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news | Saturday March 18, 2023
Congratulations to Michel Marc Bouchard for winning Governor General’s Literary Awards Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award in theatre! Read all about it here.
news | Friday March 17, 2023
A big congratulations to Drew Hayden Taylor who has been nominated for three Canadian Screen Awards! Taylor is nominated for a Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary Program and a Best Writing for a Documentary for The Pretendians and Best Host or Interviewer for Going Native.
Read Alex Schummer’s interview with Taylor regarding his nominations in the Peterborough Examiner.
news | Friday March 17, 2023
This March, a piece on the remarkable work of Maylis de Kerangal was featured in the New Yorker. Written by Lauren Oyler, the article details an account of how Oyler came to discover de Kerangal’s work, the reasons she fell in love with de Kerangal’s writing, and how the translation of de Kerangal’s work “serves… as a metaphor for the use of language in general.” Translator Jessica Moore is also given her flowers in this deeply considered think piece on Maylis de Kerangal’s oeuvre.
From the article: “Were I to begin this review with panoramic impressions, I might mention the weird refrain that looped in my head—it’s so good it makes me want to puke—while reading de Kerangal’s novels.”
Read the full piece in the New Yorker here.
news | Wednesday March 15, 2023
Hot off the press! Shadow Catch, the Noh-inspired libretto by award-winning writer Daphne Marlatt has landed at Talonbooks. Shadow Catch recounts the dreams – or are they dreams? – of the Runaway, a teenage boy who ends up one night in Oppenheimer Park in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. He is visited by four troubled spirits from the park’s past: the Spirit of the Maple Tree from K’emk’emeláy̓ whose grove was decimated by loggers; a member of the brilliant Asahi baseball team whose players were sent to Japanese internment camps; the keeper of a 1920s brothel who is haunted by the tragic death of one of “her” women; and a roughneck 1930s policeman who succumbed to corruption.
An excerpt from Shadow Catch:
What are you doing? That’s my pack.
Sorry, so sorry. I was somewhere else. Or maybe I was here
and you were somewhere else.
That doesn’t make any sense.
At times it’s hard to see
the sense in what’s real.
Look, I find a place to sleep, then you come along and stab
my pack. Why don’t you work by daylight when it’s easier to
see what belongs to people?
What belongs, you say, and to whom? We thought Paueru
Groundo was ours, we thought our houses, the Buddhist
temple, our school, our shops, the noodle and tofu
makers, this baseball diamond, all that we worked so hard to
make was ours. Then Pearl Harbour happened and overnight
we learned none of it was.”
Shadow Catch includes scores written by 4 composers, Dorothy Chang, Benton Roark, Jennifer Butler, and Farshid Samandari and includes this book includes brief histories of species interconnectedness in the park, the Asahi baseball team, Vancouver’s early red-light district, and the Battle of Ballantyne Pier. Pick up a copy here.
news | Tuesday March 14, 2023
March 14, 3/14, is Pi Day, a day for math lovers and pastry lovers alike to rejoice. This year, we have an extra reason to celebrate: Song & Dread, the new poetry collection by Otoniya J. Okot Bitek, features a sequence of 50 Pi Day poems.
From “Pi Day 21”:
“navels begin to creep upwards
towards the sternum
most people won’t notice
because they’re drawn to the numbers on the screen…
because they’ve left the solid of their bodies
& now they leave no footprints”
Pick up a copy of Song & Dread for a sweet Pi Day treat.
news | Thursday March 9, 2023
Join us on Wednesday, April 5th for the launch of our spring 2023 titles at Pyatt Hall! Help us welcome 6 incredible new titles: Grazie by Lucia Frangione, Shadow Catch by Daphne Marlatt, Spells, Wishes, and the Talking Dead: ᒪᒪᐦᑖᐃᐧᓯᐃᐧᐣ ᐸᑯᓭᔨᒧᐤ ᓂᑭᐦᒋᐋᓂᐢᑯᑖᐹᐣ mamahtâwisiwin, pakosêyimow, nikihci-âniskotâpân by Wanda John-Kehewin, Song & Dread by Otoniya J. Okot Bitek, Refabulations: Selected Longer Poems by Sharon Thesen and edited by Erín Moure, and A Net of Momentary Sapphire by R. Kolewe. We can’t wait to share these works with you!
