New literary initiatives in the news

There are several interesting literary initiatives popping up this Spring. Here’s some that have come across our radar recently.

New partnership marks Vancouver’s literary locations

Literary Landmarks – a partnership between the Vancouver Public Library, B.C. BookWorld, the VPL Foundation, and Dr. Yosef Wosk – recognizes physical locations with connections to the city’s authors and books.”

There are 26 inaugural Literary Landmarks from a wide range of authors, such as Wayson Choy, Joy Kogawa, Evelyn Lau, W.P. Kinsella, Daphne Marlatt, Lee Maracle, George Woodcock, and Ethel Wilson. Each location includes an informational plaque mounted on a lamppost.

Read the full article on Quill & Quire | View the interactive online map.

Call for submissions: CWILL BC seeks stories and illustrations for Reading Lights

The Vancouver Public Library is also working on another similar initiative with the Children’s Writers & Illustrators of BC (CWILL BC)—Reading Lights.

“Excerpts of stories or poems with associated illustrations from published children’s literature will be featured on permanent plaques and placed on lamp posts in Vancouver. These “Reading Lights” will provide spontaneous encounters with BC books for children and their caregivers near parks, playgrounds, schools, and libraries. They are intended to spark an interest in stories and reading, while celebrating the work of BC authors and illustrators.”

CWILL BC is seeking submissions for featured work—aimed at readers 8 and younger—to be installed in 2016. Installations for older readers are anticipated after the first round.

Submissions must be postmarked by April 15, 2015. View the full list of criteria (PDF).

ABPBC launches Read Local BC in April

Read Local BC is a project to celebrate the extraordinary depth of BC publishing. The campaign takes place April 1-22, 2015 and includes events and participants from across the province.

The Read Local BC page lists participating publishers, authors, bookstores and libraries and all the associated events. Find one in your community! Read Local BC is also on Facebook with up-to-date news as well as contests.

Penguin Random House Canada Seeks Sales & Marketing Associate (Western Canada)

Penguin Random House Canada
Sales & Marketing Associate (Western Canada)

Penguin Random House Canada is looking for a Sales & Marketing Associate to support the PRHC sales & marketing team’s efforts in western Canada (BC & Alberta).

Responsibilities include:

  • Selling, marketing and promoting Penguin Random House titles to traditional bookstores and special market accounts in western Canada
  • Supporting the sales & marketing teams in Vancouver
  • Performing weekly store visits in the greater Vancouver area
  • Escorting authors to events and media appointments
  • Working with accounts to co-ordinate author events
  • Opening up new bookstore accounts in the region
  • Attending and supporting regional book fairs

• Handling regional mailings for the sales & marketing teams Qualifications include:

  • A passion for books
  • MS Office and SAP experience
  • Excellent communication (written and oral)
  • Ability to work well both in a team environment and independently
  • Time management skills
  • Ability to prioritize
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Professional telephone manner
  • 2-3 years bookselling and/or publishing sales & marketing experience

The position is located in our Vancouver office and reports to James Young, VP, Director of Sales.

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and their resume to hrcanada@randomhouse.com by April 3, 2015.

We appreciate the interest of all applicants; however only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

My most popular question as Publishing Librarian

As the Publishing Liaison Librarian not only do I answer questions from people in Publishing, but also from other SFU students and the general public. The most popular Publishing question I’m asked would be:

“How many copies of [Book X] were sold?”

Quite a few people think this is a nice, straightforward question.  Alas, The Big Book of All the Book Sales is a myth. To the surprise of no-one in Publishing, the first line of enquiry is to contact the actual publisher of the book. This can be through the Publisher’s website, found either with a quick Web search or through a listing such as BNC’s Catalist or Northern Lights. There is also searching Books in Print (BIP) in the Publisher section, which is is no longer at SFU but is available at local public or academic libraries.

Of course, publishers don’t have to reveal information about their book sale numbers, or in fact even respond to questions if they don’t want to.  Many people just give up on the question by this point  (often because it was an idle question in the first place), but for those who really want to know and are willing to some digging, here are some search suggestions.

For a recent book, there might be article articles about it in Quill & Quire or Publishers Weekly.  For Quill and Quire, the SFU community can search CBCA Complete with  a search such as: pub(quill and quire) AND [Book X]. For Publishers Weekly, the SFU community can search Business Source Complete with a search on the Subject: “Book title X (Book)”, e.g. HARRY Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone (Book). This approach usually works if the book is a bestseller.  A related search path is to find ads for the book in magazines such as Quill & Quire,  Publishers Weekly  or New York Times Book Review. Again, if a book is a bestseller the publisher will often boast of the number of copies sold in ads.

