In Which the Porcupette Juggles Metaphorical Literary Chainsaws, or, News for September at PQL

Have you ever been to a carnival, wandering around, taking in the sights, when you see a clown in white pancake makeup strolling around the fairgrounds casually juggling balls, bowling pins—hell, even chainsaws? It’s a sight that evokes awe, wonder and, in the case of the chainsaws, a little terror. How does one little clown keep those chainsaws moving without hacking off a limb?

clown holding a banner that says "humorous"

Is this a clown? Because he in no way looks humourous. This clown is channeling some hardcore terror right there. I can totally picture him with a chainsaw.

Some days I think that people who work in publishing can relate to that clown. I feel like I’m constantly juggling at least half a dozen stories in my mind, trying to remember which elements go where. If it’s not the five Spring 2020 titles for which I’m currently writing tipsheets, it’s the four (count ’em, four) books I’m reading for fun right now.

I have to admit, it’s a bit of a reckless thrill keeping so many stories up in the air—or my head—at once, but it’s one I can justify. With all five spring titles mind, the neurons in my brain fire in overtime. Themes I might not have noticed in one book become evident based on what I’ve observed in another. I can see where similarities and differences lie, and make decisions where I might encourage overlap or suggest alteration. In my pleasure reading, I can tailor my nightly chapter or so on my mood do I feel like something spooky or something light? Do I want the escape of another world, or the comfort of a historically grounded setting. In this case, a little diversity in my reading is a comfort, a way of relaxing to suit my mood.

I used to be completely averse to reading more than one book at a time. Now I’m beginning to see the benefits of being that clown with the chainsaws whirring overhead. So long as I don’t drop one, I think we’re good!


What’s happening this month…


This month, we’re finishing up printing Shane Neilson’s book of poetry criticism, Margin of Interest, and moving on to the first titles of our Fall 2019 titles. We’ll be working on a new addition to our Essential Poets Series, The Essential Kay Smith, as well as Sharon Berg’s quietly insightful short story collection Naming the Shadows.

In Toronto.

We’re participating in a bunch of literary events in the Big Smoke this month. First up, we’ll be at the U of T’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library for the Fisher Small and Fine Press fair on September 7. We’ll be in a gorgeous locale and surrounded by printmakers, book artists and small presses. What’s not to love.

On September 15, Daniel Bryant is launching his short story collection Rerouted—and it’s going to be a party. Stop by the Dora Keogh Pub to pick up a book, listen to a tribute band, and maybe even buy some Rerouted-inspired t-shirts.

Word on the Street Toronto

Next up, PQL staff will be back in town for Word on the Street Toronto. This annual event is packed with readings, panel discussions and special events, not to mention the exhibitor marketplace where you can chat with people from publishing companies large and small. We’ll be at booth 242A. Come see us!

In Oakville.

We’re ending off the month with a fascinating event that I’m really excited to attend: the Howard Iron Works Print Expo and Fair. This extraordinary location will be open to the public, featuring demonstrations, workshops, and a good old printer’s fair. We’ll have a table to display—and sell—the latest PQL titles. Don’t be shy—stop on by.

In the world.

Need I remind you that September 6 is Read a Book Day? The power of internet holiday calendars compels you!

September 13 is both Friday the 13th and Positive Thinking Day. I find that juxtaposition delightful.

September 22 is Elephant Appreciation Day. I think we should all celebrate by reading Mogul Recollected.


From the porcupette’s corner.

Ah, I love September. The smell of new books is in the air!

I’m pleased to say that after experiencing some mental doldrums, I’ve battled in the last few weeks and finally feel like I’m starting to catch up. (Except on yard work. Anyone wanna come over and mow the lawn? No? You’re sure?)

leaning oak tree surrounded by wild grasses

My backyard right now. Featuring more weeds than grass, a few bald spots, and a questionable looking tree.

We’re in good shape with our preparations for spring, and I’ve got a plan to tackle the editorial commitments I’ve got looming on the horizon. What does that mean for you? Well, it means we’ll very soon be announcing five beautiful books to look forward to next year. (Seriously—beautiful. Tim’s outdone himself on the covers this time around, if I do say so myself.) And let’s not forget the incremental rollout of our fall titles.

Yes, I do love September.


Thanks everyone for stopping by to read about what we’re doing here at PQL. We hope you’re excited for our new fall titles, and for our upcoming events. We hope to see you soon!


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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.