Tooting Our Own Horn and Other News for May at PQL

Canadians tend to be humble, but there is an exception to the rule. When it comes to touting our accomplishments, it is incumbent upon us to sing the praises of our beloved authors and their award-winning books, particularly since the crowded literary marketplace makes it ever more remarkable when books stand out.

Let Go

We were pleased a few weeks ago to announce that Mark Huebner’s Let Go is a finalist for a Foreword Indies Award in the Graphic Novels & Comics category. The Foreword Indies Book of the Year Awards honour the year’s best books from independent presses in 55 categories. This year’s winners will be announced June 16, so we’ll have our fingers crossed for Mark and his beautiful graphic narrative.


Last week, the winners of the Independent Publisher (IPPY) Awards were chosen.  For over 25 years, the IPPY Awards have celebrated “exemplary independent, university, and self-published titles” in a range of subject categories and regional categories. Mark Frutkin’s The Artist and the Assassin won Silver in the Literary Fiction category. Bruce McDougall’s Urban Disturbances took Bronze in the Short Story Fiction category. Ross Breithaupt’s debut novel Midland took the Gold in the Canada-East – Best Regional Fiction category. We’re pleased as punch to have had such a good showing at the IPPYs!

Urban Disturbances

This week we also found out that two PQL titles made the “long shortlist” for the 2022 ReLit Awards. The ReLit Awards also recognize independent publishers and their outstanding books. Bruce McDougall’s Urban Disturbances and D.A. Lockhart’s Breaking Right both made the shortlist for the short story category. We’ll be keeping an eye out for the announcement of the winner at the end of the week.

I want to personally take this opportunity to congratulate all of the PQL authors who have been recognized recently with award wins and nominations. You deserve it!

What’s happening this month?


The Razor's Edge

After finishing up with the binding and mailing of DA 90, we’ll be turning our attention to other upcoming Spring 2022 titles, Next up on the docket is The Razor’s Edge, a sharp, clever collection of linked short stories by Karl Jirgens that explores ideas of time, memory, truth and death. I think this book may just be one of my all-time favourites–I can’t wait to see it in print.

In Toronto.

The documentary Woodwriter: The Wordless Art of George A. Walker explores the artistic practice of Quill friend George A. Walker, a talented wood engraver whose wordless novels include visual narratives about Mary Pickford, Leonard Cohen, Conrad Black and others. A free preview of the film for friends and supporters of the documentary will be taking place May 20 at the Royal Cinema in Toronto to thank those who have been instrumental in bringing this film project to fruition.

And, mark your calendars! Word on the Street Toronto is taking place over two days in June, and we’re going to be there. Be sure to stop by Queen’s Part on June 11 and 12 to pick up some great new reads from the PQL booth.

On your computer screen.

There are quite a few virtual events for you to enjoy this May. Frances Boyle, author of the short story collection Seeking Shade, will be taking part in the webinar “Construction of a Story Arc”, featuring Danuta Gleed Award winners and finalists. Register to attend via Eventbrite, and tune in on May 18 on Zoom.

The Artist and the Assassin

Mark Frutkin will be taking part in a pair of events. On May 18, he’ll be hosting an online Zoom reading, including an excerpt from his novel The Artist and the Assassin, a fictionalized account of the life of the painter Caravaggio. You can also catch Mark in an interview with Susan Johnston as part of the Ottawa International Writers Festival podcast. The podcast episode will be available on May 24.

George A. Walker will also be presenting a talk as part of the Alcuin Society’s lecture series. “Written in Wood: Visual Narratives with a Canadian Cut” looks at wordless graphic novels in the context of contemporary Canadian culture, political history and biography. You can register for the event via Eventbrite, and catch the talk on Zoom on May 26.

In the world.

May 13 is Limerick Day. Take a few moments out of your day to come up with a jaunty rhyme (ribald as you like) to amuse your friends!

May 16 is Hug a Tree Day, which, given that I so enjoy reading products made out of paper products, well, I probably owe a few trees some big hugs.

And finally, May 20 is Be a Millionaire Day. Friends, I have questions. Do you just magically become a millionaire? Are you spending the day plotting your eventual millionaire-ity? Do you just pretend to have money, like, filling up the gas tank all the way regardless of the price per litre? Inquiring minds want to know.

From the porcupette’s corner…

PQL book display
There’s nothing like a well-stocked table of books to brighten your day.

Last month was a bit of a milestone for this porcupette as it represented the first in-person event I’ve attended in, well, years. I was a little anxious, it must be said, but I thoroughly enjoyed the drive up to Fergus, Ontario to take part in the first annual Wellington County Writers’ Fest. The weather was fine, and it was kind of nice to have the opportunity to stay in a hotel for a change of scenery, not to mention enjoy the company of book folk. The best part of the day was being able to catch up with Wesley Bates, who had the table next to ours, and Robert Reid, who popped by for a visit and to sign a book or two. I also appreciated each and every person who stopped by the table to say hello and buy a book. It was a long day and a bit of a drive, but it provided a small dose of (almost) normalcy after a long drought of book events.

Erin sign in the Wellington County Museum and Archives "Train Room"
Our table was located in the “Train Room”, which was nice, and our table happened to be closes to the old Erin sign. How perfect was that placement?

Thank you for joining us this month to take a peek at what we’ve been working on lately. We hope to see you in (virtual) attendance this month’s many great book events!



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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.