Thursday, December 27, 2012

Call for Entries: Alcuin Society 2012 Book Design Competition

The Alcuin Society will hold its 31st national book design competition, The 2012 Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada, on March 23rd, 2013, in Vancouver.

To be eligible, a book must have been published in calendar year 2012 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 $35 per title ($30 for Alcuin Society members). In addition, we are offering a discount of 15% for 6 or more entries. We strongly encourage you to become members; the annual fee is still only $50.

Although much of the Call is the same as last year's, please note the changes in this year's criteria for Limited Editions.

The Call is available in PDF form on the Society's web site:

To enter, print a copy of the entry form (from 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 1, 2013. More details appear in the Call, or you may contact

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Robert Chaplin's launch of "TEENY TED FROM TURNiP TOWN"

Well, it's official. The world's smallest book is almost here (large print edition!)

Robert Chaplin's Kickstarter publishing endeavour to see TEENY TED FROM TURNiP TOWN published in a human-friendly-scale book is about to launch next Tuesday!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012 
18:00 until 22:00
Smash Gallery in East Vancouver
580 Clark Drive, Vancouver, British Columbia V5L 3H7

From the Facebook event page:

If you don't know Robert Chaplin personally, there's a good chance you've heard of him over the last few months. Chaplin is the creative mastermind behind the Guinness Book of Records World's Smallest book, TEENY TED FROM TURNIP TOWN and a few months ago he took to Kickstarter to make his dream of creating a large print edition of the world’s smallest book. worked and now, just in time for Christmas,

"TEENY TED FROM TURNiP TOWN" is OUT and we are gonna Party!

Originally carved into a microchip and requiring Simon Fraser University’s scanning electrograph microscope to read it, “TEENY TED” was ?truly once so teeny-tiny, the entire book was no bigger than a strand of the hair on your head.
Robert is a long time Alcuin member, and he's got lots of other wonderful feathers in his cap, with book titles like DELiCiOUS CHiCKEN SOUP, TeN CoUNTiNG CaT, The elephant Book and BRUSSELS SPROUTS & UNiCORNS! For more on Robert's work, see this post over at

Friday, November 30, 2012

Handmade Papers of Vancouver’s Reg Lissel at SFU Library

An exhibit of handmade paper by Reg Lissel runs until the end of this year at SFU Special Collections, W.A.C. Bennett Library, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC.

Here's a brief bio of Reg from the Lissel Fonds at SFU:

Reg Lissel grew up in northern Alberta and was a bookseller in the early 1990s. He owned a bookstore in downtown Vancouver before he commenced his handmade paper business. He is interested in handmade Western and Japanese papermaking arts. His paper mill is his two-storey apartment located at Shanghai Alley in Vancouver’s Chinatown. He has published a paste paper sample book, TOPOS, in 2006.
More information about the show, from SFU Library:
The traditional art of making paper by hand has not been forgotten since its conception in China during the year of 105 A.D. Industrialization, expanding rates of literacy, and an increasing need for paper led publishers to prefer machine-made paper. Thus, handmade paper is now a niche market dependent on a select amount of papermakers who embed their work with expressions of individuality.  Reg Lissel of Heavenly Monkey is one of them.

Special Collections has a wealth of material on the work of Lissel, a Vancouver-based papermaker.  The Reg Lissel Collection contains introductory drafts and paper samples of Lissel’s publication Topos: A Collection of Paste Papers (2006) along with other handmade papers created between the years of 1994 and 2010.  Many different types of papers may be found within the collection, including cotton, flax, linen, kozo, gampi, and paste.

Lissel began making paper after leaving his position as a Vancouver bookseller during the early 1990s.  His papers, the majority made with Western Canadian plant fibers, are used by artists and Heavenly Monkey, a Vancouver press.  His handmade cotton papers, on display at Special Collections, have captured his personal expressions of individuality – that being artistry and ownership – in their fibers.

The current exhibition features items from the Reg Lissel Collection and materials concerning the history and creation of paper. Check out this exhibition from October to January.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fierce Bidding at Yesterday's Auction

In the tradition of auction houses releasing record breaking results from their latest auction, here is a photo recap of our annual fundraising book auction of great Canadian designed books.

Alcuin Book Auction 2012
And the winning bid goes to...
The hottest item that went under the hammer was without a doubt the obscure and mysterious Komma: After Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Got his Gun by Antonia Hirsch published by the Vancouver contemporary art publisher Fillip, a book with nothing but commas! I don't remember what the final hammer price was, but it received a raucous applause!

Auctioneer Ralph
There were lots of other great books to be had, enough for everyone to take home a bargain and a few well fought over treasures too. Our silent auction also offered a chance to bid on some rare and valuable limited editions that were donated to help support our awards program. Thanks to all those who participated!

