Friday, December 20, 2013

From the Back of the Bookshop: The Strength of Bone Start to Finish

Way back in March, when the snow likely leaked through my boots and road salt tracked its way through the bookshop just as it is doing now, I started what I had the best intentions of making a series about the cover design process at Biblioasis. Since my initial post, which ran through the many varied concepts on the way to producing the final cover for Nancy Jo Cullen's short story collection Canary (Biblioasis, Spring 2013), I've designed many a cover, but the blog "series" on cover design has not moved beyond its first installment.

Today, I present the second part of what I still have the best intentions of making a series: "From the back of the bookshop."

This time, I'm featuring a book from our fall 2013 list, The Strength of Bone by Lucie Wilk. Her debut novel, The Strength of Bone follows the interwoven stories of a Canadian doctor in Malawi, a Malawian nurse, and a young Malawian boy whose mother is receiving treatment at the hospital. What struck me most about Wilk's writing is the way she balances clarity and medical precision with some truly beautiful imagery, making cells on slides as stunning as her landscapes, all while avoiding lapsing into cliche.

Despite my great enjoyment of the novel, a fitting cover design evaded me for a long while. I tend to gravitate towards designs that are minimal, clean, and sometimes quite stark. All of these qualities seemed to be precisely the wrong direction for this cover, so I knew it would be a challenge from the start.

My first thought was to grab one of the images that stood out the strongest to me in the novel, the yellow walls of the hospital. While I rarely use photos in my cover designs, this book seemed to demand a photographic treatment, so I went searching for something that would fit the content and mood of the book. I found a photo of a hospital gurney in a run-down hospital, in front of bright ochre walls.
Great colours. Not so great decor.
Unfortunately, while there were a couple things I liked about the design, such as the type treatment and that fantastic colour, the overwhelming reaction was that the gurney gave more the impression of a torture chamber than a hospital. Since we weren't promoting the latest Saw flick, this idea was not going to work.

Next attempt: photos of people.
Another issue with the first cover concept was that it didn't represent the human interactions that are necessary to the novel. The broken gurney was definitely too bleak and, while I wouldn't call it sterile, it lacked warmth. My next move was to try to incorporate people, and as Iris, a Malawian nurse, features heavily in the book, I tried a concept based around a photo of a Malawian nurse tending to a patient. However, this cover put a bit too much focus on one character, and since the novel splices together the lives of three main figures, there was a problem with balance. I tried a similar type treatment on the photo and played with the focus, but while it was a striking photo, it wasn't right to represent the whole book. Next.

And we're back to cold and clinical again.
 In my continued search for inspiration, I came across this photo of nurses training in Africa. I thought the image had a great visual impact, but I still wanted to incorporate the yellow wall Wilk describes in the novel. I made a couple attempts at overlaying some yellow graphics, but as the image was too stark and cold again I didn't end up working with this one even long enough to do much with the type. Onto something else. 

That typeface keeps coming back.
With this concept, I was still clinging to the typeface from the first cover, which I thought was fitting in that it's nice and clean but also round enough to avoid being too harsh. I also liked the idea of the text appearing almost in negative with the photo showing through. The photo was again intended to emphasize a more human element, with a nurse treating her patients. However, the photo didn't seem to stand out enough for a cover image and the eye had too many places to look all at once. I was sent back to my photo search once more.

Different character. Same issue. Not representative of the whole book.
As with the photo of the single nurse treating her patient, this shot was deemed too specific to one character. Again, since the photo wasn't working, I didn't do much with the typeface, and quickly changed gears.

I walked away from my design attempts for this cover for a couple days and went back to the book. What could I try that I hadn't yet to reflect something broader about the story. This is when I started looking into photos of Mount Mulanje, which plays a prominent role in the novel, to the point where it almost becomes a character itself.

A couple nights' sleep means a drastic shift in concept.
I found this wonderful photo of the mountain, with the lush greenery in the foreground and mists rising above. While it wasn't a hospital, or even a person, there was something about that image that seemed to speak to the novel and give the right impression of its tone. I thought the way the text interacted with the image was also quite organic, for example the overlay of the word "bone" onto the mountain face. This was working better than anything I'd tried to date, but it was not quite right yet. It was time, at last, to re-visit the type treatment.

