Nightwood Editions : Highlights from 2017

It’s hard to believe 2017 is coming to an end! We started our publishing year off with a bang, with Melanie Murray‘s Should Auld Acquaintance, followed by a trio of exciting new poetry collections from Michael V. Smith, Michelle Elrick and Rodney DeCroo, who, all said, travelled far and wide to promote their new books.

The Clothesline SwingThis spring, Ahmad Danny Ramadan released his debut novel in English, The Clothesline Swing, which was honoured recently by The Globe and Mail as one of their top 100 Best Books of the Year, and received praise from Lambda Literary and fellow author Catherine Hernandez.

In May, Adèle Barclay‘s If I Were in a Cage I’d Reach Out for You received the 2017 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and garnered a ‘best book of 2017’ nod from Maisonneuve Magazine.

In the fall, we were delighted to release Sam Shelstad‘s Cop House, Spencer Gordon‘s Cruise Missile Liberals, Rebecca Păpucaru‘s The Panic Room — which was shortlisted for the A.M. Klein Poetry Prize, and Joe Denham‘s Landfall. These talented and tireless Nightwood authors toured across the country, with stops at bookstores, reading series and festivals, and features on CBC Books and in Quill & Quireamong other publications.
Stay tuned on our social media channels for exciting news about our Spring 2018 line up, and if you’re lucky, you might spot a Nightwood sticker at your local bookstore or stuck to a frozen bus stop post in Vancouver, Montreal, or Toronto.

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Nightwood Authors on Tour this Fall!

Nightwood Editions is pleased to join in the Fall literary festivities with an exciting line-up of events across the country! We are proud to celebrate returning favourites from critically acclaimed and award-winning authors, as well as a new collection of stunning books.

This month, we head to Word Vancouver, where Michael V. Smith and Rodney DeCroo will be sharing their latest poetry collections, and Ahmad Danny Ramadan presents his highly-anticipated debut novel, The Clothesline Swing. Adèle Barclay will be participated in the Poetry in Transit event with her award-winning collection, If I Were in a Cage I’d Reach Out for You.


In Toronto, IFOA and Toronto Lit Up presents the official launch of Cruise Missile Liberals, the debut poetry collection from Spencer Gordon, on Thursday, November 9 at The Ossington, (61 Ossington) followed up by readings with Common Reading Series in Toronto and In/Words Reading Series in Ottawa, among many others!

Sam Shelstad and Rebecca Papucaru launch their new books, Cop House and The Panic Room, with special guests Michelle Elrick and Kyp Harness at The Monarch Tavern on Saturday November 4 at 2pm. Librairie Drawn & Quarterly host the Montreal launch of The Panic Room on September 26, and Rebecca will be reading with the Pivot Reading Series on November 14.

Gregory Scofield will be continuing his successful touring season carrying over from last year’s release of Witness, I Am. He will be appearing on panels at the Thin Air 2017 Winnipeg International Writers Festival and leading a poetry workshop at the Victoria Festival of Authors.

Be sure to check out our events calendar and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for details on all of these events!

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Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts welcomes Nightwood authors Joe Denham and Amber McMillan

This August marks the 35th annual Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts, guaranteed to be one of the summer’s biggest highlights. And joining the festivities are two Nightwood authors reading at separate events on Saturday August 19th.

Joe DenhamJoe Denham, hard on the heels of his Governor General’s Literary Award nomination for his last book Regeneration Machine will also be reading from his highly-anticipated new collection of poetry, Landfall which will be in bookstores in September. He is joined by fellow Governor General’s Award finalist Rachel Rose (Marry & Burn) and GG winner Steven Heighton (The Walking Comes Late) for festival’s poetry panel, The Meter’s Running V.Amber McMillan

Amber McMillan, author of The Woods: A Year on Protection Island, shares the stage with fellow island-inspired author Pat Carney, who will be discussing her own book On Island: Life Among the Coast Dwellers. It is sure to be a delightful conversation with these two authors, moderated by former CBC Radio host Kathryn Gretsinger. Both books were recently praised by Tara Henley on CBC Radio One (On the Coast).

For a complete guide to all festival events, please click here.

An advocate for change: Gregory Scofield profiled

In honour of National Aboriginal Day, we spoke with Gregory Scofield, the award-winning poet and author of Witness, I Am, published last Fall by Nightwood Editions. Scofield is Red River Metis of Cree, Scottish and European descent whose ancestry can be traced to the fur trade and to the Metis community of Kinesota, Manitoba. He has taught First Nations and Metis Literature and Creative Writing at Brandon University, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, and the Alberta College of Art + Design. He currently holds the position of Assistant Professor in English at Laurentian University where he teaches Creative Writing. In 2016, the Writers’ Trust of Canada awarded Scofield with the Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize.

