Surviving Politics with Donna Macdonald

Surviving City Hall“Maintaining your sense of humour is an important part of getting through the day on city council,” Macdonald told CBC Radio West host Audrey McKinnon back in April 2016. In January, the author returned to the airwaves, this time on CBC Edmonton, to weigh in on an importance discussion on the lack of women in city council in Edmonton.

Macdonald was also interviewed in Toronto online literary magazine The Puritan and received an acclaimed review in BC Bookworld, which heralded her memoir as “an important eye-opener.” To keep up to date on Macdonald’s upcoming events and news, visit her author page here. To purchase a copy of Surviving City Hall, visit your local bookstore or

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Nightwood Editions announces Spring 2017 Books

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!

Should Auld AcquintanceOut 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 SwingThe 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.

Bad IdeasOur 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.

Next Door to the Butcher ShopRounding 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.

Stay up to date on events as we head into this bright new season by following us on Twitter and Facebook!

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Lisa Bird-Wilson shortlisted for Saskatchewan Book Awards

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 FilesThe 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.

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Catching Up with Adèle Barclay

Over the past three months, Adèle Barclay has been a non-stop poetry promotional machine, working hard to share her highly anticipated debut collection If I Were in a Cage I’d Reach Out for You, which was released in October 2016, with readers everywhere.

Along with Barclay’s diligent promotion, the arresting poems speak for themselves; “I Open the Dryer and a Robin Sails Out” garnered Barclay the Walrus Poetry Prize 2016 Readers Choice Award. Alongside accolades, the reviews and interviews keep pouring in from Quill & Quire, PRISM International, Discorder, Sad Magazine and Michael Dennis’ popular poetry blog, where the critic calls Barclay’s book “a debut we will all remember. These are intelligent, vibrant and exciting poems hard wired with a dark winged angel circling overhead.”

A little further east in Montreal, Matrix Magazine declares Barclay’s poetry “witchy and wise, erotic and tender… the dark magic of autumn, salt kiss of oceans, and what’s left when half the bed is empty,” while Jonathan Ball of The Winnipeg Free Press says the collection “brims with crackling imagery and whip-smart delivery.”

Adèle has been touring across the country, with stops in Toronto, Halifax (where she read with forthcoming Nightwood Editions poet Michelle Elrick), Montreal, Kingston, and Ottawa, with forthcoming events in Portland, Edmonton and Calgary.

In a recent profile with Montecristo Magazine, Kyla Jamieson outlines the quick work the media has made of Barclay’s first book of poetry:

“Readers and judges lauded Barclay’s work in 2016—she received both The Walrus Poetry Prize Readers’s Choice Award and Lit Pop Award for Poetry. ‘It feels good, of course,’ she says, ‘but also, those aren’t the things that sustain you long-term, emotionally.’ Reflecting on the book tour that followed her collection’s release, she says one of her favourite moments came after a reading, when she hung out and ate chicken wings with doyennes of the local literary scene. ‘Those moments make things feel possible,’ she says. ‘Hanging out with these badass radical feminists is just what little Adèle wanted.’”

Want to stay in the loop with all things Adèle? Follow Nightwood Editions and Adèle Barclay on Twitter, find us on Facebook, and check our calendar for details of all upcoming events.

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Vancouver Poet Raoul Fernandes shortlisted for the 2016 ReLit Award

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

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Nightwood Editions celebrates the release of Should Auld Acquaintance: Discovering the Woman Behind Robert Burns

Excerpted from Should Auld Acquaintance: Discovering the Woman Behind Robert Burns by Melanie Murray, available now.

It’s Race Week when men flock to Mauchline to race their horses from the Cross, up the steep road to Mossgiel and back. That night at Ronald’s ballroom next to the Black Horse Inn, it may have been Ian MacLauchlan—the best fiddler in the west of Scotland—playing for a penny a reel. He has the place hopping. In red tartan trews, fiddle tucked under his whiskered chin, he glides his bow over the strings as feet stomp and hands clap.

My father was a fiddler fine
My minnie she made manki-o,
An I’m myself, a thumpin quean
Wha danc’d the Reel o’ Stumpie-o.

On their toes, arms at their hips, across their chests, they skip and whirl. Even the stoutest matrons hop and spin around the room. Jean links arms with her partner, Robert Wilson. They’ve been walking out together for many months; though no promises have been made, she knows they’re forthcoming. Robin—as they call him—is leaving the next day for his apprenticeship as a weaver in the town of Paisley, thirty miles north. Once he’s shown that his prospects are sound, Jean is sure he’ll win her father’s approval.

A man, with a dog, prances into the middle of their set. A russet plaid draped over his white linen shirt in an unusual way; dark, wavy hair tied back at the nape of his neck with a black band of ribbon, two locks curling around his sideburns. He’s the only man in the parish to wear his hair like that. And the way he dances is different too. He leaps to the measure of the reel, looping and flinging with high-stepping abandon, his face glowing, brown eyes snapping. All the while, the black-and-white collie follows close at his heels.

Jean knows he’s the new tenant at Gavin Hamilton’s farm. She’s watched him swaggering down the village roads, a widebrimmed hat edging his thick black eyebrows, always a book tucked under his arm. Poet Burns has already given the gossips plenty to wag their tongues about. They say he writes scandalous verses; that he fathered a bastard wean with Lizzie Paton, his family’s servant girl, and was rebuked in the Tarbolton kirk as a fornicator. And, they say, he has no intentions of marrying Lizzie. His family thinks her too coarse, though they themselves are barely scratching out a living on their farm at Mossgiel.

