Thursday, August 28, 2008

In Youth is Pleasure by Mavis Gallant (Short Fiction Audio Single) narrated by Margot Dionne

In Youth is Pleasure by Mavis Gallant (Short Fiction Audio Single) narrated by Margot Dionne

In Youth is Pleasure
is drawn from the collection of short fiction entitled Montreal Stories (aka Varieties of Exile) . The complete unabridged audio edition of Montreal Stories is also available from Rattling Books as both an MP3-CD and as a Digital Download.

In Youth is Pleasure first appeared in The New Yorker, November 24, 1975, p. 46.

The New Yorker

Author writes about herself as a young woman of 18, Linnet, returning to Montreal, her birthplace, from New York, where she'd been living and going to school. Tells about how at the age of fifteen she became indifferent to her mother. Her father, who was English, died when she was ten years old, but she had been told that he was in England. She found out the truth when she was 13 by provoking an adult to tell her. She stays with her old nurse, Olivia, upon her return to Montreal. Olivia was surprised to see her, for she thought she was dead. Linnet looked up her father's friends to determine the circumstances of his death. They tell her different stories. One says that he was dying of tuberculosis of the spine and started back to England to de but never made it; another said that he shot himself in public; another said that he died at sea and that a gun was found in his luggage. Accompanying the story are the thoughts of a young woman growing up.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Penguin Group Offers Download Audiobooks & eBooks to Public Libraries

Penguin Group Offers Download Audiobooks & eBooks to Public Libraries
Wednesday, August 27, 2008; Posted: 07:15 AM

CLEVELAND, OH, Aug 27, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) -- Public libraries can now lend download audiobooks and eBooks by best-selling authors such as Stephen King and Nick Hornby, as well as blockbuster titles like "The Pillars of the Earth," to their patrons. OverDrive (, the leading digital book distributor to public libraries, now offers Penguin Group titles in audiobook and eBook formats to its network of library partners. Hundreds of Penguin Group audiobooks and eBooks will be added to OverDrive's e-warehouse, supplementing OverDrive's collection of more than 150,000 eBook, audiobook, music and video titles. Libraries can add Penguin Group to their OverDrive-powered collection by logging into OverDrive's collection development portal at

Read the rest of this article here.


Rattling Books are also available through

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

One place with a key to unlocking confusion on digital locks: a Rusell McOrmond Blog post

(Digital) Locks are multipurpose tools, and can be used or abused

In an interview by Jesse Brown of CBC’s Search Engine, Jim Prentice suggested that “even for private personal use … one should not be breaking a digital lock”. This statement, along with many others made in the interview, suggest that Minister Prentice does not understand the controversy around the uses and abuses of digital locks. His suggestion that the recording industry has been moving away from digital locks also reminds us that he is unaware that most of the controversy is not around locks applied to content, but locks applied to devices (Even in the “DRM” debate, Content is not King).

Minister Prentice is not alone in not understanding the issues. In conversations with Canadian creators who are thus far proponents of anti-circumvention laws, they believe these locks are like the locks on their own houses — locks being used to keep intruders out.

Are you confused about digital lock talk too?
Then read the rest of this blog by Rusell McOrmond here.

Excerpt #16 from Adrift on an Ice Pan by Sir Wilfred Grenfell

Excerpt #16 from Adrift on an Ice Pan by Wilfred Thomasen Grenfell

(N.B. It was in 1908 that Grenfell, a medical missionary in northern Newfoundland was traveling by dog team to treat a patient, became stranded on an ice pan and came close to perishing. The following excerpt is from Grenfell's account of this adventure.)


It was a perfect morning,--a cobalt sky, an ultramarine sea, a golden
sun, an almost wasteful extravagance of crimson over hills of purest
snow, which caught a reflected glow from rock and crag. Between me and
the hills lay miles of rough ice and long veins of thin black slob
that had formed during the night. For the foreground there was my
poor, gruesome pan, bobbing up and down on the edge of the open sea,
stained with blood, and littered with carcasses and débris. It was
smaller than last night, and I noticed also that the new ice from the
water melted under the dogs' bodies had been formed at the expense of
its thickness. Five dogs, myself in colored football costume, and a
bloody dogskin cloak, with a gay flannel shirt on a pole of frozen
dogs' legs, completed the picture. The sun was almost hot by now, and
I was conscious of a surplus of heat in my skin coat. I began to look
longingly at one of my remaining dogs, for an appetite will rise even
on an ice-pan, and that made me think of fire. So once again I
inspected my matches. Alas! the heads were in paste, all but three or
four blue-top wax ones.

