• Hot off the Press


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    Travels and Tales of Miriam Green Ellis:
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    Game Plan: A Social History of Sport in Alberta

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    The Measure of Paris

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    People of the Lakes: Stories of Our Van Tat Gwich’in Elders/Googwandak Nakhwach’ànjòo Van Tat Gwich’in


    Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation
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Darryl Raymaker Launches Trudeau’s Tango in Calgary

June 14, 2017 was an auspicious day for Darryl Raymaker’s launch of Trudeau’s Tango: Alberta Meets Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 1968–1972. The sun shone as some 200 guests shared a celebratory evening at The Ranchmen’s Club.

The room was full and Darryl was in fine form, with daughter Nicole and son Derek there to help mark his achievement. Son Patrick prepared a terrific slideshow for the event, which was appreciated by the crowd.

We were all thinking of Darryl’s wife, Pat, who passed away this spring. Darryl dedicated the book to her: “To the memory of my wife Pat (1944–2017), for her unswerving loyalty, support, and wise counsel through our arduous but happy and fascinating fifty years of adventures as Alberta Liberals.”

The staff of the University of Alberta Press wishes to express their appreciation for everyone’s support of the event and of the book.

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A Reception in Honour of Linda Cameron

Some time ago, University of Alberta Press Director Linda Cameron announced her plans to retire at the end of August 2017, and despite her objections to a big celebratory party, her colleagues organized a reception on May 11.

Co-workers, authors, friends and family members arrived in large numbers, and the Saskatchewan Room in the Faculty Club filled up quickly. Colourful banners of book covers stood around the room, a slideshow of photos played in the background, and copies of recent books were on display.  Jerome Martin, a fellow publisher and a dear friend of UAP, played the piano for much of the afternoon, receiving many compliments.

The program was opened by Gerald Beasley, Vice-Provost & Chief Librarian, followed by a few words from Derek Truscott, UAP Author and past-Press Committee chair. Linda wrapped up the program, using this opportunity to promote the Press once again.

Excerpts from Derek’s speech capture not just how Linda conducted business, but also touch on academic publishing:

I have had the privilege and pleasure of knowing Linda for some 15 years. I had submitted a proposal to the U of A Press for my first book and a little while later received a phone call from Linda. She had a way of explaining to me that no publisher would possibly take on a book by a new author based solely on a proposal. She offered no evasive banalities or needless cruelties. In fact, Linda was so reasonable I simply got off the phone and set about to write my manuscript.

A few years later the Press published that book, and it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship that included my being invited to be a part of the Press Committee.

Many here have worked with a variety of publishers and I feel confident that you share my appraisal of the U of A Press as unique in the publishing world. Yes, the Press consistently produces beautiful books of exceptional merit, but it does so while treating all the people involved as valued individuals. I can honestly say that I have not experienced anything like it anywhere else. And Linda is responsible.

Now Linda is quick to attribute the success of the Press to the exceptional staff and authors with whom she works. And I know she means it. And I know it’s true. After all…I’m an author who works with her. However, I also know that the most robust indicator of the quality of a person is the quality of the people who gather around them.

So Linda, I might invite you to consider taking a moment to think about the people who are here today—and those who are unable to be here—and perhaps just bask a bit in what that says about you.

Now, how someone—even someone as capable as Linda—is able to direct an academic publisher so successfully for so many years is a mystery. I have come to be fascinated with endeavours that flourish over the long term—athletes, artists, programs, businesses. We have all witnessed the collapse of worthwhile undertakings due to any number of negative influences or events. And when they do their fragility is so evident, their fundamentally ephemeral nature revealed.

This is what makes Linda’s accomplishments even that much more remarkable. She has nurtured good ideas and kept them alive for a quarter of a century. This is as praiseworthy as it is exceptional. How has she done it?

And now we have the chance to ask Linda­, “Why us? Why has the U of A Press thrived under your directorship?”

