The frost is receding, the days are growing longer, and spring is near, which means we are looking forward to an exciting new season of books!
Out now is the biography of Jean Armour, wife to the infamous Scottish poet Robbie Burns. In Should Auld Acquaintance: Discovering the Woman Behind Robert Burns, Melanie Murray travels to the small Scottish village of Mauchline to reveal the woman who, like many left in the shadow of famous writers, is a highly influential yet oft neglected character in history. Murray traces the life of Armour, reflecting on her own experiences that mirror those of the woman who is, at last, given a voice.
The Clothesline Swing is Ahmad Danny Ramadan’s first novel in English, but the author has been widely published across platforms including The Guardian and the Washington Post. This foray into fiction depicts the relationship of two Syrian refugees seeking a new home in Canada as they reflect on their tumultuous past in Damascus and the persecution they faced for their homosexuality. It is a story of courage and hope, shadowed by the presence of Death, biding his time until he must enact fate. The Clothesline Swing will be available in May 2017.
Our highly anticipated new collections of poetry include Michael V. Smith’s Bad Ideas and Michelle Elrick’s then/again, both of which are featured in the CBC Spring 2017 Books Preview. Smith is the award-winning author of the memoir My Body is Yours, published in 2015, and was the winner of the inaugural Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBT Emerging Writers. Bad Ideas can be found in stores in May 2017.
Michelle Elrick’s work has appeared in a number of publications, including Poetry Is Dead and Event, and she was a finalist in the 2015 CBC Poetry Prize. Her collection then/again will be available in April 2017.
Rounding out our trio of poetry is Rodney DeCroo’s second collection, Next Door to the Butcher Shop. DeCroo is a Vancouver-based singer/songwriter, and previously published Allegheny, BC with Nightwood Editions in 2012. Next Door to the Butcher Shop will be released in May 2017.
Congratulations to Lisa Bird-Wilson, who has been shortlisted for two Saskatchewan Book Awards for her recent poetry collection, The Red Files. Bird-Wilson is a finalist for the Rasmussen, Rasmussen & Charowsky Indigenous Peoples’ Writing Award and the Saskatchewan Arts Board Poetry Award.
The Red Files reflects on the legacy of the residential school system: the fragmentation of families and histories, with blows that resonate through the generations. The collection takes its name from the federal government’s complex organizational structure of residential schools’ archives, which are divided into “black files” and “red files.” In vignettes as clear as glass beads, her poems offer affection to generations of children whose presence within the historic record is ghostlike, anonymous and ephemeral.
Lisa Bird-Wilson is a Cree-Métis writer from Saskatchewan whose writing has appeared in a number of literary magazines and anthologies, including Grain, Prairie Fire, The Dalhousie Review, Geist, and Best Canadian Essays. She is the author of the novel Just Pretending, published by Coteau Books in 2013.
The Saskatchewan Book Awards is the only provincially-focused book award program and is the principal ambassador for Saskatchewan’s literary community, which includes more than 300 writers and 75 book publishers. Its solid reputation for celebrating artistic excellence in style is recognized nationally. The Saskatchewan Book Awards celebrates, promotes and rewards Saskatchewan authors and publishers worthy of recognition through 14 awards, granted on an annual or semi-annual basis. Awards will be presented at the 2017 Saskatchewan Book Awards Ceremony on Saturday, April 29, in Regina.
Congratulations to Raoul Fernandes, whose debut poetry collection, Transmitter and Receiver, has been shortlisted for the 2016 ReLit Award in the poetry category! The prize is awarded to the author of the best work of poetry published by an independent publisher in Canada.
Transmitter and Receiver is a masterful and carefully depicted exploration of one’s relationships with oneself, friends, memories, strangers and technology. The three parts of this collection are variations building on a theme—at times lonely, sometimes adoring, but always honest. Forthright and effortlessly lyrical, Fernandes builds each poem out of candor and insight, an addictive mix that reads like a favourite story and glitters with concealed meaning.
Raoul Fernandes has been writing poetry since childhood, and is involved in both online and offline writing communities. He completed the Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University in 2009. He was a finalist for the 2010 Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers, and was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award as well as the Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry. He was the 2016 winner of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and the Late Night Library’s 2016 Debut-litzer Prize in Poetry. His poem “After Lydia” was recently adapted into a short film. He lives and writes in Vancouver, BC.
Longlists of 16 nominees each were presented in three categories: novel, poetry, and short fiction. The ReLit Awards, founded in 2000, are presented annually to books by Canadian authors, published by an independent Canadian press in the previous calendar year. Winners receive a handcrafted ReLit ring. For a complete list of nominees, please visit relitawards.com.