Readersforum's Blog

May 10, 2013

Erotic Canadian Novel Awarded 2012 Believer Book Award

MaidenBy Leigh Anne Williams

Toronto-based indie press Coach House Books is celebrating with author Tamara Faith Berger after her novel Maidenhead was chosen by the editors of San Francisco-based literary magazine The Believer for its 2012 Believer Book Award, as “the strongest and most under-appreciated” fiction book of the year.

Coach House promoted the book as a more cerebral alternative to E.L. James Fifty Shades series, but Maidenhead ventures into darker and more complicated places. Myra, its young protagonist, becomes involved with a Tanzanian musician and the violent woman who controls him. And, according to Coach House, it follows Myra as she enters “unfamiliar territories of sex, porn, race and class.”


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March 29, 2013

Bestselling Authors Help Promote Straw Paper

14430-v1-338x338By Leigh Anne Williams

Random House of Canada has published special collectors’ editions of Yann Martel’s Life of Pi and Alice Munro’s Dear Life printed on paper made from straw rather than trees.

The Vancouver-based environmental organization Canopy worked with Random House and its imprint McClelland & Stewart to produce the special editions as way to raise awareness of alternative papers and to encourage the development of commercial-scale development of straw-based papers.

“Now more than at any other time in our history, we need to bring our intelligence and imagination to sustain our life support systems,” Munro commented. She praised Canopy for working “with a pure passion and unwavering conviction” to protect forests and inspire innovation.

Martel said,“Using straw paper for my book demonstrates that there are elegant solutions that keep the world’s towering trees standing.”

The signed special editions are printed on paper that combines chlorine-free wheat and flax straw with post-consumer recycled content. The flax-straw came from and was processed by Canopy’s technical partners, Alberta Innovates. The paper was produced by Quebec’s Cascades. The printer for Life of Pi was Friesens in Manitboa and Toronto-based Webcom produced Munro’s Dear Life.

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October 3, 2012

Shortlist for Canada’s Big Fiction Prize Announced

By Leigh Anne Williams

The shortlist for Canada’s biggest prize for fiction, the C$50,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize, was announced Monday morning in Toronto.

The jurors — Irish author and screenwriter Roddy Doyle; Canadian publisher, writer, and essayist Anna Porter; and American author and satirist Gary Shteyngart — read 142 submissions from 51 publishers in Canada. They selected the five finalists from a long-list of 13 books.

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December 19, 2011

Canadian Booksellers Association Links with Google eBooks

By Leigh Anne Williams

When Google’s eBookstore first launched in Canada in November, its retail partners were limited to a consortium of campus bookstores and the McNally Robinson stores. But a new deal between the Canadian Booksellers Association and the consortium known as Campus eBookstore has opened the door for independent CBA members to start selling e-books through the Google eBookstore immediately.
The CBA said that Queen’s University’s bookstore and McNally Robinson tested the Google’s e-book solution for the past 18 months, going live in November. Since then, the CBA has worked with Chris Tabor, president of Campus eBookstore and director of Queen’s University Bookstore, to tailor a platform that meets the needs of independent booksellers. Anthony Van Alphen of Reads Books in Carleton Place, Ont., a member of the CBA tech committee, was the first to test it out from a small indie store perspective.

November 9, 2011

Esi Edugyan’s Novel Wins Big Canadian Fiction Prize


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By Leigh Anne Williams

Esi Edugyan’s novel Half-Blood Blues is this year’s winner of the C$50,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada’s richest prize for fiction.

Although Edugyan’s book was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, as well as Canada’s other two prominent fiction awards, the Governor General’s Literary Award and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction prize, the Victoria- based author still said she didn’t really expect to win and hadn’t prepared a speech beyond a few scrawled notes.
Pausing frequently to calm herself, Edugyan said she was honored to accept the prize and thanked her Canadian publisher Thomas Allen Publishers, particularly Patrick Crean. “He saved this book when it most needed saving, after Key Porter that wonderful Canadian house fell apart, he believed in the book and purchased it, and I’m so thankful for that.”
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October 7, 2011

Shortlist For Giller Revealed

By Leigh Anne Williams

The shortlist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada’s richest prize for fiction, was announced Tuesday morning in Toronto. The finalists are: David Bezmozgis  The Free World (HarperCollins Canada); Michael Ondaatje  The Cat’s Table (McClelland & Stewart);
Lynn Coady The Antagonist (House of Anansi Press); Zsuzsi Gartner Better Living Through Plastic Explosives (Penguin Group Canada); Patrick deWitt The Sisters Brothers (House of Anansi Press); and Esi Edugyan  Half-Blood Blues (Thomas Allen Publishers)
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August 19, 2011

Readers Get a Vote for Canada’s Biggest Fiction Prize

By Leigh Anne Williams

The Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada’s richest prize for fiction, has a new democratic element. Readers now have an opportunity to vote for their favorite title. The C$50,000 prize has always been awarded by a jury from a shortlist drawn from books submitted by their publishers, and a few years ago, the prize began releasing a longlist. Now  readers will be able to nominate their own choice from a list of all of the eligible titles published during the year. The book that gets the most votes will be given a place on the longlist.

Elana Rabinovitch, director of the prize, says the primary intent of the prize has always been to bring Canadian literature into the spotlight. Over the prize’s 18 year history, organizers have seen that “people have an opinion, sometimes a very strong opinion about the books,” she said. They have also wanted an opportunity to see a list of all of the eligible books published in that year, and it was gratifying to be able to provide that, she said of the prize’s new “Crazy for CanLit” feature.

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