The Porcupine’s Quill: News for May

May is, I am reliably informed, Short Story Month. It is therefore a propos that the last book to be printed this season is a collection of the same. We didn’t plan it this way, of course—you all remember my aversion to confining recognition of literary formats to a single month—but, when in Rome….

Surprised man reads a newspaper.

“I say, Mr Hammersmith, have you seen what those Romans have been up to? Shocking, I say. Positively shocking.”

My slight obsession with the short story format has been well documented. The format’s underdog appeal, its potential for new and interesting formal twists, and its insistence on focus and brevity, are all powerful motivations that inspire me to pick up a new collection every now and then. I also think that it’s a format ideally suited to modern life—to commuting on public transportation, to slotting into our precious little leisure time, to encouraging critical thinking and concise communication in a time when both are in short supply.

We’ll be celebrating some of the best of the genre on social media with our #PQLStorySnippets. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook so you don’t miss them. And don’t forget to check out our Spring 2017 releases—four of the five are in print and ready for purchase right now!

What are you waiting for?


What’s happening…


We have a busy month at the shop in Erin. We’ll be printing the newest issue of the Devil’s Artisan, DA 80, as well as the final addition to our PQL Spring 2017 list—Margaret Gracie’s Plastic. This fascinating short story collection takes a number of diverse perspectives to tell a story of motherhood, alienation, and the pursuit perfection.

On the airwaves.

On May 4, Barbara Sibbald, author of The Museum of Possibilities, will be interviewed on Christine Cowley’s radio show “Storylines” on Hunters Bay Radio (88.7 FM). Tune in online from across the nation at

In Toronto.


Every year, a number of PQL author-artists display their wares at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. George A. Walker (Trudeau: La Vie en Rose), Steven McCabe (Never More Together) and Marta Chudolinska (Back + Forth) will be on hand at the Toronto Reference Library on May 13 and 14 to display their work at this celebration of comics, graphic novels and their creators.

In Grimsby.

Don’t miss Tony Calzetta’s fascinating artists’ talk about Fabulous Fictions & Peculiar Practices at the Grimsby Public Art Gallery on May 7. Tony will discuss the process of creating this one-of-a-kind work of art, as well as the performances associated with the project.

In the world.

May 5 is Cinco de Mayo. Who’s coming with me for tacos? Anyone? Anyone?

May 10 is Clean Up Your Room Day, which I think I shall interpret as, “Steph, your office is a deplorable mess. Clean your desk off and work like a functional adult” day.

And don’t forget that May 14 is Mother’s Day. Pst. Mom. I think you’re swell.


From the porcupette’s corner.

Can you believe we’re a third of the way through 2017? I know, right? Time flies when you’re publishing great books!

April was a bit of a challenge as we tackled the arduous process of beginning a new grant application for the Canada Council for the Arts. In recognition of the Council’s New Funding Model, I took a radically different approach this year, trying really hard to stay away from any grant narratives we’ve written in the past and any preconceived notions of what should or might be included. My results have been somewhat mixed—not hard-hitting enough, I’m told—so it’s back to the drawing board to see how we can fully flesh this baby out. Wish me luck!

Man fencing with a pen.

“Come at me, bro.”

Luckily, April ended with a treat—my favourite literary event of the year. I joined several PQL staff and authors at the 39th Annual Grimsby Wayzgoose where we had the opportunity to mingle with the regions fascinating array of printers, bookbinders, papermakers and other artisans. As always, I enjoyed myself immensely. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to say hello!


And that will do it for our May update. Keep your eyes peeled for our new releases, and stock up on our just-released titles for your spring and summer travels.


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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.