These I now laid out to dry, while I searched about on my snow-pan to
see if I could get a piece of transparent ice to make a burning-glass.
For I was pretty sure that with all the unravelled tow I had stuffed
into my leggings, and with the fat of my dogs, I could make smoke
enough to be seen if only I could get a light. I had found a piece
which I thought would do, and had gone back to wave my flag, which I
did every two minutes, when I suddenly thought I saw again the glitter
of an oar. It did not seem possible, however, for it must be
remembered it was not water which lay between me and the land, but
slob ice, which a mile or two inside me was very heavy. Even if people
had seen me, I did not think they could get through, though I knew
that the whole shore would then be trying. Moreover, there was no
smoke rising on the land to give me hope that I had been seen. There
had been no gun-flashes in the night, and I felt sure that, had any
one seen me, there would have been a bonfire on every hill to
encourage me to keep going.

So I gave it up, and went on with my work. But the next time I went
back to my flag, the glitter seemed very distinct, and though it kept
disappearing as it rose and fell on the surface, I kept my eyes
strained upon it, for my dark spectacles had been lost, and I was
partly snowblind.

To be continued.


The above excerpt is from Adrift on an Ice-Pan by Wilfred Thomason Grenfell. A true account of Grenfell's near death experience, the story was first published in 1909 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

The unabridged audio edition, narrated by Chris Brookes, Jay Roberts and Janis Spence, is available from Rattling Books.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A serendipitous encounter with Laureen Harper in Cow Head, Nfld., from Monday's Globe and Mail

From Monday's Globe and Mail

August 25, 2008 at 3:48 AM EDT
TORONTO and HALIFAX — A serendipitous encounter with Laureen Harper in Cow Head, Nfld., this month gave one tiny theatre company the chance to lobby against Ottawa's recent cuts to arts funding.
The opportunity to tout the benefits of the soon-to-vanish PromArt grant program for travelling artists was not lost on Theatre Newfoundland Labrador when it learned Aug. 13 that it had a Sussex Drive guest in the audience.

The troupe was staging Tempting Providence - a play about renowned Newfoundlander nurse Myra Bennett, which has toured internationally for years.

Only after the performance at the Gros Morne Theatre Festival did house manager Ruth Payne tell the actors that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's wife had been in the audience and wanted to meet them.

As an avid theatregoer, Mrs. Harper was thoroughly impressed with the play and said she could well imagine why it had toured so successfully.
Mrs. Harper and a female friend were in the lobby of the national park's theatre, there was no security around and one actor knew she had to seize the opportunity to mention the recent cuts to arts funding.

"I just felt it was my responsibility," said Deidre Gillard-Rowlings, who has performed the lead in the play for five years, including on trips to Scotland and Tasmania that couldn't have happened without a pair of PromArt grants in 2004 and 2005.

"I just sort of touched her on the arm and said, 'Your lovely husband has cut all this money.' She said, 'Yes, I have very little to do with that.' And I said, 'Yes, but I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I didn't say anything.' "

The actor said that Mrs. Harper was very gracious about the exchange.
"She wasn't taken aback by it, she wasn't offended because it wasn't done in an offensive way," Ms. Gillard- Rowlings said by telephone from Cow Head. "Whether or not she can actually do anything, I don't know."
Theatre Newfoundland general manager Gaylene Buckle said the positive effects of the grants were exponential.

Read the rest of this article here.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Excerpt #15 from Adrift on an Ice Pan by Sir Wilfred Grenfell

Excerpt #15 from Adrift on an Ice Pan by Wilfred Thomasen Grenfell

(N.B. It was in 1908 that Grenfell, a medical missionary in northern Newfoundland was traveling by dog team to treat a patient, became stranded on an ice pan and came close to perishing. The following excerpt is from Grenfell's account of this adventure.)


