Best Canadian Essays 2016

9781988040110-bce-2016ISBN: 9781988040110
Price: 21.95




Featuring trusted series editor Christopher Doda and acclaimed guest editor Joseph Kertes, this eighth installment of Canada’s annual volume of essays showcases diverse nonfiction writing from across the country. Culled from leading Canadian magazines and journals, Best Canadian Essays 2016 contains award-winning and award-nominated nonfiction articles that are topical and engaging and have their finger on the pulse of our contemporary psyches.

Contributors: Carleigh Baker, Graeme Bayliss, Desmond Cole, Krista Foss, Don Gillmor, Wayne A. Hunt, Michelle Kaeser, Richard Kelly Kemick, Susan Olding, Richard Poplak, Michael Rowe, Kenneth Sherman, Antanas Sileika, Fred Stenson, Leona Theis, Elana Wolff.

Christopher Doda is a poet, editor and critic living in Toronto. He is the author of two books of poetry, Among Ruins and Aesthetics Lesson. His award-winning nonfiction has appeared in journals across Canada and he was on the editorial board of Exile Editions for over ten years.

Joseph Kertes’ first novel, Winter Tulips, won the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour. His third novel, Gratitude, won a Canadian Jewish Book Award and the U.S. National Jewish Book Award for Fiction. His most recent novel is The Afterlife of Stars.

Posted in Anthologies, Fall 2016, Non-fiction | Tagged , , , , , , |

RM Vaughan Reading in Fredericton During Pride

Westminster Books and Fredericton Pride are pleased to announce a reading by acclaimed New Brunswick born and raised author RM Vaughan. Taking place at 7pm, Wednesday, August 13, in the middle of Fredericton Pride celebrations, Vaughan will be reading from his latest book Compared To Hitler: Selected Essays.

Vaughan is the award-winning author of 8 previous books, in poetry, fiction, and drama, and is a graduate of the University of New Brunswick’s Master of Arts in Creative Writing program. He is originally from Quispamsis and St. Martins. His new book, Compared To Hitler: Selected Essays, brings together Vaughan’s most talked about and controversial essays on culture and contemporary life, works originally published in national and international journals and magazines. Vaughan currently lives in Toronto and Berlin.

A brief Q&A will follow the reading. Copies of Compared To Hitler: Selected Essays will be available for purchase from the store, Westminster Books, 445 King Street, Fredericton, 506-454-1442.

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Magical Narcissism: Selected Writings on Books, Writers, Food, and Chefs – Shaun Smith

Magical Narcissism Cover

PRICE: $11.95 sale price!
ISBN: 978-1926639598




What has happened to Bret Easton Ellis ego? Why does Ferran Adrià reject the gastronomy its said he invented? Who was the novelist that punched her poet husband in the face? Why is David Sedaris broken in the wrong way? When is it comforting to eat spleen? In Magical Narcissism, award-winning Canadian journalist and critic Shaun Smith investigates all these questions and many others as he pursues his two great loves: books and food.

In dozens of pieces, Smith tackles works by such luminaries as Steve Martin, Joan Didion, Douglas Coupland, Iain Banks, Christopher Hitchens, Heston Blumenthal, Susur Lee, Jennifer McLagan, Bonnie Stern, Jeffrey Steingarten, and A.A. Gill. He takes us to pig roasts in southern Ontario and northern Spain. He wonders why people want books defaced by author autographs. He sings the praises of invention. And he laments a dearth of donuts.

Sometimes caustic, sometimes celebratory, always entertaining, the works in this volume represent the best from fifteen years of writing for such outlets as the The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, CBC.ca, Quill & Quire, and many others. Books and food are not really so disparate, writes Smith both provide sustenance and, if you’re lucky, gratification, and both can—and in my case usually do—elicit strong opinion.

