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Farm Workers in Western Canada: Edmonton Launch

The Edmonton launch for Farm Workers in Western Canada: Injustices and Activism gave key individuals an opportunity to acknowledge many years of striving to ensure that Charter rights are enforced for Alberta farm workers.

There were many key attendees from government, the activist community, labour policy organizations, media, and publishing. It was a particular pleasure to welcome:

  • Christina Gray, Minister of Labour and Minister Responsible for Democratic Renewal. December marks the one-year anniversary of the Alberta’s government’s work on Bill 6: The Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act.
  • David Swann, Leader of the Alberta Liberal Party, MLA, and long-time supporter of this human rights issue.
  • Darlene Dunlop and Eric Musekamp, advocates and activists who have spearheaded this conversation for over a decade, at great personal cost.
  • Bob Barnetson, professor of labour relations at Athabasca University and co-editor, with Shirley McDonald, of the book.
  • Zane Hamm, an Edmonton contributor to Farm Workers in Western Canada.

It was an honour to be in the room with these strenuous advocates for workers’ rights in Alberta—to hear their stories and learn why they were inspired to do this work.

We know that the information and stories in Farm Workers in Western Canada will reach an important audience, from farm workers to employers to policy makers. In the book, key issues are covered in depth, with accuracy, and for posterity. The launch at The Common, organized by Dr. Swann and his staff, was a great start to letting people know where they can go for this information.

 

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“One Child Reading” Launch

On September 30, 2016 the School of Library and Information Studies and the University of Alberta Press celebrated the release of Dr. Margaret Mackey’s book One Child Reading: My Auto-Bibliography. The guests gathered in Henderson Hall (Rutherford South at the University of Alberta) enjoyed the speeches and presentations by Linda Cameron, Heide Blackmore, and Margaret herself.

We’d like to share Heide’s speech here, which is a great overview of the book. Who wouldn’t want to read One Child Reading after hearing her speak?

For all of my remembered life I have been a reader. Riding in tandem has been an ongoing curiosity about readers and especially their pleasure-reading preferences.

Some two decades ago I met Margaret by auditing her course on reading at the School of Library and Information Science, and I have been learning from her ever since.

And so it is my particular delight to be here to celebrate the publication of her latest book, One Child Reading: My Auto-Bibliography.

So then here is one reader (me) reading about one child reading. Well, this reader likes:
– first person narratives—TICK
– complex situations—TICK
– suspense—hmm, oddly enough—TICK
– a nice fat book—TICK!

This book is thick, it’s heavy—I love the soft colours of the cover, the weight and shape of the book in my hands, the restful layout, the lovely font, the white space, the smooth feel of the paper—it’s a full body treat; it even fits precisely into my arm. Kudos to the craftsmanship of the folks at the U of A Press for creating a physical object that perfectly embodies one of Margaret’s themes—namely that reading is grounded in the physical, local, and personal. Great job!

It was a surprise to me how little overlap there is between my childhood reading and that of the young Margaret, and yet I frequently found myself staring into the distance as warm memories surfaced of similar early reading experiences. And so I was happy to follow the paths and note the landmarks [one of the metaphors that shapes the book] in the young Margaret’s world, certain that new awareness—both general and personal—was in store for me from Margaret’s examples and analysis.

Close on the heels of that pleasure was the intellectual workout this book offered me—I don’t remember the last time I had to skip so many words because I was in such a rush to keep reading to discover the next theory or insight. Of course, I had to go back since the meaning rests in the words!

This book is an astonishing accomplishment—a self-disciplined scholar applying a courteous detachment—carefully examines the reader she knows best, in order that her readers can learn not about her, but about themselves.

You do write beautifully, Margaret.

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Ten-Ten Soiree: LitFest and the CLC Celebrate Turning Ten

The University of Alberta Press was a co-sponsor of the “Ten-Ten Soiree” at Edmonton’s LitFest. The fabulous tenth anniversary celebration was held on Saturday, October 22, 2016 at Latitude 53.

The event was packed, with a bevvy of special literati and guests. The more than 100 people included those who have fostered LitFest from its inception, and others who were with the Canadian Literature Centre over its ten years. We launched the CLC’s anthology of some of their Brown Bag Readings at the party: Ten Canadian Writers in Context.

Hosted by Curtis Gillespie, this was the literary event of the season, with food, wine, and much merriment. The presenters were Caterina Edwards, Marina Endicott, Alice Major, Ross King, and Charlotte Gray. They were paired with guest artists Lacey Huculak & Todd Houseman (improvisors), Vern Thiessen (playwright), Jen Mesch (dancer), Emily Storvold (painter), and Donna Durand (musician). At the mid-point of the program, Eric Schloss spoke to us about his friend, the multi-talented and much-mourned Mel Hurtig.

Fantastic food was provided by Culina Restaurants and Catering and Duchess Bake Shop.

A silent auction featured 10 different themes, including literary magazines, historic Edmonton, indigenous writers, sports, and theatre arts. The bidding was lively! Our thanks to the many organizations, individuals, and businesses who donated items for the auction.

Enjoy the photos from the night, courtesy of Jack Bawden and UAP staff.

 

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Berries and Blooms Photo Contest

Have some Summer fun with the University of Alberta Press!

We are running a photo contest on our Facebook page and eagerly await your submissions. Send us a photo (or two!) of berries or blooms (or berries AND blooms), and the lucky winner will win a copy of Why Grow Here: Essays on Edmonton’s Gardening History by Kathryn Chase Merrett.

