and Ecological Crisis

Stories of colonialism, ir/responsibility, grief, hope, action. Issue 17

On Gender and Technology

Stories of the many ways science and technology affect our lives. Issue 18.

On Gender and Food Work

From factory work to home canning. Stories by and about the workers who make and serve our food. Issue 19.

On Laughter

Stories about the role of laughter, humour, and comedy in our lives. Issue 20.