PQ Weekly Roundup: 15 Jun 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.



Quite a variety of bookish links for your browsing pleasure this week. From contests to chuckles, we’ve got you covered! Hope to see you back here next week.

Have a great weekend,sig

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

Breaking Contest News: Win 3 PQL Books at Open Book!

Quill friends, this is a public service announcement! Our friends over at Open Book are hosting a great little contest featuring not one, not two, but THREE Porcupine’s Quill poetry titles.

Essential Jay Macpherson, Travis Lane, Dorothy Roberts

Mosey on over to to enter to win a prize pack of books from our lovely Essential Poets series. You could win a copy of three of our latest volumes written by Canada’s finest women of poetry, including:

What are you waiting for? Enter today!

Many thanks to Open Book for hosting this giveaway for us. Be sure to check out some of the awesome stuff on their site, from author interviews to writing tips to bookish events. Definitely worth a read!

Best of luck,Steph

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

PQ Weekly Roundup: 07 Jun 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.



Since I was away last week at BookExpo, this week’s update takes into account links from the past two weeks. Double the fun!


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

Solo Literary Adventures and other News for June at the Porcupine’s Quill

Many people (including, most stridently, my grandmother) react with shock and dismay when I tell them that I enjoy travelling solo. Don’t get me wrong—I love a good girls’ trip and I remember having a blast on family vacations when I was a kid. But there is something to be said about travelling alone and unencumbered.

frigate bird

In the immortal words of The Beatles, I’m free as one of these little fellas.

Maybe I’m independent, or perhaps I’m just pigheaded, but I have come to appreciate freedom to strike out on my own in a new and unfamiliar city. I can eat when and where I please, strike up conversations with locals or other tourists when the mood strikes, and visit all of the attractions that most appeal to me without having to take into account the potentially disparate tastes of a travelling companion. I can, and have, dedicated an entire day to nothing but the exploration and appreciation of bookstores in a new city. (It was glorious.)

Another thing I’ve discovered about solo travelling is the ability to take advantage of quiet moments. Since you’re going at your own pace, you can take a guilt-free hour or two before dinner to recharge and read a few chapters of a new book you’ve undoubtedly picked up along the way. Plus, any kind of transit is basically a waiting game, and nothing makes a dull plane ride faster than the distraction of a great escapist novel.

With all this opportunity for freedom—literary and otherwise—it’s little wonder that I’ve been so excited with all of the book-related travelling in my calendar for the next few months. Let’s hope that my upcoming trip to Chicago (more on that below!) will provide plenty of opportunity for a little literary tourism.


What’s happening this month…


As you know, last month the shop was a-hopping while Tim and Elke put in a mammoth effort to finish off two important additions to our Spring 2018 list. Ian Hampton’s Jan in 35 Pieces and Mark Frutkin’s The Rising Tide and now in print and available for purchase. This month, look for digital editions of these books for your e-reading pleasure.

In Chicago, IL.

Printers Row Lit Fest

June 9-10 mark this year’s Printers Row Lit Festival, a weekend full of literary events and a book fair with a variety of vendors. We’ll be there with a lovely table full of books for sale at table 226 on Dearborn Street, right in front of Printers’ Row Park.

In Langley, BC.

We’ll be celebrating the first of two launches in honour of the publication of Ian Hampton’s fabulous memoir in music Jan in 35 Pieces. Stop by the Langley Community Music School on June 22 for an evening launch and to pick up your copy.

In Vancouver.

A second event for Jan in 35 Pieces will take place on the afternoon of June 23. This time, the venue will be the Canadian Music Centre in Vancouver. Feel free to attend either event—or both!

In Ottawa.

Pressed Cafe in Ottawa

We’re pleased to host a book launch for Mark Frutkin’s interesting new novel, The Rising Tide at Pressed in Ottawa. Get your copy of the Trillum Book Award-winning author’s latest work of fiction on June 24!

In the world.

June 8 is Best Friends Day, so be sure to get in touch with your bestie and spend a little quality time together. Reading silently on the porch together counts. Just sayin’.

June 10 is Ballpoint Pen Day. Give thanks for that humble little writing implement that revolutionized the way people put ink to paper. Imagine if you had to jot all your notes—or worse, write a novel—with a quill and inkpot, or a messy fountain pen. Preposterous!

On June 21, we’ll be celebrating National Selfie Day. I propose we change it to National “Shelfie” Day and focus on taking pictures of our bookshelves … which, when you think about it, really do say a lot about a person.


From the porcupette’s corner…

I can happily report that I am now best friends with my scanner. We’ve had a lot of quality time together over the last few weeks and I am beginning to believe we have a solid foundation for a long-term relationship. At the very least, we’ve taken on a couple of important projects, which will hopefully come to fruition very soon. Stay tuned!

In other news, I feel like I’m zooming in and out of my office this week. I’m just back from a fun and fascinating trip to New York for BookExpo, and with only a few days to catch up on all the things that have accumulated on my desk, I’m off to Chicago for the Printers Row Lit Fest. No rest for the weary!


PortraitThanks for checking in to see what’s hip and happening at the Porcupine’s Quill these days. We hope to see you at our cool upcoming events!


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

Pulled from the Pages: First Look at The Rising Tide by Mark Frutkin

If you’re a fan of historical fiction, enjoy reading about sumptuous feasts and lavish settings, and like to muse on the meaning of truth and beauty, power and politics, the sacred and the profane, boy have we got a book for you!

The Rising Tide

Mark Frutkin’s The Rising Tide whisks readers off to eighteenth-century Venice, where a strange series of signs stir up a frenzy among the citizens. The city is flooded with whispers that Rodolfo, a hermit with a skeleton strapped to his back, is the Second Coming of Christ.

