Recent News and Announcements

news | Thursday April 8, 2021

BC and Yukon Book Prize Finalists

We are so excited to announce that three of our wonderful books are finalists for the 2021 BC and Yukon Book Prizes.

We have two finalists for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize Fred Wah’s Music at the Heart of Thinking, and Junie Désil’s eat salt | gaze at the ocean.

In addition, The Diary of Dukesang Wong, by Dukesang Wong, edited by David McIlwraith, and translated by Wanda Joy Hoe, has been shortlisted for the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize.

Congratulations to all of our wonderful authors!

news | Thursday April 8, 2021

You’re invited to our Spring Launch on April 15!

Talonbooks Spring Launch poster.

Our Spring Launch, on next Thursday, April 15, at 5:30 p.m. PT, will feature Anahita Jamali Rad reading from their book still, Daphne Marlatt reading from her book Then Now, Leanne Dunic reading from One and Half of You, M.A.C. Farrant reading from One Good Thing, and Stephen Collis reading from A History of the Theories of Rain!

Thursday, April 15
5:30 p.m. PT
Register and receive the Zoom link

news | Tuesday March 23, 2021

We're Mad About Fado!

Cover of Fado.

We are so pleased to welcome Elaine Ávila’s Fado to Talonbooks!

A young Portuguese Canadian singer, Luisa, arrives home to find her mother weeping on the floor: back “home,” the greatest fadista of all time, Queen of Fado Amália Rodrigues, has just died. Luisa realizes she doesn’t know how to sing a single Portuguese song and that distance and time have separated her from an essential part of her roots. She embarks on a multicultural journey back to Lisbon’s meandering back alleys and lively cafés, winding through fados of resistance, emigrant fados, queer fados, in the hope of reclaiming her heritage and retrieving her own true song.

Playing to sold-out crowds in Vancouver and Victoria, Fado is on the
Playwrights Guild of Canada’s SureFire List of top Canadian plays by women
and is one of the 50 Playwrights Project’s 2018 Top Latinx Plays.

Pick up your copy of Fado today!

news | Tuesday March 23, 2021

And Now for Daphne Marlatt's Then Now!

Cover of Then Now.

Daphne Marlatt’s Then Now is hot off the presses!

A lyrical exploration of memory, family, catastrophe, immigration, and colonialism, Then Now was inspired by the discovery of letters written by Daphne Marlatt’s father, Arthur Buckle. Buckle left England in the early 1930s to join a British accounting firm in multiracial Penang, Malaysia. He continued living and working there until taking leave in 1941, returning after WW II, whose looming threat striates his early letters, and staying until 1951. Decades after the letters’ composition, Marlattbegan writing poems in response to them, interwoven with memories they provoked from her postwar childhood there. These poems are written from a sense of place and home on Canada’s West Coast now on the brink of another catastrophe, global climate change, so that throughout the book, “ThereThen” permeates any “Here Now” of immigrant consciousness and highlights the impermanent quality of “home.”

Pick up your copy of Then Now today!

news | Thursday March 4, 2021

Leanne Dunic’s One and Half of You is hot off the presses!

Photo of One and Half of You.

We are so pleased to welcome Leanne Dunic’s One and Half of You!

One and Half of You is a memoir that begins with the author’s growing up biracial on rural Vancouver Island. Not fitting in at school, she turns for comfort to her brother, who is in many ways her opposite. Only when she moves from the Island to the mainland does she meet another like her. Through sinuous language, risk, and surprising humour, this hybrid work explores sibling and romantic love and the complexities of being a biracial person looking for completion in another. Includes links to recordings of three songs.

Pick up your copy of One and Half of You today!

news | Monday February 22, 2021

Pink Shirt Day Is This Wednesday

This Wednesday, February 24 is Pink Shirt Day.

Pink Shirt Day raises awareness about bullying, and raises funds for anti-bullying initiatives.

