Welcome to Talonbooks

Canadian distribution for Talonbooks is now through the University of Toronto Press Distribution. Returns also go through the University of Toronto. Our Spring books are arriving! Christian Guay-Poliquin's (trans. David Homel) The Weight of Snow, Dina Del Bucchia's It’s a Big Deal!, M.A.C. Farrant's The Great Happiness, Nicole Raziya Fong's PEЯFACT, Nikki Reimer's My Heart Is a Rose Manhattan, Carmen Aguirre's Chile Con Carne and Other Early Works, Drew Hayden Taylor's Cottagers and Indians, Sean Harris Oliver & Raes Calvert's Redpatch, Simon Brousseau's (trans. Pablo Strauss) Synapses, bill bissett's breth, and Colleen Wagner's The Living have arrived! Annie York & Richard Daly & Chris Arnett's They Write Their Dream on the Rocks Forever will arrive soon. Sign up for our monthly newsletter here, peruse our list of upcoming events here, and don't forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


News, Events, and Announcements

news | Monday June 10, 2019

Our Fall 2019 Catalogue is now available!

Talonbooks Fall 2019 Catalogue

Our Fall 2019 catalogue, featuring new books from Bill Richardson, Michel Tremblay, Kim Senklip Harvey, George F. Walker, Deni Ellis Béchard, Danielle LaFrance, annie ross, and more, has arrived!

This catalogue also includes our Spring 2019 list, featuring work by M.A.C. Farrant, bill bissett, Carmen Aguirre, Drew Hayden Taylor, Christian Guay-Poliquin, Nikki Reimer, Dina Del Bucchia, Colleen Wagner, Raes Calvert, Sean Harris Oliver, and more!

Talonbooks Fall 2019 Catalogue PDF

These books can all now be purchased in Canada through our new distributor, University of Toronto Press Distribution. Click here for Talon’s full sales and distribution information.

news | Sunday August 18, 2019

Rita Wong's Public Sentencing Statement

We at Talon stand with poet and activist Rita Wong, who was sentenced this past Friday to serve twenty-eight days in prison for participating in a protest last August against the Trans Mountain pipeline project. Please read Rita’s public statement on her sentencing, reproduced in full below.

Rita Wong’s Public Sentencing Statement

I’m grateful to be here alive today with all of you on sacred, unceded Coast Salish territories, the homelands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil Waututh peoples.

On 24 August 2018, while British Columbia was in a state of emergency because of wildfires caused by climate change – breaking records for the second year in a row; putting lives at risk, health at risk, and displacing thousands of people – I sang, prayed, and sat in ceremony for about half an hour in front of the Trans Mountain pipeline project’s Westridge Marine Terminal.

I did this because we’re in a climate emergency, and since the Federal government has abdicated its responsibility to protect us despite full knowledge of the emergency, it became necessary to act. We are in imminent peril if we consider the rate of change we are currently experiencing from a geological perspective – we are losing species at an alarming rate and facing mass extinction due to the climate crisis that humans have caused. This is the irreparable harm I sought to prevent, which the court, the Crown, and corporations also have a responsibility to prevent.

Everyone has the responsibility to respond to this crisis. We are on the global equivalent of the Titanic, and this industrialized ship needs to change direction. We also need to build life boats, healthy places that can support resilience in the future, such as the sacred Salish Sea.

I acted with respect for the rule of law which includes the rule of natural law and the rule of Indigenous law and the rule of international law. Under the rule of law:

  • I have a responsibility to my ancestors and the ancestors of this land to protect the lands and waters that give us life with each breath, each bite of food, each sip of water.
  • I have a responsibility to reciprocate to the salmon who have given their life to feed mine, to reciprocate to the trees that produce and gift us the fresh air from their leaves through the perpetual song of photosynthesis.
  • I have a responsibility to give back to the great Pacific Ocean, the Coast Salish Sea, Stalew (the Fraser River), and the many water bodies on which human life – and other lives – depend.
  • I have a responsibility to hold our politicians accountable when they persistently breach their international legal obligations to protect us. They should be reducing greenhouse gas emissions, not increasing them in ways that put the very existence of life at risk.

By breaching the injunction, I had no intention of reducing respect for our courts. I do intend to ask the court to respect Coast Salish laws that uphold our responsibilities to care for the land and waters that make life, liberty and peace possible for everyone. I sincerely ask the court to take our reciprocal relationship with the land and water into consideration because we are on Coast Salish lands, where everyone is a Coast Salish citizen.

I’m one of over 200 citizens of conscience who were arrested because, unlike our federal and provincial governments, we take the climate crisis seriously. We take the need to protect society seriously. We did what we could to maintain respect for our justice system:

  • We cooperated with Indigenous spiritual guardians, non-governmental organizations and the police.
  • We waited patiently for decades before determining – at a moment in history when time has almost run out to act – that orthodox ways of getting the federal government to act were doomed to fail.
  • The police were informed in advance and they appointed people to liaise and communicate with the NGOs in order to maintain order.

All of this is evidence of the rule of law working.

I respect the court’s concern for the rule of law. I do appreciate that obeying court orders is part of the rule of law. There are more aspects of the rule of law that I would ask you to consider before sentencing me.

Natural law and Indigenous law rely on mutual aid and cooperation, qualities that require maturity and a deep love for one’s community, recognizing that we are all equal. It is a rule of law that works primarily from a place of love and respect, not from fear of authority and punishment.

This is the aspect of rule of law that has moved the hearts and spirits of the thousands of people who’ve shown up to care for the land and waters of this place. Such an understanding of rule of law, as coming from a place of love and courage more than fear, could strengthen our sense of democracy. It could make our commitment to reconciliation a sincere one.

We can all learn from natural law and Coast Salish law that we have a reciprocal relationship with the land; and that we all have a responsibility to care for the land’s health, which is ultimately our health too. This was reinforced most recently for me by Tsleil-Waututh speakers at the Drums Not Drills gathering at the scene of my arrest, the Westridge Marine Terminal, on Aug 5 this year, which I helped to co-organize as part of the Mountain Protectors group.

My ancestors teach me to act responsibly, to honour the water, the land and my relatives. I feel their teachings in my blood & guts, my bones that carry their spirits within them, my heart as it closes & opens again & again with each beat.

The morning of my arrest we hung red dresses to honour the murdered and missing Indigenous women, the sisters who are made more vulnerable and victimized by the man camps that accompany pipeline expansion and massive resource extraction. We sang the women warriors song, over and over again, for each woman who should have been there & wasn’t.

We sang for our grandparents, for people from all four direction of the earth.

Our ceremony that morning was an act of spiritual commitment, of prayer, of artistic expression, of freedom of expression, an act of desperation in the face of climate crisis, an act of allegiance with the earth’s natural laws, and a heartfelt attempt to prevent mass extinction of the human race.

As I see it, one shows respect by speaking honestly, a view shared by Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. To speak the truth is not to show contempt, but to hold those in power accountable for failing to protect us and for instead knowingly choosing to inflict systemic harm & violence upon us and upon the land and waters that give us life.

I pray that the urgency of the climate crisis and our responsibilities to be good relatives living on Coast Salish lands, under Coast Salish laws, will help to guide this justice system as it encounters land defenders. As land and water defenders, we do what we do for everyone’s sake.

Thank you,
Rita

news | Monday June 24, 2019

Happy Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day!

Cover of Michel Tremblay's A Crossing of Hearts.

Happy Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day to all of our Québécois readers, and to French-Canadians across the country. Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day celebrates diverse Québécois culture, and Talon is proud to have a long history of translating Québécois classics – as well as new and exciting titles from emerging authors – for anglophone audiences. Today, we’d like to recommend some titles to you.

news | Friday June 21, 2019

A poem from Wanda John-Kehewin's Seven Sacred Truths

Today, on Indigenous Peoples Day, we are pleased to share a poem from Wanda John-Kehewin’s Seven Sacred Truths.

tO all the children Of residential schOOls …

(Inspired by Mechelle Pierre)

i hOpe YOur life is filled with lOve
frOM here On earth and frOM abOve.
i hOpe YOu can OvercOMe YOur fears
thrOugh faMilY, friends, and ManY healing tears.

news | Thursday June 20, 2019

Celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day

Cover of Talonbooks 2018 Indigenous Catalogue

Talon is honoured to work with many Indigenous authors and to celebrate Indigenous voices. Publishing writing by, for, and about First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples is a central part of what we do every day of the year.