Auctioneer John
If you missed out on our auction this year, do not forget to join us next year - you won't want to miss this fun book buying experience ever again!

Monday, November 05, 2012

Countdown to Our Annual Book Auction

Our annual book auction is just a few days away! We have extended the deadline for signing up for our annual luncheon and auction: there are still some seats available, if you're able to join us.

This event is always really fun; you have a chance to acquire books submitted to our competition, all lovely and interesting, and many hard to find - for yourself, or for gifts.  
A reminder; our auction contains the books that were entered in the competition from the publishing year 2011, but it ALSO contains the winning books from the publishing year 2010, and a good number in duplicate. These books are featured in depth in our awards catalog here, but I also thought I should showcase a few of those books here on the blog.

Horse that Leaps through Clouds
by Eric Enno Tamm. 

Douglas & McIntyre.

by Attila Richard Lukacs and Michael Morris.
Arsenal Pulp.
Armchair Book of Gardensby Jane Billinghurst.
Cigar Box Banjo
by Paul Quarrington.

Compagnie Marie Chouinard Company
par Marie Chouinard et CollectiF,

les éditions du passage.

Short History of Forgettingby Paul Tyler. 

Little Hummingbird
by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas. 


Inuit Modernby Gerald McMaster. 
Douglas & McIntyre and Art Gallery of Ontario.

Relations on Southeastern Hudson Bay:
an Illustrated History of Inuit, Cree, and Eurocanadian Interaction, 1740-1970
by Toby Morantz. 

Avataq Cultural Institute.

Room in the City: photographs
by Gabor Gasztony;
foreword by Gabor Mate. 

Anvil Press.

Sea Legend
by Mark Callanan. 

Frog Hollow Press.

Sketches: From Here and There
by A.J. Diamond. 

Douglas & McIntyre.

In the Suicide's Library: a Book Lover's Journey
by Tim Bowling. 


Vij's at Homeby Meeru Dhalwala & Vikram Vij. 
Douglas & McIntyre.

Visions of British Columbia,
by Bruce Grenville & Scott Steadman. 

Douglas & McIntyre.

Wild Ride, The: a History of the North West Mounted Police, 1873-1904
by Charles Wilkins. 

Stanton Atkins & Dosil Publishers.

The event is this coming Saturday - November 10th. Come at 11 am to look at the books; lunch is at 12 noon; the auction begins at 1:00 pm. It's at the University Golf Club, close to transit, and with lots of free parking. The lunch is $18 per person (we currently have 10 spaces available for lunch); or you can just come to the auction. But do please let us know so that we can be sure there's a chair for you. 

Please contact us by email before Thursday November 8th if you're planning to attend.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Booklovers Alert! Our 2012 Annual Book Auction Announced!

Photo from last year's book auction, at the University Golf Club, Vancouver
On Saturday November 10th, 2012, the Alcuin Society will hold an auction of new books submitted to the Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada in March, 2012, and books which won awards in 2011.

This is an excellent opportunity to purchase books considered by Canadian publishers to be the most beautiful that they produced in 2011, at very reasonable prices, in an informal and congenial atmosphere - just in time for Christmas!

Where: University Golf Club, 5185 University Boulevard, Vancouver
When: 11 AM — Saturday, November 10, 2012
Auction: 1 PM scheduled to conclude by 3 PM

For those wishing to join us for the lunch prior to the auction, please RSVP at by November 2nd 8th! (Deadline extended! Still room for 10 more seats for lunch! Contact us by email if you wish to attend!) A charge of $18 per person covers a light lunch.

Note the lunch is optional; anyone can attend the auction, scheduled to start at 1pm.

Payment can be made by cheque, or you can also use our PayPal Donate button online. Simply specify the amount of $18 CDN and indicate "Book Auction" in the Comments field when proceeding at PayPal.

Monday, October 08, 2012

SFU Lecture: The Printing Room @ St. Michael’s College

We've received word from SFU of an upcoming lecture that will surely be of interest to print historians and bibliophiles alike! Jonathan Bengtson will be giving a presentation at SFU Burnaby campus on the the Printing Room at St. Michael’s College. Here is a PDF advertising the event, and below are all the details you need to know. To whet your appetite, I highly recommend that you download the background reading material from

The Printing Room: The John M. Kelley Library
. University of Toronto: 2009

Please RSVP for the event as requested below. We hope to see you there!

Friday, October 26, 2012
4:30pm to 6:00pm
Room 2020 - Thesis Defence Room
W.A.C. Bennett Library
Simon Fraser University
8888 University Drive
Burnaby, BC

Jonathan Bengtson has served as University Librarian at the University of Victoria since January 2012. Prior to his appointment at Victoria, he served as director of library and archives at the University of St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto, as well as the library director for the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies (PIMS), one of the most important libraries for medievalists in North America.