Only the previous night (Easter Sunday) at prayers in the cottage, we
had been discussing the fact that the soul was entirely separate from
the body, that Christ's idea of the body as the temple in which the
soul dwells is so amply borne out by modern science. We had talked of
thoughts from that admirable book, "Brain and Personality," by Dr.
Thompson of New York, and also of the same subject in the light of a
recent operation performed at the Johns Hopkins Hospital by Dr. Harvey
Cushing. The doctor had removed from a man's brain two large cystic
tumors without giving the man an anæsthetic, and the patient had kept
up a running conversation with him all the while the doctor's fingers
were working in his brain. It had seemed such a striking proof that
ourselves and our bodies are two absolutely different things.

Our eternal life has always been with me a matter of faith. It seems
to me one of those problems that must always be a mystery to
knowledge. But my own faith in this matter had been so untroubled that
it seemed now almost natural to be leaving through this portal of
death from an ice pan. In many ways, also, I could see how a death of
this kind might be of value to the particular work that I am engaged
in. Except for my friends, I had nothing I could think of to regret
whatever. Certainly, I should like to have told them the story. But
then one does not carry folios of paper in running shorts which have
no pockets, and all my writing gear had gone by the board with the

I could still see a testimonial to myself some distance away in my
khaki overalls, which I had left on another pan in the struggle of the
night before. They seemed a kind of company, and would possibly be
picked up and suggest the true story. Running through my head all the
time, quite unbidden, were the words of the old hymn:--

"My God, my Father, while I stray
Far from my home on life's dark way,
Oh, teach me from my heart to say,
Thy will be done!"

It is a hymn we hardly ever sing out here, and it was an unconscious
memory of my boyhood days.

To be continued.


The above excerpt is from Adrift on an Ice-Pan by Wilfred Thomason Grenfell. A true account of Grenfell's near death experience, the story was first published in 1909 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

The unabridged audio edition, narrated by Chris Brookes, Jay Roberts and Janis Spence, is available from Rattling Books.

Blows to Books in Canada just keep coming: Quill & Quire on Heritage plans to cut BPDIP

Heritage planning BPIDP cuts
August 19, 2008 6:26 PM By Scott MacDonald

There hasn’t been any official word as of yet, but Q&Q Omni has learned that the Department of Canadian Heritage is planning a cut of $1-million to the Book Publishing Industry Development Program for 2008-2009, and a cut of another $1-million for 2009-2010. Read the rest here.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Announcing the three winning entries for our first Cartoon Caption Contest!

And the winners are:

"It's urban white noise...I find it relaxing."

- Alison Dancey

"I thought this was formal, not business casual?"

- Martha Muzychka

"I can hear the ocean."

- Julie Wilson

Congratulations to the winners who will each get to pick three Rattling Books as their prize and thank-you to everyone who entered.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Reuters article on Libraries and Audio Book Digital Downloads

Libraries step into the age of iPod
Thu Aug 7, 2008 1:56pm EDT

One of the main distributors to libraries is OverDrive Inc, based in Cleveland, which has deals with publishers including HarperCollins and Random House as well as music labels like Alligator Records.

read the rest of this article here.

Add Rattling Books to the list of Audio Book Publishers available to Libraries through!

Word of the Week over at REDEFiNE iT (August 17 - 23): twillick

Word of the week over at REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English

Friday, August 15, 2008

Newfoundland and Labrador slams Ottawa’s arts cuts : Telegram Article

Newfoundland and Labrador slams Ottawa’s arts cuts
The Telegram

The provincial government says it is asking the federal government to review recent cuts to arts programs.The federal government announced last week that Trade Routes and PromArt, cultural diplomacy programs, designed to help Canadian artists showcase their work abroad, will be discontinued. Funding for Trade Routes, a Canadian Heritage program, will be significantly reduced in 2009 before being halted entirely in 2010. PromArt, a Foreign Affairs program, will be discontinued next year.