So: happy Indigenous Peoples Day!

We have some recent and forthcoming titles we’d like to share with you today. Kevin Loring’s Thanks for Giving, Drew Hayden Taylor’s Cottagers and Indians and Sir John A: Acts of a Gentrified Ojibway Rebellion, Sean Harris Oliver & Raes Calvert’s Redpatch, and Wanda John-Kehewin’s Seven Sacred Truths were all published in the past year.

Soon, we will be reissuing an updated edition of They Write Their Dream on the Rock Forever, by Annie York, Richard Daly & Chris Arnett; forthcoming this fall is annie ross’s Pots and Other Living Beings as well as Kim Senklip Harvey’s Kamloopa: An Indigenous Matriarch Story. In Spring 2020, we will publish Marie Clements’s Iron Peggy and Kevin Loring’s Little Red Warrior and His Lawyer.

For even more Indigenous-authored books, download our 2018 Indigenous Catalogue.

news | Monday June 10, 2019

Christine Stewart in conversation with Erina Harris for CWILA

Canadian Women in the Literary Arts (CWILA) has posted a great conversation between Christine Stewart, author of Treaty 6 Deixis, and poet Erina Harris. An excerpt:

Erina Harris – You once mentioned that moving to Edmonton inspired or induced a radical reckoning asked of you as a poet and teacher. Could you elaborate?

Christine Stewart – … During the summer of 2007, a tent city had grown up in downtown Edmonton. This was shut down by the city in early September and many of the inhabitants moved across the river into the ravine. In the mornings, on my way to work, as dawn broke, I would bike by people cooking breakfast on open fires or sleeping in shelters along the creek. At that time, the majority of the people living in the ravine were Indigenous, and as I later learned, many were nêhiyaw (Cree), from the Edmonton area – home and homeless. This condition remains very true for many people in Edmonton and across Canada – to be home and yet to be homeless in that very place of home. The enduring societal and governmental violence that is necessary for such a fact to be true is staggering. In the years that have followed, it has become obvious to me that I didn’t know where I was in those days, that I never had known, and that I still don’t, but that I urgently need to know where I am and what is expected of me here. This has lead me to work and write in very different ways and with very different intentions and yet, I think what has remained with me, is that writing is real, that it matters, that language matters, how we use it and why, that there is a truth in language on the page. It might be a truth that we find hard to believe or do not want to believe but it is there. Which is not to say that writing is everything. It isn’t. There are circumstances within which I often find myself now wherein writing needs to stop. Some things should not be written; sometimes writing is not enough.

Read the full conversation over at CWILA.

news | Monday May 27, 2019

TISH poets read from their Talon books in North Van

Fred Wah reading from Scree.

On Saturday, April 6, George Bowering, Gladys Maria Hindmarch, Daphne Marlatt, and Fred Wah read from their TISH works and Talon books at a reading associated with the Griffin Art Project’s exhibition the poets have always preceded art and poetry in Vancouver, 1960–present, which was on from January 26 to April 27, 2019. All four poets are part of our Collected Poetry series.

Fred Wah’s Scree: The Collected Earlier Poems, 1962–1991 came out with Talon in 2015. Daphne Marlatt’s Intertidal: The Collected Earlier Poems 1968–2008 came out in 2017. Gladys Maria Hindmarch and George Bowering both have Collected volumes forthcoming with Talon.

Check out these great photos that Kit Marlatt took of the reading, and order Fred’s and Daphne’s books today!

Daphne Marlatt reading

George Bowering reading

Gladys Maria Hindmarch reading

news | Thursday March 28, 2019

Redpatch: in house and on the stage!

Picture of Redpatch on a log by the Fraser River in Vancouver.

Private Jonathan Woodrow is a young Indigenous soldier fighting on the Western Front during World War I. Thanks to his experience in hunting and wilderness survival, he quickly becomes one of the 1st Canadian Division’s most feared trench raiders. But as the war and the fighting stretch on with no end in sight, Woodrow begins to realize that he will never go home again. Shedding overdue light on the Indigenous contribution to Canada’s Great War effort, Redpatch was a finalist for the Playwright Guild of Canada’s 2017 Carol Bolt award.

