The item beside this text is an advertisement

All stories by Sue Carter Flinn

Leave a comment

NSFW: David Cronenberg’s new book trailer

It’s rare (if ever) that Q&Q posts a link considered not safe for work, but we’ll make an exception for David Cronenberg.

A trailer for the filmmaker’s debut novel, Consumed, has appeared on the website of his publisher Hamish Hamilton.

Very little else has been revealed about the novel, except that it will be released Sept. 30, the cover was designed by Chip Kidd, and Viggo Mortensen praised its “originality, wit, preoccupation with technology, and uncompromising carnality.”

Leave a comment

Cooking lessons from the University of Guelph’s culinary collection

Melissa McAfee, special collections librarian at the University of Guelph, delicately opens a 1684 fifth edition of The Queen-Like Closet by Hannah Woolley, a British widower believed to be the first woman to make a living writing cookbooks.

Along with Kathryn Harvey, head of the university’s archival and special collections, McAfee has hand-picked favourites from the library’s collection of old and rare culinary tomes. There are handwritten sepia manuscripts with carefully wrought calligraphy; books that demonstrate how to prepare delicacies like swan pie; and those with more modest objectives, such as an early edition of Catherine Parr Traill’s The Canadian Settlers’ Guide. A thin saddle-stitched book commissioned by Jell-O offers harried 1950s housewives options for shortcut cooking, whereas Cory Kilvert’s The Male Chauvinist Cookbook demonstrates how 1970s men can woo ladies by appealing to their stomachs.

These titles don’t begin to cover the breadth of the University of Guelph’s culinary collection. At 14,000 volumes, it’s one of the largest in North America (Library and Archives Canada and McGill University also have significant collections). The British Library used to acquire Canadian domestic-arts books until the Second World War, when the wing in which they were housed was bombed.

The university’s archives and special collections are located in the basement of the McLaughlin Library, a building constructed in the seemingly ubiquitous Brutalist style of the late 1960s. Although much of the archives reflects the school’s early years as a centre for agriculture, domestic arts, and veterinary studies, they now include significant materials on Canadian theatre, Scottish culture, and literature. The Jean Little collection contains more than 90 diaries and other personal ephemera belonging to the beloved children’s author, while the Lucy Maud Montgomery archive features scrapbooks, journals, an original manuscript of Rilla of Ingleside, and more than 1,200 photos donated by Montgomery’s son and literary executor, Dr. E. Stuart Macdonald.

Tim Sauer, former head of information resources, and Jo Marie Powers, a retired hotel and food administration professor and founder of the Canadian Culinary Book Awards, established the collection in the early 1990s. The bulk of its holdings came from several high-profile donors. Shortly before her death in 1999, former Chatelaine home economist, author, and “collector of social history” Una Abrahamson donated more than 3,000 books and unpublished manuscripts, including many of the university’s rarest and oldest British, French, and early Canadian titles.

After downsizing her home in 2009, Jean Paré, author of the popular Company’s Coming series, donated 6,700 books from her personal research library. The university also acquired substantial materials from the late Edna Staebler, best known for her Food that Really Schmecks series on Mennonite cooking and culture.

Acquiring for the collection has never been an issue, says Harvey. “Once you let culinary enthusiasts know that you have anything related to cooking, they come out of the woodwork.” Space is the utmost concern: the entire library houses more than 1.2 million volumes in a building made for 625,000, with more stored off-site. There have been preliminary steps toward digitizing the collection, but it can be time-­consuming and expensive, especially when dealing with rare, valuable volumes.

Although donations of international titles were accepted in the past, Harvey and McAfee agree that, moving forward, the focus will be on Canadian content – a decision that brings its own challenges.

“We haven’t figured out what that means yet,” says McAfee. “It’s a complicated issue, because Canadian cooking is a mix of cultures and different ethnic groups. You can’t say it’s about butter tarts.”

One category the library is interested in is community cookbooks such as The Home Cook Book (Tried! Tested! Proven!), compiled by “the ladies of Toronto and chief cities and towns in Canada.” Since it was first published in 1877 as a fundraiser for the Toronto Children’s Hospital, there have been more than 100 editions, most recently in 2002 from Whitecap Books. McAfee jokes that, at some point in history, there was a copy in every household. “It’s become Canada’s Joy of Cooking,” she says.

