New Star Blogs

New Star’s Fall 2014 catalogue now available


nsb-2014-2-fall-catalogue-3DlNew Star’s Fall 2014 cat­a­logue fea­tures a forth­com­ing mem­oir by Andrew Struthers inspired by Victorian-era trav­el­ogues; new poetry col­lec­tions from Donato Mancini, George Stan­ley, and Louis Cabri; and, from Thomp­son Rivers Uni­ver­sity, a col­lec­tion of essays, pho­tos, and poems inves­ti­gat­ing cul­ture in small cities. The cat­a­logue can be viewed and down­loaded here (link opens a PDF).

Around the World on Min­i­mum Wage is the lat­est book from Andrew Struthers, the Victoria-based writer and film­maker respon­si­ble for The Last Voy­age of the Loch Ryan (New Star, 2004) and many short films (includ­ing the faux-NFB doc­u­men­tary “Spi­ders on Drugs”). Around the World on Min­i­mum Wage fea­tures dozens of illus­tra­tions by the author, and bor­rows the lan­guage and lay­out of 19th cen­tury trav­el­ogues to tell a hilar­i­ous and excit­ing story that touches down in Scot­land, Uganda, Tofino, and Tibet.

Loi­ter­sack is the lat­est from Donato Mancini, poet, visual artist, and author of, among oth­ers, You Must Work Harder to Write Poetry of Excel­lence (Book­Thug, 2013) and Buf­fet World (New Star Books, 2010). Loi­ter­sack is a unique work con­tain­ing poetry, poet­ics, the­ory, the­ory the­atre, and, like all Mancini’s work, bril­liant wit and sin­gu­lar inventiveness.

North of Cal­i­for­nia St. is a col­lec­tion of poems span­ning the years 1975 to 1999 from Shel­ley Memo­r­ial Award-winning poet George Stan­ley. The 51 poems within were orig­i­nally pub­lished in four books, all now out of print. North of Cal­i­for­nia St. is intro­duced by Sharon The­sen.

Posh Lust is a col­lec­tion of 68 new poems from Louis Cabri, “anti-geographer,” Uni­ver­sity of Wind­sor pro­fes­sor, Mon­treal native, and the author of Poet­ry­world and The Mood Embosser. Posh Lust’s many trea­sures include a con­tem­po­rary answer to “The Owl and the Pussy­cat,” a hid­den rework­ing of the Nixon tapes’ antic­i­pated visit by Allen Gins­berg, and a toastmaster’s neolib­eral code of ethics.

Whose Cul­ture Is It, Any­way? Com­mu­nity Engage­ment in Small Cities is edited by W.F. Garrett-Petts, James Hoff­man, and Ginny Rat­soy of Thomp­son Rivers Uni­ver­sity. Con­tin­u­ing the project that began with The Small Cities Book, Whose Cul­ture Is It, Any­way? exam­ines the cul­tural dynam­ics in small cities through the work of numer­ous aca­d­e­mics, poets, and writers.

The cat­a­logue also includes our com­plete back­list and order­ing infor­ma­tion. Since 2011 we’ve saved over 1.113 trees by issu­ing cat­a­logues in digital-only for­mat — pre­view and down­load it here, and print only the pages you need.



Win a copy of Seize the Time in #SeizeTheContest


Seize the Time cover

We’re back on the Twit­ter and we’re giv­ing away books — two copies of Seize the Time: Van­cou­ver Pho­tographed, 1967–1974 by “Vancouver’s great lost hip­pie pho­tog­ra­pher,Vlad Keremid­schi­eff.

The inspi­ra­tion: Last sum­mer, while research­ing Seize the Time at the UBC archives, we scoured sev­eral years of Geor­gia Straights from “back in the day,” which were replete with sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll, and “Pho­tos by Vlad.” We have a stash of pic­tures of Vlad’s work in those orig­i­nal Straight issues from 40+ years ago, and we’re eager to share.

TO ENTER: Find us on Twit­ter (@newstarbooks) and watch for the #SeizeThe­Con­test posts, which will trickle out over the next two weeks. Each photo posted will include a memory-testing ques­tion of increas­ing potency. Retweet with your answer (or answer using the hash­tag #SeizeThe­Con­test) and you’re in.

TO WIN: Two ways: You can A) get the answer right. We’ll keep track of the first 3 peo­ple to tweet each cor­rect answer — who­ever has the most tal­lies scores a book; or B) get the answer wrong. Every­one who haz­ards a guess will be entered in a ran­dom draw from an actual hat (hat TBD).

Good luck!

UPDATE, 4/22/14: Con­grats to our win­ners, @tomhawthorn and @LoriHahnel, and thanks to every­one who entered or retweeted!


Alex Macdonald

Dorothy and Alex Macdonald at home, 1993.

Dorothy and Alex Mac­don­ald at home, 1993. Photo by Gary Fiegehen.

Not enough recog­ni­tion has been given to the impact that Alex Mac­don­ald, who died on March 5 at age 95, has had on the way we live in British Colum­bia today. It was Mac­don­ald, Attorney-General in the Dave Barrett-led NDP provin­cial gov­ern­ment from 1972 to 1975, who led the long-overdue lib­er­al­iza­tion of the province’s anti­quated liquor and enter­tain­ment laws, and broke the grip that the B.C. Hotel­mans’ Asso­ci­a­tion held over the dis­pen­sa­tion of alco­holic bev­er­ages in BC. If “no-fun-city” Van­cou­ver is dying (a slow death) today, surely the heavy lift­ing that Alex Mac­don­ald did dur­ing those 39 remark­able months has a lot to do with that.