Admission is free. Drinks and snacks will be served. Masks are recommended, but not required.
Wednesday, April 5, 2023
Doors open at 7:00 p.m. PST
Readings start at 7:30 p.m. PST
843 Seymour Street
Vancouver, BC, V6B 3L4
Pyatt Hall is wheelchair and scooter accessible.
A livestream will be available on the Talonbooks YouTube page or the Talonbooks Facebook page.
news | Wednesday March 8, 2023
March 8 is International Women’s Day! We are grateful for the opportunity to celebrate womens’ voices, works, and lives and the ways they enrich the world.
We have had the honour of working with so many radical, observant, change-making, brilliant women over the years that we could generate a list of exciting titles so long your fingers would get sore from scrolling, so in the interest of restraint, we’d love to recommend 8 of titles from our 2022 list to read for International Women’s Day.
1. Unfuckable Lardass by Catriona Strang
Unfuckable Lardass reverts the patriarchy’s gaze. It began as an attempt to refract and undercut an outrageous insult allegedly lobbed at German Chancellor Angela Merkel – an egregious demonstration of the framing of women in reductive and sexualized terms ignoring their existence as subjects of their own complex histories. As such, Unfuckable Lardass is fuelled by the energy of grief and rage, counterpoised by moments of love and hope.
2. HARROWINGS by Cecily Nicholson
Set mainly in the rural, HARROWINGS connects with Black intellectual and art history in relation to agriculture. The poems include pulses of memoir from the poet’s childhood growing up on a farm, as well as from more recent pandemic experiences volunteering for a local agricultural enterprise led by people who were formerly incarcerated. Considering movements organizing for food security and related, resurgent practices, HARROWINGS also contends with “the farm” as a tract of colonial advance.
3. Medusa by Martine Desjardins and translated by Oana Avasilichioaei
Medusa is a modern gothic of women’s body shame and men’s body shaming, phallocratic oppression, and the redemptive power of a feminist imagination. With ironic wit, Medusa confesses her incendiary story, throwing light, both raw and refined, on monstrosity.
4. Standing in a River of Time by Jónína Kirton
Standing in a River of Time merges poetry and lyrical memoir on a journey exposing the intergenerational effects of colonization on a Métis family. Kirton does not shy away from hard realities, meeting them head on, but always treating them with respect and the love stemming from a lifetime of spiritual healing and decades of sobriety. This collection unravels painful memories and a mixed-blood woman’s journey towards wholeness. The Ancestors whisper to Kirton throughout, asking her to heal, to bring them home, so that within these stories of redemption and loss the dead walk with us, their presence felt as the story unfurls in unexpected ways.
5. The Piano Teacher by Dorothy Dittrich
When classical pianist Erin experiences a devastating family tragedy, she finds herself unable to play music or even touch a piano. Navigating her way through the traumatic loss of the life she knew, she meets an unconventional piano teacher, Elaine, who gives her new hope for the future. As Elaine helps Erin find her way back to her instrument and they develop a friendship exempt from rivalry and expectations, other life changes naturally follow – not just for the student, but for the teacher as well. The Piano Teacher won the 2022 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama.
6 Slow Scrape by Tanya Lukin Linklater
Slow Scrape enacts a poetics of relation and action to counter the settler colonial violences of erasure, extraction, and dispossession. Drawing on documentary poetics, concrete-based installations, event scores, and other texts, the book cites memory, Cree and Alutiiq languages, and embodiment as modes of relational being and knowing. In the words of Layli Long Soldier, Slow Scrape presents “an expansive and undulating meditation on time, relations, origin, and colonization.”
7. Some People Fall in the Lodge and Then Eat Berries All Winter by annie ross
In a time of floods, fires, plagues, and famines, nothing could be more pertinent than the work of Maya/Irish writer and artist annie ross. Some People Fall in the Lodge and Then Eat Berries All Winter, her follow-up to Pots and Other Living Beings, gives voice to the pain of living “where the machine is the exalted power.” This new series of prose and poems, anchored by woodcuts by the author, explores extinctions, species interdependence, environmental justice, soul loss in modernity, the natural and Supernatural worlds, and animal rights and power, always keeping peace and love for Mother Earth in view.