Although it’s easy to get wrapped up in the beauty and novelty of 200-year-old books, the collection is not a static entity, nor is it stuck in the past. As part of the University of Guelph’s decade long role as co-host and sponsor of the Canadian Culinary Book Awards (rebranded in 2012 as the Taste Canada Food Writing Awards), the archive receives annual donations of all the shortlisted titles, which ensures that contemporary authors, such as Martin Picard and Naomi Duguid, are represented for future generations.

“These books are great for showing what ingredients are available, what people’s tastes are, what they were interested in during a certain time period,” McAfee says. “It’s a really great way of studying communities.”

Leave a comment

Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch wins Pulitzer

Donna Tartt’s third novel, The Goldfinch (Little, Brown), has won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

The 784-page bestseller, which beat out Philipp Meyer’s The Son and Bob Shacochis’ The Woman Who Lost Her Soul, was recently optioned for screen by producers of the Hunger Games series.

Margaret Fuller: A New American Life by Megan Marshall won the Pulitzer for biography; Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation by Dan Fagin won for non-fiction; and 3 Sections by Vijay Seshadri won for poetry.




Random House Canada to publish McGarrigle memoir

One of Canada’s most beloved musical families, the McGarrigles, will recount their personal and artistic history in a new memoir published by Random House Canada.

The book will be co-written by Anna McGarrigle – who was one half of the folk duo Kate and Anna McGarrigle along with her sister Kate, who died in 2010 – and her elder sister Jane, who managed their career for nearly 20 years.

In a press release, Random House Canada associate editor Amanda Lewis, who acquired world rights to the book, says, “This will be a quintessentially Canadian book of the best kind, encapsulating Anna and Jane’s Irish-French background, growing up in Saint-Sauveur and Montreal, and launching stellar international careers in the music industry. It will also speak to the important (sometimes lifesaving) role of sisters, and will be a deeply moving book that captures the profound importance of the sibling relationship.”

The memoir will be released October 2015.

Leave a comment

Jon Klassen’s hat books sell one million copies

Italian editions of Klassen’s books at the 2014 Bologna Children’s Book Fair

In less than three years, Canadian-born Jon Klassen has achieved superstar status in the international children’s book world.

Publishers Weekly reports that Klassen’s first two picture books, I Want My Hat Back and the Caldecott Medal–winning This Is Not My Hat (both published by Candlewick Press/Random House), have together sold one million copies worldwide, with translations in 22 languages.

In a statement, Candlewick senior vice-president and sales director John Mendelson said, “The extraordinary support the books have received from booksellers and readers is a testament to Jon Klassen’s immeasurable talent, as he continues to win new fans every day.”

Leave a comment

First-time playwright adapts Yann Martel’s Beatrice & Virgil

Lindsay Cochrane

When Toronto teacher Lindsay Cochrane first read Yann Martel’s allegorical, multi-layered novel Beatrice & Virgil (Knopf Canada), she was convinced it would make a fantastic theatre production.

Four years later, the first-time playwright’s adaptation is having its premiere at Toronto’s Factory Theatre. Directed by Sarah Garton Stanley and starring Damien Atkins and Pierre Brault, the production runs from April 12 to May 11, with an opening night performance on April 17.

Q&Q spoke to Cochrane about her experience.

How did this adaptation come to be? When the book came out four years ago, there was this incessant voice in my head saying that it needs to be adapted into a play. I felt the action between the taxidermist character and Henry the writer was inherently dramatic and would work well on stage. I also thought a lot of the book’s themes would translate, especially the idea of being silenced and finding a voice.

How did you get Yann Martel’s permission? I didn’t have any playwriting experience, but I felt someone needed to do this. On a whim, I emailed Yann Martel a draft of a couple scenes and an outline. I didn’t really expect anything to come of it. His initial response was that he thought it sounded pretty ridiculous but he would take a look at it. A few months later there was a message from Yann on my voicemail giving me permission to adapt it. I was probably the least qualified person to take this on. I teach French immersion at an elementary school.


Leave a comment

Archie Comics to kill off Archie

Riverdale’s most famous redhead, Archie Andrews, will meet his demise in an upcoming issue this July.

According to CNN, Archie Comics plans a bloody conclusion to its Life with Archie series, which imagines possible future scenarios for the eternal teenager, including marriages to Betty and Veronica.

In a statement, Archive Comics publisher and co-chief executive Jon Goldwater says, “Archie dies as he lived – honorably, and saving the life of a friend. It’s a fitting end to our flagship title, ‘Life with Archie,’ and truly showcases what Archie’s meant to fans for over 70 years. He’s the best of us, and a hugely important part of pop culture. This is comic book history.”

The death doesn’t affect the original Archie series, which has been running since 1941.



Leave a comment

Tartt, Lahiri nominated for Baileys Women’s Prize, inside Rolling Stone founder’s million-dollar book deal, and more

Leave a comment

Atlantic Book Awards reveals shortlists

The Atlantic Book Awards Society has announced the nominees for this year’s shortlists for its 10 literary prizes.

The winners will be revealed May 21 in Charlottetown during the week-long Atlantic Book Awards and Festival.

The shortlists are:

Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children’s Literature

  • Nix Minus One, Jill MacLean (Pajama Press)
  • The Power of Harmony, Jan L. Coates (Red Deer Press)
  • The Stowaways, Meghan Marentette (Pajama Press)

APMA Best Atlantic-Published Book Award

  • Acorn Press, Ni’n na L’Nu:  The Mi’kmaq of Prince Edward Island, Jesse Francis and A.J.B. Johnston
  • Formac Publishing, Bluenose Adventure, Jacqueline Halsey; Eric Orchard, illus.
  • Goose Lane Editions, Masterworks from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Terry Graff, ed.

Atlantic Book Award for Scholarly Writing

Dartmouth Book Award for Non-fiction

  • Black Loyalists: Southern Settlers of Nova Scotia’s First Free Black Communities, Ruth Holmes Whitehead (Nimbus)
  • Merry Hell: The Story of the 25th Battalion (Nova Scotia Regiment), Canadian Expeditionary Force 1914–1919, Captain Robert N. Clements; Brian Douglas Tennyson, ed. (University of Toronto Press)
  • Scapegoat: The Extraordinary Legal Proceedings Following the 1917 Halifax Explosion, Joel Zemel (SVP Productions)

Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing

Jim Connors Dartmouth Book Award

  • Blood on a Saint, Anne Emery (ECW Press)
  • Fallsy Downsies, Stephanie Domet (Invisible Publishing)
  • Waldenstein, Rosalie Osmond (Seraphim Editions)

Lillian Shepherd Award for Excellence in Illustration

Margaret and John Savage First Book Award

Prince Edward Island Book Award (fiction)

  • Dirty Bird, Keir Lowther (Tightrope Books)
  • Ghost Boy of MacKenzie House, Patti Larsen (Acorn Press)
  • Riptides: New Island Fiction, Richard Lemm, ed. (Acorn)

Prince Edward Island Book Award (non-fiction)

  • Lionel F. Stevenson: Fifty Years of Photographs/Cinquante ans de photographie (1962–2012), Pan Wendt (Acorn)
  • The Master’s Wife: The Book and the Place, John Flood, ed. (Penumbra Press)
  • Ni’n na L’Nu: The Mi’kmaq of Prince Edward Island, Jesse Francis and A.J.B. Johnston (Acorn)

Leave a comment

First look at Book of Negroes miniseries, Karen Fowler wins PEN/Faulkner prize, and more

The item directly under this text is an advertisement
Book Pictures

Do you have great photos from a recent book event in Canada that you'd like to share with us? Submit them to the Quill & Quire Flickr pool and they'll show up here.

Eva Stachniak's Empress of the Night

Eva Stachniak poses with a copy of her book, Empress of the Night

Tea and snacks inspired by Eva Stachniak's Empress of the Night

Rimma Burashko with author Eva Stachniak

Eva Stachniak talks to the audience about the best and worst of Catherine the Great's favourites

Eva Stachniak smiles as she signs a copy of Empress of the Night for a fan

Fans wait in line to have their copies of Empress of the Night signed by Eva Stachniak

Fans wait in line to have their copies of Empress of the Night signed by Eva Stachniak

Lesley Strutt, Dean Steadman, Amanda Earl, Alastair Larwill and Frances Boyle

Frances Boyle, Dean Steadman, Lesley Strutt and Alastair Larwill

Amanda Earl

Jewel of the Thames launch

The item directly under this text is an advertisement

Recent comments