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A Reception in Honour of Linda Cameron

Some time ago, University of Alberta Press Director Linda Cameron announced her plans to retire at the end of August 2017, and despite her objections to a big celebratory party, her colleagues organized a reception on May 11.

Co-workers, authors, friends and family members arrived in large numbers, and the Saskatchewan Room in the Faculty Club filled up quickly. Colourful banners of book covers stood around the room, a slideshow of photos played in the background, and copies of recent books were on display.  Jerome Martin, a fellow publisher and a dear friend of UAP, played the piano for much of the afternoon, receiving many compliments.

The program was opened by Gerald Beasley, Vice-Provost & Chief Librarian, followed by a few words from Derek Truscott, UAP Author and past-Press Committee chair. Linda wrapped up the program, using this opportunity to promote the Press once again.

Excerpts from Derek’s speech capture not just how Linda conducted business, but also touch on academic publishing:

I have had the privilege and pleasure of knowing Linda for some 15 years. I had submitted a proposal to the U of A Press for my first book and a little while later received a phone call from Linda. She had a way of explaining to me that no publisher would possibly take on a book by a new author based solely on a proposal. She offered no evasive banalities or needless cruelties. In fact, Linda was so reasonable I simply got off the phone and set about to write my manuscript.

A few years later the Press published that book, and it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship that included my being invited to be a part of the Press Committee.

Many here have worked with a variety of publishers and I feel confident that you share my appraisal of the U of A Press as unique in the publishing world. Yes, the Press consistently produces beautiful books of exceptional merit, but it does so while treating all the people involved as valued individuals. I can honestly say that I have not experienced anything like it anywhere else. And Linda is responsible.

Now Linda is quick to attribute the success of the Press to the exceptional staff and authors with whom she works. And I know she means it. And I know it’s true. After all…I’m an author who works with her. However, I also know that the most robust indicator of the quality of a person is the quality of the people who gather around them.

So Linda, I might invite you to consider taking a moment to think about the people who are here today—and those who are unable to be here—and perhaps just bask a bit in what that says about you.

Now, how someone—even someone as capable as Linda—is able to direct an academic publisher so successfully for so many years is a mystery. I have come to be fascinated with endeavours that flourish over the long term—athletes, artists, programs, businesses. We have all witnessed the collapse of worthwhile undertakings due to any number of negative influences or events. And when they do their fragility is so evident, their fundamentally ephemeral nature revealed.

This is what makes Linda’s accomplishments even that much more remarkable. She has nurtured good ideas and kept them alive for a quarter of a century. This is as praiseworthy as it is exceptional. How has she done it?

And now we have the chance to ask Linda­, “Why us? Why has the U of A Press thrived under your directorship?”

And I imagine Linda pausing, making sure she has our attention, and saying, “Children, there are only three simple rules to academic publishing.” We all lean in expectantly. “Unfortunately, no one has the slightest idea what they are.”

Linda, you have made a difference that will be remembered for a very long time.

– Derek Truscott

Thank you to the organizers, especially Cathie Crooks and Diane Schaub who worked on this event behind the scenes. And thank you all for coming and making this event a memorable one!

If you are in the neighbourhood of Ring House 2, please stop by and sign “The Book” for Linda, which includes the covers of all the books that UAP published under her leadership.

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2017 International Book Fair in Havana, Cuba

Back in February, I had a chance to attend the 26th International Book Fair in Havana. A last minute opportunity presented itself and I was able to spend a few hours at the historic San Carlos de la Cabana Fortress.

This year’s guest country of honour was Canada with two exhibition rooms: one to display books and feature authors, and another one to hold events and show images from the Canada-Cuba Co-operation of the last 70 years. There was a line up at the Canadian book display space with a guard to make sure that there weren’t too many people in at the same time. There were line-ups at various tents that sold books. There were food fairs, markets selling crafts, and even ‘amusement parks’ for children to play.

