Porcupine’s Quill Announces New Ownership: Acquired by Kenneth Whyte’s Sutherland House

The Porcupine's Quill

The Porcupine’s Quill is pleased to confirm some recent news that you may have already heard reported elsewhere.

The company has been sold to author and editor Kenneth Whyte who intends to manage the brand in future as a standalone imprint within a larger publishing structure that will focus on biography and memoir, to be called The Sutherland House.


Kenneth Whyte’s name will be familiar to many of you from the time of his tenure as editor of Maclean’s, and before that, of the National Post. His latest biography, Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times, was a finalist for the 2017 American National Book Critics Circle awards.

Ken Whyte has purchased the book publishing assets of the Porcupine’s Quill, including the backlist. Tim and Elke Inkster will retain ownership of the Devil’s Artisan, which will continue to be edited by Don McLeod and published by the Inksters, as well as the production machinery in the shop on Main Street in Erin Village. Tim and Elke will remain in the flat above the shop at 68 Main Street, Erin Village, where they have lived since 1975; the Heidelberg KORD will stay in the basement; and the nesting pair of Canada geese will continue to procreate in the copse of birches by the millpond.

In the near-to-mid term, very little will change at the Porcupine’s Quill. Authors’ contracts and backlists will be honoured and maintained, and royalty payments will continue to be paid in a timely way.

Tim and Elke expect to be very involved with the production of the PQL Fall 2018 list of five new titles, which will be published as advertised. Stephanie Small and Chandra Wohleber will also continue to be as involved with the PQL brand as they have been for many years.

Ken Whyte’s offer to purchase was presented to the Inksters, somewhat unexpectedly, in January. Since that time we have all come to realize that Ken’s vision will provide a secure and positive way for the Porcupine’s Quill brand to continue well into the future.

We welcome the changes ahead and look forward to this new relationship with The Sutherland House, to which we offer our best wishes for every success.

[Click here to download a printable copy of this news release.]

Working on the press

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Book Bundle Giveaway: Essential Women Poets

As you probably know, we’re pretty big into National Poetry Month here at the Porcupine’s Quill. Every year for the past few years we’ve been tweeting out our #PQLPoemADay and organizing a book bundle giveaway to meet your literary needs during this most poetic of months.

It just so happens that one of our new, hot-off-the-press Spring 2018 titles is ready for its day in the sun. So let’s take a moment to appreciate The Essential Dorothy Roberts selected by Brian Bartlett, the seventeenth volume in the Essential Poets series.

The Essential Dorothy Roberts is very much about the importance of place and home and native landscape. Though she lived most of her adult life in the United States, Dorothy Roberts’s poetry demonstrates a love for her homeland in New Brunswick. It is full of the sights and sounds of the waterways and forests of her childhood, and it exhibits an intelligence, a power and a beauty that echoes the Maritime Canadian landscape.

Sound interesting? Well, good, because we’ve got a giveaway for  you!




Essential Jay Macpherson, Travis Lane, Dorothy Roberts


Want to win this awesome prize? It’s easy:

1. log in to the form below using email, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter
2. earn up to six entries by visiting us Facebook or Instagram, tweeting on Twitter, browsing our Essential Poets page or signing up for our newsletter. Don’t forget the bonus entry—complete at least one action (visiting our Instagram page, for example) to unlock!
3. log out of the form to submit your entry

The winner will be contacted by email next week.


portraitWe have our fingers crossed for each and every one of you! We hope you have a wonderful National Poetry Month, with lots of time to enjoy the very best verse Canada has to offer.


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PQ Weekly Roundup: 06 Apr 2018

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.



That’s it for the PQ Weekly Roundup. Thanks for stopping by for your dose of literary link-age.


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Feelings of Fellowship and Literary Community, and Other News for April at the Porcupine’s Quill

Community. Togetherness. Fellowship. That feeling of closeness. (But, like, not TOO close—we’re Canadians and we respect personal space.) To me, one of the best parts of working in publishing is not just the books, although those are indisputably wonderful, but also the people.

People creating books.

“You can stop singing ‘You’ve got a friend in me” now, Humphrey. I already told you I’ll proofread those pages. Goodness, Martin, can you believe this guy?”

Looking forward to a new season of bookish events, I’m determined to soak up the camaraderie and esprit de corps to be found at upcoming conferences, book fairs, readings and so forth. There’s nothing quite like that feeling of walking into a room full of writers, readers, editors, printers or book fans and knowing that you share something in common with each and every person in the room. I’ve met kindred spirits in the young librarians waiting in line at BookExpo and ALA conferences. I’ve been introduced to literary icons at readings and book launches. I’ve had dinner with a practical who’s who of small press publishing. And I’ve had delightful conversations with you, our newsletter readers, at events from the Grimsby Wayzgoose to Word on the Street.

It can be daunting sometimes, to keep up with the sheer number and variety of book-related events that are held in communities across Canada, but I highly encourage you to check one—or many—out. Whether you’re a seasoned pro with a multitude of literary acquaintances or just a reader looking for a fun night out, join us. Say hello. Make friends. We’d love to see you.


What’s happening this month?


Fluke Print cover

Your wait is almost over, folks. Jeffery Donaldson’s wonderful book of poetry, Fluke Print, is rolling off the presses as we speak. I’m a sucker for poems about writing and creativity, and let me tell you, Donaldson’s don’t disappoint. You’ll be able to get your copy in the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

In Toronto.

PQL poet and Dysphoria author Shane Neilson will be in Toronto taking part in a panel discussion called “Why Are You So Scared?” at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. He will join Molly Peacock and Ronna Bloom in a reading and discussion about poetry, medicine and mortality that you don’t want to miss.

Also in Toronto, the St. Thomas Poetry Series will be celebrating the centenary of Margaret Avison, who was one of Canada’s finest poets. Join PQL friends Jeffery Donaldson, Robyn Sarah and others for this evening of readings and reminiscences.

In Grimsby.

Grimsby Public Art Gallery

We’re pleased to say that the Porcupine’s Quill will once again have a table at the annual Grimsby Wayzgoose Book Arts Fair. Stop by the Grimsby Public Art Gallery to say hello and to steep yourself in the bookish community!

In the world.

It’s April, so you know what that means—it’s National Poetry Month! All this month, we’ll be celebrating by sharing a #PQLPoemADay on social media, and plus, a little birdie told me that there are some awesome book bundle giveaways in store. Make sure you stay tuned next Tuesday for your chance to win a great poetry prize!

Scrabble Day falls on April 13th. What a perfect game to play with your fellow word nerds. Let’s get a tournament going!

April 15th is Rubber Eraser Day. Let’s all take a moment to appreciate the writing implement that consistently saves us from looking like total dummies.


From the porcupette’s corner.

The month of March was certainly a whirlwind that did not let up! I started by preparing our Fall 2018 editorial plans, took several days to fly to Tampa for the AWP book fair, pitched our new Fall books to our friends at the Literary Press Group, worked on our grant application to the Canada Book Fund and started a big web project for The Mysterious Death of Tom Thomson. To cap that off, we ended with a long weekend. Whew—who needs a break?

cat stalking mouse

Me, looking forward to the upcoming wayzgoose, as one does.

I definitely did not have time to get bored, and it looks like April will be just as action-packed, with the cherry on top being the Grimsby Wayzgoose at the end of the month. It’s always nice to have something to look forward to—it will make all the hard work we’ll be doing in the next few weeks totally worth it.

So, what do you think? Will I be seeing you at some book events in the near future? I sure hope so. I love putting faces to names!

See you soon,Steph

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PQ Weekly Roundup: 20 Mar 2018

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.



Thank you for stopping by for the PQ Weekly Roundup. I hope we’ve given you some interesting tidbits to read on this lovely long weekend. Enjoy the extra reading time!



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Pulled from the Pages: The Essential Dorothy Roberts

Anyone who’s ever gone away to school or moved across the country knows the feeling of homesickness, whether it’s the slight, fleeting feeling of nostalgia for the familiar environs of your childhood or the bone-deep longing for the place you once called home. For Dorothy Roberts, I sort of think it was the latter.

The Essential Dorothy Roberts

Dorothy Roberts was born in New Brunswick, and though she spent much of her life living in the United States, she never forgot the beauty and sense of belonging that she felt in her native land. In The Essential Dorothy Roberts, selected by Brian Bartlett, her poetry is unsurprisingly rife with her impressions of the landscape she called home, but most interesting for me is the way in which themes of memory and the passage of time blend together with this preoccupation with the natural world to create a feeling of great fondness and nostalgia. To me it is a very Canadian concern, and it reveals the deep roots we Canadians feel even when we venture abroad.

I find Roberts’ poetry to be of the quietly powerful sort. Her concerns are not overly lofty. You don’t need to keep a dictionary next to you to get the full meaning of her work. Reading this book was a very introspective experience for me, and I hope that you’ll find the same.

Read on for an excerpt that will be sure to pique your interest!


Excerpt from the Book


My sister and I when we were close together
Clear to each other
Used to slide down beneath the river surface
And in a twist of current see the race
Of water break us from our sunny grace.

Wavering, shattered, glimmering each saw
No happy girl she knew
But underwater strangeness, shift and flaw,
Until the bubbles of our laughter drew
Us bursting up to the air.

Then we lay bare
And sure and shapely in each other’s eyes—
We who no more to certainty can rise

But caught submerged in current of the years
See, wavering, each a shape that never clears.


Moon Piece

A piece of the moon sits on a pedestal
and turns around to our gaze as the moon never has
in the blaze of light upon it to make it ours—
this silvery fist-sized portion of the ultimate moon,
a kind of anchor to pull it out of its usual position,
heavy, they say, though you can’t tell with the glass on.

We are now the more ethereal and the moon less so
except that she leaves what we have in our hands and goes on
rolling around in our conception of how she should be
shining profound over the nature of the city
and over the country—we are used to ourselves in her distance,
it is almost as though the fingers had slipped.

The moon still trusts only what is left
and moves about our earth at her due distance
and says she’d rather be visited by a silvery path
she lets down over the fields heavily frosted.

And the piece remains a bit withdrawn in its closeness
a bit frosty and alone on its turning pedestal
a bit sophisticated and lost for the gaze of children.

So each goes differently on its own course
with components more than we knew hitherto, perhaps
a waiting wealth of moon for a cold night.


PortraitSo, what do you think? Adding it to your to-read list yet? If so, you can get your copy here. And don’t forget—if you like this book, consider checking out the rest of the Essential Poets series to add to your collection!


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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.