All stories by Sue Carter Flinn
The 20-title list also includes Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam (McClelland & Stewart) and Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries (M&S). The five-person jury will narrow down the list to six titles, with the winner announced June 4.
Formerly known as the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction celebrates “excellence, originality, and accessibility in writing by women in English from throughout the world.” The winner receives £30,000 ($55,000.)
The Canadian Library Association has announced the shortlists for its three annual children’s book awards.
The finalists for the the CLA Book of the Year for Children Award, the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award, and the CLA Young Adult Book Award were selected by CLA librarians from across the country. The winners will be announced the week of April 14 and presented at the CLA’s National Conference and Trade Show in Victoria on May 29.
Here are the shortlists:
CLA Book of the Year for Children Award
- Bones Never Lie: How Forensics Helps Solve History’s Mysteries, Elizabeth MacLeod (Annick Press)
- Curse of the Dream Witch, Allan Stratton (Scholastic Canada)
- Driftwood, Valerie Sherrard (Fitzhenry & Whiteside)
- How to Curse in Hieroglyphics, Lesley Livingston and Jonathan Llyr (Puffin Canada)
- The Legend of Lightning and Thunder, Paula Ikuutaq Rumbolt; Jo Rioux, illus. (Inhabit Media)
- Me and Mr. Bell, Philip Roy (Cape Breton University Press)
- The Metro Dogs of Moscow, Rachelle Delaney (Puffin Canada)
- Prince Pugley of Spud and the Kingdom of Spiff, Robert Paul Weston; Victor Rivas Villa, illus. (Puffin Canada)
- The Spotted Dog Last Seen, Jessica Scott Kerrin (Groundwood Books)
- The Stowaways, Meghan Marentette; Dean Griffiths, illus. (Pajama Press)
Amelia Frances Howard‐Gibbon Illustrator’s Award
- A Long Way Away, Frank Viva (HarperCollins)
- The Dark, Jon Klassen; text by Lemony Snicket (HarperCollins)
- Francis the Little Fox, Katty Maurey; text by Véronique Boisjoly (Kids Can Press)
- Jane, the Fox and Me, Isabelle Arsenault; text by Fanny Britt (Groundwood)
- The Legend of Lightning and Thunder, Jo Rioux; text by Paula Ikuutaq Rumbolt (Inhabit)
- Little You, Julie Flett; text by Richard Van Camp (Orca Book Publishers)
- Loula Is Leaving for Africa, Anne Villeneuve (Kids Can)
- The Man With the Violin, Dušan Petričić; text by Kathy Stinson (Annick)
- Northwest Passage, Matt James; text by Stan Rogers (Groundwood)
- Once Upon a Northern Night, Isabelle Arsenault; text by Jean E. Pendziwol (Groundwood)
CLA Young Adult Book Award
- Audacious, Gabrielle Prendergast (Orca)
- The Color of Silence, Liane Shaw (Second Story Press)
- Graffiti Knight, Karen Bass (Pajama Press)
- The Gypsy King, Maureen Fergus (Razorbill)
- Little Red Lies, Julie Johnston (Tundra Books)
- Nix Minus One, Jill MacLean (Pajama Press)
- Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl, Emily Pohl-Weary (Razorbill)
- The Oathbreaker’s Shadow, Amy McCulloch (Doubleday Canada)
- The Silent Summer of Kyle McGinley, Jan Andrews (Great Plains Publications)
- The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B, Teresa Toten (Doubleday Canada)
As international attention focuses on the Ukraine, the winner of the Shevchenko Foundation’s biennial Kobzar Literary Award, which celebrates Canadian literature with a “Ukrainian theme,” was announced last night at a ceremony in Toronto.
Playwright Diane Flacks, in collaboration with Andrey Tarasiuk and Luba Goy, took home the $25,000 prize for Simply Luba (Scirocco Drama). The production was first staged in 2012 at Toronto’s Berkeley Street Theatre.
In a press release, Shevchenko Foundation president Andrij Hladyshevsky says, “Ms. Goy’s views on Ukrainian and Canadian politics, her aspirations as a female Canadian actor, her views on motherhood, aging and meeting Viktor Yushchenko, president of an independent Ukraine, create a memorable and inspiring dramatic narrative.”
Jurors Joe Kertes, Frances Itani, Annabel Lyon, and Olive Senior selected Simply Luba from a shortlist of five titles. The four finalists, who each received $1,000, are: Erín Moure for her poetry collection The Unmemntioable (House of Anansi Press); Michael Mucz for his compendium of Ukranian-Canadian folk history Baba’s Kitchen Medicines (University of Alberta Press); Barbara Sapergia for her historical novel Blood and Salt (Coteau Books); and Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch for her middle-grade novel Making Bombs For Hitler (Scholastic Canada).
Click on the thumbnails for photos of the evening.
Counter to the various “slow” movements that have become trendy over the past few years, there’s a new app that boasts it will dramatically speed up ebook reading.
Boston-based tech company Spritz has developed a technology that replaces digital pages with quick-streaming text, thereby eliminating time-consuming “inefficient eye movements.” According to the company’s website, some test subjects were tracked reading 900 words per minute, thanks to a process referred to as “spritzing.” At that pace, the company claims Atlas Shrugged could be read in a day.
For the past two years, Spritz has been quietly licensing the technology via a beta program with “some pretty big players” in the digital-book market. In late February, the company announced an email integration with two models of Samsung smartphones.
In her 2013 memoir Projection: Encounters with My Runaway Mother (Dundurn Press), Toronto poet Priscila Uppal shares painful details about reuniting with her film-obsessed mother, who abandoned the family 20 years earlier. The book was nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-fiction and the Hilary Weston Prize for Non-fiction (and named a Q&Q Book of the Year.)
Toronto theatregoers will have an opportunity to explore another dimension of Uppal’s personal story with a new play, 6 Essential Questions. Written by Uppal and directed by Leah Cherniak, the production premieres at Toronto’s Factory Theatre on March 6.
Q&Q spoke to Uppal about her first experience writing for the stage.
How did this production come to be? I go to the theatre every week – it’s been my refuge – and I’d been thinking of writing a play for a while. Iris Turcott, the dramaturge at the Factory Theatre, was going through one of my books and stumbled upon the poem “I’m Afraid of Brazilians or Visiting the Ancestral Homeland Is Not the Great Ethnic Experience Promised by Other Memoirs.” She said she’d wanted to see a play about this. When I told her I was already writing a memoir, she suggested I write a play at the same time. So, for the last three years while I was writing the memoir I was also writing the play.
How did you find the experience? It was really freeing. With the memoir I wanted to keep to the facts of what really happened. It’s such an emotionally wrought and difficult story because the reunion doesn’t go very well with my mother. I wanted to analyze exactly why that happened, and the reader needs to trust that I’m giving them all the facts.
With this theatrical adaptation I was encouraged to be as surreal and absurd and poetic as I wanted to be. It ended up being a wonderful counterpoint: I could go into one universe and fully explore the metaphysical and visual vocabulary of what this emotional experience felt like.
How is the play surreal and absurd? The opening scene features a purse that opens up and a lullaby comes out with my mother’s voice. There are four characters, and to emphasize that this is not a realistic universe, the lead character, Renata, doesn’t have my actual name. The other characters are my mother, grandmother, and Uncle Fernando, who in the play is known as Dr. Garbage. He is the maestro who controls the universe.
Everywhere the family eats and sleeps and talks is on a pile of garbage. It’s really about dealing with the garbage in your past and your mind, and how when you come face to face with 20 years ago, the subconscious comes to the forefront.
What’s different about dealing with editors versus directors? I’m used to dealing with editors. I like to write a complete draft and then pair up with the person I think is the right editor for the book.
With the play, you don’t get the director until the production has been approved and so it’s an entirely different process, but one that’s really exciting. I have a very established director, Leah Cherniak, and she’s been generous explaining all the decisions she’s making and asking my opinion.
We just spent three days locking in every sound, lighting, and blocking cue. The play includes quite a bit of music and dance, and there are projections and special effects. Leah has to think of all of it, and how it all works together.
What is it like watching other people perform your story? I want to offer my opinion, but I also have to hold back from saying, “I would never do it like that” because someone’s playing me. Other times, I have to say, “I didn’t really do that, maybe we can have a discussion about what actually happened” and see how we can reinterpret it on stage.
The woman who plays my mother, Elizabeth Saunders, is so good I have trouble looking at her sometimes. She makes my mother appear incredibly sympathetic, and so there are times I get quite choked up looking at her. She’s found so many depths to my mother’s character.
Are there any other mediums you’d like to try writing for? I’d love to do a libretto for an opera.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Two authors and a poet have been nominated for this year’s BMO Winterset Award, which celebrates excellence in Newfoundland writing.
The nominees are: Lisa Moore, for her novel Caught (House of Anansi Press); Paul Bowdring, for his novel The Strangers’ Gallery (Nimbus Publishing); and Carmelita McGrath, for her poetry collection Escape Velocity (Goose Lane Editions).
The winner, who receives $10,000, will be announced March 20.
- John Lydon’s memoir sold in “hotly contested auction”
- Simon & Schuster launches publisher-agnostic website dedicated to book discovery
- Philip Roth on his life as a writer
- Penguin threatens to take author to court over satirical art book
- World Book Night to distribute special edition of Twelve Years a Slave
- Watch: book trailer for 15th edition of Dancing with Cats
Allen Ginsberg fans can get a littler closer to the late poet, thanks in part to discount retailer Dollarama.
The University of Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library has acquired the world’s largest collection of photographic prints by Ginsberg. According to Canadian Art, Dollarama CEO Larry Rossy purchased the prints from the Allen Ginsberg Trust through his Larry and Cookie Rossy Foundation and donated them to the university. As part of the donation, the University of Toronto Art Centre also received 236 photos with “diaristic captions.”
Ginsberg was a prolific photographer during the 1950s Beat heyday and again in the 1980s. The collection of 7,686 photos, which includes small-format portraits of Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs, is available to the public for viewing during library hours. A selection has also been posted to Flickr.
British Columbia poet Jeremy Stewart has won this year’s Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry for his manuscript Hidden City. He receives a contract with Invisible Publishing’s Snare imprint and a $500 advance.
In a statement, award judge Ken Babstock says, “Hidden City could be any of our cities. It could be your town. It’s certainly one of the clattering, desperate voices we all carry around inside. This is a crackling, energetic, desperate suite of poems. Weird and worrying.”
Stewart was nominated for the prize in 2008 for his collection flood basement, which was published in 2009 by Caitlin Press.
Hidden City will be published in October.
A song by U.K. band Goldfrapp has led to a film deal for Kathleen Winter’s 2010 novel Annabel (House of Anansi Press).
After reading the novel, musician Alison Goldfrapp was inspired to write a song of the same name. Filmmaker Lisa Gunning (editor on Seven Psychopaths, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) was commissioned to create a video for the song, and has now optioned the book’s feature-film rights. The deal was arranged through the Independent Talent Group via Shaun Bradley of the Transatlantic Agency.
Annabel is also one of five books vying for this year’s CBC’s Canada Reads title. Starting March 3, actress Sarah Gadon will defend the book against four other titles as the “one novel to change our nation.”