Recap: William Buxton and James McLean launch

On December 5, Librairie Drawn & Quarterly hosted a double launch with William Buxton (Harold Innis and the North: Appraisals and Contestations) and James McLean (Inside the NDP War Room: Competing for Credibility in a Federal Election). 

James McLean was first up, and gave a brief rundown of his book in the context of the last federal election which saw the NDP making sweeping gains. He also introduced William Buxton and gave him a hats-off for the publication of his book.

Next up, William Buxton took the stage and spoke of his extensive research on Harold Innis, whose interest in the Canadian North is the subject of William's book. He also thanked the many people who contributed to the work before signing copies for the eager crowd. 

After the authors finished their respective talks, they joined the audience to enjoy drinks, snacks, and plenty of good conversation. Many thanks to William Buxton, James McLean, and everyone who attended and made the event possible.  

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays, everyone! Stop by and see us this week. We're open boxing day from 11am to 9pm!

Holiday Gift Guide!

Here are some of our gift suggestions, including bestsellers of 2013 and store favourites, as well as our staff picks and upcoming workshops. Click here to view. Enjoy!


Please take note of our holiday hours!

Prenez note de nos heures d'ouverture pour le temps des fêtes!

Dec 1st-23rd: Everyday 10am to 9pm
Dec 24th: 9am to 5pm
Dec 25th: Closed
Dec 26th-27th: 11am to 9pm
Dec 28th-29th: 10am to 7pm
Dec 30th-31st: 11am to 7pm
Jan 1st and 2nd: Closed
____1-23 décembre: 10h à 21h tous les jours
24 décembre: 9h à 17h
25 décembre: Fermé
26-27 décembre: 11h à 21h
28-29 décembre: 10h à 19h
30-31 décembre: 11h à 19h
1er et 2 janvier: fermé

Staff Picks 2013: Jason

What a year! Tons of great books and I have to narrow it down to ten (well, I guess I don't really have to, but that's what I asked everyone else on staff  to do so I'm continuing the trend). As events director of the store I get pretty busy and this year was no exception however I can always find time to do some reading. So, here are some of my favorites:

Autobiography, by Morrissey
And people who are uglier than you and I they take what they need, and just leave...
Anyone who knows me knows I've been waiting for this for awhile and I'm happy (not a word one normally associates with anything Mozzer-related, I guess) to report that it delivers the goods! If you ever had the misfortune of being on Morrissey's bad side, you're in here and boy, do I feel sorry for you. Oh man, now I gotta go listen to all my Smiths LPs in a row and in order again.

Marble Season, by Gilbert Hernandez
Easily my favorite GN of the year. It's clear to me that 2013 was Beto's what with four incredible new books out, each completely distinct.  The semi-autobiographical MS was the best though - in my estimation- not least because it was the only one my daughter and I could pass back and forth, pointing out our favorite characters and panels to each other. "Lucio's really weird, but kinda cool in a way too". Agreed, Addie, agreed.

Julio's Day, by Gilbert Hernandez
And here's my second favorite. If my daughter thought parts of Marble Season were weird...JD was a the best trip I took all year, an amazing cast of characters (and thank goodness for that character key at the beginning) surround and affect the titular character throughout from his birth 'til his death. Decades pass between pages yet it's never too confusing to follow. Strange, sad, disturbing and beautiful, an easy top tenner for me.

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief, by Lawrence Wright

Seriously, what the hell, man? One of the most enjoyable reads of the year.  Spoiler alert: celebrities are weirdos. Spoiler alert 2: I don't think we're getting anymore of these because we aren't supposed to, I guess.

There Once Lived A Girl Who Seduced Her Sister's Husband. And He Hanged Himself: Love Stories, by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya (trans. Anna Summers)
Discovering Petrushevskaya was a real treat this year. As an avowed fan of short fiction I'm always on the look-out for those authors who master the form and whose stories leave me both wanting more and completely satiated at the same time. TOLAGWSHSH did just that with Petrushevskaya's seventeen affecting snapshots of sad mating rituals and tragic private lives. Upon finishing I scrambled to read her previous collection (There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby, in stock, handily) as was not disappointed.

