As you may’ve noticed, ‘weekly’ is a bit of a misnomer for this week’s roundup. The press enjoyed a restorative holiday break from December 23rd to January 4th, but we’re back in full-swing for the New Year and ready to get you caught up on everything we’ve been up to.


These last few weeks have been some of the most exciting we’ve experienced in our eleven years as publishers of exceptional books. Upon arriving back at the office after the break, we were thrilled to begin the day with reviews of Martin John in two of the world’s most prestigious, storied venues: The New Yorker and The New York Times. This marks the first time a Biblioasis title has been reviewed in The New Yorker, whose critic called Martin John a “frenetic, risk-taking novel … deliberately cryptic and bleakly funny.” Hours before that review hit newsstands, The New York Times Sunday Edition featured the brilliant Irish novelist Eimear McBride’s thoughtful, glowing review of Martin John. Anakana’s novel was also listed as a favourite by the editors of The New York Times Books.

Kevin Hardcastle’s Debris received some well-deserved attention south of the border in anticipation of his debut’s US release on Feb. 9. Booklist’s reviewer wrote that “[Debris] has its own strong voice … smoothly connected by uncompromising settings and Hardcastle’s authentic, plainspoken country-noir voice, the 11 stories collected here will appeal to fans of gritty, back-country crime fiction, even those who typically shun short stories.”

Kerry-Lee Powell’s most recent collection of poetry, Inheritance, was recently reviewed in the prestigious Times Literary Supplement. “Kerry-Lee Powell’s poems are full of lively vignettes in which realism strikes lyrical sparks off harshness,” wrote reviewer Jan Montefiore. “[Her] language is colloquial, unshowy, her free-verse lines organized in compact quatrains or tercets, but there is a relish for sprees, extremities and oddities.” We truly couldn’t have said it better ourselves.


US President Barack Obama tears up during the announcement of his plan to take executive action on gun control.

Not long before, and after, a solemn US President Obama announced he would be taking executive action regarding gun control, The Toronto Star and CBC Ideas ran long-form stories on gun culture in a North American context. The Toronto Star’s Insight section featured a lengthy excerpt from A.J. Somerset’s Arms: The Culture and Credo of the Gun, as well as his take on the book’s reception in the US and Canada. He said the NRA, gun nuts, and gun lobbyists would like his book to disappear, so they can maintain the illusion that they speak for all gun owners. “They do not speak for me,” wrote Somerset. “I speak for myself.”

This week’s episode of Ideas was dedicated to issues discussed in Arms. A.J., bestselling author and activist Christopher Hedges, and Mohawk thinker Dr. Taiaiake Alfred spoke with host Paul Kennedy about the current state of gun culture in North America, the roots of its dysfunction, and ways in which it can be reformed. It was an excellent hour-long program on an issue that, sadly, just won’t seem to go away. You can listen to that episode here.


Although this year’s has been a notably mild winter, the literary world has joined the wider world in eager anticipation of spring. Spring previews have emerged from Quill & Quire and CBC Books and we’re happy to report that a host of Biblioasis titles garnered mentions. Quill & Quire featured Worldly Goods, a powerful gathering of stories by Montreal-based Alice Petersen; Bad Things Happen, a collection of short fiction by Halifax’s Kris Bertin; The Party Wall, a fantastic novel by all-star Quebecois author Catherine Leroux (translated by the amazing Lazer Lederhendler); Let the Empire Down, a new collection of poetry by Pat Lowther Memorial Award winner Alexandra Oliver; and Lives of the Poets (with Guitars): Thirteen Outsiders Who Changed Modern Music, a fun grouping of musical bios by Mr. Ray Robertson of Toronto. Alexandra’s Let the Empire Down was also included among CBC Books’ Spring 2016 preview.


We know as well as anybody that authors and publishers have to eat too. While galas and grand-prizes are good fun, and an important part of the literary landscape to boot, the concept of the ReLit Awards is a refreshing departure from regular award protocol. As explains, “Canada’s ReLit Awards—founded to acknowledge the best new work released by independent publishers—may not come with a purse, but it brings a welcome, back-to-the-books focus to the craft.” We’ve got all fingers crossed for Kathy Page and Diane Schoemperlen, whose respective short fiction collections Paradise & Elsewhere and By the Book: Stories and Pictures made the 2015 shortlist. The ReLit Rings are given out this month!


