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Fall preview 2013: pop culture, sports, food & drink, and more

In the July/August issue, Q&Q looks ahead at fall’s most anticipated Canadian non-fiction.

Art, Music & Pop Culture

Diagnosed with leukemia in 1969 while still in his thirties, artist Jack Chambers’ final decade was marked by frenzied work in an effort to provide for his young family. Faced with his own mortality, Chambers also embarked upon a research project into the nature of immortality, which took the form of a complex, colour-coded collage of quotations and ideas. Former McMichael Gallery executive director Tom Smart spent more than a decade “decrypting” the obscure work. In Jack Chambers’ Red and Green (TPQ, $22.95 pa., July), he delivers insight into the mind of one of Canada’s most gifted painters and filmmakers. • Smart is attached to another art book forthcoming this fall. Despite being one of Canada’s best-known landscape painters, Christopher Pratt is long overdue for the retrospective treatment in book form. Christopher Pratt: Six Decades (Firefly Books, $60 cl., Oct.), edited by Smart, is timed to coincide with a retrospective of Pratt’s work at the Art Gallery of Sudbury.*

From Leanne Shapton comes another book of characteristic whimsy and watercolours. A collection of 78 paintings of movie stills, Sunday Night Movies (Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95, pa., Oct.) expands on her series of the same name for The New York Times.

In 1993, Beverly Delich discovered 18-year-old Michael Bublé in a Vancouver talent contest. With co-writer Shelley Fralic, Delich pens a memoir, Come Fly with Me (D&M, $32.95 cl., Oct.), about working as Bublé’s manager during his rise to fame. • In the fourth instalment of Invisible Publishing’s Bibliophonic series, Cult MTL editor, musician, and filmmaker Malcolm Fraser traces the path of 1990s Canadian indie band The Wooden Stars and its influence on a generation of musicians. The Wooden Stars: Innocent Gears ($12.95 pa.) appears in October.

Ted Grant has spent more than six decades as a photojournalist, a good portion of them during the glory days of Canadian print journalism. Ted Grant: Sixty Years of Legendary Photojournalism (Heritage House Publishing, $29.95 pa., Oct.), written by Thelma Fayle with forewords from Maureen McTeer and the Right Honerable Joe Clark, includes 135 of Grant’s photos, including images of Pierre Trudeau sliding down a banister and Ben Johnson’s brief moment of Olympic glory.

Essays & Criticism

Anansi will release the latest in its annual Massey Lectures series with Lawrence Hill’s Blood: The Stuff of Life ($19.95 pa., Sept.). Hill traces the biological, cultural, and social connotations of blood that run through race and identity, culture and belonging, and family and privilege.

The correspondence between two of Canada’s most highly regarded poets, Earle Birney and Al Purdy, is collected in a new book by University of Victoria English professor Nicholas Bradley. We Go Far Back in Time: The Letters of Earle Birney and Al Purdy, 1947–1984 (Harbour Publishing, $39.95 cl., Oct.) chronicles a long, evolving friendship as the two poets became CanLit legends.

The subtitle of Zachariah Wells’ Canadian literature blog, Career Limiting Moves, is “saying shit I shouldn’t since 1977.” In his forthcoming book of interviews, rejoinders, essays, and reviews, also titled Career Limiting Moves (Biblioasis, $22.95 pa., Nov.), we suspect he’ll continue in this vein. • Toronto poet Jason Guriel offers a collection of reviews, essays, and “gonzo-reportage” from the poetry community in The Pigheaded Soul (TPQ, $22.95 pa., Nov.).


With Orr: My Story (Viking Canada, $32 cl., Oct.), Bobby Orr has written a memoir about his rise from small-town kid to sports celebrity, his agent’s financially ruinous betrayal, and what he thinks of the game today. • CBC Radio host Grant Lawrence, who was nominated for the 2011 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for his memoir Adventures in Solitude, writes about his relationship with Canada’s favourite sport in The Lonely End of the Rink: Confessions of Reluctant Goalie (D&M, $26.95 pa., Oct.). • Don’t Call Me Goon: Hockey’s Greatest Enforcers, Gunslingers, and Bad Boys, by Greg Oliver and Richard Kamchen, is about the contributions of some of the game’s toughest players, and explores the issues that plague so-called enforcers, from suspensions to concussions to personal controversies (ECW Press, $19.95 pa., Sept.).

