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Mini Incite: A Celebration of Indigenous Voices with the BC and Yukon Book Prize Finalists

For a stirring final event of the mini-Incite season, the Vancouver Writers Fest partners with the BC and Yukon Book Prizes to celebrate some of British Columbia’s incredible Indigenous talent, all nominees for the 2020 BC and Yukon Book Prizes. The BC and Yukon Book Prizes, established in 1985, celebrate the achievements of British Columbia writers and publishers. These are stories of place, of displacement, of resilience and healing. Join the special event on YouTube Live Wednesday, June 17 at 7pm PDT.

In My Own Moccasins: A Memoir of Resilience (University of Regina Press)

Helen Knott, a 2019 RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Author, shares her deeply intimate and provocative memoir of intergenerational trauma and becoming, In My Own Moccasins: A Memoir of Resilience (University of Regina Press), which is nominated for the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize.

 


SH:LAM (The Doctor) (Mawenzi House Publishers)

Joseph A Dandurand shares his insightful and sweeping poetry collection SH:LAM (The Doctor) (Mawenzi House Publishers), which follows the story of a Kwantlen man given the gift of healing. His collection has been shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Award for Poetry.

 

On/Me (Caitlin Press)

Francine Cunningham shares her debut poetry collection On/Me (Caitlin Press), a suite of emotive and powerful poems on her lived experience as an Indigenous woman, mental illness and urban life. Her collection has been nominated for the Jim Deva Prize for Writing That Provokes.

Tune in with their host Sean Cranbury, the Executive Director of the BC and Yukon Book Prizes, live on YouTube for an unforgettable discussion, before the winners are announced Saturday, September 19, 2020. Learn more about the nominees at bcbookprizes.ca.

RSVP and submit a question for the panelists here.

Alexis Roumanis of Engage Books wants to help children understand COVID-19

Explaining COVID-19 to young children can be challenging for families. Engage Books wanted to create accessible resources for parents and educators to help children understand the significant impact that COVID-19 is having on their lives. Engage Books created multi-level educational books to empower young children to read about COVID-19 on their own, or with the help of an adult. This simple act empowers young readers, and is an important step in making this situation a little less scary.

As COVID-19 is affecting millions of children across the world, Engage Books strives to translate these books into multiple languages. To help support their efforts, physical copies are available for purchase. To help make this book available to as many children and families as possible, this eBook is offered free of charge to everyone.

Engage Books partnered with Munday Media & Design to donate a Story Walk of the Level 2 and Level 4 books. Each page of these books are now printed on signs, and placed in the park at Oliver’s community centre for families to read the entire book as they walk from sign to sign. We chatted with Alexis Roumanis about his determination to take an initiative in educating facts in a meaningful way.

Tell us about your book and how it came to ideation.

When schools closed in March, my boys (6, and twin 5-year-olds) were asking lots of questions about COVID-19, and I realized that parents around the world are being asked similar questions. A few days later, I decided to use my experience in writing and publishing children’s books, along with the involvement of talented publishing professionals, to put together three books for Level 1, 2, and 4 readers.

Did you collaborate with anyone to create the book?

Over the past several years, I have worked closely with children’s book editor, Jared Siemens. He has a keen eye for detail, and knows intuitively how to structure a children’s educational book. Recently he has been working in the non-profit sector, performing a wide variety of relief and poverty prevention work internationally. When I approached him with the COVID-19 series, he immediately appreciated the significant impact that this could have on children, and began helping me with the finer details of structuring each book. I am very grateful for his help.

Tell us about your work at Engage Books

Engage Books publishes a wide variety of content. I began by publishing classic titles from the likes of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and James Joyce. Since, Engage Books has branched out into a variety of areas including bullet journals, and children’s books. One of our books, The Toddler’s Handbook, has been so successful that we have translated it into 20 different languages. I divide my time between writing, editing, finding new images, laying out new content, and coordinating workflow with publishing professionals. One of my favourite things is coming up with new concepts, and planning out a new series of books.

 

 

What were the early days of your career like? How did you get to where you are now?