“Cutting these programs means yet another hurdle for our artists,” said Clyde Jackman, the provincial minister of culture. “Culture is central to our social and economic lives. Funding cutbacks such as these not only hurt our artists directly, but also hurt efforts being made to bring our cultural product to the international marketplace.”

Trade Routes, a $9 million program, helps arts organizations export their products. PromArt, a $4.7 million program, supplies travel grants to artists hoping to travel abroad. Many local artists and art organizations have benefitted from both programs, including musician Jim Payne, actor Andy Jones, the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival and Rattling Books.

The provincial Association of Cultural Industries and the Music Industry Association of Newfoundland and Labrador have also criticized the government’s decision.Shelley Nordstrom, the East Coast Music Association’s international program manager, says a $13.7-million cut in funding to the arts and culture sector is devastating and unacceptable.

Read this Telegram article and the comments it attracted here.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Living on the phone ain't what it used to be: Ottawa Citizen article on current suite of smartphones

Smart picks for entertainment-focused smartphones

The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Walkman is back -- and this time it's in the form of a smartphone...

Read this article here.


Whether you're hanging off the end of a Sony Ericsson W760 Walkman phone or an Apple iPhone or the HTC Touch, Nokia N95, BlackBerry Pearl 8120 or LG Vu what are going to do with all that storage?

Might we suggest that
listening is a way to read more?

For literature to listen to come visit Rattling Books.
So small, we're fine.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Canadian Short Story Listers Dust it up

An excerpt from 31 Days of Short Stories: We Seemed to Have Touched a Nerve ... by Steven Beattie

(August 12 Blog Entry at the The Shakespearian Rag / Notes from a Literary Lad)

The Toronto launch of the joint Canadian Notes and Queries / The New Quarterly Salon des Refusés doesn’t happen until tomorrow evening, yet already there seems to be some controversy brewing over the journals’ collective response — a response that Bookninja George Murray referred to, with typical restraint, as “a double-tined fork in the eye” — to The Penguin Book of Canadian Short Stories.

Quill & Quire ran a story online, dated August 12, 2008, quoting Jane Urquhart, who edited the Penguin anthology, and who seems a bit upset with the suggestion, which serves as the premise for the joint Salon, that the collection elides a number of the most innovative short-story writers in this country:
“I, too, very much admire many of the authors that have been included in the Salon des Refusés,” Urquhart told Q&Q Omni on Monday, citing Diane Schoemperlen, Steven Heighton, and Terry Griggs in particular. “If they were excluded, they were excluded for any number of reasons, quality not being the primary one.”

Urquhart noted that the collection was meant to be a broad chronological survey of more than a century of Canadian short-story writing, making omissions inevitable. “You have to leave people out – that’s the way it is,” she said. “It’s quite upsetting when one does the best one can do under a certain mandate, and is then attacked for something outside that mandate.”

Now, I have a great deal of sympathy for the plight of the anthologist, who is often fighting an uphill battle. Canada has no shortage of great short-story writers, and a single-volume anthology obviously presents certain restrictions in terms of space. Let’s face it: at 700 pages, one wouldn’t want the Penguin volume to be any longer.


Read the rest of Steven Beattie's Blogpost here.


If you'd like to listen to some Canadian short stories (even some from among the names mentioned above) visit Rattling Books where you can choose to order audio book CDs by mail or pay to download short fiction collections by Mavis Gallant, Lisa Moore, Janis Spence and Susan Rendell . If whole collections intimidate you try a Short Story Single for your ipod or MP3 player.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Excerpt #14 from Adrift on an Ice Pan by Sir Wilfred Grenfell

Excerpt #14 from Adrift on an Ice Pan by Wilfred Thomasen Grenfell

(N.B. It was in 1908 that Grenfell, a medical missionary in northern Newfoundland was traveling by dog team to treat a patient, became stranded on an ice pan and came close to perishing. The following excerpt is from Grenfell's account of this adventure.)

Each time I sat down to rest, my big dog "Doc" came and kissed my face and then walked to the edge of the ice-pan, returning again to where I was huddled up, as if to say, "Why don't you come along? Surely it is time to start." The other dogs also were now moving about very restlessly, occasionally trying to satisfy their hunger by gnawing at the dead bodies of their brothers.

I determined, at mid-day, to kill a big Eskimo dog and drink his blood, as I had read only a few days before in "Farthest North" of Dr.Nansen's doing,--that is, if I survived the battle with him. I could not help feeling, even then, my ludicrous position, and I thought, if ever I got ashore again, I should have to laugh at myself standing hour after hour waving my shirt at those lofty cliffs, which seemed to assume a kind of sardonic grin, so that I could almost imagine they were laughing at me. At times I could not help thinking of the good breakfast that my colleagues were enjoying at the back of those same cliffs, and of the snug fire and the comfortable room which we call our study.

I can honestly say that from first to last not a single sensation of fear entered my mind, even when I was struggling in the slob ice. Somehow it did not seem unnatural; I had been through the ice half a dozen times before. For the most part I felt very sleepy, and the idea was then very strong in my mind that I should soon reach the solutionof the mysteries that I had been preaching about for so many years.

To be continued.


The above excerpt is from Adrift on an Ice-Pan by Wilfred Thomason Grenfell. A true account of Grenfell's near death experience, the story was first published in 1909 by Houghton Mifflin Company. The unabridged audio edition, narrated by Chris Brookes, Jay Roberts and Janis Spence, is available from Rattling Books.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Scotiabank and Writers at Woody Point literary festival

Scotiabank Celebrates Literature with Writers at Woody Point
Monday, August 11, 2008; Posted: 11:56 AM

BONNE BAY, NL, Aug. 11, 2008 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) --

Scotiabank today announced its commitment to the Writers at Woody Point literary festival in Woody Point, Bonne Bay, Newfoundland. The festival, celebrating its fifth anniversary, takes place from Wednesday, August 12th - Sunday, August 17th.

"Scotiabank is proud to support the Writers at Woody Point literary festival in its celebration of Canadian literary talent," said Wayde Guinchard, Scotiabank District Banking Manager, Newfoundland and Labrador district. "Literature is a cornerstone for arts and culture in Canada and festivals like Writers at Woody Point reach out and enrich the communities where we live and work. Scotiabank believes strongly in the importance of literature in our communities - and in the importance of literacy and that's why we're here."

The festival, organized and presented by the Friends of the Woody Point Heritage Theatre, continues to play to sold-out audiences and this year the event will be hosted by Shelagh Rogers of CBC Radio One's Sounds Like Canada. Headlining this year's festival are authors: Gordon Pinsent; Des Walsh; Donna Morrissey; Kathy Reichs; Randall MAggs; Kenneth J. Harvey; Don McKay and Monica Kidd.

"We are thrilled to have Scotiabank as our partner in what is very special year for our festival," said founding organizer Stephen Brunt. "We are not only celebrating our fifth year, but also the 100th anniversary of our venue, the Woody Point Heritage Theatre. With Scotiabank's help, we have been able to celebrate by presenting a first rate line up, including the opening concert, A Tribute to Figgy Duff, featuring Sylvia Tyson. We look forward to working with Scotiabank as Writers at Woody Point continues to grow."

For tickets and a full listing of musical and literary performances, please visit

Read the rest of this announcement here.

Public Domain Photo of a Wilfred Grenfell Dog

Public Domain photo site promotes a snap of a dog given to Wilfred Grenfell as the model of a "North Greenland Eskimo Dog"

Polaris was chosen as our model of this type because he has been considered the most perfect North Greenland Eskimo dog known. He shows the light color so prevalent among the dogs of the extreme north on both continents, and the marked depth and breadth of muzzle. This seems to be a characteristic of many Asiatic dogs, the Chow and Tibetan mastiff notably, and may point to an Asiatic connection with Greenland via the Polar ice or across Arctic America.

There is a heavy, pale buff, deep-jawed dog found along the Arctic coast of America from the eastern to the western extent of land.

No white man living has had more experience with this breed than Admiral Robert E.Peary, who frankly admits that if it had not been for the sledge dogs he never would have discovered the North Pole. lie is a firm believer in the pure-bred North Greenland Eskimo, which is practically a domesticated wolf, and most of the dogs which went to the Pole were of this type.