And we have a winner!
The final cover (above) used the same image of Mount Mulanje but played up the contrast between the greenery, the mountain and the mists to a greater extent. I drew on the way "bone" played against the mountain to do something similar with "strength," darkening it to give it a more dramatic appearance against the mist. One of my favourite aspects of the type treatment is the way "of" appears out of the mists. Add a blurb at the bottom, and the cover is good to go.

From too harsh hospitals, to human interaction, to more harsh hospitals, this was a long haul of a cover design. In the end, the mountain that looms over the story looms also on the cover. And I think it works.

Keep an eye on this spot for more book covers as they progress start to finish. Hopefully in fewer than nine month intervals this time. I have the best intentions.

Kate

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Late Night Conversation

In the wake of the Debut-Litzer Prize, you can join winners Anakana Schofield (fiction, Malarky), Benjamin Busch (creative nonfiction, Dust to Dust) and Natalie Diaz (poetry, When My Brother Was an Aztec) as they discuss their work with executive director Paul Martone and reviewer Patrick McGinty. Listen to the podcast here.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Munro's Books

Pssst. For those of you out west, there's a little celebration happening on Thursday night in honour of Alice Munro; if you have a minute, or forty, or three hundred plus, I'd say it's worth going attending. Here's the description (courtesy of Rod Mickleburgh). Go! Fête! Celebrate!

To mark this wonderful moment in our literary history, a few of us have organized a night of appreciation and readings devoted to Alice Munro’s prodigious body of work. The list of speakers/readers is impressive:
Shaena Lambert; Hal Wake; Anakana Schofield; Sandy Garossino; Actor Tom Scholte; Caroline Adderson; Anne Giardini (novelist and Carol Shields’ daughter); Cynthia Flood; Cathleen With; Aislinn Hunter (Alice’s cousin); Betsy Warland; Fiona Lam; Elise Partridge; and me.
Host for the evening is the Globe and Mail’s superb arts correspondent, Marsha Lederman, while the tireless Kerry Gold has been chief motivator.
We are calling the event, Munro’s Books, with the kind permission of her ex-husband, Jim, who runs the great bookstore of that name in Victoria. 
It takes place Thursday night, 7 o’clock, at The Tangent Café, 2095 Commercial Drive. Snow or no snow. Craft beer on tap. Free admission. Y’all come, now. It should be quite the evening. 
To whet your appetite, here is a 45-minute interview with the great Alice Munro, just posted on the Nobel Prize website.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Cullen in Vancouver Sun; Wilk on 49th Shelf

Afternoon, all, and happy Monday. We've had a lovely weekend chez Windsor, as (much to the balm of our Post-Holiday-Party Heads) there were a couple nice hits for Biblioasis titles. Nancy Jo Cullen's Canary was selected by Mary Ann Moore as one of her favourite reads for 2013 in The Vancouver Sun, while our own Cynthia Flood singled out Lucie Wilk's The Strength of Bone as her holiday gift pick on 49th Shelf. Both lists have lots of great suggestions, from presses big and small. Enjoy!

Oh. And because it wouldn't be me if I didn't say something: Happy Birthday, Milton. Best wishes to that glorious Form, that Light insufferable, And that far-beaming blaze of Majesty—with love from all of us chez Biblioasis




Monday, December 02, 2013

Flood, Wilk in National Post

Morning, all, and happy (Cyber?) Monday. The National Post was full of Biblioasis this weekend, with a piece running on Lucie Wilk's The Strength of Bone, plus what I'd call an all-out love-song to Cynthia Flood's sparse, strange short fiction. Thanks to Steven Beattie for the latter (and for doing his best to debunk the phrase "writer's writer," which as we all know gives with one hand and slaps with the other). "Flood is a highly accomplished stylist," writes Beattie:
whose technique is tightly calibrated and precise ... Anything superfluous is ruthlessly pared away, resulting in a presentation that frequently resembles pointillism ... discrete elements congeal to create something recognizable and aesthetically pleasing, but the whole is utterly dependent on the interaction of its parts: change one thing and the entire piece suffers.
Pretty heady praise to begin with. But then he continues: "The stories in Red Girl Rat Boy are brief, but dense, requiring concentration and attention ... [yet are] as emotionally engaging as any flat-out storyteller."

