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“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 This timely collection leaves behind stale and outdated paradigms and boldly offers a new one for looking at the past, the present of the future of the evergreen issue of Palestine.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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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.

Celebrating the 100 Anniversary of the Edmonton Grads

The official unveiling of a mural, celebrating the Edmonton Grads—formally known as the Commercial Graduates Basketball Club—took place in the Go Centre on November 26, 2015. The more than 50 basketball enthusiasts in attendance enjoyed a lively celebration of  the women’s basketball team that was established 100 years ago. The Edmonton Grads (1915-1940) was and still is the best sports team with a record of winning 502 of the 522 games they played.

Among the special guests were Ann Hall, author of The Grads Are Playing Tonight!; Councillor Bryan Anderson, on behalf of the City of Edmonton;  Michelle O’Keefe, President and CEO of Basketball Canada; Carolyn Campbell, Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism, not only representing the Alberta Government, but also her grandmother who played for the Grads; and David Dorwald, Past President of the Edmonton Grads Basketball Centre.

A special thank you goes out to Bob Butlin, Manager of Saville Community Centre, for inviting the University of Alberta Press to take part in the festivities to recognize women in sports, and commemorating the accomplishments of the best ever women’s team.

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Read more here about the event.

Frankfurt Book Fair 2015

The Frankfurt Book Fair is the most important marketplace for books, media, rights and licences worldwide. More than 7,300 exhibitors from 100 countries, 299,000 visitors and over 10,000 journalists attended. It is a meeting place for the industry’s experts: publishers, booksellers, agents, film producers, and authors.

The Mission of the Fair is to advance international networking within the book industry and to make the industry’s practices more professional.

The Guest of Honour was Indonesia. It is the custom of the GofH to showcase cultural activities from their country. In the case of Indonesia there was a display of books and of poetry which had been printed on square lighted tubes suspended from the ceiling. There was also live theatre performances and a cooking show which featured fabulous Indonesian spices.

My calendar was very full and included attendance at several meetings:

  • the Commonwealth Book Publishers’ Association,
  • the International Rights Directors meeting,
  • a networking dinner with university press directors who are members of the Association of American University Presses, and
  • attendance at the International Convention of University Presses
  • I met with publishers, agents and other representatives from England, Germany, the US, India, Canada, The Netherlands, Singapore, Malaysia, and China.

Salmon Rushdie opened the Fair with a speech that resulted in a boycott of the Fair by the Iranian publishers. The Iranian ministry of culture cancelled its participation, saying that, “Fair officials chose the theme of freedom of expression, but they invited someone who has insulted our beliefs”.

The novelist spoke of how freedom of expression is being challenged by violence and threats against those in the book industry, from writers and translators to publishers and booksellers. “Publishers and writers are not warriors, we have not tanks. But it falls to us to hold the line,” he said, according to a report in The Bookseller.

LitFest 2015 Starts Today!

With fall colours and freshness comes the colourful line-up of Edmonton’s LitFest, entertaining us for 10 days, from October 15 to 25.

We are happy to see many familiar faces in the line-up. Current, past and future UAP authors, and others having a working relationship with us are featured this year

Jenna Butler [Wells, UAP, 2012] is part of the Festival Launch & Elevator Cabaret today, October 15 at 6:00 pm at The Mercury Room, along with Ted 9781772120059_largeBishop, who plays his guitar at UAP’s Literary Cocktails.

Shawna Ferris, author of Street Sex Work and Canadian Citiesis part of the panel discussion on social justice on October 18 at 2:00 pm at the Stanley A. Milner Library Theatre.

Lynn Coady [Who Needs Books?] will be featured in An Evening with Jon Ronson on October 20 at 7:00 pm at the Winspear Centre.

9781772120912_largeMyrl Coulter [A Year of Days] will share the stage with Rosemary Sullivan at the Stanley A. Milner Library Theatre on October 21 at 7:00 pm.

Alice Major’s newest poetry collection, Standard candles launches at the Observatory of the University of Alberta’s Department of Physics on October 22, 7:00 pm. Look through the telescopes after hearing Alice read. 

Every LitFest seems to be better than the one before it! We hope you will join these wonderful authors and the many others who add to the cultural energy of our city.


President Samarasekera’s Dessert Reception

The University of Alberta Press wishes to express its sincere congratulations to Dr. Indira Samarasekera, outgoing President of the University of Alberta for her extraordinary achievements during her ten years at the University. The University of Alberta Press has been privileged to have contributed to the growth and internationally recognized achievements in research and education under Indira’s leadership.

During the centenary celebrations in 2008, the University of Alberta Press published All True Things: A History of the University of Alberta, 1908-2008 by historian and Professor Emeritus Rod Macleod. We were pleased to present a copy of the book to guests who attended the dessert reception for the campus community hosted by Indira on May 8, 2015.

A video of President Samarasekera’s achievements, Because We Dared, was a highlight of the reception.

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