For an older book, perhaps someone else has done the legwork and has mentioned it in a biography of the author or criticism of the book. Otherwise, there is again asking the publisher, if still in existence, or possibly the checking archives of the publisher, such as through SFU’s Canadian Publishers’ Records. This should be left to people interested in undertaking painstaking research.

Finally, in a related search, there is finding information on when the book was on bestseller lists. On the PUB 371 course page there are some resources on publisher information, including bestseller lists.  (Note: Since BNC Research is one the of listed resources I’ll mention that, yes, BookNet Canada and Nielsen BookScan do track sales for publishers and bookstore, but alas, these data are not revealed to the public or academic researchers. That would make it too easy…)

Poetry Reading at The State of Extraction Conference

An upcoming conference about the the social and environmental impacts of natural resource extraction will culminate with a poetry reading featuring poets Judith Goldman, Mark Nowak and Jonathan Skinner.

The event is Sunday March 29, 7:00 pm in Room 1900, SFU Harbour Centre.

Judith Goldman is the author of Vocoder (Roof, 2001), DeathStar/rico-chet (O Books, 2006), and l.b.; or, catenaries (Krupskaya, 2011). She teaches in the Poetics Program at the University at Buffalo, edits poetry features for the online academic journal Postmodern Culture, and is at work on ______ Mt. [blank mount], a project that writes through Shelley’s “Mont Blanc” in the context of past futures and future histories of ecological catastrophe.

Mark Nowak, a 2010 Guggenheim fellow, is an award-winning poet, social critic, and labor activist, whose writings include The New York Times “Editor’s Choice,” Shut Up Shut Down (2004, afterword by Amiri Baraka), and the acclaimed book on coal mining disasters in the US and China, Coal Mountain Elementary (2009), that Howard Zinn called “a stunning educational tool.” He is currently an associate professor of creative writing at Manhattanville College.

Jonathan Skinner earned a PhD in English from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2005. His collection of poems, Political Cactus Poems (2005), was printed by Palm Press using an ecologically responsible printing process. Skinner edited the journal ecopoetics from 2001 to 2005 and writes ecocriticism on contemporary poetry. A former Professor of Environmental Studies at Bates College, Skinner teaches in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies and in the Writing Program at the University of Warwick.

* * *

The State of Extraction conference is sponsored by Simon Fraser University’s Institute for the Humanities, the takes place at SFU Harbour Centre, on unceded Coast Salish Territories, March 27–29, 2015. 

Other author presenters include SFU professor Stephen Collis, journalist Chris Hedges, and researcher Alain Deneault.

The State of Extraction: Corporate Imperatives, Public Knowledge, and Global Struggles conference aims to bring together indigenous leadership, academics, artists and public intellectuals from a variety of disciplines, to examine the new face of resource capitalism in Canada and its influence on the world, the (lack of) public debate, and look at models of alternative economic and social development through a series of presentations and roundtable discussions.

Lorna Crozier to receive Doctor of Letters from SFU

During June 9-12 convocation ceremonies, SFU will confer an honorary Doctor of Letters on Lorna Crozier, “an award-winning poet, essayist and professor emeritus who has authored 18 poetry books and two children’s books, and is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and an officer of the Order of Canada.”

Other recipients (in June and October convocations) include artist Ken Lum, humanitarian Judy Graves, and Bill Nye The Science Guy.

SFU confers honorary degrees to “distinguished individuals, in recognition of their scholarly, scientific, or artistic achievement, or in recognition of exceptional contribution to the public good through professional or philanthropic activity.”

See the full list of 2015 honorary degree recipients here.

TouchWood Editions Seeks Editor

TouchWood Editions is one of Western Canada’s leading independent book publishers, based in Victoria, BC. We publish books on food and wine, travel, and gardening, as well as titles of regional and historical interest. Our imprint, Brindle & Glass Publishing, is known for its list of quality literary fiction and non-fiction.

We are seeking an in-house editor to join our team. Ideally you are extremely detailed oriented, passionate about creative problem solving, happy to work both independently and collaboratively, and in possession of excellent communication skills.

This is a full-time position. Please send a cover letter and résumé via email to info@touchwoodeditions.com by Friday, March 27, 2015. 

Responsibilities include:

  • Evaluating manuscripts to determine readiness for editorial process
  • Substantive editing, copy editing, and proofreading of book-length projects according to in-house style guides and The Chicago Manual of Style
  • Fact checking, securing permissions, and applying for CIP data
  • Creating, compiling, and maintaining style sheets for series and individual titles
  • Preparing design-ready manuscripts (using styles, cleaning up formatting, and tagging) and reviewing layout requirements
  • Reading and correcting proofs, negotiating appropriate revisions with authors, incorporating authors’ changes and comments, and ensuring consistency and accuracy throughout
  • Working closely with the production team to maintain a smooth and timely publication schedule
  • Copy editing and proofreading all sales and promotional copy (ads, event posters, catalogue copy, back cover copy, etc.)
  • Fielding submission queries, logging all submissions, and writing and sending out rejection letters


  • In-house editorial experience in the book publishing industry preferred
  • Experience in editing cookbooks an advantage
  • Undergraduate degree in arts or communications
  • Excellent knowledge of The Chicago Manual of Style
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook
  • Proven ability to work independently and prioritize multiple projects

Lunch Poems at SFU featuring Erín Moure and Andrew McEwan

This Wednesday, Lunch Poems at SFU features poets Erín Moure and Andrew McEwan.

Lunch Poems at SFU featuring Erín Moure and Andrew McEwan

Day: Wednesday, March 18, 2015.
Time: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Where: Teck Gallery in SFU’s Harbour Centre Campus, 515 West Hasting Street, Vancouver, BC

View the Facebook Event

Lunch Poems at SFU, presented by SFU Public Square, is a unique vibrant exchange of poetic ideas and cadence held the third Wednesday of every month, noon to 1 pm, in the Teck Gallery at Simon Fraser University’s Harbour Centre Campus.

Call for Submissions: Dave Greber Freelance Writers Book and Magazine Awards for Social Justice Writing

Submissions are now open for the 2015 Dave Greber Freelance Writers Book and Magazine Awards for Social Justice Writing.

The Greber Writing Awards are two separate awards, one for books ($5,000) and one for magazines ($2,000) and are awarded to freelance writers of non-fiction on the topic of social justice. The Greber Awards seek writing that is “exceptionally written, well researched and demonstrates excellence of storytelling”.

Submissions for the 2015 awards are open from Monday, March 9, 2015 to Friday, June 12, 2015 at 5 PM (PST).

Information about the awards and detailed eligibility requirements can be found on their website.

What is your favourite imaginary book?


Wikipedia likes the term “fictional book”, a “non-existent book created specifically for (i.e. within) a work of fiction”.  They have a big list; feel free to add to it if they’ve missed anything.

Flavorwire likes the term “fake book”, which while fun would be confusing to musicians.  They have a great article Fake Books from Fiction That We Wish We Could Read.

I went with the classic term, as described in The logogryph : a bibliography of imaginary books PR 9337 H372 L63 2004.

My personal favourites are:  So You Went and Had a Baby  in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slapstick;  and The Bitch Pack Meets on Wednesdays from Anthony Powell’s Temporary Kings.

Comments are open until we get some sort of spam infestation.

BC Book Prizes’ 2015 shortlist announced

The West Coast Book Prize Society announced the award shortlist for the 31st annual BC Book Prizes today. Authors, illustrators, and publishers are recognized in seven categories, the winners of which will be announced on April 25, 2015 at the annual Lieutenant Governor’s BC Book Prizes Gala.

Several authors with SFU connections are on the 2015 shortlist:

Michael Springate, who received an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at SFU and has been an instructor for the School of Contemporary Art, is shortlisted for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize for The Beautiful West & The Beloved of God (Guernica Editions).

Caroline Adderson, a former Writers’ Studio mentor and writing instructor in the Continuing Studies department, is shortlisted in two categories for two different books. Ellen in Pieces (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.) is shortlisted for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, and Norman, Speak!, illustrated by Qin Leng (Groundwood Books) is shortlisted for the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize.

Margaret Horsfield, who received her BA in English from SFU, is shortlisted for the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize for Tofino and Clayoquot Sound: A History (Harbour Publishing), with co-author Ian Kennedy.

Kevin Chong, a current mentor for SFU’s The Writer’s Studio, is shortlisted for the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize for Northern Dancer: The Legendary Horse That Inspired a Nation (Viking).

Jen Currin, a former Writers’ Studio mentor, received her MA in English at SFU. She is shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize for School (Coach House Books).

Roy Miki, professor emeritus in English at SFU, is shortlisted for the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize for Dolphin SOS (Tradewind Books), co-written by Slavia Miki and illustrated by Julie Flett.

To see the full list of titles, go to the BC Book Prizes website.