He trained as a medievalist at Oxford and has been director of academic and special libraries in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. Before arriving at the University of Toronto in 2004, Bengtson was head librarian of The Queen’s College, Oxford, and, afterwards, the executive director of the Providence Athenaeum in Providence, Rhode Island.

While at St. Michael’s, Bengtson played a key role in the establishment of the St. Michael’s Print Room. The Room features five hand-presses, including the 1895 Reliance press that is in the foyer of the library; it has binding equipment; an extensive collection of type, including ornaments from the Toronto firm of Cooper and Beatty, woodcuts and wood type; and pedagogical material, including unusual books as well as documents in Braille. The Room has played a critical role in supporting the teaching of book history and material bibliography. Bengtson’s lecture will speak to issues related to the creation of the Print Room and its impact on teaching and learning.

Refreshments following lecture.
Free Admission – limited seating - please reserve a seat by calling 778.782.6704 or emailing library at
For further information contact:
Chuck Eckman, Dean, Library Services
Tel: 778.782.3265

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

2013 Robert R Reid Award Winner Announced

Last night at the Alcuin Awards in Toronto, it was formally announced that William Rueter, RCA MGDC, fine press printer and founder of the Aliquando Press will be the 2013 recipient of the Robert R. Reid Award for Achievement in the Book Arts in Canada.

William Rueter RCA MGDC is a private printer, hand binder, and printmaker living in Dundas, Ontario. He studied at the City Literary Institute, London, England, and the Ontario College of Art. From 1965 to 1998 he worked as a graphic designer specializing in book design, including employment as Senior Designer at the University of Toronto Press.

He established his private press, The Aliquando Press, in 1963, producing more than 100 books and many broadsides to date. The Press reflects Rueter’s interests in graphic design, typography, calligraphy, music, and a wide variety of poetry and literature. Work of The Aliquando Press won an honorary diploma at the Schönste Bücher aus aller Welt exhibition in Leipzig in 1987 and a bronze medal at the Internationale Buchkunstausstellung 1989.

Work of the Press has been shown 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; and the Museum van het Boek, the Hague.

Rueter has taught graphic design and bookbinding in Canada and graphic design in Barbados and the Philippines. He explores the media of wood engraving and linocut in some of his own books and is challenged by the technique of monoprint. As a printmaker, bookbinder, and graphic designer he has been in solo and group shows in Dundas, Hamilton, and Toronto. He is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Art and is a past nominee for the Saidye Bronfman Award for Excellence in the Crafts.

Congratulations, William! The award will be presented in the spring of 2013 in Vancouver, BC.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

An evening with Stephen Marche, Monday, October 1st

The Alcuin Society is pleased to announce an evening with Toronto writer Stephen Marche, author of Love and the Mess We're In, a new novel published by Nova Scotia's Gaspereau Press. Gaspereau recently blogged about this new title here.

The innovative design of this book is by designer Andrew Steeves, winner of numerous Alcuin awards for his work.

The two have worked closely together on this project, and its unusual typographic elements have produced a beautiful and unusual book.

For more information, please see the poster on web site:

Place: Alma Van Dusen Room, Lower Level, Central Library, VPL

Date: Monday, October 1st, 2012

Time: 7:00 - 8:30 pm

Seating is limited; admission is free

This event has been co-sponsored by Vancouver Public Library.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Alcuin Awards Event in Toronto

On October 1, 2012, The Arts and Letters Club of Toronto will host the Alcuin Society and the winners of the 2011 The Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada. The evening will also honour Stan Bevington, C. M, D.F.A., who was awarded in 2012 the Robert R. Reid medal for Lifetime Achievement in the Book Arts in Canada by The Alcuin Society.
The Alcuin Society: Robert R. Reid Medallion
Robert R. Reid medal, photo credit: Peter Lattimer
John Maxwell, Assistant Professor, Master of the Publishing Program, Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver will speak on The Coach House Press as a Digital Pioneer.
John holds a PhD in Education from the University of British Columbia. John has been working in the Internet and new media since the early 1990s. John’s research and teaching focus is on the impact of digital technologies in the cultural sector (and particularly books and magazines), the history of digital media, and the emergence of digital genres and mythologies. John’s current work includes an emerging set of web-based tools for supporting book & magazine workflows in editorial and production, and historical research on digital innovation at Toronto’s Coach House Press in the 1970s.
John Maxwell, Assistant Professor, Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing
presenting a lecture for the Alcuin Society March, 2012 in Vancouver
Stan Bevington has led The Coach House Press since its founding. Coach House Press has been an innovative publisher of Canadian fiction, poetry and non-fiction and has also been equally innovative as a printer of those works.
The winning entries for the 2011 competition will be on display on October 1st in the LAMPS Room of the Club from 5:00 PM.
Place:   The Arts & Letters Club of Toronto
             14 Elm St.
Date:    Monday, October 1st
Come between 5:30 and 6:15; dinner will be served at 6:30
Cost:  $23.75 per person payable at the door
Reservations: Phone the Arts & Letters Club after September 24th, at 416-597-0223 Ext 2 to leave a message for your reservation, plus special requirements (food allergies, vegetarian meal, etc.)
We hope you can attend!