We’re working hard on our Winter titles here at the press, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have time to stop and smell the roses. Take a look at the highlight’s from this week:

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If you’re a listener of Metro Morning, you probably heard Seth, our esteemed illustrator, chatting with Matt Galloway about his Christmas Ghost Stories, a new series of illustrated classics that we’ll be publishing each holiday season. The first two are in stores now across Canada. Next year we’ll be publishing three to four more — on both sides of the border. If you missed the interview, click here to read about the cool history of this forgotten tradition. Big thanks to Robert Earl Stewart, our bookstore manager and unofficial in-house photographer, for the photo that CBC ran.

Anakana with her two picks: Marina Endicott’s Close to Hugh and Liz Worth’s No Work Finished Here.


This week, the folks at CBC Books, who already posted their extensive best-of list, published a different take on the format. Instead of listing books she enjoyed this year, Jane van Koeverden of CBC Books asked eight of Canada’s best-known authors—including our own Anakana Schofield—to choose one book (or, in Anakana’s case, a few books) they loved most. We were delighted to see that Nino Ricci chose Martin John and Andrew Pyper chose Arvida by Samuel Archibald (trans. by Donald Winkler). Many other great books were highlighted, so the list is definitely worth a read.


“Montana Border,” a short story by our author and friend Kevin Hardcastle, was included among The Walrus‘s year-end recap. You can read the story—and you really should read the story—here. It’s also one of the stand-outs of Kevin’s debut collection, Debris.

Bob Duff signing books at Cindy’s in Kingsville.


In addition to rave reviews from Windsor Life and the Drive, Duff hit the local media hat-trick this week with a another excellent piece by Dalson Chen in the Windsor Star. Chen does a great job highlighting the contentious nature of the book and what separates it from other books about hockey greats: “[Duff] based a lot of it on talking to people who played with and against [his chosen 50].”


NOW Magazine published their list of the top 10 books of 2015 earlier this week. Clocking in at numbers 6 and 9, respectively, were Anakana Shofield’s Martin John and Russell Smith’s Confidence. Editor Susan G. Cole called Smith “the writer whose craft made the biggest leap this year” and lauded Martin John as a “formally daring story of a pathetic sexual abuser [and] a triumph of tone.” Check out the rest of the list here.


Zoroaster’s Children made the Taylor longlist, the best-of mentions kept rolling in, and great discussions on art and culture abounded. Here’s a roundup of last week’s goings-on at Biblioasis:


You might recall reading about our brilliant-but-often-overlooked author Marius Kociejowski a few weeks ago. His new collection of travel essays, Zoroaster’s Children, had just gotten a rave review in Maclean’s— but we were worried thatmight be the end of major publicity for his book. Not so! We are excited to announce that Zoroaster’s Children has made the RBC Taylor Prize longlist. Each year, the Taylor Prize is awarded to a non-fiction book that “best combines a superb command of the English language, an elegance of style, and a subtlety of thought and perception.” We’d say Marius fits the bill! The shortlist will be announced on Jan 12th, and we’ve got all our fingers crossed.


Biblioasis and our publisher Dan Wells, an alumnus of Western’s graduate program in History, were the focus of an excellent and detailed article in the Western News. The piece details the perseverance, fantastic effort, and happy accidents that allow Biblioasis, or any independent press, to exist in a world of online shopping and e-readers. If you’re interested in learning about the press’ present and history, the origins of our logo, or just seeing some beautiful shots of the shop, give it a read!

Anakana Schofield as illustrated by Chloe Cushman, for the National Post.


Death, taxes, and the inclusion of Anakana Schofield’s Martin John on ‘best of’ lists seem the new normal this holiday season. This week, three of Canada’s major news outlets published (or in the National Post‘s case, finished publishing) their ‘best of’ lists for 2015 and Biblioasis books found their way into all three! The National Post placed Martin John third among this year’s top 99 books, a list which featured a wonderful illustration of Anakana by the very talented Chloe Cushman. Martin John, Confidence, & Arvida made the Globe 100, the Globe & Mail‘s unnumbered offering of this year’s best lit. CBC Books published their similarly gargantuan Best of 2015 list, which featured Martin John and the Governor General’s award-winning My Shoes Are Killing Me among the likes of David Suzuki and famed Young Adult author Gordon Korman (a favourite of our excellent bookseller, Bob Stewart).