Submit your entry between August 4 – August 17 by posting a photo in the comment section of the event. The winner will be announced on August 22.

Good luck, everyone!

Berries & Blooms_cover
Rules:
Maximum two photo submission per person.
No photoshopped images.
Members of the Press and their family members are not eligible to win – though they can submit🙂

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

And the winner is….

“Poppy Pods” by Dale Ford

7

Below are Kathryn Chase Merrett’s comments:

“I have chosen photo 7 because of the beautiful composition and the wonderful way the monochromatic colours are handled. The left hand side of the photo is darker than the right hand side and yet the light foregrounds the poppy pod on the left. The photo is intensely representational and yet it has an abstract quality that brings out the mystery of those wonderful pods. You can imagine that photo hanging on the wall.”

Congratulations, Dale!

Congress 2016

The 75th Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences was hosted by the University of Calgary from May 28 to June 3, with over 70 scholarly associations and more than 8,000 academics participating.

The University of Alberta Press once again combined booths with Athabasca University Press and the University of Calgary Press, which resulted in an impressive exhibit of hundreds of books organized by subject. We enjoyed wide-ranging conversations with scholars, students, and fellow publishers during their visits to the University Presses of Alberta booths. Our colleagues from AU Press were responsible for the theme (Nurturing Bright Ideas) and the greenery, which certainly livened up the display.

Peter Midgley (Senior Editor, Acquisitions), organized and participated in a very successful panel. The Wounded Ones: Conversations About the Multiple Legacies of Colonialism featured Ghada Ageel, Juliane Okot Bitek, and Richard van Camp. With Marcello Di Cintio as the moderator, they talked about the long lasting effects of colonialism in Palestine, Namibia, Uganda, and Canada as well as the atrocities that are still taking place.

There were two book launches by UAP authors. We sponsored an informal gathering for Counterblasting Canada, edited by Gregory Betts, Paul Hjartarson, and Kristine Smitka; and co-sponsored a luncheon/book launch of CASEA members, one of them being Nancy Taber, editor of Gendered Militarism in Canada.

UAP also hosted an assembly of university publishing folk, which was a great success with 27 attendees. It was a wonderful opportunity to catch up in a social setting. Our thanks to Cathie Crooks’s parents for letting us use their home for the gathering.

This year, we also volunteered to set up a table display for the award-winning books of the Association of American University Presses 2016 Book, Jacket, and Journal Show which was previously displayed at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Alberta. The University of Calgary Library gave us an excellent location. We were pleased to be able to donate many of the books to the U of C Library at the end of Congress.

It was a very busy and successful Congress. Our thanks to all of the people who worked so hard to make it such a terrific event, particularly Bart Beaty, Jessica Clark, and Ashley Craven.

 

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Literary Cycling Book Launched at Café Bicyclette

Dave Buchanan’s launch on June 8 at Café Bicyclette was an absolute treat. He has spent several years researching and writing about early travel literature. His book introduces us to two of the best cycling adventurers from the late 1800s: Elizabeth Robins Pennell and Joseph Pennell, an American couple from Philadelphia.

His entertaining talk and slideshow touched a chord with friends, colleagues, and cycling enthusiasts who gathered to celebrate the publication of A Canterbury Pilgrimage/An Italian Pilgrimage.

The high wheel bike, in particular, engendered many questions.

  1. How the heck did they get on them? (There is a small post on the wheel that you stepped on before flinging your other leg over the top.)
  2. How the heck did they stop them? (By pressing a foot against the side of the wheel.)
  3. Was this the origin of the term “taking a header”? (Possibly, seeing that the rider was often pitched headfirst over the top of the wheel.)
  4. Why did people ride them? (As there was no drivetrain on these early bikes, the larger the wheel, the faster the bike went. These were early speed demons.)

No wonder that Joseph and Elizabeth rode the much safer tricycle. Apparently it was particularly popular with the upper classes in England after Queen Victoria got one!

Eventually a bike that looks much more like the ones we ride today came into production in the 1890s, appropriately called the “safety” bicycle. It had a drivetrain and, eventually, brakes.

Dave selected two fascinating entries to read to the crowd. Hearing Elizabeth’s prose read aloud made us hear her voice clearly. Witty, wry, expressive.

Our thanks to the folks at Café Bicyclette and all who came out to celebrate and enjoy the evening. And, of course, to Dave Buchanan for bringing these wonderful stories and illustrations to life in his book and in his talk.

 

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Literary Cocktails 2016

Literary Cocktails proved to be a very popular event, yet again! Last year we moved from the cozy Papaschase Room of the Faculty Club to the elegant and spacious Winspear Room with its wonderful view of the river valley.

With the early arrival of Spring, there must have been something in the air to enhance the magic of poetry. The three readers and the collections couldn’t have been more different, yet they worked remarkably well together. From stars to molecules, from Uganda to the Canadian Prairies, from homelessness to genocide, many topics were covered and emotions ran high. Anger, sadness, hope, and the beauty of images and words took listeners from high to low to high again.

Thank you, Alice Major [Standard candles], Richard Therrien [Sleeping in Tall Grass], and Juliane Okot Bitek [100 Days] for sharing your poetry, and Dennis Cooley [The Home Place] for emceeing the event.

A big thank you goes out to John Acorn, who provided a brilliant sound system; the Faculty Club for the wonderful food; and particularly all of those who joined us this year to celebrate with us and support the Edmonton Poetry Festival. (We missed Jerome Martin and Ted Bishop, our musicians, who couldn’t make it. We’ll catch them for next year!)

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