We’re getting ready for Pink Shirt Day – are you?

news | Wednesday February 17, 2021

Impurity in Geist

An excerpt from Larry Tremblay’s Impurity, translated by Sheila Fischman, has been published in Geist!

“Something is choking him. He touches his face. It’s not his. The violent beating of his heart drives him out of bed. Then, all at once, it all comes back. He fell asleep with his wife’s herbal mask on his face. He showers. Greenish water runs off his face and disappears, swirling down the bathtub drain.”

Read more

news | Wednesday February 10, 2021

Good Thing: One Good Thing Has Arrived!

The most recent book from M.A.C. Farrant, who the Ottawa Citizen has called “One of the best humourists in the land,” has arrived!

One Good Thing is a charming collision of memoir with the living, exuberant, and vulnerable natural world. Written in sixty-four short epistolary chapters, Farrant’s latest offering represents a search for hope and appeasement in a rapidly changing and often perplexing society. One Good Thing is also an homage to gardening columnist extraordinaire Helen Chesnut of Victoria’s Times Colonist, each section of the book focusing and expanding on one of her gardening columns.

Using a familiar “Dear Helen” structure, almost every piece in One Good Thing intimately and playfully relates to the gardening article that gave rise to it while simultaneously ranging into myriad other topics, including the author’s creative practice, personal and familial details, and comic riffs on a number of close-to-the-heart themes. With a mindful persistence that’s often hilarious, the book strives to find personal “calm abidance” through the practice of gardening as mediated by the universal and personal practice of writing.

Pick up your copy of One Good Thing today!

news | Tuesday February 9, 2021

Painting Time Is Hot Off the Presses!

We are so pleased to welcome Painting Time, by Maylis de Kerengal and translated by Jessica Moore.

In 2007, Paula Karst begins her studies at the famous Institut de Peinture in Brussels. There she meets two friends, both enigmatic, resourceful, impulsive, and gifted. Together, the three weave a complex relationship that mirrors the interconnectedness of their artistic materials. Replicating the grain of wood, the wear of marble, or the protrusion on a tortoiseshell requires method, technique, talent … but also something else. Paula strives to understand what she’s painting, the “micro” that she is and the “macro” that she contemplates in art history. She chooses the painstaking demands of craftmanship over the abstraction of high art.

Paula’s apprenticeship is punctuated by hard work, sleepless nights, sore muscles, and saturnalian evenings. After completing her studies at the Institute, she continues to practise her art in Paris, in Moscow, and then in Italy at Cinécittà, on the sets of great films – dream factories! – as if rehearsing for the grand finale: Lascaux IV, a life-sized replica of the world’s most famous paleolithic cave art and a zenith of human cultural expression.

This exquisite and highly aesthetic coming-of-age novel by the author of Birth of a Bridge and Mend the Living uses a succession of trompe-l’oeil techniques to explore a young woman’s art apprenticeship. Maylis de Kerangal, expertly translated by Jessica Moore, offers the key to the enchanted materialism of her writing.

“Kerangal balances the gloriously sensuous with the deeply reflective in an exquisite and omniscient streaming narration … resplendently evocative and exhilarating.”
—Booklist

Pick up your copy of Painting Time today!

news | Thursday January 7, 2021

In remembrance of Taran Kootenhayoo

Talonbooks is deeply saddened to hear of the recent death of Taran Kootenhayoo. This gifted young actor, playwright, and poet performed in several plays we’ve published, and more than once kindly gave us permission to include his image in our books. Taran was integral to Vancouver film and theatre and will truly be missed. We send our heartfelt condolences to his family and to his communities.

Link to CBC Article
Link to fundraiser for Taran’s Family

news | Tuesday December 22, 2020

January 28 Zoom Launch!