Shaun Smith is a novelist and award-winning journalist in Toronto, Canada. His young-adult novel Snakes & Ladders was published in 2009. As a journalist he has published hundreds of articles and reviews on books, food and other subjects with such publications as The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, CBC.ca, Toronto Life, Quill & Quire, Chatelaine, and ELLE Canada. A former chef, he cooked in such noted kitchens as Scaramouche, The Senator, The Rosedale Diner, and David Wood Food Shop. Since 1995 he has worked widely as a book reviewer and publishing commentator, and also as a cookbook columnist, food writer, restaurant critic, and cookbook reviewer. In April 2011, he was inducted as a Fellow into the Ontario Hostelry Institute in recognition of his work as a food writer, book reviewer and commentator. Hervé This is a chemist who works for the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique at AgroParisTech in Paris, France, whose main area of scientific research is molecular gastronomy. He is the author of numerous scientific publications and several books on the subject.

Posted in Catalogue, Halloween Sale, M, Non-fiction, special holiday sale, Spring 2013 | Tagged , , , , , , , , |

COMPARED TO HITLER—RM VAUGHAN

Compared to Hilter CoverISBN: 9781926639659
PRICE: $15.95—special sale price!




RM Vaughan’s essays—taking on everything from photo-conceptualist art to the discordant joys of a Mariah Carey concert—have appeared in Canadian and international publications since the early 1990s. Compared to Hitler is both a “best of” collection and, in Vaughan’s own words, an apology for being such a brat. As the collection’s title tells us, the award-winning writer has been compared to unsavory characters his entire working life—and Vaughan wouldn’t want it any other way.

“RM Vaughan’s essays are sharp. Sharp in the sense of keenly intelligent of course, but also in the sense of knowing: being aware or au courant… The fact that they are also insightful, carefully written and witty, without unduly sacrificing rigour, adds to the pleasure of reading them.”—Peter Dubé, espace

“I smiled a lot reading this new book”—Richard Burnett, Montreal Gazette

“Wicked sense of humour… If you are queer, an artist, a Canadian, or just want to have you thinking challenged while also being entertained, I can recommend it.”—goodreads.com

“Lovely turns of phrase… This book is full of provocative writing about art, culture and life lived interestingly”—Shawn Syms, Winnipeg Review

“Vaughan’s words, turns of phrase, and plethora of provocative ideas are indeed pleasurable enough to be savoured right down to the acidic after taste.”—Drew Rowsome, drewrowsome.blogspot.ca

RM Vaughan is a writer and video artist. He is the author of eight previous books, and his fiction, essays, plays, and poetry appear in more than 50 anthologies. His video works have played in festivals and galleries across Canada and around the world. He lives in Toronto and Berlin.

Posted in C, Fall 2013, Non-fiction, Pride Sale | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Best Canadian Essays 2012

Best Canadian Essays 2012ISBN 9781926639567
Price: $12.95 sale price!




Unique and informative, these essays take a hard look at the state of Canadian literature today by exploring independent publishing, the awards culture, and the commercialization of even the most un-commercial of books. Delving into the political issues driving Canadians, including the tar sands in Alberta and the future of the railway system, this collection also discusses timely topics such as sexuality in the cyber world, the ongoing discoveries of the science world, and immigration. With contributions from Ryan Bigge, Kim Fu, George Fetherling, Alexandra Molotkow and Stephen Henighan, this volume promises to be one on the most entertaining and thought provoking edition yet.

Christopher Doda is an award-winning critic, editor, and poet. He is the author of the collections of poetry Among Ruins and Aesthetics Lesson. His poems and reviews have appeared in journals and magazines across Canada and he was an editor at Exile: The Literary Quarterly for five years. He is currently the review editor for the online journal Studio.

Ray Robertson is the author of six novels—Home Movies, Heroes, Moody Food, Gently Down the Stream, What Happened Later, and David—as well as two collections of non-fiction, Mental Hygiene: Essays on Writers and Writing and, most recently, Why Not? Fifteen Reasons to Live, which was short-listed for the Hillary Weston Writers Trust Prize for Non-Fiction, long-listed for the Charles Taylor Prize for Non-Fiction, and was a Globe and Mail Best Book of 2011.

Posted in Anthologies, B, Catalogue, Fall 2012, Non-fiction, special holiday sale | Tagged , , , |

Excerpt from Best Canadian Essays 2009, “Introduction”

INTRODUCTION

When Ezra Pound recommended that “poetry should be at least as well-written as prose” he confirmed what every journalist, book reviewer, literary critic, and magazine writer already knew: prose is hard work. It can be as economical, sensuous, and bracing as poetry, but, unlike poetry, prose has specific rules and provides specific guarantees. That’s because prose is what you turn to when you want to say something about something. One really can’t afford to be at a loss for words. It is an information conductor: no matter how stylish your sentences, your syntax must serve up clarity not ambiguity.

Prose is also the freelancer’s medium. Written for payment, prose is a product that, in turn, is sold to consumers who inhabit a marketplace filled with distractions. The writing, therefore, needs to be lively and incisive. It needs to act swiftly on the reader. What’s more, people who write prose are people who hustle after assignments. They tend to have a habit of taking on too much, which means they live a life oppressed by deadlines. There’s no time, therefore, to become self-conscious or rhetorical. When such writers get in trouble, they need solutions that work on the fly. But if they’re good, their instinct for expediency shares space with an appetite for artistry. They try to find new ways to build rhythm into their paragraphs. They try to find new ways to construct crisp, well-shaped sentences. The end result is a kind of belletristic grace: writing that wants us to take pleasure in the experience of reading it, but also has an overwhelming interest in making itself understood. This twofold challenge—to hold the reader’s attention, while giving them news they need—is why prose plays such a vital role in building up a viable public culture.

We looked high and low for essays that displayed this kind of prose, from literary periodicals to web journals to general-interest magazines. We were spoiled for choice. “An essay,” said Ian Hamilton, “can be an extended book review, a piece of reportage, a travelogue, a revamped lecture, an amplified diary-jotting, a refurbished sermon. In other words, an essay can be just about anything it wants to be, anything its author chooses to ‘essay.’ ” Hamilton here reminds us that the term is drawn from the French verb essayer: to try on, attempt, put to the test. No surprise, then, that so many of the essays we found revel in the opportunities the form offers as a vehicle for exploration. No navel-gazing, either. Writers delivered their stories from the front lines of human experience. They addressed themselves directly, and fearlessly, to serious subjects. They worked hard to produce original approaches to important, much-covered topics suffering breezy neglect by a bored media. What this book helps prove is that, along with our talent for short stories, Canadians excel at the essay form. We have a knack for open-mindedness, feel uneasy around oversimplifications, try to square any starkly opposed positions. Growing up somewhere between American gusto and British reserve, we are perhaps well-positioned to make balanced, nuanced, valuable observations. We have a built-in appreciation of diversity and culture. We are also, by nature, generalists: we like to know many things about lots of subjects. All of which gives Canadian prose a three-dimensional credibility.


For more information about The Best Canadian Essays 2009 or to purchase the book, please click here.

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Excerpt from George Fetherling and His Work, “Introduction”

The witness, an Introduction

George Fetherling is what Robin Skelton used to call a “scribbler”: someone such as himself whose compulsive writing is faster than sound. Sound is a problem. Fetherling, the poet/novelist/artist/cultural journalist who has mastered the silent word, switching genres with a click of his many-coloured pen, was born with a speech handicap. He has, in the jargon of the differently abled, compensated, the way stutterers are known to sing or recite poetry fluently even though speech is difficult. In book after book of articulate prose and poetry, Fetherling (the last name is an anglicized spelling of an old Dutch word for scribe or scrivener) sings like a bird with a thorn in its chest. Like children born with learning disabilities who often develop prodigious oral and artistic skills, he proves the adaptability of human beings.


For more information about George Fetherling and His Work or to purchase the book, please click here.

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An excerpt from Best Canadian Essays 2010, edited by Alex Boyd and Kamal Al-Solaylee

INTRODUCTION

When 2009 was only a few weeks old, the world was still reeling from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The word “recovery”—the theme of the latter half of 2009—seemed more like wishful thinking than a reality. Still, some economists and business journalists seem to think that Canada was spared the banking meltdowns and real-estate collapse that brought the American economy—and the British, the Irish, Icelandic, you name it—to its knees. Our banking habits and national trait saved us from the worst consumerist excesses.

Out-of-work Canadians and cultural workers who’ve seen their already-meagre funding disappear before their eyes may disagree with this rosy picture, but as editors of The Best Canadian Essays 2010, we have ample evidence to suggest that as the world turned, ushering in a cycle of penny- pinching and overspending (a.k.a. stimulus), Canadian magazine writers managed to invest their capital in a range of timely and timeless stories. The economy may have dictated newspaper headlines, but introspection, and social and environmental concerns gave writers a chance to examine a bigger picture—one that transcends the ups and downs of trading indexes and banking scandals.

The anthology you’re about to read captures a year in the life of Canada through the eyes of several of its best essayists. For some, the word “essay” conjures up images of returning to school and being forced to write about your summer vacation, but we’re out to prove it isn’t a dirty word. These essays (sometimes even referred to as “stories” in correspondence with authors) cover everything from dog-sled racing up north to urban attempts to beat the aging process. Our writers contemplate subjects as personal as faith and as large as disturbing social trends. This is writing loaded with incisive observations and ideas.


For more information about Best Canadian Essays 2010 or to purchase the book, please click here.

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George Featherling and His Work | Ed. Linda Rogers

George Fetherling, edited by Linda RogersISBN-10: 0973864516
ISBN-13: 9780973864519
Price: $14.95
Pub Date: 2005

For nearly forty years George Fetherling has been the professional outsider who is nevertheless at the centre of things, a cyclone of activity in the arts generally and a supportive presence for those who labour there alongside him.

His more then fifty books, including Selected Poems and Travels by Night, form a persuasive argument for a distinct Canadian brand of humanism, rooted in our own time and place but honouring the past while acknowledging the cosmopolitan character of Canadian cities.

In George Fetherling and His Work, Linda Rogers brings together a range of critics, academics and fellow poets from across the country to discuss various aspects of his life and ideas. Readers who know Fetherling’s writing in a variety of genres will gain fresh insight from this retrospective collection. Those coming to Fetherling for the first time will find the book a useful introduction.

Featuring work from Linda Rogers, Eric Marks, George Fetherling, John Burns, WH New, George Elliott Clarke, John Clement Ball, Brian Busby, Jennifer Toews, and Rhonda Batchelor.

Click to read an excerpt from George Fetherling and His Work.

George Fetherling was born in 1949. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Toronto Star has called George Fetherling the poet, novelist and cultural commentator, a “legendary” figure in Canadian writing.

Posted in Catalogue, F, Non-fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Best Canadian Essays 2009

The Best Canadian Essays 2009
ISBN-13: 9781926639055
Price: $13.95-special sale price
Pub Date: 2009




Compiled from dozens of Canadian magazines by two award winning authors, this collection of essays covers a diverse range of topics by Canadian writers. By turns these essays move and excite the reader and help shape Canadian cultural consciousness.

Featuring work from Alex Boyd, Carmine Starnino, Kalam Al-solaylee, Katherine Ashenburg, Kris Demeanor, Jessa Gamble, Nicholas Hune-Brown, Chris Kontges, Anita Lahey, Alison Lee, Nick Mount, Denis Seguin, Chris Turner, Lori Theresa Waller, Nathan Whitlock, and Chris Wood.

Click to read an excerpt from The Best Canadian Essays 2009.

Carmine Starnino has published four books of poetry, the most recent of which is This Way Out (Gaspereau Press) nominated for the 2009 Governor General’s Award for Poetry. His poems have won the F.G. Bressani Literary Prize, the A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry and the Canadian Authors Association Poetry Award. He the author of A Lover’s Quarrel, a collection of essays on Canadian poetry, and the editor of The New Canon: An Anthology of Canadian Poetry. A new collection of his poetry criticism is forthcoming from Biblioasis in 2011. He lives in Montreal, where he edits Maisonneuve magazine.

Alex Boyd is the author of poems, fiction, reviews and essays and has work published in magazines and newspapers such as Taddle Creek, dig, Books in Canada, The Globe and Mail, Quill & Quire and on various sites such as the late Danforth Review. He was the host of the IV Lounge Reading Series from 2003 to 2008 when the series closed its doors. He’s co-editor of the online journal Northern Poetry Review, and his first book of poems Making Bones Walk was published in 2007 by Luna press, winning the Gerald Lampert Award.

Posted in Anthologies, B, Catalogue, Fall 2009, Non-fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |