Like many of us in this age of distraction, I have always appreciated a liberal dash of variety to season my life’s experiences. Whether it be through travelling to different locales, consuming a diverse range of foods or, naturally, reading a variety of genres, I always find a little novelty is a great way to perk me up and keep things from getting stale.
I think this appreciation for variation has probably contributed to my fondness for the short story genre. Short story collections often introduce new and diverse voices, and allow for plenty of interesting experimentation when it comes to genre and form. Within collections, we are often treated to the most delightful outliers—for example, a sci-fi story in an otherwise literary collection like Frances Boyle’s Seeking Shade, or a couple of flash fiction pieces amid more traditional-length tales as in Barbara Sibbald’s The Museum of Possibilities. Plus, to state the obvious, through short story collections we are treated to a wide range of characters (from the pathetic to the humorous to the deplorable, like in Bruce McDougall’s Urban Disturbances) not to mention all the different settings. Sometimes, a special collection will go all out and imagine different characters, genres, and worlds for each and every story, as Paul Glennon did with The Dodecahedron.
So if you’re like the many among us who like to sample an assortment of literary tastes to keep things interesting, we hope you’ll consider picking up a short story collection this month.
Since May happens to be Short Story Month, we’ll even sweeten the pot, so to speak. Each week we’ll be featuring a short story collection recently published by the Porcupine’s Quill. We’ll be offering eBook copies of each book featured for 50% off of the regular eBook price, exclusively through the eBook store.
We’re kicking off this promotion with Frances Boyle’s Seeking Shade, mentioned above. The stories in this collection present a variety of characters, time periods and locations, but they all remind us that the ways we communicate—through art, through literature, through dance, through performances theatrical and otherwise—shape our lives and the stories that we tell.
Ebook Sale Alert
In celebration of Short Story Month, this week, we’re offering 50% off the eBook version of Frances Boyle’s short story collection Seeking Shade.
Apply the following coupon code at checkout to receive your discount:
(Offer valid until May 11, 2021. Available in Canada, the USA and the UK.)
What’s happening this month…
In addition to printing copies of The Essential Elizabeth Brewster, we’ll also be hard at work preparing the latest issue of the Devil’s Artisan, issue #88, for the press. This latest issue features a fascinating look at the history of the former Cranberry Mills, which became Crown Mills in St. Catharines. We also have a Q&A with Karen Schindler of Baseline Press in London, Ontario, as well as additional articles on Hawkshead Press and the David Milne Playing Card Project. Digital copies are now available in the eStore, and print copies will be on their way as soon as we can get them printed and bound. Keep your eyes peeled!
In the world.
May 5th is Cartoonist Day, a perfect opportunity to appreciate the talented visual artists whose literary contributions make us smile.
May 12th is International Nurses Day—and boy do we need to celebrate nurses more than ever this year!
And of course, May 24th is Victoria Day. To be honest, it’s not a particularly exciting holiday, but I’m pretty sure we Canadians could use a reason to celebrate with pyrotechnics. Any reason.
From the porcupette’s corner.
Despite the rather April-like showers inundating us at the beginning of this month, I’m beginning to hope that a little bit of sunshine—and perhaps even some May flowers—might be on the way. There’s nothing like a little bit of fresh air and Vitamin D to boost the mood and get this porcupette motivated.
But until those flowers do arrive, perhaps a few virtual blossoms are in order? This month, we added a wealth of free floral images to the “Botanicals” section of the Devil’s Artisan’s Dingbats Resource. There you’ll find everything from daffodils, violets and orchids to moneywort, gooseberries and frostweed. There’s even a rather handsome assortment of fungi. Feel free to download, print, or use these images in your graphic design projects. We’re looking forward to seeing what you come up with!
We hope with a little good weather and a few good books, this month brings you a little relief from the cooped up feelings of April. If you need some reading inspiration, check out our awards page for some recent PQL titles honoured for such awards as the Danuta Gleed Literary Award, the ReLit Awards and the eLit Awards.
There’s no doubt about it—April has been a long month here in Ontario. Another lockdown, and its accompanying anxieties, have many of us hunkered down at home. I, probably like many of you, have taken solace in the essentials in life—personal (if virtual) connection, good food, a cozy place to call my own, and of course, the printed word.
Many readers are now discovering the power of poetry in communicating the maelstrom of feelings caused by living in uncertain times. They’re supporting local Canadian authors, small presses and bookstores, to ensure a continued place for literature in our lives. They’re discovering new favourites and appreciating old ones.
Our very own Essential Poets series is one way of guiding your discovery of Canada’s poetic voices from the past. The series began as a way of preserving in print some of the more popular verses of esteemed poets without having to shoulder the task (physical and financial!) of reprinting much longer collections for which the audience was likely to be rather small. (Read about the origins of the series in PQL Publisher Tim Inkster’s blog post.) But despite its practical origins, the series has expanded well beyond the stable of poets PQL has published before, and it now features twenty-one volumes by a wide range of poets who together helped to define an era of Canadian verse. Some names (Earle Birney, P.K. Page) might be familiar to the poetry lovers among us, while others (Anne Wilkinson, Charles Bruce) have been sadly neglected in recent years considering their achievements and contributions.
We’ve made it easy to add these Essential Poets to your bookshelves with beautifully designed, affordable volumes that act as a useful primer to each poet’s work. We also offer a teaching guide to act as a model for how to use the Essential Poets series in the classroom.
We’re also open to working with editors who might want to pitch poets for inclusion in the series, particularly if the voices recommended are unique, diverse, and have affected the course of poetry in Canada.
We’re riding high on a pretty great week. We hope yours is just as good. If not, brighten if up with a little poetry! Remember to take advantage of our 50% off poetry eBooks sale in the eStore with coupon code NPM2021.
The National Poetry Month festivities continue, and poetry fans are happily enjoying the veritable cornucopia of poetry news, events, awards and releases happening this month. We hope you’ve found time to enjoy a few verses—or verse collections—this April.
If you’re still looking for that special poetry collection, we’d like to sweeten the pot a bit!
Browse the Broadsides category of the Porcupine’s Quill eStore and download your favourites today!
We hope you enjoy your free printable broadsides. They make excellent wall art and would look very handsome, indeed, hanging on the wall next to the bookcase holding your collection of PQL poetry books!
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.