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News, Events, and Announcements

news | Wednesday November 24, 2021

Drew Hayden Taylor, an Influential Indigenous Author in Canada

We are pleased to announce that Drew Hayden Taylor has been named an Influential Indigenous Author in Canada in the Canadian Encyclopedia.

Taylor is from the Curve Lake Reserve in Ontario. His plays have garnered many prestigious awards, and his beguiling and perceptive storytelling style has enthralled audiences in Canada, the United States, and Germany. Taylor has also written over 30 fiction and non-fiction books that have questioned, informed, and challenged readers regarding what it means to be Indigenous. Additionally, Taylor contributes to various publications as a freelance columnist looking at issues through an Indigenous lens.

Check out Taylor’s full list of works here by clicking on the Books tab in the top left corner.

Congrats, Drew Hayden Taylor!

news | Friday November 12, 2021

Phyllis Webb In Memoriam

PHYLLIS WEBB

April 8, 1927 – November 11, 2021
Officer of the Order of Canada
Recipient, Governor General’s Award for Poetry
CBC Broadcaster

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Phyllis Jean Webb on November 11, 2021, at 10 a.m. She died peacefully, on her own terms, at Lady Minto Hospital in Ganges, Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. “‘I am happy, so happy,’” she said a few days before her death, echoing the last words Gerald Manley Hopkins, one of her favourite poets, spoke as he was dying.

Phyllis was a celebrated and influential writer, admired for her carefully crafted poems, her innovation with form and line, and the unflinching honesty and sharpness of vision through which she wrote about the human condition. Peacock Blue: The Collected Poems of Phyllis Webb (2014), edited by John F. Hulcoop, is a dazzling testament to her masterful use of language and the range of her poetic voice. The main influences on her poetry in her early years may have been male, but she “dispatched” those literary “fathers to the river Lethe,” and began writing, as fellow poet Sharon Thesen put it, in a “female-embodied poetic voice.”

The youngest child of Mary and Alfred Webb, Phyllis was born and raised in Victoria, B.C. She was eager to get off the island as a teenager, and she did so. She lived in London, Paris, San Francisco, Montreal, Edmonton, and Vancouver, yet she ended up spending the last decades of her life closer to home, in Victoria but primarily on Salt Spring Island. She received a BA in English and philosophy from the University of British Columbia. She was twenty-two years old when in 1949 she ran as an election candidate for the socialist Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, the youngest person ever in the Commonwealth to seek office. She didn’t win, but she maintained an abiding interest in political and social issues, including the Russian tradition of anarchism, specifically Peter Kropotkin, a figure that inspired some of her poetry. She once called herself “a law-abiding anarchist.”

She worked as a secretary in the 1950s and as a freelancer for CBC. Between 1967 and 1969 she was the executive producer of Ideas, the CBC program she co-founded with William A. Young. Following her freelance work for CBC, she taught poetry in the creative writing programs at the University of British Columbia, the University of Victoria, and the Banff Centre, and was writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta.

When, circa 1990, “words abandoned” her, she put her typewriter aside, henceforth only used for the letters she wrote to friends, and picked up a camera. She created collages out of the photographs she took, the first step toward becoming a self-taught painter. She continued to paint and write letters until her arthritic fingers dictated otherwise. A voracious yet discriminating reader, one of the last things she read was the most recent issue of Brick, a literary magazine that she hadn’t read for a long while but which she specifically asked for. “Still zany,” she told the friend who sent it to her.

Though Phyllis was intensely private, she cherished old and new friends and was a most loyal and caring friend herself. She will be deeply missed by many.

She is survived by her beloved nieces, Starr Webb, Paola Unger, Sarah Webb, and sister-in-law Marianne Webb. Phyllis was predeceased by her brothers Walter and Gerald.

Our sincere thanks to the nursing and care staff at Lady Minto Hospital for their care, kindness, and generosity to Phyllis and us all over the last few months.

Following Phyllis’s request, there will be no memorial service. A celebration of her poetry and painting will be planned at a later point.

news | Friday November 5, 2021

Hot Off the Press

The Full Light of Day by Daniel Brooks has just arrived from the press! The Full Light of Day is a modern epic tragedy, a timely exploration of crumbling privilege and power, beautifully told and innovative in form. Mary’s family finds itself in serious difficulty, and some bad decisions lead to disaster. Mary soon falls ill, and as she is dying wrestles with what her family is, what she has done with her life, and how she wants to die. The Full Light of Day is a provocative film/theatre experiment that looks at crucial choices facing Canadians today – how to live, love, and die in a world in transition. Bold characters, bracing text, wit, and suspense all mix together in this new play by award-winning artist Daniel Brooks.

Pick up your copy here. You don’t want to miss this one!

news | Thursday November 4, 2021

Fall 2021 Launch Special

We are pleased to announce our 2021 Fall Launch Special!

Buy all five books for $55.00 or 15% off on individual titles.

City That Is Leaving Forever by Rahat Kurd and Sumayya Syed

OЯACULE by Nicole Raziya Fong

A Future Perfect by Razielle Aigen

Flying Red Horse by Dale Martin Smith

Coast Mountain Foot by ryan fitzpatrick

We hope you enjoy these new titles as much as we do!

news | Thursday November 4, 2021

Congratulations, Weyman Chan!

We’d like to extend a huge congratulations to Weyman Chan for winning the 2021 Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize.

“Chan’s writing bursts with lyricism, wonder, and quiet ache. His poems are as concerned with notions of longing as with belonging,” said the jurors, Shane Book and Gillian Sze. “In Chan, we find a remarkable voice in Canadian poetry — necessary and distinct.”

Congratulations, Weyman! The Talon team is incredibly proud.

news | Wednesday October 27, 2021

Maylis de Kerangal Special

Experience the amazing world of Maylis de Kerangal, one of the world’s top fiction writers, with our website special! Her prose has garnered readers and awards from across the globe.

Kerangal’s most recent book, Painting Time , plunges readers into the world of Paula Karst, a young woman who discovers a passion for trompe l’oeil painting techniques. After beginning her studies at the famous Institut de Peinture in Brussels, Paula meets two new lifelong friends – both enigmatic, resourceful, impulsive, and gifted. Together the three weave a complex relationship that mirrors the interconnectedness of their artistic materials. Replicating the grain of wood, the wear of marble, or the protrusion on a tortoiseshell requires method, technique, talent … but also something else. Paula strives to understand what she’s painting, both the “micro” that she is and the complex “macro” of the world and its history.

Painting Time is now only $15!

Mend the Living is the story of a heart transplant, centred around Simon Limbeau, the boy whose heart is given, and his family. Taking place within exactly twenty-four hours, the novel traces the thrill of an early-morning winter surf session, the terrible accident that follows, and all the urgency and compassion of the hospital workers, and shock and grief of Simon’s family as they negotiate the question of organ donation. Maylis de Kerangal offers glimpses into the thoughts and affective lives of each of the characters: Simon, at the core of the novel; Marianne and Sean, his parents, who have been estranged for some months; Revol, the chief surgeon, music enthusiast, and studier of hallucinogenic plants; Cordelia Owl, the capable new nurse who is reeling from a night spent with her former lover; Thomas Rémige, the hospital coordinator, an opera singer, and aficionado of goldfinches; Virgilio, the silvertongued, light-fingered surgeon; Juliette, Simon’s girlfriend, who is building a labyrinth inside a Plexiglass case, waiting for Simon’s call.

Mend the Living is also on special for $15!

And finally, Birth of a Bridge tells the story of a handful of men and women of various backgrounds and classes, who assemble around the construction of a giant suspension bridge in Coca, a fictional city somewhere in a mythical and fantastic California. Told on a sweeping scale reminiscent of classic American adventure films, this Médicis Prize–winning novel chronicles the lives of these individuals, who represent a microcosm of not just mythic California, but of humanity as a whole. Their collective effort to complete (or oppose) the mega-project recounts one of the oldest of human dramas, to domesticate – and to radically transform – our world through built form, with all the dramatic tension it brings: a threatened strike, an environmental dispute, sabotage, accidents, career moves, and love affairs … Here generations and social classes cease to exist, and everyone and everything converges toward the bridge as metaphor, a cross-cultural impression of America today.

Birth of a Bridge is on special for $14!

You can pick up all three books for just $35.00.

To order all three copies, click on one of the following three title links and scroll down: on the bottom left-hand side of the page, you’ll see the option to click “Add to cart” to buy all four volumes in the series. To receive 30% off one title, click on the correct book below, and add it to your cart.

news | Thursday October 21, 2021

Talonbooks Fall 2021 Book Launch

Mark your calendars!

We are delighted to announce that we are holding our Fall 2021 launch on Thursday, November 4 at 5:30 p.m. PDT on Zoom.

We are launching five new titles:

A Future Perfect by Razielle Aigen

Coast Mountain Foot by ryan fitzpatrick

OЯACULE by Nicole Raziya Fong

The City That Is Leaving Forever by Rahat Kurd and Sumayya Syed

Flying Red Horse by Dale Martin Smith

Join us to hear our writers read from their new books. We will have the Zoom chat open for a brief Q&A session, too.

Click here to register for the event.

We look forward to seeing you all there!

news | Wednesday October 20, 2021

Hot Off the Press

We are excited to announce that A Future Perfect by Razielle Aigen, OЯACULE by Nicole Raziya Fong, and The City That Is Leaving Forever by Rahat Kurd and Sumayya Syed have arrived, hot off the press!

A Future Perfect operates, like a zoetrope, on the logic of the persistence of vision, joining the successive repetition of absence and presence. Like the sound of rain on a surreal windowpane, these poems constellate between the symbolic order of dreams and the imaginative space of figurative meaning – yet always tethered by the felt sense of being-in-the-world. Wonder is encountered in the ordinary bending of time, discovering what it means to be seen as two things at once; what it means to say “hello, world!”; and how to embrace the gene loss, simultaneously. Here we perceive orbs of light and shadow, entoptic visions collected in luminous masses that taper into peaks, swell into waves, and dip into concave husks – covering a variegated surface, a topography of uncertainty that transverses sky, ocean, landscape, organic hollows, canvas, and architecture – a territory upon which interiority and exteriority merge.

Pick up your copy here.

OЯACULE occurs at the intersection of poetry and theatre. The book’s dramatis personae inhabits a classical and cosmological world where psychic phenomena constantly threaten to impinge upon the arc of combat occurring between the women trapped within. Influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy, the writings of Plato and Homer, and the films of Pier Paolo Pasolini, OЯACULE interweaves lyric expression of dreams, theatrical dialogue, songs, and the voices of both chorus and anti-chorus, interrogating the tenuous relations between absence and time, dream and memory, and conscious and unconscious sensing.

Pick up your copy here.

The City That Is Leaving Forever is a unique instant-message exchange between Kashmir and Vancouver spanning more than five years in the lives of two Kashmiri Muslim women poets. As India’s military carries out extrajudicial killings and imposes a lengthy curfew in Srinagar, the authors describe daily hardships and small pleasures, share drafts of their poems, discuss multilingual poetics, and contrast the anguish of exile with life under lockdown. Their conversation expands during periods of intensifying conflict and personal loss, bearing witness to the harsh tolls (including depression and attempted suicide) exacted by patriarchy and state violence. The correspondence becomes a rigorously feminist record of two poets thinking through trauma together and creating new work in solidarity with emerging freedom struggles across the globe, “a book like a cluster of thorns with some few fragrant petals caught in them.”

Pick up your copy here.

The launch party for these three titles (and others) is taking place Thursday, November 4, 2021 at 5:30 p.m. PDT.

We’re excited for you to read these incredible books!

news | Friday October 15, 2021

Québec Writers' Federation Finalist

Happy Friday!

We are so happy to announce that Orwell in Cuba: How 1984 Came to Be Published in Castro’s Twilight by Frédérick Lavoie and translated by Donald Winkler is a finalist for the Cole Foundation Prize for Translation of the Québec Writers’ Federation Literary Awards.

Orwell in Cuba chronicles journalist Frédérick Lavoie’s attempts to unravel the motives behind the mysterious appearance of a new translation of George Orwell’s 1984, formerly taboo in Cuba, just ahead of the country’s twenty-fifth International Book Fair. Lavoie works to make sense of how Cubans feel about the past, present, and future of their island – and how the political regime is adapting, or not, to life in the twenty-first century. His intertwined quests give readers the unique experience of following a suspenseful trail while at the same time becoming increasingly familiar with Cubans’ relationship to the regime and their strategies for coping with the island’s often challenging living conditions.

Click here to purchase your copy of Orwell in Cuba.

The award winners will be announced at the live-streamed gala on Wednesday, November 24 at 7:00 p.m. EDT.

Cross your fingers!

news | Thursday October 14, 2021

Stephen Collis, a Governor General's Finalist

We are so proud to announce that Stephen Collis is a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award in the poetry category for his A History of the Theories of Rain.

A History of the Theories of Rain explores the strange effect our current sense of impending doom has on our relation to time, approaching the unfolding climate catastrophe through its dissolution of the categories of “man-made” and “natural.” How do we go on with our daily lives while a disastrous future impinges upon every moment?

Collis provides no easy answers and offers no simple hope. Instead, he probes our current state of anxiety with care, humour, and an unflinching gazing into the darkness we have gathered around ourselves. Asking what form a resistance to the tenor of these out-of-joint times might take, A History of the Theories of Rain explores the links between climate’s “tipping points” and the borders constraining the plants, animals, and peoples forcibly displaced by a radically altered world ecology.

The 2021 Governor General’s winners will be announced on November 17. Cross your fingers for Stephen Collis, and pick up your copy of his book here.

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Coast Mountain Foot
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Desire Path
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eat salt | gaze at the ocean
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OЯACULE
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Painting Time
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still
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The Grand Melee
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Then Now
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