In Praise of the Body Temp and Metabolism of the Hibernating Black Bear, or, News for February at PQL

If ever there is a time when I can completely relate to certain animals’ instinct to hibernate, that time comes up around the month of February. Here in Canada, we’re surrounded by frigid temps and, let’s face it, probably also knee-deep in the winter blues. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I feel like I have the low body temperature and decreased metabolism of a hibernating black bear.


I may look about as cuddly as this guy, but my hair isn’t nearly so neat. Nor do I look quite so awake…

But is hibernation really so bad? I know as a society, we tend to prize breathless, go-go-go craziness. We like to keep busy, stay sharp, work hard—and play hard, too. But, speaking from experience here, there’s something to be said for two days of unproductive bliss. I spent a solid chunk of my weekend wrapped in blankets, and I enjoyed every paragraph of the five-hundred page mystery I’d been saving. Consequently, when I returned to my desk and my computer screen bright and early Monday morning, I was as refreshed as any vacationer after a holiday at the beach—though decidedly less tan.

So while I know that a full 48-hours of pyjama-wearing, blanket-covered bliss is probably unachievable for most, I highly encourage you to spend a bookish afternoon, ensconced in your own personal den, doing your best impression of a cozy black bear … who maybe also happened to get his paws on a good book.


What’s happening this month?


Now that we’ve finished the lovely selected fiction collection by P. K. Page, Triptych, we’re moving on to printing the long-awaited book of essays by Richard Teleky—Ordinary Paradise. I have a special spot in my heart for books of criticism, so I’m especially pleased that this one is coming down the pipe.

Aside from that, we’ll be hibernating, so to speak, with no public events this month. But don’t worry—we’re out and about this March, so be sure to check back for details!

In the world.


maniculeFebruary 7 is Wave All Your Fingers At Your Neighbours Day. Presumably this degree of specificity is due to the fact that Wave One of Your Fingers At Your Neighbours Day ended in rather un-neighbourly feelings.

February 19 is National Chocolate Mint Day. I mention this for my friends out there (who shall remain nameless) who maintain that chocolate and mint are a disgusting flavour combination. To you, I say HA!

Finally, February 26 is Tell a Fairy Tale Day. What a great day to remember the magic and wonder that storytelling brings to our lives.


From the porcupette’s corner.

January was, all-told, a fairly quiet month. Lots of routine tasks that take up a lot of time, like grant writing and starting to prepare for the new season’s titles. In a way, these familiar tasks are calming and reassuring.

scruffy beggar

Forget alms for the poor. How about “free international tax advice for the porcupette”? I’d even settle for “help navigating voice mail hell for the disheartened”.

Of course, there’s just enough newness in there to keep things interesting. I’ve been fiddling with coding up another spring title to prepare it for layout and design, which always results in a few hard lessons about just how you can and cannot tag a manuscript. Plus, I’ve been diligently continuing my marketing studies at McMaster and trying to figure out the vagaries of Florida sales taxes given our upcoming trip to the AWP Bookfair, which could definitely be its own full-time job!

All in all, the balance of the familiar and the novel is the reason why this porcupette finds publishing so exciting—this sure isn’t an industry for those who don’t like to keep on learning!

PortraitI hope you enjoyed this little update on what we’ve been up to this last month at PQL. If there’s anything you’d like to see or hear about in future updates, feel free to drop me a line and say hello!

All the best, Steph

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PQ Weekly Roundup: 02 Feb 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.



Thanks for checking in for this first roundup of February! We hope you enjoyed this fresh crop of links.

See you next week,sig

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From the Vault: Picture Perfect Books for Artists and Art Aficionados

Picture Perfect: Beautiful Books for Art Lovers

It’s about this time of year that I start to wonder where all the colour went. The weather is grey and dreary, dark colours dominate our fashion choices, and even the festive holiday décor has been packed and stored.

In the face of such an uninspiring colour palette, how are we supposed to find creative inspiration? How can we remain optimistic and adventurous? Short of hopping on a plane bound for warmer climes, what’s a porcupette to do?

