Thursday, December 30, 2010

Robin McGrath on iTunes : Coasting Trade

Another suggested use for that iTunes card you got from Santa:

Coasting Trade  
by Robin McGrath
An audio book Performance for three voices, narrated (in order of appearance) by Robert Joy, Rick Boland and Anita Best,
produced with soundscape recordings by Chris Brookes.
available in the Spoken Word section of the iTunes store.

And of course always also available from Rattling Books.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Don McKay on iTunes: Songs for the Songs of Birds

A suggested use for that iTunes card you got from Santa:

Songs for the Songs of Birds
poems written and read by Don Mckay

featuring field recordings of bird songs by Dave Fifield

available in the Spoken Word section of the iTunes store.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Andy Jones' "Queen of Paradise's Garden" Puppet Show, St. John's, Newfoundland, December 28-31

Kids making you crazy this Christmas? Of course they are: Santa's come and gone, your (ex) best friend gave your six-year-old a drum set and school is never going to open again.

All you need is a little bit of magic to overcome those homicide/suicide impulses, magic that will stick around for a while after the spell has been cast.

Best bet is to let the kids up out of the basement, remove the duct tape, wrap them and yourselves up in something cosy and go to the LSPU Hall some afternoon in late December. That's when Andy Jones' puppet show, based on his book, The Queen of Paradise's Garden, will be casting its glamour over burnt-out parents and permanently wired children (God love 'em!). Click on the LSPU Hall link for information about tickets and times and so forth.

The story is a free adaptation by Jones of a Jack tale told by Albert Heber Keeping of Grand Bank, which he got from Billy Quann of Sagona Island. Billy Quann had it from . . . never mind. The tale goes back a long way, to "olden times, when quart bottles held half a gallon and houses were papered with pancakes."

(Of course, the kids are going to start up again sometime. It might be a good idea to have a copy of The Queen of Paradise's Garden to fend them off with. Follow this link to its place of purchase.)


Andy Jones wears many hats — many heads, actually. Listen to an excerpt from Rattling Books' audio book edition (available as an audio CD or MP3 download) of Jones' Letters from Uncle Val (Uncle Val being an outharbour gentleman who finds himself adrift in the suburbs of St. John's).

Check out Rattling Books' new holiday prices: thirty percent off everything until Old Christmas Day (January 6).

Monday, December 20, 2010

Annual "A Feast of Cohen" Festival, St. John's, Newfoundland, December 27 - 29

All around the world, a fat jolly old Gentile is about to make Christmas rock. But in these parts, Santa has a special helper. An eternally middle-aged Jewish man has been putting the a for angst in Christmas for more than a decade now.

Jesus's dad? Nope. Leonard Cohen. C'mon — surely you're familiar with that old Yuletide classic: "Rudolph takes you down/To his place by the ice fields/And he feeds you elves in honey . . . ." No?

Well, perhaps it's time you headed out to Vicky Hynes' annual A Feast of Cohen. Every year Hynes gathers Newfoundland's finest musicians for a tribute to Old Grinch Face himself. This year's concert features, among other star lights, Amelia Curran, Jenny Gear, Brian Hennessey, Colleen Power, Sean Panting, Jill Porter, Liz Solo, and Des Walsh.

For information about tickets, time and place for A Feast of Cohen, click here.


Listen to an excerpt from Robin McGrath's Donovan's Station featuring the voice of Liz Solo (a.k.a. Liz Pickard). Donovan's Station is available from Rattling Books as an unabridged audio book MP3 CD or an MP3 audio book download.

Check out
Rattling Books' new holiday prices: thirty percent off everything until Old Christmas Day (January 6)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

30% Rattling Books did give to me

from now until Old Christmas Day
30% off
 all of our audiobook CDs
xmas runner of birds for web
may happiness betide you!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Author Catherine Hogan Safer: Mom's The Word

Catherine Hogan Safer is obviously in the Christmas mood; she has even succeeded in imagining snowflakes for herself despite the torrential downpour of the past few days.

Hogan Safer's imagination is her most powerful attribute (besides her ability to charm grocery store plants and pound puppies into blooming). Her debut novel, Bishop's Road (Killick Press, 2004), was nominated for the in Canada First Novel Award. Her children's book What if Your Mom Made Raisin Buns (Tuckamore Books, 2006) was a runner-up for the Marianna Dempster Memorial Award and the Bruneau Family Children’s/Young Adult Literature Award.

Listen to an excerpt from "Mom," a short story by Hogan Safer which features a not-exactly-the-raisin-bun-making kind of mother. This story is available from Rattling Books as an MP3 download, and it's also part of the EarLit Shorts 2 collection of short fiction (MP3 audio book CD or MP3 download.)

Check out Rattling Books' new holiday prices: thirty percent off everything until Old Christmas Day (January 6).

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Canadian Author Beverly Akerman Reveals All: Santa Gate Exposé By Renta Yenta

If you want to discover the connection between dirty letters written by Santa, cash payments to former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, the Guess Who reunion tour, randy goats, sustainable development and Gilbert Gottfried, click here to read Beverly Akerman's . . . um, unusual . . . Christmas story, featuring "intrepid tabloid reporter" Renta Yenta.

Montrealer Akerman, a molecular geneticist in a previous life, is now a full-time writer of fiction and non-fiction. Her work has appeared in many publications, including The Antigonish Review, Maclean's, The New Quarterly, Descant and the National Post. She recently won the David Adams Richards Prize for her short story collection The Meaning of Children.


Beverly Akerman's short fiction will be featured in Rattling Books' upcoming collection of short fiction, EarLit Shorts 5. Follow this link to listen to excerpts from the works of other fine Canadian short story writers (click on the EarLit Shorts images).

Rattling Books audio books are available as MP3 downloads, audio CDs and MP3 CDs.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Poet Leanne Averbach Launching New Book In St. John's, Newfoundland, December 21

Canadian writer, performance poet and experimental filmmaker Leanne Averbach will be launching her latest book of poetry, Come Closer (Tightrope Books), at the Leyton Gallery in St. John's on December 21. Music will be provided by Mary Barry and Charlie Barfoot.

Her debut collection of poems, Fever (Mansfield Press, 2005), was short-listed for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. Its companion CD is a fusion of her spoken words and the blues/jazz accompaniment of the group Indigo.

Averbach's video-poem Carwash (below) was screened at the Visible Verse Film Festival in Vancouver.


If you're in the mood for poetry, click here to listen to excerpts from poems by Canada's finest poets. If you're in the mood for singer and musician Mary Barry's compelling speaking voice, follow this link to hear an excerpt from her narration of Helen Porter's Below the Bridge.

Rattling Books' audio books of poetry and prose are available as MP3 downloads, audio CDs and MP3 CDs.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mummers Parade, St. John's, Newfoundland, December 18

It's that time of year again, when grown men can don dresses, paint their faces or put nylon stockings over their heads and parade in public, without fear of ridicule. (Women too.) Mummering, or janneying, is a centuries-old English Christmas tradition which survived export to the New World, at least to Newfoundland and Labrador. (And apparently to Philadelphia as well: the mummers in the photo are residents of that city. For more about mummering, click on the green, yellow and black guy.)

This year's St. John's Mummers Parade will be held on Saturday, December 18 (storm date is Sunday, December 19). If you don't have a disguise at hand, you can rig one up from bins of clothing at MacPherson Elementary at 40 Newtown Road, between one and two p. m. The parade begins from MacPherson at two, and there will be a concert and jam at The Rooms afterwards, beginning at three.

All are welcome. So are nonperishable food items.


Rattling Books' unabridged audio version of Mary Dalton's poetry collection Merrybegot contains a poem called "Janneying." To hear poems from Merrybegot, narrated by Anita Best, click here and here. Merrybegot is available as an unabridged audio book CD, or an unabridged MP3 download.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Second Birthday Party for Newfoundland and Labrador's Journal of Arts and Culture "Riddle Fence," December 14

It hasn't been all beer and skittles for young Riddle Fence, Newfoundland and Labrador's journal of arts and culture, which turns two this current issue. Or Baby Einstein and plush toys either. But mostly it has.

To celebrate its second birthday, staff and aficionados of the little whippersnapper are getting together at the Ship Pub in St. John's on Tuesday, December 14, for cake and beer (no skittles, but there will be a raffle).

The fun starts at eight p.m.; everyone is welcome. Randy Drover, Patrick Warner and Shoshanna Wingate will be reading.

To find out more about Riddle Fence, click on the image of Grant Boland's Mother and Child, featured in the journal's sixth issue.

Listen to an excerpt from Patrick Warner's "Doubleness, the Disease of Life," narrated by the author. This short story is available as an MP3 download, and it's also featured on the EarLit Shorts 3 audio book MP3 CD.

Friday, December 10, 2010

CFA Spotlight: Leslie Vryenhoek

Newfoundland and Labrador has some of the best writers in Canada; more than its fair share, in fact. For a province that has the population of a medium-sized town in Ontario, its writers cut a large swath on the Canadian literary landscape.

Some of these swath-cutters are "Come from Aways" (CFAs); that is, they were not born here. And although Newfoundland and Labrador suffers perennially from out-migration, its literary community seems to attract rather than lose members.

Leslie Vryenhoek is one of our CFA writers, and she has been busy swinging her scribbler's scythe. The former American citizen, now a resident of St. John's, is a critically acclaimed poet and short story writer. Her debut collection of short fiction, Scrabble Lessons, was published by Oolichan Books in 2009. "It all works and leaves an uneasy smile. Perfect," said The Globe and Mail.

To find out more about Leslie Vryenhoek, click on her photo.


Listen to excerpts from Leslie Vryenhoek's short stories "All She Swallowed" (read by the author) and "Cycle" (read by Joel Thomas Hynes). These stories are available as individual MP3 downloads, and they are also featured on the EarLit Shorts audio book MP3 CD.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Rebecca Rosenblum: "Christmas with My Mother"

Christmas is supposed to be the best time of the year, which is why it often ends up as a big disappointment. Or somewhere in between. Especially if you've left childhood and adolescence behind, and are knee-deep in the "real world."

Canadian short-story writer Rebecca Rosenblum is very good at describing the vagaries of the real world, without diminishing the ideal one in the process. Listen to an excerpt from her short story "Christmas with My Mother," available from Rattling Books as a single MP3 download.

"Christmas with My Mother" is also featured on the EarLit Shorts 4 audio book MP3 CD, which contains another of Rosenblum's fine pieces of short fiction, "The Weatherboy."

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Newfoundland's RCA Theatre Company Call For Submissions: Christmas Monologue Contest

The Resource Centre for the Arts Theatre Company is holding another round of its popular Christmas Monologue writing contest. The monologue must be about Christmas in Newfoundland past, present or future and run no more than five minutes.

The contest closes December 10, 2010, at 5pm. For more details, click on the image of "the Hall."

Rattling Books has a fine selection of Newfoundland monologues. Listen to an excerpt from a Joel Thomas Hynes rant about provincial icons. Hear "Uncle Val" (Andy Jones) bemoan his lot in the suburbs of St. John's. Click here to listen to Frank Holden's Judge Daniel Woodley Prowse rail at both felons and plaintiffs in a nineteenth-century Newfoundland courtroom.

For these and other voices of Newfoundland and Labrador, visit the Rattling Books website. Our audio books are available as audio CDs or MP3 CDs, and as MP3 downloads.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Griffin Prize's Scott Griffin Funds New Poetry Contest

F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, "The very rich . . . are different from you and me." (That hair, that skin, those teeth, that bank account . . .)

Canadian rich guy Scott Griffin is different even from most of the other rich guys. He is the director and volunteer advisor of Canadian Executive Services Overseas (CESO), and he helped re-organise the AMREF Flying Doctors Service for East Africa. Griffin, who has an M.A. in English and philosophy, is also a notable supporter of Canada's writers, particularly its poets.

Yes, he's the Griffin in the Griffin Prize. The Griffin Prize is Canada's most prestigious poetry award, and the world's largest prize for a first edition single collection of poetry written in English. And now Scott Griffin is funding another poetry prize: a new bilingual recitation contest that will award $10,000 to students and school libraries. Read Quill & Quire's article on the new prize for details.

Scott Griffin has been quoted as saying, "The best way to know a poem short of writing it is to memorize it." At Rattling Books, we think one of the best ways of knowing poetry is to hear it read aloud. To listen to excerpts from some of the best poetry by the best Canadian poets, follow this link.

