Goodbye, 2012!

As 2012 comes to a close, it’s just about time for this Porcupette to take off for her Christmas holidays. And what a holiday it will be. Winter is my very favourite time of year, so you can be sure I have lots of plans. Ice skating, downhill skiing, snow-angel making: I’ve thought of it all. But then of course there’s always the holiday standards too, like watching Miracle on 34th Street, making gingerbread cookies, and finishing up the holiday shopping. I hope you all have as many plans to look forward to as I do.

But before we rush off into the holidays and the new year, I think we ought to take a moment to remember 2012. After all, it’s been a good year for us here at the Quill. For those of you who have been following us all year long, you’ll know that for yourself. But for those of you who are just tuning in now, let’s have a recap of all the best parts of 2012….

A nifty dingbat of Father Time. Father Time was a common personification for the holiday season--that is, before Santa Claus.

1. Launching Wayworn Wooden Floors at Nicholas Hoare Books. This spring we published Wayworn Wooden Floors, a debut collection of poetry by Mark Lavorato. Since its publication, Mark has been all over the place promoting it. He’s been to readings in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and even out west in British Columbia. Of all the events, my favourite by far was certainly the Toronto launch at Nicholas Hoare Books. It was a rather intimate affair, with mostly Mark’s and my close friends in attendance. Mark gave readings of several choice poems, and then we all went out for celebratory beers at C’est What just down the street. You can read my full account of the night here.

2. The Mysterious Death of Tom Thomson makes a buzz in the literary community. In April we launched George A Walker’s The Mysterious Death of Tom Thomson, and George has been getting nothing but good press since. A particular favourite of mine, the success of The Mysterious Death of Tom Thomson is especially important to me. George got stunning reviews in The Globe and Mail, Geist, and Maisonneuve to name a few.

A particular favourite of mine from our photo series: Elke checks the covers on Words for Elephant Man while Tim works at the computer in the background.

3. Launching our social media photo campaign. Earlier this year we decided to start sharing photos of PQL books beings made via Facebook and twitter. I got the idea from a combination of letterpress printers’ twitter feeds and from Andrew Steeves’s blog over at the Gaspereau website. Making our books by hand is something that sets PQL apart from most contemporary publishers, and it’s probably something that PQL’s fans are the most keen to learn about. I’m happy to say that our photo campaign has been a huge success: it seems you guys really were interested! But of course, this wouldn’t have been a PQL success without your help…. Thanks for all those comments, retweets, and likes!

4. Launching The Essential Tom Marshall at The Kingston WritersFest. We were so fortunate this year to be invited to KWF for two events, one of them being the launch of The Essential Tom Marshall. It turned out to be a perfect evening, since Tom’s friends offered to help us celebrate the publication of this beautiful book. We had readings by Michael Ondaatje, David Helwig, Steven Heighton, Diane Schoemperlen, Carolyn Smart, and Eric Folsom—and everyone shared a memory of Tom as well. Altogether the evening was quite touching. For a complete account of the launch, you can check out the blog here.

5. A conversation with Laurie Lewis. When in Kingston, I had to good fortune to meet up with Laurie Lewis for afternoon sushi. We published Laurie’s memoir, Little Comrades, last year to great success, and we are gearing up to publish her next memoir in Spring 2013. When I read Little Comrades, like so many other Canadians, I was extremely affected by Laurie’s story: her resilience, her intelligence, her sensitivity. I was very happy to have this chance to chat with Laurie and do a little write-up on the blog for all you guys out there. Read about my full conversation with Laurie here.

David Helwig, Michael Ondaatje, Eric Folsom, and Steven Heighton prepare for their readings at the Kingston WritersFest. Photo by Bernard Clarke.

6. Launching My Life on Earth and Elsewhere at Koerner Hall. We were so delighted when we heard Esprit Orchestra wanted to pair with us for the launching of My Life on Earth and Elsewhere, we moved the pubdate! We launched Murray’s memoir late this year, in October, to fantastic success. There was a lot of preparation required for the evening—from figuring out how to get the books from Erin and into the hall to sorting out how we were going to move the books in our fine clothes—but in the end it all worked out splendidly. This was a fine night, and definitely one of the greatest events for PQL in 2012. You can read all about the event for yourself here.

7. Launching Down in the Bottom of the Bottom of the Box at the Maizal Quesadilla Cafe. We launched My Life and Down in the Bottom on the same weekend, so it’s all a bit of a blur for me. Though I do remember having an especially wonderful time and JonArno Lawson’s launch. At the suggestion of the illustrator, Alec Dempster, we had the launch at a lovely Mexican restaurant in Liberty Village, the Maizal Quesadilla Cafe. There was plenty of wine, guacamole, and music to go round, making this a great night for PQL.

8. Brazilian Journal wins the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award. Published at the end of last year, P K Page’s Brazilian Journal is part of the ten-volume Complete Works of P K Page that PQL is publishing. We were delighted this year to hear that this particular volume won the ForeWord Book of the Year Award in its category. Not a surprise, really, when you think of the book’s stunning content and sexy hot pink endpapers.

Tim flips open Out of the Wood to show off one of the foldouts.

9. Nicole Dixon takes High-Water Mark on tour. Nicole Dixon’s debut short story collection, High-Water Mark came out this October. Since then, Nicole has been all over promoting it. She has even been on tour. It was a great delight to have Nicole do a mini-tour through Ontario (or “Upper Canada” as she jokingly called it on her blog). She hit Hamilton, Kingston, Toronto, and Sarnia—so all the hottest spots, really.

10. Publishing Rosemary Kilbourn’s Out of the Wood. This year we were really pleased to publish Out of the Wood, a stunning retrospective of Rosemary Kilbourn’s long career as a wood engraver. This book was eagerly anticipated by the book arts community, and I think they’ll be happy with it now its done. The book features hundred of pages of engravings by Rosemary, and even has three gorgeous foldouts.

A special snap from the shop: Happy Holidays from the Porcupine's Quill!

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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.