One of the ways we can add a little spice to the winter months is to immerse ourselves into the vibrant world of visual art. Here are a few books that will add a little colour and imagination to these cold winter months, with art ranging from photographs to cartoons to paintings to wood engravings.

The Art of P. K. Irwin
By Michèle Rackham Hall

The Art of P. K. Irwin unfolds the artistic evolution of beloved writer and artist P. K. Page, known in art circles by her married name, P. K. Irwin. The artwork in this volume is truly breathtaking, particularly those pieces reproduced in full colour. I especially love Small Suns and The Dance as well as the very intricate World Within World.

Learn more about The Art of P. K. Irwin here »

Portraits of Canadian Writers
By Bruce Meyer

Bruce Meyer has met, interviewed and photographed an unbelievable number of iconic Canadian authors. The images and anecdotes in this book are certainly enough to brighten a dull day. My favourite portraits include those depicting Milton Acorn, Gwendolyn MacEwen, and Adele Wiseman, as they act like windows into the writers’ true selves.

Learn more about Portraits of Canadian Writers here »

Palookaville: Seth and the Art of Graphic Autobiography
By Tom Smart

The thing about this book is that it is positively beautiful. Brimming with images from Canadian comic artist Seth’s Palookaville graphic novels, you can’t help but smile at the tidy and nostalgic drawings. But of course, while you do, you’ll be treated to a heaping dose of philosophical musings on life, art and the passage of time.

Learn more about Palookaville: Seth and the Art of Graphic Autobiography here »

By Jim Westergard

This is a book to cheer you up on a boring day. Populated by history’s most unbelievable and wacky characters, every page of this book will surprise and delight. Illustrated by outstanding and intricate wood engravings, Westergard puts a face to rogues, rascals and eccentrics, from Rasputin to Pope Joan. My print of George Adamski sits proudly beside my desk and keeps me chuckling.

Learn more about Oddballs here »

Lotería Huasteca
By Alec Dempster

Alec Dempster’s Lotería Huasteca is a beautiful tribute to the art, music, food and dance of the Huasteca region of Eastern Mexico. The images may be black and white, but the vibrant culture they depict is anything but! My favourites include El Cotorro and La Ofrenda, but there are so many others to choose from, those choices definitely change depending on my mood.

Learn more about Lotería Huasteca here »

Well! There’s no excuse for the winter blues when you have all of this beautiful artwork at your fingertips! I hope you find these reads as inspiring as I do during the cold winter season.


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PQ Weekly Roundup: 26 Jan 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.



Lots of interesting and thought-provoking content in today’s PQ Weekly Roundup. Have a wonderful weekend–hopefully with a little reading time!


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Freebie Image Gallery: Fantastic (Mythical) Beasts

It’s trite but true: a picture is worth a thousand words. In our emoticon-spouting, animated GIF meme-ing, Facebook-loving times, we communicate, more and more, through images. The Freebie Image Gallery features high-resolution images available through Devil’s Artisan, our very own Journal of the Printing Arts. DA’s Dingbats Section offers an ever-expanding selection of free, high-resolution, downloadable dingbats, ornaments and fanciful initials for your printed and online projects.

Today, we’re spicing things up by featuring a collection of fun mythical creatures, which you can use to add some symbolism to your design projects. Keep scrolling to meet these fantastic beasts!

Phoenix 1

The phoenix is a common symbol of rebirth and renewal.

Phoenix 2

Phoenixes are said to rise from their own ashes–or the ashes of their predecessors–to live anew.


The dragon is said to breathe fire and hoard gold in some European folklore.


The faun is a half-man, half-goat creature right out of Greek mythology.

White Bull

In Greek mythology, King Minos’s wife fell in love with a white bull, resulting in the birth of the Minotaur.


PortraitI hope you find a use for these mythical creatures in your next project. You never know where a bit of fantasy will take you! For high-resolution files of these images, and for more cool and curious dingbats to download, don’t forget to visit the Dingbats Section over at the Devil’s Artisan.


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PQ Weekly Roundup: 19 Jan 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.



Thanks for stopping by the PQ Weekly Roundup. Hope you found something enjoyable and entertaining this week!

Happy Friday,sig

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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.