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Alternative markets: why publishers are turning to zine fairs to woo new readers

Canzine, the country’s largest festival dedicated to zines and independent culture, happens this Sunday in Toronto (the Vancouver edition is scheduled for Nov. 17). Following the success of last year’s event, writer Jason Spencer spoke to several independent publishers about the importance of zine fairs to building readership. This article appeared in the Jan./Feb. issue of Q&Q.

(Photo: Jackie Spencer)

Last October, publisher Beth Follett decided to try a new method of connecting with readers: she signed up her company, Pedlar Press, as a vendor at Canzine Toronto, a daylong celebration of indie culture presented by Broken Pencil magazine. Not knowing what to expect, Follett carefully arranged a selection of Pedlar titles on her display table just inside the front doors of the 918 Bathurst Centre, including ReLit Award winners Sweet by Dani Couture and Blood Relatives by Craig Francis Power. As hundreds of misfits, hipsters, and readers began crossing the threshold, she realized she had come to the right place.

“It’s very difficult these days to find an audience and reach new customers,” says Follett, who understands the need to build new alliances as more independent bookstores close down. “It’s very important for me to be here and not in some ivory tower, where only a slice of the populace knows about Canadian literature.”

With nearly 200 vendors, 2010’s Canzine was one of the biggest in its 15-year-plus history. Likewise, thousands of people showed up at Montreal’s Expozine, a two-day event held in November that celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2011. “What does this mean for small presses? It’s a motivation to keep publishing,” says organizer Louis Rastelli. He adds that attending alternative gatherings can be eye-opening for people in the established book industry. “If the industry doesn’t get involved in what the new generation is doing, similar to the music [business], they [will] have some catching up to do.”

ChiZine’s Brett Savory (Photo: Jackie Spencer)

For some small presses, zine fairs perform a similar function to book launches. “You can do direct sales, so it’s a little cash boost, especially around the holidays when the [printer’s] bills are coming in,” says Nic Boshart, co-publisher of Invisible Publishing, which has had a presence at recent gatherings in Toronto, Halifax, and Montreal. But for many, such events are not so much about sales as they are about building relationships with new readers. Brett Savory, co-publisher of ChiZine Publications, says he attended Canzine Toronto in the hopes of accumulating social-media followers and promoting the press’s monthly Chiaroscuro reading series. Boshart adds that zine fairs are a good place to scout talent and network with presses one wouldn’t otherwise meet.

Not only do zine fairs bring scores of cultural artifacts to the public, they also provide a venue for interesting side events. In an effort to trump the previous year’s Puppet Slam, Canzine organized the Typewriter Orchestra Room, a cacophonous installation featuring a dozen poets attempting to channel Shakespeare. Canzine also hosted more conventional readings from authors such as Jonah Campbell, who read from his essay collection Food and Trembling (Invisible), and Expozine welcomed author Jonathan Goldstein, host of CBC Radio’s WireTap.

Such inventive programming can be an opportunity for authors who don’t fit in elsewhere. “If you can’t get a reading, make your own show,” says first-time Canzine Toronto vendor and seasoned attendee Liz Worth, author of Treat Me Like Dirt: An Oral History of Punk in Toronto and Beyond (Bongo Beat/ECW Press) and the poetry collection Amphetamine Heart (Guernica Editions). “You really have to get creative and you have to push really hard.”

Invisible’s Nic Boshart (Photo: Jackie Spencer)

Still, publishers who want to succeed at zine fairs need to adapt in order to stand out. Given the number of exhibitors at Expo­zine  – more than 270 – Rastelli recommends that publishers avoid selling titles at list price. “A lot of customers would like a bit of everything instead of spending all their money at one table, so we encourage people to have inexpensive books,” he says. “Even a publisher of perfect-bound books can produce a small zine worth $2, and at least if someone doesn’t buy a $20 book, they can go home with a sampler.” For her part, Follett, who plans to attend Canzine Toronto again in 2012, says she doesn’t advertise prices, in order to encourage discussion with interested readers.

Follett suggests potential vendors should think twice before dismissing zine fairs as lowbrow. “[T]here is a lot of ignorance, some of it willful, about who is producing art in Canada,” she says. “This is the ground where seeds are being planted for future excellence.”

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Fall preview 2011: international books

In the July/August issue, Q&Q looks ahead at the fall season’s biggest books.

