Playing with the Literary Big Boys, or, News for March at PQL

The pattering sound you hear is not hail at the windowpanes. That rumbling roar is not the howl of the bitterly cold wind in the eaves. For once, those gasps are not caused by winter weather stealing the breath from people’s lungs.

Actually, the pattering is applause—thunderous, sustained applause. The roar is the cheer of a congenial crowd, well pleased. The gasps are gasps of surprise and excitement. Ladies and gents, this week, we had the singular pleasure of experiencing one of the biggest, most exciting literary awards in Canada, and let me tell you, it was something.


Nothing like a good prize nomination to make you feel like a million bucks. It sure is nice to be noticed!

As you all know, we were very pleased, indeed, when Ian Hampton’s memoir, Jan in 35 Pieces was longlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize, and were further thrilled when it made it to the shortlist of five finalists. We are so proud that our plucky first-time author was on par with established writers whose books were published by big-name imprints. And along with the honour, there was also the widespread media attention that the prize was able to generate for Ian’s book. Not to mention the fabulous events full of delicious food and drink—those were quite enjoyable, too!

The prize luncheon took place at the Omni King Edward Hotel in Toronto on Monday. It was an elegant affair—a large, opulent room, tasteful floral decorations, swanky table linens, and of course, well-dressed literati. The wine flowed readily, the food was delicious, and I consumed what I now consider to be the most delicious chocolate dessert I’ve ever encountered. With good food and great company, it was an afternoon well spent, even though our book didn’t take the prize.

We send out hearty congratulations to Kate Harris (who grew up just outside Erin Village, incidentally), the winner of the 2019 RBC Taylor Prize, and we salute Ian Hampton, for all his hard work in writing, publishing and promoting his fantastic book. Many thanks, as well, to the Taylor Prize executive and the 2019 jury, not only for organizing another successful year of the prize, but also for helping Canadian readers to honour the best in the country’s literary non-fiction.



What’s happening this month…


Now that the awards business is over and The House on Major Street is printed, we’re moving full steam ahead into preparing and printing our Spring 2019 list. Up next on the docket are Joe Rosenblatt’s Bite Me! and The Essential Douglas LePan. Look for these two poetry collections in the coming weeks.

In the World.

Omigosh! I can’t believe it’s happening. This is crazy. I don’t know what to do. March 9 is apparently … Panic Day! Keep yourselves on high alert, people. Aaaahhh!

flowers in garden

Did you know that March 12 is Plant a Flower Day? Does anyone else feel, with the weather the way it has been, that this holiday is going to end in disaster?

And finally, March 29 is National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day. You know, now that I think about it, the Porcupine’s Quill could technically be considered a mom and pop shop. Feel free to support us on this day … and every day!


From the porcupette’s corner

It’s everyone’s favourite time of the year—tipsheet time! With substantive edits to do and the Taylor Prize luncheon to enjoy, this year’s tipsheet deadlines crept up on me. But I’m glad to say that we’re fully on track for another five brilliant books for the fall, including some new fiction, a sprinkle of poetry, and a healthy dash of illustration. Stay tuned for more details soon!

Once that’s off the plate, it’s time for some fun stuff—substantive edits for fall titles, copyediting an upcoming book for our spring list, and then catching up on any number of other little promotional and administrative tasks. I’m really looking forward to clearing off the old to-do list and starting fresh. Spring cleaning, am I right?


PortraitHope you learned a little something new in this month’s newsletter. Wish us luck as we embark upon a new and exciting season of fantastic fiction, nonfiction and poetry!


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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.