Monday, September 03, 2012

THE { New / Old } BOOK: A Symposium on the Printed and Electronic Book

The Alcuin Society is pleased to announce that this year, the presentation of our Annual Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada will be part of a special one day symposium dedicated to printed and electronic book.
Thursday October 18, 2012
Library Square, Vancouver Public Library
Conference starts 9 am, awards presentation ends 9 pm
Headlining our symposium is celebrated designer Chip Kidd, who will be the featured presenter of The Alcuin Society 2011 Book Design Awards. Mr. Kidd lives in New York City and Stonington, Connecticut. He is the co-author and designer of the two-time Eisner award-winning book Batman Animated. His book jacket designs for Alfred A. Knopf, where he is associate art director, have helped spark a revolution in the art of American book packaging. His new book is Batman: Death by Design.

In addition, we will have eight other speakers addressing the state of the art of the book.
  • Marian Bantjes, is a designer, artist and writer working internationally from her base on a small island off the west coast of British Columbia, near Vancouver. Marian is known for her custom typography, detailed and lovingly precise vector art, her obsessive hand work, her patterning and ornament. She was an Alcuin judge in our competition for the year 2009, and she will speak on ornamentation in books.
  • Peter Cocking will speak on the life of a book designer. He has since 2002 focused on book and typographic design as the art director of D&M Publishers, the publishers of Douglas & McIntyre and Greystone Books. Peter is the recipient of more than 40 awards for his design work, and as art director has led D&M to more design awards than any other Canadian publisher.
  • Crispin Elsted of Barbarian Press, one of the finest private presses in Canada and perhaps all the world, will speak on the subject of private press printing. Barbarian Press was established in 1977 in Kent, England, where Jan & Crispin Elsted worked with Graham Williams at the Florin Press. They returned to their native Canada in 1978 and set up shop in Mission, British Columbia, about 50 miles east of Vancouver in the Fraser Valley.
  • Selma Zafar is a senior user experience designer at OpenRoad Communications in Vancouver, with over 10 years experience in designing innovative and usable software and hardware. She will speak to the usability of the printed book.
  • Eric Menninga has over 20 years of experience programming software for the Macintosh and PC. Currently a developer at Amazon, he was previously with Adobe Systems, Inc. for 19 years. He will speak on the technology of ebooks.
  • Shelley Gruendler, a graphic designer, typographer, and a recent addition to the Alcuin Society board, is the founding director of Type Camp. Shelley holds a PhD and an MA in The History and Theory of Typography and Graphic Communication from the University of Reading, England and a Bachelor of Environmental Design in Graphic Design from North Carolina State University, USA. She will speak on typography in the historical book.
  • Kevin Larson is Researcher Microsoft Advanced Reading Technologies. He received his PhD in cognitive psychology in 2000 from the University of Texas at Austin. His academic research was on word recognition and reading acquisition. Among other speaking engagements, he has spoken at ATypI 2003 in Vancouver, at ATypI 2007 in Brighton, and at ATypI 2009 in Mexico City. His presentation will discuss the science of reading ebooks.
This event will feature the live music of Paul Gregory.

The Alcuin Society Annual Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada is the only national competition of its kind that recognizes and celebrates the art of book design in Canada. The Society is very proud of its winners, who represent Canada at the international exhibits and competition at the Frankfurt and Leipzig Book Fairs held annually in Germany, among other exhibition venues around the world.

The Alcuin Society invites you to join us in celebrating the 30th anniversary of its awards with this day-long symposium, THE { New / Old } BOOK. Extra special thanks go to Shelley Gruendler for her key role coordinating this event, the scope of which is without precedent in the history of our awards. This diverse gathering of minds is sure to be enlightening experience you won't want to miss!

Alcuin Society Members + Students: $100 / Public: $150

The Alcuin Society's Symposium of the Book October 18, 2012

For those wishing to pay by cash or cheque, please email to make arrangements.

We recommend early registration, as spaces are limited.

Update! 25 new student tickets have been released for sale!

Click here for a PDF Flyer.

