PQ Weekly Roundup: 18 Sep 2020

Every 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 to see what’s new and exciting in the book world this week. We hope you’re keeping safe and happy and well stocked with books wherever you are!



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Calling Ontario Writers: Apply for the OAC’s Recommender Grants for Writers


We all know that, for all its rewards, becoming an author is incredibly challenging. The number of authors who can concentrate on their written works as their primary source of income has been quietly diminishing for decades. But that doesn’t stop creative souls from finding a way to spin stories for the entertainment and education of readers the world over.

One program put into place to help professional authors with the more pecuniary aspects of the writing life is the Ontario Arts Council’s Recommender Grants for Writers program. Eligible writers (Ontario-based authors who fit the publication history criteria) are invited to submit basic information about their writing project, a writing sample, and a few other documents to the program.

Recommenders (like us!) evaluate the materials and (naturally) recommend funding to the projects deemed to be of merit. Just like it says on the tin! Eligible artists could receive up to $5,000 to help cover artists’ fees, research expenses, resources and other expenses.

Programs like this not only help emerging Canadian authors to launch their careers, but also nurture artists of all sorts to develop their skills and work on their creative projects. It’s more important than ever for new and underrepresented writers to be granted opportunities to their tell their stories and make their voices heard. This program helps them do it.

We recommend that you do a little research on the recommenders and consider submitting to the organizations whose specialties and genres align best with your own work. For example, at the Porcupine’s Quill, we tend to focus on literary fiction, non-fiction, poetry and literary graphic novels, so if you’ve written a children’s book or a genre novel, we probably wouldn’t be the best fit. On the other hand, books that highlight the intersection of artistic forms–those are our jam!


Submissions to the program are open now. We hope to see a few submissions from our lovely PQL friends and fans in the submission portal.

Best of luck!


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PQ Weekly Roundup: 11 Sep 2020

Every 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.


This week sped by at the speed of sound! In case you missed it, the OAC Recommender Grants for Writers program is open for submissions. If you’re a writer looking to help fund your new project, take a look at the application.

Happy Friday,


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Taking a (Literary) Mulligan: In Praise of the Editorial Second Chance and Other News for September at PQL

Many authors consider their manuscript to be their literary baby—understandably so—and if there’s one thing all functional humans should know by now it’s that you never, ever tell a person their baby is ugly. But the editorial process by definition presents a number of sticky situations in which an editor is forced to point out the flaws, however egregious, however tiny, in said author’s bundle of joy.

costly books
What a handsome baby! *swoons* No chance of accidentally offending a proud parent on this one.

Some authors dread the nitpickery of the editorial process. Many are justifiably protective of their voice and worry that officious editorial overlords might squeeze the personality out of their pages. Some have been working on their manuscript so long and have read and re-read it so often that they simply cannot conceive of any possible improvement. I will never forget one author’s story about feuding with a copyeditor over a single, solitary comma.

On my side of the desk, I’ve been extremely privileged to work with authors who are both open to editorial critique and strong enough to stand their ground against any wrongheaded meddling to which I have been known to occasionally fall prey. I love having a frank discussion about character motivations and storylines, and some of the most rewarding editorial moments of my career have come about when the author and I both have that “wouldn’t it be cool if…?” eureka moment that ends up tying the whole story together.

For me, the most constructive editorial attitude is one of open mindedness. For authors willing to trust, to dive in with both feet, the editorial process is really a second chance, not just to write a story, but to really connect with a reader. It’s acknowledging that one plot point put you in the water trap, that removing one character would help you avoid falling into the bunker, that a paragraph here or there leads the reader through the rough. In such cases, editorial notes allow authors to take a step back—to take a Mulligan—and look at the story holistically, through fresh eyes.

It’s rare in life—outside of golf—to get such an opportunity,

What’s happening this month…


Affect Cover

This month we’re aiming to usher two new fall books through the printing process. First up is the latest addition to The Essential Poets series, The Essential Derk Wynand, selected by John Barton. If you like reading accomplished romantic poetry that captures sentiment without being sentimental, this collection is for you.

Then, we’re moving on to Charlene Elsby’s Affect, which I think is brilliant … and insane in the best possible way.  Part love story, part philosophical thrill ride, the novel follows a hyper-rational philosophy graduate student who is obsessed with two things: death, and a man named Logan. Their relationship develops through a series of surreal events, in which corpses appear with disturbing frequency. You’ve never read a book like this!

