RECAP: Guillaume Morissette launches New Tab!

Last Thursday, April 24th, we were proud to host the launch of Guillaume Morissette's new novel, New Tab (presented by The Quebec Writers’ Federation’s Writers Out Loud series). The book is published by Esplanade Books (a division of Vehicule Press), and the imprint's editor, Dimitri Nasrallah (himself the author of two novels and a regular contributor to the Toronto Star), was on hand to give introductions. Here's Guillaume and Dimitri:

Pic via @DimitriNasralla
But before Guillaume got up to read, Ashley Opheim acted as his "opening band" (as she called herself). Ashley and Guillaume co-curate the reading series This Is Happening Whether You Like It Or Not, and she read from her recent poetry chapbook I Am Here (from Metatron Press).

Phone in hand (she had her poems saved there). One of them, entitled "Killing It," involved a documentary film about Seaworld that she watched on Netflix...and also a yeast infection. “I sip my cell phone, mistaking it for a glass of water,” she read (from her phone).

After anther introduction by Dimitri -- he decribed New Tab as the “feel-good book of the year!” -- Guillaume got up and asked people if they liked Ashley’s reading. "What about David Foster Wallace? Lorrie Moore? Super Mario Kart?" The reactions ascended in enthusiasm. “Super Mario Kart crowd, eh? My book is all about Super Mario Kart.”

New Tab isn't actually about Mario Kart, though its protagonist does work as a video game designer. During the passages Guillaume read, his misadventures (clearly loosely autobiographical) are described in deadpan, anhedonic (if wryly humorous) detail: drinking, dancing, doing drugs, chat conversations about hangovers, and generally trying (with only partial success) to create a sense of "fun" (quotation marks essential). Pants are removed in public, films are screened in backyards, jobs are lost and found again. He visualizes a friend's sex drive as "a fancy car from a car commercial crashing into a brick wall at maximum speed." He imagines his own as "a merry-go-round, cute horses bobbing up and down gently for a few minutes and then stopping."

Guillaume closed on the sentence, “My hangover is the only thing keeping me alive,” and then everybody got back to drinking and chatting before the party moved elsewhere. Thanks again to everybody who came!

Heather O'Neill's Highly Anticipated The Girl Who Was Saturday Night!

Heather O'Neill is one of those authors who has this majestically mysterious aura about her. Part of it might have to do with the fact that it's been almost ten years since her first novel, Lullabies for Little Criminals, came out, to momentous critical and commercial success.

Now O'Neill is back with her eagerly awaited novel The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, a coming of age story once again set in Montreal. "Nineteen years old, free of prospects, and inescapably famous, the twins Nicholas and Nouschka Tremblay are trying to outrun the notoriety of their father, a French-Canadian Serge Gainsbourg with a genius for the absurd and for winding up in prison." (Goodreads). 

The book has already received reviews praising O'Neill's writing style. Kirkus brings up the "vivid descriptions and metaphors that are studded throughout the book... O'Neill’s writing grows ever more distinct and direct.” (Kirkus). Marjorie Celona, author of Y, had this to say:

“In her indelible portrait of troubled but lovable twin picaros Nouschka and Nicolas Tremblay, Heather O’Neill beautifully depicts what it’s like to burn a little brighter than everyone else. A book for those of us who feel too much, The Girl Who Was Saturday Night perfectly captures the sad, strange moment when you realize you’re no longer young.”

Montreal lovers/residents will feel beautifully represented by O'Neill, our golden girl. Whether it's the summertime party mode the city gets into, "having been temporarily granted clemency by the winter" or the minus god-knows-what-digit temperatures being to blame for all the sex everyone's having. "The roses in everyone's cheeks made them seem way more appealing than they actually were." O'Neill makes all of Montreal's charming grubbiness shine.

We're of course so excited to be hosting the Montreal launch for The Girl Who Was Saturday Night on Saturday, May 10th, 7pm at the Rialto Hall. Tickets are still available, so book 'em while we got 'em, and celebrate Heather O'Neill with the rest of the city.  