Originally excerpted in The Paris Review in 2002, Denis Johnson’s novella Train Dreams (Farrar, Straus and Giroux/D&M Publishers, $19.95 cl.) rolls into stores this September. Known for his stories in Jesus’ Son and the National Book Award–winning novel Tree of Smoke, his latest work tells the story of Robert Grainer, a forlorn labourer in the 20th-century American West, struggling to cope with the loss of his family. • Fans of The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex have been waiting with bated breath for the arrival of Pulitzer Prize winner Jeffrey Eugenides’ new novel, The Marriage Plot (Knopf Canada, $32 cl., Oct.). In it, a naive English major endures a paradigm shift when she enrolls in a semiotics class and meets a charismatic loner. • The White Tiger author Aravind Adiga returns to the theme of a rapidly modernizing India in his third novel, Last Man in Tower (Bond Street Books, $32 cl., Sept.). The new novel is about a real estate developer who meets resistance when he tries to buy out the inhabitants of a Mumbai apartment he wants to turn into a luxury residence.

The late Portuguese author and Nobel laureate José Saramago’s posthumous novel is Cain (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Thomas Allen & Son, $28.95 cl., Oct.), a retelling of the story of humanity’s original bad brother • Appearing for the first time in English, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Apricot Jam and Other Stories (Counterpoint/Publishers Group Canada, $30.95 cl., Sept.), first published in Russia in the 1990s, is a collection of eight paired stories that exemplify the Nobel laureate’s “binary” approach to literature, in which interconnected stories are juxtaposed. • From Umberto Eco, the thinking person’s Dan Brown, comes another enigmatic tale of 19th-century Europe rife with intrigue. The Prague Cemetery (HMH/Thomas Allen, $33.95 cl., Nov.) imagines that a single evil genius is behind the era’s most infamous conspiracies and world-shattering events, from the Paris Commune to the Dreyfus Affair to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

This season will see new novels from two of the U.K.’s finest literary authors. The Stranger’s Child (Knopf Canada, $32 pa., Oct.), Alan Hollinghurst’s follow-up to the Man Booker Prize winner The Line of Beauty, is all about love, passion, and art in the face of destruction, telling the story of a 16-year-old girl transformed by a love poem written by a soldier before he is killed in the First World War. • In the vein of Margaret Atwood’s Penelopiad, A.S. Byatt’s Ragnarok: The End of the Gods (Knopf Canada, $25 cl., Sept.) examines how a book of Norse mythology changes the course of a young girl’s life as she seeks refuge in the British countryside during the Second World War.

Following the success of his debut novel, Submarine, which was recently adapted for film, Joe Dunthorne returns with another whimsical coming of age novel. Wild Abandon (Hamish Hamilton Canada, $30 cl., Aug.) is the story of two teens who escape a crumbling Welsh commune while preparing for the apocalypse. • Shock-author Chuck Palahniuk continues to churn out the bizarre with Damned (Doubleday Canada, $29.95 cl., Oct.). Try to envisage Dante’s Inferno, The Breakfast Club, and the world’s first death by marijuana overdose. Well, what else would you expect?

Harry Whitehead is a British writer whose first novel has a very Canadian setting. The Cannibal Spirit (Hamish Hamilton Canada, $32 cl., Oct.), inspired by Whitehead’s time at a writing workshop at the University of British Columbia, is based on the life story of the historical figure George Hunt, a mixed-race shaman who is driven to confront his dual heritage when his son dies of tuberculosis.

Stephen King indulges in one of the ultimate “what if” scenarios in his latest novel, 11/22/63 (Scribner/Simon & Schuster, $40 cl., Nov.), about a man who travels back in time to prevent the JFK assassination. • Lev Grossman may be best known as the book critic for Time magazine, but he is also the author of the best-selling novels Codex and The Magicians, both of which offered literary twists on the fantasy genre. Grossman returns with The Magician King (Viking, $31 cl., Sept.), a sequel to The Magicians, billed as an epic fantasy for fans of J.K. Rowling and C.S. Lewis. • Questions about individuality and privacy in a society obsessed with surveillance are addressed in British novelist, critic, and journalist Philip Hensher’s King of the Badgers (Faber & Faber/D&M, $28.95 cl., Sept.), in which the disappearance of a young girl places a small English town under the microscope.

