Friday, April 26, 2013

15 Reasons to Live Hits Theatres this Weekend

It was hard to envision, when it was first proposed to us so long ago, but it's finally here: the film adaptation of Ray Robertson's Why Not? Fifteen Reasons to Live.

Fifteen Reasons to Live, directed by Toronto filmmaker Alan Zweig, debuts tomorrow at the city's Hot Docs documentary film festival.

Here's what The Globe and Mail has to say about the film:

"If this sounds inspiring, it is, and I say that as someone who is constitutionally suspicious of any triumphing of the human spirit on film. But 15 Reasons is a documentary, with that form’s inherent immediacy and humility. It homes in on small, human profundities."

Quill & Quire also ran an interview with Zweig yesterday, where he talks (amongst other things) about what it was like adapting essays into film. Last but not least, if you're in the T-dot, be sure to look for 15 Reasons to Live at these three venues:

Sat, Apr 27 6:30 PM
TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
Mon, Apr 29 1:30 PM
Isabel Bader Theatre
Sun, May 5 1:30 PM
TIFF Bell Lightbox 3

Tickets are available online here.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Anakana Schofield Wins First Novel Award

Our heartfelt congratulations to ANAKANA SCHOFIELD, 

author of

Winner of the 2012 First Novel Award
On Wednesday, May 24th, Biblioasis author Anakana Schofield was the proud recipient of the First Novel Award for Malarky. Malarky is a bold first novel from an author whose prose hums with electric wit and linguistic daring,” said Stuart Woods, head judge and editor of Quill & Quire magazine. “The novel traverses darkly comic territory with intelligence and poise, relating the story of an unnamed narrator whose resilience in the face of life’s disappointments will stay with readers long after the verbal pyrotechnics have dissipated. Anakana Schofield is a true original, and her novel is a delight.”
              As the award-winner Ms. Schofield will receive a $7,500.00 prize. She also appeared on CTV’s Canada AM, the most widely watched national morning show in the country.
              Biblioasis would also like to extend warm congratulations to all finalists for the award: Marjorie Celona (Y), Scott Fotheringham (The Rest is Silence), Pasha Malla (People Park), and Kim Thúy (Ru).
              The First Novel Award has been launching the careers of some of Canada's most beloved novelists since 1976. Previous winners include Michael Ondaatje, Joan Barfoot, Joy Kogawa, W.P. Kinsella, Nino Ricci, Rohinton Mistry, Anne Michaels, André Alexis, Michael Redhill, Mary Lawson, Colin McAdam, Joseph Boyden, Joan Thomas, and David Bezmozgis.
              For more about Anakana Schofield and the First Novel Award please read on.

With Canadian Press material syndicated in:
Or watch Anakana live on CTV News:
Anakana Schofield is an Irish-Canadian writer of fiction, essays, and literary criticism. She has contributed to the London Review of Books, The Recorder: The Journal of the American Irish Historical Society, The Globe and Mail, and The Vancouver Sun. She has lived in London and Dublin, and now resides in Vancouver. Her first novel, Malarky, was published by Biblioasis in 2012, and is scheduled for UK release by OneWorld in 2013.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Jessica Hiemstra at Poetry London

Jessica Hiemstra will be in London, Ontario to help Poetry London  cap off their 2012/13 season with a special poetry party at Organic Works Bakery.

She'll be joined by readers Sue Goyette, John Terpstra and Debra Franke, and there will be free snacks, a cash bar and possibly even a door prize or two!

Make plans to be there Saturday, May 4th (doors at 6:30pm and readings at 7:30pm).

Monday, April 22, 2013

Reviewers Flock to Canary

Hey, folks, and happy Monday. Just a quick mention of the two smashing reviews that have come in
for Nancy Jo Cullen's Canary (which, as you probably all know, is launching TOMORROW at Another Story Bookshop). The first from The Globe & Mail, the second from The Winnipeg Review. Enjoy, and see you tomorrow!

"The tawdry lower middle-class milieu of these stories, heavy with drinking and marital strife, calls to mind Raymond Carver, but Cullen’s stories have an open-ended resiliency very different than the sombre American master ... A taken-for-granted sexual transiency is the most strikingly contemporary feature of these stories; if it were written a decade ago the fact that many of the characters are gay, lesbian or bisexual would be seen as a political statement. But in Canary the sexuality of the characters doesn’t define their identity, and is in fact often as transitory and up-for-grabs as every other aspect of their unsettled lives. The quietly radical assumption implicit in the book is that sex isn’t a matter of fixed identity but of opportunistic action ... in story after story Cullen won me over. Their people and situations rang close to life ... Cullen deserves all the acclaim she’s going to receive."