Food & Drink

Burgoo: Food for Comfort ($29.95 cl., Sept.), by Justin Joyce and Stephan McIntyre, is one of the first titles from the recently founded Vancouver press Figure 1 Publishing. The book offers 75 recipes for home-style comfort food from the popular eponymous West Coast bistro. • Toronto celebrity chef Lynn Crawford offers 200 recipes for home-cooked meals in At Home with Lynn Crawford (Penguin Canada, $32 pa., Sept.). • Long-time Toronto Star wine columnist and Order of Canada recipient Tom Aspler has authored his 17th book, Canadian Wineries (Firefly, $29.95 pa., Oct.), which contains photographs from Jean-François Bergeron.

In The Politics of the Pantry, Michael Mikulak explores the importance of understanding food sources in contemporary culture (MQUP, $29.95 cl., Oct.). • Michael Wex, who has been called a “Yiddish national treasure,” explores the relationship between Jewish food, social history, and cultural identity in Born to Nosh (Scribner/Simon & Schuster, $29.99 cl., Nov.). • In Eat Your Heart Out with Morro and Jasp (Tightrope Books, $16.95 pa., Oct.), an idiosyncratic book that involves recipes, poems, illustrations, pie charts, and essays, clown sisters Morro and Jasp provide a guide to “playing with your food again.”

Health & Self-Help

As an orphaned child, The Global Forest author Diana Beresford-Kroger was tutored by her caretakers in the Druidic tradition. These simple rituals, coupled with her later education in biochemistry, inspired The Sweetness of a Simple Life: A Guide for Living Simply (Random House Canada, $28 cl., Oct.), which mixes art and science to offer advice for achieving health and peace of mind. • From poets Jessica Hiemstra and Lisa Martin-DeMoor, How to Expect What You’re Not Expecting (Touchwood Editions, $19.95 pa., Sept.) goes further than most books on pregnancy and parenthood. The literary anthology – composed of essays by Carrie Snyder, Sadiqa de Meijer, Lorri Neilsen Glenn, Susan Olding, Maureen Scott Harris, Cathy Stonehouse, and others – focuses on true and tragic stories of miscarriage, stillbirth, infertility, and loss.

*Correction, Sept. 17: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the Christopher Pratt book was timed to coincide with an exhibition of work by Mary Pratt.

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BookNet bestsellers: Sports

The Blue Jays’ lacklustre early season hasn’t stopped fans from buying Steve Clarke’s guidebook 100 Things Blue Jays Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die, which takes the top spot on this week’s bestsellers list.

For the two weeks ending April 7:

1. 100 Things Blue Jays Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die, Steve Clark
(Triumph/Independent Publishers Group, $14.95 pa, 9781600787744)

2. The Duck Commander Family: How Faith, Family, and Ducks Built a Dynasty, Willie Robertson and Korie Robertson
(Howard/Simon & Schuster, $27.99 cl, 9781476703541)

3. Anatomy of Exercise for Women, Lisa Purcell
(Firefly Books, $24.95 pa, 9781770851801)

4. Anatomy of Core Stability, Hollis Liebman
(Firefly, $24.95 pa, 9781770851702)

5. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, Christopher McDougall
(Vintage Canada, $17.95 pa, 9780307279187)

6. Anatomy of Exercise, Pat Manocchia
(Firefly, $24.95 pa, 9781554073856)

7. The Official Nascar 2013 Preview and Press Guide         
(Fenn/McClelland & Stewart, $19.99 pa, 9780771051166)

8. The Three Count: My Life in Stripes as a WWE Referee, Jimmy Korderas
(ECW Press, $19.95 pa, 9781770410848)

9. The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods, Hank Haney
(Crown/Random House, $18 pa, 9780307986009)

10. Hooked on Hockey, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Laura Robinson
(Chicken Soup for the Soul/S&S, $16.95 pa, 9781611599022)

11. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer
(Anchor/Random House, $18.95 pa, 9780385494786)

12. Cornered, Ron MacLean and Kirstie McLellan Day
(HarperCollins Canada, $19.99 pa, 9781554689750)

13. Selling the Dream: How Hockey Parents and Their Kids Are Paying the Price for Our National Obsession, Ken Campbell and Jim Parcells
(Penguin Canada, $32 cl, 9780670065738)