As for the Wilk review, yes, it was more qualified, more cautious, it eventually moves past its hums and haws to call The Strength of Bone "masterfully literary." Keep an eye out for more Wilk reviews in the coming weeks.

What else is on the horizon? Our second annual Holiday Party is coming up this Friday, with a 10% store-wide discount; we've got hockey events coming out our ears (including Bob Duff at the Walkerville Tavern on the 10th); we have FLASHY NEW T-SHIRTS and more of our FLASHY OLD T-SHIRTS; we hear rumour that Anakana Schofield was positively resplendent at the GG dinner; and and we swear that copies of the new CNQ will be arriving at the doorsteps of subscribers, you poor dear patient much-enduring subscribers, within DAYS. Stay tuned!


Monday, November 18, 2013

Last Week Was Actually Pretty Great.

You wouldn't know it from the Thirsty blog (ahemcoughsorry), but last week was actually a pretty great one over here at the Bibliomanse. So a happy Monday to you all! See below for the movings, shakings, news, reviews, and gossipy tidbits that got our follicles tingling ca. Nov. 11 to Nov. 15th, 2013. On the 16th we at the Bibliomanse celebrated ONE FULL YEAR in our wonderful new bookshop and office, and admittedly got a little distracted preparing for that, but you know what? We had a heckuva good time. Paul Vasey, Bob Duff, and Rino Bortolin joined us for author signings, and—as an extra-special geek treat—we had bookbinder extraordinaire Dan Mezza come in from London to do on-the-spot book appraisals and make repairs suggestions on old volumes. Thanks to the book doctor for making the trip south, and thanks to all of our wonderful customers who came in to support us here at the shop. We couldn't do it without you.

On to the media!

1. We had a lovely endorsement of Ray Robertson's David from the Historical Novel Society, as well as a half-hour interview with Ray with Bill Kenower, editor in chief of Author Magazine, on Author2Author;

2. Mauricio Segura's Eucalyptus was reviewed in the Montreal Review of Books and was named an Editor's Pick/Amazon.ca Top 100 Books of the Year for 2013;

3. Lucie Wilk, whose Strength of Bone was also an Editor's Pick/Amazon Top 100 book, was reviewed in this month's Quill & Quire. Quoth Kamal Al-Solaylee: “If you suppose [The Strength of Bone] is a love story across racial and political lines, you’re underestimating the inventiveness and grace of Lucie Wilk’s meditative debut. Wilk instead works with what is unspoken, hinted at, and left to the imagination … anything but typical.”

4. A "Book News" piece by Annalisa Quinn is circulating on NPR.org and NPR affiliates for Mia Couto's Neustadt win:
Book News: Mozambican Writer Wins Neustadt Prize, 'America's Nobel’: on NPR.org’s “The Two-Way,” Nov. 5
Repeated on WWNO.org, Nov. 13

5. In the wake of the furor surrounding Garth Hallberg’s massive Knopf advance, I thought I’d mention that yep, that is in fact the same Garth who blurbed Traymore so handsomely for The Millions. Traymore was also singled out for its first line over the weekend by the San Francisco Chronicle

6. Friday was a lovely wonderful rare day for us here at Biblioasis, with our first full-length poetry review in Michael Lista’s “On Poetry” column. For the poetry enthusiasts out there—heck, for everybody—the whole thing’s worth reading in full. Congratulations to Alexandra Oliver.
“An incredible feat of vision and voice … technically, nothing is out of Oliver’s grasp. Her go-to iambic pentameter can swallow anything in its path. Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway should go a long way toward establishing Oliver as one of the country’s best stanza makers, with a fluidity and ambition aspiring to Dylan Thomas or Yeats … When she succeeds, she succeeds entirely.”
7. Last but not least, the following from KD Miller, whose new collection All Saints will be forthcoming with Biblioasis in Spring 2014:
Recently I was interviewed by CNIB volunteer Ann Saunders for Accessible Media Inc. about my experience of recording some of my own books for The Canadian National Institute for the Blind. Included in the interview are excerpts of me narrating Holy Writ (The Porcupine's Quill, 2001); actor Deborah Kipp narrating Brown Dwarf (Biblioasis, 2010); and Ann Saunders herself narrating The Other Voice (Stonebunny Press, 2011.)
If you'd like to listen in, just click on the word "online" at the end of this sentence: "The November 2013 episode of Choice Words, featuring an interview with K.D. Miller, is available for listening online."