Scofield is active in spreading awareness of Canada’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) on social media, the devastating national issue that is depicted in many of the poems in Witness, I Am. Through both his writing and his presence online, Scofield has given a voice to many who cannot:

This issue is personal for me as I lost both my Aunty and cousin to racism and violence. When I first began looking to add my voice to social media, I decided I would use my Twitter account specifically for the issue of MMIW. More so, I began a daily tweet called Name A Day, which features the photograph and name of an Indigenous women who has gone missing. I also use the account to honour the lives of our sisters who’ve been stolen through homicide.

There are two purposes behind the tweets; one is to create awareness (as a public call-out) about women and girls who are missing. The other purpose is to create a space to honour the lives of women and girls lost to violence. My writing and poetry is very much an extension of this work and advocacy. I use my writing to create awareness of the harsh realities faced by many Indigenous women and girls in this country, to advocate for a meaningful change to improve their lives and the right to be safe.


Follow Gregory Scofield on Twitter @gregoryscofield

She is Spitting a Mouthful of Stars” (via CBC) (Witness, I Am, Nightwood Editions, 2016)

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Carol Daniels selected for First Nation Communities READ 2017-2018

Bearskin Diary Cover

Congratulations to Carol Daniels, whose debut novel, Bearskin Diary, has been selected for the First Nation Communities READ program for 2017-2018. Bearskin Diary is also the recipient of the Aboriginal Literature Award, which recognizes the work of creators of outstanding Aboriginal literature, and will be presented to Daniels as part of the National Aboriginal Day celebrations in Toronto on June 28.

The First Nation Communities READ jury considered more than 50 submissions before choosing Bearskin Diary as this year’s title. The other finalists included Missing Nimama by Melanie Florence (Clockwise Press), Price Paid by Bev Sellers (Talonbooks), They Called Me Number One by Bev Sellers (Talonbooks) and How I Became a Ghost by Tim Tingle (The Roadrunner Press).

Raw and honest, Bearskin Diary gives voice to a generation of First Nations women who have always been silenced. Taken from the arms of her mother as soon as she was born, the novel’s protagonist, Sandy, was one of over twenty thousand Aboriginal children scooped up by the federal government between the 1960s and 1980s. From this tragic period in her personal life and in Canadian history, Sandy does not emerge unscathed, but she emerges strong—finding her way by embracing the First Nations culture that the Sixties Scoop had tried to deny.

Carol Daniels is a journalist who became Canada’s first Aboriginal woman to anchor a national newscast when she joined CBC Newsworld in 1989. Her work has since earned several awards, including the 2009 National Aboriginal Achievement Award. Her poetry and short fiction have been included in several anthologies. Bearskin Diary is her first novel. Find out more at

Launched in 2003 by the First Nations Public Library Community in Ontario with support from Southern Ontario Library Service, First Nation Communities READ promotes a community-based approach to reading, family literacy, and strives to increase awareness of the relevance and importance of First Nation, Métis, and Inuit writing, illustration, and publishing.

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Adèle Barclay awarded the 2017 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize

Congratulations to Adèle Barclay, whose debut poetry collection, If I Were in a Cage I’d Reach Out for You, was awarded the 2017 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize at the BC Book Prizes. This prize is awarded to the BC author of the best work of poetry published in the preceding year.

With “cracking imagery and whip-smart delivery” (The Winnipeg Free Press), Barclay’s poems contain a sincere desire to connect to others, an essential need to reach out, to redraft the narratives that make kinship radical and near. These poems are love letters to the uncomfortable, the unfathomable, and the altered geographies that define our own misshapen understandings of the world. The collection has received praise from numerous publications including PRISM international, The Puritan and Montecristo Magazine, and Quill & Quire describes If I Were in a Cage I’d Reach Out for You as a collection traversing the “well-worn path of love poems but doing so in ways that often surprise.”

The BC Book Prizes, established in 1985, celebrate the achievements of British Columbia writers and publishers and are awarded annually in seven categories. The awards carry a cash prize of $2000 plus a certificate. Barclay joins previous winners such as Raoul Fernandes and Jordan Abel as recipients of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. Barclay accepted the award at the BC Book Prizes Gala on Saturday, April 29, calling the award and “immense honour.”

Shirley Lew, Dean, Library, Teaching & Learning Services at Vancouver Community College (left) presents Adèle Barclay with the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize.

Photo by Monica Miller, courtesy of the BCBP.

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Brand New Bad Ideas from Award-Winning Author Michael V. Smith

Quill & Quire calls Michael V. Smith’s new collection of poetry, Bad Ideas, a “gorgeous” offering of “awe and hope in a world that can often feel uncertain, dreamlike, and distant.” The poems in this collection explore loss and longing, sexuality and gender, all through Smith’s characteristic tone of humility and humour. Bad Ideas was listed in the CBC Books Spring 2017 Books Preview and 49th Shelf’s Most Anticipated Spring 2017 Poetry Preview, and will be available at your favourite local bookstore in May.

