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Vancouver poet Rob Taylor has conducted a thoughtful and interview with Talon poet Mariner Janes, whose first book, The Monument Cycles, launched in the spring of 2013. The interview, like the book (and like Mariner, perhaps), is conscientious and accessible. Here is some background provided by Taylor:
I first met Mariner when we were both undergrads at Simon Fraser University. … [Mariner’s] poetry back then was already fully formed – intelligent, politically sharpened, often quite funny. This guy was a pro. I figured that at any moment his first book would appear.
So I waited. And waited. A decade later I was still waiting. Mariner wasn’t, however. He was busy with other things – building a life, a family, and a career. …
Then, early in 2013 I heard the news that Talonbooks was putting out Mariner’s first book … The book arrived and I was thrilled with what I found. The Monument Cycles is a deep consideration of place, grounded in Vancouver’s monuments and the sights and stories of the city’s Downtown Eastside. Its poems are sometimes difficult, sometimes playful (with form, with language), and always thoughtful and rewarding. …
So here is my interview with Mariner, in which we talk about monuments, bombs, writing on the DTES, and the positives and negatives of slow-cooking your book. Both interview and book were very much worth the wait.
We suggest you go read the interview on Rob Taylor’s blog.
The Monument Cycles is available for $16.95.
This North Vancouver City Library Local Author Series video features Dina Del Bucchia (author of Coping Emotions with Otters ), Joan Boxall, Barry Jakel, and Maria Tomsich. Dina’s introduction begins at 39:30, and the reading (in which the very funny Dina makes her audience hold hands like otters, for one thing) begins at 40:50.
Sheldon Treteault for The Winds of Change – a community almanac for Pemberton, Lil’wat, Area C, and N’Quatqua – recently reviewed They Called Me Number One by Xat’sull Chief Bev Sellars. Treteault wrote that this very readable book gives Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal readers alike “a way to enter into the subject and find hope for personal recovery and national reconciliation” and declared that it “should be required reading for all Canadians.” The full review is available on The Winds of Change website.
They Called Me Number One by Xat’sull Chief Bev Sellars is the ﬁrst full-length memoir to be published out of St. Joseph’s Mission, the residential school at Williams Lake, BC. Readers have flocked to the book and audiences to its author, finding this personal memoir moving, thoughtful, and significant to Canada’s national identity and the national identities of all its peoples.
This week also marks the book’s 30th week running on the B.C. Bestsellers list, a list compiled by the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia based on sales data from bookstores around the province!
Two Talon books feature in the latest issue of The Goose (Issue 12/13 – 2013), a publication put out by the Association for Literature, Environment, and Culture in Canada (ALECC): Imperial Canada Inc. (Alain Deneault and William Sacher) and Internodes (Ken Belford).
Congratulations to Garry Thomas Morse, author of Minor Episodes / Major Ruckus, which has just been shortlisted for a 2013 ReLit Award! The ReLit Awards recognize outstanding work from Canada’s independent presses.
To see the rest of the shortlist in the novel category and other categories (poetry and short stories), see the ReLit blog.
Fortuitously for readers intrigued by ReLit shortlists, Garry Thomas Morse’s three works of fiction happen to be available in a special bundle for $35 throughout November! (Just one week to go!) The bundle includes Minor Episodes / Major Ruckus, Death in Vancouver, and Rogue Cells / Carbon Harbour. Get your GTM Fiction Special today.
Congratulations to poet, curator, and memoirist Gil McElroy on winning the 2013 bpNichol Chapbook Award! He and poet Sandra Alland tied for their respective chapbooks Ordinary Time: The Merton Lake Propers and Naturally Speaking. The prize – $1000 for winners and $250 for their publishers – is administered by Meet the Presses, a volunteer literary collective devoted to organizing public events showcasing works produced by independent publishers of fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction. For more information visit the Quill & Quire blog.
Jordan Abel reads from The Place of Scraps (it’s the kind of video you can just listen to, if you’re in a mad rush and have to prioritize just one of your senses…)
Drawing inspiration from Marius Barbeau’s canonical book Totem Poles, Abel explores in The Place of Scraps the complicated relationship between First Nations cultures and ethnography. His poems simultaneously illuminate Barbeau’s intentions and navigate the repercussions of the anthropologist’s actions. Abel also shares, in this video, more personal thoughts on the writing of his book.
In the first reading, of the title poem from The Place of Scraps, the overwhelming presence of Barbeau’s voice and sounds is gradually usurped by those of Abel, reflecting, perhaps, one of the purposes of The Place of Scraps: to make way, through and after historical noise, for the intonations of the people themselves.
The second reading represents no small feat either: Abel studied more than 80 pulp western novels, searching for the word “Injun” and composing a compelling cut-up poem.