8. #postdildo by Danielle LaFrance
After a carnal encounter with garbage, some space emerged for Danielle LaFrance to air her dildos. In #postdildo they think and write through the limitlessness and limitations of sexuality, communication, and desire. Focusing on the dildo as sexual object and social relation, LaFrance asks, “How shall You fuck without causing harm?” #postdildo is a mass of contradictions that more often than not finds a lot of dis/pleasure in a lot of refusal.
Happy International Women’s Day and happy reading!
news | Thursday March 2, 2023
Talonbooks’ latest play, No More Harveys by Chantal Bilodeau has arrived! In turns funny, insightful, and moving, No More Harveys is the third instalment in the Arctic Cycle, a series of plays that looks at the social and environmental impacts of the climate crisis on the eight Arctic states.
The protagonist of No More Harveys is sure of one thing: be they hurricanes or Hollywood producers, Harveys suck. We meet her fleeing her abusive husband (also named Harvey) and heading to Alaska to reunite with friends. Instead, she encounters the wonder of whales.
Read an excerpt from No More Harveys here:
Think about me and Teri and Sonya and all the beautiful,
wonderful women out there who have found themselves
trapped by a Harvey. … Why didn’t we migrate before it was too late?
But whales are smart. They didn’t wait until it was too
late. And some of that migrating was tricky: they had to
move their nose up to the top of their head, develop a
communication technology that would work under water,
and grow baleen for filtering food.
Witty and clear-eyed, No More Harveys is an unmissable play that presents a world dominated by colonialism, capitalism, and patriarchy where the problems that plague our communities, be we women or whales, share the same gnarled roots. Pick up a copy here.
news | Thursday March 2, 2023
The most recent production of The Shoplifters by Morris Panych at Theatre NorthWest was reviewed by Bradley Charles in the Prince George Citizen. In the review, Charles touches not only on the wit and cleverness of the show, but also how prescient the themes remain in a time when inflation is making regular necessities harder to attain.
From the review: “The play is enormous fun and, through all the laughter, it inspires an interesting conversation about the world we find ourselves in today.”
Read the full article here.
news | Wednesday March 1, 2023
The longer days of spring are just around the corner and with them come new poetry collections. The CBC has curated a list of poetry titles to watch out for this coming season and we are delighted to see four of the upcoming Talonbooks titles, Spells, Wishes, and the Talking Dead: ᒪᒪᐦᑖᐃᐧᓯᐃᐧᐣ ᐸᑯᓭᔨᒧᐤ ᓂᑭᐦᒋᐋᓂᐢᑯᑖᐹᐣ mamahtâwisiwin, pakosêyimow, nikihci-âniskotâpân, Song & Dread, Uiesh / Somewhere, and A Net of Momentary Sapphire on this list of exciting works!
Spells, Wishes, and the Talking Dead: ᒪᒪᐦᑖᐃᐧᓯᐃᐧᐣ ᐸᑯᓭᔨᒧᐤ ᓂᑭᐦᒋᐋᓂᐢᑯᑖᐹᐣ mamahtâwisiwin, pakosêyimow, nikihci-âniskotâpân by Wanda John-Kehewin is a powerful collection weaving history, personal experience, and Indigenous resilience.
Song & Dread by Otoniya J. Okot Bitek observes the contradictory, symbiotic relationship between the quotidian and the extraordinary. These COVID meditations document the ways the strange can become normalized when there is no other option.
Uiesh / Somewhere by Joséphine Bacon and translated by Phyllis Aronoff is a vital bilingual poetry by Innu Elder Joséphine Bacon. This collection is made up of short poems that attend keenly to the details of their environments, both earthly and constructed.
A Net of Momentary Sapphire by R. Kolewe is an interrogation of the aftermath of twentieth-century modernism, offering three closely related poetic sequences, random rearrangements of a poignant but obsessively repeating source text –streams of consciousness in which no stable self can be elucidated.
Read the complete list of CBC’s spring poetry titles here.
160 pages | Non-Fiction
444 pages | Non-Fiction
512 pages | Non-Fiction
176 pages | Poetry
96 pages | Poetry
208 pages | Drama
80 pages | Poetry
576 pages | Non-Fiction
128 pages | Poetry