Quill Blotter: News for November

I’m pretty sure my mom has a secret stash. No, not of Halloween candy (I’d totally have found that by now), but of piles and piles of my childhood artwork.

In her defence, at the time I was dashing off these masterpieces of juvenile imagination, she probably thought I was some kind of prodigy of the Crayola set. This was a feat of remarkable self-delusion on her part given that my drawings prominently featured monstrous depictions of my family as armless, torso-less heads attached to what can only be described as spider legs.

Clearly I was a budding Picasso. Or a psychopath.


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but sanity is in the hands of the psychiatrists, and I’m pretty sure they’d have a field day with my frightening sketches.

Anyway, the point is that I’ve never had any artistic talent to speak of, which probably explains why I am so fascinated by people who possess a gift for the visual arts.

I love to read books about the way artists see the world (such as Thoughts on Driving to Venus, by Christopher Pratt), about how they developed their talents (as in The Art of P. K. Page by Michèle Rackham Hall) or about how their artistic practice fits in with their day-to-day lives (as in Joyce Wieland by Jane Lind).

We’re pretty proud of the selection of art-related titles we’ve published over the years, especially recently, with the help of Arts Editor Tom Smart, who was also recently appointed Director and CEO of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. We like to think we have an artistic touch, an aesthetic that lends itself particularly well to showcasing works of art.

Needless to say, I stay away from the design side of things!


What’s happening this month.


Tim and Elke are keeping busy at the shop this November preparing a beautiful collection of the short fiction of P. K. Page. Triptych, the latest in the Collected Works of P. K. Page project, is currently getting the pre-press treatment, and will be printed, bound and trimmed in the coming weeks. We’ll let you know as soon as first copies are available.

In Toronto.

Michael Harris is launching his new volume of selected poetry, The Gamekeeper at Ben McNally Books on November 2. He’ll be joining fellow poets as part of the Véhicule Press Poetry Launch.

The Essential John Reibetanz

We are pleased and proud to invite you to the launch of The Essential John Reibetanz! The latest volume in our Essential Poets series will be celebrated at an event on Monday, November 6 at Ben McNally Books. Stop by from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. to hear from volume editor Jeffery Donaldson, as well as John Reibetanz himself!

If you’re ready to do some holiday shopping, stop on by the Meet the Presses Indie Literary Market on Saturday, November 18 at St. Paul’s United Church. We’ll be manning a table with all of our latest releases as well as some backlist gems.

Shane Neilson will be reading from his fantastic poetry collection, Dysphoria, as Part of the Art Bar Poetry Series. The event will be hosted by Jeff Cottrill, and will feature readings by Shane, Glen Downie and Nicki Ward.

Plus, mark your calendars for December 2. We’ll be at the Arts & Letters Club for the Bound Book Arts Fair–a lovely little curated fair featuring handmade books, prints, cards, ephemera, and PQL books, of course!

In Durham.

Words Aloud

Bruce Meyer will be in Durham, Ontario to participate in this year’s Words Aloud Festival. Stop by the Durham Art Gallery on November 4 to hear him read his work along with poets Janet Rogers and Carolyn Smart.

In London.
If you’re in London, don’t miss the annual James Reaney Memorial Lecture, presented this year by Quill friend Tom Smart. Tom will speak about Reaney’s visual art and iconography on November 5 at Museum London.

In the world.

November 15 is Clean Your Refrigerator Day. We don’t claim that it’s fun, but let’s face it—it is probably necessary.

November 20 is Absurdity Day. Personally, I find this holiday preposterous.

And finally, November 28 is French Toast Day. I will happily accept any donations of French Toast … directly to my belly.


From the porcupette’s corner.

I almost feel like I’ve been hibernating for the last month. Lately I’ve been blearily staring at my computer screen for days on end, preparing for the spring sales conference and working my way through manuscript submissions. I’ve been deep in the throes of editing a novel for the new season, too, and not a few days have gone by in which I enter my office in the morning while it’s still dark … and leave it in the evening, when it’s dark once again. It’s a very cave-like feel!

Moon and stars.

“Mom, look! It’s only 4:00 p.m. and the moon is already out. Isn’t that cool?”

But despite the dark and gloomy skies, we’re actually entering into my favourite time of year. With spring plans unfolding, holiday promotions to plan, and fun events coming up, the month ahead looks bright indeed!


Thanks for checking in to see what we’ve got in store for the month of November. Ya’ll come back and visit us here on the blog, y’hear?Steph

Posted in Letters from the Porcupette (the Intern's Blog) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Porcupette on the Air: My Radio Interview with Christine Cowley

Porcupette on the Air: My Radio Interview with Christine Cowley

The world is so dominated by texting and emailing and tweeting and Facebook-ing nowadays that sometimes we forget how nice it is to communicate in a fashion that does not require emojis, memes, or 140-character gems of snark. It can be positively refreshing to have an actual, human conversation!

That’s one of the reasons I was so stoked to talk on the phone with Christine Cowley, host of the weekly radio show Storylines on Hunters Bay Radio.

Christine is an enthusiastic reader and writer, and an incredibly supportive Quill fan. Her program, Storylines, is a colourful examination of books, reading and the writing life. She gives authors a platforms to talk to readers, other writers, and those curious about publishing to talk about all things bookish.

In our recent interview, Christine and I talked about my journey to become the “porcupette,” our unique approach to literature and culture at PQL, and about the ways that small presses try to compete in today’s publishing landscape.

There are also a few spoilers about what’s coming up next season at PQL, so stay tuned until the end for a peek at our Spring 2018 list!

Christine has graciously allowed us to post the interview for you here on the blog. I hope you enjoy listening! (Note: This interview originally aired October 21, 2017.)

Storylines airs Saturdays at 8:00 a.m. and Wednesdays at 11:00 p.m. You can tune in to the show every week via

Many thanks to Christine for the chat, and for letting us share our conversation with everyone. Do tune into her show–she is fabulous!

Posted in Letters from the Porcupette (the Intern's Blog) | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

PQ Weekly Rounding: 27 October 2017

pqroundup2Every Friday, the PQ Weekly Roundup collects the most shared links in our social media network—bookish articles, reviews, quizzes, recommendations and more—in convenient digest form.


Glad you stopped by for our most-clicked book links of the week. Don’t forget to check out this week’s hot new release, The Gamekeeper, by Michael Harris. We’ll see you next week for another riveting PQ Weekly Roundup!


Posted in Letters from the Porcupette (the Intern's Blog) | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Shane Neilson and Jim Johnstone West Coast Book Tour

Hi there Quill fans! If you’re out in BC and are hoping for some PQL action, here’s your chance.

Shane Neilson will be in Victoria and Vancouver over the next few days to talk to UBC creative writing students about the art of the poem, and to promote his latest collection of poetry, Dysphoria.

Dysphoria is a powerful collection that considers the experience, treatment and perception of mental illness both now and in the past. It is a raw and emotional book and shows a great degree of technical prowess as well.

Shane will be joined by Quill friend Jim Johnstone, who recently published his latest book, The Chemical Life, with Véhicule Press. (He is also the editor of two volumes in our Essential Poets series: The Essential Earle Birney and The Essential D. G. Jones.)

If you want to mark your calendars, here’s the agenda below. Many of these events are for UBC and UVic students, but there are a few public events (in bold, below) just for you!


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

STUDENT EVENT: Poetry Reading
4:30 p.m – 6:00 p.m
Canadian Poetry Class

7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Bolen Books
#111-1644 Hillside Ave.
Victoria, BC


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

STUDENT EVENT: UBC Visiting Writers Talk
12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m
Intermediate Poetry Class

STUDENT EVENT: UBC Visiting Writers Talk
6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m
Intro to Creative Writing Class


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Visiting Writers Poetry Reading
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.Advanced Poetry Class

STUDENT EVENT: UBC Visiting Writers Talk
2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m
Intro to Poetry Class

PUBLIC EVENT: Tonic Reading Series
7:00 p.m.
The Drive Coffee Bar
1670 Commercial Dr.
Vancouver, BC


Friday, October 27, 2017

STUDENT EVENT: UBC Visiting Writers Talk
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Careers in Writing Class


We hope you can make it to say hello to these wonderful authors. You’ll be guaranteed to have fun, learn something, and experience all the feels!


Posted in Letters from the Porcupette (the Intern's Blog) | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

PQ Weekly Roundup: 20 Oct 2017

pqroundup2Every Friday, the PQ Weekly Roundup collects the most shared links in our social media network—bookish articles, reviews, quizzes, recommendations and more—in convenient digest form.

Thanks for tuning in to this week’s roundup. Meet you back here next week for more awesome book links!

Happy Friday,sig

Posted in Letters from the Porcupette (the Intern's Blog) | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Congratulations Tom Smart–Beaverbrook Art Gallery Director and CEO

Big news, Quill fans! We’re pleased and excited to share the news that PQL author, editor, and all-around awesome Quill friend Tom Smart will become the new Director and CEO of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.

Located in Fredericton, New Brunswick, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery is a cultural gem that strives to recognize and celebrate Canada’s two official language communities as well as the culture of the country’s First Nations Peoples. It is known for its collections of British and Canadian (particularly Atlantic Canadian) art, and it has a reputation for presenting dynamic, engaging and diverse artistic content for all.

Of course, we think that with his tireless enthusiasm, his unparalleled store of knowledge about Canadian art, and of course his impressive resume and publications list, Tom will be a huge asset to the gallery.

In light of this exciting news, we wanted to take a moment to remind you of some of the great work he has accomplished in recent years.

Tom Smart

Who is Tom Smart?

  • A gallery director, curator, essayist, speaker and organizer of numerous exhibitions about Canadian and international art
  • Author of many award-winning books that explore the relationship between poetry, printmaking and the book arts, journal writing and painting, and graphic novels and wordless narratives
  • Has been recognized with a silver medal in the Foreword Indies Book of the Year Awards and one in the eLit Awards
  • Regularly writes for the Devil’s Artisan, Canadian Notes & Queries, and the Saint John Telegraph-Journal
  • Has worked in art galleries across Canada and the United States, including the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives, the Frick in Pittsburgh, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, and now, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery

What has he worked on?

Tom Smart Books

Tom Smart Devil's Artisan Issues

What are people saying about his work?

  • “Tom Smart has done an extraordinary job of compiling, deciphering and interpreting Chambers’ perceptual philosophy. That he has done so in clear, unambiguous prose, free of critical or academic affectation, is an achievement in itself. The Red and Green manuscript that he has forensically recontructed is more than just an artistic or perceptual manifesto, it is a testament to Jack Chambers’ deeply self-transformative vision.” —Christopher Dewdney, award-winning Canadian poet and author
  • ‘Informed and informative, profusely illustrated, impressively insightful, and thoroughly “reader friendly” in organization and presentation, Palookaville: Seth and the Art of Graphic Autobiography is a “must” for the legions of Seth fans.’ —Midwest Book Review


What should I read next?


Where can I find more about Tom Smart?


Congratulations, Tom, from all of us at the Porcupine’s Quill. We’re so proud!


Posted in Letters from the Porcupette (the Intern's Blog) | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment


The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.