Now In Stock: Centrala Comics

Finally, something we've long been waiting for, a stack of books from Polish publisher Centrala arrived! With a roster of mostly Polish artists they publish in both languages and we've got a selection of some very interesting English titles for you to peruse. For more try Rob Clough's recent TCJ column here.

Event recap: The Mystics of Mile End launch

On April 22nd, we were thrilled to host the launch of Sigal Samuel's The Mystics of Mile End! What could be a better fit? Sigal graced us with a reading, and also engaged in a thoughtful on-stage conversation with Montreal writer Melissa Bull.

It was a full house! Sigal read an excerpt from the first section of the book, which is narrated by precocious youngster Lev. Lev is drawn to the mysterious and mystical activities of Mr. Katz, an older Mile End dweller who is made fun of by Hasidic families and hipsters alike for being strange. Together, out of toilet paper rolls and floss, they construct Mr. Katz's version of the Tree of Knowledge. The other three sections of the novel are narrated by Lev's father and sister, respectively, and finally by the neighbourhood itself!

Melissa Bull, who will be launching her own book, Rue, this Friday May 1st at the store, asked Sigal some insightful questions about her writing. Topics discussed include getting over the discomfort of centering religion and spirituality in contemporary writing; the seductiveness and transmission of obsessive ideas; the possible negative ramifications of searching for mystical knowledge (i.e. risking madness and/or death); and the art of writing from the point of view of a neighbourhood.

Copies of The Mystics of Mile End are available at the store! Come and get em!

Amazing Ohara Hale giveaway on Free Comic Book Day!

As if Free Comic Book Day needed to get even better, you now have a chance to win an amazing Ohara Hale prize! Swing by the store all day Saturday, May 2nd, where we'll be giving away copies of Hale's book A Hot Dog Day (a story in both English and beginner Japanese), along with copies of a surprise, brand new, never seen before kids comic!

Inside one of the comics is hidden a drawing of a farting cat, and whoever finds it will win a set of Hale's Who Did It? books (an adorable box set of mini picture books).

The farting cat in question.

Of course, we'll have plenty of other comic books to pick up, so no one will be going home empty handed! There will be titles from Hip Hop Family Tree, Bob's Burger, Cleopatra in Space, and Avatar: The Last Airbender, among many others.

For the occasion, Drawn & Quarterly is making a great double issue available, with excerpts from both the brand new SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki, and Kate Beaton's upcoming Step Aside, Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection.

There will be juice and cookies, so there's no excuse not to come!

Out today: SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki!

SuperMutant Magic Academy is now in stock, bringing with it all the witty, tragic, wonderful characters from Jillian Tamaki's much-loved webcomic of the same name! Best known for co-creating young adult graphic novels Skim and This One Summer, Tamaki is back again, this time taking us to a magical, fantastical world that nevertheless feels all too real.

Meet Marsha the half-Korean witch, Wendy the fox girl, Everlasting Boy (who never dies), lizard-headed Trixie (and her modeling aspirations), and a full cast of other characters simultaneously navigating the extraordinariness of magic classes and broomstick sports games, and the mundanity of prom, bake sales, and unrequited love.

A webcomic for the past four years (and already a recipient of two Ignatz awards), SuperMutant Magic Academy shows that even with magic abilities and mutant powers, teenhood remains full of the same old ennui, uncertainty, and irreverence, made fresh with Tamaki's devastating wit and uncompromising subversion of high school tropes.

Magic and prophecy take a back seat to the students' daily concerns because who has time to care about the end of the world when your best friend doesn't know you're in love with her? Why use your powers for good when there are sandwiches to summon and Dungeons & Dragons games to play?

The kids of SuperMutant Magic Academy want to be your friends.

Now in stock: Spring titles from Retrofit & Peow!

New titles from Retrofit's Spring lineup came in this week!