The good folks over at All Lit Up are rolling out a new sort of advent calendar-inspired feature. Each day they highlight several books under a specific genre: they’ve done First Nations voices, LGBT voices, etc. On Monday, they featured short stories — and guess which author showed up on their list? Our very own Kevin Hardcastle. “We see many books every season by debut authors but rarely do they come with endorsements like Debris,” wrote the editors. “With this much high praise, we knew it had to be good. And it was. Like any reader with a newly discovered literary treasure, we’re going to tell everyone we know until they listen.” Check out the full list. Big thanks to ALU!

Biblioasis publisher Dan Wells (left) speaks with TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey at Art Gallery of Windsor.


Last Thursday, the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport made Windsor the final stop on their “Culture Talks” tour through the province. Officials have spent the past little while meeting with the public — including many workers in Ontario’s culture industry — to get feedback on the government’s 10 year strategic plan for the arts. In our city, Biblioasis publisher Daniel Wells was called on to chat with TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey about the importance of art to our community, not just as a cultural practice, but as a significant economic driver. Attendance was great and discussions abounded!


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The Biblioasis Holiday Party is tomorrow evening at 7pm! The combination launch-party/reading/schmoozer is sure to be the most joyful (not to mention joyously literary) night of the holiday season.


If you weren’t tipped off by the thirty minutes windshield defrosting has added to your commute, we’re here to tell you that the holiday season is finally upon us. Here at the press, we’re celebrating with party planning and the launch of our Seth-illustrated Christmas Ghost Stories series. And while mall traffic and the ubiquity of holiday radio may give the impression that all normal life has paused for the season, it isn’t so—here’s a look at what we’ve been up to this week at Biblioasis:

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In the world of indie lit, few voices are more well regarded than that of David Gutowski. For nearly 14 years, Gutowski has been the driving force behind largehearted boy, a website devoted to music, literature, and “that spot in the venn diagram where the two arts overlap.” While we were excited just to see that he published a list of his favourite novels of 2015, we were absolutely honoured to find out that Anakana made the cut! Gutowski called Martin John “a profound, innovative, and poignant meditation on identy.”

As the National Post rolls out its highly anticipated year-end list in segments (a behemoth at 99 books!), we’re proud to report that Russell Smith’s Confidence comes in at #46. The National Post staff called it “sexy and solid…[painting] a richly dark portrait of what it means to be down and out (metaphorically and, occasionally literally) in increasingly moneyed Toronto.”

We’re very pleased to see that Man Booker-finalist Mia Couto’s Pensativities, the debut collection of his essays in English translation, was listed among Weird Fiction Review‘s End-of-Year Book List for 2015. Leif Schenstead-Harris, who chose the book, wrote that Couto’s essays are “firmly located in Mozambican natural and social contexts, yet in them it is possible to see how flashes of weird lightning illuminate Couto’s observations on the world.” The entire list is full of great works you might have overlooked. Definitely worth a look.


Great reviews keep rolling in for Andrew Somerset’s Arms: The Culture and Credo of the Gun — even months after its publication. The latest two were published recently by the Winnipeg Free Press and the Waterloo Region Record. Somerset “provides a witty and informed survey of the terrain,” writes Alex Good for the Record, “albeit one that doesn’t hold out a lot of hope for change,” while Douglas Johnston praises Arms ability to “[entertain] – even as it educates.”

The holiday issue of Windsor Life just arrived at our shop, and it includes the first big feature on Bob Duff’s 50 Greatest Red Wings. “A terrific book,” raves writer Dick Hildebrand. “A must read for the Red Wing devotee — or any hockey fan for that matter!”

On the other side of the border, Asymptote, an exceptional journal that focuses exclusively on works in translation, paid Samuel Archibald’s Arvida a high compliment: reviewer Gnaomi Siemens writes in her rave review that Arvida’s small-town Canadian stories reveal “another America, a hidden America, maybe even more American than the America we think we know.” What a testament to the relevance and power of works in translation and literature from Quebec!



Nothing pairs better with a good book than a party and a (few) glass(es) of wine! We’re gearing up for our annual holiday party here at the shop, which is set for Friday December 11th. At 7PM, we’ll be officially launching Bob Duff’s excellent 50 Greatest Red Wings, alongside readings by Marty Gervais, Michael Januska, and Kate Hargreaves. As if that wasn’t enough, we’ll be featuring the soft launch of “The Poets Series,” a series of paintings by artist Melanie Janisse Barlow. There’ll be door prizes, refreshments, 15% off all books, and the ideal environment for some impromptu caroling. See you there!