A puppy from these famous animals, secured by one of the coauthors of this article from Admiral Peary, was named "Polaris," and he developed into what Captain "Bob" Bartlett declared to be the finest living specimen of the breed.

Polaris weighed about 1OO pounds, but looked much larger, owing to his wonderful coat, which at its best measured nine inches long on the shoulder. The hair of the tail was 12 1/2 inches long. He took to the sledge and to the pack-saddle without any training whatever, and pulled a sledge three miles through deep snow the first time he was put in harness.

He was extremely gentle and affectionate with people and with a little Scotch terrier of ours, but a devil incarnate toward everything else that walked, flew, or swam. From grasshoppers and wild mice, through cats and pigs to sheep and cattle, there was nothing he could not or did not kill. Yet such was the magic of his smile, the twinkle of his eye, and the wheedling wave of his tail, that no one would believe anything against him unless he was caught in the act, which he usually wasn't.

He was finally presented to Dr. Wilfred Grenfell, and celebrated his arrival in Labrador by whipping every other dog in sight.

From The Book of Dogs: An Intimate Study of Mankind's Best Friend By National Geographic Society (U.S.), Louis Agassiz Fuertes, Ernest Harold Baynes Published 1919. 109 pages Original from Harvard University.

The above is from the Public Domain Clip Art site.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

word of week over at REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English is "tickle"

Word of the Week this week (August 10 - 17) over at our REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English Blog:


Saturday, August 09, 2008

Hooked on Rugs' exhibit lays groundwork for American art & includes Grenfell mats

Hooked on Rugs' exhibit lays groundwork for American art

Friday, August 08, 2008
By Jennifer Kaulius
The Express-Times

A new exhibit opening Sunday at the Allentown Art Museum doesn't showcase ancient scripts or colorful canvases of oils. Instead, the headliner art once relegated to the floor and stepped upon takes high priority. "Hooked on Rugs: An American Art" features one of the few folk art forms indigenous to North America.

Along the coasts of Maine and Canada, the art of hooked rugs began as a method of warmth and functionality in the late 18th century. These beginnings led to the beds of rural Americans in the northeast, providing warmth and comfort in an otherwise less-than-wealthy setting.

Rural women were given their first opportunity to express artistic urges and create their own designs to decorate their homes. Though fancy women's magazines were slow to pick up a craft that was not practiced by the town women, soon noted home magazines began to feature these countryside rugs.

Hooked rugs were fashioned from a traditional linen base fabric with long strips of yarn looped up through the fabric bay. The end result of rug hooking is long, straight, narrow lines of loops on one side and flat fabric underneath.


Hooked rugs were made from recycled fabrics. Even old underwear and clothing items were being dyed and reused to string through burlap in the rug-making process.

While the art of rug hooking started in the early 1830s, the practice was publicized and made popular among rural women by Edward Sands Frost, a local peddler. When his wife asked for a hooked rug design she could use, Frost began designing patterns and stencils to print on burlap.
Known as the first rug designer, Frost sold the designs from 1864 to 1875, enabling the movement of women creating masterpieces.

"Sometimes he used metal for stamps and stencils and hand-colored the patterns, almost like a paint-by-number for his customers," Atkins says. Frost's designs were later published.

Another well-known group of rug designs came from Dr. Wilfred Grenfell. Aboard a British hospital ship, Grenfell visited northern coastal Canada, notably Labrador, in 1892. There he noticed the poor conditions and started his mission to help the locals.

"Grenfell encouraged cottage industries in which women could make money, and their pieces became known as Grenfell rugs," Atkins says. He encouraged women to incorporate local images, such as the area's wildlife and landscapes.

Read the rest of this article here.


Wilfred Grenfell also left a legacy in written words. The unabridged audio edition of his true adventure tale Adrift on an Ice Pan narrated by Chris Brookes, Janis Spence and Jay Roberts is available from Rattling Books.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Ottawa axes arts travel program

Ottawa axes arts travel program
Tories say funds going to programs that would 'raise the eyebrows of any typical Canadian'
David Akin, Canwest News Service
Published: Thursday, August 07, 2008

OTTAWA -- The federal government will cancel a program on Friday that sent artists abroad to promote Canadian culture because the program's grant recipients included "a general radical," "a left-wing and anti-globalization think-tank" and a rock band that uses an expletive as part of its name.

