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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.


Counting Teeth by Peter Midgley

Our acquisitions editor, Peter Midgley, recently launched his own book, a travel memoir called Counting Teeth: A Namibian Story (Wolsak & Wynn). The book is available at your local independent bookstore and online. Here, Peter recounts his experiences of his book tour.


A Book Tour Blitz

It’s  the middle of the night and there’s a noise outside. No, it’s not outside, it’s by your bedside. It’s your alarm.  Fortunately, you’d put everything out the night before and the coffee drip kicks in automatically. You have planned all this carefully. Even the cab arrives on time to get you to the airport.

You arrive at your destination and get whisked off in the delightful company of your hosts. Before you’ve even found your land legs after the flight, they’ve put you in a chair and the TV cameras are on: you’re up for the first live TV interview. It’s over so fast you can’t remember what you said. What if someone actually SEES it? Can you ask them to retract it if it’s awful?

­­ ­­— It will be fine, says your publisher. You watch the livestream later. It is.

The room fills up—always a good sign at a reading. You read; you sign books. You have dinner with friends. You collapse. You wake up and do a workshop. More than double the number of people you’d expected arrive. Everyone scrambles to make more copies of materials. Afterwards, you spend a lovely afternoon with a fellow writer. So lovely, in fact, the two of you almost miss your flights as you chat at the airport lounge!

Then you’re back at your day job. Days later, you’re off again. You’re a pro at this travel thing by now. Everything goes smoothly. You’re at the airport by 5:30 am for a 6:30 flight. All good.

That’s when the descent into hell starts: This is the day they decided to schedule extra flights and to train an entire new security crew. This is the day they see something untoward in your carry-on bag and select you for a full body search. They make you unpack your bag. There’s nothing there. At 6:29 am, you wrap your arms around your scattered belongings and sprint for the gate. They had to pick the gate furthest from security. You hear your name on the intercom and run faster. You walk onto the plane and everyone starts clapping.

­­ ­­— Thanks for holding us all up, buddy. (You’re welcome. I couldn’t have done it without the expert help of Air Canada and Edmonton Airport Security.)

You repack your bag in your seat, trying desperately not to wake the baby in front of you. Then you settle down for a snooze. The baby awakes and plenty of crying he makes. Three hours of it.

­­ ­­— Nervous? asks your publisher when you land. The baby’s cries echo through your head.

Your publisher gets lost on the way to the reading. You use the phone GPS and you arrive on time. You’re the newbie in town. Luckily, your fellow reader, Christine Fischer Guy, is on home turf and rounds up people until the crowds flow out of the door. You recognize a few friends and colleagues in the audience. Afterwards, you chat.

By the time the alarm goes off the next morning, you’ve barely closed your eyes. Eye drops. You make it to the train for Toronto just on time. The guy next to you spills coffee on your trousers and the reading copy of your book. Luckily, you have plenty of time before the reading.

It’s only a 15-minute walk from the station to the hotel. You get lost. So does the GPS. Hours later, you drop your bag on the hotel bed. Wash trousers, salvage book. Dash to reading.

­­ ­­— You don’t look yourself.  You must be beside yourself with nerves, says your publisher when you arrive. (Where can I find coffee?)

The next morning, you’re back at work. Then it’s off to Red Deer. Then Calgary. In bed, you stare at the ceiling. It’s game night in Calgary and the hotel elevator beeps constantly. You try to count sheep but it’s the faces of people you’ve neglected to mention during your Book Blitz that haunt you. If writing really is a solitary activity, why are there so many people to thank? They start multiplying months earlier, while the book is still in production. There are festival pitches and invitations to readings to sort out. You, your publisher, the festival and readings series organizers and media people work non-stop to make something happen. The list in your head grows with each ping of the elevator. You cannot imagine doing this without the knowledge and support of those who’ve made it possible for you to be here. Writing is a communal activity. The handful of minutes you spend in front of an audience at a reading is the culmination of years of team effort.

The adrenalin rush won’t subside, so you get up. There’s a group of writers in the lounge. Festival season is a time to celebrate. You can rest later.

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Congratulations, Peter!

Support Wilfrid Laurier University Press

The University of Alberta Press is deeply concerned about the situation currently facing Wilfrid Laurier University Press. WLUP has recently been told that the financial support they had previously received from their institution would be withdrawn. (Sign the petition.)

University determines that WLU Press is “not essential to the vision and mission of the University”

Wilfrid Laurier University’s Integrated Planning and Resource Management process recommended that the Press no longer receive a subsidy and that they be phased-out as an operational program. This decision will cripple the press’ ability to serve its authors and the broader scholarly community.

