News for October, or, Don’t be a Turkey–Be Grateful for Stories in All Their Forms

I’m already thinking ahead to this (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend—to ham-and-turkey dinners, to heaps of Stove Top stuffing (don’t judge me), to creamy mashed potatoes and to a nice, quaffable rosé (I thought we agreed, no judgement). Even so, Thanksgiving is about more than just the food.

It’s also a time for stories—stories about your late grandfather’s questionable attempts at shoddy electrical wiring; about your uncle’s inadvertent adventures through Chicago’s sketchiest neighbourhoods; about your brother’s new house or your father’s first car. A rich, oral history is passed down at each family gathering. We see these stories in our mind’s eye, in the flickering candlelight, in the whirls of the wooden table around which we’ve gathered.


Every turkey can tell a story. The trick is to avoid making them all sound the same. Gobble gobble gets old, you know?.

These stories make me think of the very visual narratives that grow out of such oral traditions. Consider the images in James Simon Mishibinijima’s Pictographs, which depict the legends of his Ojibway elders, or in Tony Miller’s nearly mythical tale of slavery, resilience and reinvention, Daddy Hall, or in George A. Walker’s The Mysterious Death of Tom Thomson, which tells a story that has never found a satisfactory ending in oral or written accounts. These visual stories really do embody unity and togetherness. They have no language to act as barrier. They are equally welcoming to those of different languages or cultures, of different reading levels or learning abilities. They show, rather than tell.

So this Thanksgiving, consider sharing a story. Share it in whatever form feels best to you, whether oral, textual or visual. Your loved ones will surely thank you.


What’s happening this month…


This month, we’re gearing up for the publication of Michael Harris’s The Gamekeeper. This book of poetry features some fantastic selections from some of his well known collections, and includes some new poems to whet your poetic appetite.

In Victoria.

Canadian Authors

Plastic author Margaret Gracie will be in Victoria to take part in the Canadian Authors Association Victoria Speak Easy on Tuesday, October 17th at the Good Earth Coffeehouse.

In Ottawa.

Barbara Sibbald, author of The Museum of Possibilities, will join Christine McNair (Charm) and Michael Blouin (Legend) for an event entitled Plan 99: Poetry and Prose at the Manx Pub. Organized by the Ottawa Writers Festival, the event will take place on October 21st.

On the Radio

Yours truly, your favourite porcupette, will be coming at you from the airwaves this month. Christine Cowley will be interviewing me on her Hunters Bay Radio show, “Storylines,” on October 19th. We’ll be chatting about the business and processes of publishing and some of my thoughts on the importance of PQL.

In the World.

October 5th is World Teacher’s Day. Let the wonderful teachers in your life know just how much you appreciate all the important work they do!

October 11th is It’s My Party Day. I think I speak for all of us when I reserve the right to cry if I want to.

And October 18th is No Beard Day. Hear that gents? Shave it off. I dare ya.


From the porcupette’s corner.

How much fun was September, amirite? It was just so full of fun stuff to see and do. We had the Fisher Small and Fine Press Fair at the beginning of the month, followed by a couple of readings with Shane Neilson and Margaret Gracie. Then we capped off the month with a bang at Word on the Street Toronto. Plus, Margaret Gracie and Barbara Sibbald had a blast out at the Fog Lit Festival in Saint John, NB. There was a little something for readers, for writers, for collectors, for printers, for publishers—for everyone!

Leon Rooke, Tim Inkster, Doug Gibson

Leon Rooke [L] and Happy gang of book folk at Word on the Street. Doug Gibson [R] stopped by to chat with our own Tim Inkster.

I sincerely hope I got to see and talk with a few of you at some of these events, and if not, I’m looking forward to the opportunity very soon. That’s the great thing about this book business—there’s always another new release to get hyped about.


Thanks for checking in with us here at the Porcupine’s Quill. We hope to see you soon, and we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Happy long weekend,


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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.