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Mia Couto Wins $50,000 "American Nobel"






Biblioasis is proud to announce that
MIA COUTO
Author of The Tuner of Silences
is the
winner of the
$50,000
2014 NEUSTADT PRIZE

                                                                                                               
On Friday, Nov. 1, in Norman, Oklahoma, Mozambican novelist Mia Couto was awarded the 2014 Neustadt Prize for Literature. Following just five months after the €100,000 Camões Prize for Literature, which he received in May of 2013, the Neustadt marks the second major lifetime achievement award that Couto has received this year.

The $50,000 prize is sponsored by the University of Oklahoma, the Neustadt family, and World Literature Today (WLT), the university’s award-winning magazine of international literature and culture. Chosen biennially by a jury of seven or more members, the prize, which is the first international award of its scope to originate in America, honours an author for overall literary accomplishment. Because 30 of the Neustadt’s winners, nominees and jurors have also won the Nobel Prize, it has been dubbed “the American Nobel,” and authors associated with both include Pablo Neruda, Gabriel García Márquez, Orhan Pamuk, Mo Yan, and Alice Munro.

Gabriella Ghermandi, who nominated Mr. Couto for the Neustadt, has praised him as “an author who addresses not just his country but the entire world, all human beings.” WLT executive director Robert Con Davis-Undiano describes Couto’s project as an attempt “to lift the yoke of colonialism from a culture by reinvigorating its language. A master of Portuguese prose, he wants to lift that burden one word, one sentence, and one narrative at a time, and in this endeavor he has few if any peers.”

Other contenders for this year’s prize included Haruki Murakami, César Aira, and Edward P. Jones.

Couto is the first Mozambican author to receive the Neustadt prize. “Mozambique is a very young country,” Couto commented recently in an interview with PolicyMic: “an African country trying to deny the stereotypes of what is ‘typically’ African, which is normally associated with negative and victimist values.” He observes that the prize announcement comes as happy news in an otherwise sad time for his nation, which once more is confronting the prospect of civil war.

Couto, whose most well-known work is the novel Sleepwalking Land (1992), is the author of over 25 volumes of poetry, fiction, essays, short stories, and plays.

His most recent work to appear in English is The Tuner of Silences (Biblioasis 2013), translated by David Brookshaw.


For more information about Mia Couto and The Tuner of Silences, please read on. You may also listen to a live stage interview, conducted by Eleanor Wachtel of CBC Radio's Writers and Company, as it airs this Sunday June 2nd on CBC Radio One (3 p.m. ET/AT, 3:30 NT, 5 p.m. CT/MT/PT). 

For interviews with Mia Couto or reviews of his work, please visit:
          PolicyMic: A Q&A with Mia Couto
The Paris Review Daily: “We Are Made of Memories”: Mia Couto in Conversation with Scott Esposito
The New Inquiry: “Feinting Spells,” by Aaron Bady
Warscapes: An Excerpt from The Tuner of Silences, Introduced by David Brookshaw


PRAISE FOR THE TUNER OF SILENCES

"David Brookshaw's lyrical translation of Mia Couto's Portuguese lull[s] us into a hypnotized semi-acceptance of [an] impossible universe … Couto's narrative tone, at once deadpan and beguiling, and his virtuoso management of time, place him alongside the best Latin American magic realists." —Times Literary Supplement

"A sad novel of poetic brilliance—haunting in its human landscape."— The Independent

"Mia Couto, long regarded as one of the leading writers in Mozambique, has now been recognized as one of the greatest living writers in the Portuguese language … The Tuner of Silences cracks open a welcoming window onto a vast world of literary pleasures that has for too long remained under the radar in the English-speaking world."—Philip Graham, The Millions


ABOUT MIA COUTO
Mia Couto, an environmental biologist from Mozambique, is the author of 25 books of fiction, essays and poems in his native Portuguese. Couto’s novels and short story collections have been translated into 20 languages. Two of his novels have been made into feature films. His work has been awarded important literary prizes in Mozambique, South Africa, Portugal, Italy and Brazil. His books have been bestsellers in Africa, Europe and Latin America. Six of Couto’s books have been translated into English in the United Kingdom: two short story collections by Heinemann and four novels by Serpent’s Tail. The Tuner of Silences is his first novel to be published in North America.