Using only a loop station, his wits, and his dulcet tones, Abel created an atmospheric and thought-provoking environment, allowing his audience to soak up his language and the spirit of his poetry.
Get The Place of Scraps ($19.95) while it lasts!
Join Talonbooks as we celebrate the launches of three exciting new Fall titles in Toronto, Ontario!
883 Queen Street West
November 18, 2013
(no admission fee)
There may or may not be operatic moments, charming French accents, and beautiful books for sale!
Guests with Facebook may RSVP to the evening here.
In the Guardian on Monday, Helen Gilbert observed that
many Britons today are barely aware of the extent of their nation’s imperial history, but the wounds of colonialism are never far from the surface of indigenous arts in the dozens of countries that were once former colonies.
Typographical Era, which hosts book reviews and discussion (focused on fiction), has inaugurated its own version of the GoodReads Choice Awards after noticing a significant omission:
Why … do the GoodReads Choice Awards not have a category dedicated to allowing users to vote for their favorite literary translation of the year? There are twenty categories. TWENTY. Yet translations are completely ignored. Thus the first ever Typographical Translation Award is born. Lovers of international fiction, this is your chance to speak up and be heard!
The two bloggers behind Typographical Era have chosen 20 fiction titles from 2013 (translated from any language to English and appearing in the United States in 2013) and leave the rest up to their readers. There is some real competition in their list, and we look forward to seeing the shortlist on November 28 and the final winner on December 19.
See Typographical Era’s blog for more information – and to vote!
Throughout November 2013, get your mitts on the GTM Special: all three fiction titles by Garry Thomas Morse for $35! This includes Rogue Cells / Carbon Harbour, Minor Episodes / Major Ruckus, and Death in Vancouver.
Go to our specials page to make the grab.
The Quebec Writers’ Federation recently announced the nominees for the 2013 QWF Literary Awards, which honour English language writers in Quebec. Talon was particularly pleased to see the nominees for the Cole Foundation Prize for Translation (French to English):
Winners will be announced at the QWF’s annual gala on November 19th in Montreal. For a full list of the nominees please visit the Quebec Writers’ Federation website.
New bookstore Malvern Books in Austin, Texas, has reviewed Dina Del Bucchia’s Coping with Emotions and Otters on its delightful blog. They hit the nail on the head in terms of describing the book concisely: “a poetic piss-take on the self-help genre…”
Malvern Books specializes in “visionary literature and poetry from independent publishers, with a focus on lesser-known and emerging voices.” We wish them all the best in their swashbuckling quest to become a happy home for literary-minded Texans!
McGill-Queen’s University Press launched a new book, titled In Translation: Honouring Sheila Fischman, on Monday, October 28, 2013 in Montreal, Quebec. “An homage to Canada’s pre-eminent literary translator and a tribute to the connections created through translation,” the book celebrates Fischman’s career of many decades and her contribution to the cultural ties between English and French Canada.
For Talon, Fischman has translated from French to English many works by Michel Tremblay – including plays, his Notebook novel series, and now his Crossing novel series – as well as works by Monique Durand and Larry Tremblay (most recently, his book Obese Christ, which will be published in Spring 2014).
Translator to the Stars Fischman and fellow translator Linda Gaboriau were also recently honoured in Montreal at the Opening Cocktail of the Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival in May 2013.
For more information about the book In Translation: Honouring Sheila Fischman, see the McGill-Queen’s University Press website.
Rogue Cells / Carbon Harbour by Garry Thomas Morse arrived today and we couldn’t be more pleased with its gorgeous cover design, which features a fragmented image taken from a Umberto Boccioni painting titled Visioni simultanee (1912).
Rogue Cells follows the misadventures of Oober Mann, who, in the novel’s opening, emerges from his cryobed on high alert in New Haudenosaunee, a nation at war with the mysterious territory Nutella during a critical election year. It is the Age of Aquarium in the speculative “green” dystopia of Carbon Harbour. Omni-magnate Cornelius Quartz is overseeing the merger between Bildung Endustries and Foreign Objects, but is distracted by an imminent double wedding for himself and his daughter.
The two novels or “nodes” are the third and fourth instalments in Morse’s The Chaos! Quincunx series; the novels parody various writing styles and literary genres, including surrealist prose, speculative fiction, environmental dystopia, historical narrative, and the most prurient bodice-rippers.
Morse has several events scheduled this fall and into next spring in which he will read from and talk about Rogue Cells / Carbon Harbour (and perhaps even rip his bodice). Check our upcoming events page for more information.