14. Playing with Fire, Theo Fleury with Kirstie McLellan Day
(HarperCollins Canada, $19.99 pa, 9781554682409)

15. The Total Outdoorsman Manual, T. Edward Nickens
(Weldon Owen/S&S, $27.50 pa, 9781616280611)

16. Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong, David Walsh
(Atria/S&S, $29.99 cl, 9781476737119)

17. J.R.: The Fast, Crazy Life of Hockey’s Most Outspoken and Most Colourful Personality, Jeremy Roenick with Kevin Allen
(HarperCollins, $32.99 cl, 9781443406796)

18. WWE Encyclopedia, Brian Shields and Kevin Sullivan
(Dorling Kindersley/Tourmaline, $45 cl, 9780756691592)

19. The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding, Arnold Schwarzenegger with Bill Dobbins
(S&S, $34.99 pa, 9780684857213)

20. Baseball Prospectus 2013
(John Wiley & Sons, $29.95 pa, 9781118459195)

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IFOA’s International Visitors Programme: the schmooze factor

The 2011 cohort at Niagara Falls (Photo: IFOA)

Less than 24 hours into a September business trip to New York City, three people had already asked Iris Tupholme the same question: how could they land an invitation to the International Visitors (IV) Programme? In truth, the guest list is chosen collectively by a committee, which Tupholme chairs, but that fact didn’t stop her peers from trying to wrangle a spot in what has become one of the industry’s most coveted networking events.

Launched in 2008, the five-day IV Programme runs in conjunction with the International Festival of Authors at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre, which kicked off its 2012 edition on Oct. 18. Participants arrive on the first Sunday of the festival and spend the following week attending publisher-hosted breakfast and lunch meetings, touring bookstores and literary agencies, taking in festival readings, participating in pitch meetings, and attending presentations. It’s a fast-paced symposium that immerses visitors in the Canadian publishing industry and, ideally, sends them home with a list of promising Canadian authors and attractive foreign-rights opportunities.

“Five years ago, we started it with the goal of bringing a small group of editors and publishers and an occasional agent or literary scout to Toronto for a series of meetings with colleagues, and attending readings by our Canadian authors and others,” says Tupholme, the vice-president, publisher, and editor-in-chief at Harper­Collins Canada. “It has blossomed from there.”

Tupholme first approached IFOA director Geoffrey Taylor about creating the IV Programme in 2005, after attending the Visiting International Publishers program in Sydney, Australia. Creating an IFOA-related networking event was already in the festival “job jar,” says Taylor, so the pair began developing a program designed for publishing professionals in mid-career who might not be able to attend major international book fairs in Frankfurt or London.

But right from the beginning, says Taylor, “everyone wanted to be a part of it at a much more senior level.” The program also fills the annual networking gap created when Reed Exhibitions announced the permanent cancellation of BookExpo Canada in 2009.

Sales pitches at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre (Photo: IFOA)

Funding for the IV Programme comes primarily from the Ontario Media Development Corporation, with the balance covered by the Department of Canadian Heritage, Authors at Harbourfront Centre, individual publishers (who might sponsor a party or event), and foreign arts councils or funding bodies affiliated with program participants. The program pays for airfare, accommodation, meals, and ground transportation for all “fellows,” while “distinguished guests” (such as agents) cover their own travel costs.

“The exact mechanics vary from year to year,” says Taylor, who emphasizes that the distinction is purely financial. All invited guests participate equally in the week’s events.

While organizers can’t quantify the number of deals and foreign-­rights sales that have resulted directly from the program, most alumni confirm that they have, indeed, discovered Canadian talent in Toronto.

Ziv Lewis, foreign-rights manager for Israel’s Kinneret Zmora-Bitan Dvir Publishing, learned about Deborah Willis’s Vanishing and Other Stories (Penguin Canada) during the 2010 IV Programme and recently published a Hebrew translation. Lewis also met Andrew Kaufman in Toronto, and Kinneret will release an Israeli edition of Kaufman’s second novel, The Waterproof Bible (Random House Canada), in early 2013.

