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Featured Reviews of “Dreaming of Elsewhere”

9780888648211am# 6 on the Edmonton Journal’s Bestsellers list (Edmonton Nonfiction) for the week of April 25, 2014

“Newcomers now are educated, eloquent and outspoken. Much will change, and some things will not change at all…. Edugyan is one of the accomplished voices of the New Immigrant Experience…. In Dreaming of Elsewhere she recounts the familiar story of conflict and disconnection known to many first-generation Canadians…. Dreaming of Elsewhere is vivid and intimate. This is the voice of change.” Holly Doan, Blacklock’s Reporter, accessed May 27, 2014 [Full review at http://www.blacklocks.ca/review-big-plans]

“Given that our human ancestors began their migrations more than 100,000 years ago, ‘home’ must always have been an idea as well as a physical location, ‘where we come from, and where we are,’ as Esi Edugyan writes in her new book. Home is ‘the actual and the possible.’… Edugyan knows that home, whether a physical location or an idea, is never static. Where we belong—or, more painfully, are forbidden from belonging—alters.… Confronted by the question of whether North America has reached a post-racial age and a colour-blind society, Edugyan answers simply and courageously: ‘I confess I find the notion ridiculous’.” Madeleine Thien, Literary Review of Canada, July 1, 2014 [Full review at http://bit.ly/X8Z6mY]

“…Esi Edugyan offers an eloquent meditation on identity, culture and belonging in Dreaming of Elsewhere: Observations on Home.… A wise, elegant and engrossing read.” Evelyn C. White, Herizons, January 20, 2015

“Thinking through her own story of living in many countries in her late twenties, and revisiting her parents’ country of origin, Ghana, in 2006, Edugyan reflects that ‘I, who had lived so much of my life looking elsewhere, was slowly coming to acknowledge that non-belonging, also, can be a kind of belonging.’… To consider belonging a paramount objective, Edugyan suggests, runs the risk of enforcing ‘a simple “us” vs. “them” manner of thinking.'” Lorraine York, Canadian Literature, December 10, 2014

Salman Rushdie Speaks about Freedom of Expression

Salman Rushdie was in Edmonton on October 11, 2016. He spoke about freedom of expression to a large audience at the Château Lacombe Hotel. Rushdie was presented by the Edmonton Public Library as part of their Forward Thinking Speaker Series. (https://www.epl.ca/speakerseries/)

Listeners came away with a understanding of the deep impact of censorship on the individual artist as well as upon communities and countries.

Rushdie was witty and somber, drew on examples from ancient times all the way to Donald Trump, and made an impassioned argument for the need for freedom of expression.

Some of the ideas that made the greatest impression are shown in these tweets:

  • mark @HarvCBC
    “Liberty is the air we breathe…. If we are not confident of our freedom then we are not free.

The organizers and sponsors of the event should be applauded, particularly the Edmonton Public Library and MacLab Enterprises.


Poetry Reading Season – Reminder!

Attention Poets!

A couple of years ago UAP started to streamline poetry submissions as manuscripts arrived in our mailbox and email boxes. We instituted a Reading Season for Poetry, which means that the submission period for manuscripts will be between September and November this year again. At the end of the Reading Season, the manuscripts will be evaluated and up to three will be selected for publication.

This might change next year by moving the timeline ahead one month. Please stayed tuned for updates in order to be considered adding your poetry collection to the Robert Kroetsch Series of Canadian creative writing!

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

Our Scholar is in residence blogging about…

ebooks… reading words on screen. Naomi S. Baron – a linguistics professor at American University in Washington, DC – challenges the conjecture, anecdote, and ageism that typically short-circuit the debate on the comparative advantages and effects of print versus digital reading. More...


BPAA Conference and Gala 2016

The annual Book Publishers Association of Alberta Conference and Awards celebration was held in Calgary’s Hotel Arts, which provided an inspiring backdrop for three days of activity.

