Happy-Dancing with the Porcupette: TOAE, Grant Apps, and HTML success.

Can you believe July is half-over already? I can’t. (Really – the other day I wrote “April 15th” as the date on a cheque. So maybe I’m living in the past…)

Last weekend I spent a sunny (and sweltering) afternoon downtown with George and Michelle Walker at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition! It was a fantastic event that drew a huge crowd – we sold out of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland on Saturday afternoon! Check out some photos from last weekend’s event –

(What isn’t included in these photos is a shot of the amazing tintype photograph that was done of George. George, if you’re reading this…make that your new author photo, stat!)

Aside from wilting in the sun like an old head of lettuce, I’ve been working on a bunch of other things for the Quill, too. One of my big jobs has been a grant application for the OAC (Ontario Arts Council) – the previous Porcupette, Caleigh, wrote about Canada Book Fund grants before. Grant applications are overwhelming. You know what filling out a passport application is like? Or doing taxes? It’s like that, but bigger. And with essay questions (kind of). You can google “Canada Book Fund Grants” and take a look at some of the paperwork yourself, if you’re curious to see what they’re like!

Part of why this is taking longer than I expected is that I’m still relatively new to the Quill, so I’ve been reading through old grant applications to get a fuller understanding of the changing needs of the Press. Caleigh noted in her post that Tim’s grant applications have been praised for being “the wittiest and most pleasurable in the entire competition“, and I have to agree. I didn’t think reading old grant applications would be fun. But it is!

I’ve also been working on the tipsheets for some exciting spring titles, including works by Mark Lavorato, Ken Sherman, Robert Gibbs, and R. Murray Schafer. When the tipsheets are complete, I add the bibliographic data to PExOD, which creates each book’s page on our website as well as the ONIX feed that allows other sites (like to display the book information.

Since I’m a digital intern, working outside Quill Headquarters, I don’t use the linux-based system that the Inksters do. This has led to some persnickety issues that I hadn’t anticipated (and I’m sure drive Tim up the wall, from time to time. Sorry, Tim!). One of the major ones is “illegal characters” – of the type variety, not the sneaky mobster/convicted felon variety. Since I use a word processor to prepare the tipsheets, I often copy/paste what I’ve prepared for the tipsheet into PExOD. Unfortunately, my word processor’s autoformatting of apostrophes and “curly” (or smart) quotes means that PExOD doesn’t know what they are, leading to random question marks throughout the ONIX feed. Whoops! Luckily, I’ve figured out how to turn off my word-processor’s autoformatting and the character errors have been curtailed. Success! (I also expanded my basic understanding of HTML to successfully format the poetry excerpts to preserve the line breaks, indenting, and “creative spacing” from the originals. There was a lot of happy dancing Chez Porcupette today.)

Be sure to check back on the blog on Tuesday to find out what the Quill has been up to on the web recently, and for an exciting Little Comrades announcement. I’m not kidding, guys. It’s exciting.

A la prochaine!


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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.