As the days begin to darken before business hours are over, year-end lists and mulled wine abound. Here’s a roundup of this week’s happenings at Biblioasis:

Schofield’s Martin John and Hardcastle’s Debris have been cleaning up on the best-of front.

When your work tops a list of books by literary biggies like Paula Hawkins, Elena Ferrante, Kelly Link, and Nino Ricci, it’s a pretty good indication that you’ve made it to the big leagues. This week, Anakana Schofield’s Giller shortlisted Martin John was named among The Toronto Star‘s notoriously selective ‘Top 5 Fiction Books of the Year.’ Martin John received another big best-of nod, along with Kevin Hardcastle’s Debris, from the good folks at 49th Shelf. From the country that’s (mostly) south of the border, we were beyond pleased to see A.J. Somerset’s Arms: The Culture and Credo of the Gun first on The Washington Post‘s list of 2015’s notable nonfiction. Arms was selected by Michael S. Rosenwald, a brilliant and diverse critic whose pieces on technology, business, pop culture, sports, and more appear in publications like The New Yorker, GQ, Popular Science, and ESPN.

This week’s cover of The New Yorker, surrounded by some of Seth’s best work for Biblioasis.

We couldn’t be happier for Seth, whose art rocks this week’s cover of The New Yorker. Not only does he illustrate every cover of our magazine, Canadian Notes & Queries, he also designs and illustrates our most beautiful books — including the recently released Christmas Ghost Stories.

Author Samuel Archibald.

It’s no secret that we at the press love literature in translation; in fact, we started our International Translation Series because we “believe that translation is the lifeblood of literature.” That’s why we were delighted to see the National Post’s in-depth look at the the process behind Arvida. We know that translating literature is a difficult craft — but translating literature filled with rich, rural Quebecois swearing is a step above. Thanks to NP Books’ Naben Ruthnum, we’re given insight into this process, undertaken by Samuel Archibald and Donald Winkler over the course of several fun meetings — as well as insight into the difficult, often underappreciated work of brilliant translators like Don.

This week, we put out our seasonal call for bright, enthusiastic volunteers. We’ve run a popular and successful volunteer program for almost a year; our staff has helped introduce a dozen young students and post-grads to the world of publishing. A few have even gone on to work here. Lunch and travel stipends are provided. The application deadline is Friday, Dec. 11th.

Join us at the store next Friday (Nov. 27th) from 3-8 p.m. as Jon Magidsohn will be signing copies of his travel memoir, Immortal Highway (Iguana Books, 2015). Now living in England, Jon has returned to Canada to promote the book he wrote after his wife, a former Windsor broadcast news reporter, lost her battle with breast cancer. The book details the six-week “healing tour” Jon and his infant son, Myles, took across Canada and the U.S.

Biblioasis Press Seeks Winter 2015 – 2016 Volunteers

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A new season’s started at Biblioasis, which means we’re looking for a new crew of bright, enthusiastic volunteers.

Our press office handles nearly every step a manuscript takes on its path to becoming a widely-read book, including acquisition, editing, typesetting, cover design, stock management, publicity, and bookstore sales. Authors published by Biblioasis regularly make news across North America: several have either won or been shortlisted for major awards; more have been featured and reviewed in the New York Times Book Review, Wall Street Journal, Globe & Mail, Toronto Star, Washington Post, Maclean’s, and other outlets. Volunteering here offers an opportunity to gain experience at one of Canada’s most prestigious independent presses. Students interested in the publishing industry are strongly encouraged to apply.


  • Assisting with author event coordination, including travel arrangements.
  • Bibliodata and stock level monitoring.
  • Logging reviews, press, and other media hits.
  • Updating and maintaining the press website.
  • Assisting with local, national, and international market research.
  • Assisting with catalog and advanced review copy mailings.
  • Assisting with miscellaneous administrative tasks.


  • Excellent attention to detail.
  • Ability to work independently on a range of short-, medium- and long-term tasks with minimal supervision.
  • Good verbal and written communications skills.
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office, Excel, and PowerPoint.
  • Proficiency with social media.