Recap: Trevor Ferguson launches The River Burns

On Thursday, April 17, Librairie Drawn & Quarterly was very pleased to host author Trevor Ferguson as he launched his latest novel, The River Burns.

The River Burns is set in a fictionalized version of the small Quebec town of Wakefield, wherein the conflict between loggers and environmentalists is played out in a bitter feud revolving around the town's historic wooden bridge. Despite the violence brewing beneath the town's usually placid surface, there is also humour to be found in the story, courtesy of the cast of characters who inhabit Wakefield.

Here's Trevor describing one such inhabitant: Mrs. McCracken, an elderly woman who lives with her cat, Buckminster. Hearing suspicious noises in her home, she is provoked to get her two loaded (with blanks!) pistols, and open fire at the perceived intruders! But she only hears them laughing at her as they leave and she falls down the stairs. (Trevor assured us that she survived the incident intact, lest anyone worry about her well-being!)

Next, Trevor read a passage describing a confrontation between Denny (a logger and soon to be arsonist) and a Skooch (a conservationist who doubles as the local drug dealer.) Tensions escalate quickly when Skooch lights a fire on the road in front of Denny's truck to prevent him from being able to cut down any trees.

After the reading, Trevor answered questions from the audience and provided some background on the research he did for the novel. He explained that he borrowed the "tone, geography and history"of the real town of Wakefield, though of course he fictionalized certain plot elements and characters. He also drew inspiration from the small town where he grew up. As Trevor signed copies of The River Burns, the crowd enjoyed some delicious wine and cheese. We would like to thank Trevor and as well as everyone who came out to make the evening such a success.

TONIGHT! 7pm! Mike Spry launches Bourbon & Eventide

Join us tonight, Friday, April 25 at 7 p.m. to celebrate the launch of Mike Spry's newest book, Bourbon & Eventide (Invisible Publishing). The event will be hosted by David McGimpsey and will feature a reading and refreshments.

Book description: "Bourbon & Eventide confronts the history and mythology of a failed couple, and through a subjective narrator finds humour and heartbreak in the story of the flawed pair. In a collection of tercets—fragments of memory that could stand alone, but together tell a more complete story of a couple’s past and failure—Mike Spry blends wit and honesty to bring to life a simple tale of love unrealized."

Mike Spry is has written for The Toronto Star, The National Post, and Maisonneuve. He is the author of JACK, which was shortlisted for the 2009 A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry, and he was nominated for the 2010 Journey Prize for a story from his collection Distillery Songs, which was shortlisted for the 2012 ReLit Award. He lives in Montreal.

TONIGHT! QWF presents the launch of New Tab by Guillaume Morissette

The Quebec Writers’ Federation’s Writers Out Loud series presents the Montreal launch of New Tab by Guillaume Morissette tonight, Thursday, April 24 at 7 p.m.

New Tab by Guillaume Morissette is published by Esplanade Books/VĂ©hicule Press.
Set in Montreal, New Tab spans a year in the life of a twenty-six year old videogame designer as he attempts to reset his life, in the process chronicling with humor disillusion, boredom, self-destruction, Facebook chats, Concordia University, bilingualism, good parties, bad parties, a backyard cinema, social anxiety and running a possibly illegal DIY venue.

Written in a simple yet bold and astonishing style, New Tab is a profoundly intimate tale of self-reinvention and ambiguous relationships. A sharp, funny, modern novel from one of the most unique new writers in Canada.

The event will feature readings by Guillaume Morissette and Ashley Opheim, and will be hosted by Dimitri Nasrallah, editor of Esplanade Books.
Praise for New Tab:
“Set in a Montreal as vividly its own as Richler's, Morissette's fresh and original generational take brims with uncommon observations, understood character and abundantly happy-sad situations. A terrific read and a shining souvenir.”
- David McGimpsey (author of Li'l Bastard)

“Weird, poetic, funny and original… I tore through it.”
- Jonathan Goldstein (host of WireTap on CBC Radio One)

“The deconstruction of regrets, an email with feelings and the screaming universe cement Morissette as both a master of the absurd and a seer of the real. I lol'd.”
- Melissa Broder (author of Meat Heart)

Guillaume Morissette is the author of the novel New Tab (Vehicule Press, 2014) and the collection of stories and poems I Am My Own Betrayal (Maison Kasini, 2012). His work has appeared in Maisonneuve magazine, Little Brother Magazine, Metazen, HTMLGiant and many other publications. He lives in Montreal.