Rattling Books' poetry collections are available as audio book CDs or MP3 CDs.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Jessica Grant Writer In Residence At Newfoundland's Memorial University

Canadian short fiction writer and novelist Jessica Grant will be Memorial University's writer in residence during the 2011 winter semester. MUN alumnus (M.A., 2003) Grant won the 2003 Journey Prize for her short story "Her Husband's Jump." Her debut novel, Come, Thou Tortoise, garnered her the Winterset Award, the in Canada First Novel Award and the Evergreen Award. It has been nominated for the 2011 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

Former MUN writer in residence Lisa Moore calls Grant's novel, the story of a girl and her turtle, a "tortoise de force."


Listen to an except from Jessica Grant's short story "The Princification Process." "The Princification Process" is available from Rattling Books as a single MP3 download, and it's also featured on EarLit 4, an MP3 audio CD collection of short fiction.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador To Announce Winner of 2010 Heritage and History Book Award, December 7

Robin McGrath's The Winterhouse and Andy Jones' The Queen of Paradise's Garden have been shortlisted for the 2010 Heritage and History Book Award, which will be presented next Tuesday, December 7, at the Ship Pub, during the Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador Christmas party. Everyone is invited; admission is free. Authors of shortlisted books will be reading from their works.

Winner of a 2010 Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Award, The Winterhouse is a novel about the marriage of a fourteen-year-old Newfoundland Gentile orphan to a Jewish remittance man. "The Winterhouse (Killick Press) is a lovely book, full of memorable characters, sharp writing and plenty of history, folklore and rustic charm." (The Canadian Jewish News; for the rest of the review, follow this link.)

According to Quill & Quire, The Queen of Paradise's Garden is a Good Thing from beginning to end. "The ample delights in store are evident from the first line – 'Once upon a time, and a very good time it was, not in your time, indeed not in my time, but in olden times, when quart bottles held half a gallon and houses were papered with pancakes and pigs run about with forks stuck in their backs seein who wanted a slice o’ham . . . .'" To read the entire review, click here.


Listen to an excerpt from Robin McGrath's lovely short story, "The Birchy Maid," read by the author. "The Birchy Maid" is available as an MP3 single download, and it's also included in the EarLit Shorts 4 short fiction collection, which can be purchased as an audio book MP3 CD or an audio book MP3 download.

Listen to Andy Jones reading from Letters from Uncle Val, a comic masterpiece from Newfoundland's King O' Fun and Rattling Books. Letters from Uncle Val is available as an audio book CD or an audio book MP3 download.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Margaret Atwood: Hockey Night In CanLit

In a recent interview with The Guardian, Canadian poet, novelist, critic and all-round literary icon Margaret Atwood mentioned that she'd accepted an offer earlier this year from Rick Mercer of the Canadian comedy show This Hour Has 22 Minutes to suit up as a goalie. "Atwood whispers an aside: 'He's from Newfoundland,' as if this explains everything."

Watch the result of the Mercer/Atwood collaboration:


Being from Newfoundland may not explain everything - why the sky is grey (hereabouts, anyway), for instance - but it's self-explanatory when it comes to comedians and other people who like to express themselves in strange and wonderful ways. Writers, for instance.

Rattling Books has an ocean of Newfoundland literary talent on tap. Mainland Canadian talent too. Visit the Rattling Books website and sample some.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Kathleen Winter, Michael Winter's Novels Make "Globe" Best Of 2010

Brother and sister literary lights (and former Newfoundland residents) Michael Winter and Kathleen Winter's critically acclaimed novels The Death of Donna Whelan and Annabel have made The Globe and Mail's Best Canadian Books of 2010 list.

To read the Globe's review of Annabel, click here . To read its review of The Death of Donna Whelan, follow this link.


Listen to excerpts from Kathleen Winter's short stories "The Destination," "His Brown Face Through the Flowers," and "Sleep, Little Baby." These stories are available from Rattling Books as individual MP3 downloads. They are also part of the fiction collection EarLit Shorts 1, available as an audio book MP3 CD or an audio book MP3 download.

Click here for an excerpt from The Big Why, written by Michael Winter and narrated by Robert Joy. The Big Why is available from Rattling Books as an unabridged audio book MP3 CD or an unabridged audio book MP3 download.