Redpatch is on now until March 31 at the Arts Club in Vancouver. More info here.

Pick up your copy of Redpatch today!.

news | Monday March 25, 2019

Colleen Wagner's moving play, The Living, arrives in-house

Cover image: The Living.

The Living has arrived in-house from the printer.

The Living is a powerful and unsettling documentary play by Colleen Wagner, author of the Governor General’s Literary Award–winning play The Monument. It is inspired by the actual stories of women and girls who survived trauma in post-conflict zones like Rwanda and Uganda. The Living examines the lives of victims and perpetrators, post-genocide, who live side-by-side in government-issued housing, as well as the role of NGO-funded campaigns. By means of theatrical fiction, documentary work, and re-enactment, The Living provides a creative path toward reconciliation, in hopes that the impossible act of forgiveness can end the cycle of revenge. The book features a foreword by Ines Buchli and an afterword by Juliane Okot Bitek.

Pick up your copy of The Living today

news | Wednesday March 20, 2019

beholden shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize!

Screenshot of several finalists for BC Book Prizes, including beholden: a poem as long as the river.

We are so pleased to announce that Rita Wong and Fred Wah’s beholden: a poem as long as the river has been shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. beholden joins several wonderful books on this year’s list of BC Book Prize finalists, including Our Familiar Hunger by Laisha Rosnau, Port of Being by Shazia Hafiz Ramji, Quarrels by Eve Joseph, and _The Small Way_by Onjana Yawnghwe in the poetry category.

beholden: a poem as long as the river stems from the interdisciplinary artistic research project “River Relations: A Beholder’s Share of the Columbia River,” undertaken as a response to the damming and development of the Columbia River in British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon, as well as to the upcoming renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty. Authors Fred Wah and Rita Wong spent time exploring various stretches of the river, all the way to its mouth near Astoria, Oregon. They then spent several months creating long poems along the Columbia, each searching for a language that evoked the complexities of our colonial appropriation of it. beholden was then assembled as a page-turning book that reproduces the two long poems as they respond to the meanderings of the river flowing two thousand kilometres through Canada, the United States, and the territories and reserves of Indigenous Peoples. Visual artist Nick Conbere then transferred this winding footprint into a monumental, 114-foot horizontal banner.

Visit the BC Book Prize website for more information about the finalists.

news | Thursday March 14, 2019

Save the date: Talonbooks Spring Launch!

Spring Launch Poster: pink background with floral skull.

Join us on Wednesday, April 3, at 7:30 p.m. at Pyatt Hall in Vancouver, where Talon authors bill bissett (breth), Dina Del Bucchia (It’s a Big Deal!), M.A.C. Farrant (The Great Happiness), Nicole Raziya Fong (PEЯFACT), and Nikki Reimer (My Heart Is a Rose Manhattan) will read from their hot-off-the-presses books. Admission is free (bring money for books!), and the venue is fully accessible. Mercedes Eng, author of the BC Book Prize–winning Prison Industrial Complex Explodes, will be hosting.

Wednesday, April 3
Doors at 7:30 p.m., readings at 8 p.m.
Pyatt Hall
843 Seymour Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 3L4

Featured Books

Around Her
By Sophie Bienvenu
Translated by Rhonda Mullins

160 pages | Fiction

$19.95

More Info

beholden
By Fred Wah & Rita Wong

160 pages | Poetry

$24.95

More Info

breth
By bill bissett

544 pages | Poetry

$29.95

More Info

Flow
By Roy Miki
Edited by Michael Barnholden

640 pages | Poetry

$49.95

More Info

PERFACT
By Nicole Raziya Fong

112 pages | Poetry

$16.95

More Info

Synapses
By Simon Brousseau
Translated by Pablo Strauss

128 pages | Fiction

$16.95

More Info

The Living
By Colleen Wagner

160 pages | Drama

$18.95

More Info

White
By Deni Ellis Béchard

304 pages | Fiction

$19.95

More Info