After I graduated Simon Fraser University, I enrolled in SFU’s Master in Publishing (MPub) program in 2007. During my time in the MPub program I established Engage Books, and began publishing some of my first books. My goal upon entering the program was to start a book publishing company, and I wrote my thesis on this endeavour. After graduation, I began working full-time for other publishers, and built Engage Books slowly in my spare time. Over the past decade, I’ve edited hundreds of children’s books, and written about 100 educational books for other publishers for children in grades K-12. Engage Books now has several hundred titles, and I am now able to focus solely on Engage Books.

What inspires you as a creator? What are your influences?

When I focus on a new project, I wonder how I could make the most of myself, and what impact my actions could have on others. When creating children’s books, I am appreciative of the positive effect that words can have on developing minds. My ultimate goal is to instill a belief in children that anything is possible. I am inspired by Elon Musk. Not because of his success and an individual, but because his actions are focused on solving real-world problems. When faced with the threat of pollution, Elon Musk decides to focus on electric vehicles, and creating renewable energy with solar panels. To make travel safer and faster, he began digging tunnels under major cities and plans on connecting cities with ultra-fast Hyperloop pods. Musk is also dead-set on sending people to Mars as humanity’s ultimate safety net.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?

Publishing in an industry with many creative outlets. It has allowed me to branch out into writing, editing, production, marketing, layout and design. My advice is to learn as much as possible about the publishing process, as it will not only help you become better within a specific field, but it will give you an opportunity to move your expertise to multiple departments. The best way to learn about the publishing process is to attend Simon Fraser University’s Master in Publishing (MPub) program. It is an in-depth, and rigorous 16-month program that helps students to develop the practical and conceptual tools they will need to flourish in an industry that is constantly changing. I am extremely fortunate to have found the MPub program nearly 13 years ago and am happy to see the program flourishing under its director, John Maxwell.

Alexis Roumanis and his children read What is COVID-19 together

 

What impact do you hope to achieve with those who read the book?

My goal with Level 1, 2, and 4 readers is to empower young children to read about COVID-19 on their own, or with the help of an adult. This simple act empowers young readers and is an important step in making this situation a little less scary. As COVID-19 is affecting millions of children across the world, we are striving to translate these books into multiple languages. I have enlisted the help of three of SFU’s graduate students from the MPub program to work remotely with professional translators in different countries. They are working fast and will have French, Spanish, and Hindi editions of all three books available for distribution in early May. Our goal is to reach as many children as possible.

Where can people access and purchase the books?

To support our efforts, copies of all three books are available for purchase on all Amazon websites. eBooks will be available on all major platforms in May. Libraries can order directly through Ingram’s iPage.

Are you doing any innovative creating from home during this time? 

When I contacted the MPub program several weeks ago, I was surprised to learn that most of the 16 student’s internships had fallen through. Many publishers decided not to take on interns while their offices were closed. I hired on two interns by distance, one from BC, and the other has moved back to her home in Ontario. We are collaborating on a daily basis, using Zoom, Google Docs, and email to keep in touch. Generally an intern would work closely with a supervisor in a publishing house, however, we are finding that with the use of innovative technology, we are able to collaborate and accomplish daily goals. The internships have started off extremely well, with the MPub students developing interactive eBooks, and new content for young children. It is difficult to see students held back by COVID-19, and I am excited to be working with such a talented group of people.

Support Engage Books by purchasing copies on Amazon: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 4

 

A spread from What is COVID-19

Top 10 tips for B.C. book lovers for Victoria Day long weekend

Make a win-win decision: Read Local BC, get discounts and delivery! BC’s book publishers and distributors have you covered from poetry to bestselling cookbooks. These are top 10 tips for BC book lovers so you can read your way through Victoria long weekend.

1. Arsenal Pulp Press is currently offering 25% off all in-print titles plus free shipping for orders over $50 (promotional code STAYSAFE)

2. Talonbooks is offering 25% off all books on their website from now until June 1

3. Orca Book Publishers is running a Giveaway for Heads Up: Changing Minds on Mental Health by Melanie Siebert until midnight PDT May 10.

4. Rebel Mountain Press is offering 30-50% off select titles.

5. Royal BC Museum Publishing is offering a 30% discount and reduced shipping on Spirits of the Coast: Orcas in Science, Art and History through May 17, 2020 in their Publications Shop using promo code SPIRITS30

6. The Royal BC Museum Foundation Shop is offering 20% off site wide for the month of May (note that this cannot be combined with the Sprits of the Coast offer)

7. UBC Press has 20% off of all print books and 30% off of all e-books at www.ubcpress.ca. When ordering print books, use the discount code “CabinFever” at the checkout, and for e-books, “Housebound.” Learn more.

8. Get 30% off everything in Anvil Press‘s online bookstore. They’re shipping twice a week!

9. Greystone Books is donating 25% of website sales to local independent booksellers. Customers can enter the name of their local bookstore at checkout.

10. Heritage House Publishing, Rocky Mountain Books, and TouchWood Editions, along with their distributor, Heritage Group Distribution, are extending a helping hand to independent bookstores while they experience challenges due to COVID-19 by offering them an extra 20% off their invoices until stores are able to reopen.

Thanks to ABPBC for the hot tip in their Read Local BC at home newsletter! Check out the map of Canadian Indie Bookstores Who Deliver, created by Don Gorman, publisher of Rocky Mountain.

Map of B.C. independent bookstores offering pickup and delivery services

From Terrace and Qualicum Beach to Cranbrook, the Made-in-B.C. Indie Bookstore Map is yours to use in support of your community bookstore, now offering online orders, home delivery and/or curb-side pickup during COVID-19. ⁣

The map was curated by Don Gorman of Rocky Mountain Books, from Victoria, BC. View the map here.

Michael Neill and Brian Lam of Arsenal Pulp Press Named 2019 ABPBC Award Recipients

Yesterday evening the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia (ABPBC) honoured the recipients of two awards recognizing outstanding contributions to British Columbia’s publishing industry. Vancouver’s Arsenal Pulp Press received the Jim Douglas Publisher of the Year Award, and Kelowna-based Michael Neill, bookseller and owner of Mosaic Books and TBM Bookmanager, received the Gray Campbell Distinguished Service Award. The recipients were honoured at the annual Book Publishing Conference in Vancouver on February 13, 2020.

The Jim Douglas Publisher of the Year award is presented to an active British Columbian book publishing company that has in recent times earned the respect and applause of the community of publishers for a specific publishing project, an extraordinary contribution to the B.C. publishing community, and/or its extended commitment to excellence in publishing. This year’s recipient, Arsenal Pulp Press, started in 1971 as an alternative small press specializing in literature and politics. They have evolved over the past decades to become one of Canada’s leading independent presses, specializing in LGBTQ literature, books by writers of colour, graphic novels, books on cultural issues, and literary fiction. Some of Arsenal Pulp Press’ recent notable works include Aaron Chapman’s Vancouver After Dark, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s Care Work and Louis-Georges Tin’sThe Dictionary of Homophobia, a personal favourite of Brian Lam, founder and owner of Arsenal Pulp Press.

The Gray Campbell Distinguished Service Award is presented annually by the Association of Book Publishers of BC to an individual or individuals who have made a significant contribution to the book publishing industry in the province. Named for the pioneering publisher and founder of Gray’s Publishing, the Gray Campbell Award recognizes the importance of the many individuals who comprise the book industry; their energy and creativity are essential to the continued creation and dissemination of books that tell our stories. This year’s recipient is Michael Neill, founder and president of Bookmanager and owner of Okanagan’s largest independent bookstore, Mosiac Books. Bookmanager is a leader and invaluable point-of-sale provider that has provided bookstores across North America the ability to advance their services

For more updates on the BC Book Publishing Conference visit ABPBC’s website.

Arsenal Pulp Press
Book Manager
Mosaic Books

Galiano Island Books’ Top 10 Books of 2019

Right around the corner from the exit of the Galiano ferry terminal sits the first independent bookstore of the island, Galiano Island Books. Since its opening in 1997, the storefront has remained the heart of the island’s arts and culture community. Owners and avid-readers, Lee Trentadue and Jim Schmidt share their top 10 reads of the year.

 

 

Greenwood by Michael Christie

From the award-winning author of If I Fall, If I Die comes a propulsive, multigenerational family story, in which the unexpected legacies of a remote island off the coast of British Columbia will link the fates of five people over a hundred years. Cloud Atlas meets The Overstory in this ingenious nested-ring epic set against the devastation of the natural world.

 

An Earthling’s Guide to Outer Space by Bob McDonald

Beloved science commentator Bob McDonald takes us on a tour of our galaxy, unraveling the mysteries of the universe and helping us navigate our place among the stars.

 

Taking Measures by George Bowering

Taking Measures includes work from each of the last six decades, beginning with Bowering’s engagement with process-based long poems in the 1960s and 1970s and moving through his continued exploration of the form in recent decades.

 

Gather: A Dirty Apron Cookbook by David Robertson
Bestselling chef David Robertson, of The Dirty Apron Cooking School, is back with a stunningly designed book of new recipes for the home cook and the whole family. The Dirty Apron Cooking School has taught thousands of Canadians to cook. In this anticipated follow-up to his bestselling Dirty Apron Cookbook, David Robertson’s latest book celebrates the simple pleasures of cooking food for friends and family.

 

Cedar and Salt: Vancouver Island Recipes by Emily Lycopolus

Homegrown, modern recipes that feature the most treasured local ingredients from Vancouver Island’s forests, fields, farms and sea. Off the shore of Canada’s west coast lies a food lover’s island paradise. Vancouver Island’s temperate climate nurtures a bounty of wild foods, heritage grains, organic produce, sustainable meats and artisan-crafted edible delights. This thoughtfully curated, beautifully photographed cookbook brings Vancouver Island’s abundant food scene into the kitchens of home cooks everywhere.

 

Under Occupation by Alan Furst

From “America’s preeminent spy novelist” (The New York Times), Alan Furst, comes a fast-paced, mesmerizing thriller of the French resistance fighters working secretly and bravely to defeat Hitler.

 

 

Morning Glory on the Vine by Joni Mitchell

A gorgeous compendium of Joni Mitchell’s handwritten lyrics and drawings, originally handcrafted as a gift for a select group of friends in 1971 and now available to the public for the first time. In 1971, as her album Blue topped charts around the world, Joni Mitchell crafted one hundred copies of Morning Glory on the Vine as a holiday gift for her closest friends. For this stunningly beautiful book, Joni hand-wrote an exquisite selection of her own lyrics and poems and illustrated them with more than thirty of her original pictures. Handcrafted, signed, and numbered in Los Angeles, the existing copies of this labor of love have rarely been seen in the past half-century.

 

Fishes of the Salish Sea by Theodore Pietsch and James Wilder Orr

Fishes of the Salish Sea is the definitive guide to the fishes of Puget Sound and the Straits of Georgia and Juan de Fuca. Featuring striking illustrations of the Salish Sea’s 260 fish species by noted illustrator Joseph Tomelleri, this comprehensive three-volume set details the ecology and life history of each species, and recounts the region’s rich heritage of marine research and exploration.

 

Lampedusa by Stephen Price

From the #1 nationally bestselling author of By Gaslight, a novel of exquisite emotional force about love and art in the life of one of the great writers, reminiscent of Colm Tóibín’s The Master, or Michael Cunningham’s The Hours. In sun-drenched Sicily, among the decadent Italian aristocracy of the late 1950s, Giuseppe Tomasi, the last prince of Lampedusa, struggles to complete the novel that will be his lasting legacy, The Leopard. With a firm devotion to the historical record, Lampedusa leaps effortlessly into the mind of the writer and inhabits the complicated heart of a man facing down the end of his life, struggling to make something of lasting worth, while there is still time.

 

The Innocents by Michael Crummey

From bestselling, award-winning author Michael Crummey comes a sweeping, heart-wrenching, deeply immersive novel about a brother and sister alone in a small world. A brother and sister are orphaned in an isolated cove on Newfoundland’s northern coastline. Their home is a stretch of rocky shore governed by the feral ocean, by a relentless pendulum of abundance and murderous scarcity. Still children with only the barest notion of the outside world, they have nothing but the family’s boat and the little knowledge passed on haphazardly by their mother and father to keep them.