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Alice Major’s First Reading from “Standard candles”

The University of Alberta Press’s newest poetry book is hot off the press! Alice Major’s Standard candles is now available at your favourite bookstore, and if you were at the Devonian Botanic Garden‘s Date Night on August 13, you had the chance to buy it there, too. Alice (Edmonton’s first poet laureate) read with Pierrette Requier (our current poet laureate), before they opened up the mic to readers from the audience, including Deborah Lawson and Rayanne Doucett. The program ended with a performance by world travelling violinist Cam Neufeld and percussionist extraordinaire Ahmed Al Auquaily. There was still enough daylight left to take a casual stroll in the garden, and the rain clouds stayed far enough away, though the mosquitoes didn’t.

The official book launch of Standard candles will be on October 22 at the Observatory of the University of Alberta’s Department of Physics, as part of LitFest. Alice is also a participant of another LitFest event, the “Brunch of Authors” on October 25. Calgary fans can catch her at Shelf Life Books in the Single Onion series on October 15.

There are plans for readings in 2016, which would include UAP’s Literary Cocktails in April. Here is Alice reading from Standard candles (April 2015). Stay tuned!

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Featured Reviews of “A Year of Days”

9781772120455 _large“The book spans a single calendar year, but Coulter says what it’s really about is the process of living through the same dates and events, time and time again, even as our experiences of them change dramatically as we age.” Michael Hingston, Edmonton Journal, February 27, 2015

“A Year of Days is light without ever treading Hallmark grounds, funny while still acknowledging the gravitas of death and full of the remembered warmth or loss of not only the ‘special’ days, but also the days that lie around them by the hundreds: days at the lake, Mexican holidays and days in which we simply move and live. ‘Keep moving,’ Coulter writes. ‘Movement is life.'” Kimmy Beach, Alberta Views, May, 2015

“Why Grow Here” Launch

The Edmonton Horticultural Society’s (EHS) meeting at the Central Lions Seniors Association attracted many interested gardeners, archivists, and historians on Monday, July 27. The EHS and UAP launched Why Grow Here: Essays on Edmonton’s Gardening History by Kathryn Chase Merrett.
Kathryn created a great original talk. Her interviews on CBC, CTV, and Global certainly helped raise the profile of the event. Kathryn also made sure that we connected with the individuals and groups showcased in Why Grow Here. It was wonderful to actually meet Mary Shewchuk, John Helder, and Wei Wong. Bert Almon was there: his poem is at the beginning of the book. Tony Cashman made it: his mother, Helen Gorman Cashman, wrote for the Edmonton Journal and some of her words are quoted in Why Grow Here.
We appreciated the support of the EHS board, especially Maggie Easton’s efforts. The Lions Centre was a great venue and the staff ensured things went really smoothly.
What a successful event! We counted about 170 people in the audience and sold lots of books. Thank you, everyone!

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Launching “Overcoming Conflicting Loyalties” in Calgary

On June 5th, about 30 friends, religious leaders, and service providers joined in the Crump Room of Christ Church with the authors to introduce Overcoming Conflicting Loyalties: Intimate Partner Violence, Community Resources and Faith [Irene Sevcik, Michael Rothery, Nancy Nason-Clark, and The Very Rev. Robert Pynn].  Using the FaithLink program model and original research, this book addresses the question of whether, within a humanistic society, religious communities have a role to play in addressing social issues.  This book will be of interest to professionals working with those affected by intimate partner violence, academics and religious/ethno-cultural leaders.

Read Sarah Arthurs’ article about the event and her musings about why this book is so important.

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Our Scholar is in Residence and blogging about…

…how to write, publish, and market a national bestseller. The book in question, James Daschuk’s Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation and the Loss of Aboriginal Life, has sold more than 15,000 copies since publication by the University of Regina Press (URP) in 2013. Read more…


UAP Publishes Scientist’s Book about Historic Canadian Wildfire

The Chinchaga Firestorm was the biggest forest fire event documented in North American history. It was so large that it affected and changed forest fire management from that point on. Cordy Tymstra is the author of a new book, The Chinchaga Firestorm: When the Moon and Sun Turned Blue. Tymstra is a Wildfire Science Co-ordinator with Agriculture and Forestry at the Government of Alberta.