Naturally this alarms the new and ambitious Inquisitor Pissani.

Rodolfo’s friend, Michele Archenti, a man with his own secrets, is called upon to defend the strangely unworried hermit. What follows is a tale of ambitious religious officials, querulous politicians, double-agent courtesans, writers and publishers of licentious poetry—all during the time of Carnival.

Readers of Mark Frutkin’s Trillium Award-winning book Fabrizio’s Return might recognize Rodolfo and Michele—and look forward to their new adventures in The Rising Tide.

In addition to being an amusing read on the surface, this book is also a fascinating commentary power and authority, and on the ways in which seeming oppositions—spirituality and physicality, high art and low art—are not so very different. I particularly appreciated the message that our reality is based on the stories that we tell.

Now, without further ado, here is an excerpt to whet your appetite for this book, which will be hot off the presses in the coming week.


Venetian boatsHis First Printed Page

For Michele, the rolling motion of a gondola sighing across the water typically prompted a feeling of contented reverie. As he was rowed out to the island of Torcello, his mind drifted. He recalled that day, almost two years before, when he had stood in his printshop and hailed the appearance of the first page from his printing press.

Bianca had provided the funds to purchase the press—and the tiny, dank room which housed it—from Jacopo Littori, the wizened former printer and bookseller. A single room with the printing press and a long, scarred table along the length of one wall. A door. No window. The damp walls oozed antique ink. The floor was as sticky as the flagstones in a quayside taverna.

On the morning of his first print run, he had set and inked the type, inserted the paper and the frisket, cranked and uncranked the handle. He had paused, placing his hand on his heart as if observing the sacredness of the moment. Bowing, he had peeled off the initial sheet. Michele had gloried in the scent of the ripe ink emanating from his new edition of Dante’s La Divina Commedia.

Gazing in wonder at the newly printed page, he had closed his eyes. A sigh had come to him, a prayer rising in his throat: ‘Deus … ex … machina,’ he had murmured, quietly celebrating his accomplishment. ‘I have coaxed the Word from a machine.’ It hadn’t been the first page ever to come from that ancient and venerable apparatus, but it had been the first sheet he printed with his own hands. For a moment, he felt as if his spirit had somehow been fulfilled, as if he had found his purpose in life, but the feeling had been fleeting. The volumes of Dante he peeled from the press over the following weeks sold poorly—a primary and continuing characteristic of his endeavours. After nearly two years of printing and publishing, he still owed the extraordinarily patient Bianca Lucca significant payment on her original investment. Luckily, the bordello, which she commanded like a sea captain lording it over her ship, appeared to float forever on a high tide of ducats.

Desire, it seems, never ebbs.


A First Assignment for the Inquisitor

Inquisitor Pissani gave instructions on the placement of his trunks in his chambers. ‘And send up my majordomo,’ he ordered the pug-nosed Venetian menial who had been helping him settle in. ‘His name is Schwartz. He should be down in the street, by my boat, making sure everything is in order.’

The servant tried to finish placing a trunk in the corner of the room.

‘Leave it,’ ordered Pissani. ‘Go now.’

A few minutes later, Schwartz strode into the room. He was a powerful-looking man with dirty-blond hair. His grey-blue eyes betrayed the wariness of a rigid mind. His stony look made it appear as if he would brook no softness from any quarter and his heavily pock-marked face suggested he had once flirted with a serious disease. The inquisitor relied on him in every detail of his life and work. For his part, Schwartz maintained the loyalty of a mastiff.

From another viewpoint, there was something strangely similar about Schwartz and the inquisitor, something in their bearing and attitude, in the curl of the lip and the perpetual frown of distaste that marked each as the mirror of the other.

Schwartz took a seat across from Pissani’s wide desk, his hands gripping the armrests as if he were prepared to leap into action.

An imposing, broad-shouldered man, the inquisitor stood half a head taller than most Venetians, giving him a natural air of authority. When he spoke, in his basso profondo voice, he expected people to listen. He wore his hair short, which made it difficult to tell if it was brown or dark grey.

The inquisitor came straight to the point. ‘Something has come to my attention that I believe can assist me in ensuring that I establish my authority here right at the outset. I have information that a nearby island, a place called Torcello, is the haven of a heretic—a most unusual apostate. He walks about with a skeleton secured to his back. It is already rumoured among the Venetians that he must be the Second Coming of Christ. Send a few of our Dominican brothers out to arrest him and bring him here.’

Schwartz drummed his finger s on the armrest. ‘May I suggest, Your Eminence, that we not move too quickly? Will not the doge be offended? Perhaps you should ask that he send his own soldiers to make the arrest.’

‘The Holy Father insisted that I come here to re-establish Papal authority over these recalcitrant Venetians. They have grown far too soft in their punishment of heresy and witchcraft and even alchemy. No heretic has been executed in years. We have been given this opportunity to ensure that our power is recognized from the start. If I can quell these Venetians, my prestige will be instantly established in the Curia.’

‘I see. What is his heresy?’

‘It is not entirely clear. In any case, it doesn’t much matter. I have attained my position by showing no mercy. I am not about to start now.’

Venetian Boats


Don’t Forget!

If you like what you’ve read, consider attending the official book launch of The Rising Tide in Ottawa on Sunday, June 24. Be sure to mark your calendars!

The Rising Tide Book Launch - Sunday, June 24, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Pressed, 750 Gladstone Ave., Ottawa, ON


PortraitThanks for checking out this latest excerpt in our Pulled from the Pages series. Hopefully we’ve piqued your literary interests!


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

PQ Weekly Roundup: 25 May 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 exciting and intriguing PQL content in this week’s roundup. It’s always nice to see some interest in our books, both new and old!

Happy reading,sig

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