"Consider your most embarrassing moment, suffered because of your family or not. Go on, dredge up that ineradicable instant of humiliation when you were a child, adolescent or young adult, it doesn’t matter what happened, when or where. Nancy Jo Cullen has you beat. The denizens of Canary, her first book of fiction, have soared, crashed, relocated, compromised, given up and started over more often than most of us. This collection is very good … there is plenty here to satisfy, the narrative arc running high and long ... robust, with a wide, compassionate embrace."

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Book Spotting is back! More impressive design at the Biblioasis bookshop!

The sun was pouring into the bookshop yesterday and beckoning me out of the back office into the front of the shop to enjoy a little bit of vitamin D. That also meant I had some time to look around for content for the next installment of our Book Spotting series, where I provide commentary and praise for the best book designs currently in store.

Andy Warhol Screen Tests by Callie Angell (Harry N. Abrams 2006)

Today, I'll start with a book that I've been meaning to talk about for months now. Ever since it first came in (it is a used copy), it struck me as a powerful cover. I put it on display almost immediately. Obviously, the photograph itself is quite engaging, with the direct eye contact and stark black and white. For this reason, the simplicity of the rest of the cover really works. The red provides a strong contrast and the clean block text is clear and bold but doesn't compete with the photograph for the viewer's attention. Plus, there's tonnes of the red equivalent of white space, and we all know how much I like white space. 

John Saturnall's Feast by Lawrence Norfolk (Bloomsbury UK 2012)


Sorry for the slightly blurry photo on this one. Clearly I was just too excited about the cover and couldn't keep my hands still. This cover at first glance seems to be the opposite of what I usually praise: minimal, clean, stark. The winding branches of the tree, the detail in the grasses, and even the throw-back style of the lettering, which has a slightly eroded look, should contribute to this cover feeling overwhelming and over the top, but it doesn't. The black and white saves it. High contrast silhouettes on a plain white background take this cover from distracting and confusing to crisp, clean and eye-catching.

First Novel by Nicholas Royle (Jonathan Cape 2013)

This book just arrived and it grabbed my attention as soon as I walked out into the shop yesterday. I'm a fan of books that find unusual ways to incorporate the title on the cover but I find that they can often get confusing or difficult to decipher. This cover escapes that trap by ensuring that the only major text on the cover is the title and the author's name. In fact, we get the title and author's name six times over. However, at first glance, my reaction was to wonder where the title was. That half-second hesitation drew me into the cover, into its clever and meta use of book spines. The car and plane infiltrating the line of spines gives the cover personality despite the plain serif type on the spines that lend it clarity.

incitements by Sean Howard (Gaspereau 2011)

More beautiful books, as expected, from Gaspereau. This one actually reminds me of a chapbook I designed for a creative writing class while at university. What happens to letter forms when you overlap them? They become less about letters and more about the letter forms. Sure, if you look closely, you can read the title, incitements, in the graphic on the cover. However, it seems less important that you can read the title and more important that the use of lettering is visually interesting. Yes, the title is the most important thing on a book cover (most of the time?) and I am all for legibility, but if you are going to have a difficult to decipher title, this is the way to do it: making the letters themselves the art. Plus, you've got a title page for anyone who gets too confused, right?

That's all for today's adventures in Book Spotting. More to come soon! 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Alex Boyd's The Lonely Offices features poetry by Jessica Hiemstra

Alex Boyd, author of The Least Important Man, also runs the blog The Lonely Offices: Poetry and Stuff About Poetry. Much to our delight, he recently featured a poem from Jessica Hiemstra's recent Biblioasis collection Self-Portrait Without a Bicycle. Jessica read "The Most Beautiful Things I've Seen in October" at the Windsor launch of the book this month at the Biblioasis shop. In case you missed it, here's the link to Alex's blog.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sonia Tilson shortlisted for CAA National Capital Region Award

Congratulations to Sonia Tilson, who will soon be releasing her novel The Monkey Puzzle Tree with Biblioasis, as she has been named a finalist for the Canadian Authors Association Natioanl Capital Region Writing Award.