Ghost World’s Daniel Clowes returns with a new graphic novel, The Death-Ray (Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95 cl., Oct.), about a nicotine-fuelled teenage vigilante.

Best-selling author Ian Rankin returns with the second instalment of the Malcolm Fox detective series. In The Impossible Dead (Orion/Hachette, $34.99 cl., Oct.), Fox encounters police corruption, terrorism, and a murder with a weapon that shouldn’t exist.

Readers can’t seem to get enough of Nordic crime fiction. Following in the footsteps of Stieg Larsson, Henning Mankell, and Jo Nesbo, Denmark’s top crime writer, Jussi Adler-Olsen, makes his North American debut with The Keeper of Lost Causes (Dutton/Penguin, $30 cl., Sept.). The first instalment of the Department Q series introduces readers to Carl Morck, a homicide detective on a downward spiral who uncovers a cold case that could revive his career.

The Great Leader (House of Anansi Press, $22.95 pa., Oct.) by Jim Harrison follows a Michigan police detective who, before he retires, is determined to close an investigation involving a nefarious cult leader. • In Bad Signs (Orion/Hachette, $34.99 cl., Nov.) by R.J. Ellory, the lives of two orphaned half-brothers become even worse when they are taken hostage by a convicted killer on death row. • James Lee Burke tells of violence along the Texas-Mexico border in his latest, Feast Day of Fools (Simon & Schuster, $29.99 cl., Sept.).

Joan Didion
’s The Year of Magical Thinking, about the death of the author’s husband, was hailed for its honest portrayal of mourning. Didion’s new memoir, Blue Nights (Knopf Canada, $28.95 cl., Nov.), is a meditation on the death of her daughter just before the publication of Magical Thinking. • Paulo Coelho’s Aleph (Knopf Canada, $27.95 cl., Sept.) is a personal story about the author’s mystical journey toward self-discovery after experiencing a crisis of faith – and his encounter with a lover from a past life. • In 1985, at the age of 24, Jeanette Winterson rocketed to literary celebrity with the publication of her first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. Her memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? (Knopf Canada, $29.95 cl., Oct.), is about the author’s rift with her Pentecostal parents, and her search for her biological mother.

Fifty years after the death of Ernest Hemingway, the author’s granddaughter, actress Mariel Hemingway, has delved into the family photo album to compile a pictorial biography of the literary giant. Hemingway: A Life in Pictures (Firefly Books, $40 cl., Sept.) is accompanied by a biographical essay by scholar Boris Vejdovsky. • Compiled from thousands of pages of journal entries, letters, story sketches, and other ephemera, The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick (HMH/Thomas Allen, $49.95 cl., Nov.), edited by Pamela Jackson and Jonathan Lethem, is being billed as the definitive edition of the science-fiction author’s unfinished final work. • Cambridge University Press is publishing The Letters of Samuel Beckett Volume 2: 1941–1956 ($50.95 cl., Oct.), edited by George Craig et al., which will inevitably peel back the layers of the man responsible for some of the most enduring literary output of the 20th century.

D&Q is set to publish a graphic (as in, illustrated) biography of Tintin creator Georges Prosper Remi, better known by his pen name, Hergé. The Adventures of Hergé ($19.95 cl., Sept.), which addresses (among other things) accusations that the author was a Nazi collaborator, is a collaboration between French authors José-Louis Bocquet, Jean-Luc Fromental, and Stanislas Barthélémy.

If you enjoy films (and using your thumbs to signify quality), then Roger Ebert’s memoir Life Itself (Grand Central Publishing/Hachette, $29.99 cl., Sept.) is for you. • In Diane Keaton’s memoir Then Again (Random House, $30 cl., Nov.), the famed actress explains how the bond she shared with her mother gave her the strength to catapult from ordinary girl to movie star.

HarperCollins Canada is set to release an intimate look at the life of former Israeli Prime Minister and army commander Ariel Sharon, who has been in a coma since suffering a stroke five years ago. Sharon ($38.99 cl., Oct.) was compiled by the controversial leader’s youngest son, Gilad Sharon, from his father’s meticulously detailed journals and personal archive.

Professional wrestler Chris Kanyon recounts his tumultuous life story in Wrestling Reality: The Life and Mind of Chris Kanyon, Wrestling’s Gay Superstar (ECW Press, $21.95 pa., Nov.). The as-told-to memoir, by journalist Ryan Clark, details Kanyon’s life in and out of the ring, including his decision to come out in 2004 and the events leading up to his recent suicide.

