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/ 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 and NPR affiliates for Mia Couto's Neustadt win:
Book News: Mozambican Writer Wins Neustadt Prize, 'America's Nobel’: on’s “The Two-Way,” Nov. 5
Repeated on, 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
Author of The Tuner of Silences
is the
winner of the

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


"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

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.


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:

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)