Combining the wit, poetry, and charisma of a great rapper with the accuracy and rigor of a scientist, Baba Brinkman takes his audience on a hip-hop tour of modern biology. “The Rap Guide to Evolution” is at once provocative, hilarious, intelligent, and scientifically accurate. You’ll never look at hip-hop the same way again!
Brinkman recently had great success with this show at the Edinburgh Fringe and in New York City, where he performed it alongside two sister shows, and “The Rap Canterbury Tales” (published as a book in 2003).
The inaugural Montreal English Theatre Awards (METAs) were held a week ago, on Monday, October 21st, at the Rialto Theatre. The METAs are Montreal’s first peer-juried theatre awards for English theatre. The ceremony, awarding outstanding achievement in acting, design, and production, was hosted by Montreal actors Holly Gauthier-Frankel and Marcel Jeannin with music by musician Nick Carpenter.
Talonbooks, which publishes translations and drama, watched with particular interest the category of Outstanding New Translation. The nominees were
The award went to Nadine Desrochers. Congratulations!
Also see coverage of the awards night in the Montreal Gazette.
Canty and Wigrum‘s translator Oana Avasilichioaei read in French and English to an enthused audience in Mellow Pages, the new reading room and independent press library in Bushwick, a neighbourhood of Brooklyn (more information about the library is available in a review from the New York Times).
NYC poets Brandon Downing and Michael Ruby also read alongside Canty and Avasilichioei, having accepted our invitation back in July to represent local presses at the launch. Downing read from his latest book Mellow Actions (Fence Books, 2012) followed by Ruby, who read from the recently-released American Songbook (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2013).
Philip Turner, a Manhattan-based publisher, writer, consultant, and editor, represented Talon at the launch. Turner’s excellent literary blog, Honourary Canadian, later published a thorough review of the event and of Wigrum itself. Read on for several brief excerpts!
Author James Bacque gave a speech to senior faculty at the University of Toronto, Ontario on Wednesday, October 16, 2013. He spoke of his book Other Losses, which is about German prisoners of war taken by Allied countries in the immediate aftermath of World War II, to an incredulous crowd of professors – reportedly the biggest crowd they had ever had.
A video of the informative and interesting talk – full of little-known and shocking facts and elucidated mysteries – is available online from the U of T library (possibly for a limited time). The talk begins at 5:25 (minute 5, second 25), after introductory remarks.
The Vancouver Writers Festival kicks off today and will be on until Sunday (October 22 – 27, 2013) in various locations on Granville Island, Vancouver, B.C. Among many of its valuable public functions, the cherished VWF provides a unique opportunity for readers, writers, and lovers of literature to engage with some of their favourite authors in a fun, vibrant, and inclusive community-based atmosphere.
From the festival’s website:
The Festival is a celebration of story, told by authors, poets, spoken word performers, and graphic novelists. For six days in October, this celebration takes place in the cultural oasis of Granville Island, and continues throughout the year with the Incite reading series at the VPL, special events with leading writers and the Spreading the Word education programs at Lower Mainland schools and in small BC communities.
Now in its 26th year, VWF 2013, under the artistic direction of Hal Wake, will feature many prolific Canadian authors, including Joseph Boyden, Margaret Atwood, Anne Carson, Shaena Lambert, and Douglas Coupland, and will showcase several international writers, such as American author David Sedaris, Irish poet Paul Muldoon, and Chinese novelist Xiaolu Guo. (A complete list of this year’s author guests is available here.)
We are pleased to announce that among the celebrated Canadian writers featured at this year’s festival are legendary playwrights and novelists Michel Tremblay and Tomson Highway, and poet, novelist, and activist Stephen Collis.
We are pleased to report that playwright, director, producer, and filmmaker Marie Clements was named Recipient of the Shaw Media Mentorship Program by the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, which took place in Toronto from October 16 – 20, 2013. The program is an in-kind award sponsored by Shaw Media that entitles Clements to “a one-year mentorship with a Shaw Media Industry Professional.”
Marie Clements accepts her award.
The award recognizes the excellence of Clements’s latest short film, Pilgrims, which also showcased at the 2013 Cannes Short Film Corner. From the film’s page on Tabula Dada Productions’s website:
Robbe, a German tourist in his mid-forties, is partaking on a life-long dream of visiting the West Coast of Canada. His fantasies of being a part of the great “Indian” culture is one thing, but to actually be part of it requires Robbe to undergo a dangerous rite of passage in this black comedy, as determined by three aboriginal men who take him on a journey of self-evaluation.
According to Clements, although Pilgrims “was created to investigate and construct a West Coast/New World/Aboriginal expressionism through film, it also offers a universal narrative that explores the crisis of self and identity, alienation and acceptance, and what, for many of us, has become the forming of the modern family across cultural, racial, and historic boundaries.”
More information about Clement’s work in film and live performance is available on her website.
Similkameen Crossroads explores an idyllic white church located on the Upper Similkameen Reserve and the long-used but still vast and majestic ranch land around it while confronting the conflicted position of the Church on First Nations reserves in Canada.
Artist Tyler Hagan, since obtaining his Métis citizenship, struggled to reconcile his suburban Christian upbringing with the blighted history of the church in Indigenous communities. This project is his expression of that journey.
His project quotes a story told by Harry Robinson, Okanagan storyteller, called “Twins: White and Indian” (from the book Nature Power), in which the white man and the native man originate in the world as brothers and are intended to share the knowledge of the world with one another from the beginning but fail to do so.
To experience this web-based photo essay (with sound), see http://crossroads.nfb.ca/#/crossroads.
Similkameen Crossroads was produced by Jennifer Moss, Dana Dansereau, and the National Film Board of Canada’s Digital Studio. The executive producer was Loc Dao. It is being shown during the imagineNATIVE 2013 festival in Toronto at Gallery 44 (401 Richmond Street West, Suite 120) from October 17 to November 23, 2013. (Also see the NFB press release.)
The second annual Victoria Writers Festival takes place today and tomorrow at Camosun College in Victoria, British Columbia, with readings and panels in the Gibson Auditorium.
The young festival, founded by local writers Sara Cassidy, Julie Paul, and John Gould, was formed in response to the void left by the former International Literary Arts Festival. From the VWF website: We are a collective of writers who deeply miss the International Literary Arts Festival that was the highlight of spring in Victoria for many years.
The festival celebrates its second year with writing workshops led by acclaimed writers, The Carol Shields Lecture led by Jan Zwicky, anthology launches, and readings and panel discussions organized around main themes, such as family, sex, and landscape.
A schedule of events is available here.
Among many of the talented guest authors is Talon author M.A.C. Farrant. Farrant will read her dreamlike, humourous, and insightful work alongside Shaena Lambert, Anne Fleming, and others in Carousel, a reading held on Friday evening, hosted by Greater Victoria Public Library CEO Maureen Sawa.
Dr. Theresa Turmel reviewed They Called Me Number One by Chief Bev Sellars, which is currently in first place on the BC Bestsellers list (tracked by the ABPBC). The very thorough and positive review was published as a feature review on October 17, 2013 and is available online: “Decolonizing mind and soul: ‘They Called Me Number One’ is a powerful read about residential schools and systemic racism”.
At the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on September 16, Chief Bev Sellars spoke about her life as a residential-school survivor and a long-time advocate for social justice. A video of her full talk has just become available:
Sellars, a UVic alumnus and UBC Faculty of Law graduate, read from her memoir, They Called Me Number One (Talonbooks, 2013) and discussed the lasting effects of residential schools and the paths she and her community have taken to healing.
Several Aboriginal leaders were in attendance, as well as Bev’s mother, who figures in the book. The event was hosted by Wendy Wickwire and sponsored by the Department of History and Indigenous Studies Program. This was the first event on Chief Sellars’s coastal tour. A lunch was given at the Ceremonial Hall of the First Peoples’ House before the talk, and a lively question-and-answer period followed the discussion.
The Coastal Spectator interviewed Sellars after her talk, and the article (available on Meta-Talon) gives a good overview of the event.
They Called Me Number One, which reached #1 on the B.C. Bestsellers list in early October and is celebrating its 22nd week on the list, is available from Talonbooks for $19.95.
The holiday season is upon us, and perhaps you are considering giving the gift of a good book! Here are the most lovely and readable and immediately compelling books we have produced recently to help you in your quest. Order soon to have them delivered in the next couple of weeks! (And did you know that ours come nicely packaged?)Tuesday December 3, 2013 in Meta-Talon
by Chloë Filson
In a recent Meta-Talon article, “Reflections on Regionalism,” Megan Jones referred to the “quietly profound writers that dwell in far-off corners and dense urban hotbeds of this vast country.” This description points to one of the most important – or at least one of the most critically discussed – tensions in Canadian literature: urban vs. rural.Thursday November 28, 2013 in Meta-Talon
Tuesday November 26, 2013 in Meta-Talon
“With this magazine cover, I know it’s only a prototype, but with this cover, we decided to concentrate on the mole. This may look to you and me like an ordinary, and might I add rather famous, mole on a human face. Yet if we were to make that assumption, we would both be making a rather naive supposition.”
Candy blinked and stifled a yawn.
“Because,” roared F with wild eyes, nearly startling Candy out of her seat, “the mole is not a real mole at all!”
“Okay, Doc, I believe you. Just chill, okay.”
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program; and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.