Likewise, London-based literary scout Rosalind Ramsay learned about Katrina Onstad’s novel Everybody Has Everything (McClelland & Stewart) during a 2011 visit to Westwood Creative Artists, and has since encouraged Netherlands publisher Artemis/Ambo Anthos to secure Dutch rights.

The cultural exchange can also happen in reverse. During the 2010 program, former Picador editor Sam Humphreys (now publisher at Penguin U.K. imprint Michael Joseph) introduced Coach House Books editorial director Alana Wilcox to Eye Lake, a novel by U.K.-based Canadian writer Tristan Hughes. After connecting with Humphreys in Toronto, Coach House bought Canadian rights and published the novel in October 2011.

Schmoozing at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre (Photo: IFOA)

Agent Gray Tan, president of the Grayhawk Agency in Taipei, sold The Man with the Compound Eyes by Taiwanese author Ming-Yi Wu to his fellow 2011 IV participant Lexy Bloom, a senior editor at the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group in the U.S. Tan and Bloom became friends during the program, and two months later, Bloom bought Wu’s novel for the Vintage and Anchor imprints.

Perhaps most importantly, representatives from independent Canadian presses have a chance to rub shoulders with influential visitors during the IV Programme. Alumnus Aram Fox, a New York City literary scout, introduced Coach House’s Wilcox to more than a dozen publishers at the 2010 Frankfurt Book Fair after the pair connected in Toronto. “Scouts aren’t that excited to see smaller presses,” says Wilcox, “but [Fox] was open, has the greatest contacts, and arranged the meetings.”

Many alumni agree that running IV during the festival gives the event a cozy atmosphere often lacking on a trade-show floor. The intensive schedule also encourages long-lasting bonds. “It’s something completely different from meetings at book fairs,” says Tan, who represents The Cooke Agency, Random House of Canada, McClelland & Stewart, and the Beverley Slopen Literary Agency in the Chinese market. “Sure, we would still love to do business with each other, but the priority is simply to make friends and exchange ideas and experiences.”

“A huge amount of trust and goodwill is generated, and I imagine that many Canadian authors have benefited indirectly as a result of that goodwill,” says Nick Barley, director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival. In addition to Barley, directors from some of the world’s leading authors’ festivals – including the Melbourne Writers Festival, Beijing’s Bookworm International Literary Festival, and the International Literature Festival Berlin – have participated in the IV Programme, and in 2010, the five festivals formed a unique partnership known as the Word Alliance.

Organizers say they don’t plan to expand the number of fellowships available in future years. The current group size of roughly 20 participants – including both fellows and distinguished guests – ensures each visitor has a meaningful experience, says Taylor. The 2012 IV Programme, however, saw the addition of a Canadian editorial fellowship (awarded to Trena White, publisher of Douglas & Mc­Intyre) and a new industry prize known as the Ivy Award. The committee also hopes to create events for the growing list of program alumni and institute a juried IV application form to replace what’s currently a more subjective selection process.

Alumni suggestions for improving the program are strikingly minimal. “I hope the ‘speed date’ part of quick meetings with Canadian publishers and agents can be modified according to the needs of each IV [participant],” says Tan. “Otherwise 10 minutes is just too short.” Barley says the focus on meetings and socializing comes somewhat at the expense of attending literary events, but he adds, “This is a very minor quibble. The organization of the IV Programme is 99 per cent right.”

Overall, past participants have nothing but praise for the event – including the annual field trip to Niagara Falls. Many souvenir photos are snapped while these literary VIPs sport the requisite yellow ponchos. Visiting the landmark site is also one of the most relaxed moments in an otherwise demanding week. “You make people get up really early in the morning, you pour them onto a bus when they’re barely awake, they suddenly arrive somewhere and they get soaking wet,” says Taylor. “What’s not to love about that?”

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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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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WordFest celebrates 100 years of the Calgary Stampede with Wild West programming

Photo courtesy of WordFest and the Calgary Stampede

Calgary’s WordFest has teamed up with the Calgary Stampede to celebrate 100 years of the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.

WildWest Wordfest is a special summer “mini-fest” in tribute to Western Canada’s cowboy culture in literature, music, and art. The free three-day festival launches Monday at Motion Art Gallery with an appearance by Calgary poet laureate Kris Demeanor, an exhibit of images from the Stampede archives, and stories by the winners of the TumbleWord Writing Contest. (Entrants were asked to write a postcard story based on one of five archival Stampede images posted to the WordFest website.)

