Thursday, December 19, 2013

SFU presents a talk about Lynn Coady on January 9

On Thursday, January 9, 12:30 - 1:30 p.m., Niall MacKenzie and Jenny Shutek will give a talk about Lynn Coady's work, prompted by their research of her papers that are in the care of SFU Special Collections, as part of a strategy to collect and preserve the papers of young artists. The event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served.

Lynn Coady is a Canadian novelist and journalist currently living in Edmonton, Alberta. In 2013, she received the reputable Scotiabank Giller Prize for her collection of short stories, Hellgoing.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A treasure trove of books left to SFU by the late Emily McWhinney

The Special Collections Library at SFU received 2,600 books donated in memory of Emily McWhinney by her husband, international scholar Edward (Ted) McWhinney. Any book collector would be honoured to lay their hands on these wonderful books, and yet they will soon be available to the public. They include a set of Dickens' novels in the first edition, two inscribed first editions from Graham Greene, and a signed Gertrude Stein book, among other rare books.

Cecilia, or Memoirs of a Heiress (1782)

The body of the collection is literary in nature, including German children's books and Harlequin romances next to the Durrells and the Beardsleys. "Collecting books was an important intellectual escape for Emily. As her executor, it was important to reassure her that her library would be well cared for after her death," says Ted McWhinney. Emily's wish will come true: her beloved books will not only be well cared for, but also enjoyed greatly and cherished by those who now, thanks to her, have access to such exceptional books.

Junius. Stat nominus umbra (1813). Fore-edge painting of the Arundel Castle

For more about Emily McWhinney's life and her beginnings as a collector, go here.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Book Designers from the Netherlands

Brigitte Schuster, a graphic designer currently based in Switzerland, publishes her book entitled Book Designers from the Netherlands, featuring a series of interviews of thirteen prominent contemporary Dutch book designers, and she aims to sell the book in advance of publication (April 2014).
Between 2010 and 2013, Brigitte Schuster interviewed thirteen prominent contemporary book designers from the Netherlands: Joost Grootens, Karen Polder, Ron van Roon, Fran├žoise Berserik, Armand Mevis, Walter Nikkels, Hansje van Halem, Robbert and Oscar Schrover, Caroline de Lint, Bram de Does, Tessa van der Waals, Adriaan de Jonge. Coloured illustrations of the book designers and their works are featured in this 300 page book.
The selected book designers represent different generations and are shaped by a wide diversity of experience and backgrounds. Some are detail-oriented typographers, others rather conceptual graphic designers. Some use the book as a platform for self-expression while others see themselves simply as craftspeople. Overall, it provides a unique perspective on today's Dutch book design scene, exploring diverging opinions and practices of interest to a broad international community of designers and book enthusiasts.
This is a self-initiated project. Brigitte Schuster depends on you – book, typography, graphic design and book design lovers around the world – to make it a reality as a printed book. Please spread the word, share the information and support the project by ordering your own copy now in advance of publication together with a unique perk -- excerpts from the interview recordings.

Book Designers from the Netherlands - cover

Book Designers from the Netherlands - inside spread

Monday, December 09, 2013

The Alcuin Award-winning books travelling the world

The books that were chosen as the best designed and published in Canada in 2012 are travelling not only across our provinces and territories, but reaching distant lands such as Germany and Japan.

One of the big supporters of the Alcuin Society and its Awards is the Embassy of Canada in Tokyo. Under the care of Misako Terauchi, Assistant Library and Academic Relations Officer, our books were loved, treasured and exhibited inside the embassy library from July 15 to October 18. More than 3,300 visitors had a chance to admire these books, some of them being introduced to the collection while doing the tour of the Embassy. A representative of one of the Japanese major publishing house, who took a long time to examine all the details of each book, such as binding and paper, fell in love with Out of the Wood and purchased it online shortly after.

The collection is continuing its journey as it is loaned to the Printing Museum in Tokyo as part of the exhibition "World Book Design 2012-2013", which ends on March 2, 2014. There, our books are in select company there, next to award-winning books from Japan, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Australia, China, Belgium, and books accepted for the World's Most Beautiful Book competition.

Many thanks to Shelley Gruendler, who designed this year's very visually-appealing and well-organized display cards, that accommodated the information in English, French, and Japanese. In the past years the cards in English and French were accompanied by separate Japanese translations.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

A big thanks to all our lovely bidders

This year's auction is behind us, but it would not be fair to miss this opportunity to send a big thanks, not only to those involved in its organization, but also to all the bidders who generously contributed to the Alcuin Book Awards fund, while stuffing their shelves and Christmas socks with beautiful books.

Lovely auctioneers Ralph Stanton and Richard Hopkins. Credits: Patrick Dunn

Auctioneer John King making sure everybody knows who the King is. Credits: Patrick Dunn

Even if it is after Thanksgiving, I would still like to use this occasion to thank all our members, because you are the engine that keeps the Alcuin Society alive. Without our members, the society would not be able to exist and provide wonderful book events such as the Book Auction. Another major part of the society is its Board of Directors, who are the big, strong heart that moves the society forward: thanks for all the time and effort you are putting in organizing the Alcuin Society, its awards, events, publications and reminding us how delightful books are.