ABOUT BIBLIOASIS

Biblioasis is a literary press based in Windsor, Ontario. Since 2004 we have been publishing the best in Canadian fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and literature in translation. For more information please consult our website: www.biblioasis.com.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Ghosts & Goblins

Afternoon, all, and a happy-ish All Saints'. There's a thing we will NOT do today, no sir—we shall not talk about a certain goblinish review for a certain gigantoid Canadian novel released on Hallowe'en in a certain large-circulating New York newspaper, no, no we shan't—nope. Nary a word. That was yesterday. In the past. The Trick part of the holiday. Plus if we were going to talk about it then there would be that last sentence, right? And that was sort of okay.  Instead, instead instead instead, we're going to talk about the LOVELY review of This Great Escape that came in yesterday from the Montreal Gazette. We also might discuss the fact that Lucie Wilk's The Strength of Bone is today's "First Fiction Friday" pick over at the LPG blog. Yes indeed! Those are the things to mention. TGIF, ladies & gentlemen. Welcome to November.

"As my muse, I had those prisoners of Stalag Luft III. Their ingenuity and courage was outrageous. So you escape a prison camp, you escape obscurity, you escape genre and convention. It’s a prisoner’s duty to attempt escape. Most of us are prisoners of something."
—Andrew Steinmetz on This Great Escape (Montreal Gazette)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Bookfest Approacheth; Reviews, miscellaneous; a Tweet!

Afternoon, all, and a spookalicious Hallowe'en. We're chomping rockets and handing out candy here at the Bibliomanse all day, in part because 'tis the season, and in part to sugar ourselves up for a big booky weekend here in Windsor. Yep, it's the one weekend in Windsor where the downtown is flooded with authors, including two of our own: Paul Vasey and David Mason will grace the stage of the Capitol Theatre on Saturday. Dates below. Also of note is this charming l'il tweet from a certain M.A., whom a certain P.V. will be introducing at a certain BFW keynote event; a super-duper blog post on The River courtesy of Kim Hutchinson and The Windsor Star; two reviews of our splendid (and entirely giftable) Original Six Dynasties, one on Sportsology.com and another on Hockeybookreviews.com; and charming pieces on Cynthia Flood from Chad Pelley of Salty Ink and Kerry Clare of Pickle Me This. And don't forget that Cynthia Flood has a couple of appearances this weekend at IFOA!

BOOKFEST WINDSOR - VASEY & MASON - THE SCHED

Paul will be involved at three events for Bookfest this year including a writing workshop and a panel discussion on historical fiction. He will also be introducing Margaret Atwood at the Bookfest keynote event.

Saturday November 2nd, 2013:

10:30 am - 12:00 noon
 It's All Write. Writing workshop with Paul VaseyJoy Theater Coffee, muffins, etc. *Ticket holders: please let Bookfest know if you are starting the day at this workshop - just for a head count:info@bookfestwindsor.com

4:00 pm - 4:45 pm A Trip To The Past. Authors: Tom DilworthPaul VaseyMark Warren. Moderator: Cheryl HardcastlePentastar Theater
8:30 pm - 9:30 pm It's a Madd World. Author Margaret Atwood presents the third installment in her Oryx & Crake trilogy MaddAddam. Moderator: Paul Vasey.Pentastar Theater



David Mason, one of Canada's most respected and influential rare book dealers, will be appearing at Bookfest to discuss his recent memoir, The Pope's Bookbinder.
Saturday, November 2, 2013:
3:00 pm - 3:45 pm The Pope's Bookbinder. Author: David Mason discusses the art of collecting antiquarian books and introduces his own book. Moderator: Dan Wells.Kelly Theater

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Malarky Wins Debut-Litzer Award for Fiction

It was a happy day around here yesterday as we were told the indefatigable AK Schofield has won the second annual Debut-Litzer Prize for Fiction. Sponsored by Late Night Library (a literary arts organization out of Portland with two podcast series, Late Night Conversation and Late Night Debut), the prize is worth $1000 and comes with a feature interview in one of December's Conversation podcasts.

