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Random House of Canada launches online magazine as part of digital overhaul

What does a major publishing house look like in the digital age?

Random House of Canada has offered one answer with today’s launch of a multifaceted digital strategy that includes an online magazine (known as Hazlitt), an ebook imprint (Hazlitt Originals), and a website redesign.

The centrepiece of the campaign is the online magazine, the subject of some industry speculation ever since Random House of Canada hired Christopher Frey, a founder of Outpost magazine and Toronto Standard, earlier this year. While Hazlitt, which takes its name from a 19th-century literary critic and essayist, will be hosted on the Random House of Canada website, the company says it will maintain editorial independence, relying on freelance journalists to provide much of the content.

“As the idea evolved, there was an understanding at several levels of the company that for this, as a magazine, to succeed and build an audience and have credibility, it will have to have its own editorial identity,” Frey told Q&Q, following a media launch earlier this week. “Many of the people writing for it will have to be non–Random House authors or working journalists. We will need to be able to write about everything in the culture, and not just Random House books.”

Contributing writers will include Lynn Crosbie, Kaitlin Fontana, Billie Livingston, Jason McBride, Drew Nelles, and Carl Wilson, as well as filmmaker Scott Cudmore (who will provide multimedia content). Frey says he views the magazine as “competing with any other Web-based magazine out there, like Slate or Salon or The Awl, or the Web versions of other print magazines.”

Hazlitt stories can be read online for free. At launch, the magazine features limited advertising, and cross-promotions for Random House titles appear low-key.

“This is an opportunity for us directly to engage with readers, and to bring the writers we represent close to readers,” says Robert Wheaton, vice-president and director of strategic digital business development. “Learning from readers is of tremendous importance to us across the entirety of our business.”

As for the other key facet of Random House of Canada’s online push, the digital department will work with the company’s book publishing division to produce ebooks under the Hazlitt Originals imprimatur. The first title in the series, which will focus on non-fiction and essays, is journalist Patrick Graham’s The Man Who Went to War: A Reporter’s Memoir from Libya and the Arab Uprising. It will be followed by U.K. journalist Steven Poole’s “anti-foodie polemic” You Aren’t What You Eat and Ivor Tossell’s The Gift of Ford, about Toronto’s mayor.

The digital-only publishing initiative takes a page from Byliner.com and the Canadian Writers’ Group, the writers’ organization behind the ebook Finding Karla: How I Tracked Down an Elusive Serial Child Killer and Discovered a Mother of Three by journalist Paula Todd. Likewise, the Organization of Book Publishers of Ontario’s Open Book project and the Association of Canadian Publishers’ 49th Shelf are both attempts to create an online hub serving the dual role of marketing tool and source for compelling content.

But the scope of Random House’s digital ambitions are unprecedented in Canadian publishing. “Ultimately, we view this as a platform for future innovations in publishing,” Frey says.

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Fall preview 2012: Canadian non-fiction, part II

The season of high-profile literary awards and author festivals is on its way, and there’s no shortage of new releases from marquee names. In the July/August issue, Q&Q looks ahead at some of the fall’s biggest books.

TRUE CRIME

In 2009, police discovered a car in the Rideau Canal just outside of Kingston, Ontario. The car contained the bodies of three sisters – Zainab, Sahar, and Geeti Shafia – and 50-year-old Rona Amir Mohammad. Authorities later arrested the girls’ father, brother, and mother, all of whom were convicted of first-degree murder for their roles in the honour killings. Paul Schliesmann’s Honour on Trial (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, $19.95 pa., Oct.) examines the facts behind the case that horrified Canadians.

BUSINESS & FINANCE

He’s been a dragon in his den and gone to prison for his reality-television show, Redemption Inc. Now, Kevin O’Leary, businessman, pundit, and author of the hybrid memoir/business guide Cold Hard Truth, returns with The Cold Hard Truth about Men, Women and Money (Doubleday Canada, $29.95 cl., Dec.), a guide to avoiding common financial mistakes. • O’Leary’s left-leaning opponent on CBC’s The Lang and O’Leary Exchange, Amanda Lang, has a leadership book out this season. The Power of Why: Simple Questions that Lead to Success (HarperCollins Canada, $33.99 cl., Oct.) postulates that asking the right questions leads to increased productivity.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

From the internal combustion engine and cold fusion to the Internet and the artificial heart, all scientific discoveries and technological advancements are the product of human ingenuity. In the 2012 CBC Massey Lectures, Neil Turok argues that science represents humanity’s best hope for progress and peace. The Universe Within: From Quantum to Cosmos (House of Anansi Press, $19.95 pa.) appears in September. • Terence Dickinson is editor of the Canadian astronomy magazine Sky News and author of the bestseller NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe. His new book, Hubble’s Universe: Greatest Discoveries and Images (Firefly Books, $49.95 cl., Sept.), is a visually sumptuous compendium of images from the Hubble Space Telescope.

CULTURE & CRITICISM

Novelist and short-story writer Thomas King, who was also the first native person to deliver the prestigious CBC Massey Lectures, has long been a committed advocate for native rights. In The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America (Doubleday Canada, $34.95 cl., Nov.), King examines the way European settlers and natives have viewed each other via pop culture, treaties, and legislation. • Poet and critic Kathleen McConnell explores the portrayal of women in pop culture through the ages in Pain, Porn and Complicity: Women Heroes from Pygmalion to Twilight (Wolsak & Wynn, $19 pa., Nov.).

In A Civil Tongue, philosophy professor and public intellectual Mark Kingwell predicted the devolution of political discourse into a schoolyard-like shouting match. His new collection, Unruly Voices: Essays on Democracy, Civility, and the Human Imagination (Biblioasis, $21.95 pa., Sept.), is about how incivility and bad behaviour prevent us from achieving the kind of society we desire.

Poet, publisher, and critic Carmine Starnino turns his incisive and cutting attention to CanLit in his new collection of essays, Lazy Bastardism (Gaspereau Press,  Sept.). • James Pollock believes that Canadian poetry lacks an authentic relationship with poetry from the rest of the world. His new book, You Are Here: Essays on the Art of Poetry in Canada (The Porcupine’s Quill, $22.95 pa., Nov.), attempts to situate Canadian poetry in a global context, through examinations of the work of writers such as Anne Carson, Eric Ormsby, and Karen Solie.

A new anthology from Women’s Press brings together essays addressing specific concerns of LGBT communities and individuals across the country. Edited by Maureen FitzGerald and Scott Rayter, Queerly Canadian: An Introductory Reader in Sexuality Studies ($64.95 pa., Sept.) takes up issues of education, law, and religion, among others. • For a brief moment in the 1960s, Montreal became a hotbed of Civil Rights activism, radically challenging traditional conceptions of racial hierarchies. The 1968 Congress of Black Writers included activists and spokespeople such as Stokely Carmichael, C.L.R. James, and Harry Edwards. David Austin chronicles this important gathering in Fear of a Black Nation: Race, Sex, and Security in Sixties Montreal (Between the Lines, $24.95 pa., Nov.).

Belles Lettres (McArthur & Company, $29.95 pa., Nov.) is a collection of postcards from authors such as Baudelaire, Flaubert, Proust, and Charlotte Brontë, collated and annotated by Greg Gatenby, the founding artistic director of Toronto’s International

Festival of Authors. • In The Other Side of Midnight: Taxi Cab Stories (Creative Book Publishing, $19.95 pa., Oct.), writer and anthologist Mike Heffernan chronicles the experiences of St. John’s cab drivers and their clients.

ENTERTAINMENT

In the years following Liz Worth’s Treat Me Like Dirt, the market for books about the Canadian punk music scene has been as frenzied as the audience at a Fucked Up concert. In Perfect Youth: The Birth of Canadian Punk, (ECW, $22.95 pa., Oct.), Sam Sutherland looks at the historical context for Canadian punk progenitors such as D.O.A., the Viletones, and Teenage Head. • One early Canadian punk band – Victoria’s NoMeans­No – is the subject of the latest book in the Bibliophonic series from Invisible Publishing. NoMeansNo: Going Nowhere ($12.95 pa.), by Halifax author Mark Black, is due out in October.

Marc Strange, who died in May, was known for mystery novels such as Body Blows and Follow Me Down. He was also the co-creator (with L.S. Strange) of the seminal Canadian television series The Beachcombers. Bruno and the Beach: The Beachcombers at 40 (Harbour Publishing, $26.95 pa., Sept.), co-written with Jackson Davies, the actor who played Constable John Constable in the series, chronicles the iconic show and its equally iconic lead actor.

Since its release in 1971, Ken Russell’s notoriously blasphemous film, The Devils, has been the subject of heavy censorship in both the U.S. and the U.K. Canadian film scholar Richard Crouse examines the history of this cult classic in Raising Hell: Ken Russell and the Unmaking of The Devils (ECW, $19.95 pa., Oct.), which includes an interview with the film’s director, who died in 2011.

HUMOUR

Former model and current stay-at-home mom Kelly Oxford has found her largest measure of fame as a result of her sarcastic Twitter feed (@kellyoxford), which features such Oscar Wildean witticisms as “IDEA: ‘Bless This Mess’ novelty period panties” and “Some parents in China get their kids to work in factories and I can’t get my kid to pass me some Twizzlers.” The essays in Everything’s Perfect When You’re a Liar (HarperCollins Canada, $24.99 cl., Sept.) promise more of the same. • If you prefer your humour with a larger dollop of political satire, you’ll be pleased to know that Rick Mercer has a collection of brand new rants on the way. A Nation Worth Ranting About (Doubleday Canada, $29.95 cl., Oct.) includes the author’s description of bungee jumping with Rick Hansen, and a more serious piece about Jamie Hubley, a gay teen who committed suicide after being bullied.

If you want to know whether you might be a redneck, ask Jeff Foxworthy. If you want to know whether you might be a native of Saskatchewan, check your birth certificate or consult the new book from author Carson Demmans and illustrator Jason Sylvestre. You Might Be from Saskatchewan If … (MacIntyre Purcell/Canadian Manda Group, $12.95 pa.) appears in September.

FOOD & DRINK

Rob Feenie is the latest Food Network Canada celebrity chef with a new cookbook. The host of New Classics with Chef Rob Feenie, who famously defeated Masaharu Morimoto on Iron Chef America, offers innovative approaches to classic, family-friendly fare in Rob Feenie’s Casual Classics: Everyday Recipes for Family and Friends (D&M, $29.95 pa., Sept.). The recipes have undergone stringent quality control, each one having been approved by Feenie’s children, aged 3, 6, and 7.

Camilla V. Saulsbury’s 500 Best Quinoa Recipes: Using Nature’s Superfood for Gluten-free Breakfasts, Mains, Desserts and More (Robert Rose, $27.95 pa., Oct.) provides more healthy recipes based on the reigning superstar ingredient. • Aaron Ash, founder of Gorilla Food, a Vancouver restaurant that features vegan, organic, and raw cuisine, has achieved popularity among celebrity fans including Woody Harrelson and Katie Holmes. His new book, Gorilla Food: Living and Eating Organic, Vegan, and Raw (Arsenal Pulp, $24.95 pa., Oct.), collects 150 recipes, all of which are made without a heat source.

SPORTS


Rocker Dave Bidini returns to his other passion – hockey – in A Wild Stab for It: This Is Game Eight from Russia (ECW, $22.95 cl., Sept.), in which the author talks to various Canadians about the influence of the 1972 Canada-Russia Summit Series. The release of the book is timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the iconic series. • The man who made that series so memorable also has a book out this fall. Co-written with sports commentator Roger Lajoie, The Goal of My Life (Fenn/M&S, $32.99 cl., Sept.) traces Paul Henderson’s route through the OHL and the NHL, on his way to scoring “the goal of the century.”

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Grey Cup, ex–CFL quarterback and coach Frank Cosentino has penned the appropriately titled The Grey Cup 100th Anniversary (McArthur & Company, $29.95 pa., Oct.). • Crime fiction writer Michael Januska offers his own take on 100 years of Canadian football history in Grey Cup Century (Dundurn, $14.99 pa., Sept.).

Q&Q’s fall preview covers books published between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2012. • All information (titles, prices, publication dates, etc.) was supplied by publishers and may have been tentative at Q&Q’s press time. • Titles that have been listed in previous previews do not appear here.

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Q&A: talking swimming and the Olympics with author Leanne Shapton

As a youth, Toronto-born author and illustrator Leanne Shapton was a dedicated competitive swimmer, at one time ranking eighth in Canada. She competed in two Olympic trials (1988, 1992), but narrowly missed qualifying. In her new book, Swimming Studies (Blue Rider Press/Penguin Canada), Shapton meditates on her life in the pool through essays, photos, and watercolour paintings.

Shapton is an accomplished artist who began her career at the National Post before moving into art director positions at Saturday Night magazine and The New York Times. She is the author of five illustrated books.

Quillblog caught up with Shapton in New York City, where she’s resided since 2003.

How did Swimming Studies come to be?
When I’d talk about swimming, [former Saturday Night editor and Rogers Publishing president] Ken Whyte, who started his career as a sports writer, encouraged me to write things down. So I took some writing courses and tried to organize the material.

In 2007, when I had about a quarter of the book written, I sent it to my agent and then told them to throw it away. It wasn’t the right time.

Why is this the right time?
I made a two-book deal with Blue Rider Press, but after the auction catalogue (Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry), I didn’t want to do another picture-heavy book. It was really important to do something weirder and less like what I’ve done before.

For a while I had a column in The New York Times Magazine. It was a revelation to work with an editor. The book then became a huge experiment in whether I could write anything longer than a caption or small capsule.

A series of paintings from Swimming Studies (Photo: Leanne Shapton)

Did you set out to write a non-traditional memoir?
I think it’s a funny book – there are a lot of different levels and layers. This is how I described it to my editor as I was working through the manuscript: I wanted it to be a book of landscapes – either interior or literal. I see these landscapes and because I don’t have a photograph of them and I don’t want to paint them, all I have is this language that I’m trying to learn as I go.

Did you keep diaries as a kid?
When I was training at 14 or 15, I mostly kept photo albums. When I was training with the University of Toronto team for my second Olympic trials in 1992, I kept them. It wasn’t until around 2006 that I started writing the other things down.

Shapton's Speedo “paper suit,” worn during the 1992 Canadian Olympic swimming trials (Photo: Leanne Shapton)

One of the most striking chapters in the book is “Size,” which includes photos of your personal collection of bathing suits. Why did you choose to include these?
That’s only half of them. I tried to get a sense of going from competitive to non-competitive to getting my first two-piece at 27 or 28. I really resisted getting one.

That chapter is called “Size” because there’s so much body stuff going on in terms of eating and shape and insecurities. There’s so much around bathing suits in particular – it’s all twisted and tangled, the idea of body size and image.

The book contains many references to time. Was that intentional?
One thing that came with training is that I know what five seconds feels like in the same way that a well plumber knows what five feet looks like from a different angle than the erst of us might. It’s a temporal understanding of things. It’s like how a minute feels when you’re late for a train.

How would you describe your relationship to water now?
I still swim, but I still don’t like swimming in open water. I will do it because I always feel like jumping into water, but I’m not entirely comfortable.

It makes me feel good to be in water – it’s like wearing a favourite sweater. It’s something that I know really, really well. I know my body so much more in water. I’m clumsier outside of it.

What about your relationship to the sport?
I’m not competitive at all. I joined a team to see if I had any spirit left, and I didn’t. It’s not a challenging thing for me anymore and I have no jock mindset for it.

Although watching the Olympics makes me cry. I love watching swimming. When I watch it on TV and they turn, I do it in my head, too.

Would you say you’ve replaced swimming with art?
For years I wanted the same focus that I had as a swimmer because I knew I was moving toward a perfection or a time goal. So now I’ll do 20 sketches or paintings. I’ll work the sport’s discipline into how I work, whether it’s an assignment or a series of paintings.

Since retiring from swimming I’ve tried to find that dumb blind zone you go into as an athlete. I’ve found it now with drawing and painting, which is so nice.

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Q&A: Shelley Wall talks comics and medicine at the University of Toronto

Shelley Wall, assistant professor at U of T's biomedical communications graduate program, co-organized the fourth annual Comics and Medicine conference in Toronto next week

While comics artists have tackled all manner of sex, drugs, and violence in their work, medicine – an area in which all these issues (and more) intersect – still seems to carry the stink of stigma. But if an upcoming conference at the University of Toronto is any indication, times are changing.

Comics and Medicine: Navigating the Margins, the third conference of its kind, will take place from July 22 to 24. Monday night, the conference will host a discussion with Joyce Farmer, author of 2010’s Special Exits (Fantagraphics Books), a graphic novel about caring for elderly parents, and Joyce Brabner, who wrote the graphic memoir Our Cancer Year (Running Press, 1994) with her late husband, Harvey Pekar. The talk, moderated by Paul Gravett and co-presented by the Beguiling bookshop, is free and open to non-delegates.

Shelley Wall, the driving force behind bringing the conference to U of T, spoke with Q&Q about the many relationships between comics and medicine, the depiction of health care and illness in Canadian graphic arts, and why the graphic medical memoir genre has gained momentum.

How did you develop an interest in comics and medicine?
I’m a medical illustrator and teach in the biomedical communications program at U of T, where we train professional medical illustrators. I came to comics and medicine when I was teaching an undergraduate course in written health care communication and became interested in different modes and combinations of modes to communicate about health.

It was through reading about this that I found Mom’s Cancer by cartoonist Brian Fies [also a conference organizer]. It’s the story of his mother’s diagnosis with metastatic lung cancer and the effect that it had on their family. That’s when I realized there was this whole world of people who were doing graphic novels about illness, and I started a comic of my own about someone very close to me who has early-onset Parkinson’s.

What relationships between medicine and comics will be explored at the conference?
Some people will be presenting on their own work dealing with illness, or the experience of someone they’ve known. Others will look at the use of comics in medical schools. Comics are a way of marrying the emphasis on evidence-based medicine – statistics, epidemiology, biological science – with the human element – what it’s like to experience sickness – to encourage empathy in medical students.

Some people are also encouraging medical students to create their own comics as an alternative way of thinking through experiences such as encountering ethical dilemmas, or their first dissection of a cadaver, to get at the sort of unquantifiable aspects of practicing medicine.

There’s also a look at using comics for public education and health promotion. They can be an alternative way to engage in patient education, and help overcome literacy and language barriers. Comics can bring in elements of playfulness, visual metaphor, or storytelling that can really help to get a message across in a clear way.

What are some of the challenges involved in putting these experiences on the page?
Ian Williams, another conference organizer who is a physician and an artist in Wales, tells stories about his interactions with patients. But these stories bring up the issue of confidentiality, so he fictionalizes the stories and publishes them under a pseudonym.

Also, we don’t often hear people speaking of medicine from stigmatized positions, like people who are inmates in mental hospitals. The title of the conference, Navigating the Margins, refers to the fact that a lot of these stories give perspective to people who don’t necessarily get their voices heard over the voice of medical authority.

What are some of your favourite examples of this genre?
One of the conference presenters, Sarafin, is writing a book called Asylum Squad: The Psychosis Diaries. The book is based on her webcomic series about her time as a patient at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. They’re very powerful stories because there are so many more stigmas and taboos associated with mental illness than with a lot of other health conditions. I think it takes a lot of bravery and clear-sightedness to deal with that issue.

Toronto’s Suley Fattah, who’s made and edited comics about being a cancer patient in the self-published book Drawing the Line, will give a workshop at the conference. And Sandra Bell-Lundy, who appears on a panel, has a hugely successful syndicated strip in Between Friends. Although the strip is not about health necessarily, there are a number of storylines about infertility, domestic abuse, and breast cancer. Her stories on mammograms are even used by the Canadian Cancer Society.

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D&M’s Trena White lands fellowships at Frankfurt, IFOA

Earlier this week, Q&Q reported that Trena White, publisher at D&M Publishers, has been named the inaugural Canadian editorial fellow for the I.V. Programme, the annual networking event that runs alongside Toronto’s International Festival of Authors. It turns out that White, who is based in Vancouver, will have to dust off her passport as well, as she has also been named the sole Canadian fellow at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair.

The latter fellowship runs from Sept. 30 to Oct. 14 and will see White visiting publishing houses in Frankfurt, Cologne, and Berlin, before attending the international book fair. In a press release, White says of her dual appointments: “It’s a great honour to be granted these opportunities. D&M Publishers has built lasting connections with international publishing contacts over the years, and it’s vital that our next generation of leaders continue in this tradition. The fellowships will allow us to do just that.”

White was promoted to publisher of D&M last March as part of a series of executive-level changes. Before joining the firm in 2010, the B.C. native spent six years as an editor at McClelland & Stewart.

In the March issue of Q&Q, we asked Trena about her editorial vision and D&M’s future:

In general, do you think the non-­fiction being published has changed over the last decade? This is definitely the era of celebrity memoirs and bios. The bestseller list is largely populated by books about or by celebrities, and I don’t know if that was the case 10 years ago. I think there’s been something of a shift, where it seems as though people have been looking for slightly lighter fare in the last couple of years. After 9/11 people were looking for meaty, weighty non-fiction analyzing current events, but now it seems like people want to be more entertained. I’m thinking of books like Neil Pasricha’s The Book of Awesome (Penguin). Maybe there’s a bit of fatigue over books about international affairs.

What do you look for in a manuscript? I love narrative non-fiction, so I love a good story. I want to be entertained as much as I want to be informed. Every editor and publisher talks about discovering a strong voice, somebody whose writing makes you sit up and pay attention, whose writing is original and fresh, and shows a deep talent. I like books that have a social conscience, and that’s a way my values align nicely with Douglas & McIntyre’s. Historically, it’s been a humanistic list: a lot of books about social issues, politics, and current affairs.

How is D&M preparing for the future? These are such challenging times for book publishers: no one knows where things are going, and everything’s in flux. I think there are specific challenges for mid-sized publishers like D&M, because we’re competing nationally against the big corporations that can pay healthy advances, and we don’t have the economies of scale. But I think we’re doing a lot right now to put us in a good place for the future, like focusing on international distribution arrangements; getting our art and architecture books distributed in Europe through Prestel Verlag, for example.

How is working for a Vancouver publisher different than a Toronto-based company? I’m from B.C., so for me, coming to D&M was coming home. It’s different in that there’s a very strong writing and publishing community in Vancouver, and we’re the biggest player in that scene. We get a lot more proposals and manuscripts through referrals, and through relationships various people in the company have with writers and other contacts. We’re tapped into the community in a very significant way, and that’s fantastic.

Are there downsides to being headquartered on the West Coast? I do worry that we’re under the radar of agents and authors in Toronto, though half, if not more, of our authors are based in central or Eastern Canada, and we have a small marketing office in Toronto. I also sometimes worry about the perception that we’re not a big player because we’re not based in Toronto. We don’t see ourselves as a regional publisher – we’re a national publisher competing on a national level.

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In the July/August issue of Q&Q: fall’s most anticipated books

FALL PREVIEW

A first look at the season’s most anticipated books

Fiction: Susan Swan’s long-awaited prequel to The Wives of Bath; Alice Munro’s new collection; Matthew Tierney’s science-inspired poetry; and more

Non-fiction: Neil Young’s rock ’n’ roll memoir; Andrew Nikiforuk’s oil-industry polemic; Julie Devaney’s unique medical memoir; and more

Books for young people: Orca’s adventure series debut; Margaret Atwood’s latest alliterative picture book; Susan Juby’s dystopian vision; and more

International books: Chinua Achebe’s civil war memoir; Ian McEwan’s literary spy novel; Zadie Smith’s new fictional direction; and more

FROM THE EDITOR
For Literary Press Group: the good news came just in time

FRONTMATTER
The delicate art of the author photo

How metadata improves online visibility

Emily Schultz’s blonde ambition

Northern retailer Chat Noir Books’ community-oriented approach

Snapshot: Black Bond Books co-owner Cathy Jesson

Cover to cover: Fran Kimmel’s The Shore Girl

REVIEWS
Inside by Alix Ohlin

Signs and Wonders by Alix Ohlin

People Park by Pasha Malla

Gay Dwarves of America by Ann Fleming

Y by Marjorie Celona

Above All Things by Tanis Rideout

Mr. Churchill’s Profession: The Statesman as Author and the Book that Defined the “Special Relationship” by Peter Clarke

PLUS more fiction, non-fiction, and poetry

BOOKS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
Uncle Wally’s Old Brown Shoe by Wallace Edwards

Old MacDonald Had Her Farm by JonArno Lawson; Tina Holdcroft, illus.

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

PLUS more fiction, non-fiction, and picture books

THE Q&Q/BOOKNET CANADA BESTSELLERS

THE LAST WORD Pasha Malla on why the most affecting literature thumbs its nose at the rules

Subscribe to Q&Q
Get the digital edition

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Book links roundup: Kobo to launch in Japan, Rotimi Babatunde wins Caine Prize for African writing, and more

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Canadian literary event roundup: June 8-14

  • Patrick deWitt signing for Ablutions, Indigo Eaton Centre, Toronto (June 8, 12 p.m., free)
  • “The Adventure of the Process”: The Writer’s Guild of Alberta Conference and Alberta Book Awards Gala, Hotel Arts, Calgary (June 8–10, 5 p.m., from $80)
  • Insomniac Press Night featuring Liz Bugg, Jamie Popowich, and Natalie Zina Walschots, 7750 Mullhern St., Niagara Falls (June 8, 7:30 p.m., free)
  • Readings by Betty Jane Hegerat, Suzette Mayr, and Cathy Ostlere, Pages on Kensington, Calgary (June 8, 7:30 p.m., free)
  • “An Editor and an Agent Tell All” workshop, Four Corners Library, Brampton, ON (June 9, 10:30 a.m., $48, $44 advance)
  • “Stream of Conciousness” writing workshop with Bruce Kauffman, The Artel, Kingston (June 9, 7 p.m., $10)
  • Reading and discussion of Cathy Ostlere’s Lost: A Memoir, Shelf Life Books, Calgary (June 10, 2 p.m., free)
  • Niagara Literary Arts Festival presents a YA reading featuring Hermine Steinberg and Allison Bryson, Fine Grind Café, St. Catharines, ON (June 10, 2 p.m., free)
  • “Storytelling for Social Change” panel discussion as part of the Vancouver International Storytelling Festival, Vancouver Public Library Central Branch (June 10, 2:30 p.m., free)
  • Gloria Vanderbilt reads from The Things We Fear Most, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto (June 10, 7:30 p.m., $10, free for students)
  • Carol MacDougall and Shanda LaRamee-Jones launch Play Book, Keshen Goodman Library, Halifax (June 11, 10:30 a.m., free)
  • Jaime Forsythe reads from Sympathy Loophole, Alice Burdick launches Holler, and John Wall Barger launches Hummingbird, Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, Halifax (June 11, 7 p.m., free)
  • Vertigo Reading Series featuring Shelley Leedahl, Winter Fedyk, Adam Pottle, and Murray Arthur Logan, Crave Kitchen and Wine Bar, Regina (June 11, 7:30 p.m., free)
  • Reading and signing by Brian Henderson for Sharawadji, McNally Robinson, Winnipeg (June 12, 7 p.m., free)
  • Irvine Welsh discusses his new novel, Skagboys, with Eleanor Wachtel, TIFF Bell Lightbox, Toronto (June 12, 9 p.m. $20)
  • An evening with poet Don Kerr, Regina Public Library (June 13, 7 p.m., free)
  • Reading and signing by Leslie Vryenhoek, McNally Robinson, Winnipeg (June 13, 8 p.m., free)
  • In celebration of Bloomsday Montreal, Dr. Dana Hearne discusses the importance of Nora Barnacle in James Joyce’s life and writing, and Dr. Gus O’Gorman reads from Ulysses, Atwater Library, Westmount, QC (June 14, 12:30 p.m., free)
  • Nicole Markotić launches her poetry collection Bent at the Spine, Pages on Kensington, Calgary (June 14, 7:30 p.m., free)
  • Atlantic Author Day, featuring signings by 48 authors at 34 locations across the East Coast (June 16, 10 a.m.)

Quillblog is looking for photos from literary events across Canada. Send your photos to scflinn@quillandquire.com.

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Book links roundup: Sony launches browser-based e-bookstore, Justice League film back on, and more

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Canadian literary event roundup: June 1-7

  • Deux Voiliers Publishing open house featuring Brendan Ray, Stephen Lorne Bennett, Chris Turner, and Con Cu, Collected Works Bookstore, Ottawa (June 1, 7 p.m., free)
  • Niagara Literary Arts Festival kicks off with readings by Erno Rossi and Marsha Barber, Patrick Sheehan’s Irish Pub, St. Catharines, Ont. (June 1, 7:30 p.m., free)
  • Ridgeway Reads all-day book fair, Legion Branch 230, Ridgeway ON (June 2, 9 a.m., $20 per table)
  • Writing for Children and Young Adults workshop with Brian Henrey and Kelley Armstrong, Oakville Central Library, Oakville Ont. (June 2, 10 a.m., $48; $44 in advance)
  • Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia Annual General Meeting, Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia, Halifax (June 2, 12 p.m., free)
  • Kathryn Ellis launches her new YA book, Home in Time for Dinner, Chapters Richmond Hill, Ont. (June 2, 1 p.m., free).
  • “Out of the Shadows,” a panel on the art of translation featuring Hugh Hazelton, Susan Ouriou, and Gisèle Villeneuve, Shelf Life Books, Calgary (June 2, 3 p.m, free.)
  • Authors and Angels at the Astor, a tribute to Joyce Barkhouse featuring Alex Hickey, Vernon Oickle, Marcia Pierce Harding, E. Alex Pierce, and Janet Barkhouse, Astor Theatre, Liverpool, N.S. (June 2, 7 p.m., $10, $10 for reception)
  • Jay Ingram reads from Fatal Flaws, Plaza Theatre, Calgary (June 3, 11 a.m., $10; $20 includes lunch)
  • Esther Paul launches Mending Fences, McNally Robinson, Winnipeg (June 3, 2 p.m., free)
  • Battle of the Sexes Poetry with Dwayne Morgan, Elle Seon, Ritallin, Tammy Soulful, Dahveed Delisca, Dianne Robinson, Denyce, and Tomy Buick, Lamabadina Lounge, Toronto (June 3, 6 p.m., $20 $15 in advance)
  • Toronto Jewish Book Festival kicks off with Michael Wex interviewing Auslander, Toronto Reference Library (June 4, 8 p.m., $25)
  • 8th House Publishing launches The Love Song of J. Edgar Hoover by Charles Talkoff, Jump the Devil by Richard Rathwell, and The Midas Touch by James Cummins and Cameron W. Reed, Paragraphe Bookstore, Montreal (June 6, 6 p.m., free)
  • Readings with Angie Abdou, Mark Lavorato and Teri Vlassopoulos, Librarie Drawn & Quarterly, Montreal (June 6, 7 p.m., free)
  • Book signing with Treena Wynes, McNally Robinson, Saskatoon (June 7, 7:30 p.m., free)
  • Griffin Poetry Prize shortlist readings featuring Ken Babstock, Phil Hall, David Harsent, Yusef Komunyakaa, Sean O’Brien, Joanna Trzeciak/Tadeusz Różewicz and Jan Zwicky, Koerner Hall, Toronto (June 6, 7:30, from $12.50)
  • Shree Gatage launches her novel Thirst, Pages on Kensington, Calgary (June 7, 7:30 p.m., free)
  • The Heroines of The Sexual Gothic fundraiser, featuring Susan Swan, the Billie Hollies and Martha Chaves, Toronto Women’s Bookstore (June 7, 6:30 p.m., $30 $25 in advance)
  • Dan Rather discusses his memoir Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News, Indigo Manulife, Toronto (June 7, 7 p.m., free)

Quillblog is looking for photos from literary events across Canada. Send your photos to scflinn@quillandquire.com.

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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.

Steve Artelle

Chris Jennings

Kaie Kellough

Jenna

Hall of Honourers

Brandon Wint

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

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