Recent News and Announcements

news | Tuesday February 20, 2024

Jigsaw Reviewed in the British Columbia Review

Heidi Greco reviewed Jigsaw: A Puzzle in Ninety-Three Pieces, the latest work from the ever-witty M.A.C. Farrant.

From the review:

“The book is a compendium of delightfully quirky short pieces, each commenting on some aspect of puzzle-making. Although the author’s focus is primarily the joy of jigsaw puzzles, she does credit other kinds of brain workouts, from crossword puzzles through Sudoku.

…Several of Farrant’s entries go by the title “Whimsy Piece”—a term that refers to puzzle bits that have been cut into some recognizable shape. …Farrant’s ‘whimsy pieces’ share some particular bon mot that sparkles in its own way.”

Read the complete review in the British Columbia Review here.

news | Tuesday February 13, 2024

Happy Valentine's Day!

Chocolate and roses may be the cliché, but have you considered the ever-romantic book for Valentine’s Day? If you’re looking for love in all the literary places, allow us to recommend the following:

1. Blue Box by Carmen Aguirre is a sexy, fast-paced, and darkly comic memoir in the form of a one-woman play that follows Carmen, whose past has been interrupted and then shaped by the 1973 military coup that overthrew Salvador Allende, the democratically elected, socialist leader of Chile. She becomes a revolutionary, giving up everything for love of the cause. As an adult, Carmen once again unconditionally gives everything of herself – for love of a different kind. She begins a passionate but emotionally impossible relationship with a handsome Chicano TV star whom she pursues with abandon. Order a copy of Blue Box here.

2. From the vault, this iconic queer novel shook the bounds of what literature when it was first released in 1964. Desert of the Heart by Jane Rule follows Evelyn Hall, a literature professor who travels to Reno, Nevada in the summer of 1958 in order to obtain a divorce and thus put an end to her disastrous sixteen-year marriage. She is divorcing her husband on the advice of his psychiatrist because, this being the ’50s, he believes that Evelyn’s success is causing her husband’s depression. It is during her six-week stay at a boarding house that Evelyn meets Ann Childs, and everything changes. Pick up your copy of Desert of the Heart here.

3. It’s right in the name! Check out Rom Com by Dina Del Bucchia and Daniel Zomparelli. Vibrant and brimming with personality and charm, the poems in Rom Com deconstruct as well as engage in dialogue with romantic comedy films and the pop culture, celebrities, and tropes that have come to be associated with them. This dynamic duo of authors both have new books coming out with Talonbooks this spring, so watch this space! Grab a copy of Rom Com here.

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at Talonbooks!

news | Wednesday February 7, 2024

You're Invited to the Talonbooks Spring 2024 Launch!

Save the date! Join us on April 24 at Pyatt Hall for Talonbooks’s spring 2024 launch. We can’t wait to introduce you to this season’s new titles.

Here’s what’s launching:

Eric Schmaltz will be reading from his introduction to Another Order.
Daniel Zomparelli will be launching his new poetry collection Jump Scare.
Tiziana La Melia will be launching her new poetry book Lettuce Lettuce Please Go Bad.
Leanne Dunic will be launching her new collection Wet.
Dina Del Bucchia will be launching her new poetry collection You’re Gonna Love This.

The launch will be hosted by Samantha Nock, author of A Family of Dreamers.

Help us welcome these fabulous books to the world! Doors open at 7:00 p.m.; readings begin at 7:30 p.m.

Pyatt Hall is wheelchair and scooter accessible. Snacks and drinks will be served. A live stream will be available on the Talonbooks YouTube channel, so tune in remotely if you can’t attend in-person. We hope to see you there!

news | Wednesday February 7, 2024

It's Black History Month!

This February, we’d like to share three absolutely stellar titles – current, past, and forthcoming – by Black authors. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

A 2023 poetry collection we absolutely love is Song & Dread by award-winning author Otoniya J. Okot Bitek. This keenly observant collection looks at the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Song & Dread keeps its gaze faced outward, the narrator observes not just her immediate community but as structures of inequality that were and in many ways still are being exacerbated by the pandemic. From “Pi Day 16”:

“now they’re calling it the feminist virus
because it kills more men than it does women
because the uk metro headline announces
woman with family locked down in italy
poses naked with face masks to urge
everyone to be safe

another woman dreams of her family some dead
some alive some she may never see again
somewhere somewhere a group of women
are in a factory producing 50k masks a day in lockdown
& the cbc news clip ends with
they care more for patriotism
than for their own families”

Pick up your copy of Song & Dread here.

If you haven’t yet checked out this amazing play from the vault, Consecrated Ground by the late George Boyd retells the struggle of Africville’s residents to save their homes and their dignity. With tremendous wit and gravity, George Boyd takes us back to Africville on the verge of extinction, making us a gift of characters believable in their vulnerabilities, their courage and their outrage. From Consecrated Ground:

WILLEM

You sole yer place? (He chuckles.) That’s a good one! Like

somebody’s gonna buy a place in Africville? Jimmy there’s some

miracles even Jesus can’t make happen. (He starts lifting his bucket.)

