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Thesis Defence: Dreamless Deep: A Novel

May 29 at 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Mackenzie Blackwood, supervised by Kevin Chong, will defend their thesis titled “Dreamless Deep: A Novel” in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

An abstract for Mackenzie Blackwood’s thesis is included below.

Defences are open to all members of the campus community as well as the general public. Registration is not required for in person defences.


Dreamless Deep is a literary novel centred around a troubled fisherman named Kip who lives in an isolated seaside village and is ushered into a forced friendship with Mickey, a nine-year-old boy with an unknown terminal illness. His world is destabilized as he navigates living with his aging father’s young second wife and reminders of his lonely youth. Throughout the novel, Kip experiences vivid and disturbing dreams that force him to confront the emotional wounds of his childhood. The novel engages with the Nautical Gothic, which Dennis Berthold characterizes as a mode that is essentially murky, offering “erroneous versions of the maritime” with “meaningful expression[s] of nautical experience” (Alder 1-2). The novel is told through the first-person point of view of 25-year-old Christopher “Kip” Kettering and offers a reflection on masculinity, obsession, and isolation. Surreal dream narratives are woven into the novel, inspired by the short stories of writers like Brian Evenson, Kazuo Ishiguro, Franz Kafka, and Shirley Jackson. The dreams serve as a liminal space wherein the protagonist can explore his traumatic past and heal from it. As a setting, the coast is “defined for its ‘inbetweenness,’” which contains inbuilt boundaries to overcome (Packham 206). I use the landscape to explore the boundaries that provoke Kip’s innermost fears and prevent him from changing. The insular village where he lives takes inspiration from both British and Canadian Maritime communities. The figure of the Gothic madman has long been othered for shock value, to present and sustain “the horrifying spectacle of difference” (Anolik 21). My intent with Dreamless Deep is to present an intimate, compassionate, and honest portrayal of one man’s suffering and path to growth through his reflections and relationships.


May 29
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Creative and Critical Studies Building (CCS)
1148 Research Road
Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7 Canada
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Additional Info

Room Number
Registration/RSVP Required
Event Type
Thesis Defence
Arts and Humanities, Research and Innovation
Alumni, Community, Faculty, Staff, Families, Partners and Industry, Students, Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates