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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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Rolex pairs U.K. novelist Naomi Alderman and Margaret Atwood in mentorship program

Margaret Atwood will spend the next year mentoring U.K. novelist Naomi Alderman. The partnership is a product of the Rolex Arts Initiative, which pairs masters with emerging arts professionals in the areas of literature, theatre, film, dance, music, and visual arts.

Oxford-educated Alderman, 37, is the author of three novels — Disobedience, which won the 2006 Orange Award for New Writers, The Lessons (2010), and The Liars’ Gospel (forthcoming in August). She was named The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year in 2007, and is also credited with writing a number of computer games and mobile apps. Alderman says she turned to writing full-time after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre prompted her to leave an unfulfilling job in Manhattan and through the mentorship she hopes to figure out “how to shape the next 20 years.”

Alderman will spend a minimum of six weeks working with her mentor, and will receive US$25,000 for expenses and another US$25,000 to finance a larger project. Atwood hand-picked the British writer after interviewing a pool of candidates.

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15 TIFF films for the literary-minded

You’re not going to get close to Brad Pitt, in town this weekend for the premiere of Moneyball, the adaptation of Michael Lewis’s baseball book of the same name, but if you’re attending the Toronto International Film Festival this week, here are 15 more book-to-screen adaptations or literary-minded films to keep in mind.

Albert Nobbs: Glenn Close stars in the adaptation of George Moore’s 19th-century short story about an Irish woman who disguises herself as a man to work as a butler.

Almayer’s Folly: In 2000, director Chantal Akerman adapted the fifth volume of Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu for the big screen; this time it’s Joseph Conrad’s debut novel.

Anonymous: Director Roland Emmerich travels back to the court of Queen Elizabeth I in this drama, which suggests Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, may have written Shakespeare’s greatest plays.

Chicken with Plums: Marjane Satrapi reunites with her Persepolis co-director Vincent Paronnaud to adapt the second graphic novel in the trilogy.

A Dangerous Method: David Cronenberg’s period piece is adapted from screenwriter Christopher Hampton’s play, which was based on John Kerr’s non-fiction work A Most Dangerous Method: The Story of Jung, Freud, and Sabina Spielrein.

The Eye of the Storm: Charlotte Rampling plays an aging matriarch to Geoffrey Rush and Judy Davis in this adaptation of Australian author Patrick White’s novel of the same name.

The First Man: A French film by Italian director Gianni Amelio, based on Albert Camus’ unfinished autobiographical novel Le premier homme, which the author was working on when he was killed in a car accident.

Habibi: A modern retelling of the ninth-century classical poem Majnun Layla (Mad for Layla), set in the Gaza Strip.

Hard Core Logo II: The sequel (or companion film) to the Canadian cult classic, based on the novel by Michael Turner, stars director Bruce McDonald.

Killer Elite: Jason Statham, Clive Owen, and Robert De Niro pull out the action for this film, adapted from Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ 1991 bestseller.

The Moth Diaries: Mary Harron takes on the complexities of female adolescence in this horror film, based on Rachel Klein’s vampire novel.

Monsieur Lazar: Set in a Montreal elementary school, Philippe Falardeau’s new film is expanded from a one-character play by Evelyne de la Chenelière.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen: Ewan McGregor stars as a scientist in Lasse Hallström’s adaptation of Paul Torday’s best-selling novel.

Trishna: It’s not the first time Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles has been made into a film, but this one is directed by Michael Winterbottom and set in India.

UFO in Her Eyes: Contemporary Chinese culture is explored in this adaptation of a novel by Xiaolu Guo, who also directed the film.

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Event photos: London Book Fair Luau party

On July 5, approximately 80 people donned leis and Hawaiian shirts for the London Book Fair Luau to celebrate the retirement of Bryan Prince (owner, Bryan Prince Bookseller), Bridget Barber (partner, Hornblower Group), and Susan Parsons (trade buyer, University of Waterloo Book Store).

Susan Wallace (Oxford University Press) with guest of honour Bryan Prince

Party emcee Bruce Martin (D&M Publishers) with guest of honour Bridget Barber

Shelley Macbeth (Blue Heron Books) and Bonnie St. Aubin (Penguin Canada)

Martin Deck (University of Windsor Book Store) and Kathy Elliot (Thomas Allen & Son)

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Publishing at the polls: federal parties respond to arts and culture questions

The Canadian Conference of the Arts sent leaders of the five federal parties a series of questions pertaining to arts and culture, and have posted the responses on its website. All of the parties responded, except for the Conservatives.

The answers are published without edits, and in a handy table format so you can compare responses. Of particular interest are questions pertaining to the Copyright Modernization Act:

Which elements of Bill C-32 will your party keep, and which elements of the bill will your party remove or change in a new bill to modernize the Copyright Act?

Bloc Québécois: The Bloc Québécois will ensure that the new bill is fair to both creators and consumers. This balance must be achieved, most notably through: an upgraded system for private copying, applying to Mp3 players and other digital music players; reasonable royalties to artists for redistribution of their works; the abolition of the education exemption and fair recognition of the resale rights of visual artists.

The Bloc Québécois is committed to fostering a regime requiring ISPs to pay royalties, which will go towards a fund to pay creators in Quebec who have been harmed due to the illegal downloading of artistic works.

