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“a brand new world” – Email from an author

What a start to the new year! Inquiries from a curious author, published with permission and with no compensation:

Hello Monika,

Here’s to a spanking brand-new to you. And a city sparkling with snow.

I write happily to report that I will be in Edmonton on April 17 with a new poetry book, departures, and I’m  thinking how good it would be to drop by the Press offices and make a supreme nuisance of myself. Those folks at UofA Press, they’ve had an entirely too serene time of it, I tell myself, and I have resolved first chance I get to improve their lamentable state.

Also to ask . . . oh yes, she says to herself, says Monika Igali, it was too much to suppose Cooley would be satisfied being a simple bother . . . there’s something. Monika Igali braces for what’s coming. She knows what’s coming. She knows he will ask does she know when The Home Place will be out. No, says Monika Igali, I don’t know when it will be out. I told you last time: there’s lots to do yet. It will be out when it’s out. I know you are going to Trier and you are giddy about taking the book with you. And we will gladly send it with you if it’s out by then. In the meantime . . . quit harassing us.

9781772121193Ok, says Cooley. That’s what he thought. He didn’t want to cause any consternation, he was merely prompted by the thoughts of Trier. The thoughts of beer and sausage addled him and he lost all sense of proportion and propriety.

Chagrined, he clings to a small hope. He measures his chances of a friendly greeting in April.

Hope you and the year are humming with satisfaction.


Thank you for this, Dennis! We are looking forward to seeing you during the Edmonton Poetry Festival, especially at the Literary Cocktails on April 20 at the Faculty Club. No promises, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had your book hot off the press by then?


“Apartheid in Palestine” Launch

Apartheid in Palestine had a special launch on January 28, 2016 in Edmonton. It brought together many groups to converse about occupation, displacement, colonization, and apartheid.Book Cover

The volume editor, Ghada Ageel, gave a passionate and informative talk, drawing on her family’s three-generation experience of living in a camp in Gaza. She told the story of how the book came to be and why it was important to bring many voices to the project. She then spoke about the perspective each of the fifteen contributors brought to the book, whether Palestinian or Israeli, academic or activist.

Given the international nature of the book, it was particularly good to have three other contributors at the event: Yasmeen Abu-Laban, Samar El-Bekai, and Reem Skeik.

The reception afterwards gave everyone time to talk about the ideas Ghada Ageel put forward and to celebrate her important work. Her contribution is best summarized by a comment from Ilan Pappe, Professor of History, Director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies, University of Exeter:”This is an incisive anthology of scholars and activists that finally takes the conversation on Palestine a step further. This timely collection leaves behind stale and outdated paradigms and boldly offers a new one for looking at the past, the present of the future of the evergreen issue of Palestine. Its lucid structure, original contributions and above all the courageous guidance of its editor makes this book the most valuable contribution to the struggle for justice in Palestine.”

Our thanks to these organizations for their contributions to the event:

Political Science Department, University of Alberta
Middle East and Islamic Studies, University of Alberta
Faculty for Palestine/Alberta
Edmonton Coalition Against War and Racism
Palestine Solidarity Network
Canada Palestine Cultural Association

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Our Scholar is in residence blogging about…

…photography history at the National Gallery of Canada, and the fine art of discoverability.

In December 2015, forty specialists in photography and its history in Canada gathered for a workshop at the National Gallery of Canada. Read more…

UAlberta North and UAP Celebrate Winter Solstice

UAP and UAlberta North staff cooperated on a fine event to celebrate Winter Solstice on December 15, 2015. UAlberta North invited members of the broader community, faculty, researchers, and students to an informal gathering, and UAP joined them to present our first book acquired under the umbrella of CCI Press and published as our first Polynya Press title. Idioms of Sámi Health and Healing [Barbara Helen Miller, Editor] is the second book in the Patterns of Northern Traditional Healing Series.

There were three special speakers, Roger Epp [Director, Ualberta North], Linda Cameron [Director, University of Alberta Press], and Earle Waugh [Series Editor, Patterns of Northern Traditional Healing Series]. A running slideshow with photos and descriptions of recent research projects rounded out the program.

The venue was the NINT Building (AKA the Nano Building). Lighting was reminiscent of the northern lights and a fine spread of food and drink fostered conversation. All in all, it was a great event done with great partners. We hope to do it again next year with our next Polyna Press title.

UAlberta North’s official launch will be on February 1, 2016. Door open at 4:15 pm.

TELUS Centre, 87 Ave & 111 St
Formal Program: 4:30 pm in Room 150
Special guest, President David Turpin
Panel: “Traditional Knowledge, Research, and Public Policy in the North” 5 pm
Reception to follow at 6:30 pm at the Atrium

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Worthy of Conversation

I went home the other night wondering if I was part of a (hypothetical) wave of anti-Jewish sentiment that was sweeping the globe.

I had mentioned that the University of Alberta Press had just published a book called Apartheid in Palestine: Hard Laws and Harder Experiences. Before the conversation even got rolling however, my acquaintance told me that we would have to agree to disagree.

Normally, I’m happy to do so. By nature and nurture and by virtue of birth order, I am generally happy to stay away from controversy and strife.

Book CoverIndeed, I am not sure how I got on my high school debate team. Perhaps it was because I could not say “no” to a friend, or the hard-charging coach. Being on the debate team was great training, however. It taught me to do my research, understand the key points on each side, and engage with difficult issues, especially ones where there are no clear or easy solutions. In debate, “agreeing to disagree” does not advance our understanding of a particular problem.

My debate training made me go home thinking about how I would engage, more usefully, if the opportunity came my way again. So here are some key points about Apartheid in Palestine:

  • Two scholars, experts in their fields, deemed this volume of essays worthy of publication. (That’s a key tenet in scholarly publishing.)
  • The contributors to Apartheid in Palestine come from a variety of ethnicities, cultures, and nations—including Israeli and Palestinian.
  • The U of A Press has published all manner of voices, many of which could be deemed to lie outside the mainstream: Jewish, native, women, and poets (who can be the biggest rabble-rousers of all). As ever, our goal is engage in ideas and start conversations.

All manner of injustices are experienced in the world: here at home, in war zones, and in refugee camps. I think we should talk about all of them, and listen with empathy to points made on all sides. With passion, yes, but also with understanding and openness.

If you want to engage in conversation with us and Ghada Ageel, the Edmonton book launch for Apartheid in Palestine is on January 28, 2016 from 3:30 to 6 pm at the H.M. Tory Building, B-87. All are welcome.

Director’s Message, Spring 2016 Catalogue

You might have received a notice about our Spring 2016 catalogue, or received a printed copy. If not, you can download it from our website. Two titles from the catalogue are already on our bookshelves; look for them at your favourite independent bookstore.

Here is the Director’s Message from our newest catalogue.

Once in a while something unusual, something special happens. For the University of Alberta Press team the happening was a generous and thoughtful gift from the late Robert Kroetsch’s family. The gift consisted of books from Kroetsch_library_IMG_5696_aug15Robert’s personal library. As we contemplated the windfall we decided that some of the books would be donated to various literature-related charity events. Others would be used for promotional purposes like giveaways on the popular CKUA radio show The Road Home hosted by Bob Chelmick. And we agreed that Press team members, all of whom cared very much for Robert Kroetsch and his work, could take their pick of some of the titles as a way of remembering him. He was so special to us, and we were very grateful to publish several works from this western Canadian, Governor General’s Award–winning author.

In August we were pleased to host Peter Berkery, Executive Director of the American Association of University Presses (AAUP). It was, as far as I know, the first visit of an AAUP executive director to the University of Alberta Press. Along with colleagues from Athabasca University Press, we engaged in conversation with Peter about the role of AAUP and the future of university presses. We didn’t resolve anything so much as agree that just as the medium of dissemination has changed to embrace the digital world, so too are we required to examine our role and to keep seeking new methods and new partners in our efforts to disseminate scholarship.

The University of Alberta Press, its authors and books continue to shine. We are excited to have won the Alberta Publisher of the Year Award. Turn to page 13 to see our latest awards.

Lastly, let me welcome a new distribution partner: CIUS Press. Several publications from the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies are noted on page 12.


Linda D Cameron

Featured Reviews of “Standard candles”

“Alice Major’s 10th poetry collection, Standard candles, covers a huge distance in its slim text, racing through a dozen different poetic forms and countless cosmologies. It references everything from Greek mythology to quantum uncertainty to Henrietta Swan Leavitt, the inventor of the standard candle itself. The book is like an ultra-dense kernel containing all things—history, theology, astronomy, geometry, an infinite list. It’s the universe right before the Big Bang, titanic forces contained within a few thousand tightly packed words, almost ready to explode and race endlessly out.” Bruce Cinnamon, Vue Weekly, October 21, 2015. [Read full review.]

“In her latest poetry collection, Standard candles, Alice Major continues to draw from science as a source of metaphor to ground the big ideas floating around the universe. Like Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson, who bring scientific concepts to a public consciousness in their documentary television shows, Major takes up the poet’s essential challenge to make grand concepts accessible and relatable to the reader. The result is a collection of thoughtfully crafted suites that feel mythological or biblical in scale, yet as familiar and common as our offices or kitchens…. In reading Standard candles, there is the potential f9781772120912or a most palpable experience of having one’s mind blown. Readers will certainly find themselves putting the book down to stare out the window at the night sky and feel a sense of loneliness wrapped in communion.” Prairie Books Now, Fall/Winter 2015, Steve Locke, Prairie Books Now, December 1, 2015

“In her poetry she uses her knowledge of specialised – even arcane – fields in the same way that British playwrights Tom Stoppard and Michael Frayn have done: to provide startling and vivid analogies with the human dynamics of a complex emotional universe with which her readers will be more familiar. This is a handsomely produced and carefully organized book, divided into themed sections…. This substantial collection gives ample evidence of Major’s poetic craft and verbal dexterity…. [A] fine collection.” Michael Bartholomew-Biggs, londongrip.co.uk, January 2016 [Read full review.]

“I always look forward to reading a new book by Alice. Her genius is very well represented by your press, in my opinion” Neil Querengesser, Concordia Univesity

Standard candles was #6 and #10 on the Edmonton Journal‘s Bestsellers list in November 2015 , and #9 in January, 2016.

Hear Alice read from her collection, Standard candles.



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