Monday, November 23, 2009

2009 Call for Entries is online

The call for entries is now posted online for the 2009 Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada. Head on over to the Awards section of our website for more info. Three excellent judges for the upcoming competition will be: Marian Bantjes (Bowen Island, BC); Linda Gustafson (Toronto, ON); and Peter Koch (Berkeley, CA). There will, again, be 8 categories of books, and the awards will be presented in both Vancouver and Toronto.

To be eligible, a book must have been published in calendar year 2009 by a Canadian publisher and designed by a Canadian designer. There is no limit to the number of titles you may enter. The entry fee is $30 per title ($25 for Alcuin Society members). We strongly encourage you to become members; the annual fee is still only $40.

Until this year, The Society has mailed its Call for Entries early in the year, to as many Canadian publishers (both large and small) as possible. In January 2009, this included close to 800 publishers. Beginning with the 2009 competition, you can access the Call for entries as a PDF online (471kb PDF). We will also email a copy to everyone for whom we have an email address.

To enter, print a copy of the entry form (page 7 of the PDF) for each title, and send it in a package with the book(s), together with one cheque for the total amount. The deadline is March 10, 2010. More details appear in the Call, or you may contact me.

We hope that you will support us by entering our competition, and the best of luck to all who enter!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wayzgoose 2009 in Vancouver

(photo of paper marbling demonstration from Wayzgoose 2007)
It comes once a year, and for print folk, it's our very own Thanksgiving. So what is this thing called Wayzgoose? As described by wikipedia: "Wayzgoose was at one time the name for an entertainment given by a master printer to his workmen each year on or about St Bartholomew's Day (24 August). This marked the traditional end of summer and the point at which the season of working by candlelight began. Later, the word came to refer to the annual outing and dinner of the staff of a printing works or the printers on a newspaper."

For those in the know, the Alcuin Society's Wayzgoose is a must see event held at Library Square, featuring approximately 20 BC private presses, with demonstrations relating to the book, a representation of BC book artists, and some inspired conversation. In addition, the Folio Society will have a large selection of folio books on sale at a bargain $20 each. All proceeds will go to the Alcuin fund - an endowment set up with the Vancouver Foundation to provide, in perpetuity, an annual income for the support of Alcuin society's activities. These books are all in fine condition, some as new, some still in shrink wrap. This is a great opportunity to obtain that folio book you always wanted or to do some early Christmas shopping.

This year's Wayzgoose will take place on 24 October from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. at the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch (350 West Georgia), Lower Level. Festivities will include BC private presses, book artists and demonstrations including bookbinding, silkscreening and the intaglio process. The event is free and open to the public.

For more info, visit:

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Annual Yosef Wosk Lecture presents William Rueter

Next week is going to be a very busy week with a series of Alcuin events you won't want to miss. We've already mentioned the VIWF evening "The Look of the Book" happening on Thursday. On Friday we're hosting the Annual Yosef Wosk - Friends of SFU Special Collections - Alcuin Society Lecture featuring William Rueter. The talk is titled Printing for Fleeting Pleasure: The Aliquando Press, and the slideshow above showcases the current exhibit of the Aliquando Press on display at the SFU Library Special Collections and Rare Book room. Then on Saturday, it's the Alcuin Society's annual Wayzgoose Book Fair at the VPL.

Here's the complete description of Friday's Rueter lecture:

"In January 1963 the first book of The Aliquando Press was produced to allow me to learn and personally practice most aspects of bookmaking: selecting texts, editing, designing, occasionally writing and illustrating, setting type by hand, printing and binding...I had no idea that my initial experience in creating a book would turn into an obsessive, decades-long activity.

In operating my private press I have been motivated by the desire to print texts of my own choice and to find the appropriate typeface, ink colour, paper, and binding materials for each project in order to enhance the author’s words for the reader. I love letterforms, and over the years the Press has been very fortunate to introduce some classic and exotic typefaces into its projects."   Will Rueter, The Aliquando Century.

Work of The Aliquando Press won an honorary diploma at the Schönste Bücher aus aller Welt exhibition, Leipzig, 1987, and a bronze medal at the Internationale Buchkunstausstellung, Leipzig, 1989. Work of the press has been show throughout North America and in Japan and is included in public and private North American and European collections, including the Toronto, New York, and San Francisco public libraries; the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg; the British Library; the Museum van het Boek, the Hague; and Simon Fraser University Library Special Collections.

Friday, October 23, 2009
7:30pm - 9:30pm
Room 1700 - Labatt Hall
Simon Fraser University Vancouver
515 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC
Refreshments following lecture.
Free Admission – limited seating - please reserve a seat by calling 778.782.6704 or emailing
For further information contact:
Eric Swanick
Head, Special Collections
WAC Bennett Library
Simon Fraser University
Tel: 778.782.4626

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

VIWF - The Look of The Book, October 22, 2009

Coming to the Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival, The Look of The Book brings together a dynamic and esteemed panel of speakers, featuring Robert Bringhurst, Audrey Niffenegger, Anik See (winner of an Alcuin award this year), Seth, with host Jerry Wasserman to moderate. The event will be held Thursday, October 22 at 8pm at the Waterfront Theatre, 1412 Cartwright Street, Granville Island, Vancouver, BC.