This is the second prize nab for Malarky, which as you know was the winner of the Amazon.com First Novel Award this spring and shortlisted for the Ethel Wilson Fiction prize. Malarky also continues to gain accolades following its recent UK publication ... the most recent of which, in Brighton's gay magazine gscene, has what is without a doubt the most extended bog simile I've ever seen in criticism. 

And that, as you'll discover, is a good thing.

Anon, anon. If you're in Windsor tonight you should come hang out with us and Paul Vasey at the Olde Walkerville Theatre. There's a trivia contest. An interview. We're selling books. T-shirts even. Snow warning be damned!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Want More From Alexandra Oliver?

Alexandra Oliver continues the tour for her newest collection of poetry, Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway, with a charitable event tomorrow night in Grimsby.

Delivering more of the brutally honest yet funny poetry she's known for, Alexandra will be joined by local singer/songwriter Darla Brocklebank. Here's a taste of the 100-proof poetry that will be served tomorrow evening.

So come down to The Station One Coffee House on 28 Main St. E. Thursday, October 24, and support the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Grimsby, Lincoln and West Lincoln.

Doors open at 7pm. There's no cover but a freewill donation to Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Grimsby, Lincoln and West Lincoln is appreciated.

Monday, October 21, 2013


Biblioasis is joining with Freehand Books and NeWest Press to bring you the best of literary talent tonight, October 21 at 7:30 pm.

Don't miss out on readings from local author Marissa Reaume. This University of Windsor alumni will be launching her first book Shallow Enough to Walk Through.

Rosemary Nixon, recent Writer-in-Residence at the University of Windsor, will be there releasing Are You Ready to be Lucky?.

Special guests include Susan Holbrook acclaimed poet and Creative Writing professor at the University of Windsor and award-winning Biblioasis author Patricia Young from Victoria, BC.

As always admission is free and we look forward to seeing you there.

This event is sponsored by the Department of English, Biblioasis and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Paul Vasey's New Memoir Launching at the Olde Walkerville Theatre

Join us for the launch of the the critically-acclaimed Paul Vasey's latest book The River: A Memoir of Life in the Border Cities on Thursday, October 28.

Paul Vasesy, who many of you will remember as a former CBC Radio morning show host and award-winning journalist with the Windsor Star, will be signing at the Olde Walkerville Theatre. If you haven't heard of him, now is the perfect time to get to know one of Windsor's beloved writers.

The River is his tribute to WIndsor, the city that he discovered by accident and has come to love and call home.

Doors open at 7pm with free admission.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Biblioasis in Toronto at the Garrison Tonight!

The readings continue tonight in Toronto as Biblioasis brings you more of the authors you love.

Cynthia Flood, Norm Sibum, Andrew Steinmetz, Lucie Wilk,  Richard Norman, Alexandra Oliver and Mauricio Segura are appearing on the next stop in their tour to bring you readings from their newest books.

Music will be provided by Massey Harris, and our wildly popular t-shirts will be available for purchase.



To make the evening more exciting the purchase of a book will give you the chance to win a limited edition leather-bound copy of David Manson's The Pope's Bookbinder. The drawing for which will take place in November.

So come down to The Garrison at 1197 Dundas St W, and let the words fly and the drinks flow.

Doors open at 7 pm, admission is free.
For more information call Biblioasis at 519-968-2206 or email info@biblioasis.com.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Andrew Steinmetz is a busy, busy man...

Still in the whirlwind of the Weston Prize shortlist, Andrew Steinmetz has been all over the internet discussing his acclaimed book This Great Escape and writing life in general.

You'll be able to catch him in person as part of Biblioasis' big Toronto launch at the Garrison tomorrow night, but until then, here's a few ways to get your This Great Escape fix:

The Toronto Star published their wonderful review of This Great Escape today:
"With extraordinary emotional intensity, Steinmetz reclaims this son, friend, actor, cousin, for us all. His close-up of an almost-famous man challenges easy assumptions about who deserves a biography … beguiling."

