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Featured Reviews of “Trudeau’s Tango”

“…Darryl Raymaker, has recently written an excellent book about Alberta and the Trudeaus, called Trudeau’s Tango. In his compendious book, Raymaker reminds everyone that the Trudeau name has always been controversial in Alberta—but respected, too. The Trudeau name gave ‘Alberta Liberals hope,’ Raymaker writes. The father, then—like the son, now—’was a man for his time—new, youthful, superbly confident, tough and equally articulate in both official languages.’ What made Pierre Trudeau appealing in Alberta in his era makes the son just as appealing in his.” Warren Kinsella, HuffPost

“After he sold his Calgary practice, Darryl Raymaker—lawyer, corporate director, political junkie, folk music aficionado and raconteur—embarked on a lifetime labour of love: a book about the wayward course of the Liberal Party in Alberta and its love-hate relationship with Pierre Elliott Trudeau during the prime minister’s first mandate (1968 to 1972) Trudeau’s Tango is the ably written result. [H]is book recalls a tumultuous political era with wry humour and a touch of anger.” Frank Dabbs, Alberta Views

A wonderful read that highlighted a little known side of Alberta’s political history. It is written like you are in conversation with the author, and the photos included were delightful. Highly recommend! K N Morrison, Top Customer Review on Amazon


Books. Inordinately valuable.

The staff of the University of Alberta Press had a treat on Monday: a visit to the Bruce Peel Special Collections!

Linda Quirk, Assistant Special Collections Librarian, and Kevin Zak, Exhibitions & Collections Assistant, spent an hour showing us a range of treasures and telling us about the general operations of the Bruce Peel Special Collections that houses and archives rare books on campus. No food and drink are allowed inside the locked doors, but we didn’t need white gloves either—just a thorough hand-washing was enough to allow us to touch some books Linda pulled out of the massive collection.

Among the treasures we saw were:

  • a 4000-year old clay cuneiform tablet
  • a book written in Tamil, inscribed on palm leaves—apparently rare copies of these can still be found in little markets in the Caribbean if you are lucky
  • a triple-decker first edition of Pride and Prejudice by “the author of Sense and Sensibility”
  • one of the 15 copies of Margaret Atwood and Charles Pachter’s Speeches for Doctor Frankenstein
  • an atlas from 1587 that had the first-ever map of North America, in full colour

But the most well-known book we viewed—and a lot more valuable than the above mentioned items—was a book by Johannes Tinctor, known as Invectives Against the Sect of Waldensians, from 1465. This “foul treatise” is the first known book that deals with how to identify and persecute witches. Its three sister manuscripts are held in Paris, Brussels, and Oxford. No wonder that it has garnered much media attention.

There are countless treasures and fascinating stories to go with them at the Bruce Peel Special Collections. Check out their website for more information and to browse their digital exhibitions. Be sure to mark your calendar for future exhibits, which continue to become ever more extensive and interactive. We promise you will be fascinated!


Farm Workers’ Day and Book Launch in Calgary

Co-Editor Shirley A. McDonald and contributor Jennifer Koshan, along with MLA Dr. David Swann, organized an event to honour the many faceless/invisible/unrecognized workers whose labour puts food on our tables. A celebration of Farm Workers’ Day and the launching of Farm Workers in Western Canada: Injustices and Activism in Calgary on August 21 exceeded their expectations.

Even before the scheduled start time, guests arrived and formed conversation groups for high level discussion of the issues. Several MLAs and a representative from the Premier’s office were present. There were representatives from the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB). There were journalists, including Naomi Lakritz who wrote an informative article on the knowledge she gained from listening to the speakers. A reporter from CBC interviewed guests and filmed the event.

MLA Michael Connolly spoke about the challenges of getting Bill 6 through the legislative process. He remarked that at one point, with loud voices speaking against Bill 6, he wondered if he were doing the right thing in pushing the bill. Then, he looked up into the gallery and saw activists Eric Musekamp and Darlene Dunlop sitting in anticipation of the passing of Bill 6 and knew he was doing the right—and honourable—thing.

New Liberal leader David Khan spoke and assured that he would continue to put the full support of the Liberal party behind Bills 6 and 17 and ensure that Alberta farm workers would continue to benefit from the protections of WCB and OHS. Doug Taylor spoke passionately about his experiences as an advocate for farm safety. His stories are embedded in Naomi Lakritz’s article, where you can read about pigs that got better treatment than workers.

Darlene Dunlop and Eric Musekamp spoke. As always, they were articulate and moving. Anelyse Weiler reported on a recent incident at a farm where a temporary foreign worker died from smoke from the fires in the region (border of Washington).

Shirley McDonald and Jennifer Koshan have already arranged to hold Farm Workers’ Day next year, once again in the Faculty of Law lounge at the University of Calgary. The event will continue to promote this important volume and promote further high level discussions of the issues.

Be sure to read the Vancouver Sun review of Farm Workers in Western Canada and this article in the Work of Arts blog (University of Alberta). The University of Alberta Press has also created a book trailer featuring the struggles of farm workers and the book. There were two other book launches in Edmonton and Kelowna.


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Featured Reviews of “Sleeping in Tall Grass”

Sleeping in Tall Grass is an outstanding first poetry collection…. In the opening long poem, ‘Nowhere in Sight,’ Therrien uses the physical experience of walking across the prairie as a metaphor for poetry while a walking rhythm sparks spiritual insight…. Sleeping in Tall Grass is a wise book, erudite and philosophical at times but foremost a spiritual and redemptive work.” [Full review] Volume 15, Issue 1, Gillian Harding-Russell, The Goose, Volume 15, Issue 1

“It’s a complex and multi-layered book, offering poems that are rooted in the prairie landscape, featuring a multitude of voices that speak to the familial, the historical, the philosophical and the mystical. Many of the poems are dark, weighted and at times exquisitely painful…. The personal stories he deconstructs show how the speaker submits, turns back to the land that begat him, until he sleeps in tall grass, until readers hear in ‘Envoy,’ the final poem, ‘a voice singing of its own forgetting.'” Anne Sorbie, Alberta Views

Short-listed for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and the Alberta Book Awards, Robert Kroetsch Award for Poetry.

Read Richard’s email he wrote to us after his Edmonton book launch.

Norma Dunning in Winnipeg

On October 5, Norma Dunning [Annie Muktuk and Other Stories] and Myrl Coulter [The Left-Handed Dinner Party and Other Stories] read from their new short story collections at McNally Robinson in Winnipeg. Two days later we received this email from Norma:

Cathie & Monika:

Thank you for sending me to Winnipeg – it was the first city I ever lived in and going back there made me remember things that have laid dormant inside of my memory for decades. I was a bad teenage girl when I lived there for one year – grade 10. My father was away most of that year on a project in Iqaluit, leaving my Mom and younger brother and I at home alone. It was good in some ways because it forced my Mom and I to be together and depend on each other more, which meant we had to talk.

I went to the Cdn Museum of Human Rights – I loved their photo gallery, where I spent the bulk of my time. If you get to – please do go see it. In the afternoon I went to Polo Park – the very first mall that I had ever been too and got lost in! I smiled to myself while I was there remembering all that anxiety – to this day I remain a reluctant shopper.

McNally Robinson is a beautiful store. If I lived in Wpg I would spend most of my extra cash in there. Joanna was a wonderful host, I liked her. And the crowd of maybe 10 – 12 people was enough. It was like being able to read to people in your very own kitchen. They were a kind crowd and warm and I read Kabloona and Husky because one is my Mom and one is my Grandfather and I was on their home turf and wanted to honour their spirits.

There was one lady in a wheelchair who came and sat in the main aisle way – she had the best smile. I looked at her and thought – tonight I read these stories to you and for you. When I finished I went straight over to her. She asked me, “How can you be a woman and write as though you are a man in Husky?” Isn’t that a good question!