Matt Madden's Drawn Onward is a palindrome comic and can be read backwards and forwards. A man and a woman cross paths in the New York City Subway system over a number of chance encounters and a perplexing  obsession develops. Reading in either direction offers a different experience of the story but it should probably be taken as a whole to really be understood - if either version is trustworthy! Read more on Broken Frontier.

"Lizard Woman and Vulturella are natural foes in the wrestling ring, but outside of it, Lizard Woman is just Lizz, a struggling single mom. Until one night when Vulturella starts going all out against Lizard Woman! Why is Vulturella trying to tire out Lizard Woman?!" For more try Optical Sloth.

Living alone in the jungle, Mowgli, a human boy, seeks meaningful emotional connections with the other animals. When he befriends an orangutan, Mowgli thinks he has found his lifemate. But he still wonders if there are any other creatures that look like him. Read a review on Sequential State.

And along with our Retrofit haul we received treasures from Peow! Studio too! Pictured above is part one of Náva : Ruins of a Dream/Tree of Life. Follow a mysterious cosmic woman as she journeys through worlds and time on a quest for the allmother.

Stay tuned for Náva part two. Dog-people, kids, gods, a cow. conundrums...preview it here.

Three Blades: Swordfight 2 showcases a range of warrior crews looking ready for a fight! Which doesn't happen..but I'm braced for Swordfight 3.

Recap: Heather O'Neill Launches Daydreams of Angels

Thursday, April 9th was a beautiful day, one of our first tastes of Spring, and also the day we were treated to a reading and conversation with Heather O'Neill to launch her new collection of short stories, Daydreams of Angels.

Heather read a story about the secret life of dolls with sonic accompaniment by Laurel of Little Scream to very haunting effect.

Next, Anna Leventhal joined Heather on the stage and they talked everything from Schopenhauer and sexuality to writing and angels.

After their conversation we saw one of the longest line-ups for a signing at the store we've ever seen! It was totally packed. What a great night!

TONIGHT! Comics Workshop with Liana Finck

Join us at the Librairie on Saturday, April 25th at 7 pm to celebrate Liana Finck's graphic novel, A Bintel Brief and for a special creative workshop! As part of the Blue Metropolis Festival, Finck will present her creative process, from the initial idea to researching it to laying down text and image. Come learn about the process of creating and marketing a graphic novel.

Liana Finck studied fine art and graphic design at Cooper Union College. She was a Fulbright Fellow in Brussels in 2009-10 and is a Six Points Fellow in New York. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Forward and Tablet Magazine. She lives in New York City.

A Bintel Brief "A Bundle of Letters"—was the enormously popular advice column of The Forward, the widely read Yiddish language newspaper begun in 1906 New York. Written by a diverse community of Eastern European Jewish immigrants, these letters spoke to the daily heartbreaks and comedies of their new lives, capturing the hope, isolation, and confusion of assimilation.

Drawn from these letters—selected and adapted by Liana Finck and brought to life in her appealing two-color illustrations—A Bintel Brief is a tour of Lower East Side New York, and includes an imaginative conversation with the Yiddish "Dear Abby," Abraham Cahan, The Forward's legendary editor and creator of the Bintel Brief column.

Praise for A Bintel Brief :

“[One] the most powerful books I’ve read so far this year… Finck’s illustrations intensify the emotional resonance of these letters, invoking the buoyant magic of Marc Chagall, but also sometimes descending into the cramped world of the tenements.” —NPR's Fresh Air

Taken together, even just these 11 letters provide an invaluable sooty window onto life on the Lower East Side…. “A Bintel Brief” makes you positively hungry to read comparable letters to American immigrant newspapers around the country right now.” —New York Times

“[A] sharp, evocative style that reminds me sometimes of Ben Katchor and other times of Roz Chast. Finck’s book is more than a collection of advice columns, though-it’s an imaginative leap into the art of nostalgia…I really loved A Bintel Brief.” —Slate

Tonight! Words to Change: Gene Luen Yang award ceremony and presentation

We are very excited to be welcoming celebrated cartoonist Gene Luen Yang to the Librairie for a Blue Metropolis event! Join us tonight at 7 p.m. for a presentation by the author of  Boxers & Saints, American Born Chinese, and other well-respected titles.

