All stories relating to House of Anansi Press
On March 22, the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council presented the prize to McKay, who was born in Owen Sound, Ontario, and now calls St. John’s home.
The jury — made up of Noreen Golfman, Kevin Major, and Lisa Moore — selected McKay’s collection because it “gets at something very fresh, very intelligent and very accessible,” Moore told The Telegram. “[H]e’s also really witty — those essays keep you awake. … He’s got a kind of sensitivity to his reading audience about very difficult ideas. He’s talking about science, but bringing science into line with poetry, and none of us had ever read anything like that.”
The Winterset Award celebrates writing by authors from Newfoundland and Labrador. Journalist Richard Gwyn founded the prize in 2000 to commemorate his late wife, author Sandra Fraser Gwyn.
Perennial favourites mix with new titles in this week’s bestsellers list, covering Canadian fiction. For the two weeks ending March 18, 2012:
1. Flash and Bones, Kathy Reichs
(Pocket/Simon & Schuster, $17 pa, 9781451675290)
2. The Sisters Brothers, Patrick deWitt
(House of Anansi Press, $22.95 pa, 9781770890329)
3. The Winter Palace, Eva Stachniak
(Doubleday Canada, $24.95 pa, 9780385666565)
4. Half-Blood Blues, Esi Edugyan
(Thomas Allen Publishers, $24.95 pa, 9780887627415)
5. Now You See Her, Joy Fielding
(Anchor Canada, $19.95 pa, 9780385676762)
6. Web of Angels, Lilian Nattel
(Knopf Canada, $22 pa, 9780307402097)
7. Still Life, Louise Penny
(Little, Brown and Company/Hachette, $10.99 mm, 9780351322303)
8. Room, Emma Donoghue
(HarperCollins Canada, $19.99 pa, 9781554688326)
9. Secret Daughter, Shilpi Somaya Gowda
(HarperCollins Canada, $19.99 pa, 9780061974304)
10. The Book of Negroes, Lawrence Hill
(HarperCollins Canada, $10.99 mm, 9781443408981)
11. The Midwife of Venice, Roberta Rich
(Anchor Canada, $22.95 pa, 9780385668279)
12. Bury Your Dead, Louise Penny
(Little, Brown/Hachette, $10.99 mm, 9780751547504)
13. Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
(HarperCollins Canada, $16.50 pa, 9780006391555)
14. Tiger Hills, Sarita Mandanna
(Penguin Canada, $18 pa, 9780143174714)
15. The Bishop’s Man, Linden MacIntyre
(Random House Canada, $22 pa, 9780307357076)
16. The Cat’s Table, Michael Ondaatje
(McClelland & Stewart, $32 cl, 9780771068645)
17. Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery
(Doubleday Canada, $5.99 mm, 9780770422059)
18. Ru, Kim Thúy; Sheila Fischman, trans.
(Random House Canada, $25 cl, 9780307359704)
19. The Virgin Cure, Ami McKay
(Knopf Canada, $32 cl, 9780676979565)
20. Bride of New France, Suzanne Desrochers
(Penguin Canada, $16 pa, 9780143173397)
While it may be inaccurate to call Jennifer Baichwal’s documentary Payback a direct adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s best-selling book Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth (House of Anansi Press), the venerable author’s thoughts on justice and reparation remain at the heart of the film.
“What happens when people don’t pay their debts, or can’t pay their debts, or won’t pay their debts? What if the debt is one that by its very nature cannot be repaid,” Atwood muses on camera.
Baichwal (director of the acclaimed 2006 documentary Manufactured Landscapes) gives a human face to the concepts explored in Atwood’s book, which originated as a five-part Massey Lecture series in 2008. The film follows several storylines, including the plight of exploited Florida tomato farmers, the 2012 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and convicted thief Paul Mohammed, whose personal tale of incarceration is contrasted with that of media mogul Conrad Black, who is interviewed in his Palm Springs home while out on bail.
According to a story in The Globe and Mail, Atwood vowed she would never give a Massey lecture after “book rights for the long-standing lecture series threatened to go to Penguin and away from the House of Anansi Press, with which Atwood has a long attachment.” When Anansi retained the rights, Atwood said she was “morally obligated” to participate.
In the last scene of the documentary, several interviewees read excerpts from the book, including Black, economist Raj Patel, and a rural Albanian man whose family has been living under house arrest since he was accused of shooting his neighbour over an escalating land dispute.
Anansi publicist Kate McQuaid says the company is thrilled with the film, and has been “blanketing” Toronto retailers with copies of the book. Anansi also produced a special Payback bookmark, which was distributed to guests at a V.I.P. preview screening, held at the TIFF Lightbox theatre on March 14.
Payback, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, opens in Toronto and Montreal on March 16, in Vancouver on March 23, with future releases planned for Victoria, Ottawa, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Waterloo, and Saskatoon. Baichwal and Atwood will conduct a Q&A following the 6:30 p.m. screenings at Toronto’s Varsity Theatre on March 16 and 17. Atwood will also be interviewed by Matt Galloway, host of CBC Radio’s Metro Morning, at a free event on March 18 (3 p.m., Indigo Manulife Centre, Toronto).
Edugyan, whose novel Half-Blood Blues won the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize and this morning was longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, is competing against her husband, Steven Price, and his novel, Into That Darkness, for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Both books are published by Thomas Allen Publishers.
Charles Taylor Prize for Non-fiction shortlisted authors Charlotte Gill and JJ Lee face off again, this time for the Hubert Evans Non-fiction Prize, alongside 2012 Canada Reads finalist Carmen Aguirre. Gill is also nominated for the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award.
The winners in all seven categories will be announced at the Lieutenant Governor’s B.C. Book Prizes Gala on May 12 in Vancouver.
Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize:
- Michael Christie, The Beggar’s Garden (HarperCollins Canada)
- Esi Edugyan, Half-Blood Blues (Thomas Allen Publishers)
- Frances Greenslade, Shelter (Random House Canada)
- Steven Price, Into That Darkness (Thomas Allen)
- D.W. Wilson, Once You Break a Knuckle (Hamish Hamilton Canada)
Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize:
- Chuck Davis, The Chuck Davis History of Metropolitan Vancouver (Harbour Publishing)
- Fred Herzog, Fred Herzog: Photographs (Douglas & McIntyre)
- Andrew Nikiforuk, Empire of the Beetle: How Human Folly and a Tiny Bug Are Killing North America’s Great Forests (Greystone Books)
- Sheryl Salloum, The Life and Art of Mildred Valley Thornton (Mother Tongue Publishing)
- Scott Watson, Thrown: British Columbia’s Apprentices of Bernard Leach and Their Contemporaries (Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery)
Hubert Evans Non-fiction Prize:
- Carmen Aguirre, Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter (Douglas & McIntyre)
- Gary Geddes, Drink the Bitter Root: A Writer’s Search for Justice and Redemption in Africa (Douglas & McIntyre)
- Charlotte Gill, Eating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber, and Life with the Tree-planting Tribe (Greystone Books)
- Theresa Kishkan, Mnemonic: A Book of Trees (Goose Lane Editions)
- JJ Lee, The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit (M&S)
Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize:
- Patrick Lane, The Collected Poems of Patrick Lane (Harbour)
- Susan McCaslin, Demeter Goes Skydiving (University of Alberta Press)
- Garry Thomas Morse, Discovery Passages (Talonbooks)
- John Pass, crawlspace (Harbour)
- Sharon Thesen, Oyama Pink Shale (House of Anansi Press)
Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize:
- Dan Bar-el and Rae Maté, Pussycat, Pussycat, Where Have You Been? (Simply Read Books)
- Nicola I. Campbell and Kim La Fave, Grandpa’s Girls (Groundwood Books)
- Mike Deas, Dalen & Gole: Scandal in Port Angus (Orca Book Publishers)
- Robert Heidbreder and Marc Mongeau, Shake-Awakes (Tradewind Books)
- Sara O’Leary and Julie Morstad, When I Was Small (Simply Read)
Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize:
- Glen Huser, The Runaway (Tradewind)
- Pamela Porter, I’ll Be Watching (Groundwood)
- Karen Rivers, What is Real (Orca)
- Caitlyn Vernon, Nowhere Else on Earth: Standing Tall for the Great Bear Rainforest (Orca)
- Moira Young, Blood Red Road (Doubleday Canada)
Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award:
- Chuck Davis, The Chuck Davis History of Metropolitan Vancouver (Harbour)
- Charlotte Gill, Eating Dirt (Greystone)
- Fred Herzog, Fred Herzog: Photographs (Douglas & McIntyre Editions)
- Gary Hynes, Island Wineries of British Columbia (TouchWood)
- Robert J. Wiersema, Walk Like a Man: Coming of Age with the Music of Bruce Springsteen (Greystone)
In honour of International Women’s Day, the Orange Prize for Fiction, celebrating “excellence, originality, and accessibility in women’s writing,” has announced its 2012 longlist, which includes two celebrated Canadian authors.
Emma Donoghue, whose novel Room was shortlisted for the 2011 Orange Prize and won the 2010 Writers’ Trust Prize, is nominated for The Sealed Letter, a 2008 novel published by HarperCollins. Picador reissued a special paperback version for the U.K. market in early 2012, one of 12 titles marking the publisher’s 40th anniversary.
Donoghue is accompanied by fellow Canadian Esi Edugyan, who made the longlist with Half-Blood Blues (Thomas Allen Publishers), which won the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize and was nominated today for the B.C. Book Prize.
Here is the Orange Prize longlist:
- Esi Edugyan, Half-Blood Blues (Thomas Allen Publishers)
- Karin Altenberg, Island of Wings (House of Anansi Press)
- Aifric Campbell, On the Floor (Serpent’s Tail/Consortium)
- Leah Hager Cohen, The Grief of Others (Riverhead/Penguin)
- Emma Donoghue, The Sealed Letter (HarperCollins)
- Anne Enright, The Forgotten Waltz (McClelland & Stewart)
- Roopa Farooki, The Flying Man (Headline Review)
- Jaimy Gordon, Lord of Misrule (Vintage Canada)
- Georgina Harding, Painter of Silence (Bloomsbury)
- Jane Harris, Gillespie and I (HarperCollins)
- Francesca Kay, The Translation of the Bones (Phoenix)
- A.L. Kennedy, The Blue Book (Jonathan Cape)
- Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus (Doubleday Canada)
- Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles (HarperCollins)
- Cynthia Ozick, Foreign Bodies (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Thomas Allen)
- Ann Patchett, State of Wonder (HarperCollins)
- Ali Smith, There but for the (Penguin)
- Anna Stothard, The Pink Hotel (Alma Books)
- Stella Tillyard, Tides of War (Vintage Canada)
- Amy Waldman, The Submission (HarperCollins)
Judged by Joanna Trollope, Lisa Appignanesi, Victoria Derbyshire, Natalie Haynes, and Natasha Kaplinksy, the Orange Prize awards the winner with a cheque for £30,000 and a limited-edition bronze figurine known as “Bessie.” The shortlist will be announced April 17 and the awards ceremony takes place May 30.
Penguin Group has announced it will no longer provide ebooks to OverDrive, effective immediately. With the termination of the relationship between the publisher and the U.S. digital content distributor, public libraries are effectively cut off from acquiring and lending out Penguin ebooks and e-audiobooks.
The Digital Shift reports:
Penguin is negotiating a “continuance agreement” with OverDrive, which will allow libraries that have Penguin ebooks in their catalog to continue to have access to those titles.
But since the company does not have a contract with 3M, the still fledgling but growing competitor to OverDrive, the practical effect of the decision will be to shut down public library access to additional Penguin ebook titles (not physical titles) for the immediate future.
The news is not entirely unexpected. In November of last year, Penguin Group stopped selling frontlist ebook titles to OverDrive and other digital distribution platforms, and stopped offering new e-audiobooks to library distributors last month.
Penguin is not the only major publisher to demonstrate an unwillingness to provide digital content to libraries. Even as circulation numbers for ebooks grow at libraries, multinational publishers have tightened the reins on providing ebooks and e-audiobooks to these institutions. In March, HarperCollins capped library lending of its e-titles at 26 loans. Random House held off providing digital content to libraries until spring of last year (the availability of Canadian backlisted titles has been notoriously limited). Simon & Schuster and MacMillan have so far refused to provide e-titles to libraries. Now, HarperCollins remains the only large multinational publisher to provide digital titles to OverDrive.
In each of these cases, publishers have cited concerns over piracy and the potential for a loss of consumer sales. Canadian publishers such as House of Anansi Press, Douglas & McIntyre, and Orca Books do presently deal with the distributor.
This latest development with Penguin strengthens the argument for a Canadian-made solution to e-content distribution, championed by groups such as the Canadian Urban Libraries Council, the Association of Canadian Publishers, and the Canadian Publishers Council (of which Penguin Canada, Simon & Schuster Canada, HarperCollins Canada, and Random House of Canada are members).
[This post was updated Feb. 10.]
This feature by Sarah Greene appeared in the November 2011 issue of Q&Q.
Robert Lepage’s impressive artistic career spans theatre, film, and opera, and includes stints as designer and director for Cirque du Soleil and a Peter Gabriel world tour. The prolific Quebec actor, writer, and director has now added graphic novelist to his list of achievements. The Blue Dragon, first published in French earlier this year by Quebec’s Éditions Alto, appears this month from House of Anansi Press.
Adapted from the play of the same name, the book reunites co-writers Lepage and Marie Michaud, both of whom performed in the original 2008 production. The idea for the graphic novel, first suggested by Lepage’s sister and assistant Lynda Beaulieu, seemed natural given the influence on the play of Hergé’s The Blue Lotus, about TinTin’s adventures in Shanghai; the use of Chinese calligraphy, video, and comic panel-like squares in the set design; and the fact that the central character, Pierre Lamontagne, is a graphic artist and calligrapher.
“We thought a graphic novel would be more faithful, do more justice to the piece,” says Lepage. “We saw it as an opportunity to extend the themes of The Blue Dragon.”
A follow-up to the mid-1980s production The Dragons’ Trilogy, the story is set in modern-day China and revolves around three characters in a love triangle: Lamontagne, a middle-aged Quebecois artist who lives in Shanghai and runs a contemporary art gallery; his ex-wife, a Montreal-based advertising executive hoping to adopt a baby; and Lamontagne’s younger Chinese lover. Just as there are three characters interacting in three languages (French, English, and Mandarin), there are three possible endings to the play and the book. Éditions Alto played on the number by printing a first run of 3,333 copies.
To adapt the highly visual play into print, Lepage and his production company, Ex Machina, imagined how they would present the story as a film. They auditioned a number of Quebecois artists for the project, eventually choosing Fred Jourdain, a young illustrator known for his portraits of rock stars and celebrities. Jourdain’s fluid, vivid illustrations of a rainy Shanghai are conveyed by mixing comic-book art with more painterly images. “He was very strong at expressing emotions on his characters’ faces,” says Lepage.
Anansi publisher Sarah MacLachlan fell in love with this combination of graphica and fine art. “I thought that was an extraordinary thing,” she says. The Blue Dragon is Anansi’s first graphic novel for the adult market (its children’s imprint, Groundwood Books, published the YA title Skim by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki in 2009). Canadian fiction editor Melanie Little met Éditions Alto president Antoine Tanguay last January, at the Canada Council for the Arts’ inaugural translation rights fair in Ottawa, and presented an offer within days.
The graphic novel has also had an effect on the theatrical version of The Blue Dragon, which will be remounted by Toronto’s Mirvish Productions in January. “Our work with Fred had a big influence on the piece,” Lepage says. “Both to make it stronger by simplifying some of the storylines, but also by complexifying some things that needed to be more [complex]. A lot of that came from some of the very rich, effervescent exchanges we had with Fred.”
Lepage says the adaptation was so successful it’s changed his approach to publishing: “Whatever play we come up with we should try to find a format – not necessarily another graphic novel – that is as faithful to our visual approach to the stage as it is [to] the written word.”
Éditions Alto and Ex Machina have continued their partnership, producing a limited-run souvenir book for Lepage’s production of Stravinsky’s opera The Nightingale and Other Short Fables and collaborating on a nine-volume box set for his epic nine-hour opera Lipsynch.
“[Lepage] is a central cultural figure in Quebec right now,” says Tanguay. “Everything he does turns to gold.”
Illustrations by Fred Jourdain, courtesy of Anansi
The third instalment of Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce series, A Red Herring Without Mustard (Doubleday Canada), is one of the most popular crime and mystery titles of 2011, according to booksellers contacted by Q&Q.
Two other new books from established authors, Louise Penny’s A Trick of the Light (St. Martin’s Press/Raincoast) and Peter Robinson’s Before the Poison (McClelland & Stewart), are also among booksellers’ top 2011 crime and mystery titles.
A lesser-known Ontario author, retired aeronautical professional Liam Dwyer, has been one of the year’s top-selling authors at The Sleuth of Baker Street in Toronto. Co-owner Marian Misters says Murdoch in Muskoka (Muskoka Dockside Reader), a new omnibus containing the first three titles in Dwyer’s murder-mystery series, has been especially popular.
At Whodunit? Mystery Bookstore in Winnipeg, co-owner Jack Bumsted points to local author C.C. Benison’s Christmas mystery, Twelve Drummers Drumming (Doubleday Canada), as his store’s best-selling book of the year. Other top 2011 titles at Whodunit? include Q&Q book of the year The Water Rat of Wanchai and The Disciple of Las Vegas, both from Ian Hamilton’s Ava Lee series published by Spiderline, the new crime fiction imprint from House of Anansi Press.
Walter Sinclair, co-owner of Dead Write Books in Vancouver, says the best-selling 2011 books in his store have common features. “All are well-established authors, all with mysteries featuring series characters,” he says. Dead Write’s top titles this year include William Deverell’s latest Arthur Beauchamp mystery, I’ll See You in My Dreams (M&S), and the U.K. edition of Louise Penny’s Bury Your Dead (Headline/Hachette).
Emma Donoghue’s novel Room (HarperCollins Canada) has won the 2011 Evergreen Award, to be presented on Feb. 3, 2012, in Toronto.
The Evergreen Award is administered by the Ontario Library Association as part of the Forest of Reading program, designed to expose adult library users to Canadian fiction and non-fiction. Library patrons are invited to vote for their favourite of 10 nominated titles.
“I am thrilled that with this award, Room will be part of such a valuable initiative to promote reading,” Donoghue said in a press release.
The other nominees for the prize were:
- The Night Shift, by Brian Goldman (HarperCollins Canada)
- Amphibian, by Carla Gunn (Coach House Books)
- Dahanu Road, by Anosh Irani (Doubleday Canada)
- Death Spiral, by James W. Nichol (McArthur & Company)
- Far to Go, by Alison Pick (House of Anansi Press)
- Still Missing, by Chevy Stevens (St. Martin’s Press)
- A Man in Uniform, by Kate Taylor (Doubleday Canada)
- The Tiger, by John Vaillant (Knopf Canada)
- Annabel, by Kathleen Winter (House of Anansi Press)
Organizers of the Alberta Readers’ Choice Award, now in its third year, have taken steps to quiet a muted strain of controversy that has attached itself to the prize since its inception.
The $10,000 award, organized by the Edmonton Public Library and voted on by Alberta readers, had until now been open to all books published in Alberta, regardless of the author’s origin or city of residence. But Alberta authors who happened to be published outside the province – someone like, say, Scotiabank Giller Prize nominee Lynn Coady, who lives in Edmonton but is published by Toronto-based House of Anansi Press – would be ineligible for the award.
That is all going to change this year, judging by new criteria posted to the EPL website:
This year, works of fiction and narrative non-fiction (i.e., first edition full-length novels, short story collections or books of poetry) will be accepted by any author who has been a resident of Alberta for a minimum of 12 consecutive months immediately prior to the publication of the submitted work, and who currently resides in Alberta, no matter where the book was published. The change makes this truly an Alberta award and recognizes the exceptional writing talent in our province while encouraging readers to support Alberta authors.
As it turns out, both of the prize’s prior winners – Helen Waldstein Wilkes’ memoir Letters from the Lost (AU Press) and Michael Davie’s novel Fishing for Bacon (NeWest Press) – are by authors currently residing in B.C.