WLU Press’s prestigious list of authors and awards

WLUP has been a leader in scholarly publishing for 40 years. Its publications have won or been shortlisted for many awards including the Governor General’s Literary Award in Non-Fiction, the Gabrielle Roy Prize (5-time consecutive winner!), and the Canada Book Prize in the Social Sciences. Their list of authors is comprised of many notable Canadian names from Wilfrid Laurier and other institutions.

Cynthia Comacchio • Michel Desjardins • Eleanor Ty • Bruce Elder
Janice Stein • Nikki Strong-Boag • Smaro Kamboureli

Why does it matter?

Universities are facing profound economic challenges and there is no doubt that difficult decisions lie ahead for many public institutions. And it is the dire budget situation at WLU that’s informing this move against the Press. But what message is being sent to the academic community when a university announces that the impressive achievements of their ambitious university press do not align with its essential vision and mission? Visit the WLU webpage and you will find the following “mission” statement for the institution:

Wilfrid Laurier University is devoted to excellence in learning, research, scholarship, and creativity. It challenges people to become engaged and aware citizens of an increasingly complex world. It fulfills its mission by advancing knowledge, supporting and enhancing high-quality undergraduate, graduate and professional education, and emphasizing co-curricular development of the whole student.

There is a clear convergence of this mission with the mission of WLU Press—which operates under the slogan “Transforming Ideas.” The reflective and active citizenry that WLU strives for is dependent on the work of a university press. As the arbiters of scholarship, university presses devote energy and countless hours to refining, delivering, and promoting ideas, that in the words of WLU Press, “contribute to education within and beyond the university, and reflect both our local and global community through the world of ideas.” Their contributions are essential to supporting the “development of the whole student” and the society in which we live.

How can you help?

To support WLUP please complete the on-line petition found here AND contact senior administrators at Wilfrid Laurier University:

Dr. Max Blouw, President and Vice-Chancellor: mblouw@wlu.ca

James Butler, VP Finance: jbutler@wlu.ca

Deborah MacLatchy, VPA and Provost: dmaclatchy@wlu.ca

Thank you for supporting Wilfrid Laurier University Press and scholarly publishing in Canada.

Our Scholar is in Residence again, blogging about…

…the concept of Open Access (OA) and the challenges university presses face as they attempt to apply OA to humanities and social sciences monographs. Professors, post docs, grad students, and academic administrators alike have roles to play in making OA work. Read more…

UAP at the 2014 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival

At the beginning of November the University of Alberta Press had a booth at the 2014 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival. It was our first time in attendance, but their 40th annual gathering, where mountaineers from all around the world gather to watch films, exchange ideas, learn about new books, and award those in the impressive line-up that are most deserving.

And what a wonderful and successful time it was! The setting–Banff Centre–couldn’t have been more picturesque, even when the clouds were low and half of the city of Banff was engulfed in fog.

The Marketplace had a variety of vendors, offering information (CPAWS, Interpretive Guides Association, American Alpine Club, etc.), books, various climbing gear and crafts. There was a lot of interest in our books.

Climber’s Paradise: Making Canada’s Mountain Parks, 1906-1974 by PearlAnn Reichwein was one of the finalists in the Mountain & Wilderness Literature – Non-Fiction category, and Zac Robinson [Conrad Kain: Letters from a Wandering Mountain Guide, 1906-1933] gave a talk on Friday to a crowd of more than 350 people. Both authors spent some time at the UAP booth signing books on Saturday.

The Banff Centre is an environmentally friendly place, paying attention to every aspect of protecting the environment, even having a green team, who made sure that we placed our garbage in the appropriate bins.

By the last day the snow has started to fall, hiding the surrounding mountains from view and making the way back to Edmonton very challenging.

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Our Scholar is in Residence again, blogging about…

French historian Roger Chartier, speaking at the Frankfurt Book Fair last month, to an international gathering of academic presses about the history and future of scholarly monograph publishing. His comments proved both insightful and provocative. Read more. 

Regenerations/Régénérations Launched on November 13

In collaboration with the Writers’ Guild of Alberta and the Canadian Literature Centre, the University of Alberta Press launched Regenerations/Régénérations: Canadian Women’s Writing / Écriture des femmes au CanadaAlmost 40 of us enjoyed Marie Carriere’s introduction of Patricia Demers, who then said a few words about the book. Both are co-editors of the collection of sixteen essays exemplifying the progress of interdisciplinary research, collaboration, and publishing surrounding Canadian women’s writing.

Then Marie introduced the two mentors of the Blue Pencil Café, who read their work to the delight of all present.  Thea Bowering read from her new novel, Love at Last Sight, and Kimmy Beach read from her first collection of poetry, Nice Day for Murder, which celebrated its 20-year anniversary of publication that week.

There was a door prize of two tickets to the closing night of the Festival of Ideas, followed by a wine and cheese reception with lively conversation and book buying.


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