Yang will be receiving the Words to Change Prize and presenting Boxers & Saints, his
award-winning graphic novel project about China'’s Boxer Rebellion. Also to be announced is the winner of Blue Met'’s $1,000 “Words to Change” prize, for a video blog on intercultural communication.
Gene Luen Yang is the author and illustrator of several influential and critically acclaimed books that aim to reflect the common experience of 2nd generation migrants to North America. Along the way, he blends aspects of Chinese folklore with the realities of migration and assimilation that is often part of becoming an American or Canadian. Yang has won many awards including Publishers Weekly Best Comic of the Year, the Michael L. Printz Award, San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year, The Reuben Award for Best Comic Book, the Eisner Award and the Best Graphic Novel/Comic of the Year.

TONIGHT 7pm!: Junot Díaz in Conversation with Heather O'Neill

Blue Metropolis and Librairie Drawn & Quarterly present Junot Díaz in conversation with Heather O'Neill. Díaz will receive the Premio Metropolis Azul, an annual award given to a writer for a work of fiction exploring an aspect of Spanish language, history or culture. Join us at the Rialto Theatre this Tonight! Thursday, April 23rd. Doors at 6 p.m. and show at 7 p.m. Please note that the time printed on the tickets is incorrect.

Tickets will be available at Librairie Drawn & Quarterly (211 Bernard Ouest, 514-279-2224), The Rialto Theatre (5723 Avenue du Parc, 514-770-7773), and online at (service charges may apply).

Junot Díaz is a Dominican born American writer and author of the Pulitzer Prize winning The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao as well as the critically acclaimed Drown and New York Times bestseller This is How You Lose Her. Currently he is the fiction editor at the Boston Review and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Díaz has been a bestselling author at the Librairie for years now. The deluxe edition of This is How You Lose Her, illustrated by non other than legendary comics artist Jaime Hernandez, is, of course, a particular favourite here!

Photo credit: Julia C. Vona

Heather O'Neill is the author of The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, which was a finalist for the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her first novel, Lullabies for Little Criminals, was winner of CBC’s Canada Reads and the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction. It was also a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction and the Orange Prize. O’Neill is a regular contributor to CBC Books, CBC Radio, This American Life, The New York Times, The Gazette, and The Walrus, and will have a monthly column in The Globe and Mail starting January 2015. She was born in Montreal, where she currently lives.

TONIGHT, 7pm: The Mystics of Mile End launch

Brooklyn author Sigal Samuel returns to her hometown for the official launch of her debut novel, The Mystics of Mile End, in—where else?—Mile End. Join Freehand Books to celebrate at the Librarie Drawn & Quarterly. Montreal writer Melissa Bull will lead a Q&A with Sigal. This free event will be taking place tonight, Wednesday, the 22nd of April at 7PM.

About the book
Four distinct voices weave together the tale of a dysfunctional Montreal family obsessed with climbing the Kabbalah’s Tree of Life. This literary debut by Jewish Daily Forward editor Sigal Samuel is reminiscent of Nicole Krauss’s The History of Love and Myla Goldberg’s Bee Season.

The Meyer family lives in Mile End, home to a mashup of hipsters and Hasidic Jews, where down the street crazy Mr. Katz is building a tree out of plucked leaves, toilet paper rolls, and dental floss. When David, a skeptical professor of religion, is diagnosed with an unusual heart murmur, he becomes convinced that his heart is whispering divine secrets.

But when David’s frenzied attempts to ascend the Tree of Life lead to tragedy, his daughter Samara, who abruptly abandoned religion years earlier, believes it is up to her to finish what she started. As Samara’s brother documents her increasingly strange behaviour, it falls to next-door neighbour and Holocaust survivor Chaim Glassman to shatter the silence that divides the members of the Meyer family. But can he break through to them in time?

Long-held family secrets square off against faith and secularity in this remarkable debut novel, written with extraordinary heart and intelligence.

About the author
Sigal Samuel is an award-winning fiction writer, journalist, essayist and playwright. Currently a writer and editor for the Jewish Daily Forward, she previously worked for The Daily Beast. She has also published work in The Rumpus, BuzzFeed, The Walrus, and This Magazine, among others. She has been a featured writer at the Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival, a winner of Room Magazine’s writing contest, and a two-time finalist in Event Magazine’s nonfiction contest. An accomplished playwright, Sigal has written and produced six plays in Montreal, Vancouver and New York, two of which garnered national awards. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia in 2012. Originally from Montreal, she now lives and writes in Brooklyn.

Out Today: Palookaville 22!

Seth's annual installment of Palookaville is finally here! Bringing readers back to the world of Dominion Ontario, the lush-hardcover edition (complete with green foil and meticulous design) continues the exploration of the past and the elusive nature of memory by one of Canada's true greats.

In this fourth installment of Clyde Fans Abe and Simon Matchcard are back, watching the painful disintegration of their family business in an endless haze of cigarette smoke. Chapter two of his autobiographical serial Nothing Lasts revisits Seth's small town Ontario upbringing in Tilbury. Cherished fragments of memory provide a glimpse of the life of the artist and will resonate doubly for anyone familiar with the art of nostalgia.

A wistful photo essay chronicling the Crown Barber Shop in Guelph, Ontario serves as interlude to these stories and adds another misty layer of history to contend with. It's also a real barber shop owned and operated by Tania Van Spyck and designed by Seth! Check out Tracy's preview of PV22 for more or come see this beautiful edition for yourself on shelves today!

Spring magazine roundup!

It's finally spring! The sun is shining, it's (almost) shorts weather, and new magazines are popping up like crocuses (or croci, if you prefer). Here's a sample of what we have on offer:

Maisonneuve and N+1
National Magazine Award-winning Maisonneuve is back with another issue full of amazing content with a Canadian bend, including eco-funerals, Iranian sculpture, and dealing with PTSD as a couple. Meanwhile, N+1's newest installment is full of the riveting writing we're accustomed to, with a roundtable discussion on police violence (part of a larger package on the police and the people), and essays on basketball, death, and affect theory for activists.

Jacobin and Delayed Gratification
We're so excited to be getting the beautiful, important Jacobin, and issue 17 does not disappoint. This time, the "leading voice of the American left" tackles technology and how it is shaping our world (of note are features on the division of extraterrestrial resources and the ubiquity of smartphones). Delayed Gratification, self-styled as the world's first slow journalism magazine,explores the international goings-on from October 1st to December 31st, with investigations into the disappearance of 43 Mexican students, the Philae landing, #blacklivesmatter, and Zaatari, the Syrian refuge camp-cum-city.

Nouveau Projet and Liberté
Montreal native Nouveau Projet is published biannually, and is committed to promoting innovative French culture in North America. Issue no. 7 is full of features (on Quebec's new cultural borders, pop culture feminism, and seasonal Christmas tree labour), comics, poems, and more. For its part, Liberté, also Montreal-based, makes good on its challenge for readers to "understand dangerously," turning its piercing gaze on modern feminism, historical photography, and critiquing art, film, and literature with equal gusto.

Caribou and Wax Poetics
Quebecois culinary magazine Caribou's second issue is all about the restaurants, spotlighting the best and brightest the province has to offer, plus tales of foodie road trips and snack joints, and a maple syrup-flavoured photo essay. A special #blacklivesmatter-themed Wax Poetics just came out, dedicated to all those who have fought for justice. The music magazine profiles Curtis Mayfield, TV on the Radio, Bishop Nehru, Joi, Rick Stevens, and many, many others. 