The Conservatives are cancelling the $4.7-million PromArt program administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade because most of the money "went to groups that would raise the eyebrows of any typical Canadian," said a government official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The move is sure to provoke a backlash in the cultural community, already angry at the federal Conservatives for tinkering with the funding criteria for other arts programs, most famously for pending legislation that would prohibit federal funding of films and television shows the government might find offensive.

The cut is part of a government-wide review to trim spending, but the PromArt program became an easy target when senior Tories discovered that some recipients of taxpayer-funded foreign travel were "not exactly the foot that most Canadians would want to see put forward."
The recipients singled out by the Conservatives include:
- $3,000 to Toronto-based experimental rock band Holy F--- for a week-long tour of the United Kingdom.
- $5,000 to former CBC broadcaster Avi Lewis, who now works for al Jazeera and who is described in a Conservative memo as "a general radical," to help pay for his travel to film festivals in Australia and Argentina;
- $16,500 to send Tal Bachman, a best-selling recording artist and the son of The Guess Who's Randy Bachman, to South Africa and Zimbabwe for music festivals.

"I think there's a reasonable expectation by taxpayers that they won't fund the world travel of wealthy rock stars, ideological activists or fringe and alternative groups," the source said.

Mr. Bachman, Mr. Lewis and representatives of Holy F--- could not immediately be reached.

But the program also funded travel to promote what many Canadians might consider "mainstream" Canadian art. For example, the Canadian Museum of Civilization received $50,000 to help defray the costs of taking an exhibition of Inuit Art to Brazil; the Royal Winnipeg Ballet received assistance of $40,000 for a U.S. tour; and former Supreme Court Justice Michel Bastarache received a $3,000 grant so he could travel to Cuba to give a lecture about the Canadian Charter of Rights.
The Foreign Affairs Web site said the grant program "provides funding to Canadian artists and arts organizations for the promotion of Canadian culture abroad, in alignment with Canada's foreign policy and trade priorities."

More than 300 grants were awarded in 2006-07.


Other artists and groups to receive federal funding for foreign travel assistance in 2006-07 were:

- Comedian Andy Jones, who received $11,000 for an Australian tour; the Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada, which received $18,000 to go to South Carolina; and The Gryphon Trio, which received $13,200 to travel and play in the United Kingdom.

Read the rest of this article here.


Woody Point events remain 'tough ticket' : Western Star article

Woody Point events remain 'tough ticket'
The Western Star

The Writers at Woody Point Literary Festival is heading into its fifth straight sell-out year.

The tremendous success of the weeklong event has been a pleasant surprise to organizers, but has unfortunately left many would-be festival-goers without tickets. Despite the overwhelming demand, organizers say that they aren’t looking to make any great expansions to the festival anytime soon. Tickets for this year’s Writers of Woody Point Literary Festival sold out on May 11 — 30 minutes after going on sale.

“It’s our fifth year and we’re still kind of in shock with how successful it’s been,” said event co-ordinator Gary Noel. “A lot of people who are going are going every year.”

That demand has left organizers feeling the push for expansion, said Noel, and festival associate Steve Brunt. According to Noel and Brunt, while the push has led to some changes, including an extension of the number of days the festival runs, no further extensions or drastic addition should be expected anytime soon.

“I wish I could sell tickets to everyone who wants one,” said Brunt, “but you can’t get too big.”The festival is a hot ticket for artists as well as audiences. “We’ve pretty much got our pick now of who we want,” said Brunt.

To decide on who is invited, the festival committee first looks at artists with a new work currently, or soon-to-be, in circulation. Then, the personalities themselves are considered.

This year includes a many well-known poets, novelists, journalists and musicians. The list of writers includes Gordon Pinsent, Don McKay, Kenneth J. Harvey and mystery author Kathy Reichs. The musicians include Hey Rosetta, Ron Hynes, Figgy Duff and Sylvia Tyson. The festival will be hosted by Shelaugh Rogers.

