A Porcupette at the (Tango) Palace!

Hi Quill friends!

I just wanted to start this post by thanking everyone who entered our Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland contest ! I’m hoping to have more contests/interactive features with you through the next few months, so stay tuned to the blog, our facebook and twitter for all the details!

Telecommuting internships are a fantastic opportunity for potential interns (especially those who live outside major cities or who are in school or have a second job) as well as for publishers like the Porcupine’s Quill, who are located outside major centres. (Tim, Elke and past Porcupettes agree – finding rental accommodations in Erin Village is not for the faint of heart [or wallet]!)

The one downside to working for the Quill from my little apartment, rather than at the shop, is that I only get to speak to Tim, Elke, and the extended “Quill” family at events! It can feel a little strange to work with people you don’t see very often (and it can definitely be an odd, blind-date-ish first meeting too!)

On Sunday I was lucky to have the opportunity to meet George and Michelle Walker (in person!) for lattes at the fantastic Tango Palace on Queen. Let me tell you, quill friends, I can’t imagine lovelier people to spend a Sunday morning with. They filled me in on what I missed at Wayzgoose while I watched in unabashed awe (read: like a mega-creep) while George signed books backwards and came up with Alice puzzles. (He makes it look easy. Try it! Any brave takers can post their attempts to us – I’d love to see! I’ve posted my best attempt below…)

We discussed book-related topics at length (don’t all gasp at once, I know that’s a huge surprise), pondering the future of print books and ebooks, book recommendations, upcoming PQL titles and other ways that we can get you all involved with what we do here – we want you to be as excited about our books as we are!

In case you’re wondering, it wasn’t entirely “shop talk”— we also discussed UFC, which George said was unbearably noisy, but may have inspired a book (To which Michelle responded, aghast: “You’re not really thinking of doing a book of that, are you?) What do you think?

Since I’m an incredibly lucky Porcupette (or perhaps because George and Michelle are awesome) our next stop was a tour of George’s studio, where he showed me how he makes his fantastic engravings! If you want a peek for yourself, check out this fun video that shows bookmaking at the Quill and George working on his mind-blowing engravings.

George Walker – Printmaker from Marc Beurteaux on Vimeo.

George also showed me some of the blocks and prints from The Mysterious Death of Tom Thomson, which we’re publishing in Spring 2012! I just started work on the tipsheet for Tom Thomson recently, so I felt incredibly privileged to see how it was all made!  One of the neatest things was the block George engraved that was made from one of the trees in Tom Thomson’s painting Byng Inlet, Georgian Bay.

Tom Thomson, Byng Inlet, Georgian Bay

Image via:

There were shelves and shelves of his works, including an edition of Poe’s The Raven and his Woodcut Artist’s Handbook in a Polish translation, which are just a few things I had the chance to peek at!

So quill friends, do you want to learn a little more about our very own George A. Walker?  You’re in luck! The most recent issue of the Devil’s Artisan (#68) is all about his work, or if you’re in Toronto, you can come out to TCAF (Toronto Comic Arts Festival) at the Toronto Public Library this weekend (May 7-8th), where George and his work will be featured. Ottawa quill friends can come out to his talk on the Future of the Book at the CBBAG Book Show at the National Archives on June 11th.

Thanks again to George and Michelle for a fantastic time! How did you spend May Day, quill friends?

(I’m not kidding, guys. Write backwards to me!)

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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.