Larissa Lai

The Final Episode 57: Rebecca Geleyn and Mikka Jacobsen interview Larissa Lai

Oct 17, 2023

For this final episode of TIA House Talks, Rebecca Geleyn and Mikka Jacobsen sit down with Larissa Lai to discuss the progression, transformation, and adaption of the TIA House Project over the last nine years. Larissa talks about the inception of this project, inspired by creative and community spaces, as well as the connections between TIA House and Larissa’s creative works, specifically The Lost Century. This interview tries to archive the ways TIA House navigated through ethics and aesthetics while being keenly aware of feelings, bodies, spirituality, and academia. As this chapter of TIA House concludes, we are left with the questions that underlie this interview: how are we able to responsibly care for the old while embracing the new?
We hope you enjoy this bittersweet final episode, and we hope you will (re)visit our other episodes. From the entire TIA House team: Thank you for listening.


Mikka Jacobsen is the author of the essay collection Modern Fables (Freehand Books, 2022) and the forthcoming story collection Good Victory (Freehand Books, 2025). Her work has appeared in Joyland, The Fiddlehead, The Missouri Review, and Lit Hub, among others. In 2022-2023 she was a Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Calgary where she co-directed TIA House.

Rebecca Geleyn works as an instructor and editor in Mohkinstsis (Calgary, Alberta). Her poetry has appeared in literary journals across Canada, including The Malahat Review, CV2, and Riddle Fence. She recently completed a postdoctoral appointment in the Department of English at the University of Calgary, where she helped run TIA House.

Larissa Lai is the author of nine books, most recently a novel entitled The Lost Century. Recipient of the Jim Duggins Novelist’s Prize, the Lambda Literary Award, and the Otherwise Honor Book, and a finalist for seven more, she was recently a Maria Zambrano Fellow at the University of Huelva in Spain, and Canada Research Chair at the University of Calgary where she directed The Insurgent Architects’ House for Creative Writing. She is currently Professor jointly appointed to the English Department and University College at University of Toronto, and serves as Richard Charles Lee Chair of Chinese Canadian Studies.

Show Notes:

00:04:50 Looking back at TIA House as it ends.
00:05:55 The Tiger Flu, The Lost Century, Iron Goddess of Mercy
00:06:14 The connections between TIA House and Larissa Lai’s creative work
00:07:58 Larissa talks about being part of a community of writers at UBC and UofC.
00:11:18 Larissa’s trying again to find the connection of her novels to the work of TIA House.
00:12:50 Fred Wah, the Poetic and the ethic
00:18:35 Omar Ramadan and Dania Idriss’ interview
00:18:49 The complicated process of writing for grants
00:20:10 The conversation about gender politics in Calgary
00:25:10 The struggle between being responsible for (and holding on to) old conditions and embracing new ways of being and thinking.
00:26:17 The discussion of The Lost Century
00:28:22 TIA House in relation to tradition
00:31:06 Indigeneity and the desire to hold on some aspect of tradition
00:31:54 Paul Yee’s A Superior Man
00:35:17 The discussion of feelings, bodies and academia.
00:38:20 TIA House as an archive.
00:46:18 Where to house an archive.
00:48:14 Wisdom Council Symposium| Rebecca’s Interview with Anne Stone
00:49:29 The distinction between memory and archive
00:56:13 The diverse structures of events at TIA House
1:05:36 The inclusion of the spiritual in Larissa’s writings.

TIA House recognizes the generous support of the Canada Research Chairs program and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. We also appreciate the support of the Faculty of Arts and the Department of English at the University of Calgary, where our offices are housed, as well as the guidance of Marc Stoeckle at the Taylor Family Digital Library.

TIA House is run by Larissa Lai, Shuyin Yu, Ryan Stearne, Shazia Ramji, Rebecca Geleyn, Mikka Jacobsen, Benjamin Ghan, Amy LeBlanc, Marc Lynch, and Mahmoud Ababneh.
Our Intro/Outro music is Monarch of the Streets by Loyalty Freak Music, accessed from the Free Music Archive.

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