In Kitchener.

The book launch for Robert Reid and Wesley W. Bates’s Casting into Mystery is finally happening! The event will take place at THEMUSEUM in downtown Kitchener on Tuesday, September 15, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Register in advance for your free ticket at Eventbrite here.

On the web.

You have two—yes two!—opportunities to hear from the fabulous Frances Boyle, author of the short story collection Seeking Shade.

First, you can catch her interview and reading as part of CKCU radio’s Asking for a Friend. You can listen in at 93.1 FM, or online on the CKCU website on September 15.

Next, be sure to listen to the Ottawa International Writers Festival’s podcast on “The Art of the Short Story”, featuring David Bergen, Souvankham Thammavongsa and our very own Frances Boyle. The conversation will be hosted by Peter Robb and Rhonda Douglas. Tune in Friday, October 2 at 12:00 p.m. for this compelling discussion.

In the world.

two children reading a book
Share the love—and the literacy—this month!

September 8 is International Literacy Day, an important for any self-respecting book lover’s calendar. Be sure to spread the love of the written word in your community.

I just know that September 13 is going to be a great day. You know why? Because it is Positive Thinking Day!

And September 19 is International Red Panda Bear Day, which gives us all an excuse to watch red panda video clips on YouTube because have you seen how cute they are?

From the Porcupette’s corner.

Working on the press
This is a representation of how productive I have been. It is not an accurate representation, by any means. Let’s face it—I sit and stare at a computer screen all day. It’s a metaphor for publishing productivity. Roll with it.

I did it. I survived August. I did the reading. I wrote the descriptions. I prepared the data. I wrote the tipsheets. It’s a good thing that the most stressful time of the year is also the most rewarding one!

Now I get to turn my attention to some other projects I’ve been waiting to start. There’s some editing on the books, a bit of online training, some website work, and, as always, a whole lot of reading. Bring it on!


Thanks so much for keeping up with our latest shenanigans here at PQL. We hope you’re keeping well, safe, and in good bookish company.



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PQ Weekly Roundup: 04 Sep 2020

Every 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.


It’s officially Labour Day weekend and it shows. The weather’s already cooler, and the days have been getting shorter. Where does the time go? Guess that means the crazy fall publishing schedule is imminent. Brace yourselves!



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Freebie Image Gallery: Home Sweet Home

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 the 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.

* * *

For months, we’ve all been obliged to hunker down at home, and for this porcupette, the enforced time spent in said humble abode has resulted in a little stir craziness, it must be said, but also a recognition of my good fortune to have a cozy space in which to weather storms both meteorological and viral. And I’m not the only one rediscovering the joys of the home–this summer has inspired a flurry of home improvement projects in the area, to the extent that it is increasingly difficult for would-be DIY-ers to find pressure-treated wood. (I’ve read that some have become so desperate as to follow lumber trucks on the highway to their destination, in order to immediately buy it at the receiving lumberyard.) Clearly in times of stress we like to pad our little nests with all the comforts we can afford.

To celebrate the home in all its forms–from the humble farm to the awe-inspiring castle–here are some freebie images that you can use in your digital and print design projects. Click on the images below to download the full-size versions.

They say that a person’s home is his or her castle, but some homes are more castle-y than others. Imagine the heating bill on this massive edifice–I shudder to think.
ivy-covered country manor
Perhaps the medieval castle isn’t your style. Maybe you prefer a manor nestled in the countryside? This charming home looks like something right out of a Jane Austen novel.
gothic Victorian home
Gothic enough for you? This home puts me in mind of a lovely (if haunted looking) house in the nearby town of Amherstburg. I can only image the inside is full of Victorian charm … and a cobweb or two!
chicken with farm buildings in background
Perhaps a more modest abode is more your style. This charming farm is simple, functional, and comes with an assortment of adorable fowl.
townhouses and shops
If the farm living isn’t the life for you, perhaps you’re more of a town person? These cozy-looking townhouses look like they also have mercantile opportunities on the ground floor.
dining table after dinner, with mice dining on leftovers
And finally, what can be more homey than this little scene. After a delicious family repast, the home’s secret occupants–the mice–come out to enjoy the table scraps.

And there you have it–a selection of (free!) homey images to use in your design projects. Don’t forget to browse our entire collection over at the Dingbats Section of the Devil’s Artisan. And as always, let us know what kind of creative uses you’ve found for these images.


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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.