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Joseph Boyden’s new novel to examine Canada’s formative years

Joseph Boyden’s writing interweaves the multifarious spirit of Canadian experiences by drawing upon a wealth of northern narratives. His first novel, Three Day Road (Penguin Canada), examines the trauma of the First World War through the story of two young Cree men, while his 2008 Scotiabank Giller Prize–winning novel Through Black Spruce (Viking Canada) questions the death of tradition in First Nations communities. Now, Boyden’s new novel, The Orenda, to be published by Hamish Hamilton Canada, takes a further look back into Canada’s formative years.

The Orenda opens in the 1630s with the kidnapping of a gifted Iroquois child, and the arrival of a charming Jesuit missionary, who interposes himself into the native community, in order to lead them onto the path of Christ.

Boyden’s long-time editor Nicole Winstanley, president and publisher of Penguin Canada, acquired the book. In a press release she says:

History is often portrayed in fiction in soft-light and sepia-tones … With The Orenda, Joseph brings a vivid immediacy to the violent collision of social, political, and spiritual forces that forged the beginnings of our country.

Publication is planned for September 2013.

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Michael Ondaatje shortlisted for Dayton Literary Peace Prize

Michael Ondaatje has been named a fiction finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for his novel The Cat’s Table.

The annual award, established in 2006 and based in the U.S., honours authors who have used the written word to promote peace in fiction and non-fiction. The winner in each category receives a $10,000 cash prize.

The Cat’s Table (Knopf Canada) tells the tale of one man’s unforgettable sea voyage from Sri Lanka to London.

The winners will be announced Nov. 11 at a ceremony at the Benjamin and Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center in Dayton, Ohio. The other finalists are:


  • Nanjing Requiem, Ha Jin (Pantheon Books)
  • Salvage the Bones, Jesmyn Ward (Bloomsbury)
  • Shards, Ismet Prcic (Grove Atlantic)
  • The Grief of Others, Leah Hager Cohen (Riverhead)
  • The Sojourn, Andrew Krivak (Bellevue Literary Press)


  • A Train in Winter, Caroline Moorehead (HarperCollins)
  • Day of Honey, Annia Ciezadlo (Free Press)
  • Mighty Be Our Powers, Leymah Gbowee (The Perseus Books Group)
  • To End All Wars, Adam Hochschild (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • What Is It Like to Go to War, Karl Marlantes (Grove/Atlantic)


Tor, Forge to remove digital rights management from ebooks

Starting in July 2012, ebooks from Tom Doherty Associates imprints Tor, Forge, Orb, Starscape, and Tor Teen will be distributed without digital rights management.

The New York–based publisher, a subsidiary of Macmillan, posted the announcement on its blog on Tuesday:

“Our authors and readers have been asking for this for a long time,” said president and publisher Tom Doherty. “They’re a technically sophisticated bunch, and DRM is a constant annoyance to them. It prevents them from using legitimately-purchased e-books in perfectly legal ways, like moving them from one kind of e-reader to another.”

The decision applies not just to frontlist titles and new releases, but will encompass the publisher’s entire catalogue. The DRM-free titles will be available for purchase from the usual ebook sellers, as well as from retailers specializing in DRM-free ebooks, such as Baen Books.

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D&Q dominates Doug Wright Award nominations

Montreal comics publisher Drawn & Quarterly has secured five out of six nominations for the 2012 Doug Wright Award for Best Book, with veteran D&Q artists Joe Ollman, Chester Brown, and Seth competing against popular newcomers Pascal Girard and Kate Beaton.

Founded in 2004, the annual awards were established as a “means of recognizing and promoting Canadian comics and comic creators.” The winners will be announced on May 5 at the Art Gallery of Ontario, in conjunction with the Toronto Comic Arts Festival.

Doug Wright Award for Best Book:

Doug Wright Spotlight Award (recognizing talent deserving of wider recognition):

  • Emily Carroll, “The Seven Windows” (from The Anthology Project vol. 2), “Margot’s Room,” “The Prince & the Sea,” and other comics at
  • Patrick Kyle, Black Mass #5–6
  • Betty Liang for Wet T-Shirt #1, “It’s Only a Secret if You Don’t Tell Anyone” (from š! #9), “Anna Freud’s Recurring Dream,” and other comics at
  • Ethan Rilly, Pope Hats #2 (AdHouse Books)
  • Zach Worton, The Klondike (D&Q)

Pigskin Peters Award (recognizing the best in avant-garde or experimental comics):

  • Hermoddities, Temple Bates (Conundrum Press)
  • Pure Pajamas, Marc Bell (D&Q)
  • Hellberta, Michael Comeau (Koyama Press)
  • “Untitled” by Mum Pittsburg, Jupiter Leucetius! Send Us a King. We Are So Bored, and other comics at, Connor Willumsen

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BookNet bestsellers: Canadian fiction

Esi Edugyan’s Scotiabank Giller Prize–winning novel, Half-Blood Blues, remains on top of this week’s Canadian fiction bestsellers’ list. For the two weeks ending Jan. 22:

1. Half-Blood Blues, Esi Edugyan
(Thomas Allen Publishers, $24.95 pa, 9780887627415)

2. The Winter Palace, Eva Stachniak
(Doubleday Canada, $24.95 pa, 9780385666565)

3. The Sisters Brothers, Patrick deWitt
(House of Anansi Press, $22.95 pa, 9781770890329)

4. The Virgin Cure, Ami McKay
(Knopf Canada, $32 cl, 9780676979565)

5. The Cat’s Table, Michael Ondaatje
(McClelland & Stewart, $32 cl, 9780771068645)

6. Bride of New France, Suzanne Desrochers
(Penguin Canada, $16 pa, 9780143173397)

7. Secret Daughter, Shilpi Somaya Gowda
(HarperCollins Canada, $19.99 pa, 9780061974304)

8. The Book of Negroes, Lawrence Hill
(HarperCollins Canada, $10.99 mm, 9781443408981)

9. Room, Emma Donoghue
(HarperCollins Canada, $19.99 pa, 9781554688326)

10. An Irish Country Village, Patrick Taylor
(Forge Books/Raincoast, $9.99 mm, 9780765368256)

11. The Midwife of Venice, Roberta Rich
(Doubleday Canada, $22.95 pa, 9780385668279)

12. Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
(HarperCollins Canada, $16.50 pa, 9780006391555)

13. The Best Laid Plans, Terry Fallis
(McClelland & Stewart, $19.99 pa, 9780771047589)

14. Ru, Kim Thuy; Sheila Fischman, trans.
(Random House Canada, $25 cl, 9780307359704)

15. Bad Boy, Peter Robinson
(McClelland & Stewart, $9.99 mm, 9780771076336)

16. Annabel, Kathleen Winter
(Anansi, $19.95 pa, 9780887842900)

17. The Wild Beasts of Wuhan, Ian Hamilton
(Spiderline/Anansi, $19.95 pa, 9780887842535)

18. The Illustrated Book of Negroes, Lawrence Hill
(HarperCollins Canada, $19.99 cl, 9781443412193)

19. Hark! A Vagrant, Kate Beaton
(Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95 cl, 9781770460607)

20. The Cellist of Sarajevo, Steven Galloway
(Random House of Canada, $21 pa, 9780307397041)

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

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Bookmarks: awards, arts funding, and Boyden redux

  • Telegraph columnist Sameer Rahim goes after the Man Booker winner: “The White Tiger reads like the first draft of a Bollywood screenplay (no romance or songs sadly).” Snap!
  • Aleksander Hemon and Marilynne Robinson are among the National Book Award nominees in the U.S.
  • Toronto Star columnist Brent Ledger celebrates Trinity College’s annual book sale.
  • The election might be over, but don’t forget the arts (CBC Arts).
  • Two weeks after CBC Arts profiled Joseph and Amanda Boyden, CBC News profiles … just Joseph.

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Doctorow to publishers: learn to share, dummies!

With all the hoopla surrounding the launch of the Kindle, Amazon’s portable e-book reader, it’s easy to forget that for some authors the digital revolution has already happened. First among them would be science-fiction author Cory Doctorow, who offers his novels and stories for free download through his website using a Creative Commons license.

In an interview with the alternative comics blog The Daily Cross Hatch, Doctorow explains how he got IDW Publishing, a major U.S. comics publisher that’s adapting some of Doctorow’s stories, to also agree to a Creative Commons license.

My agent said, ‘Creative Commons – you guys okay with that?’ expecting to get a ‘go away, hippie, and never darken our door again.’ Instead, they said, ‘[O]h yeah, we’re totally cool with it, but we’re not sure if we’re going to be able to sell that to comic book store owners, so how would you feel if we just did that with the trade, at the end of the run?’ And that sounded great. That was the entire thing. It’s like the world’s least interesting story, in that it was just kind of an agreement.

Doctorow adds that in his experience free downloads don’t displace physical sales, but actually encourage them. Plus, he says, sharing is the only way to foster culture.

[Copying and sharing] is as old as culture itself. In fact, when we say ‘culture,’ that’s more or less what we mean. ‘Art’ is the stuff that the artist makes and ‘culture’ is what we do with the stuff that the artist makes. It’s pretty radical to say ‘culture must stop.’ I think it’s pretty conservative to say that you can just go on making copies the way that you spritual [sic] ancestors did, forever. I would hate to be the guy who says, ‘[Y]ou guys are all jerks for loving my work too much, I hate you so much, please stop copying my stuff.’ That would be just a terrible outcome. Creative Commons works, if it’s unpopular, and it works ever more, if it’s popular.

While it may be a bit of a stretch to call free downloads “conservative” from a business perspective, Doctorow seems to have scored a victory for Creative Commons advocates by getting IDW to play along.

Related reading: Doctorow also discussed giving it away in this 2003 Q&Q story.

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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

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