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 and another on; 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!


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

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 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

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

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

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.

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'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.

Much Malarky (in print and on television!)

Anakana Schofield's Malarky has been receiving a great deal of positive attention in the UK as of late, so we've compiled a bit of a round up for you to get your Malarky fix, whether in print or even on television (they put books on television? Who would have thought?):

Let's begin with some high praise for Anakana's writing, first from The Guardian:
One of the delights of this novel is the language in which it is written. The tender inflections of everyday Irish speech carry the occasionally implausible story forward at an exuberant pace, and sometimes the sentences seem to break into a jig, dancing to and fro.
For Books' Sake applauded the juxtaposition of gravity and levity in the novel:
Schofield’s best trick is to lull you into a false sense of security with a few dozen pages of daft, farcical comedy... before tripping you up with a small, quiet sentence which breaks your heart
In case you missed it, The Telegraph's review gave Malarky 4 stars and had this to say:
Schofield’s portrait of a woman whose personality is beginning to fragment after a lifetime in an emotional vacuum is both blackly comic and deeply felt. There is something heroic about the desperate resilience of Our Woman, and the originality of her depiction by Schofield, that leaves an indelible trace on the reader’s mind.
And the RTE Ireland television network released this segment (Anakana's portion begins about 6 minutes into the clip), so click over and have a watch.

Congratulations to Anakana on such a positive response only a couple months into the UK release of her novel!

Monday, October 07, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen: Lucie Wilk

Greetings fellow bibliophiles!

My name is Melissa and I am interning here at Biblioasis. In the coming weeks, I will be keeping you up to date on our events as well as introducing you to some of our talented authors.

Today we are focusing on Lucie Wilk, who is appearing tonight (!) in Vancouver, and across the country throughout the month of October. Our only doctor-novelist, Lucy has been nominated for the McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize Anthology, long-listed for a CBC Canada Writes literary prize, and her writing appears in Descant, Prairie Fire and Shortfire Press. In addition to being a practicing rheumatologist, Lucie is also an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia.

Her first novel, The Strength of Bone, takes place at a hospital in Blantyre, Malawi where a Western doctor and a local nurse are sent to a village outpost. Below is an excerpt from the novel's opening pages.

Wilk's work has received commendations from celebrated authors such as Annabel Lyon ("supple, beautiful") and Joseph Boyden ("a gorgeous debut"), as well as solid advance praise from Library Journal:
Wilk illuminates the differences between Malawian culture and that of the West while capturing both the fever-dream beauty and desperation of the country … Readers who enjoyed Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone may want to give this book a try.
Lucie is also one of five writers appearing tonight at the Real Vancouver Reading Series (One Thousand Rivers, 54 East 4th Avenue in Vancouver, BC). The event starts at 7pm. Other writers include Alexandra Oliver, Anakana Schofield, Rahat Kurd, and Jordon Abel.

For more from Lucie Wilk you can check out her fiction craft piece on Open Book Ontario, or her guest blog over at Gail Anderson-Dargatz's site. She'll also be coming to Calgary (Oct. 9), Waterloo (Oct. 10), Montreal (Oct. 15), Hamilton (Oct. 16), Toronto (Oct. 17), and Windsor (Oct. 18th).

From The Strength of Bone
Lucie Wilk
Biblioasis, 2013

The sky was milky blue. It seemed wet and somehow stained. Beneath it the ground was dry and untended. Nothing moved. It was winter.

Inside, a young girl lay on a bed in the dark in a room that was filled with the sound of her breath. In and out. In and out. The air was saturated with her breath just as her lungs were sopped in, semi-submerged. Her chest lifted and fell. In. Out.

The visitors who came tried not to share the air. They breathed short and shallow. They tried to be as unaware of their own breath as they were before they entered the room. Because noticing it somehow created lack and just for a moment, they knew suffocation. That is why after a short while they left.

The girl once held her breath. Maybe a year ago she did this. Just an inch under the bath water, her small body still, muscles relaxed, face serene. After what became too long, her mother reached under the water, grabbed her under her arms and pulled her up and when the girl emerged into the air she was triumphant with her discovery. That she could control these sorts of things. She could stop breath like this. On a whim.

Her right arm was folded across her stomach and exaggerated the lift of her chest—a barometer of breath. Her legs were askew, scissor-like. Her skin was sallow but warm. The angle where her neck met her jaw fluttered twice with each pause of her heart. Her lips were dry. Her eyes were closed. Because she was sleeping.

Night or day, the room was kept dark. Because letting the sun in might have been too hopeful. Because hope at this stage was irresponsible.

Around her and inside the room were objects that were still animated by her presence. A doll, a hairbrush with six brown hairs entwined, a box of colouring pencils of different lengths, two parents, one hunched forward, the other leaning back. Their meaning existed because she did, because the girl who held them or hugged them or regarded them with a precise, thoughtful intention still lay sleeping nearby.

She slept because she was tired. She was tired because she was ill. She was ill because—and this was where the chain broke. There was no because. There was no reasonable answer. There was no reason.


Friday, October 04, 2013

"Sibum in Nighttime": Traymore in the Brooklyn Rail, Largehearted Boy

Excuse me while I clear my throat.

1. "At once hugely ambitious and never above an off-colour crack."
2. "'Melvillian.'"
3. "The decline and fall of the American Empire, by means of highbrow bedroom farce."
4. "Harkens back to big-novel romps of the author’s youth, in particular John Barth’s Sot-Weed Factor (1960), which put Colonial America through dizzying bounces."
5. "The narrative reach alone is honourable."
6. "Much of it comes across with smarts and verve ... it’s no surprise to learn that our narrator’s a poet."

And that's just the first two paragraphs. Thoughtful thoughtful thoughtful smart stuff today for our friend The Traymore Rooms, including not just this review but a feature on Largehearted Boy's Book Notes page. What a Fiction Friday! And since I can't resist an ending as good as John Domini's, my plan is to close the week with that, and then tell (beg? plead? implore?) you to go check out the whole darn October issue of the Brooklyn Rail. Here's to setting the bar high, folks. See you on Monday.
Sibum effectively eschews the “cheap genre” approach to worldwide collapse, “some tale of the inner sanctum,” all about the powerful and their trophies. “Pay me millions to fake it,” claims Calhoun, “and I could not do it,” and so he confines his drama to the no-accounts. As for the sheer weight of it all, isn’t that part of the Homeric task? Right down to the reiterations (Moonface is “long-bellied,” Montreal a “faded Jezebel”)? Or think of the title, its French-English doubling, trĂ©s-more. Exactly.

—John Domini, The Brooklyn Rail