Tickets are $18 and are available online at Vancouver Tix.

Here's the official synopsis from the festival program:
For centuries book lovers have known that books are more than words on paper. If you are one of those people then you won’t want to miss these masters exploring the art of the book. For these four, every element that contributes to the book as object—the look, the feel, the paper, the design—is integral to what the book is about. Robert Bringhurst wrote the bible on typographic style; Audrey Niffenegger has taught bookmaking for two decades; Anik See designs, makes and restores books; and Seth is an internationally acclaimed illustrator and book designer. At a time when book production threatens to move to pixels on screens, it is important to hear from people who care deeply about books as physical objects.
The Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival runs from October 18-25. For more information on the festival, visit and follow the fest on Twitter at

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

SFU - Share your Enthusiasm Lecture Series: Jim Rainer

Coming Wednesday, October 7, 2009, as part of the SFU Special Collections series Share the Enthusiasm, Jim Rainer will speak on his career of collecting - book collecting. The subject range of his book collecting has been varied including press books, the book arts, books on gardening, books on baseball and also mechanical pencils…

Jim Rainer was educated in Victoria, at the University of British Columbia and at the University of Washington. For thirty seven years he was an executive with Crown Zellerbach Canada and its various successors. For many years he was CEO of the Alcuin Society and remains a lifelong supporter of fine books, the book arts and continues to follow his heart as a collector.

Photo by Raeff Miles

For more information on Jim Rainer's collecting, note also this 2006 article from AQ, the Magazine of SFU on Jim Rainer's donation to the SFU Special Collections.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009 at 7:30pm
Room 2200 - RBC Dominion Securities Executive Meeting Room
Simon Fraser University Vancouver
515 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC
Refreshments following lecture.
Free Admission – limited seating - please reserve a seat by calling 778.782.6704 or emailing
For further information contact: Eric Swanick
Head, Special Collections
WAC Bennett Library
Simon Fraser University
Tel: 778.782.4626

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Word on the Street, September 27, 2009

2009 Word on the Street poster designed by Charles PachterOne of the best book events of the year is coming to a city near you! The annual Word on the Street festival, held on Sunday, September 27th, is Canada's National Book and Magazine Festival. WOTS officially happens in 4 cities across Canada; Vancouver, Kitchener, Toronto, and Halifax. Last year, in the four cities combined, more than 275,000 visitors attended 408 programs featuring 471 authors, workshop presenters and arts performers.

The Alcuin Society will have a table display located indoors this year, on the main floor lobby of Library Square. We're having a combined table of book design award winners and general Alcuin material/publications. The WOTS festival is a must see event for book lovers of all ages, and this year there will be some added entertainment from the Vancouver Global ComedyFest. From the WOTS website:
Special News: We're teaming up with the Vancouver Global ComedyFest on our Mainstage to present an exciting and entertaining roster of comedy skits and musical performances.

Click here to see what's on the agenda in Vancouver for September 27.

On a related note, coming up next month, the Vancouver International Writers Festival takes place on Granville Island from October 18-25. And don't forget the Alcuin's very own Wayzgoose festival at Library Square on October 24! It's beginning to look like Fall is the Season of Books in this town!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Alcuin Awards Ceremony 2009

The Alcuin Society and Emily Carr University would like to invite you to an Awards Ceremony, honouring the designers and publishers of the winners of The 27th Competition for Excellence in Book Design in Canada – 2008.

This year's keynote speaker will be Gabriele Wilson, a New York-based graphic designer and member of the faculty at Parsons School of Design. After seven years as Senior Designer at Knopf Books, Gabriele now runs a small design studio and continues to work for numerous publishers worldwide designing jackets and illustrated books, as well as creating restaurant branding and music packaging. Her work has been featured in Communication Arts, The New York Times, Metropolis, Print, USA TODAY, By Its Cover: Modern American Book Design, New Vintage Type, Chip Kidd: Book One, and the AIGA 365 and 50 Books/50 Covers competitions. She is originally from Concord, Massachusetts.

Gabriele's talk -- Gabriele Wilson: Greatest Hits – will be introduced by the evening's moderator, Peter Cocking, Creative Director of Vancouver-based Douglas & McIntyre, himself a winner of numerous Alcuin awards.

The event will be held at Emily Carr University, Room 301, on Thursday, October 1st at 7:00 pm. It is a free event, open to the public; everyone is encouraged to attend. The award-winning books will be on display.

During the day, there will be two related workshops. The first (from 10:30-12:30), an interactive seminar/discussion on book design, will be given by Gabriele Wilson and Peter Cocking. The second (from 1:30 to 3:30), by Celia King, will be a hands-on workshop in which participants will create a simply-bound book in hard covers, complete with dust jacket to pressed finish – discussion will explore type design, visual formats and concept presentation for publishing. Registration will be required for both workshops.

For further information, contact Leah Gordon at (604) 732-5403.