What We Can Offer:

  • Travel and lunch stipend.
  • Employee discount on all books in the bookstore.

What We’d Ask of You:

  • A commitment of at least four hours each week.

Access to a car is preferred but not required.

To apply for the position, please email your cover letter and resume to Deadline: December 11, 2015.


It’s been quite a week here at Biblioasis! From the ritzy Giller Prize gala (which we’ve confirmed had top notch snacks!) to the release of hockey historian Bob Duff’s latest take on the Red Wings, we’ve been busy. Here’s a roundup of this week’s highlights:

Quill & Quire‘s best books of the year.


The editors at Quill & Quire, a magazine devoted to the best of Canadian literature, filled a full third of their “Best books of the year” section with our authors! Anakana Shofield (Martin John), Samuel Archibald (Arvida), Russell Smith (Confidence), and Kevin Hardcastle (Debris) all made the cut. Congratulations to all those named on the list! They also included Debris as having one of the four best covers of the year. On top of that, David Constantine’s breathtaking In Another Country: Selected Stories was named among Kirkus Reviews’ Best Story Collections! What an honour.

Bob Duff’s latest—dare we say greatest?—50 Greatest Red Wings!


Bob Duff’s 50 Greatest Red Wings hit stores this week! The Windsor Star’s seasoned sportswriter and hockey historian’s latest book for Biblioasis is an entertaining and exceptionally well-researched book that’s as likely to start conversations as arguments among hockey fanatics.


Brian Bethune, Maclean’s brilliant book editor, gave Marius Kociejowski’s new book of travel essays, Zoroaster’s Children, a rave review. Bethune puts his finger on the reason Marius’ books are beloved at the press and why we have a hard time labeling these continent-spanning essays as ‘travel writing’: “Kociejowski’s travels consist of encountering people, not places, and, in this kind of travel writing, he may well be peerless.”

Biblioasis publisher Dan Wells and The Windsor Star‘s Craig Pearson are co-authors of this fascinating look into Windsor’s history.


Last Friday afternoon, at a ceremony in the Windsor Star News Cafe, our author Craig Pearson and publisher/co-author Dan Wells received the very first Kulisek Prize for the best-selling book From the Vault. The Kulisek Prize was named after — and presented by — Dr. Larry Kulisek, a long-standing and greatly esteemed professor of history at the University of Windsor. Work on the next volume of From the Vault is currently underway! Expect it out next fall.


Biblioasis invited friends, family, media and the community at large to O’Maggio’s Kildare House in Walkerville the night of Nov. 10, to watch the 2015 Giller Prize announcement unfold live on CBC. Regardless of the outcome, we were thrilled to be there with our friends and supporters. The community filled the top floor of the Kildare House and then some—thank you, all!

BETWEEN THE KERNELS: Biblioasis goes to the movies

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of posts from Biblioasis Press volunteers. Norman Nehmetallah, the present author, was raised here in Windsor, Ontario. He recently graduated with honours in English Literature from Mount Allison University, one of Canada’s most prestigious liberal arts universities, and studied at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee as a 2014 Fulbright Canada Killam Fellow. He assists with social media, marketing, and publicity.

by Norman Nehmetallah

From Gone with the Wind to Harry Potter, books and movies have long had an inconsistent relationship. While some of the most notable, highest-grossing, and/or critically acclaimed films of the last century have been adapted from novels, plays, and short stories, every time a feature film adaptation of a book is announced, a familiar chorus sounds: “They’re going to ruin the book!” While those who shun page-to-screen adaptations sometimes have a point (we’re still wishing we spent the $10 for that Gatsby ticket on a sandwich), this week we won’t pander to the naysayers of literary film. As the 11th Windsor International Film Festival draws nearer, Biblioasis is going to the movies. Here’s a look at the literary-minded and/or adapted films we’re most excited to catch at WIFF:

45 Years (2015)—directed by Andrew Haigh, based on David Constantine’s short story “In Another Country”

So what if one of the most highly regarded films appearing at this year’s festival is based on a quietly stunning story by our own David Constantine? Director Andrew Haigh worked Constantine’s “In Another Country,” the crown jewel of his eponymous short story collection, which The Independent called “rich and allusive and unashamedly moving,” into a feature that cleaned up at the Berlin International Film Festival. The film revolves around the marital tension that emerges between Kate and Geoff Mercer when Geoff learns that the body of his old girlfriend has been discovered, perfectly preserved in the Swiss Alps where she fell on their hiking trip fifty years earlier. You can catch this film Friday, November 6th at 5:45pm, or at a 9am matinee the next morning, November 7th. The Friday night screening features a post-film discussion between Biblioasis publisher Dan Wells and WIFF executive director Vincent Georgie. Tickets are selling briskly, so buy yours now. You can also RSVP here. Signed, first edition copies of the book will be available for purchase.