Conservative Party:

Green Party: The Green Party of Canada strongly supports artists’ rights to guaranteed fair compensation through fair patent and copyright laws. At the same time, we consider the digital lock provision in Bill C-32 to be excessively restrictive in that it will not allow students and journalists to properly create and conduct research.

We will work with the CCA and other stakeholders to sharpen the definition of “educational uses” to find the right balance to give researchers this ability in a manner consistent with a thriving information commons, fair dealing principles, and moral rights.

Liberal Party: Recent studies have shown that Canada’s out-of-date Copyright Act translates into major economic loss (up to $965 million lost last year due to piracy, according to an Ipsos/Oxford economics study) for Canadian creators all across the country; the Liberal Party will thus start working on presenting a modernized copyright act as soon as we form government. Bill C-32, the latest Conservative attempt to modernize copyright, was unbalanced and unfair; a Liberal government will work with all stakeholders to ensure creators rights and their sources of revenues are protected under the Copyright Act.

Digital technology offers many new opportunities, but enjoying content without compensating its creators shouldn’t be among them. A new Liberal government will introduce technology neutral copyright legislation that balances the needs of creators and consumers and reflects the principle that our artists and musicians should be paid for their work. We will stand with Canadian creators as they navigate both the opportunities and challenges of the new digital society.

During the debate on copyright legislation in the last Parliament, it was the Liberal Party that developed a practical solution to providing musicians with compensation through a new private copying compensation fund rather than a levy. A Liberal government will look to develop similarly innovative solutions to ensure that the Copyright Act protects creators’ existing and future rights and revenue streams in a digital age. Likewise, the Liberal party believes that any exception under fair dealings must be clearly defined with a clear and strict test for fair use so that creators are fairly compensated for their work.

NDP: In reviewing Bill C-32, New Democrats would closely examine a number of key issues contained in the proposed legislation, including (but not limited to) ISP liability, Technological Protection Measures (TPMs, or so-called “digital locks”), statutory damages, private copying and reproduction for private purposes, broadcast mechanical licensing and fair dealing.

In order to arrive at an equilibrium between the interests of rights-holders and those of consumers, New Democrats would likely begin developing new copyright laws, beginning by consulting widely with stakeholder groups with the aim of creating a legislation that is – unlike C-32 – truly technology-neutral, balanced and flexible enough to ensure its adaptability to new platforms and technologies in the years to come. We would also determine definitively Canada’s obligations as a signatory to various international treaties governing copyright and intellectual property.

And when you’re done reading all the responses, reward yourself with a visit to vintagevoter.ca.

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Daily links round-up: Free Kindles, James Frey, and more

Sundry links from around the Web:

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Reviews sabotaged on Amazon U.K.

The U.K.’s Daily Mail (via MobyLives) reports authors and publishers who are accusing each other of skewing Amazon star ratings by creating fake reader reviews:

[PR firms] provide favourable reviews of new books, at a price. Nathan Barker, of Reputation 24/7, offers a service starting at £5,000. He said: “First we set up accounts. For a romance novel we’d pick seven female profiles and three males. We’d say we like this book but add a tiny bit of criticism and compare it to another book.” Mr Barker claims this is common practice among publishers.

The article goes on to describe hostile reviews received by authors Polly Samson and Rosie Alison.

One [review] compares Miss Alison’s writing to Mills and Boon novels, while another claims she “has no feel for fiction at all, no sense of what makes a plot tick along, no flair for language.” Another implies that the author’s success is connected to her marriage to Tim Waterstone, founder of the chain of High Street bookshops.

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Daily book biz round-up: e-reader pricing war; Stieg Larsson no feminist; and more

Tasty news bits:

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Margaret Atwood among Edinburgh book fest headliners

Margaret Atwood is one of the big-name authors set to appear at this year’s revamped Edinburgh International Book Festival, which takes place Aug. 14–30. In a cross-festival program with the Edinburgh film festival, Atwood will engage architect Norman Foster in a conversation exploring the techniques used by filmmakers and writers for biographies, the Guardian reports. There’s a catch, however: in addition to the fact that Atwood and Foster are not, strictly speaking, biographers, the ever experimental Atwood will not appear in person, but via video hookup.

The popular fest, founded in 1983, is under the new direction of Nick Barley, who invited four guest “selectors” – Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell, poet Don Paterson, literary editor Stuart Kelly, and Ruth Padel, the poet and great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin – to program this year’s event. From the Guardian:

Barley unveiled his first programme today, which features 750 authors. It includes a rare public appearance by Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau in conversation with Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell, three Nobel prize winners, including Joseph Stiglitz, the poet Seamus Heaney, the hairdresser Vidal Sassoon and an opening debate on Jesus between the atheist author Philip Pullman and former bishop of Oxford Richard Harries.

Other Canadians in attendance will include Emma Donoghue, Marina Endicott, Linden MacIntyre, Lisa Moore, Miguel Syjuco, Annabel Lyon, Doug Saunders, Jan Wong, Gwynne Dyer, and Leanne Shapton.

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Daily book biz round-up: iPad security breach; on reading New Yorker fiction; and more

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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.

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Hall of Honourers

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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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