The winners will be announced Tuesday, May 14th at 7pm at the Ottawa Public Library, Auditorium, 120 Metcalfe St. at Laurier.

Congrats and all our best to Sonia!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Amanda Jernigan: "intensity personified"

NOW has reported the results of their Poetry NOW Harbourfront contest, calling Amanda Jernigan "intensity personified."

While Peter Norman emerged from the fray with top honours, Jernigan's performance was enough to make her a strong contender. The energy of Poetry Month continues!

Read the full blurb here.

Friday, April 05, 2013

New Reviews for Nadine McInnis and Robert Melançon

It always feels good to brag about the positive reviews Biblioasis authors are getting, and this afternoon we have lots to boast about.

Both Nadine McInnis and Robert Melançon have been in the news lately, picking up reviews from The Literary Review of Canada and The Montreal Review of Books respectively.

Here's a sample of what these publications are saying about these recent books:

"[With] lean and lyrical language...and arresting images…Blood Secrets is a deceptively gentle book, a desperately tender succession of tales that bruise the heart with their sadness, while at the same time offering the salve of kindness". — Literary Review of Canada

"One hundred forty-four poems of acute observation: Melançon's invention is impressive. Judith Cowan's rendering of the poet's work into English is adroit and fully idiomatic."— The Montreal Review of Books

 What a great way to start the weekend!

4 Biblioasis Titles on Frank O'Connor Longlist

Congratulations to C.P. Boyko, Nancy Jo Cullen, Colette Maitland, and Nadine McInnis, whose short fiction collections were just longlisted for the Frank O'Connor Award!

The 2011 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize is worth €25,000 to the winning author of a collection of short stories published for the first time, in English anywhere in the world, between July 2011 and June 2012 (selecteds, collecteds or books containing stories published in a previous volume of stories by the author will not be eligible). Translations are eligible.

This prestigious international short story award in the memory of Frank O’Connor is the single biggest prize in the world for a collection of short stories.

In honouring Cork’s literary genius and its most famous short story writer, it is hoped this award will achieve international recognition for the short story and highlight Cork’s important contribution to this literary art form.

This major international prize celebrating the city’s intimate relationship with the short story was established as part of the literary programme of Cork’s tenure as European Capital of Culture. Since then it has made possible through the generous support of Cork City Council.

It is hoped the Award, for a complete collection of previously unpublished stories in a book collection, will play a significant role in establishing parity of esteem for the short story collection alongside the novel.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Tomorrow Night in Windsor, Sal Ala, Robert Melançon and Jessica Hiemstra Celebrate Poetry Month!

We've been working hard here at Biblioasis getting everything ready for our Poetry Month Celebration tomorrow night. There'll be food, drink, three fantastic poets and brand new work from all three!

Join Sal Ala, Robert Melançon and Jessica Hiemstra at Biblioasis (1520 Wyandotte St. E., Windsor) at 7pm tomorrow night as we mark National Poetry Month with readings, socialization and general good literary fun.

Acclaimed local poet Sal Ala will have two new limited-edition broadsides available (sneak preview here!). We'll also be holding the Windsor launch of Robert's latest book For As Far As The Eye Can See, and Jessica's Self-Portrait Without a Bicycle, so there will be lots of new poetry to get your hands on.

One of the two new broadsides from Sal Ala available tomorrow night

"My America," the second limited-edition Sal Ala broadside available at Biblioasis

 Hope to see you tomorrow night!

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

A load of Malarky!

Some good news for Malarky author Anakana Schofield: along with nods from the First Novel Award and the B.C. Book Prize, Malarky has been nominated for the CBC Bookie Awards.

Anakana is up against Terry Fallis, Lynn Crosby, Linda Svendsen, and Miranda Hill for the Ron MacLean Award for Most Hilarious/Witty Canadian Book. The award is decided by the public so make sure that you show your support! You can vote for Malarky here.

You can also read Brendan Riley's review from The Review of Contemporary Fiction over at his blog where he calls Malarky "a smashing debut." We agree!

Tonight at the Dora Keogh, POETRY!

Toronto Bibliofriends and poetry lovers,
Head down to the Dora Keogh Pub on the Danforth tonight at 7pm for a celebration of National Poetry Month with Robert Melançon and Jessica Hiemstra.

Want to know more about Jessica? Like how she saved a drunk fisherman? Check out her feature on the Dirty Dozen from Open Book Ontario.

See you tonight!