A wide grin on his face, he twirls in front of Jean, arms waving above his head. But the collie trips up his fancy footwork. “Swith awa’, Luath,” he says, lightly booting the dog’s curling tail. “Wish I could find a lass who’d love me as well as my dog,” he chuckles.

“If you do,” Jean says, “then I hope you’ll be treating her better than your dog.”

He laughs and grabs the next lass opening her arms to him.

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Gregory Scofield wins the Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize

The Latner Writers’ Trust has awarded Gregory Scofield with the 2016 Poetry Prize. The $25,000 prize is awarded annually to a poet in mid-career, in recognition of an outstanding body of work, and is sponsored by the Latner Family Foundation. The award was presented to Scofield at the Writers’ Trust Awards on November 2 at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto.

Scofield describes receiving the Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize as a “humbling honour,” and states his hope that this award “will serve as inspiration to young Indigenous poets whose stories and words are needed now more than ever.”

Gregory 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. Scofield won the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize in 1994 for his debut collection, The Gathering: Stones for the Medicine Wheel, and has since published seven further volumes of poetry as well as a memoir, Thunder Through My Veins (1999). Scofield has served as writer-in-residence at the University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg and Memorial University. His most recent poetry collection, Witness, I Am was published by Nightwood Editions in 2016.

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Nightwood Editions launches Fall books across Canada

Nightwood Editions is excited to celebrate the release of its Fall 2016 titles with events and readings across the country.

In Vancouver, Adèle Barclay launches her debut poetry collection If I Were in a Cage I’d Reach Out for You on October 18 at the Emerald in Vancouver. Barclay will be joined by fellow Nightwood poets Elizabeth Bachinsky, Raoul Fernandes, and Sheryda Warrener, for an evening of music, tarot, cake and prizes. Barclay will also be in Montreal in November, reading at Drawn & Quarterly on the 17th, and participating in the Pivot Reading Series in Toronto and the Tree Reading Series in Ottawa.

Also on October 18, on the other side of the country, The Woods: A Year on Protection Island author Amber McMillan and Digsite poet Owain Nicholson team up, alongside authors Nathaniel G. Moore and Spencer Gordon, for a book launch and reading at Type Books at 883 Queen Street West in Toronto. The event features readings, refreshments and giveaways, including the chance to win a 1-year subscription to Taddle Creek, Toronto’s literary magazine.

Tim Bowling launched The Duende of Tetherball in Edmonton on October 7. The event was covered by the Edmonton Journal, calling Bowling’s collection an exploration of “the heart-pounding giddiness of survival” and Bowling a poet who “walks the wobbly line between joy and sorrow, always with fingers crossed that the balance tilts positive.”

In November, Gregory Scofield launches his latest collection of poems Witness, I Am, a gripping collection that delves into issues of identity, belonging, and the desperate state of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada. Scofield reads alongside Nightwood poets Tim Bowling and Elizabeth Bachinsky at The Paper Hound in Vancouver on November 26.

Information on these and all upcoming Nightwood Editions events can be found on our events calendar.

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Joe Denham receives Governor General’s Literary Award Nomination

Joe Denham, winner of the Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry earlier this year, is a finalist  for the Governor General’s Literary Award in the poetry category for his third collection, Regeneration Machine (Nightwood Editions, 2015). Founded in 1936, the Governor General’s Literary Award honours the best in Canadian literature, with seven different categories for both English- and French-language authors. All finalists receive $1,000,and the winners, who will be revealed on October 25, will each receive $25,000.

Regeneration Machine is a 100-stanza, 9,000-word letter-in-verse written to the ghost of Nevin Sample, Denham’s close friend who tragically ended his life over 20 years ago. The book is a moving requiem, elegy, lament; a sort of flailing attempt to make sense of the nonsensically violent way that a non-violent,caring, intelligent young man chose to end his life.

Joe Denham is the author of two other poetry collections, Flux (2003) and Windstorm (2009), and the novel The Year of Broken Glass (2011). Regeneration Machine also won the Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry in 2016. Denham’s work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies including Breathing Fire 2: Canada’s New Poets (2004). He is currently at work on a sequel to Windstorm, and is preparing to release his first album of songs, Lost at Sea, in the spring of 2017. He lives with his wife and two children in Halfmoon Bay, BC.

Regeneration Machine is a wave-like poem of impressive integrity, at times muscular and searing, at times delicate and tender. It possesses that rare quality of reading as if its poet either had to write it or else sink into utter despair at the loss of his faith in the human spirit’s capacity to withstand the ravages our exploited planet continues to endure.”
—Canadian Authors Association

Other English-language finalists for the Governor General’s Award in Poetry include The Waking Comes Late by Steven Heighton (House of Anansi Press), Throaty Wipes by Susan Holbrook (Coach House Books), Prairie Harbour by Garry Thomas Morse (Talon Books), and Marry & Burn by Rachel Rose (Harbour Publishing).


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Nightwood Editions Poet Wins International Award!

Vancouver poet Raoul Fernandes‘ debut poetry collection, Transmitter and Receiver (Nightwood Editions, 2015), has been named the winner of the 2016 Debut-litzer Prize in Poetry! The Late Night Library’s Debut-litzer Prize is an international award that celebrates debut books through an annual competition with cash prizes and national media publicity.

Transmitter and Receiver was also the winner of the 2016 Dorothy Livesay Prize for Poetry, and a finalist for the League of Canadian Poets’ Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, which recognizes the best first book of poetry published by a Canadian writer.

Late Night Library is a non-profit organization dedicated to sustaining book culture, promoting literature in schools and communities, and supporting a diverse array of writers early in their careers. Raoul will be featured on the Late Night Conversation podcast in September, as well as become a literary judge on Late Night Debut.

Congratulations Raoul!


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