I have never been to an international book fair and was taken aback by how busy this one was. My only experience has been with expos at Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, and they did not prepare me for the amount of people lining up to get into this fair. A long line of people marching non-stop to get in! It was such an inspiring experience to see many people attending, most of them young. Having our books displayed to a different culture was wonderful to see.

36 countries, 162 authors, 86 foreign exhibitors, plus 58 publishers and hundreds of authors from Cuba participated in the 10-day-long fair that began with a tour of the country on February 19 and ended on April 16 in the province of Santiago de Cuba.

A real celebration of reading!

 

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The Writing Stick: Sharing Indigenous Stories

By Tanya Ball

With less than a month before the Writing Stick Conference, we are excited to announce that our programming is in place and over 100 people have registered already.

As mentioned on our website, we have three days of programming lined up including keynote speakers, film shorts, panel sessions, food, and much more!

Our keynote speakers are one of the many highlights of the conference:

  • Marie Wilson
  • Armand Garnet Ruffo
  • Richard Van Camp
  • Patti LaBoucane-Benson

The Writing Stick would like to formally announce our Elder in Residence, Elder Wilson Bearhead from the Paul First Nation. He will be available throughout the conference to provide learning opportunities for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants. Elders from Treaty 7 and Treaty 8 Territories will also be present to perform opening and closing prayers. We will commence the conference with a Sunrise Pipe Ceremony at the University of Alberta.

For more information on these speakers and other sessions, please visit our website. With such an amazing 3 days programming planned, there’s no reason not to register!

We hope to see you there!

Featured Reviews of “One Child Reading”

“The habit of reading is most frequently acquired in childhood: it is as children that we first acquire our love of losing ourselves in other worlds and other lives, and our imaginative capacity to respond emotionally to the abstract symbols that make up a text-based narrative. .. [In Margaret Mackey’s] new volume, she turns inward to recall her own formative experiences as a child reader growing up in Newfoundland during the 1950s and ’60s.” Quill & Quire


“One Child Reading, in which a professor becomes a geographer of her own literacy, is hyper-local, yet there’s something about the way Margaret Mackey describes the forces that affected her early reading as a white, middle-class girl in 1950s and 60s St. John’s that will speak to readers across identity lines…. [T]his book marks an expert in her field bringing a career’s worth of knowledge to material she knows best. A thorough and lucid examination of the self, aided by prolific illustrations and great page design. Jade Colbert, The Globe and Mail


“One Child Reading [is] the remarkable Margaret Mackey’s exhaustive but far from exhausting study of the development of literacy.” Peter Hunt, Archive Child blog [Full blog post at http://bit.ly/2aecVwx]


“I know that One Child Reading is meant to be more than just a walk down memory lane, and it is much more than that, most certainly. And yet, while I know that scholarship and literacy will be richer for the extensive and careful research represented here, I still want to thank Ms. Mackey for taking me on that walk. It was a pure pleasure. I will recommend this book highly, and not just for library collections, but for any child of the fifties who loves books and reading.” Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER


The introduction at the Edmonton launch read like a review, too.

Awards and Bestsellers!

This Spring has been very good to the University of Alberta Press and to our authors. The expected warm weather with sunshine and green grass did not arrive, but the news of winning and shortlisted book and of bestsellers sure made us smile!

100 Days [Juliane Okot Bitek] won not just one, but two design awards in the AAUP Book, Jacket, and Journal Show in the Poetry and in the Jackets & Covers category. Book and cover design by Alan Brownoff. It is also on the shortlist for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize along with Sleeping in Tall Grass by Richard Therrien.

100 Days [Juliane Okot Bitek] is also on the Pat Lowther Memorial Award shortlist.

Ten Canadian Writers in Context [Marie Carrière, Curtis Gillespie and Jason Purcell, Editors] is a Silver medal winner of the Independent Publisher Awards‘s Anthology category.