Smith told Nightwood that his new book of poetry came together rather organically: “I’m always tinkering with poetry. My books tend to overlap one with the other; so much of this book was written while I was working on non-fiction. One of the joys in poetry is that you get a fast hit, you know? You slog away on a book of long-form prose, but with poetry you can dip into a poem, finish it, and feel that thrill of finishing something.”

In time with the release of Bad Ideas, Smith will be touring the country to share his bad Ideas in the Dirty Spring Book Tour, alongside fellow writers Marcus McCann, Tara-Michelle Ziniuk, Pierre-Luc Landry, with visits from special guests Sarah Pinder and Ben Ladouceur along the way. Stops include Montreal, Kingston, Hamilton, Toronto, and Ottawa. He will also be reading on the West Coast, so stay tuned for more dates. For details, head to our events calendar.

The author, whose memoir My Body is Yours, published in 2015 by Arsenal Pulp Press, was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, is the winner of the inaugural Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBT Emerging Writers. He is also a writer, comedian, filmmaker, performance artist, and occasional clown, and teaches creative writing at UBC’s Okanagan campus in Kelowna. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, and check in with Nightwood Editions for more information on these and more events!

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Deconstructing the Silence: Lisa Bird-Wilson’s The Red Files

The Red Files, Lisa Bird-Wilson’s acclaimed debut collection of poetry, grew out of a very personal place: her own family history as depicted in photos. “I went looking in archives for more photos from the same era,” Bird-Wilson recalls, “and found the children were not identified in any of the archival photographs—a form of silencing and treating individuals as if they are anonymous and uniform, rather than real people. I wanted to try and deconstruct that and poetry emerged as the vehicle to do so. Poetry becomes an act of resistance, of what is available to me as a writer.”

The Malahat Review praises Bird-Wilson’s work, calling The Red Files a “haunting, sorrowful and lovely” collection that “takes us on a journey through mourning and grief, denial of history, demands for truths, and the curiosity for a history that has long been silenced, ultimately pressing on toward healing. It is an unsettling and beautiful read and Bird-Wilson tells her stories with ferocious grace.” The Red Files is a powerful contribution to uncovering the legacy of residential schools and moving toward reconciliation.

The Red Files was recently shortlisted for two Saskatchewan Book Awards: the Rasmussen, Rasmussen & Charowsky Indigenous Peoples’ Writing Award and the Saskatchewan Arts Board Poetry Award. The winners will be announced on April 29, 2017.

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Adèle Barclay shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize

Congratulations to Vancouver poet Adèle Barclay, whose debut poetry collection, If I Were in a Cage I’d Reach Out for You, has been shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize!

Barclay’s collection has been previously shortlisted for the 2015 Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry, and received the 2016 LitPop Awards for Poetry and the Reader’s Choice Award for the 2016 Walrus Poetry Prize. Her poetry has been called “witchy and wise, erotic and tender” by Matrix Magazine, and The Puritan calls the collection “a testament to the intricacies of, and possibilities within, language.”

The Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, established in 1986, is awarded annually to the best collection of poetry by a resident of British Columbia. Other nominees include Rob Taylor, Anne Fleming, Richard Therrien and Juliane Okot Bitek. The winner will be announced at the 33rd Annual Lieutenant Governor’s BC Book Prizes Gala on Saturday, April 29, 2017, in Vancouver.

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Expect Something and Nothing at Once, from then/again by Michelle Elrick

Expect Something and Nothing at Once is the cinematic depiction of Michelle Elrick’s poem of the same name from her forthcoming collection, then/again. The film, written and directed by Elrick, was filmed in Winnipeg and has screened internationally and was awarded Best Cinematography at the Suffolk International Film Festival in 2013.

expect something and nothing at once: a car coming down the road,
a tilted x, a feeling of enough enough/a rapture love. count: two
days without sleeping, three hours spent hiding, seventeen years
of limiting love and one long highway, the way it dips and caresses
the shouldering hills. wait with squint and exhaustion: breath
condensed on a cold brass hinge, fields scraped clean of snags
and novelty. wander in/out of rooms with a mirror under your chin.
climb out of the bed, the window, the car and threadbare drapery
of blue velour: gold exponential on the carpet. don’t talk, listen
to the curve of this particulate. stare at the cabin past the dim
of trees: its red roof, the taste of warm tomato.

the mountain rises under your knees: algae, juniper. humming
hydro electric box: (red rover, red rover) call and careen, your name
still ringing, still ringing, drawing circles around your face, around
the many lips of the rose’s middle. gulls follow the tractor,
picking out dew worms. sunset between Olympic and North Shore,
grazing red and spotted land of white and orange stars. clouds pass
behind the tree: you say the name of the book you are reading,
I touch your leg under the table, we leave the condom on the desk
(how many brothers/sisters do you have?). mathematics of hunger,
of silence, noise. the universe expands beyond dead stars shining.
asymptotic crush. the things that used to be true.

Michelle Elrick launches then/again at McNally Robinson in Winnipeg on March 25, 2017.

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