The 50 Year Argument (2014)—directed by Martin Scorsese & David Tedeschi

Film giant Martin Scorsese and his former editor David Tedeschi (Shine a Light) offer this documentary about the history and influence of The New York Review of Books, created during the fortnightly publication’s fiftieth anniversary. This hyper-literary documentary is only being screened on Thursday, November 5th, at 9:10am, so like a recently delivered copy of The New York Review of Books, it’s probably best enjoyed with a coffee.

The Lady in the Van (2015)—directed by Nicholas Hytner, adapted from Alan Bennett’s based-on-fact play

The Lady in the Van tells the “mostly true” story of a friendship between British playwright, screenwriter, actor, and author Alan Bennett and Mary Shepherd, the homeless woman who parked her van/home in his driveway for fifteen years—fourteen years and nine months longer than Bennett had anticipated. The inexhaustibly excellent Maggie Smith plays Mary Shepherd. As if the authorial subject doesn’t render this film literary enough, Nicholas Hytner, Bennett’s frequent collaborator and a director of opera, film, and theatre, directs the picture. The film plays thrice over the course of the festival (November 3rd at 3:35pm, November 5th at 5:50pm, and November 8th at 1:30pm), so there’s no excuse to miss it.

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Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015)—directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, based on the novel by Jesse Andrews

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, based on Andrews’ debut young adult novel of the same name, is about “growing up, facing death, making and losing friends and other rites of passage, but it’s also, and more immediately, about drifting, hanging out, wasting time and succumbing to confusion.” Although the story of a relationship between a teen and his cancer-stricken peer sounds very similar to John Green’s wildly popular The Fault in Our Stars, published in the same year, this film isn’t a knock-off: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl took home both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, where it premiered. You can catch Gomez-Rejon’s film on Wednesday, November 4th at 11:25am. It might be worth skipping class to see.

Elephant Song (2014)—directed by Charles Binamé, adapted from the stage play by Nicolas Billon

With a setting reminiscent of another well-known book/film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Elephant Song takes place in a 1960s psychiatric institution. The film centres on a tense interview between psychiatrist and patient concerning the whereabouts of Dr. Lawrence, a missing psychiatrist. Elephant Song won playwright Nicolas Billon, winner of the 2013 Governor General’s Award for Drama for Fault Lines, the Canadian Screen Award for “Best Adapted Screenplay.” Catch Elephant Song at 9:10am on Wednesday, November 4th, and at 5:40pm on Saturday, November 7th.

A Gay Girl in Damascus: The Amina Profile (2015)—directed by Sophie Derapse

Another standout of this year’s documentary heavy schedule, A Gay Girl in Damascus draws from the smaller screen, instead of the page, for its controversial subject matter. Deraspe examines the relationship between Montrealer Sandra Bagaria and the Syrian-American blogger behind A Gay Girl in Damascus, Amina Abdallah Arraf al Omari, whose existence was revealed to be a fiction perpetrated by a man named Tom MacMaster. Ken Jaworowski, writing for The New York Times, said “even knowing the secret of A Gay Girl in Damascus doesn’t make this documentary any less tense. That’s a testament to Sophie Deraspe, a director who understands how to let a plot unfold.” A Gay Girl in Damascus is being screened on Wednesday, November 4th, at 3:35pm and Thursday, November 5th, at 8pm.

Al Purdy Was Here (2015)—directed by Brian D. Johnson

Johnson’s documentary tells the story of Al Purdy, one of Canadian poetry’s most gruff and enduring voices, and the effort of artists and patrons to restore the Robin Lake cabin he shared with his wife and fashion it into a writer’s retreat. Al Purdy Was Here is playing at 1:15pm on Sunday, November 8th.

