Getting into the Back-to-School Spirit with a Syllabus All of Us Can Enjoy, Plus, News for September at PQL

Ladies and gentlemen, take out your notebooks, sharpen your pencils and listen up. School is now in session.

Welcome to “PQL’s Fall List 2018”. I am your instructor, Porcupette Steph. If you’ll indulge me in this extended conceit, please join me as we delve into the syllabus for this most exciting program of study!

Solemn preacher.

Imagine, dear readers, as you peruse this silly syllabus, that I am as solemn and sophisticated as this dapper gent, communicating the Word to rapt audiences…. Oh, who am I kidding? I’m a big softie.

Course Description

The PQL Fall 2018 season offers you a wide variety of literary offerings that entertain and inform. You will encounter hilarious fiction, evocative poetry, and nostalgia-inducing non-fiction. You will touch on Revolution-era Russia, mid-20th century Nova Scotia and hippie-era Toronto. You will meet with royalty and with the common man—or woman. You will experience emotion, imagination, and creativity, and you will do it all through the written word.

Required Reading

Recommended Reading

The PQL Blog, as needed.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course of study, you will find that you have gained:

  • A knowledge of the thoughts and emotions of Alexandra Feodorovna, a devoted wife, a loving mother of five children (including one suffering from haemophilia), and, also, the last tsarina of Imperial Russia;
  • An appreciation of shoemakers, tailors, typewriter mechanics, and all manner of artisans, labourers and cultural practitioners whose professions are slowly but surely being lost to time and technology;
  • A longing to visit the Channel Shore of Nova Scotia in Charles Bruce’s day, to experience the rural settings and musical regional dialect of the time;
  • A sudden desire to attend the theatre—particularly alternative theatre that breaks down barriers and puts forth radical new ideas; and
  • The pride of untangling the metafictional and meta-metafictional appearances that populate the hilarious, strange and dramatic neighbourhood around Major Street

Be sure to review your syllabus and check out your required texts. Keep up with your reading to be sure you get the most out of this season!

(Can you tell I’ve got a lot of school under my belt? Perhaps too much, eh?)


What’s happening this month…


At long last, it is here! I’ve been eagerly awaiting the day when copies of Mrs Romanov roll off the press, and ladies and gentlemen, that day is here! Lori Cayer’s glorious poetry collection delves into the life of the last tsarina of Imperial Russia, touching on politics, her royal extended family, and her relationships with her husband, her children, and even the notorious mystic, Rasputin. I highly recommend that you pick up a copy for yourself in the coming weeks. You won’t regret it!

Aside from that, we’ve got lots to do to meet deadlines on our other Fall 2018 books, not to mention looming grant applications and the like.

What’s more fun, though, is that we’re positively hopping with a ton of literary events. To whit:

In Ann Arbor.

Hey there to all our American friends! If you find yourself in beautiful Ann Arbor this weekend, feel free to stop by and visit us at the Kerrytown Bookfest. We’ll have a table and lots of beautiful PQL books.

In Winnipeg.

McNally Robinson Logo

We’re pleased to invite you to the launch of Mrs Romanov by Lori Cayer! Come to McNally Robinson Grant Park on September 12 for a reading and signing. It’s going to be a wonderful evening, and yes, refreshments will be provided!

Lori Cayer will also be participating in this year’s Thin Air Writers Festival in Winnipeg. She’ll be joining a host of fabulous authors in the “Where in the World” event on September 27 at the Manitoba Theatre for Young People.

In London.

Shane Neilson will be visiting London, Ontario to participate in the Poetry London reading series and workshop. He’ll be reading from his collection, Dysphoria.

In Fredericton.

Word Feast Logo

Brian Bartlett will be in Fredericton to take part in the Word Feast Literary Festival on September 22. He will be reading from and discussing The Essential Dorothy Roberts and taking part in a panel on the topic of literary mothers.

In the GTA.

September means World on the Street, and yes, we’ll be at Harbourfront in Toronto once again this year! Stop by on September 23 to shop a selection of great PQL books.

After that, we’ll be taking part in the Howard Iron Works Print Expo and Fair at the Howard Iron Works Printing Museum in Oakville. With live printing and book binding demos, a hands-on printing museum and a book fair, there will be plenty to do on September 29!

In Baltimore.

Baltimore Book Fest Logo

Yours truly will be on the move once again this month, travelling to Baltimore for the Baltimore Book Fest. This three-day festival takes place in Baltimore’s beautiful Inner Harbour. Stop by and say hi if you can—I don’t want to be lonely!

In New Brunswick.

Shane Neilson (Dysphoria), Jeffery Donaldson (Fluke Print) and Jim Johnstone (The Essential D. G. Jones) will be travelling to New Brunswick to take part in a number of literary activities, including the following:

  • September 28: Reading at the Petitcodiac Public Library (Petitcodiac, NB)
  • September 28: Attic Owl Reading Series (Moncton, NB)
  • September 29-30: UNB Poetry Weekend (Fredericton, NB)

In the world.

September 8 is International Literacy Day, a day to spread the joy of the written word to communities and societies not only locally but around the world.

September 14 is Cream-Filled Donut Day. Make mine mocha cream, please!

September 21 is World Gratitude Day. Let us give thanks for books and authors and publishers!


From the porcupette’s corner.

scribe at desk

I’m not gonna say I’ve been chained to my desk, but, like, guys. I’ve spent a LOT of time at my desk.

Judging by the outrageous length of this post, I’m sure you can guess I’ve been busy, so let’s keep this mercifully short. Bibliographic data for Spring 2019 is done. Events for September are organized. Travel arrangements have been made. Awards nominations—check. Reading through submissions—in progress. Grant applications—on the table.

I’m exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. No wonder I love my job!

PortraitBefore we go, I just wanted to take a moment to give a quick shout out to our brand new part-time intern, Chantel. Chantel comes to us from U of T, where she is a student of English and Political Science. Welcome Chantel! We hope you learn a lot with us, and that we’ll have a chance to learn from you, too.


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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.