We are very excited to be launching four wonderful new books, on Thursday, January 28, at 5:30 p.m. PT, via Zoom! Cecily Nicholson will introduce the following wonderful Talon authors:

Fred Wah reading from Music at the Heart of Thinking
Colin Browne reading from Here
Junie Desil reading from eat salt | gaze at the ocean
Taryn Hubbard reading from Desire Path

Thursday, January 28
5:30 p.m. PT
The reading is free, but you need to register in advance through Zoom.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the reading.

news | Monday December 21, 2020

Pause and Repeat: A Christmassy story from M.A.C. Farrant's The World Afloat

We’re happy to be sharing another Christmassy tale from M.A.C. Farrant this almost-Christmas! Talon’s offices will be closed from December 24th, reopening the morning of January 4th. Happy holidays, everyone!


We look forward to the comatose reverence that comes with Christmas.

The season begins in early November when time starts giving off a creaking sound. It’s going through its annual process of hardening. Our shoulders roll inward then and our heads collapse onto our chests as if in avoidance or prayer. Some of us make slow, grimacing smiles, stretching our mouths as wide as we can, repeating this motion several times, and then pausing.

During the lead-up to Christmas we no longer suffer from lost English reserve and everyone tries to be quiet. Once achieved, we bring our lips together and forward as though kissing a baby and flutter our eyelashes as fast as we can. This signals the arrival of the cart filled with tinsel. It’s drawn by Lula the Malamute wearing a hat of reindeer horns.

Her arrival completes the seasonal outline, the one that is meant to endure. And Jimmy in the red suit on the roof blowing his nose. 

From The World Afloat, 2014

news | Thursday December 17, 2020

Talonbooks Fall 2020 Launch!

We are having a zoom reading event on December 17th at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

Mercedes Eng will read from my yt mama.

Margaret Christakos will read from charger.

Arleen Paré will read from Earle Street.

Laiwan will read from TENDER.

Gladys Maria Hindmarch will read from Wanting Everything.

Introductions by Cecily Nicholson. Hosted by Sean Cranbury.

Talonbooks Fall 2020 Launch
Thursday, December 17
at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time
Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/93994779836
Email kevin@talonbooks.com for the event password.

news | Monday December 7, 2020

We honour the passing of Talon founder David Robinson, January 5, 1947 to November 24, 2020

Covers of early Talonbooks books

David Robinson founded Talon alongside a few other fellow poets in 1963 while he was a high school student at University Hill Secondary School in Vancouver. At that time, it was a magazine run out of David’s parent’s garage. David published Talon’s first book, fireweed by Ken Belford, in 1967, while he was attending the University of British Columbia. David grew the Talonbooks press until 1984, when he left to join his wife Zonda Nellis at Zonda Nellis Design Inc.

While David published poetry, fiction, and drama at Talon, many will also remember him as a pioneer of Vancouver cookbook publishing, with his bestselling Susan Mendelson and Umberto Menghi titles.

Many of the books David published at Talon are still in print on the Talonbooks list. We remember him often, handling the books he published and admiring the design and savoir faire of an old catalogue.

Fifty-seven years after David initially founded Talon, we are very proud to continue the work he started, and hope this icon of Canadian publishing, Talonbooks, serves as memorial to David Robinson for many decades to come.

Read David’s obituary at dignitymemorial.com.

news | Tuesday November 17, 2020

Fa la la la la la la literature!

Holiday banner featuring Cottagers & Indians, I Saw Three Ships, Kamloopa, and Orwell in Cuba

Talonbooks is having a Holiday Sale!

We’re offering 25% off all titles from November 17 to December 16.

So deck the halls with books & holly, give us some fiction pudding, and pick up some prezzies for your friends and loved ones!

Books make great gifts.

news | Tuesday November 10, 2020

Marking Remembrance Day with Iron Peggy

On Wednesday, November 11, 2020, we mark Remembrance Day.

This year, we at Talon would like to recognize the particular contribution of Indigenous soldiers to World War I by recommending Iron Peggy, written by award-winning, international Métis performer and playwright Marie Clements.

Iron Peggy was commissioned by the Vancouver International Children’s Festival and premiered at Vancouver’s Waterfront Theatre in 2019.

