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PQL Artist of the Month: Gerard Brender à Brandis

There’s something about the summer. All that fun in the sun really gets us thinking about and appreciating the great outdoors. So it is little wonder that this month’s PQL Author of the Month is one who is dedicated to celebrating the beauty and majesty of the natural world through his art. That’s right, this month we’re recognizing the work of Stratford, Ontario wood engraver….

GERARD BRENDER À BRANDIS

A member of the Wood Engravers’ Network, Gerard Brender à Brandis has produced hundreds of drawings, wood engravings and watercolours of plants, landscape, buildings and musical instruments. These images have appeared in books, including Wood, Ink and PaperA Gathering of Flowers from Shakespeare and The Grand River (all published by The Porcupine’s Quill) as well as in his own handmade editions. His work is represented in the collections of many galleries, including the Art Gallery of Ontario Library, the University of California, Santa Barbara and the McMaster Library and Archives. They are also found among the collections of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton, Ontario, the Missouri Botanic Garden, the Arnold Arboretum and the Hunt Botanical Library. His garden and his studio are located in Stratford, Ontario.

‘Gerard’s engravings are finely attuned to the details of place, whether in representing the built heritage of southern Ontario, or the shades and contrasts of the small and out-of-the-way copses of flora and fauna, marshes and pastures that line the river. Each engraving brings significance and nuance to these overlooked places, and folds them into a conversation with the larger historical and ecological narrative….’

—Grant Hurley, Alcuin Society Blog

You can browse some of his work in the following five volumes published by the Porcupine’s Quill:

Gerard Brender a Brandis books published by the Porcupine's Quill

 

View Samples:

End of Winter on the Upper Grand River

The Junction of the Nith and Grand Rivers at Paris

Grand River Mills, Caledonia

(From The Grand River)

 

Find Out More About Gerard Brender à Brandis on the Web

 

Don’t Forget!

Image from A Gathering of Flowers from Shakespeare.
Images from Gerard’s A Gathering of Flowers from Shakespeare are on display at Gallery Stratford. The exhibition is on now, and will run until the end of September. Plus, don’t miss the chance to hear Gerard give an artist’s talk at the gallery in mid-September!

When: Friday, July 20, 2018 – Sunday, September 30, 2018
Artist’s Talk: Tuesday, September 11, 2018, 10:45 a.m.
Where: Gallery Stratford, 54 Romeo St. S., Stratford, ON

 

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Thank you for stopping by to learn more about our PQL Artist of the Month, Gerard Brender à Brandis. Be sure to check in next month to discover the work of another hidden gem!

All the best,

Steph

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PQ Weekly Roundup: 20 Jul 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.

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That’s it for this week’s PQ Weekly Roundup. Thanks so much for stopping by for your weekly dose of bookish news.

Have a great weekend!
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Breaking Contest News! Win 3 Books of PQL Essays at Open Book Ontario

Alert! Alert! Quill friends, this is a breaking contest news alert! Our friends over at the wonderful literary website Open Book are hosting a contest featuring your chance to win THREE Porcupine’s Quill books.

You all know how much I love the whole literary criticism genre, so I want to share that love with free stuff. In keeping, check out this amazing prize pack including some my favourite collections of critical essays, by such bright lights as Jason Guriel, Michael Lista and Richard Teleky.

Book covers for The Pigheaded Soul, Strike Anywhere and Ordinary Paradise

Head over to Open-Book.ca to enter to win a prize pack of books from among our very favourite books of literary criticism. You could win a copy of each of these wonderful books:

What are you waiting for? Enter today!

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Thanks as always to Open Book for hosting this giveaway for us. Don’t forget to brows all of the cool author interviews, writing tips and bookish events on their site. You’ll be glad you did!

Best of luck,Steph


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PQ WeeklyRoundup: 13 Jul 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.

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Thanks for checking in on our PQ Weekly Roundup. I’m looking forward to the Detroit Book Fest this Sunday, so remember to stop by and browse if you’re in the area.

Happy Friday!
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The Porcupette’s Guide to Synopsis Writing at PQL

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Recently, I was asked to write up some tips that authors might use when constructing a synopsis for their manuscript. I thought I should share it with you all as well, in case you find it useful when planning your future submissions.

Synopses are often used during the query stage of book publishing, when authors are seeking an agent or a publisher. All publishers have different requirements and preferences, of course, but we here at the Porcupine’s Quill like to keep it very simple. Generally,  a synopsis should be around two pages and answer the questions who, what, when, where, why and how.

Additionally, a good synopsis should…

 

1. Set the scene.

Make sure you tell us about the setting. In a sentence or two, let us know where—and when—we are. Whether your manuscript concerns a real place or a fictional world, mention it so we can situate ourselves in the world of the manuscript.

 

2. Make introductions.

Don’t forget to give us a little bit of information about the main characters. Mention the protagonist, the antagonist and, if necessary, the most important supporting characters. Over the course of the synopsis, we want to know who they are, what they care about, and what they are hoping to learn or achieve by the end of the book. If the characters are based on historical people or other real people, tell us. Make us emotionally invested in the characters … in as few words as possible.

 

3. Be comprehensive … but not too comprehensive.

The purpose of the synopsis is to communicate, in one or two pages, the entire plot of your book. Be sure to include only the major events that are important to how the story unfolds—don’t go crazy trying to include every detail of every subplot. You don’t need to write a bullet point for every chapter. Generally, think about including:

  • the existing state of affairs at the start of the book;
  • the complicating incident that gets us hooked;
  • major developments, which take us to…
  • the climax, where everything comes to a head; and
  • the resolution, where you solve the problem, slay the dragon or otherwise give readers closure.

Yes, you give away the ending. If you have an amazing plot twist, dazzle us with it. Don’t hold back your nuggets of brilliance!

 

4. Go the extra mile.

If it makes sense for your book (and you have room) you might include an extra paragraph with any other information that you think is absolutely pertinent to consideration of your book. Let us know one or two of the most important themes you are trying to tackle. If your subject is particularly timely or important, consider explaining why. If you are particularly well qualified to tell a certain story or speak to a certain theme, mention it briefly. Generally this information would show up in a query letter, but it’s not a bad idea to reiterate, especially given that publishers and agents are so swamped with files and papers. Keep this very, very short, and only include it if it contains vital information!

 

5. A few more dos and don’ts.

  • DO be concise. We are not looking for a summary of each chapter but a précis of the whole.
  • DON’T leave us hanging. We should not be left with unanswered questions. The purpose is not to leave us wanting more. Tell us everything we need to know about your book in those two pages.
  • DO keep it professional. Don’t waste space and time trying to demonstrate your talent for building atmosphere. Clarity and precision are key.
  • DON’T work in a vacuum. When in doubt, ask for a second opinion. I always recommend handing your synopsis off to a friend who is unfamiliar with your work and asking them to give it a read. They’ll (hopefully!) tell you whether you’ve given them enough detail to understand the plot without getting bogged down in detail.

 

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I hope all you writers out there found this little guide to synopsis writing useful. For more information about how to submit a manuscript, you might also want to check out this post on my submission commandments with bonus PQL submissions checklist.

Happy writing,Steph


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PQ Weekly Roundup: 05 Jul 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.

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The heat continues. Do yourself a favour. Stay inside and read. (Unless you’re in Hamilton, in which case come visit us at The Spice Factory for Zineposium!)

Cheers!
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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.