Do you think we’re living in the most tumultuous time in human history? Well, Steven Pinker politely disagrees in his latest book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Viking, $46 cl., Oct.). The Harvard University professor of psychology mixes insights into history and human nature to dispel the myths of mankind’s violent nature as we move toward a more peaceful society.

After tackling seemingly intractable problems in the developing world in books such as The End of Poverty, U.S. economist Jeffrey Sachs turns his attention to his home country, offering ways of reforming American-style capitalism. The Price of Civilzation: Economics and Ethics After the Fall (Random House Canada, $29.95 cl., Oct.) looks at the role government ought to play in the lives of its citizens. • Three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas L. Friedman teams up with Michael Mandelbaum, director of the American foreign policy program at Johns Hopkins University, to diagnose America’s ills, and offer a way out of the trap the country has fallen into, in That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World We Invented – And How We Can Come Back (FSG/D&M, $31 cl., Sept.). • Polemical columnist Christopher Hitchens is sure to ruffle feathers in Arguably: Selected Essays ($34.99 cl., Sept.), published by McClelland & Stewart’s new non-fiction imprint, Signal.

Philanthropist and U.N. special envoy Ray Chambers has done everything in his power to eradicate the spread of malaria. Time magazine’s Africa bureau chief, Alex Perry, looks at Chambers’ campaign and investigates the scope of this often overlooked issue in Lifeblood: How to Change the World One Dead Mosquito at a Time (PublicAffairs/Perseus Books Group, $30 cl., Sept.).

Washington Post investigative reporters Dana Priest and William Arkin delve into the expansion of the U.S. national security apparatus since 9/11 in Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State (Little, Brown/Hachette $32.99 cl., Sept.), which exposes how a new, secret “fourth branch” of government is becoming ever more powerful.

Civilization: The West and the Rest (Allen Lane, $32 cl., Nov.) is Harvard historian Niall Ferguson’s study of how Western culture has risen to world dominance over the past 500 years. • James Palmer documents a single tumultuous year in China’s history (1976), when the deadliest earthquake in modern history helped end the Cultural Revolution. Heaven Cracks, Earth Shakes: The Tangshan Earthquake and the Death of Mao’s China (Basic Books/Perseus, $32.50 cl.) ships in December.

Thomas Keneally, author of the Booker Prize–winning Schindler’s Ark – later adapted into the film Schindler’s List – explores how, historically, famine is not caused by food shortages, but rather by social injustice and government neglect. Three Famines: Starvation and Politics (PublicAffairs/Perseus, $32.50 cl., Aug.) documents past tragedies in Ireland, Bengal, and Ethiopia. • Journalist and economist Sylvia Nasar, who won the National Book Critics Circle Award for her biography A Beautiful Mind (about Princeton mathematician John Nash), returns with a look at the men and women who invented modern economics in Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius (Simon & Schuster, $39.99 cl., Sept.).

Stephen Clarke, author of the best-selling novel A Year in the Merde, is set to release a companion volume of sorts. 1,000 Years of Annoying the French (McArthur & Company, $24.95 pa., Aug.) explicates (with humour) the ongoing British effort to pester the French, from the Norman Conquests up to the present.

Journalist Warren H. Phillips offers a behind-the-scenes account of a dying profession in Newspaperman: Inside the News Business at The Wall Street Journal (McGraw-Hill, $34.95 cl., Oct.). Phillips began his career as a copyboy, eventually working his way up the ranks to become publisher of the WSJ. • In The Mountain Within: Leadership Lessons and Inspiration for Your Climb to the Top (McGraw-Hill, $28.95 cl., Sept.), Herta von Stiegel, founder and CEO of Ariya Capital Group – a private equity firm that focuses on sustainable investments in Africa – shares how she led a group of people with disabilities to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, and how readers can apply the same leadership skills to the business world.

The Conficker worm baffled cyber-security experts when it infected millions of computers across the globe. Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down and Guests of the Ayatollah, investigates the impact of the computer virus in Worm: The Story of the First Digital War (Atlantic/PGC, $26.50 cl., Oct.). • U.K. journalist Misha Glenny follows up 2008’s McMafia with DarkMarket: CyberThieves, CyberCobs and You (Anansi, $29.95 cl., Sept.), an exposé of the online underworld.