Bouvetøya: A Cultural History of an Isolated Landmass, by Freddy Dewe Mathews
Part fact, part mythology, this beautiful book provides a "history" of  an uninhabited subantarctic volcanic island in the South Atlantic Ocean.The awesome people at It's Nice That alerted me to this little treasure and I contacted its author directly to obtain some for the store.  Photos and  questionable accounts all compiled by an author who's never been there. Limited...and very recommended.

Susceptible, by Geneviève Castrée
A real heartbreaker this one. An autobiographical account of a young life and the tumult caused by broken relationships, poverty and growing up at the mercy of adults and their selfishness. Castrée's beautiful illustrations ( loved the cursive lettering) and her forthright narrative meld wonderfully and make this memoir a uniquely affecting experience. One of 2013's most underrated gems and one of D+Q's best books ever.

Woman Rebel: the Margaret Sanger Story , by Peter Bagge
I was familiar with Sanger's story, sure, but Bagge's celebration of the dynamic women's rights pioneer was an eye-opener all the same. Welcome to how comic-bios should be. A substantial and enlightening tribute to an important and often-misunderstood public figure.

White Girls, by Hilton Als

To be honest, I'm not yet finished reading this. It sits beside my reading chair (yes, I have a reading chair), I've been reading a bit every day and I've been loving every word of it.  Acclaimed for good reason, Als (theatre critic for the New Yorker), is an acute observer of "White Girls" ( a class that includes authors Truman Capote and Flannery O'Connor in its ranks) and his collection is both poignant and scathing. Necessary reading.

If you don't know It's Nice That it's time to get acquainted. Besides their amazingly well-curated website (my morning coffee read) and their superb magazine Printed Pages, these guys also put out one heckuva fantastic year-end round-up. Last year's edition sold out before we could get our hands on a copy so I was proactive in making sure we got this one - and it does not disappoint.! Featuring the best in art and design from the past year, INT 2013 is limited and one of the best book purchases you could make - if you're into nice things, that is.

Other books that came out in 2013 that I really liked: The Wes Anderson Collection by Matt Zoller Seitz, Tenth of December by George Saunders,  The Collected Stories by Stefan Zweig, Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop by Bob Stanley, I Await the Devil's Coming by Mary MacLane, The Property by Rutu Modan,  Xerox Ferox: The Wild World of the Horror Film Fanzine Ed. John Szupnar, Bas Jan Ader: Death is Everywhere by Alexander Dumbadze, Professor Astro Cat's Frontiers of Space by Dr. Dominic Walliman + Ben Newman, A Light That Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga of the Smiths by Tony Fletcher


Looking for inventive ways to spend the impending snowy days? Or for the perfect holiday gift? We have four amazing workshops offered this winter and spring! Stop by the store to sign up; space is limited!

Cet atelier s'adresse à tous ceux et celles qui désirent apprendre à créer (écrire et dessiner) leur propre bande dessinée. La mise en scène, la narration, le dessin, le rythme, le lettrage, les outils et autres sujets importants seront abordés en quatre cours.

Pascal Girard (Conventum, Jimmy et le Bigfoot) vous expliquera également de quelle façon il utilise le carnet pour créer ses histoires et comment approcher les éditeurs. Le cours sera donné en français.

This course will be given in French. If you are interested in taking a class in English, Tom's GN Workshop will take place this spring.

This course with instructor Leyla Majeri will go over the basics of silk screening from start to finish. Participants (ages 15 and up) will go home with a completed project.

 Ce cours donné par Leyla Majeri couvre toutes les bases de la sérigraphie. À la fin de l'atelier, les participants (15 ans et plus) repartent avec leur propre projet. 

Tom Devlin, the Creative Director for Drawn & Quarterly, former publisher of Highwater Books, and guest editor of The Comics Journal, will be teaching an intensive 4-week graphic novel course at the Librairie Drawn & Quarterly.

The course will provide an overview of graphic novel history, an explanation of the tools of the trade, techniques in storytelling and cartooning, and, finally, the proper way to approach to approach a comics publisher with your graphic novel. The course will be taught in English. 

Ce cours sera donné en anglais.

Vous avez toujours rêvé d'écrire et/ou de dessiner un livre pour enfants? Cet atelier, destiné aux adultes, vous propose de vous y mettre enfin. 

À la mesure de l'ambition et des habilités de chacun, au cours des quatre semaines d'atelier, les participants réaliseront une ébauche d'un projet de livre, une maquette professionelle d'un projet à envoyer à un éditeur, ou une version amateure d'un livre pour enfants.

 Julie Delporte est l'auteure et l'illustratrice d'un album pour enfants, Je suis un raton laveur, paru en 2013 aux éditions de La Courte Échelle (Montréal). Elle a également publié et autopublié des bandes dessinées pour adultes, est libraire chez Librairie Drawn & Quarterly et aime par dessus tout lire des livres pour enfants. 

L'atelier sera majoritement donné en français, mais peut également s'adapter aux personnes anglophones.  This course will primarily be given in French, but can be adapted for Anglophone attendees.

Workshop participants obtain a 20% discount on all books at the store for the duration of the workshop / Les participants des ateliers ont droit à un rabais de 20% valide sur tout les livres du magasin pendant la durée de l'atelier. 

Staff Picks 2013: Aleshia

Last December I finished my undergraduate degree in translation, so I've had 12 glorious months of reading whatever I want, whenever I want. As my coworkers have lamented, it is incredibly hard to choose favourites when your workplace is overflowing with thousands of wonderful books, but here's what really stands out for me this year:

Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche

This book is a wonderful social commentary on both American and Nigerian life, wrapped up in a great love story and some truly incredible writing. I devoured it on a long train ride and it was so engrossing that I was somewhat disappointed to arrive at my final destination. Though Ngozi Adiche touches on a subject that is hardly new in the literary realm, she skillfully sheds new light on the seemingly obvious, producing a perfect balance between social scrutiny and celebration of life.

Susceptible, Geneviève Castrée

Susceptible stands out from the rest this year partly because I can't resist a good sob inducing tale of childhood woe, but also because Castrée weaves together fragments of her life so perfectly in this book. Each moment is told and drawn in charming detail, making her story all the more personal and overwhelmingly touching.

Marble Season, Gilbert Hernandez

I can't be nostalgic about living in the suburbs in the '60s since I grew up to a neighbourhood fondly referred to as "the granola belt" in the '80s, but I absolutely loved this book nonetheless. It perfectly captures how it feels to grow up, bringing together all those exciting and crushing moments that define life as a kid.

Ariol: Thunder Horse, Emmanuel Guibert and Marc Boutavant

The adventures of Ariol the donkey and his trouble-making best piglet friend Ramono is the complete embodiment of my idea of funny. Guibert's fantastic storytelling paired with Boutavant's captivating, humorous drawings results in a hilarious set of stories that had me chortling and smirking the whole way through. Ariol: Happy as a Pig comes out next week, and I couldn't be more excited!

 Kitaro, Shigeru Mizuki

My favourite panel in this book is near the beginning, when Kitaro's dad (the eyeball pictured here on top of Kitaro's head) is taking a bath in a teacup. Things just get more hilarious from here on in... It is impossible not to love this magical yokai boy who goes around solving problems, basically a mini Japanese Dr. Who.

Eye of the Majestic Creature, Leslie Stein

This collection of stories is the first of Leslie Stein's work that I've read. Stein takes text from Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie (a "racy" novel written in 1900 about a young country girl who moves to the city) and combines it with autobiographical stories about working as a shop girl and growing up in the 1980s. The beautiful art (the detailed stippling makes each page look like a pointillist painting) and her unique way of telling a story produces something truly worth reading.

Tenth of December, George Saunders

Tenth of December shoveled in stellar reviews, and the book did not disappoint. The stories are dark, and the writing is crafted with careby far some of the most memorable short fiction I've read.

Océano, Anouck Boisrobert & Louis Rigaud

It is quite difficult to describe how this amazing pop-up book by Hélium looks inside, so it is easiest just to have a look at the image on their blog. The lovely writing which tells of a ship's voyage seems, perhaps, to be just an aside to some of the most beautiful children's book illustrations I've ever seen. Anouck Boisrobert's art is so detailed that it would be easy to spend hours examining the tiny sea creatures floundering around these pages.

Professor Astro Cat's Frontiers of Space, Dr. Dominic Walliman & Ben Newman

A book for children written by a Quantum Physicist, containing all you ever wanted to know about the wonders of space... if this isn't enough, the main character is a cat with a PhD. Enough said.

The Property, Rutu Modan

When Jade from the office brought me my reading copy of The Property, I was so excited I kissed the cover. Rutu Modan is one of my favourite cartoonists, and this book did not disappoint. Her drawings (in colour!) are amazing as always, with that special ability to capture human movement, and the story is full of intrigue and emotion—truly deserving of a spot amongst my top ten.

Honorable Mentions:

NW (paperback) by Zadie Smith
Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi
Journal by Julie Delporte
Life Zone by Simon Hanselmann
Wild by Emily Hughes


Our Margaret Atwood in Conversation with Sheila Heti Event!

It's over and it was a hit! Our Margaret Atwood & Sheila Heti event at the gorgeous Rialto Theatre was a literary grand slam!

I believe the above photo was taken just as the event was beginning. As the (little) kids like to say "here is the church, here is the steeple, open it up and...

...look at all the people!" Man, were you there? It seems like mostly everybody was. 800 people, sold out! (Check out D+Q Chief Chris Oliveros and his sweetie, Marina, smack dab in the middle of the action, here.)

Lookee here…Two sixths of the best staff ever! Helen & Kira enjoying a moment of relative quiet before the book-buying onslaught began.

Check out the balcony! Packed! Here the fans are patiently waiting for me to finish my introduction, anticipating the stage entrance of one of the most celebrated authors in the world...

...and then she was there!! And all reports proved correct, Ms. Atwood was indeed a commanding presence; the crowd was rapt as she began her reading by singing "The Mole Day Hymn" from the second book in her fantastic MaddAddam trilogy, Year of the Flood. She even prompted a little singalong from the audience!

After reading selections from Year of the Flood and Maddaddam, it was conversation time with another of our all-time favourite writers, Sheila Heti! The talk veered from Margaret's time under Northrop Frye's tutelage to the source of her fictions - from the real world or wholly invented? - to her review of Dave Egger's newest book, The Circle (is that a manhole on the cover?). It was a conversation to be remembered: inspiring, insightful, and wide ranging, with Margaret's keen wit shining through and provoking some serious belly laughs from the audience.

Following a brief Q&A (and portrait-sketching session), Margaret hit the signing table (alongside Librairie D+Q's fantastic events coordinator, Aleshia Jensen). She cheerfully accommodated a lengthy line of anxious and star-struck admirers...

For proof of said cheeriness, see above. Seriously guys, there were several moments during the evening where I stopped what I was doing, looked at that face and marvelled that Margaret Atwood. was. actually. here. 

Oh, here's an entirely unnecessary, yet somehow necessary photo of D+Q creative director Tom Devlin and CBC Wiretap's Jonathan Goldstein having a chat about....oh man, I don't know, something that I'm sure was super-interesting. I wouldn't know though because after this photo was taken, I went over to join them and they just walked away together into the night. Leaving me alone and wanting for some dry wit and erudite observations.

Again, people! How amazing was Sheila Heti? Such great work that eve. We were so happy that she was able to take time out of her busy schedule to be there. Here she is with some fellow admirers!

When the line's finished, that's when we here in the D+Q organization swoop in and grab some signing love from the author. Here we have D+Q associate publisher Peggy Burns getting her copy of MaddAddam branded with a little Can-Lit legend authentication.

And to finish this wax rhapsody off, here's a lovely photo of our two guests! A huge thanks to the both of them for agreeing to appear. It was an event to remember!

A serious thanks to everybody who helped make this happen: William Straw at the McGill Institute for Canadian Studies - who co-presented the event, the incredible staff at the Rialto, Ashley Dunn at Random House, and Michael Martin at PGC.  A huge, massive thanks to all of you who attended! 800 people is a lot for a literary event and it means so much to us to hear so many kind words from you afterwards about the bookstore and feel such support for what we're trying to do by bringing these sorts of events to our wonderful city. You are appreciated, believe you me, and I look forward to seeing your faces again  before our next event. Drop by soon, we have some signed copies of one of the best books of 2013!

Daniel Alarcón's newest book: At Night We Walk in Circles

I knew I'd want to add more books to my Top Ten of 2013 list after posting it, and so here is my first follow-up post. I just finished Daniel Alarcón's latest novel, At Night We Walk in Circles, and it would certainly have been a contender had I read it a few weeks earlier.

On the surface, it tells the story of a young man living in a large South American city in the present day who becomes infatuated with Diciembre, a guerilla theatre group that was active during the country's civil war in the 1970s. He winds up joining them in a ragtag attempt at a revival tour through a string of Andean villages, failing to anticipate the heavy consequences of his choice. There is much complexity woven into this initially straightforward story. Alarcón takes up the narrative mantle of Bolaño here, drawing his narrative around the lives of people who have long disappeared, through the recollections and conflicts of a range of characters whose own lives are plenty complicated.   

If you're intrigued, check out this inverview with Alarcón, conducted recently by Bookslut. There's also this great episode of the New Yorker Fiction podcast featuring Alarcón reading a Bolaño story. Or you could just come over here and get yourself a copy! Bonus: hardcover fiction is always 20% off at the store!

Staff Picks 2013: Julie

Avertissement: dans cette liste il n'y aura que de la littérature avec images. Non que je n'ai ouvert aucun livre cette année qui n'en ait pas: travailler chez Drawn & Quarterly m'a appris à enfin lire en anglais dans le texte. Et, ces derniers mois, je me suis endormie, j'ai voyagé, pris des bains et déjeuné avec Lydia Davis, Raymond Carver et Miranda July. Je n'avais cependant pas d'éditions 2013 à vous présenter pour ces auteurs... Alors pendant que je me replonge dans No One Belongs Here More Than You, je vous laisse avec un rattrapage d'images à lire.

Susceptible, Geneviève Castrée

Depuis longtemps j'affectionne le dessin doux, un peu sauvage quoique maniaquement soigné, de la québécoise Geneviève Castrée (qui vit aujourd'hui aux États-Unis). Je rêvai que cette auteure nous raconte des histoires moins oniriques. Suceptible est arrivé et je n'aurais pu l'imaginer davantage dans mes cordes : une autobiographie que l'on devine franche et nécessaire, sur la difficulté de grandir entouré d'adultes qui sont plus enfants que soi. Un livre rempli de cailloux qu'on laisse derrière pour avancer plus léger.

Fétiche, Noémie Marsily

Noémie Marsily est une auteure bruxelloise aussi merveilleuse qu'elle est méconnue. Avec son Fétiche aux Requins Marteaux, c'est un petit pas vers plus de reconnaissance pour une auteure qui en mérite. Son trait, son crayon (ici de couleur) et son humour ont quelque chose de bien à elle, un enthousiasme qui se démarque des modes du dessin contemporain. Fétiche raconte la vie d'une tête de cerf empaillée et des nombreux propriétaires qui se la lègue au fil du temps.

Brigitte et la perle cachée, Aisha Franz

Brigitte, le personnage de l'allemande Aisha Franz, est dure comme le fer en amour comme en affaires, sorte de James Bond au féminin à qui on n'en raconte pas. Pourtant, ce qu'elle souhaite le plus au monde, c'est avoir des bébés, ou plutôt des chiots, puisque Brigitte est un chien. Voilà donc que notre espionne compétente en toutes circonstances tremblotte à la moindre évocation de la maternité. Brigitte et la Perle Cachée m'a fait sourire et vibrer.

Stop Snoring Bernard!, Zachariah Ohara

On savait que les loutres se tiennent la main comme des amoureux: si c'est vrai. Et non, esprits rationnels, ce n'est pas pas parce qu'elles ont besoin d'équilibre, c'est parce que les loutres s'aiment d'amour. Ce qu'on ne savait pas, par contre, c'est que les loutres ronflent, et comme elles s'aiment et aiment dormir ensemble, c'est un problème. En plus de mettre en scène le plus chouette animal de la terre, le livre pour enfants Stop Snoring Bernard! est réalisé avec brio à la peinture, medium peu facile à apprivoiser en illustration.

Mélody, Sylvie Rancourt

Il était temps que quelqu'un rende accessibles les mémoires très romancées de Sylvie Raincourt, alias Melody, danseuse nue dans les années 1980 à Montréal. Le matériel qu'Ego Comme X publie est celui dessiné par l'auteure elle-même dans un mélange de naïveté et de maîtrise (bien avant la popularisation de l'autobiographie en bande dessinée), et non les fades reprises réalistes de ses histoires réalisées plus tard par Jacques Boivin. Aux limites de l'outsider art tant la voix de Sylvie Rancourt semble décomplexée, Melody est un témoignage drôle et cru.

Goliath et You're Just Jealous of My Jetpack, Tom Gauld

 L'année 2013 est celle de la sortie de la compilation des strips de Tom Gauld, pré-publiés dans le quotidien The Guardian : You're All Just Jealous of My Jetpack. C'est aussi celle de la parution de la version française de Goliath. Si le premier des deux ouvrages semblent destiné à rire et le second est écrit dans un ton plus sérieux, les deux livres mélangent savemment humour (anglais) et tendresse mélancolique. Tom Gauld est ma grande découverte de l'année.

Culbutes, Sammy Harkham

Il y a parfois un peu de violence, une tension sous-jacente, quelque chose de malaisant dans les histoires de Sammy Harckam. Mais pas seulement. Dans ces courtes histoires de l'auteur Américain compilé par Cornélius, il y a des hommes perdus, des femmes monstres, des adolescents attachants et déjà un peu écorchés. Si la subtilité des relations entre les personnages me plait beaucoup, c'est la rondeur du dessin de Sammy Harckam qui me séduit complètement.

Trendy Wendy (Wendy #2), Walter Scott

Il parait que lorsqu'on a quelques années de moins que moi et qu'on étudie (ou qu'on a étudié) en art, on s'identifie parfaitement au personnage de Wendy. Wendy et moi, on est pas tout à fait pareilles, mais cela ne m'empeche pas de l'aimer, la soutenir, rire d'elle et avec elle. À côté des In Situ de Sophie Yanow, Wendy est la série de fanzines la meilleure du moment.

The Property, Rutu Modan

Ce qui est bien avec Rutu Modan, c'est qu'on a le droit à une histoire bien épaisse, qui n'a rien à envier aux pavés de la littérature sans images, dans laquelle les personnages sont develloppés avec patience. The Property en présente une gamme peu aimable, l'héroïne évoluant entre une grand-mère un peu folle et un cousin exécrable. Toute cette parenté se retrouve en Pologne à la recherche d'un héritage supposé, une propriété qui aurait été abandonnée par la grand-mère avant son immigration en Israël...

Orignal, Max de Radiguès

Plusieurs candidats se disputaient la dernière place de ce palmarès, jusqu'à ce que je retrouve caché dans les rayonnages l'oublié Orignal, de loin le meilleur livre de Max de Radiguès. Lui d'ordinaire trop sweet (ce qui peut être une qualité pour d'autres lecteurs), s'est risqué ici à glisser de la noirceur d'âme dans ses histoires d'adolescents. Orignal parle d'hiver enneigés (qui me rappelle le Vermont), de bullying, de manipulation, et de s'en sortir dans tout ça.

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