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US Colleague Comments on Events of October 22, 2014

To my friends and colleagues in Edmonton,

Yesterday we all watched in shock and disbelief as a Canadian soldier in the honour guard at the War Memorial in Ottawa was murdered and the assassin himself was killed in a gun battle inside Parliament. Among the thoughts racing through my head during the hours that followed were ones about all of you there in Ring House 2 busily working away doing all sorts of things related to scholarly publishing. As the afternoon ground on, and as reports trickled in on Twitter, Facebook, and on various websites, I kept coming back to those “things related to scholarly publishing.” It struck me that if UAP and other scholarly presses don’t continue to carry on with the dissemination of scholarship and research, ideas and ill-founded beliefs, such as those that inspired yesterday’s acts, will spread ever more rapidly.

To be sure, vigilance, preparedness, and all of those policing and military things are important in this wacky post-Cold War, post-modern, post-Vietnam, post-World War II, information besotted twenty-first century. But the publishing of good books grounded in reason, logic, and sound scholarship is equally crucial to our future.

My thoughts are with all of you and all of Canada as you mull over “what will happen next.” Whatever that is, don’t give up being a great publishing house and don’t stop being Canadians! I’m pretty certain that none of you need this advice from someone south of 49, but I just wanted you to know I was thinking of you and that I do care about what happens.

Fredric C. Bohm, Acquiring Editor
University of Alberta Press

Poetry Reading Season

A Notice to Poets:

The Robert Kroetsch Series of Canadian creative writing has gained significant recognition locally and internationally since its inception and, as a result, the number of poetry submissions to the University of Alberta Press has increased dramatically. In order to manage the acquisition and publication of poetry more effectively, beginning in September 2014 the Press will be instituting a Reading Season for poetry.

The Press remains committed to publishing innovative poetry by Canadian authors. We believe instituting a Reading Season will prove more satisfactory for authors and the Press.

The submission period for manuscripts will be between September and November of each year. At the end of the Reading Season, the manuscripts will be evaluated by an independent committee and up to three will be selected for publication.

Questions? Please contact Peter Midgley at (780) 492-7714 or pmidgley@ualberta.ca.


Rudy Wiebe at LitFest

Cathie and I have just spent a wonderful hour at LitFest’s CBC Centre Stage. Three emerging writers, who have been published in the award-winning Glass Buffalo Magazine, each read a short excerpt from Rudy Wiebe’s new book, Come Back (Alfred A. Knopf), read a piece of their own writing, and then discussed how it was connected in tone or inspiration to his book.

Deborah Ramkhelawan, Nicole Harrish, and Karla Comanda all graduated from the University of Alberta, as did Rudy Wiebe, who also taught creative writing there for many years. And so did Matthew Stephanic, host and editor of Glass Buffalo.

After the emotionally-charged readings, Rudy Wiebe took to the stage and talked about the writing process and how it took him almost 30 years to write about the tragic topic of suicide, the loss of a son.

He spoke about how we remember and how we use those memories and emotions in our writing. For instance, in Come Back, he uses a memory that “walks past the coffee shop and explodes in his character’s head.” He challenged the character to track that memory back, further and further, to create what happened and why.

You can hear Rudy Wiebe, who just celebrated his 80th birthday, on Tuesday, October 21 at the Milner Library Theatre. He’ll be appearing with Myrna Kostash, Aritha van Herk, and Thomas Warton.

Climber’s Paradise Launches with Great Success

The book launch for Climber’s Paradise: Making Canada’s Mountain Parks, 1906-1974 on October 8 brought over 70 people out to the U of A’s Education building to celebrate over 10 years of research by Dr. PearlAnn Reichwein.

PearlAnn’s reading and presentation with slides started off the evening. The two panelists, Dr. Julie Rak (English & Film Studies) and Dr. Naomi Krogman (Resource Economics & Environmental Sociology) gave superb responses to PearlAnn’s work. It was so interesting to see where the speakers led us as they discussed citizenship, sustainability, and public space. The Q&A was informed and lively; people were engaged and eager to converse about the ideas that emerged.

