All stories by Sue Carter Flinn
On Nov. 28, this year’s Governor General’s Literary Award recipients were celebrated at a Rideau Hall gala.
Click on the thumbnails to see photos of the English-language winners.
Created by Swedish studio Simogo, Device 6 is a word-based “metaphysical thriller” that can be played on the iPad and iPhone. The interactive novella, about a woman who wakes up on a desert island without a clue as to how she arrived there, mixes text with cartography, 3-D photographs, and Saul Bass–inspired graphics. Available for $3.99 U.S., the game has sold well, despite the fact that a Simogo spokesperson says, “It’s got a pretty slow pace. It doesn’t have the instant gratification that many games have. This is something that you play and take your time to digest.”
Although The Atlantic interviews several publishing insiders excited about the potential of literary games, they’re still considered a “niche interest” in a market dominated by shoot-’em-up titles. Earlier this month, Q&Q interviewed Jim Munroe, board member of the game-arts organization the Hand Eye Society and organizer of Wordplay, a free “writerly” video-game festival, who says that text-based titles are “are rarely commercial and often distributed for free.”
The CBC has announced the panellists and titles for the next Canada Reads, which runs March 3–6.
This year’s panellists are:
- Philanthropist and activist Stephen Lewis defending The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
- Journalist and activist Wab Kinew defending The Orenda by Joseph Boyden
- Olympic medalist Donovan Bailey defending Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
- Comedian Samantha Bee defending Cockroach by Rawi Hage
- Actress Sarah Gadon defending Annabel by Kathleen Winter
While this may seem like a civilized group now, anything can happen during the heat of the debate.
It’s anyone’s game at this point, but if Stephen Lewis wins, he will be the second member of his family to take Canada Reads. In 2009, his son, Avi Lewis, successfully championed Lawrence Hill’s The Book of Negroes.
Amber Dawn has won the City of Vancouver Book Award for her memoir How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler’s Memoir, published by Arsenal Pulp Press. The $2,000 prize, which recognizes books that “contribute to the appreciation and understanding of Vancouver’s history, unique character, or the achievements of its residents,” was presented at the Mayor’s Arts Awards Gala on Friday.
Dawn, who is also the author of the 2010 novel Sub Rosa, was shortlisted for the award alongside Jancis M. Andrews (The Ballad of Mrs. Smith, Hedgerow Press), Sean Kheraj (Inventing Stanley Park, UBC Press), Brad Cran (Ink on Paper, Nightwood Editions), and co-authors Harold Kalman and Robin Ward (Exploring Vancouver: The Architectural Guide, Douglas & McIntyre).
The ReLit Awards has abandoned its infamously thorough longlists in favour of 10-title shortlists.
Founded by writer Kenneth J. Harvey, the annual awards recognize novels, short fiction, and poetry published by Canadian independent literary presses. The winners will be presented with specially crafted ReLit rings at a date to be announced.*
- Trobairitz, Catherine Owen (Anvil Press)
- The Unmemntioable, Erín Moure (House of Anansi Press)
- New and Selected Poems, Cliff Burns (Black Dog Press)
- Conflict, Christine McNair (BookThug)
- Riot Lung, Leah Horlick (Thistledown Press)
- Cloudy with a Fire in the Basement, Ronna Bloom (Pedlar Press)
- Natural Capital, Jason Heroux (Mansfield Press)
- Our Gleaming Bones Unrobed, Grant Loveys (ECW Press)
- Personals, Ian Williams (Freehand Books)
- Omens in the Year of the Ox, Steven Price (Brick Books)
- Love and the Mess We’re In, Stephen Marche (Gaspereau Press)
- Minor Episodes Major Ruckus, Garry Thomas Morse (Talonbooks)
- The Lava in My Bones, Barry Webster (Arsenal Pulp Press)
- Given, Susan Musgrave (Thistledown)
- Mount Royal, Basil Papademos (Tightrope Books)
- Heidegger Stairwell, Kayt Burgess (Arsenal Pulp)
- Life Is About Losing Everything, Lynn Crosbie (Anansi)
- The Complete Lockpick Pornography, Joey Comeau (ECW)
- Ninja Versus Pirate Featuring Zombies, James Marshall (ChiZine Publications)
- Maidenhead, Tamara Faith Berger (Coach House Books)
- Texas, Claudio Gaudio (Quattro Books)
- Dirty Bird, Keir Lowther (Tightrope)
- Husk, Corey Redekop (ECW)
- Whitetail Shooting Gallery, Annette Lapointe (Anvil)
- Tracie’s Revenge & Other Stories, Wade Bell (Guernica Editions)
- Seen Reading, Julie Wilson (Freehand)
- People Who Disappear, Alex Leslie (Freehand)
- Escape and Other Stories, Trevor Clark (Now or Never)
- Dibidalen, Sean Virgo (Thistledown)
- The Weeping Chair, Donald Ward (Thistledown)
- Subtitles, Domenico Capilongo (Guernica)
- How to Get Along with Women, Elisabeth De Mariaffi (Invisible Publishing)
- Every House Is Haunted, Ian Rogers (ChiZine)
Update, Nov. 25: The awards will be presented Dec. 11.
It may be temporarily empty of international media hoping for a glimpse of Rob Ford, but Toronto City Hall council chamber will be busy on Sunday afternoon, when the Toronto Public Library holds its first forum on the future of the library.
Running from 2 to 4 p.m., the event is intended to rally public support for the library ahead of the Toronto City Council budget committee meetings, which begin eight days after the forum. A panel of experts and authors will lead a discussion and offer suggestions for those who wish to make effective deputations to stop proposed service cuts at the budget meetings. The afternoon won’t be all serious council business, though: a photo booth, fake librarian glasses, stuff for the kids, and book giveaways are planned.
A video – created by James Braithwaite and Josh Rankin (I Met the Walrus), and narrated by Vincent Lam – kicks off the campaign.
It was crowd control for Major Tom when Commander Chris Hadfield appeared at Victoria’s Bolen Books on Nov. 16.
According to store manager Colin Holt, the event was one of the best-attended in the bookstore’s history. Holt estimates 1,400 Hadfield enthusiasts lined up for the three-hour book signing, arriving as early as 6 a.m. for a chance to meet the retired astronaut.
Hadfield’s book, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth (Random House Canada), is currently in second position on BookNet Canada’s non-fiction hardcover bestsellers list, right behind Bobby Orr’s memoir, Orr (Viking Canada).
Canadian cable network Space has released the official trailer for Bitten, a television-series adaptation of Kelley Armstrong’s 2001 debut novel.
Published by Random House Canada, Bitten follows Elena Michaels, a Toronto journalist who also happens to be the only existing female werewolf. The fantasy novel turned Armstrong into a best-selling author and kicked off her popular 15-title Women of the Otherworld series.
Bitten premieres on Space Jan. 11
Two weeks after its 33rd birthday comes word that the World’s Biggest Bookstore in downtown Toronto will close in February.
According to the Toronto Star, the development company that is in the process of buying the property has no immediate plans for the space.
In June 2012, Q&Q reported that the lease on the 64,000-square-foot iconic bookstore, currently held by Indigo Books and Music, would not be renewed.
Earlier this month, Indigo announced it was closing its flagship Chapters store at Bloor Street West and Runnymede Road. The building, which previously housed a historic movie theatre, is slated to become a Shoppers Drug Mart.