Uppercase and Kinfolk
Uppercase is just as lovingly put together as always, tackling printmaking in its newest issue. The magazine investigates everything from silkscreening to typesetting, monoprint to overprinting, and profiles an amazing group of artists working today. Portland-based Kinfolk magazine continues with its immediately recognizable aesthetic, with sleek, modern, and effortlessly cool dripping off every page of writing, photography, or recipes, this time all based around the theme of entrepreneurship. 

TONIGHT : Small, gutsy and gorgeous: Pedlar Press in Montreal

Small, Gutsy & Gorgeous: this is how poet Erín Moure once described Pedlar Press, and it has stuck! Join us on Saturday, April 18 at 7 p.m. to find out why: authors Sonja Greckol, Emily McGiffin and Robert Mellin will read from their new works of short fiction, poetry & nonfiction. Montreal poet Mary di Michele will read from the new work of Kate Cayley, who is unfortunately unable to join us. 

Kate Cayley’s poetry and short stories have appeared in literary magazines across the country. Her play, After Akhmatova, was produced by Tarragon Theatre, where she is a playwright-in-residence, and a young adult novel, The Hangman in the Mirror, was published by Annick Press in 2011. Brick Books published her first poetry collection, When This World Comes to an End. How You Were Born is Cayley's first collection of short fiction.


Sonja Greckol, author of Skein of Days, edits poetry for Women and Environments International and was an founding member of She lives in Toronto.


During the five years that Emily McGiffin lived in northwest BC, she became proficient in the fine art of firewood splitting. She holds an MSc from the University of London and has worked and studied in Italy, Sierra Leone and the Philippines. Her poetry, essays, reviews and journalistic articles, widely published in magazines across Canada, have most recently appeared in Arc Poetry Magazine and Contemporary Verse 2. Between Dusk and Night, her first poetry collection, was a finalist for the Raymond Souster Award and the Canadian Authors’ Association Poetry Prize. She currently lives in Toronto where she is a PhD student at York University.


Robert Mellin has been a registered architect since 1978. In 2002 he was elected to the R.C.A. (Royal Canadian Academy), and he was elected to Fellowship in the RAIC in 2009. He has received eight Southcott Awards for his heritage conservation projects in Newfoundland, and in 2005 he received a Manning Award from the Historic Sites Association of Newfoundland and Labrador. In 2006 he received the Paul E. Buchanan Award for excellence in fieldwork and interpretation from the Vernacular Architecture Forum. He is past-Chair of the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador. His book Tilting: House Launching, Slide Hauling, Potato Trenching and Other Tales from a Newfoundland Fishing Village was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2003 and it won the Winterset Literary Award. His chapter on the Ludlow premises in Joe Batt's Arm, Fogo Island, Newfoundland appears in the anthology Despite This Loss: Essays on Culture, Memory, and Identity in Newfoundland and Labrador (St. John's: ISER, 2010). In 2011, Professor Mellin’s book Newfoundland Modern: Architecture in the Smallwood Years, 1949-1972, was published as part of the McGill Queen’s/Beaverbrook Canadian Foundation Studies in Art History series.

Photo credit: Terence Byrnes
Poet, novelist, and member of the collaborative writing group, Yoko’s Dogs, Mary di Michele is the author of eleven books including a selected poems, Stranger in You, Oxford University Press 1995, and the novel, Tenor of Love, Viking Canada, Simon & Schuster USA 2005. She lives in Montreal where she teaches at Concordia University in the creative writing program. Her most recent publication is the chapbook, The Montreal Book of the Dead, Vallum. She has won numerous awards including first prize for poetry in the CBC literary competition, the Air Canada Writing Award, and the Malahat Review long poem competition, as well as books shortlisted for the Trillium Award and the A.M. Klein.

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