Three UAP books made it to the Finalist lists of the INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards. Farm Workers in Western Canada [Shirley A. McDonald and Bob Barnetson, Editors] in the Political Science category, 100 Days [Juliane Okot Bitek] in the Poetry category, and Crow Never Dies [Larry Frolick] in the Adventure & Recreation category.

Rising Abruptly [Gisèle Villeneuve] is shortlisted for the Writers’s Guild of Alberta‘s Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction, and one of her short stories is on the Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story shortlist. Rising Abruptly is also on the longlist of the Edmonton Public Library’s Alberta Readers’ Choice Award.

We had many books on the Edmonton’s Bestsellers list this Spring. In March, our books topped both the Fiction – Nuala [Kimmy Beach] and the Non-Fiction – The Burgess Shale [Margaret Atwood] lists.

On April 02, Believing is not the same as Being Saved [Lisa Martin] was # 1 on Edmonton Fiction Bestsellers list, and next week Nuala [Kimmy Beach] was# 2 on Saskatoon Fiction Bestsellers list.

We are closing April with having 5 of our books that were featured at Literary Cocktails, on the Edmonton Fiction Bestsellers list:

#3 Little Wildheart [Micheline Maylor
#4 Believing is not the same as Being Saved [Lisa Martin]
#5 Rising Abruptly [Gisèle Villeneuve]
#7 Nuala [Kimmy Beach]
#8 Listen. If [Douglas Barbour]

Literary Cocktails 2017

The University of Alberta Press celebrated another successful Literary Cocktails as part of the Edmonton Poetry Festival. Our director, Linda Cameron, emceed the event that featured five superb readers. An audience of more than 80 enjoyed readings from Rising Abruptly [Gisèle Villeneuve], Listen. If [Douglas Barbour], Little Wildheart [Micheline Maylor], Believing is not the same as Being Saved [Lisa Martin], and Nuala [Kimmy Beach], all part of the Robert Kroetsch Series.

We’d like to thank:

  • the Poetry Festival for providing the sound system
  • Audreys for selling books
  • Jerome Martin for playing the piano
  • the Faculty Club for the wonderful food and venue
  • and to all of those who attended, making this event what it is!

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Hope to see all of you again next year!

 

 

 

Bookstore Switcheroo!

In the middle of February we got word from the University of Alberta Bookstore that we would have to vacate the corner they had made available to us for several years, due to changes planned for the Student Union Building, where the bookstore resides.

We used the borrowed space for storing our books for easy access. Easy, at least, compared to the huge SMS warehouse where most of our Edmonton stock is kept… (Thank you, bookstore colleagues, for the loan of the space and lending us pallets for the move!)

After brainstorming and looking into a few options, the decision was made that we would move the aforementioned books—well, at least half of them—into Ring House 2. Basia offered space in her office: “I’d love to be surrounded by books!” (Thank you Basia!)

Cathie Crooks and I checked the inventory and labelled books according to their destination: Ring House 2, SMS warehouse, or University of Toronto Distribution. Then came the overwhelming task of packing it all up, which fell to our student shipper-receiver, Marek Buchanan. (Thank you, Marek!) Our friends at SMS made quick work of receiving the extra stock. (Thank you, Nick and Kelly.)

We were hoping to use some of the shelves from the bookstore, but as soon as they were empty, it became obvious that they were only able to contain the masses of books because they were bolted to the walls. So the hunt for proper shelves began! Darryl Hopkins of Library Facilities came to the rescue! But it wasn’t as easy as that for Darryl. He had to unload everything already stored on them, dismantle them, have the carpenters do a rush job to square up the wooden shelves, arrange to get them over to Ring House 2, and put them up. Whew, it’s tiring just to write all that down. (Thank you, Darryl!)

But now it’s all sorted out! Books are lined up on the L-shaped shelves in Basia’s office and the rest was safely shipped to warehouses on and off campus. The photos below will give you a pretty good idea of what was involved in the “bookstore switcheroo”.

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