Director of the Western Partnership for Wildland Fire Science, Mike Flannigan, describes the book: “This is a story about an incredible wildfire complex in western Canada during the summer and early autumn of 1950. This wildfire cluster had over 100 fires that burned two million hectares—that’s about half the size of Nova Scotia. The smoke from these fires was so thick, it plunged the cities and countryside of parts of eastern North America into daytime darkness. Streetlights came on, chickens returned to their roost, and people thought the end of the world was nigh.”

This firestorm generated the world’s largest smoke layer which traveled half way around the northern hemisphere, and caused the moon and sun to appear blue in colour.  Cordy Tymstra tells the stories of communities and individuals as their lives intersected with the path of the Chinchaga River Fire—stories that demonstrate people’s spirit, resourcefulness, self-sufficiency, and their persistence in the struggle against nature’s immense power.


Tymstra notes, “Fire is an important ecological process in Canada’s northern forest. The boreal forest was designed by nature to burn. No other ecosystem holds and nurtures fire as a natural process like the boreal forest: we must learn to live with fire.”

From 1990 to 2010, an average of 2.2 million hectares of forest burned each year in Canada from approximately 8 000 fires. Some of these are extreme fires; they are bigger, hotter, faster, and exceed control efforts until the weather or fuel changes. The estimated $742 million in damages from the Slave Lake Fires in 2011 activated the second-highest natural disaster insurance claim in Canada. These mega fires are a concern because of climate change.

Whether from the 1950 Chinchaga Firestorm or the 2011 Slave Lake Fires, learning from the past can help fire management agen­cies manage uncertainty in a changing climate. There is a need to embrace fire and shift from response to prevention and preparedness. We also need leaders who can take wild­fire management to a future where people, forests, and fire coexist, and where fire science and technology help light the path forward.

About the Press

The University of Alberta Press publishes in the areas of biography, history, language, literature, natural history, regional interest, travel narratives and reference books. With hundreds of scholarly and trade books, UAP contributes to the intellectual and cultural life of Alberta and Canada. http://www.uap.ualberta.ca


Cathie Crooks, Sales/Marketing Manager, University of Alberta Press: ccrooks@ualberta.ca, (780) 492-5820

Cordy Tymstra is a Wildfire Science Co-ordinator with Agriculture and Forestry at the Government of Alberta. He is currently pursing PhD studies at the University of Alberta and can be contacted at: tymstra@ualberta.ca, (780) 910-1004





Featured Reviews of “Personal Modernisms”

9780888647948_large“James Gifford claims that a ‘missing generation’ of writers has been ignored by the critical establishment because it does not fit ‘the established paradigms of Modernism, the Auden group, the Angry Young Men or the Beats.’ …Gifford makes a persuasive case…. Engaged in a ‘struggle against definition,’ the Personalists were perhaps victims of their own success. Certainly, they feel like a missing link in the established narrative. In this metacritical study, however, Gifford shows how literary works must always flow through the authoritarian structure of institutions—which might explain why these anti-authoritarian writers have suffered such neglect.” Ian Pindar, Times Literary Supplement, April 3, 2015

“James Gifford’s Personal Modernisms is the first in-depth account of the personalist English literary network in the pre- and post-World War II ‘gap’ (xvii). Gifford illuminates the interbellum period, where he argues that artists like Henry Miller, Lawrence Durrell, David Gascoyne, Elizabeth Smart, and Alfred Perlès merit significantly more scholarly attention and readership. Emphasizing the relevance of English literature outside the British Isles, Gifford examines a movement which he calls ‘Personalism,’ and underscores the profound impact that this less renown network made on generations of writers to follow.… With a plethora of detail and history, which contextualizes the personalist network, Gifford’s Personal Modernisms offers something of value to a wide range of readers, from those hoping to discover more about these understudied writers, to others interested in the literary milieu of the 1930s and 40s.” Sheena Jarry, ILDS Herald, May 25, 2015

“James Gifford provides plenty of food for thought in his survey of the poets of the New Apocalypse, New Romantics, Personalist movement. Or should it be movements? They are, as he rightly says, mostly overlooked, either by design or accident, in many works of criticism and in university courses. Opinion may differ about the reasons for that, but the historical record of their existence does need to be correctly established, and Gifford’s book is a step in the right direction.” [Full review]  Jim Burns, The Northern Review of Books, June 1, 2015


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