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News, Events, and Announcements

news | Friday September 23, 2022

“Conversations with Khahtsahlano” in The Tyee

There is a wonderful article about Conversations with Khahtsahlano, 1932–1954 written by Ben Mussett in The Tyee. The piece beautifully details the contents of the book and the context in which Conversations with Khahtsahlano, 1932–1954 was originally created.

A co-production by Massy Books and Talonbooks, Conversations with Khahtsahlano, 1932–1954 is a facsimile reproduction. The book was originally published by the Vancouver City Archives in 1955.

From Mussett’s article:

“It can make for a disjointed read, but it brims with vivid detail: Sḵwx̱wú7mesh vocabulary and local place names (and corresponding maps); family lineages and lore; traditional Sḵwx̱wú7mesh duck hunting techniques, architecture, social organization, canoe design, tools, diet and customs. There are detailed transportation routes, appraisals of local rumours and casual commentary on the myriad effects of colonialism: ‘Everywhere whiteman goes, he change food.’”

Read the full article here!

news | Friday September 9, 2022

Leanne Dunic Named a Finalist in 2022 Montreal International Poetry Prize!

Leanne Dunic is named a finalist in 2022 Montreal International Poetry Prize! This prestigious prize honours an exceptional poem of 40 lines or fewer. You can read Dunic’s poem, “Sturgeon Devouring His Son” along with the all Montreal International Poetry Prize finalists’ poems here. This is a stellar collection of poems and poets. Congratulations, Leanne!

news | Tuesday September 6, 2022

Normand Chaurette, 1954–2022

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of beloved author and playwright Normand Chaurette on August 31, 2022. A pioneer of LGBTQIA2S+ theatre in Canada, his work has changed the cultural landscape for the better. We are grateful for the tremendous impact of Chaurette’s writing.

Chaurette was a prolific writer and a three-time winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for French-Language Drama. It has been a true honour to publish four of his plays, The Queens, The Concise Köchel, Fragments of a Farewell Letter Read by Geologists, and All the Verdis of Venice, in translation. His work has been performed all over the world and we know it will continue to hold resonance in years to come.

Normand Chaurette’s loss will be felt profoundly. Our condolences to his loved ones and our ongoing gratitude for his words.

news | Tuesday September 6, 2022

Mercedes Eng Named 2022 Ellen and Warren Tallman Writer-in-Residence!

Congratulations to Mercedes Eng for her recent appointment as Simon Fraser University’s 2022 Ellen and Warren Tallman Writer-in-Residence! Eng will be working on an anthology during her residency and will be available to consult with writers from September 13 to December 3.

The anthology Eng is assembling during her residency seeks to dismantle prison systems. From Rebecca Saloustros’ piece on the SFU website: “‘During her writer-in-residence term, Eng will be working on a prison anthology of writing by women and girls, femmes, non-binary, and two-spirit people about carceral systems.” Read Saloustros’ full piece on Eng’s residency here.

We look forward to following Eng’s time as the 2022 Ellen and Warren Tallman Writer-in-Residence and are eager to hear about both the work she’s creating and the writers she will help flourish.

news | Friday September 2, 2022

Marie Clements' “Bones of Crows” at TIFF

One of the world’s most celebrated film festivals is back! The 47th Toronto International Film Festival kicks off September 8, showcasing over 200 films. Among them is Bones of Crows, the latest film written and directed by Marie Clements!

Bones of Crows begins in the 1920s and follows the life of Aline Spears, an Indigenous woman who is forced into residential school alongside her siblings. Though residential schools sought to erase Aline’s ability to speak Cree, this precise skill aids her immensely throughout her time in the military during World War II. A stirring work that spans generations, Bones of Crows sheds light on the cruelty and genocidal practices Indigenous people have been subjected to, and shares a narrative of powerful resistance.

Read more about Marie Clements’ Bones of Crows here.

news | Friday September 2, 2022

Tomson Highway to Deliver 2022 CBC Massey Lectures!

The CBC Massey Lectures, the annual speaking series given by a prominent luminary, scholar, or public figure, is returning to the live events sphere for the first time since 2019. This year’s speaker is none other than remarkable author and performer, Tomson Highway! Highway is known for his deft marriage of irreverence and poignancy. Tomson Highway recently received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement. He will be delivering his lecture series live in 5 cities between September 7 and September 23. They will be broadcast on CBC Radio and CBC Listen in November.

Read more about Tomson Highway’s upcoming 2022 CBC Massey Lectures here.

news | Friday September 2, 2022

Excerpt from “The City that is Leaving Forever” in Issue 120 of Geist!

Catch an excerpt from The City that is Leaving Forever in Issue 120 of Geist. Entitled “Secret Refuge”, the excerpt captures an exchange between Rahat Kurd and Sumayya Syed set during the 2016 curfew in Kashmir.

You can order a copy of Issue 120 of Geist here.

news | Tuesday August 30, 2022

Leanne Dunic Selected for Poetry in Transit 2022!

A new slate of poets has been selected for Poetry in Transit 2022! Now in its 26th year, Poetry in Transit is an initiative that features the work of BC-authored, Canadian-published poets on modes of transportation around the province. Among the ten poets chosen for Poetry in Transit 2022 is Leanne Dunic! A piece from her collection One and Half of You will be traveling around a city near you! Congratulations, Leanne!

You can learn more about Poetry in Transit and the 2022/2023 poets here.

news | Friday August 12, 2022

"Moving the Centre" has Arrived!

Hot off the press! Moving the Centre: Two Plays is here! Consisting of “Small Axe” by Andrew Kushnir and “Freedom Singer” by Khari Wendell McClelland, Moving the Centre: Two Plays is a stellar double bill.

“Small Axe” follows a white, queer playwright who feels called to investigate homophobia in Jamaica. As he researches the issue and interviews the people whom it affects, his own orientation in the scatterplot of oppressions and intersections becomes unignorable. “Small Axe” features a pantheon of moving, vulnerable exchanges, granting each character their deserved depth. “Small Axe” invites us to discover the ways in which we are connected and asks us to tend to our own gardens for the betterment of the entire ecosystem.

An excerpt from “Small Axe”:

‘I tell you about … intolerance in the Ukrainian community that I have observed and experienced. About religion and machismo and all these things that you mentioned. I say, “I never get it, how people who have experienced the sting of oppression turn around and be homophobic. It’s the biggest contradiction.”

You see, I thought: My tattoo says the exact same thing.

But very kindly, very generously, you say, “No, my friend. It’s not exactly the same.”’

“Freedom Singer” by Khari Wendell McClelland is a musical/verbatim theatre hybrid documenting Khari Wendell McClelland’s research into his ancestral grandmother, Kizzy. Filled with song, recollection, and meaning-making, this excavation into the author’s past pays homage to ancestry, resilience, and the music that carries us from generation to generation. A work of memory and reverence, McClelland becomes an archaeologist; unearthing, reconstructing, and imagining lost aspects of Kizzy’s history.

An excerpt from “Freedom Singer”:

‘For my family, Kizzy is our mythological matriarch. She is a rock in a stormy sea. She is that point of reference, when I feel lost, when I feel despondent, when I don’t know where to turn, I often turn to her. Seems to me that if we all look back far enough, each and every one of us in this room has an Ancestor that’s walked a thousand miles in their bare feet so that we can all be here…

Kizzy reminds me of the distance I have travelled.’

The interplay between the two pieces is like a work unto itself. In between the plays is a conversation between Andrew Kushnir and Khari Wendell McClelland. The plays and their creators facilitate a dialogue about positionality and perspective in cultural production. Exploring the impact of Black “looking back” and the white gaze, these plays raise questions of how we can move toward more ethical, equitable performance practices.

Pick up your copy of Moving the Centre: Two Plays today!

news | Tuesday August 9, 2022

Le 12 août / August 12: j’achète un livre québécois / Buy a Book by a Quebec Author Day!

Celebrate the 9th annual Le 12 août, j’achète un livre québécois / On August 12, Buy a Quebec Book Day! This initiative seeks to highlight the literary works of phenomenal Québécois authors.

At Talonbooks we specialise in translations of wonderful writing out of Québec across genres. We are so pleased to be able to bring poetry, non-fiction, plays, and novels from Québec to English readers everywhere. In honour of the 12 août event, we’ve compiled a list of some recent, translated works we are excited about. Check them out below:

1. Falling Shadows by Christian Guay-Poliquin and translated by David Homel

Hot off the press! Falling Shadows, the third book in the arresting, post-apocalyptic series by Christian Guay-Poliquin has arrived!

The forest is wild and full of hostile factions. Lost, pursued, and threatened by his environment, a lone man struggles through the woods towards the hunting cabin where his family has taken refuge. On the way he meets a mysterious twelve-year-old boy. The two must work together to survive in a landscape fraught with danger.

This is Québec writer Christian Guay-Poliquin’s much anticipated third instalment in the series of gripping post-apocalyptic novels initiated with Running on Fumes and prolonged by the international bestseller The Weight of Snow published by Talonbooks in 2016 and 2019. The Weight of Snow was long-listed for the 2020 Sunburst Award and was translated into fifteen languages. Throughout these novels, Guay-Poliquin has developed a unique storytelling craft; his narratives are grounded in the demands and details of daily life and in a world ripe with experience.

2. Twists of Fate by Michel Tremblay and translated by Linda Gaboriau

Twists of Fate encompasses the sixth and seventh books in the Desrosiers Diaspora series; “If By Chance” and “Destination Paradise”. In “If By Chance”, it’s 1925 when the notorious Ti-Lou abandons a life of serving diplomats and men of power. Sneaking away with all of her savings, she winds up at Windsor station staring down five possible fates, each with their own unique gifts and deficits. Ti-Lou must decide which long-held parts of herself to nurture, and which to let fall away.

“Destination Paradise” follows precocious Édouard in a queer coming-of-age tale set in 1930. Destined to one day become a star of the Montréal drag scene, “Destination Paradise” explores the murky time before Édouard emerges into his spotlight. A moving portrait of a young man’s search for belonging and journey to finding himself.

Born in a working-class family in Quebec, novelist and playwright Michel Tremblay was raised in Montreal’s Plateau neighbourhood. An ardent reader from a young age, Tremblay began to write, in hiding, as a teenager. Because of their charismatic originality, their vibrant character portrayals, and the profound vision they embody, Tremblay’s dramatic, literary, and autobiographical works have long enjoyed remarkable international popularity; his plays have been adapted and translated into dozens of languages and have achieved huge success throughout Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East.

3. Orwell in Cuba by Frédérick Lavoie and translated by Donald Winkler

In Orwell in Cuba, journalist Frédérick Lavoie seeks to unravel the story behind a mysterious new translation of Orwell’s 1984 in Cuba that appears just before a major book fair. With 1984’s taboo history in the country, it becomes clear to Lavoie that something unusual is afoot. With all the propulsion of a detective story, Orwell in Cuba paints a wonderfully illustrative picture of a country and its people in the midst of a regime change.

Born in Chicoutimi in 1983, Frédérick Lavoie is a writer and freelance journalist. He is the author of three nonfiction books, including For Want of a Fir Tree: Ukraine Undone (Linda Leith Publishing, 2018) and Avant l’après: Voyages à Cuba avec George Orwell, winner of the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award.

Head to your local independent book store on August 12 and snag your next read in honour of Le 12 août, j’achète un livre québécois / On August 12, Buy a Quebec Book Day. Happy reading!

Featured Books

A Dream in the Eye
The Complete Paintings and Collages of Phyllis Webb
Edited by Stephen Collis & Gregory Gibson

160 pages | Non-Fiction


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a pick-the-path experience
By Daniel Arnold & Darrell Dennis & Medina Hahn

256 pages | Drama


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its th sailors life / still in treetment
meditaysyuns from gold mountain
By bill bissett

290 pages | Poetry


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Kisses Deep
By Michel Marc Bouchard
Translated by Linda Gaboriau

112 pages | Drama


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Translated by Oana Avasilichioaei
By Martine Desjardins

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Moving the Centre
Two Plays: Small Axe & Freedom Singer
By Andrew Kushnir & Khari Wendell McClelland

160 pages | Drama


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Still • Falling and The Code
Two Plays for Teens
By Rachel Aberle

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The Ballad of Ginger Goodwin and Other Plays
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The Piano Teacher
A Healing Key
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By Ivan Drury

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Untimely Passages
Dossiers from the Other Shore
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Witness Back at Me
mis-mothering & transmigration
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