Neuroscientist, professor, and former drug addict Dr. Marc Lewis explains the propensities behind addiction in Memoirs of an Addicted Brain: A Neuroscientist Examines His Former Life on Drugs (Doubleday Canada, $32.95 cl., Oct.). The narrative bounces between Lewis’s experiences as an addict and his study of how our brains cyclically crave what we don’t have.

Alexis Stewart (daughter of Martha Stewart) and Jennifer Koppelman Hutt – co-hosts of the Sirius Radio program Whatever with Alexis and Jennifer, as well as a growing empire of TV shows – share their insights on, well, just about whatever they feel like in Whateverland: Learning to Live Here (John Wiley & Sons, $29.95 cl., Oct.). • Actress, author, and fitness enthusiast Jane Fonda looks at her own life to offer a blueprint for living well in Prime Time: Love; Health; Fitness; Sex; Spirit; Friendship; Making the Most of All Your Life (Random House, $30 cl., Sept.). • In Breast Cancer: 50 Essential Things You Can Do (Conari Press, $18.95 pa., Sept.), cancer survivor and author Greg Anderson offers vital information regarding the issues patients encounter, from diagnosis to recovery.

World-famous French chef Jacques Pépin unveils a compendium of his favourite recipes – from haute cuisine to Pépin’s twist on fast food – in Essential Pépin: More Than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food (HMH/Thomas Allen, $49.95 cl., Oct.). • The Oxford Companion to Beer (Oxford University Press, $65 cl., Oct.), edited by Garrett Oliver, is an all-encompassing guide to everything you wanted to know about the world’s third most popular beverage (after water and tea).

Known for the lofty Veganomicon, Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero’s Vegan Pie in the Sky: 75 Out-of-this-World Recipes for Pies, Tarts, Cobblers and More (Da Capo Lifelong Books/Perseus, $19.95 pa., Oct.) will be fattening up vegans with these dessert recipes. • The Healthy Voyager’s Global Kitchen: 150 Plant-Based Recipes from Around the World (Fair Winds/Canadian Manda Group, $21.99 pa., Dec.) is Carolyn Scott-Hamilton’s guide to plant-based ethnic eating.

Firefly has two cookbooks slated for September: Ken Hom’s Complete Chinese Cookbook ($35 cl.) is an introduction to Chinese cuisine and cooking techniques. • Superfoods for Pregnancy: The Healthiest Foods for the Expectant Mother and Her Baby ($19.95 pa.) by Susannah Marriott is a comprehensive guide to nutrition for expectant mothers.

The fine print: Q&Q’s fall preview covers books published between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2011. All information (titles, prices, publication dates, etc.) was supplied by publishers and may have been tentative at Q&Q’s press time. • Titles that have appeared in previous previews do not appear here.


Murakami novel removed from New Jersey high school reading list

Japanese author Haruki Murakami’s 1987 novel Norwegian Wood has been removed from the summer reading list for students at a New Jersey high school. The move comes only a month after Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five and Sarah Ockler’s Twenty Boy Summer were banned by a Missouri high school.

According to the Guardian, after a host of complaints from parents, the best-selling Murakami book, which centres around a young man and his relationship with two troubled girls, was yanked from the required reading list for honours English students entering Grade 10 at Williamstown High School.

Williamstown’s paper, the Gloucester County Times, reported that parents object to a scene in the novel, which depicts a “graphic lesbian sex scene between a 31-year-old woman and a 13-year-old girl.” Robin Myers, a mother whose daughter was assigned the book, says she didn’t think it was relevant for any teenager and was shocked at the school’s selection.

And that’s not all.  The school also put the kibosh on Nic Sheff’s New York Times best-selling memoir Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines, because of a “drug-fueled homosexual orgy.”  The book was intended for senior honours English students.

From the Guardian:

Chuck Earling, superintendent of Monroe Township Schools in Williamstown, told Fox News that the Williamstown High School summer reading list was drawn up by a committee of teachers, librarians and school administrators, and approved by the board of education. “They read the books. They didn’t feel it was inappropriate based on the language that’s used, common language used on the street,” he said, adding that students watch film and television which is more graphic than the books.

In the future, the summer reading list will include a rating system for books, Earling said, with parents also sitting on the reading list committee. But the superintendent told the Gloucester County Times that despite the controversy over this year’s selection of titles, the school will not necessarily play it safe in the future. “You want to spur interest in kids’ reading that fits their needs not that of people in the 1930s,” he said. “Interests change.”