Event recap: Launch for Anna Leventhal's Sweet Affliction

Last Wednesday, April 16, we were thrilled to host the launch for local writer and store friend Anna Leventhal's first book, Sweet Affliction! To those of you who were unable to fit in the packed-to-bursting store that evening, we offer this event recap:

Attendees were treated to a delicious and beautifully arranged array of snacks by local pastry professional, Camilla Wynn (Preservation Society). Probably the most incredible spread we've ever seen here! And that book cover doesn't look half bad either! It was designed by Invisible's Megan Fildes and portrays, in Anna's words, "melancholic precipitation" and the Montreal skyline upside-down.

The centerpiece on this particular tray is a cheese ball, dressed up as the Orange Julep (which just happens to be featured in one of the stories in Sweet Affliction).

And to top it all off, there was a Goddamn Fucking Cake - another reference to one of Anna's stories.

The store filled quickly! Guests bee-lined for the books and refreshments table, of course.

Montreal writer Melissa Bull (editor of Maisonneuve's "Writing from Quebec" column, and author of a poetry collection and a translation of Nelly Arcan, both forthcoming) gave a glowing introduction for Anna. We love it when local writers appreciate and support each other!

After thanking friends, family, various Montreal artistic and activist communities and, of course, skids, Anna read from "Gravity", the first story in Sweet Affliction - a snapshot of the complex relationship between two sisters. Anna clarifies that it is not autobiographical.

"Gravity" is both hilarious and melancholy, and includes ruminations on the home pregnancy test experience; childhood "dating" games involving clementine boobs; the difference (or similarity) between loving a person and loving that person's name; and excellent puns ("David Cop-A-Feel", "Tom Ass-Pinchin'").

Anna followed up her reading with a conversation with Melissa, and a Q&A with the audience. She revealed that she began writing at an early age - she frequently dictated cat stories to obliging adults at her nursery school. She then wrote an "epic sci-fi adventure about a hamster" in elementary school. The stories in Sweet Affliction have been in the works for years now, including during a residency at the Banff Centre.

Also discussed: writing about the friendships and social webs that are assembled around us in cities; allowing politics to find its way into stories instead of writing explicitly "political" material; Anna's dark humour and her obsession with coincidences; "WWKD" (What Would Kafka Do?).

Then we cut the Goddamn Fucking Cake (which was delectable) and everyone hung out and bought books. In fact, they bought all the copies of Sweet Affliction we had! But don't worry -  it is now back in stock!

Thank you to everyone who came out and made this a memorable event!

Tonight! 7pm! Anansi Poetry Bash!

Join us at the Librairie TONIGHT Wednesday, April 23 at 7 p.m. for the Anansi Poetry Bash! Four poets will be launching collections published by House of Anansi: Sarah Lang will launch For Tamara, Garth Martens will launch Prologue for the Age of Consequence, Anne-Marie Terza will launch The Quiet, and Matthew Zapruder will launch Sun Bear. There will be readings, refreshments, and a Q&A session!

A sampling of what to expect:

Arranged as a mother’s survival guide to her daughter, For Tamara is a touching and inventive long poem about surviving and thriving from the author of The Work of Days. It seems simple: a long letter, from a mother to a daughter, relaying the information needed to survive on this earth. But as Sarah Lang’s second book, For Tamara, unfolds, it becomes a roughly-hewn, genre-bending, post-apocalyptic survival guide.

Sarah Lang was born in Canada. She completed an MFA at Brown University. Her debut poetry collection is The Work of Days.

Garth Martens’ debut, Prologue for the Age of Consequence, is about the tar sands and industrial projects of Alberta, and the men who work in them. But to describe it as such restricts the book to its physical concerns, when in fact these are poems of great philosophical ambition, and startling ethical and psychological reach.

Garth Martens’ writing has appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, This Magazine, The Fiddlehead, Prism, Vallum, Grain, and The Malahat Review. In 2011 he won the Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. He has worked eight years in large-scale commercial construction. Prologue for the Age of Consequence is his debut collection. He lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

Anne-Marie Turza's formidable debut collection presents a landscape where anything might appear, out of myth, history, or science: microscopic creatures, the pitcher Satchel Paige, toothed whales, a man on the back of a snow bear. These poems test the lyric affinity between silence, imagination, and the material world.

Anne-Marie Turza has an MFA from the University of Victoria. Her work has appeared in Arc Poetry Magazine and The Malahat Review, and the anthology The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2010, among others. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

Written in a direct, conversational style, the poems in Sun Bear display full-force why Matthew Zapruder is one of the most popular poets in America. Zapruder’s poems begin in the faint inkling, in the bloom of thought, and then unfold into wide-reaching meditations on what it means to live in the contemporary moment, among plastic, statistics, and diet soda. 

Matthew Zapruder has published four collections of poetry, including The Pajamaist, which won the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. His poems, essays, and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in many publications, including, Paris Review, The New Republic, The New Yorker, and The Believer.

We hope to see you then! And feel free to RSVP to the Facebook event!

Out Today: The WORN Archive!

Tack on about a million exclamation marks to that headline and you're close to experiencing the amount of excitement we feel over the release of the WORN Archive, which compiles the first 14 issues of the beloved publication into one beautifully, chubby little book.

For those of you who don't know, the WORN Fashion Journal is a bi-annual, Toronto-based publication that delivers opinion and intelligent commentary, untainted by the demands of advertisers. Its content is insightful and timeless, since it doesn't just report on trends or promote the seasonal fads.

We're obviously gaga about WORN, and we're not the only ones: in the past month it's been getting a whole lotta preemptive love. Publisher's Weekly called it a "deliciously designed, intelligent, quirky, entertaining, and provocative archive of magazine articles documents Worn’s seven years challenging fashion conventions," and Design Week praised its exploration " not just fashion and its frivolities, but how clothes, design, art and pop culture are all inextricably linked."

The book is separated by the roles fashion plays in our lives, whether it be personal, practical, or as an aspect of our identity, and there's really something here for everyone, whether you love the nitty gritty history of fashion or the minutiae of things like buttons and safety pins. The articles range from witty and intimate to immensely pragmatic (my personal favourite: Washing is Your Friend, wherein WORN answers all your laundry quandaries).

For your oooh'ing and aaah'ing enjoyment, a few more spreads:

Don't forget, the WORN Archive will also be on tour starting May 3rd, and you're not going to want to miss what is sure to be the best Secondhand Prom you've ever been to. All details below:

TORONTO, ON - Saturday May 3rd, 9 pm to 2 am
Adelaide Hall, 205 Adelaide St. W., with TYPE Books
Secondhand Prom 
*Tickets will be available from TYPE Books (883 Queen St. W.) as of April 21st

NEW YORK, NY - Wednesday May 14th at 7 pm 
Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, 126 Crosby St. with WORD
Panel Featuring Strong Female Leads, details below:

The appearance of women in publishing is often regarded as a new scientific phenomenon: categorized, ranked, identities reduced to pie charts in the name of diversity. But the lack of diverse voices seen on bylines isn't a new problem; likewise, the emergence of women-run magazines, mastheads, and imprints is not an overnight phenomenon. Women have always been active consumers and producers of all kinds of written media. They've developed strong communities, engaged loyal readers, and built substantial archives - achievements that cannot be measured in numbers and statistics.

Join WORN Fashion Journal and Drawn & Quarterly for a panel discussion featuring Ayesha A. Siddiqi, Laurie Henzel, Marjon Carlos, and Serah-Marie McMahon. Our panelists come from various kinds of media - from independent print publishing to brand new digital platforms. Together with moderator Fiona Duncan, they'll discuss their thoughts, experiences, opinions, and goals as women creating space for original kinds of publishing on their own terms and measured by their own standards.

MONTREAL, QC - Thursday May 22nd at 8 pm 
La Sala Rossa, 4848 Boul. Saint-Laurent with Librairie D+Q
Secondhand Prom
*Tickets on sale at the Librairie Drawn & Quarterly, 211 Bernard Ouest, as of April 22! $5

OTTAWA, ON - Saturday May 24th, from 7 pm to 9 pm 
Victoire, 246 Dalhousie
Cocktails and vintage record listening party

A sign off feels appropriate, n'est pas? xoxo, Wornettes!

Now in Stock: Cook's Herb Garden!

Growing up, I remember being obsessed with the children's science books published by Dorling Kindersley. There was something about the ridiculously high quality photos of things I was learning about, zoomed in or in exploded view, that made me feel like a scientist. To be honest, those books are probably candy to freaky organized people like myself. So obviously, the DK published Cook's Herb Garden is my idea of the perfect gardening book.

Look at this thing! It's glorious! It's broken up into four sections: choose, grow, harvest, and cook. The choose section shows you how to pot your herb selections for maximum growth and plant happiness - don't you be puttin' that Moroccan mint in the same container as the chamomille and the marjoram or it'll overrun the joint. Put it in a separate pot inside the crate for maximum herb happiness!

Also great: plant by plant breakdowns with gorgeous photos of every herb imaginable. The harvest section teaches you how to clip, collect, dry, braid, and re-seed your babies, and the book finished off with a little cook section, full of delicious teas, sauces, marinades, and other recipes. Oh summer, how I long for you, and this book gets you in the gardening ~zone~ like no other.

Event Recap: 2014 Gala Signal Editions Launch!

On Friday, April 4th, Librairie Drawn + Quarterly was proud to host the Gala Signal Editions Launch, with poets Jim JohnstoneEd CarsonCatherine Chandler, Richard Greene, and Jason Guriel in tow for a fabulous evening of poetry. Signal Editions is VĂ©hicule Press's poetry imprint, and its penchant for publishing first-time authors (one quarter of their book list is composed of previously unpublished authors) makes for a vibe that is loving and grateful from every side of the room.

Poet, essayist, critic, and editor of Signal Editions Carmine Starnino gave the night's introduction, expressing how proud he was to be a part of such a wonderful publishing imprint. He also gave a nod to the head Signal designer for his work on the 2014 books, which are totally beautiful, as you can see in the first picture!

First up was Richard Greene, who took a moment to thank Carmine for his wonderful editing, saying he "helps him find what matters" in his work, before reading from his book Dante's House.

Catherine Chandler's book, Glad and Sorry Seasons, is dedicated to her father, a mathematics and science teacher for 35 years. Chandler described one of their final visits before he passed away, when he looked at her and asked who she was. This inspired her new book of poetry. 

Edward Carson read from his new book, Birds Flock, Fish School. He discussed how much of his poetry circled around the type of relationships we tend to chronically come back to. He was watching the ways birds and fish flock together; he realized, after he’d researched more, that was how words work, and how poems flowed. The social syntax of love and relationships was part of that love and movement that goes back and forth.

Jim Johnstone is the author of three previous books of poetry. He's also the recipient of many awards, including the LitPop award. He said his book, Dog Ear, was a dream come true for him (he had just seen it for the first time the day of the launch!). Highlight of the reading: “I’m not much for small talk so I apologize, I’ll just say I wrote this next poem at a strip club.” 

The final reader of the night was Jason Guriel, whose book Satisfying Clicking Sounds ran the gamut from lighthearted and mischievous to serious lyricism, and he provided a solid book-end to a night of poets who obviously love their editors, love their designers, and love each other. Carmine capped the night off by encouraging the audience to buy books from local bookstores, and keep the reading and writing community alive by supporting it!

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