Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mia Couto wins 2013 Camões Prize for Literature

Mia Couto, author of
The Tuner of Silences
and winner of the
2013 Camões Prize.

Last night Mia Couto received the 2013 Camões Prize for Literature, one of the most prestigious international awards honoring the work of Portuguese language writers. The announcement was made in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The prize, awarded annually, was created in 1988 to distinguish writers of the Portuguese language whose work has contributed to the enrichment of the literary and cultural heritage of the Portuguese language. And valued at 100,000 euros, it is one of the richest prizes in the world, comparable to the Nobel.
The awarding jury included writers José Eduardo Agualusa and Joao Paulo Borges Coelho, journalist José Carlos Vasconcelos,  professor Clara Crabbé Rocha, critic Alcir Pécora and Ambassador and member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters Alberto da Costa e Silva.
Congratulations to Mia Couto from all of us at Biblioasis. For more information please visit the Portuguese American Journal.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Words to Go, Pause for Breath

Now on Words to Go:
Robyn Sarah's
Pause for Breath.
Words to Go host
Carole Giangrande.
Happy Friday, all. A parting shot of poetry for the weekend: the final instalment of Carole Giangrande's Words to Go features Biblioasis's own Robyn Sarah. Words to Go is a showcase for new writers and the spoken word, and was heard in over twenty countries around the world. Podcast 50 is a lovely feature, but a sad one, as this is the final podcast in the series. A big thank you to Carole for her dedication to poesy and storytelling. And a good weekend to you all!


Well this is a first for us at the Bibliomanse: we're on a billboard. Check out this fantastic display of Colette Maitland's new short fiction collection, and our heartfelt thanks to Daryl McElwain, proprietor of the Gananoque Pharmasave.

"Colette Maitland's New Book Now Available"

Possibly the very first aisle-end display in Biblio-history. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Turner I, Turner II

For those of you keeping very close tabs on life in the Bibliomanse, you'll know that we for the past two days have been devoting ourselves almost exclusively to—wait for it—database design. Yes. Yes indeed. The technology is coming. Find, sort, report! Field matching! Import export ascend descend omit! It therefore was most welcome to hear that Marsha Pomerantz, Boston poetess and editor at Harvard Art Museums, has had two poems released on Berfrois. The mag's tag? International Jousting in the Republic of Letters. An excellent site, now with excellent poems, and for all the ekphrasis junkies out there Friday officially became a good day. Happy weekend!


Poems: ‘Turner I’ and ‘Turner II’ by Marsha Pomerantz

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Presenting The Pope's Bookbinder

The following ran in yesterday's issue of The Draught
We thought it was fun. 
(Maybe not so much fun as blackmail. We'll have to ask David.)


"Blackmail is Great Fun": An Interview with David Mason

Q. You’ve been a bookseller now for over four decades, and you’ve published short pieces about the trade in journals and magazines, but this is your first full-length book. Tell us about making the switch: how did bookselling prepare you for authorship? And is authorship what you expected it would be?

Nothing prepared me for writing a book. All antiquarian booksellers are aware that there are already way too many books in the world. Many booksellers would consider it a sin to add more. Writing a book was both exhilarating and humiliating, but in the end I loved doing it.
Unfortunately it also seems to be addictive, so I may commit some more sins.

Q. What’s your favourite story that didn’t make it into The Pope’s Bookbinder?
A. We ran out of space for all the stories about thieves. And also for all the tales of eccentric dealers and scouts I’ve known. There’s also a fair number of stories that can only be told if I outlive certain people.

Q. In your book you have advice about scouts, auctions, sleepers, employees, book fairs, and even on blackmail. What advice would you give to the reader who’s holding your book now?

I would advise any reader to take note of all the pleasure one can derive from collecting books, or just owning a library. But I would also advise them not ever consider becoming a dealer. My jokes about the small income a bookseller can look forward to are not really jokes. Many of our clients envy us all the pleasure we get from being booksellers but if they knew what we earned they wouldn’t envy that. I must also add that blackmail is great fun.

Q. The title of your memoir refers to a white morocco volume that you helped to gild before it was presented to Pope John XXIII. Did you ever see that book again? Would you buy it if you could?

I sewed it and covered it too. I presume that book now resides in the Vatican Library. If the current Pope ever finds himself a bit short of cash I’d love to buy it back.

Q. What was the most difficult part of this memoir to write?

A. I sometimes felt – and so did my editor – that I should be nicer, more gentle, with a few of my colleagues, but since I probably won’t be writing another I felt I needed to tell the truth as I saw it, for the record.

Q. Your publisher says you’ve requested a few unbound text blocks of your memoir. Is it possible The Pope’s Bookbinder is going to strike again? Will there be one more David Mason binding in the world?

The Pope’s Bookbinder is retired, I’m afraid. I will commission one or two binders to create bindings for my book since I have a modest collection of design bindings. I never thought of returning to binding myself. I’d actually love to bind a copy myself but binding is a skill that needs incessant practice and I would certainly ruin it if I tried now.