The story centres on Peg, who is struggling for survival at her boarding school. Three über-cool “it” girls take aim at Peg and make her life utterly miserable. Then, when her beloved Grandmother dies, she just wants to disappear.

But an unexpected gift arrives; inside it, Peg finds three cast-iron soldiers. In despair, she throws them against the floor. How can they help her? They are so small, and the girls’ shadow is so big. But, miraculously, the toys come to life as Indigenous snipers from World War I, just in time to wage an epic battle against the girls.

A powerful play that will appeal to audiences both young and old, Iron Peggy uses a creative and ever-surprising blend of voices and sceneries to tell this moving story. With 2018 marking the 100th-year anniversary of WWI, Iron Peggy is an excellent introduction to its history and a touching testimony that not only celebrates the First Nation participation in the war effort but also a young girl’s personal victory.

news | Monday November 9, 2020

Kuroko has arrived!

Cover of Kuroko.

From Governor General’s Award Finalist Tetsuro Shigematsu, author of the award-winning plays Empire of the Son and 1 Hour Photo, comes Kuroko, a story about a family worlds apart, separated by pain, alone and unsure of the way back home.

Maya is a hikikomori, an extreme recluse who hasn’t left her bedroom in five years, spending all her time in virtual reality. Her father hires an actor from a “family rental agency” to befriend her online and entice her back into reality. How? By venturing to the scariest place on earth: Aokigahara, a.k.a. Suicide Forest.

Asking what might happen if we stop running from the phantoms that haunt us and return their gaze, Kuroko is a story about finding something real in the places we least expect it, of building bridges where healing seems impossible, and saving others as a way of saving ourselves.

Pick up your copy of Kuroko today!

news | Thursday November 5, 2020

Excerpt from Orwell in Cuba up at the Walrus

The Walrus has excerpted Orwell in Cuba: How 1984 Came to Be Published in Castro’s Twilight, by Frédérick Lavoie and translated by Donald Winkler.

In the French, Orwell in Cuba won the Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction.

Read the excerpt from this award-winning book today.

news | Friday October 23, 2020

PoemTalk discusses Daphne’s poem “Arriving”

Daphne Marlatt, Fred Wah, and Meredith Quartermain join Al Filreis at Lucy Oh and Dick Cook’s residence in Vancouver, BC to discuss Daphne’s poem “Arriving,” which is published in Intertidal: The Collected Earlier Poems, 1968–2008.

From jacket2.org : “Arriving” was [originally] published in 1981 in the book titled Here & There. It seems to have been written during – and in any case is about – a summertime gathering of artist friends and others in the Kootenays in July 1980. Here & There is dedicated to “my fellow swimmers.” And “Arriving,” the first poem in the group, bears a dedication reading “for Fred & Pauline,” and they would be Fred Wah and Pauline Butling, her hosts those summers – both present at Lucy and Richard’s home. The poem records Daphne’s nine-and-half-hour journey from the city of Vancouver to that remote haven in a steep mountain valley, and in its lines we sense a body in motion, the rushing occurrence of the environment, an “ambushing” of the natural, and a sense of being seemingly always on the way, or a towardness.

news | Saturday October 17, 2020

Oana Avasilichioaei’s Eight Track is a finalist for the A. M. Klein Prize for Poetry!

We are so pleased to announce that Oana Avasilichioaei’s Eight Track is a finalist for the A. M. Klein Prize for Poetry.

Of Eight Track, the jury writes: “Conceptually provocative, this work works across the possibilities of genre… Often declarative and collective, it does not set out to narrate events but to disrupt or reinterpret narrative so as to represent the dislocation of a central self. It evokes and interrogates in fragments, as echo, so that the disarray is the array – an aural tracing, provocative in thought and sensation using gesture of interrogation, declaration, visual arrangement.”

Congratulations, Oana!

Pick up your copy of Eight Track today!

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