Unless you gonna be serious, I gotta get me goin’.

JIMMY

I-I-I is s-s-serious, Willem. I-I-I … is!

WILLEM

Well who bought it?

JIMMY

(Blurting.) The city!!

WILLEM halts abruptly.

WILLEM

The city?

JIMMY

Uh-hunh …

WILLEM

Now what’s the city want with this ol’ piece

a land?

Order your copy of Consecrated Ground here.

Finally, coming this spring we have a new play from Amy Lee Lavoie and Omari Newton. Redbone Coonhound follows interracial couple, Mike and Marissa, who meet a dog with an unfortunate breed name: Redbone coonhound. This small detail unleashes a cascading debate between them about race and their relationship that manifests as a series of micro-plays, each satirizing contemporary perspectives on modern culture. Watch this space for more details about this brilliant play!

We hope your Black History Month is full of great reads and great art.

news | Tuesday January 30, 2024

andrea bennett on Page Fright

Catch the latest episode of Page Fright: A Literary Podcast to hear host Andrew French chat with andrea bennett about their latest poetry collection the berry takes the shape of the bloom, the ocean, and much more! Listen to the episode here.

news | Saturday January 27, 2024

Hot Off the Press! Antigone in Spring Has Landed!

Ready for a new twist on a classic? Antigone in Spring by Nathalie Boisvert and translated by Hugh Hazelton has arrived!

Antigone in Spring takes us to a fictional Québec where dead birds fall from the sky, covering highways, rooftops, and parks. The citizens demand an explanation, but the answer never comes. The government, led by the autocratic Creon, refuses to tell the truth. A revolution is brewing, however, and the youth of the population and their supporters, inflamed by the unprecedented ecological disaster, are calling for freedom. Born into a happy family that flees from the world every summer to their cottage in Rivière-Éternité, Antigone and her brothers, Polynices and Eteocles live in the certainty that the world is a safe place of warmth and honesty. But after returning to the city for school they accidentally learn the truth: their mother Jocasta is married to her own son, Oedipus. The three siblings are caught up in the revolution sweeping through the city. Written in free verse and inspired by the courage and integrity of the protesters during the student demonstrations that rocked the streets of Montréal in 2012, Antigone in Spring is an ode to all the revolutions in the world whose stories remain untold.

Get your copy of Antigone in Spring here!

news | Thursday January 25, 2024

Speaking Through the Night has Arrived!

It’s here! Speaking Through the Night: Diary of a Lockdown, March–April 2020 by Wajdi Mouawad and translated by Linda Gaboriau has arrived at Talonbooks. A gorgeous, diaristic literary work from the award-winning author of Anima and more, Speaking Through the Night captures the early days of lockdown, while remembering back to the author’s childhood in Lebanon, adolescence in Montréal, and more.

An excerpt from the text:

‘My father, like so many others, doesn’t fear confinement as much as he fears solitude at the moment of his death. War, it’s true, had accustomed my father to solitude. For years on end, having stayed in Lebanon to continue working while we were in Paris, then in Montréal, he had to learn to cope with unhappiness. For years, much later when I would stop by to visit him, I often asked him about those terrible years. He always avoided the question, finding clever ways to change the subject and bring me back to the question of money, his favourite subject. But as the years went by, with the onset of old age, illness, and the prospect of death, his heart opened and he began to speak more openly, freed from the sclerosis of shame that had restrained him for such a long time. “How did you manage on your own during the war, Papa? When the bombing was so intense, not only was it impossible to leave the house but it was impossible to communicate with us or with anyone? Internet didn’t exist, cellphones didn’t exist, and the phone lines were always down. So what did you do?…” I think I asked him that question every Sunday for ten years. And one day, instead of dismissing the question with his usual answer, “I don’t know. What do you expect me to say?! That’s how it was, there was no way around it. What do you think we could do? I don’t know. How can you expect me to remember? Stop asking me these questions, yallah khalas!”…One day, instead, he started to laugh and he said: “You won’t believe it, but I’ll tell you anyway, and you can use it for one of your plays and you’ll stop thinking your father’s an idiot and it will be a great comedy.”’

Pick up your copy of Speaking Through the Night here.

news | Wednesday January 24, 2024

Congratulations, Adeena Karasick!

A huge congratulations to Adeena Karasick for being named a finalist in the League of Canadian Poet’s inaugural Spoken Word Award! This is a wonderful shortlist of talented poets. See the complete shortlist here!

news | Tuesday January 23, 2024

M.A.C. Farrant Interviewed on the Artsy Raven

JF Garrard interviewed M.A.C. Farrant about her latest book Jigsaw, her writing process, and how cows can be an incredible source of inspiration on the podcast The Artsy Raven. Listen to the episode here or watch the full interview on The Artsy Raven’s YouTube channel here!

news | Friday January 19, 2024

Giveaway!

***GIVEAWAY ALERT***

In honour of M.A.C. Farrant’s fantastic new book Jigsaw: A Puzzle in Ninety-Three Pieces and National Jigsaw Puzzle Day on January 29, we’re conducting a giveaway! You could win a one-of-a-kind 1000-piece puzzle featuring the cover of Jigsaw!

To enter the draw, sign up for the Talonbooks Newsletter by midnight PST on January 29th, 2024, or show us that you’re already subscribed by sending us a DM or e-mailing erin@talonbooks.com. Entrants must reside in Canada or the US. The winner will be announced on January 30!

You can sign up for the newsletter here.

Good luck, and happy puzzling!

news | Tuesday January 16, 2024

Ballad of Ginger Goodwin & Kitimat Reviewed in British Columbia Review

Ron Verzuh reviewed Elaine Ávila’s latest plays, The Ballad of Ginger Goodwin & Kitimat: Two Plays for Workers in the British Columbia Review! These two plays delve into labour rights in Canada and explore themes of environmentalism and the power of everyday people coming together to achieve change.

“Ávila mixes dialogue and song to convey that emotion as she moulds history to culture to politics, giving readers a welcome new perspective on BC community life”

Read the complete review here.

news | Monday January 15, 2024

Leanne Dunic in Orion Magazine

Orion Magazine put out an interview with multidisciplinary artist Leanne Dunic focusing on her latest series of photographs for the series Tell Me How You Love: Dialogues on New Romance in New Climates.

Dunic digs into her creative philosophy, saying: “Lately I’ve been thinking about the idea of an aquarium—if that’s a truth or fiction. Because these are real fish living in their curated life, but is it a real representation of the ocean?

In the same way, every photograph is a curation. We don’t have the context outside of the snapshot.

The word “fiction” derives from the Latin fictiōn, “a shaping” or “molded.” In both my writing and photography, I’m definitely shaping and molding reality.”

Dunic’s new poetry collection Wet is forthcoming this spring. Watch this space for further details.

Read the complete article and view Dunic’s photos here.

news | Wednesday January 10, 2024

the berry takes the shape of the bloom among CBC's recommended books

andrea bennett’s amazing new collection the berry takes the shape of the bloom tops CBC’s list of 30 Canadian books to read this winter! the berry takes the shape of the bloom is highly affecting, rich with complicated and intimate relationships, both tremendously personal and relatable. Be sure to check it out.

See all of the titles on CBC’s list here.

news | Tuesday January 9, 2024

Dusie's 'Best of' Canadian Poetry 2023

Acknowledging the subjectivity and imprecision of “best of” lists, rob mclennan puts out an annual list of the Canadian poetry collections he most enjoyed and intends to read again on the site Dusie. This list offers several wonderful collections some much-deserved admiration. We’re so pleased to see several Talonbooks titles on this year’s list and in such excellent company.

Song & Dread by Otoniya J. Okot Bitek appears on the list. Of this collection, mclennan says “I’m fascinated in how Okot Bitek’s book-length structures favour the extended sequence, and the cycle; composing individual poems that come together to form something far larger than the sum of their parts.”

the berry takes the shape of the bloom by andrea bennett is also among mclennan’s titles of the year. Of bennett’s prose, mclennan notes “there is something about bennett’s lyric, bennett’s line, that refuses to remain static.”

No Town Called We by Nikki Reimer is the third 2023 Talonbooks poetry collection on the Dusie list. Here, mclennan describes the collection as “a suite of lyric experimentation and cultural discourse, working to orient and even articulate oneself amid a field that pushes an insistence to keep moving, move forward and do not question.”

The 2022 collection Witness Back at Me by Weyman Chan is the final Talonbooks collection on this year’s list. Mclennan says “Witness Back at Me is a book-length elegy of witness composed through a lyric of stunning complexity around language, loss, grief and connection.”

There are nearly forty fantastic books of poetry discussed here, so if you’re in the market for leads on your next foray into the poetic, check it out.

news | Wednesday January 3, 2024

Congratulations to Andrew Kushnir!

A huge congratulations to playwright Andrew Kushnir for being named one of the Globe and Mail’s 2023 artists of the year! One of the authors of Moving the Centre, Kushnir is being noted for his writing, his activism, and his talent for directing.

Check out the complete list of creatives here.

news | Thursday December 21, 2023

Happy Holidays from Everyone at Talonbooks!

The Talonbooks team wishes you and your loved ones a restful holiday and a happy new year! Please be advised that our office will be closed from December 22 to January 2. We will resume our regular office hours (9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST) on Wednesday January 3, 2023, as we will be doing inventory January 2. Happy Holidays!

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