“It’s not like it’s a big-money thing,” added Brunt, pointing out that the festival is really a chance to bring artists to the community and the community to the artists, with no room for egos. “You want people who appreciate the place.

”The high demand for festival access by visitors, meanwhile, has prompted initiatives by organizers to keep events local.According to Noel, organizers try to centre events around the 100-year-old Woody Point Heritage Theatre. The 150-seat festival home creates a shared experience — a feeling of closeness — that has become the trademark for the small-town event.

“Many of the people booking tickets book them for as many evenings as they can get,” said Noel. “By the end of the week they all know each other.”

The communal feeling extends well beyond the walls of the theatre, he added, with authors and musicians speaking with visitors at local restaurants and craft shops and festival visitors stopping in to businesses throughout the area.

Read the rest of this article here.


Don McKay's latest release is Songs for the Songs of Birds, a selection of poems on the themes of birds, birding and flight read by the author and accompanied by bird song recordings (Rattling Books).

Thursday, August 07, 2008

ABEbooks: is now A for Amazon, B for Bought and E for Emerican

The following article excerpt is from Quill and Quire:

Abebooks says it will operate completely separately from Amazon
August 6, 2008 6:28 PM By Scott MacDonald

The Victoria-based online used book site has been bought by the U.S. online retail giant Amazon – but a company rep insists that it’s business as usual. “The two businesses and their respective databases of book listings are not going to be combined, and Abebooks will continue to operate independently,” Abebooks publicity manager Richard Davies told Q&Q Omni via e-mail. He went on to say that the company will continue to operate out of Victoria and that there will be no staffing changes of any kind.This means that indie booksellers who are currently Abebooks members won’t necessarily get greater access to the Amazon market. Amazon, though, will get a bigger piece of the used book market, which one antiquarian bookseller – Stephen Fowler, owner of the Monkey’s Paw in Toronto – posited as one possible reason for the purchase. “Qualified, respectable, responsible booksellers tend to use Abebooks, whereas less established, less professional sellers – guys who just have a closet full of books – tend to [sell their books on] Amazon,” argues Fowler.

You might expect used booksellers to be wary of supporting one of their biggest competitors, but some had already become disenchanted with Abebooks following the company’s decision earlier this year to charge a commission on members’ shipping fees. “I can’t imagine how [Amazon] could have any more of a negative impact,” says Donald Smith, a longtime employee of Toronto’s Atticus Books, calling the shipping commission “a low blow.” Halifax bookseller John W. Doull has been listing less of his stock on the Abebooks site these days, but says the firm’s market reach is still hard to dismiss. “I have to sell the silly books somewhere, and the competing sites aren’t as good or are just a little harder to use.”Smith agrees, explaining that about 70% of Atticus’s business comes through Abebooks. “They are the most active player in the market, and I don’t think we could do as well with any of the other competing portals. None of them has the profile that Abebooks has.”

Founded in 1995, Abebooks has grown steadily over the past several years, acquiring or establishing related bookselling sites in several international markets.

Read the rest here (but unfortunately, only if you have a subscription to the Quill and Quire Omni)

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Word of the week over at REDEFiNE iT for August 3 - 9: rawny

This week's word of the week over at REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English: rawny

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Rattling Books praised by Current writer Chad Pelley

St. John's writer Chad Pelley has some fine words to say about Rattling Books in this blog preview of an upcoming article in The Current.

August 2, 2008


I’ve heard some pretty lame reasons why audio books may be better than actual books – They can’t be torn and take up less space, for example. I’ve also heard some practical arguments – they are convenient for the visually impaired and for young children. They’re great for long drives or lazing on the beach. For us slow readers, you’ll end up taking in more books per month. However, after spending some time analyzing Rattling Books’ products, it seems they have figured out the true perk of audio books: A top-notch listening experience.

First and foremost with a Rattling Books title is a quality listening experience. In addition to being quite selective in choosing which books to convert to audio – in order to brand themselves as a publisher of reliable literature – they pair these cherry-picked titles with the most appropriate reading voice for the title.


Read the rest of the article here.