For more information, contact

Saturday, September 01, 2012

The Return of the Vancouver Book Fair

Announcing the return of the Vancouver Book Fair. This year, we are moving the event to a new venue. The two day affair will be held at Robson Square in downtown Vancouver. Special thanks go to patron Yosef Wosk, and this year the event sponsors are the Alcuin Society and

Below are the details of the event:
UBC Robson Square, 800 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC
Saturday, September 22ND 10AM To 5PM
Sunday, September 23RD 10AM To 5PM

Over 20 of BCs top booksellers featuring rare and exciting material for sale:
  • Americana
  • Antique Maps & Prints
  • Art Books
  • Author Signed Copies
  • Books about Books
  • Canadiana
  • Children's Books
  • Detective Fiction
  • Ephemera
  • Fine Bindings
  • Fine Press
  • First Nations
  • History
  • Literature
  • Military
  • Modern First Editions
  • Nature
  • Photography
  • Science & Technology
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy
  • Transportation
  • Travel & Exploration
Admission to the event is $5, which is good for both days.

The event is easily accessible by public transit, and parking is available at both Robson Square and on street. The facility is also wheelchair accessible. Photos from our 2010 event are viewable here. You can download a PDF flyer for the event here.

We hope to see you there!

Friday, June 29, 2012

BC Chapter of CBBAG present Simple Non-Sewn Bookbinding Structures: Kathy Nash

Our friends over at the BC Lower Mainland Chapter of the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild are presenting a workshop this fall titled Simple Non-Sewn Bookbinding Structures. Kathy Nash is the instructor, and it takes place at the Creekside Community Recreation Centre, 1 Athletes Way (and Manitoba St.) Vancouver, BC. More info below as well as on their blog. You can also click the poster image above for full details.
Date and Time: Saturday, October 13, 2012 10:30 am - 4:00 pm
Costs: CBBAG Members: $76.45
Non-Members: $91.45
Materials fee: $15 per student, payable in cash to the instructor at the beginning of the workshop

Description of Workshop: In this one day workshop students will make six books: two simple structures and four more involved books (accordion fold hardcover, flags book, lotus fold book with rigid cover and tie closure, Chicago screws photo booklet with softcover)

Items to Bring: scissors, steel ruler, sharp pencil, exacto or utility or olfa knife, FULL good quality glue stick, small rag, 18” wax paper, bone folder, cutting mat if you have one, and a bag lunch, as breaks will be short.

Participants are advised to bring a bag lunch.

Registration contact:

Payment by cash or cheque must accompany registration, and is payable to: CBBAG: BC Lower Mainland Chapter c/o #106-3870 Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC V5Z 2X7

Friday, May 25, 2012

Winners of the 3rd Edition of Canada's National Book Collecting Contest Annouced

Canada’s Third National Book Collecting Contest for Young Canadians under thirty years of age
The Bibliographical Society of Canada (BSC), the W.A. Deacon Literary Foundation (DLF), and the Alcuin Society are pleased to announce the winners:
  1. FIRST PLACE $1,000
    Aesop's Fables
    Samuel Jang 27 (Victoria, BC)
  2. SECOND PLACE $500
    The Imaginary of Books: Homosexualities, Images, and Texts
    David Fernández 28 (Scarborough, ON)
  3. THIRD PLACE $250
    Tasteful Books
    Gideon Foley 25 (Saskatoon, SK)

Since the three winners are from Victoria, Scarborough and Saskatoon we have had to change the presentation of the prizes this year. The Bibliographical Society of Canada (BSC) AGM will be held on Monday the 28 May 2012 at the University of Waterloo, ON. The BSC will announce the current winners at their AGM and present the cash prize for the Second Place winner from Scarborough.

The W.A. Deacon Literary Foundation, with the Alcuin Society, will be presenting the cash prize for the First Place winner from Victoria, BC at a special event.

Monday 28 May 2011 @ 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. Simon Fraser University Vancouver Campus Room #2260 - 515 West Hastings Street Vancouver, BC

Current sponsors for the third 2011-12 contest include ABE Books, the National Post, CBC Books and Hemlock Printers.

This years winning essays will be uploaded onto the BSC and ABE Books website.

Update: All three essays are now online!
  1. Aesop’s Fables: A Passion for Life by Samuel Jang
  2. The Imaginary of Books: Homosexualities, Images and Texts by David Fernández
  3. Tasteful Books by Gideon Foley

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Our AGM Speaker: John Pass of High Ground Press

We hope you will be able to attend this year's AGM and talk. Once again, we will serve a dessert buffet (but no dinner). Below is a complete schedule of the evening.

AGM: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
6:00 pm     Doors open; award winning books on display; Cash bar will be open
6:45 pm     Alcuin Society AGM
7:15 pm     Dessert bar
7:45 pm     Guest Speaker begins
9:00 pm     Event ends

We're pleased to announce that John Pass of High Ground Press will be our guest speaker.

The talk will be preceded by a short AGM, for interested members. The AGM portion of the evening is open to members only; the guest speaker is open to the public.

The winning books from the 2011 Alcuin Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada will be on display. The awards will be given at another ceremony on Friday October 18 at the Vancouver Public Library.

If you would like to attend the lecture and dessert buffet on June 19, please RSVP and send prepayment at a cost of $22 per person.

RSVP required.

Contact Howard (604)733.1204 or Leah (604) 732.5403 for changes or to bring additional guests.

You can mail your RSVP to us at this address:

The Alcuin Society
PO Box 3216
Vancouver, B.C.
V6B 3X8

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Canadian Books Recognized at 2012 Leipzig Competition

Frankfurt, Germany – The Stiftung Buchkunst, based in Frankfurt, Germany, curators of the international exhibition "BEST BOOK DESIGN FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD" at the Frankfurt and Leipzig Book Fairs, selected the 2012 award-winners (books published in 2010) in an international competition on February 3-4, 2012. The awards were presented at the Leipzig Book Fair in March 2012.

The Stiftung has just released their list of awards. Of 540 books submitted by 31 countries, 14 prizes were selected; five Canadian designers were honoured to have their books among the shortlisted titles. The Alcuin Society would like to congratulate the designers and publishers of these books:

  • MARVIN HARDER, designer (Montreal, QC): Relations on Southeastern Hudson Bay by Toby Morantz (Avataq Cultural Institute)

  • EMMELYNE PORNILLOS (1218A), assisted by LAURIE CASTILLOUX-BOUCHARD, designers; Liz Broes (Em Dash), jackets; Aurèle Parisien (IPCI-Canada), director of production (Montreal, QC): The Conservation, Restoration and Repair of Stringed Instruments and Their Bows edited by Tom Wilder (IPCI-Canada)

  • JESSICA SULLIVAN & NAOMI MACDOUGALL, designers (Vancouver, BC): The Little Hummingbird by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas (Greystone Books).
The 37 Canadian books on exhibit, participants in the international competition, were submitted by The Alcuin Society to the Stiftung. These books were the winners of the 2010 Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada, held in March 2011. The collection has been donated to the German Book and Type Museum in Leipzig, where it will be available for consultation and exhibitions. The winners of this year's Alcuin Society competition will be forwarded to the Stiftung later this summer.

Information about the Stiftung Buchkunst may be found at:

The Alcuin Society is a Vancouver-based non-profit society for the support and appreciation of fine books. In addition to the annual Book Design Competition, the Society publishes a quarterly journal, Amphora, and organizes lectures, workshops, exhibitions, and field visits on various aspects of the book. Further information on the Alcuin competition may be obtained from awards at

For a PDF version of this press release, click here.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Best Canadian Book Designs of 2011 Announced

Stan Bevington, Bonne Zabolotney, & Ingrid Paulson judging the Alcuin Awards

Vancouver, BC - The Alcuin Society has announced the winners of its 30th annual Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada. The winning books will be exhibited in Germany at the Frankfurt and Leipzig Book Fairs; in Japan, at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, in conjunction with the Tokyo International Book Fair; and, in Canada, in eight provinces. Exhibition venues will be posted on our web site. They will also be entered in the international book design competition in Leipzig, Germany in February 2013.

Bonne Zabolotney, Stan Bevington, & Ingrid Paulson above.

This year's judges, Stan Bevington, Ingrid Paulson, and Bonne Zabolotney, selected 35 winning titles from 252 entries, from 9 provinces and 103 publishers.


This year's winners have been posted to the Alcuin Society website. You can also view this list of winners as a PDF press release.

More photos will be posted to the Alcuin flickr account in the coming days. A catalogue of the winners will begin production shortly, and the awards will be given out this fall in both Toronto and Vancouver.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Alcuin Patron Honoured with a Queen's Jubilee Award

Congratulations go out to our longtime supporter and patron Yosef Wosk, who will receive the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Governor General of Canada through the Canadian Museums Association in recognition of his exceptional contributions to Canadian culture and heritage. From the Governor General's website:
A new commemorative medal was created to mark the 2012 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada. The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal is a tangible way for Canada to honour Her Majesty for her service to this country. At the same time, it serves to honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.
During the year of celebrations, 60 000 deserving Canadians will be recognized.
The Chancellery of Honours, as part of the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, administers the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal program.
Congratulations Yosef!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Toronto: Two Typoscrumptious Happenings Upcoming

Andrew Steeves of Gaspereau Press recently wrote on his blog:
...I'll be participating in a couple of events at the University of Toronto and Massey College at the end of the month, where I’ll be talking about printing, the state of literary publishing and the art of fine typography. Wherever I start, I’ll most likely end up talking about ecology, economics and civics too, putting the issues facing ‘the book’ into some sort of historical context. I’m into that kind of thing.

