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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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2015 Tom Fairley Award Winner: Lesley Peterson

Each year, the Editors’ Association of Canada recognizes exceptional editors at their award ceremony, and this year, it was Lesley Peterson who won the 2015 Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence. She was awarded the $2,000 prize for her work on The Little Third Reich on Lake Superior: A History of Canadian Internment Camp R by Ernest Robert Zimmermann, with Michel S. Beaulieu and David K. Ratz, Editors.

The jury panel lauded Peterson’s advanced skill in managing conflicting expectations on a difficult work that blended memoir and scholarly research. “Peterson impressively demonstrates that while the work of an editor may be hidden, it can require advanced skills in tact, diligence and patience,” said one judge. “With many competing interests in the posthumous work, Peterson had to do far more than the thorough copy edit required. Peterson is patience with a capital P.”

Here is her acceptance speech, given at the annual Editors’ Association of Canada conference, which was held in Vancouver last weekend.

The energy that drove this project, from first to last, was the enduring vitality of the author, the late and much-missed Ernest Zimmermann, whose voice, even from beyond the grave, made him a kind of ghostly Pied Piper whose call it was futile to resist. I am very grateful for the privilege of answering the call on behalf of the University of Alberta Press, and for the insight and expertise of the others who helped me find the road and stay the course. These include, of course, the Zimmermann family’s chosen collaborators, David Ratz and Michel Beaulieu, former students of the author, whose familiarity with Zimmermann’s perspective and personality, not to mention his personal library, I could only envy. They also include Mary Lou Roy and Peter Midgley at the Press, who gave me from start to finish feedback, faith, focus, and—most precious of all—space and time; time in which to read and re-read, to think and re-think; space and time, above all, in which to listen attentively to the compelling music of Zimmermann’s voice as it faded in and out of range.

9781772120318To be recognized by such an expert and elite body as this—by you here—is astonishing. One of my earliest mentors, the Manitoba writer, editor, and scholar Dennis Cooley, commented once that “You can only be a writer in isolation, and you can only be a writer in community.” I believe that statement to be just as true of editing as it is of writing. This award is given to me today by the community of Canadian editors; I would like now to give it back to each of you. Thank you for all that you do to support the profession, and for the great honour of welcoming me into your midst.

Congratulations, Lesley! It is always a pleasure working with you.


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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Second Edition of “Grant Notley” Hard at Work

The Federal NDP Convention was held in Edmonton at the Shaw Conference Centre. 800 delegates from around the country attended, and we were fortunate to get a table to sell Grant Notley: The Social Conscience of Alberta, Second Edition. Author Howard Leeson joined me at the table to sign copies. Here are his comments about the event.

At the federal NDP convention in Edmonton in early April a number of people who had worked with Grant Notley–former Leader of the Official Opposition and father of the present Premier of Alberta, Rachel Notley–got together for a mini reunion. The reunion resulted from the sale of a new edition of the book on Mr. Notley. Many New Democrats at the convention were interested in the history of Mr. Notley’s involvement in Alberta politics and were happy to buy the book. All royalties from the book are going to the Grant Notley scholarship at the University of Alberta.

Bill Dryden – Provincial Secretary of the NDP in Alberta in 1972 and 1973. Later, Chief of Staff to Grant Notley in 1984. David Elliott – Provincial organizer for the NDP in Alberta from 1973 to 1975. Ede Leeson – worked with the Alberta NDP from 1970 to 1977, as a Calgary organizer, convention organizer, and Provincial Council member. Howard Leeson – first executive assistant to Grant Notley in the legislature, provincial secretary for the NDP in Alberta from 1973 to 1975, provincial president from 1975 to 1979, and author of the book. Ted Chudyk – worked with Grant Notley from 1968 to 1971 as a fundraiser and close friend and figures prominently in the book. Reg Basken – Provincial Treasurer for the Alberta NDP during the 1970s and longtime member of the NDP.

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Read an article from the University of Regina, where Howard taught Political Science.

New UAP Website

June 8, 2015 saw the launch of the University of Alberta Press’s new website. We are delighted with its dynamic new look, organization, searchability, and functionality.

The new website is a major improvement over the old site (launched way back in 2002). The home page is dynamic rather than static, showcasing new titles and pulling in entries from our blog. The website also incorporates a more streamlined online store.

Social media and sign-up options are front-and-centre. The website is also mobile-friendly, a key consideration.

Each book page offers general information about the book, tidily combining all of the available editions. Tabs offer loads of additional information, eliminating much of the need for scrolling.

Lara Minja of Lime Design did the look and feel. Our colleagues and friends at Headfast did the programming and their database, BooksoniX, powers the backend. Our Sales/Marketing Manager, Cathie Crooks, mapped out the site, rewrote the text, and oversaw all stages of its production. The rest of the UAP team made suggestions, offered support, and cheered her on.

Sincere appreciation also goes to University of Alberta colleagues who helped along the way: Kenton Good, Gordie Mah, Diane Alguire, Ian Page, and particularly Natasha Nunn.

Comments should be sent to Cathie Crooks at ccrooks@ualberta.ca.

2014 Mountain Guides Ball of ACC

Louise Olinger, the Silent Auction Co-ordinator for the 2014 Mountain Guides Ball of the Alpine Club of Canada and the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, sent us this very kind note to let us know how the donation of our books from the Mountain Cairns Series contributed to the success of this yearly event. Thank you, Louise!

On behalf of the Alpine Club of Canada and the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, I am writing to thank you for your very generous support of the 2014 Mountain Guides Ball. The event was an enormous success with a crowd of just under 300 outdoor enthusiasts. Your donation resulted in a significant contribution towards our fundraising efforts. What a fantastic array of titles! Three of them went for well above retail.

The funds from the silent auction will go toward constructing the Richard & Louise Guy Hut (at Mont des Poilus on the world-class Bow-Yoho ski traverse) which is scheduled to be built during the summer of 2015. The hut will be a demonstration site for green technologies and an extension of our commitment to long term sustainability in off-grid alpine locations, offering visitors the ability to leave a smaller footprint.

We greatly appreciate your donation to this project through your silent auction donation. Find out more about the project at alpineclubofcanada.ca.

We are looking forward to celebrating the completion of the Richard and Louise Guy Hut in 2015.  I hope you will support us again!

This has been a very active year for us and the Mountain Cairns Series. We published two wonderful new books in the series: Climber’s Paradise by PearlAnn Reichwein, and Conrad Kain, edited by Zac Robinson. Both garnered great interest at the 2014 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival.


Climber’s Paradise Launches with Great Success

The book launch for Climber’s Paradise: Making Canada’s Mountain Parks, 1906-1974 on October 8 brought over 70 people out to the U of A’s Education building to celebrate over 10 years of research by Dr. PearlAnn Reichwein.

PearlAnn’s reading and presentation with slides started off the evening. The two panelists, Dr. Julie Rak (English & Film Studies) and Dr. Naomi Krogman (Resource Economics & Environmental Sociology) gave superb responses to PearlAnn’s work. It was so interesting to see where the speakers led us as they discussed citizenship, sustainability, and public space. The Q&A was informed and lively; people were engaged and eager to converse about the ideas that emerged.

Dr. Lynette Shultz, Co-Director of the Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Research, was our MC. She commented that it is powerful “to come together across disciplines and sectors to discuss the issues that matter to us.”

Our thanks to the team that put this event together, especially the Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Research. Our particular thanks to Julie and Naomi for their comments on the “book as artifact.” The whole UAP team worked hard to make a contribution to the remarkable manuscript that PearlAnn brought to us.


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