Dark Places (2015)—directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner, adapted from Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places

While critics were generally unimpressed with Paquet-Brenner’s Dark Places, we’ll see this film on the strength of last year’s Oscar-nominated Gone Girl, which David Fincher adapted from Flynn’s novel of the same name. Dark Places, like Gone Girl, is a murder mystery set in the navel of the United States, where Midwest, Southern, and Western identities converge and muddy. Dark Places is being screened on Tuesday, November 3rd, at 10:25pm and again on Friday, November 6th, at 9:55pm.

If these selections aren’t enough for you, Miss Julie, Suite Française, and Testament of Youth are also based on literary works. Further descriptions, ticket information, and a full schedule of films can be found here. See you at the movies.

Fiction Friday: Kevin Hardcastle’s “Bandits,” from his just-released collection Debris

As part of a new series, every Friday we’ll be linking here to a Biblioasis author’s short fiction, as it is found on the web. To celebrate the launch of his fabulous debut Debris, this evening’s offering is Kevin Hardcastle’s Bandits. Originally published in The Puritan in Spring 2013, it can be found in his new collection Debris.

The day I turned eighteen we drank a keg of beer between the five of us and let out over the frozen bay in our sleds. Pa on the lead machine with a pump shotgun strapped to the seat, the barrel fitted with a full-choke. His two younger brothers trailing, whooping and swerving wild on the ice over six inches of snow that fell since early evening. My cousin Ronnie coasted wide on his older sled. He had turned twenty-one in the Hillcrest pen. Ronnie was twenty-five now and he was like my brother. Even more so because Pa would thump him silly on the front lawn when he mouthed off or otherwise goaded the big man enough to warrant some violence.

There was a storm coming from the north and you could see the black clouds rolling even against the lesser black of the moonlit sky. Thunder from the heavens and did it ever fucking boom. Next came bolts of white-blue lightning. Smell of electric all over. The snow came down heavy. It looked to me like the end of the world. We passed between two fishing huts and crossed to the other side of the bay, close to the big houses and cottages planted there. Most of them were empty for the season. They were summer homes for people from the city or second houses for the richest in town. Pa throttled down and so did we all. Crept up rumbling aside a fine cedarwood house with great bay windows, boathouse half as big as our actual house.

For the rest of the story, please go here.

Mia Couto Roundup

There has been a fair bit of coverage for Biblioasis translation series author Mia Couto this week. First, over at the wonderful online magazine Ozy, Tobias Carroll profiles the Mozambican novelist.

Couto is an inventive writer with a habit of rebelliously creating his own syntaxes, blending Portuguese with a “rural African, animist outlook” (as his publisher says) and conjuring up magical realist frameworks — often to explain the political upheaval his country has lived through. And of course Couto himself lived through those times: A journalist during the wartime era, he paused med school to agitate for independence — as a propagandist for the rebels and a journalist editing the party newspaper. It was 1985, in the heat of the 15-year civil war, when Couto’s first book of poems was published. As the revolution advanced, he recalls, it “became something else,” and he lost his belief, he recounts matter-of-factly.

For the complete profile, please go here.

Two reviews of Biblioasis’s latest Couto title, Pensativities: Selected Essays, have also hit this week. Over at Numero Cinq, Benjamin Woodward has, in part, this to say:

Expertly translated from the Portuguese by David Brookshaw, these writings span roughly a decade of Couto’s nonfiction work, and are plucked from three previously published books: Pensatempos: Textos de opinião, E se Obama fosse africano? e outras interinvenções, and Pensagerio frequente. If there is an overarching drive that threads the collection together, it’s Couto’s commitment to recognize history’s numerous flaws, and to use this history to embrace a diverse future, full of “hybridities” of both self and cultural environs.

Over at Words Without Borders, Kristine Rabberman concurs:

Couto’s life and his oeuvre speak to the power of a widened understanding of the world, one that revels in connections between modes of thought and states of being, one that illustrates the power of a life lived across boundaries. He’s a biologist and conservationist who publishes widely across genres, including journalism and lectures, children’s literature and short stories, award-winning novels and scientific reports. Since winning the 2014 Neustadt Prize and being named a finalist for the 2015 Man Booker International Prize, Couto’s international exposure has aided his goal to build bridges between communities through literature. For English-speaking readers new to Couto’s work, 2015 provides new opportunities to explore his vision of a multicultural world, most recently in Biblioasis’ recent publication of Pensativities: Essays and Provocations, translated from the Portuguese by David Brookshaw, Couto’s longtime translator.

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