And I imagine Linda pausing, making sure she has our attention, and saying, “Children, there are only three simple rules to academic publishing.” We all lean in expectantly. “Unfortunately, no one has the slightest idea what they are.”

Linda, you have made a difference that will be remembered for a very long time.

– Derek Truscott

Thank you to the organizers, especially Cathie Crooks and Diane Schaub who worked on this event behind the scenes. And thank you all for coming and making this event a memorable one!

If you are in the neighbourhood of Ring House 2, please stop by and sign “The Book” for Linda, which includes the covers of all the books that UAP published under her leadership.

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Bookstore Switcheroo!

In the middle of February we got word from the University of Alberta Bookstore that we would have to vacate the corner they had made available to us for several years, due to changes planned for the Student Union Building, where the bookstore resides.

We used the borrowed space for storing our books for easy access. Easy, at least, compared to the huge SMS warehouse where most of our Edmonton stock is kept… (Thank you, bookstore colleagues, for the loan of the space and lending us pallets for the move!)

After brainstorming and looking into a few options, the decision was made that we would move the aforementioned books—well, at least half of them—into Ring House 2. Basia offered space in her office: “I’d love to be surrounded by books!” (Thank you Basia!)

Cathie Crooks and I checked the inventory and labelled books according to their destination: Ring House 2, SMS warehouse, or University of Toronto Distribution. Then came the overwhelming task of packing it all up, which fell to our student shipper-receiver, Marek Buchanan. (Thank you, Marek!) Our friends at SMS made quick work of receiving the extra stock. (Thank you, Nick and Kelly.)

We were hoping to use some of the shelves from the bookstore, but as soon as they were empty, it became obvious that they were only able to contain the masses of books because they were bolted to the walls. So the hunt for proper shelves began! Darryl Hopkins of Library Facilities came to the rescue! But it wasn’t as easy as that for Darryl. He had to unload everything already stored on them, dismantle them, have the carpenters do a rush job to square up the wooden shelves, arrange to get them over to Ring House 2, and put them up. Whew, it’s tiring just to write all that down. (Thank you, Darryl!)

But now it’s all sorted out! Books are lined up on the L-shaped shelves in Basia’s office and the rest was safely shipped to warehouses on and off campus. The photos below will give you a pretty good idea of what was involved in the “bookstore switcheroo”.

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Winter Solstice 2016

On December 14, we celebrated Winter Solstice with UAlberta North. It was both humbling and inspiring to hear all the achievements Director Roger Epp, listed in his talk—and to realize that many of them are our authors and collaborators.

As neighbours and partners of UAlberta North, we have experienced the benefit of their work through the wonderful conversations we have had about research in the north and in the new friends we have made among scholars of the north. Roger Epp’s work as liaison and acquisitions editor for northern research and topics has been invaluable.

A few years ago, the University of Alberta Press launched a northern imprint. Polynya Press is moving at full speed, with three books already in the imprint and more on the way. A quick glance at the editors and contributors to these publications—Idioms of Sámi Health and Healing (Barbara Miller), Care, Cooperation and Activism in Canada’s Northern Social Economy (Frances Abele and Chris Southcott), and Imagining the Supernatural North (Eleanor Barraclough, Danielle Marie Cudmore, and Stefan Donecker) shows how UAlberta Press’ reach and influence extends throughout the circumpolar north how our author base to includes authors from around the world who write on northern subjects from other perspectives and other institutions.

What stands out about these titles is the correspondence with the northern themes that UAlberta has been pursuing. This correspondence confirms that Polynya Press is charting the future of northern studies alongside UAblerta North.

The University of Alberta Press and its northern imprint, like UAlberta North, is flourishing and set for even greater things. It is wonderful to be able to celebrate these achievements alongside those of our colleagues.

Some of the highlights of Roger’s talk at Winter Solstice included:

Peter Midgley with files from Roger Epp.

 

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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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