Open Book Toronto featured Andrew in their Weston Words feature last week, in which he talks about his reaction to the award nod, his favourite non-fiction books and his future projects.

He also chatted with CBC Books on All in a Day back in September and the LPG's Writer's Block about books that have influenced his work, his work space, and his reasons for writing.

If you're in the Toronto area, head to The Garrison (1197 Dundas St. W.) tomorrow (Thursday) night for the big Biblioasis launch where you'll be able to catch Steinmetz live, as well as Cynthia Flood, Lucie Wilk, Mauricio Segura, Norm Sibum, Alexandra Oliver and Richard Norman.


We'll also have music from Massey Harris, and a chance to win a beautiful limited-edition leather-bound copy of David Mason's The Pope's Bookbinder, to be drawn in November.

Not enough Biblioasis for you? You'll also have the chance to proclaim your love in t-shirt form with our brand new (and already in great demand) South Detroit shirts. Get yours for only $15 at the launch.

spiderwebs, bats, and plastic torso not included



Authors After Hours Tonight!

Tonight we're celebrating with our friends in Hamilton as we take part in their Authors After Hours reading series. We will be welcoming esteemed authors from all over Canada and one from the UK.

Coming from Vancouver is Cynthia Flood, winner of The Journey Prize, reading from her short story collection Red Girl Rat Boy.

Poet Norm Sibum of Montreal will be showcasing his recently published first novel The Traymore Rooms.

From Ottawa we have Andrew Steinmetz, author of This Great Escape which was short listed for the Writers' Trust Hilary Weston Prize.

Finally, continuing her Canadian tour, is The Strength of Bone author Lucie Wilk from London, UK.

There's a little bit of everything for everyone to enjoy, so bring your favourite bookmark and kick back with us.
Admission is free with doors opening at 7pm at 1060 King St West, Hamilton

Register with events@princebooks.net


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Biblioasis Book Launch Tonight at Casa del Popolo, Montreal

We're back from a tryptophan-tastic Thankgsiving and ready for the Montreal launch of our Fall titles tonight at Casa del Popolo.

Join Biblioasis, Mauricio Segura and Donald Winkler, author and translator of Eucalyptus, as we celebrate their hometown launch with a joint reading.

We've also got Andrew Steinmetz with his latest book of non-fiction, This Great Escape, which was recently shortlisted for the Writers' Trust Hilary Weston Prize.

Journey Prize winner Cynthia Flood will be in town, all the way from Vancouver, to read from her latest short fiction collection Red Girl Rat Boy, and Lucie Wilk, who practices medicine in London, UK, also travels from afar to launch her debut novel The Strength of Bone. 

Check out Cult Montreal's launch preview,  in which they call This Great Escape, "fascinating," The Strength of Bone, "a lyrical debut," and Red Girl Rat Boy, "compulsively readable."


If anything is going to wake you from your post-turkey day lethargy, this is the reading to do it.
Doors are at 7pm, and as always, admission is free.

For more info call Biblioasis at 519-968-2206 or email info@biblioasis.com.


Friday, October 11, 2013

A Thanksgiving Note from Biblioasis

Well we at the Bibliomanse have lots to be thankful for as we head into the holiday weekend. Our authors have been very warmly received by Sara Guest and the team at Wordstock, who created a memorable festival once more for three of our authors; by the Real Vancouver Writers Series, who I daresay worked their buns off to support the amazing and energetic joint event we held on Monday, and who brought the talents of Rahat Kurd and Jordan Abel to the mix; by Simone and the wonderful crew at Pages on Kensington, who hosted what I hear was a VERY lively Q&A following the reading on Wednesday; and to David Worsley at Words Worth Books, who spoke so movingly last night about the trade, about independents, and about what Biblioasis means to him as a bookseller. It was a treat to be involved in all four projects.

And as if that wasn't cause enough to celebrate, I got home last night to this. What a piece! Anakana Schofield, I think Alberta's in love. For information about AK's StarFest and Wordfest appearances you can read Mr. Hingston's entirely charming profile, or visit our events page—and what's more, if it's more of Mr. Hingston you're in the mood for, you could even consider these. He's coming to Toronto care of Freehand Books.