Highlights from the rest of the week include a Tuesday lunchtime presentation with Piikani storyteller and Stampede School site coordinator Anita Crowshoe; the launch for David Campion and Sandra Shields’ new book of Stampede photography, Cowboy Wild (Rocky Mountain Books), at the Art Gallery of Calgary on Tuesday evening; and the Cowboy Cabaret wrap-up party on Wednesday. The cabaret, which will be held at the Calgary Public Library, features auctioneer Bob Dyck, a collaboration between cowboy poet Doris Daley and singer-songwriter Bruce Innes, a reading from Tom Three Persons by Yvonne Trainer, and a performance of I Just Wanna Be a Stampede Queen by spoken word poet Sheri-D Wilson with dancer Hannah Stilwell.

The WordFest–Stampede partnership might leave some people scratching their heads, but WordFest marketing manager Mary Kapusta says with Calgary being named one of two cultural capitals of Canada for 2012 (the other is Ontario’s Niagara Region), the city has been “buzzing” with opportunities to show off its creative side.

Kapusta admits that the Cowtown’s community of artists hasn’t always appreciated the Stampede’s cultural value, though everyone from actors and  singer-songwriters, to visual artists and writers has responded positively to this partnership. “It’s been an eye-opener for some in our community … learning that the Stampede is about more than just the races and the rodeo,” she says, expressing her own surprise at learning of the Stampede’s involvement in issues such as gender in sport, aboriginal rights and heritage, scientific and technological advances.

Most important, though, was discovering what the two festivals have in common: storytelling. “WordFest is all about stories,” Kapusta says, and the Stampede also treasures a good yarn. “The power of stories is a big thing for them,” she says, noting that the Stampede’s archives provided an entryway to the event’s legends and history. In fact, the archives were integral in putting the Wild West programming together, Kapusta says. “We’re pulling parts of that [history] and playing with it, exploring it, and throwing it against this modern backdrop.”

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Atwood, Gibson meet with Windsor Star editorial board

Margaret Atwood and Graeme Gibson met with the editorial board at the Windsor Star on Thursday to talk ferries, farming, and living anonymously on Pelee Island.

The couple stopped in at the newspaper’s offices on their way to Springsong, an annual event held on Pelee Island, about 100 kilometres southeast of Windsor, Ontario, on Lake Erie. Now in its 11th year, the fundraiser is put on by the Pelee Island Heritage Centre in celebration of local bird populations and Canadian literature. Atwood and Gibson,who have owned property on the island since 1987, regularly take part in the festivities. They will be joined this year by authors Wayne Grady and Merilyn Simonds.

In a video posted to the Star‘s website, Atwood discusses how the lack of transportation to the island (the area’s ferries have been out of service since April) has had devastating effects on the community. “The people who are really being hard hit at the moment are the farmers, because they cannot get their seed onto the island so they can’t plant anything,” Atwood says. Gibson adds: “And no one seems prepared to do anything realistic for them.”

Later in the interview, Atwood explains the island’s appeal to a CanLit icon: “Tourists go over and say, ‘You’re Margaret Atwood.’ … People on the island say, ‘Margaret who? … When people say, ‘Come and do such-and-such,’ I say, ‘Well, I actually can’t because I’m on the island.”

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BookNet bestsellers: sports

As the National Hockey League playoffs get underway, this week’s bestsellers list is dominated by books about Canada’s favourite sport.

For the two weeks ending April 8:

1. The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods, Hank Haney
(Crown Publishing/Random House, $31 cl, 9780307985989)

2. Moe and Me, Lorne Rubenstein
(ECW Press, $19.95 pa, 9781770410534)

3. Anatomy of Muscle Building, Craig Ramsay
(Firefly Books, $24.95 pa, 9781554078165)

4. Playing with Fire, Theo Fleury with Kirstie McLellan Day
(HarperCollins Canada, $19.99 pa, 9781554682409)

5. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, Christopher McDougall
(Knopf Canada, $17.95 pa, 9780307279187)