The events are open to the public, and I’d love to meet some of our Toronto readers and authors. If you live in that neck of the woods and are interested in the way we like to roll at Gaspereau Press, please come out to one or both of these events and make sure you take a minute to say hello.
Get the Lead Out, a symposium of letterpress printers includes Stan Bevington, Briam Maloney, Will Rueter, and Andrew Steeves. The event takes place at Massey College Wednesday, March 28, 2012 3pm - 4:30pm.

The following day, the Ecology of the Book, an illustrated talk by Andrew Steeves takes place at the Jackman Humanities Building on March 29, 2012 1pm.

The events are sponsored by the Dean's Student Initiative Fund in the Faculty of the Arts and Science at the University of Toronto and by Massey College.

Grimsby Art Gallery presents their 34th Wayzgoose

Coming the last Saturday in April, the Grimsby Art Gallery in Ontario presents the 34th edition of their Annual Wayzgoose Bookarts Fair.

April 28, 2012, 9am - 5pm

18 Carnegie Lane, Grimsby, Ont. L3M 1Y1
Ph: 905-945-3246 Fx: 905-945-1789

From their website:
Each year on the last Saturday in April practitioners of traditional book related crafts including letterpress printers, printmakers, paper makers and hand bookbinders gather at the Grimsby Public Art Gallery to present their work to the public, renew connections with colleagues and share their expertise with the next generation of artists and artisans.

Started in 1979, Wayzgoose was a small gathering of friends and colleagues that attracted about 300 visitors. Since then it has grown into an eagerly awaited annual event with an attendance of between 2000 and 2500 people. Participants and visitors come from across Ontario, from Quebec and from the North Eastern states. There are also often a few travelers from Europe, Japan and across the U.S. who find their way to Grimsby to enjoy and appreciate this fascinating craft.

Wayzgoose provides a wonderful opportunity to experience first-hand the traditions that turned us into a literate society. This annual book arts fair brings together private presses from all across Canada and the United States representing the renewal of old friendships, the beginning of new ones, and the appreciation for handmade book and paper arts.

Demonstrations and displays of paper making, book binding, calligraphy, paper marbling, and book making celebrates the love of fine art, fine craft, and stories.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Workshop: Simple Sewn Bookbinding Structures with Adele Shaak

This announcement has come to our attention, and we thought it would be worthwhile to feature here. Sponsored by The BC Lower Mainland Chapter of the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild, this workshop costs $60 for CBBAG Members and $75 for non-members, plus there is a $10 materials fee for all students.

Date and Time: Sunday April 22, 2012 10am - 2pm
Room C509, Langara College, 100 West 49th Avenue, Vancouver BC, V5Y 2Z6

In this one day workshop students will make four books, including a pamphlet, two stab-stitch bindings (one with up and down stitching, the other with Japanese binding), and one multi-section book. They will come away with ideas for variations on those structures. They will also explore different ways of covering the books, and of providing lettering, labels, and other cover decoration. Adele will provide the pages and cover materials for the books. Paper will be pre-cut. Adele will bring extra supplies "in case speedy types have a chance to make another book."

Please email the organizers to register before Sun, Apr 9, 2012.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

COACH HOUSE PRESS AS A DIGITAL PIONEER: Talk and Presentation to Stan Bevington

Cover of the Coach House Books catalog, Spring 2012, from their website.

For Immediate release
February 8, 2012

Vancouver, BC - The Alcuin Society is very pleased to announce that its fifth Robert R. Reid Award and Medal will be presented to Stan Bevington, of Coach House Books (Toronto), on Friday. March 30th.

John Maxwell, Assistant Professor, Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing, will give a talk entitled Coach House Press as a Digital Pioneer. Following this, the Society will present its lifetime achievement award to Mr. Bevington.

Mr. Bevington will be in Vancouver as one of the judges in the Society's 30th annual book design competition, The Alcuin Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada, which takes place the following day.

PLACE: Simon Fraser University - Harbour Centre
Fletcher Challenge Room
515 West Hastings St.
Vancouver, BC V6B 5K3

DATE: Friday, March 30th, 2012
TIME: 7:30 pm

Limited seating; first come, first served

The Alcuin Society is a Vancouver based non-profit society for the support and appreciation of books. In addition to the annual Book Design Competition, the Society publishes a journal, Amphora, and organizes workshops, lectures, exhibitions and field visits on various aspects of the book.

For more information, please contact Leah Gordon, Alcuin Society Design Competition Committee Chair, 604-732-5403.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

A Love of Letters: Work by William Rueter

News of this recent exhibition has just reached us:

A Love of Letters: Work by William Rueter is on exhibit in Dundas, Ontario. The opening reception was held Friday, February 3rd, and the show continues till the last Sunday of the month.