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Book links round-up: hidden meanings, rhetorical devices, and more

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Canadian literary event round-up: Aug. 19-25

Here are just a few of the literary events happening across the country in the next week:

  • The People’s Poetry Festival kick-off, featuring Wakefield Brewster, Iqbal (Bob) Haider, Meghan Doraty, David Rhoads, Erin Dinkle, Diane Guichon, Andre Prefontaine, and Paul Finkleman, Pages Bookstore on Kensington, Calgary (Aug. 19, 6:30 p.m., free or pwyc)
  • Violetta R. Hildahl launches The Peacock of Taj Mahal, Owl’s Nest Books, Calgary (Aug. 20, 2 p.m., free)
  • Poetic Justice, includes three featured poets and open mic, Heritage Grill, Vancouver (Aug. 21, 3 p.m., free)
  • Author, actress, and fitness pioneer Jane Fonda signs Prime Time, Indigo Manulife Centre, Toronto (Aug. 22, 12 p.m., free)
  • J.G. Lutes releases Across The Hall They Are Restless, with musical performances by Craig Mercer and Tony Tucker, The Music Room, Halifax (Aug. 23, 7 p.m., free)
  • Levi Morris reads United Spectrum: The Unity of Nature and the Division of Man, McNally Robinson, Winnipeg (Aug. 24, 7:30 p.m., free)
  • Jeff Bursey, Rebecca Rosenblum, and Mark Sampson read, Type Books, Toronto (Aug. 25, 6 p.m., free)

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Event photos: Mixed Type

St. John’s publishers Breakwater Books and Creative Book Publishing joined forces Wednesday night to deliver an evening of spoken word and music. The event, dubbed “Mix Type,” featured hometown writers Linden MacIntyre, Patrick Warner, Gerard Collins, Samuel Thomas Martin, Michelle Butler Hallett, and Kate Evans, along with musical performances by Andrew James O’Brien and Pilot to Bombardier.

Photos courtesy of Breakwater Books.

Linden MacIntyre reads from Who Killed Ty Conn

Winterset finalist Samuel Thomas Martin

Host Chad Pelley

Andrew James O'Brien

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Lane Anderson Award shortlist announced

The Fitzhenry Family Foundation has announced the shortlist for the 2010 Lane Anderson Award. The prize recognizes two Canadian books – one for adults, one for young readers – published in the field of science.  The winners, announced on Sept. 14, will receive $10,000 each.

Adult reader finalists:

  • Einstein Wrote Back: How Einstein Changed Everything by John W. Moffat (Thomas Allen Publishers)
  • Keeping the Bees by Laurence Packer (HarperCollins Canada)
  • The Ptarmigan’s Dilemma: An Exploration into How Life Organizes and Supports Itself by John and Mary Theberge (McClelland & Stewart)

Young reader finalists:

  • Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be by Daniel Loxton (Kids Can Press)
  • The Sea Wolves: Living Wild in the Great Bear Rainforest by Ian McAllister and Nicholas Read (Orca Book Publishers)
  • Ultimate Trains by Peter McMahon; Andy Mora, ilus. (Kids Can)

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Book links round-up: the Nabokovia butterfly, literary bandits, and more

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Book links round-up: Vonnegut library strikes back, the end of soggy pages, and more


Richard Ford goes Canadiana

HarperCollins Canada announced Thursday that they will be publishing iconic American writer Richard Ford’s new novel, Canada, next May.

The novel follows young Dell Parsons as devastating circumstances force him to leave Montana and seek refuge in Saskatchewan. Dell is taken in by a mysterious man who is also escaping his American past.

HarperCollins’ announcement of the deal included a comment from the author:

Seeing this book published in Canada will be an honour for me and a bit of a cherished dream, since Canada played a significant part in my life for a long time, and plays a central role in the novel.

HaperCollins Canada vice president, publisher, and editor-in-chief, Iris Tulpholme says in the press release that Canada is a “departure from Ford’s beloved Bascombe trilogy, but also a return to the landscapes of his earlier fiction.” She also suggests that this may not be the last novel Ford sets north of the 49th parallel. “We are thrilled to be publishing the first of Ford’s novels to be set in this country.”

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Eva Stachniak's Empress of the Night

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