Dr. Lynette Shultz, Co-Director of the Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Research, was our MC. She commented that it is powerful “to come together across disciplines and sectors to discuss the issues that matter to us.”

Our thanks to the team that put this event together, especially the Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Research. Our particular thanks to Julie and Naomi for their comments on the “book as artifact.” The whole UAP team worked hard to make a contribution to the remarkable manuscript that PearlAnn brought to us.


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Congress 2014

Four months have gone by since UAP staff (Colleen Skidmore, Peter Midgley, and Monika Igali) came back from Congress 2014, and we are already thinking about Congress 2015, but why not go down memory lane for a few minutes to recall some of the highlights of the last week of May at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario?

Colleen Skidmore attended Congress “in part and as usual, as a member of the Canadian Historical Association, but also in another role as Scholar-in-Residence with the University of Alberta Press, which was a new and exceptional experience.”

Peter Midgley, as always, was busy with attending sessions and scouting out new manuscripts, meeting with UAP authors and colleagues of other presses present at the book fair, which this year was also the venue for the President’s reception. Authors stopped by at the UAP booth, where we displayed our newly acquired CCI Press books. Among those books, Geo Takach, UAP author, discovered one that was designed by his wife, Bonnie Sadler Takach.

The highlight for the University of Alberta Press was Sanctioned Ignorance [Paul Martin] winning the 2013 Gabrielle Roy Prize. ACQL/ALCQ presented the award at a special gala during Congress.

These pictures captured some of the excitement of Congress 2014, and showcase the beauty of the Brock University campus.

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The University of Alberta Celebrates Translation

St. Jerome’s Day (September 30) is also known as International Translation Day. The University of Alberta has been celebrating translation since 2003, led by Dr. Anne Malena, translator and professor of translation and Francophone Studies in the department of Modern Languages & Cultural Studies, and Dr. Valerie Henitiuk, then a doctoral student in Comparative Literature.

The festivities started with Translation Readings yesterday at the Stanley Milner Library with an impressive line up representing many languages. Special guest, Yukari Meldrum, read from Will not forget both laughter and tears in Japanese and in English, followed by UAP editor, Peter Midgley, whose poetry is multi-lingual: English, Afrikaans, isiXhosa, Khoekhoegoqab, French, Spanish, German, Cree, and Latin.

Other readers were: Tom Priestly, Odile Cisneros, Ann De Leon, Stefano Muneroni, Peter Hála, Julie Tariff, C(h)ristian Reyns Chikuma, Roman Ivashkiv, Wioletta Polanski and Anton Iorga. 

The celebration continues today with the 12th Annual St. Jerome’s Day Conference, an all day program, Women in Translation at the Convocation Hall.

Thank you, merci, arigato, danke, köszönöm, gracia, спасибо, dankie, enkosi, kai-aios, miigwetch, gratias tibi!

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“small things left behind” Launched with Great Success

What a fantastic launch party at the Artery last night. Some 65 people came out to celebrate Ella’s achievement, and take in a heartfelt and deeply satisfying program.

  • Pierrette Requier was a warm and engaging MC.
  • Peter Midgley spoke about the connections between Ella’s poetry and the work of poets from Russia and Soweto.
  • Ella held the crowd spellbound through her reading, accompanied at times by a haunting piano track.
  • Alice Major gave a toast at the end, some of which is reproduced here:

Poetry is a way of managing memory – one of the most important ways of doing so across time and across the generations. Through poetry, we become our own recording angels. And, because of the wonder of human communication, when we open our private books of memory, we open a page of the great, shared book.

That is what Ella has done – although Soviet Russia seems so strange, so foreign to me, though I do not know the taste of mors or linden honey, I recognize the emotions she has called up and recorded.

Our thanks to Ella for creating such a special evening, and kudos to all who helped make the event so successful.


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