Aliquando Press is Will Rueter's private press in Dundas, Ontario. This year will mark the 50th anniversary of his press. A selection of books and a virtual tour of his studio can be seen on his site online.

February 03, 2012 to February 26, 2012
Presented by the Carnegie Gallery
10 King Street West
Dundas, ON
L9H 1T7
Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday - 10 am to 5 pm
Thursday, Friday - 10 am to 7 pm
Sunday - 1 pm to 4 pm

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Linotype in Film

As you may have heard, a Kickstarter project called Linotype, the Film is about to premiere across the USA.

"Linotype: The Film" Official Trailer on Vimeo.

From the website's about page:

Linotype: The Film is a feature-length documentary centered around the Linotype type casting machine. Called the "Eighth Wonder of the World" by Thomas Edison, it revolutionized printing and society. The film tells the surprisingly emotional story of the people connected to the Linotype and how it impacted the world.

The Linotype (pronounced "line-o-type") completely transformed the communication of information similarly to how the internet is now changing communication again. Although these machines were revolutionary, technology began to supersede the Linotype and they were scrapped and melted-down by the thousands. Today, very few machines are still in existence.

February 3rd is the very first screening in NYC, and a subsequent Brooklyn screening has already sold out. We would certainly love to get a chance to see this film up here in Canada, but as of yet, there are no scheduled screenings North of the border. Stay tuned to @linotypefilm on Twitter for late breaking news, as there has already been rumours of a Seattle screening for late February.

Update! Overheard via Twitter today: "DVD and download will be released in early summer."

Props to the filmmaker for following through with this documentary vision! Bravo!

For those who wish to study the history of linotype in film, you may be interested in catching the movie Park Row which happens to be screening this Saturday night in Vancouver at the Vancity Theatre. The film is part of a series of newspaper films called Stop the Presses! and it deals with the invention of linotype, albeit in a fictionalized way.

In typical film review fashion, I shall include a few film review excerpts from the IMDb page of Park Row below:

Kalaman from Ottawa writes:
"Park Row" is small but an engaging and entertaining tribute to American journalism. Under the opening credits we see a huge rolling title that lists about 2,000 American daily newspapers and this story is dedicated to them.

Set in the 1880s New York, the film is about the rivalry between The Globe and The Star. An aspiring newspaper editor (Gene Evans) sets up his own daily The Globe after a man jumps off the Brooklyn Bridge. He struggles to compete with his former employer's (Mary Welch) newspaper The Star, who happens to be in love with him, while the Statue of Liberty is being donated to the U.S. by France.
The film may not be the benchmark of historical accuracy, however. Reviewer Irie212 from New York City points out in a review:
Linotype was indeed invented by German immigrant Ottmar Mergenthaler in 1886, but it wasn't for a Park Row newspaper, it was for lawyers wanting a way to get legal papers printed faster...
And finally, IMDb reviewer Martin Lane from Cortland, Ny writes:
Any film that can turn the creation of linotype into a miracle of discovery is a wonder. Check out this 83 minute masterwork...rediscover how alive film can be.

That's good enough for me; recommended!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Stan Bevington gets Lifetime Achievement Award from The Alcuin Society

For immediate release

January 16, 2012

The Alcuin Society is pleased to announce that Stan Bevington, C.M., founder of Coach House Press, will be the recipient of the 2012 Robert R. Reid Award and Medal for lifetime achievement in the book arts. He is the fifth to be so honoured; previous winners were Robert R. Reid, Frank Newfeld, Jim Rimmer, and Glenn Goluska.

Stan Bevington at NSCAD in May of 2010

Coach House Press was founded in 1965 and, having published more than 500 titles, is  renowned for its support of poetry and fiction writers (including bpNichol, Michael Ondaatje, Margaret Atwood and George Bowering) and for its leading role in design and technological innovation. Bevington himself is a master printer and award-winning designer whose works are coveted by collectors and bibliophiles.

Measurable quality, cohesiveness, and appropriateness come to mind when Bevington thinks about creating a fine piece of printing, and over the years, other considerations have contributed to the Coach House aesthetic, including his insistence upon working with living Canadians. He continues as “Head Coach” at Coach House Press, happy to be working in an era when computer technology, as it relates to book design and printing, has moved into the creative stage.

Bevington has received many awards for his work over the years. In 1999 he was awarded an Alcuin Society Award for Design for his work on the Toronto in Print catalogue. In July 2009 he was appointed to the Order of Canada for his contribution to the field of communications, and in May 2010 he was awarded Doctor of Fine Arts from NSCAD.

Bevington will be one of the three judges at our annual book design competition in March 2012, The Alcuin Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada. The award and medal will be presented at a small private gathering in Vancouver, following the competition.

A full biography with Audio Interview can be found here.