6. The Game, Ken Dryden
(John Wiley & Sons Canada, $24.95 pa, 9780470835845)

7. Cornered, Ron MacLean with Kirstie McLellan Day
(HarperCollins Canada, $33.99 cl, 9781554689743)

8. Tough Guy, Bob Probert with Kirstie McLellan Day
(HarperCollins Canada, $19.99 pa, 9781443404624)

9. My Year of the Racehorse, Kevin Chong
(Greystone Books, $22.95 pa, 9781553655206)

10. NHL Records Forever
(Fenn/McClelland & Stewart, $32.99 pa, 9780771051036)

11. Moneyball (movie tie-in edition), Michael Lewis
(W.W. Norton & Company/Penguin, $18.50 pa, 9780393338393)

12. Survival Circle: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Anywhere, John Wiseman
(HarperCollins, $24.99 pa, 9780007274932)

13. The Final Call, Kerry Fraser
(Fenn/M&S, $21.99 pa, 9780771047985)

14. Moneyball, Michael Lewis
(W. W. Norton/Penguin, $18.50 pa, 9780393324815)

15. SAS Survival Handbook: Essential Skills for Outdoor Adventure, John Wiseman
(HarperCollins, $19.95 pa, 9780756690380)

16. Undisputed: How to Become the World Champion in 1,372 Easy Steps, Chris Jericho and Peter Thomas Fornatale
(Grand Central Publishing/Hachette, $8.99 mm, 9780446538169)

17. Baseball Prospectus 2012
(Wiley, $29.95 pa, 9780470622070)

18. The Beginning Runner’s Handbook, Ian MacNeill
(Greystone, $19.95 pa, 9781553658603)

19. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer
(Anchor/Random House, $18.95 pa, 9780385494786)

20. Don Cherry’s Hockey Stories, Part 2, Don Cherry
(Doubleday Canada, $19.95 pa, 9780385670050)

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Q&A with art star and kidlit up-and-comer Cybèle Young

Cybèle Young may have seemed like an overnight kidlit success when her most recent picture book, Ten Birds (Kids Can Press), won a Governor General’s Literary Award last fall, but the Toronto-based artist actually began working on it more than 15 years ago. Young first made her name in the art world, where her miniature paper sculptures have attracted galleries and collectors in Vancouver, London, and New York, and landed her a recent residency in Paris. In the March 2012 issue of Q&Q, she discusses how her art informs her literary work, the transporting power of story, and what readers can expect next.

It might surprise some to learn that you trained as a sculptor. How did you get into publishing?
From a very young age, there was no question in my mind that I was an artist. At the Ontario College of Art, I did all sculpture courses. But in my final year of school, when I was pregnant with my daughter, everything shifted. I took a book-arts class and discovered that books were sculptural, too, on a private yet accessible level. I found myself going to kids’ book sections a lot more than I would go to galleries. And I still do.

You started Ten Birds in 1996. How did it finally come to fruition?
I drew most of the pictures for Ten Birds right after my daughter was born. I went to Groundwood Books with it 15 years ago because co-publisher Patsy Aldana is a friend’s mother. Then I illustrated a bit for Groundwood while focusing mainly on art – I felt I could only have one focus in addition to parenting.

Three years ago, after Groundwood had agreed to publish another picture book of mine, A Few Blocks (2011), I thought, “Well, I already showed this to Patsy, and we’re working together on something else,” so I showed it to Kids Can publisher Karen Boersma, whom I’d met at Groundwood. It clicked. We added one or two pages at the beginning and one or two at the end, but other than that, we used only the original drawings.

Some of your illustrations look like your sculptures. How does your art affect your books, and vice versa?
They definitely inform each other – I’m really half a person without one or the other. I had to find my voice in art first, but one of the things I love about books is being able to reach a wide audience. My sculptures imply stories, and in my books there are definitely themes I explore in my art, like my interest in small day-to-day experiences. Another thing I learned in sculpture that I apply to everything else: if I don’t enjoy it, it’s going to suck.

Has being a mom affected your publishing career?
Certainly I fell in love with children’s books when I was pregnant. And as a parent, there’s nothing more heavenly than knowing your kid, who could be climbing the walls, will sit happily in your lap if you offer them a book, and you can both be transported to another world.

Click on the thumbnails to see examples of Young’s fine art and illustration work.

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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

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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