As we go into the long weekend—and especially as we're about to launch a busy week of events—we'd like to sign off by offering our heartfelt thanks to ALL of you. So! Here's a toast to all the authors, bedraggled by bus disasters and early morning flights; to the booksellers, still braving the indifference of the world; to the festival and reading series organizers, who give our authors lever and room enough to stand; to the journalists and editors, championing deserving books as often as they're able, and often on their own time for no money; to our friends and family members, because Lord knows they deserve it and more and more; and to all the distributors, reps, printers, librarians, scholars, shippers, truck drivers and shih tzus, who flat-out make this crazy game possible.

We know you're all giving more time than you've got. We love you for it.

Very best thanksgiving wishes from the Bibliomanse.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

With Turkey Day fast approaching, we look forward to having our hunger satisfied by mountains of home cooked food (not to mention pumpkin pie!) but what about our hunger for knowledge? Our thirst for culture? Luckily, Dr. Lucie Wilk has the cure for our yearning minds.

With her debut novel, The Strength of Bone, coming out, Lucie has scheduled a number of appearances throughout Ontario for readings and book signings. She will be  in Waterloo on October 10 (tonight!! - poster below) with fellow authors Cynthia Flood and Alexandra Oliver. In the event you can't make it to see this trio of talent tonight, Lucie will also be appearing in Hamilton on October 16, in Toronto on October 17 and in Windsor on October 18.

She was recently interviewed on Open Book's website for their Writers as Readers (WAR) Series. She describes the books that have influenced her throughout her life.

http://www.openbookontario.com/news/war_series_writers_readers_lucie_wilk

Enjoy the long weekend and remember that while our brains can never really be overstuffed, our tummies certainly can. Eat responsibly this weekend!




Tuesday, October 08, 2013

And Now a Word on Alexandra Oliver


Greetings from my cozy desk in the Bibliomanse.

My name is Alicia, I'm a new intern here at Biblioasis and I'm thrilled to be able to bring you important information on our exciting events and authors alongside Melissa.

Today I'm bringing you word on the wonderful poet Alexandra Oliver, who will be reading in Calgary tomorrow evening and across Ontario in the coming weeks. She has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize as well as for the CBC Literary Award. Her writing has appeared in several journals and publications internationally, including Orbis Rhyme International, Light Quarterly, Future Cycle Poetry, and The Vancouver Sun.You can also find her work in About.com's Poems After the Attack, an anthology of reflection on the 9/11 attacks.

Where the English Housewife Shines, her first book, was released in April 2007. Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway, her latest from Biblioasis, is an exploration on the many faces of domestic life. Her work has been described by fellow writers as “brilliantly contemporary poems in traditional forms,” (Charles Martin) and “poems that bite and entertain” (Jeanne Marie Beaumont).

She can be found dividing her time between Toronto, Canada and Glasgow, Scotland.


Final Request

When I am dressed for heaven, I will wear
no wedding white, no peau de soie or gold
embroidery. Not me. Nor will I hold
a Bible or a snippet of your hair.
I curse the navy twin-set you prepare,
the sulky bow-neck blouse that makes me old.
If you disguise me thus when I am cold,
how will the others recognize me There?
Please put me in the muumuu that I bought
a dozen years ago. The one you hate.
The one that makes you plead with me to change
each time I put it on. I’ve often thought
I’d leave you in a good, embarrassed state
as I do now. So nothing would be strange.

Alexandra will be appearing tomorrow night in Calgary at Words Worth Books at 7 pm with Lucie Wilk. Can't make it? No problem! She will be touring the country throughout October so check the list below and stop in for an evening of words. (That way you can pick up five copies of her book. You know, one each for your mother, your father, your brother, and your dog.) 

Oct 10: Waterloo, Words Worth Books, 7pm

Oct 16: London, Poetry London, 7:30pm

Oct 17: London, Fanshawe College, 2:00pm
Oct 17: Toronto, The Garrison, 7pm

Oct 18: Windsor, Biblioasis, 7pm

Oct 22: Toronto, Art Bar Poetry Series, 8pm


Want to study up in advance? Here's a link to Alexandra performing at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.