The conference was filled with interesting and instructive presentations by publishers, writers, librarians, funders, and even a film producer who told the audience that he was looking for “untold and unbelievable” stories to develop. Sharing information is a powerful tool in the constantly changing business of publishing.

The Awards celebration started out with Will Ferguson’s fabulous and funny keynote speech that left the audience wanting more. Fred Stenson kept the program moving. And the food was truly excellent.

The University of Alberta Press came away with two awards. Standard candles by Alice Major won the Robert Kroetsch Award for Poetry and Street Sex Work and Canadian Cities by Shawna Ferris won the Book of the Year in the Scholarly and Academic category.

Here is what the jurors had to say about our books:

Robert Koetsch Award for Poetry

The jury was impressed by the design quality and promotional efforts of all the entries this year, and was encouraged by the high bar that was set. They were unanimous not only on 9781772120912_largethe winner but on the runner up as well. Above and beyond the design and promotion, what set the top two books apart was the quality of the writing. However, this book was the clear winner, given the depth and breadth of its subject matter as well as the exceptional writing. It is an intricate weaving of complex scientific theory with the stuff of everyday human existence in a voice that is thoughtful, wry, and deeply compassionate. The publisher is to be congratulated on the success of the design and on their strong and effective promotional efforts. A solid team effort to publish an exceptional book of poetry.

Scholarly and Academic

This book is a groundbreaking look at the issue of prostitution in Canada’s urban centers. 9781772120059_largeIt is of particular relevance given the national inquiry into murdered and missing Aboriginal women. The author is to be commended for incorporating the voices of individuals in the sex trade, and for shining light on the vulnerability of sex workers. The book challenges the traditional mores of Canadian society, and will serve as an important reference work for social workers, law makers and law enforcers, as well as educators. The publisher is to be commended for its work in publishing this seminal study.

Congratulations to Alice and Shawna, and to all who were involved in publishing these great books!

A big thank you goes to the BPAA, especially Kieran Leblanc, Tyler Mudrey, Glenn Rollans, and the Professional Development Committee for organizing such a great event. It couldn’t have happened without a host of funders and sponsors: Alberta Media Fund, Canada Council, Department of Canadian Heritage, Access Copyright Foundation, Calgary Arts Development, the City of Calgary, the City of Edmonton, Edmonton Arts Council, Friesens, Houghton Boston, Marquis, and MNP LPP.

See you all next year!


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Featured Reviews of “Conrad Kain”

“… A must have book for those interested in Conrad Kain, 1st generation Canadian mountaineering and Canadian mountain culture. Conrad Kain: Letters from a Wandering Mountain Guide, 1906-1933 has a splendid assortment of maps and photographs, but the prize jewel of the book are the many letters (142) written by Conrad Kain.… The letters to Amelie are touching and tender, informative and insightful, historic and charming. .. [T]he Robinson and Bourdon contributions are like exquisite book ends within which the evocative letters make for the literary centrepiece.” [Full review at: http://bit.ly/2cJvqaE%5D, Ron Dart, http://www.conradkain.com, October 7, 2014

9780888647269_large“Conrad Kain is a compelling title from University of Alberta Press. Kain is renowned among Canadian mountaineers as a pioneering guide so accomplished they named a British Columbia peak for him, Mount Conrad. He escaped grinding poverty as a miner’s son in rural Austria and travelled the world from Honolulu to Ulaanbaatar…. Conrad Kain: Letters From A Wandering Mountain Guide takes readers page by page through a man’s life and thoughts. It is a dark and absorbing narrative.” [Full review at http://bit.ly/2d0bF0R%5D, Holly Doan, Blacklock’s Reporter, December 13, 2014

“In a culture that enjoys as many romantic figures as there are mountain peaks on the horizon as viewed from a lofty summit, Conrad Kain holds a special place in the historical landscape of western Canada’s mountains. Robinson…makes no secret of his affection for Kain, and that’s a good thing, because he handles the letters Kain wrote throughout his adult life while guiding in Canada and New Zealand to his dear friend in Austria, Amelie Malek, with the care and reverence they so richly deserve.”
Lynn Martel, Alpine Club of Canada Gazette, December 1, 2014

“Conrad Kain was arguably the pre-eminent mountain guide in Canada in the early years of the 20th century and left a legacy of first ascents and epic climbs in his native Austria, in his adopted home in North America (e.g., Mount Robson), and in New Zealand’s Southern Alps…. Robinson has ordered the letters chronologically and throughout the book has skillfully annotated them to fill in gaps or provide context…. From his letters, it’s obvious that Kain loved climbing mountains for the physical challenge, to meet interesting people, to make a living, and for opportunities to travel around the world, but most especially because of his all-consuming love of the natural world.” Vol. 129, No. 1 (2015) [Full review at http://bit.ly/2caZhuN%5D, Cyndi M. Smith, The Canadian Field-Naturalist, June 1, 2015

“Simple, beautiful, and thoughtfully handled volumeof letters. Though the content is historical in nature, the typography feels fresh and of this time–a nice complement to the old full-bleed photographs. The synopsis of events on the part openers provides a helpful overview of each section.”
Renate Gokl, Juror, AAUP Book, Jacket, and Journal Show, July 2, 2015

“… in the letters we find a Kain who is disarmingly open and honest about his life, his successes and his failures and this unscripted or unedited look into the life of a remarkable man continues throughout the book. As editor, Robinson [includes]… extensive and informative footnotes that provide context and create a broader historical story that fits Kain’s life into the events that occur around him while filling in any gaps in the narrative….Kain is one of those rare gems whose personality and reputation match. He is a great climber and a great person.” [Full article at http://ow.ly/SlZcF%5D, Rob Alexander, Rocky Mountain Outlook, September 2, 2015

“[Kain’s letters] are rich in detail not only about his travels and climbs in the European, Siberian, Canadian, and New Zealand mountain ranges that involved staggering heights, immense walls of rock, steep glacier fields, icy crests, as well as sudden storms, rockslides, and avalanches. The letters also reflect the inner experience and yearnings of this mountain guide…. The book is enriched by fifty archival photographs mainly of mountains and people as well as by three helpful maps (xvi–xix). The 143 letters are amply annotated…. Reading these letters puts a wonderfully human face on an Austrian mountain guide’s achievements and reveals as well his craft’s challenges, defeats, and glories.” Leo Schelbert, Yearbook of German American Studies, September 1, 2015

“Conrad Kain (1883–1934) was an acclaimed climber of his day. Born in Austria, he immigrated to Canada in 1909 and became known for his pioneering climbs in British Columbia. In 1906, Kain wrote a letter to Amelia Malek (1871–1941), an early student whom he had instructed in the ways of climbing in the Alps. For the rest of his life, Kain wrote to her, first from Austria and then from Canada. The present volume presents all 144 of Kain’s letters to Malek. It is a one-sided correspondence marked by class differences—he was a guide, she an affluent tourist—and deep affection. The letters cover a wide range of topics, from the immigrant experience in Canada to his life in the far north to the joy he discovered in the Canadian Rockies. If the writing is rough, the descriptions of the mountains and nature are glorious.” R. W. Roberts, Choice Magazine, December 17, 2015

ASPP Blog Post by Margaret Mackey

The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences/Fédérat9781772120394ion des sciences humaines recently started a blog series called “Bookmark it!”, in which they profile a selection of the most interesting and high quality scholarly works supported by the ASPP.

They featured One Child Reading: My Auto-Bibliography, by Margaret Mackey in June. She shared her thoughts on what inspired her to write this book and how she envisions the book contributing to Canadian scholarship.

There will be a book launch on September 30 of One Child Reading in Edmonton at the SLIS School Council. Please check our website for updates.