I write to let you know that it’s not the number of people who show up – it’s the engagement of the people who do. That’s what matters most to me. A group that wants to hear you read your work, and who ask a couple of good questions, and thank you for making them think about Inuit. It was marvelous and a very good memory for me to carry.

Enjoy your long weekend. N.

p.s. I am no good in the selfie area but I wanted to show you this is what I wore for the reading – I bought the boots at Polo Park mall! Awesome aren’t they!

“Remembering Air India” launches in Toronto and Hamilton

Editors Chandrima Chakraborty, Amber Dean and Angela Failler launched their new collection, Remembering Air India: The Art of Public Mourning in Toronto on September 14th and in Hamilton on September 15th, 2017.

Anjula Gogia of Another Story Bookshop of Toronto introduced the presenters: contributors Elan Marchinko (York University) and Renee Sarojini Saklikar (Surrey Poet Laureate). There were also video clips from Lata Pada’s dance performance “Revealed By Fire,” a stunning image of which is featured on the book’s cover. The Hamilton event, introduced by Kerry Cranston-Reimer of Bryan Prince Bookseller also included these same contributors to the book, with an introduction by Rob Alexander, who lost his father in the bombing of Air India Flight 182, and Khursheed Ahmed, of the South Asian Heritage Association of Hamilton and Region.

The Editors introduced the book and the speakers, and were delighted by the huge show of interest in the book. They were also deeply honoured to have a number of family members and friends who lost loved ones aboard Flight 182 in attendance. “As editors of Remembering Air India we would like to begin by acknowledging those who lost their lives to the Air India bombings of 1985, and the family members, friends and loved ones who continue to mourn their loss,” Chandrima Chakraborty said in her opening remarks. “This book is a collaborative attempt to share in that mourning, by remembering this little-known or hazily remembered event in Canadian public memory.”

Both of these launches also aimed to give audiences a sampling of the book’s unique combination of creative and critical/scholarly work. ”Remembering Air India is somewhat unique, as scholarly books go,” co-editor Amber Dean explained in her opening remarks, “because it includes reprints of the creative works that the scholars in the book write about.” The book features fiction by Padma Viswanathan and Bharati Mukherjee, poetry by Uma Parameswaran and Renee Saklikar, paintings by Deon Venter, and photographs and artist’s statements from a film by Eisha Marjara and a dance performance by Lata Pada, alongside a critical introduction and essays by Angela Failler, Amber Dean, Maya Seshia, Cassel Busse, Elan Marchinko and Chandrima Chakraborty. The book also reprints the text of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s 2010 apology to the Air India families and Dr. Sherene Razack’s expert testimony given at the Air India Public Inquiry, and includes short, candid commentaries by Rita Dhamoon, Sherene Razack, Karen Sharma, Teresa Hubel, and Suvir Kaul.

The co-editors gratefully acknowledge the support and sponsorship of the Women’s and Gender Studies Institute (University of Toronto), the Department of English and Cultural Studies and the Graduate Program in Gender Studies and Feminist Research (McMaster University), Another Story Bookshop (Toronto) and Bryan Prince Bookseller (Hamilton), the South Asian Heritage Association of Hamilton and Region, along with the University of Alberta Press and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Featured Review of Award-Winning “Street Sex Work and Canadian Cities”

“‘Why did the murder of 14 white, educated women at École Polytechnique in 1989 inspireparliamentary outrage and a legislative response from the Department of Justice, while the ‘disappearance’ of 65 poor, mainly Aboriginal women in Vancouver was treated as a police matter?.. Canada tolerates no capital punishment but has been oddly indifferent to the death penalty meted out to ‘missing’ women, Ferris writes… Street Sex Work shocks. It is also insightful and dark and worthwhile for any reader who is not afraid to dive in the deep end.” [Full review at https://www.blacklocks.ca/review-shocking%5D  Holly Doan, Blacklock’s Reporter

Manitoba Book Awards / Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book, 2016

Scholarly and Academic Book Award, Alberta Book Awards, Book Publishers Association of Alberta, 2016

Outstanding Scholarship Prize, Women’s and Gender Studies et Recherches Feminists Association (WGSRF), 2017