Q. If you could hand-deliver The Pope’s Bookbinder to one person anywhere in the world, who would it be and why?

The person I’d love to deliver a copy of my book to is unfortunately no longer in this world. And that would be my father, the banker, who was certain I would never amount to anything and would end up in the poorhouse. Which I may very well do. But I’d love to be able to hand him a copy so I could say, “See. If I’d listened to you I’d still be selling insurance.”

Q. What book are you sitting on right now that you’d most like to sell?

A bookseller never cares about selling his good books. What I’d really like to sell is about 25,000 of my general books. All I ever wanted to do was buy good books, which I’ve done for forty-five years. Now I have way too many and not enough space to put them in.
I am, in fact, trying right now to sell a few collections I’ve formed over the last thirty or thirty-five years, in particular my huge collection of publisher’s bindings which, I believe, to be the best in the world. But, I collected so passionately that sometimes I fear I’ve priced myself right out of the market.

Q. What do you consider your worst mistake of your career? What do you most regret?

A. Not buying a building. I always bought books instead of a building and now after forty-five years I’m still at the mercy of landlords and the marketplace. And I’ve got too many books.

Q. What’s next for David Mason?

Myself and my publisher are to begin editing a book of essays on bookselling and collecting. Aside from that I’m just going to continue to buy books. And continue to read books.
To subscribe to The Draught, Biblioasis's free newsletter, please email tmurphy@biblioasis.com.

Monday, May 06, 2013

A Nice Thing in the Montreal Gazette

Dear Folks,

Just thought I'd share a delicious little news bite from last Friday. We've been deeply appreciative of all the congratulations that poured in after AK won the First Novel Award, but this one perhaps took the cake: Mr. McGillis, we staunchly agree. And thank you.

Cheers to all—
The Bibliomanse.

From The Montreal Gazette, May 3, 2013:

"Glasses were raised among fiction lovers nationwide last week when Anakana Schofield’s sui generis debut Malarky was named winner of the Amazon.ca First Novel Award. All temptation to say “I told you so” based on a rave review last summer and a year-end 10-best selection in a certain Montreal newspaper will be firmly resisted. The choice represents a triumph for both adventurous writing —Malarky’s Our Woman is about as unlike a standard Canadian fiction heroine as you could get—and for small literary publishers: Biblioasis has established itself with remarkable speed as a house of unerringly high standards. Congratulations all around."

Groundwork in PN Review

For those of you who've been charting the ins and outs of Amanda Jernigan's Groundwork, and for those of you who subscribe to the UK-based journal PN Review, keep your eyes peeled for Evan Jones's review in their latest issue. A few others Groundwork pieces that have turned up or are worth revisiting: one on The Winnipeg Review, and another, not online, from the summer 2012 issue of Fiddlehead. Three cheers to poesy—and good luck to Amanda as she launches All the Daylight Hours over the next month.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

"We Are Made of Memories": Mia Couto speaks to Scott Esposito in The Paris Review Daily

This just in from The Paris Review's daily blog. Thanks to Scott Esposito for his thoughtful questions.

We Are Made of Memories: A Conversation with Mia Couto

May 2, 2013 | by 
350px-Mia_CoutoBorn in 1955 in Mozambique to Portuguese immigrants, Mia Couto is widely considered one of the foremost wielders of the Portuguese language. He has written over twenty books that have been translated into at least that many languages, and those translated into English since 1990 have garnered him a dedicated Anglophone following. Although Couto’s fiction varies widely, he frequently deals with Mozambique’s civil war, which erupted in 1977, two years after he turned twenty and his nation gained its independence from Portugal. His recurrent use of surreal effects in his work has led many critics to liken his fiction to Latin America’s magical realism, a label at which he bristles.

The Tuner of Silences, brought into English by Couto’s longtime translator David Brookshaw and published this year by Biblioasis, tells the story of Vítalico, a father who has dragged his children to an abandoned Mozambican nature preserve after the horrifying death of his wife. As Couto explores the nature of Vítalico’s regime and its eventual collapse, he delves into frequent obsessions: the construction of identity, and the role that memory and language play in that process.
 Recently, over email, I discussed Tuner, influences, labels, and the curious provenance of Couto’s first name in email correspondence with him.

To read the full interview, go here. Mia Couto will be appearing in New York as part of PEN World Voices' Literary Safari on May 3rd, and in conversation with Anderson Tepper at powerHouse Arena on May 4th

CNQ shortlisted for National Magazine Awards

Congratulations are in order to Lynn Coady and Caroline Adderson, whose short stories published in Canadian Notes & Queries Magazine have been shortlisted for the National Magazine Awards.

Lynn Coady's "Dogs in Clothes," which appeared in CNQ 85 and Caroline Adderson's "Ellen-Celine, Celine-Ellen," which appeared in CNQ 86, both made the cut along with six other works of fiction published in Canadian magazines this year.

Further congratulations go to the numerous other Biblioasis authors who were shortlisted for various National Magazine awards, including Patricia Young in both the "One of a Kind" and Poetry categories, Lorna Jackson in the Fiction category, Russell Smith in the Personal Journalism category, and Robyn Sarah in the Poetry category.

The winners will be announced at the National Magazine Awards Gala June 7th at the Carlu in Toronto. For more information, head over to magazine-awards.com.

Good luck to all our finalists!