As a child of priv­i­lege (his father was also a provin­cial Attorney-General, in a pre-WWII Lib­eral gov­ern­ment) who embraced social­ism as a young man, Mac­don­ald, through­out his long polit­i­cal career, which con­tin­ued for sev­eral decades after he retired as the sit­ting Vancouver-East MLA in 1986, never lost sight of two big things. One was his sense of social jus­tice, and his anger when­ever it was denied. The other was that life was short, that there was no pie await­ing us in the sky, and that social­ism was about the good things in life — love, friends, com­pan­ion­ship; food, drink, laugh­ter, plea­sure — as much as it is about the vote, the 8-hour day, and social­ized med­i­cine. Until the end of his long & rich life, Mac­don­ald was curi­ous about the world around him and the peo­ple he encoun­tered — an inter­est that he never had to fake.

Not for Alex Mac­don­ald was the easy cyn­i­cism that comes all too read­ily to career politi­cians of all stripes. Most politi­cians would be con­tent, in their mem­oirs, to jus­tify them­selves, to enhance their rep­u­ta­tion, to try to get in the last word. Not Alex. He would not be per­suaded to write a mem­oir — our loss; it would have been a fas­ci­nat­ing and (prob­a­bly one rea­son Alex did not go there) unflat­ter­ing peak into the work­ings of gov­ern­ment. Instead, chose to write books that were unabashed pam­phlets, enter­tain­ing on the sur­face, but pow­ered by a deep sense of anger at unre­solved social injustices.

Alex pub­lished two books with New Star, “My Dear Legs .. .” in 1985, which went through a cou­ple of print­ings in short order, and Alex in Won­der­land, in 1993. Rain­coast Books pub­lished a third book, Out­rage: Canada’s Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Sys­tem on Trial in 1999. Later, Alex turned to actual pam­phle­teer­ing, pro­duc­ing two saddle-stitched pub­li­ca­tions that he handed out at national and provin­cial NDP con­ven­tions, which he con­tin­ued to attend reli­giously, as it were, as long as his health allowed. The sec­ond, Why I am Still a Social­ist, went through two edi­tions and three print­ings; Alex must have given away thou­sands of copies himself.

It was easy to see that the energy of pol­i­tics is what fueled the pri­vate Alex — he needed that fix, and even when noth­ing actu­ally got fixed, he never lost faith in the peo­ple, and their abil­ity (and right) to even­tu­ally get it right, even if it meant get­ting some things wrong along the way. Alex was a strong leader, as any­body who ever worked with him can attest; but he was never a mere com­mis­sar, never saw it as his job to set peo­ple right in their think­ing. Respect, logic, humour: that was how you reached peo­ple, how you changed minds and, even­tu­ally, the world. A nice glass of wine in a pleas­ant set­ting: that was part of that, and so as polit­i­cal as any­thing else he accom­plished as A-G — and I don’t mean to slight the more high-profile and sub­stan­tial reforms that he was part of in that government.

Let us raise a glass to the mem­ory of Alex Mac­don­ald, who will be missed. And in doing so, let us recall that Alex him­self has made it con­sid­er­ably eas­ier to raise that glass here in BC.


Rolf Knight’s Voyage, Graeme Truelove’s Svend Robinson bio make BC Book Prize shortlist


9781554200689-voyage-3DTwo New Star titles are final­ists for a BC Book Prize this year — in the same cat­e­gory, the Rod­er­ick Haig-Brown Regional Prize.

Rolf Knight, author of at least eight other books, is short­listed for his mem­oir, Voy­age Through the Past Cen­tury. It describes his early years in East Van­cou­ver, and his sub­se­quent life as scholar, labourer, and writer in East Ger­many, Africa, South Amer­ica, sub­ur­ban Toronto, and back home in Burn­aby, BC.

Here’s an ear­lier blog entry about Voy­age Through the Past Cen­tury.

Graeme Tru­elove, from Delta, BC, now liv­ing in Ottawa, is short­listed for his first book, Svend Robin­son: A Life in Pol­i­tics, a biog­ra­phy of the long-time NDP MP for Burnaby.

9781554200689-voyage-3DHere’s an ear­lier blog entry about Svend Robin­son: A Life in Pol­i­tics.

For a com­plete list of short-listed titles, look here. Win­ners will be announced at the annual BC Book Prizes Din­ner on May 3 in Van­cou­ver. Tix go on sale March 13. Check the BC Book Prizes web­site for more details.



Judy Williams in Tsawwassen on February 25


9780921586456-High-Slack-3DlJudy Williams, author of Clam Gar­dens, Two Wolves at the Dawn of Time, Dyna­mite Sto­ries, and High Slack, will be giv­ing a talk at the Bene­dic­tion Lutheran Church in Tsawwassen on Tues­day, Feb­ru­ary 25.

Williams, who lives on Hornby Island, has writ­ten about the col­li­sion of Euro­pean set­tler cul­ture and the First Nations they encoun­tered here. Her most recent book, Clam Gar­dens, brings to light the exten­sive prac­tice of cul­ti­vat­ing clams for har­vest in “clam gar­dens”, elab­o­rate rock struc­tures that take advan­tage of tidal pat­terns at cer­tain spots in coastal islands and inlets.

Judy’s pre­sen­ta­tion gets under­way at 7:30 pm. The Bene­dic­tion Lutheran Church is at 5575 6th Avenue in Tsawwassen. The event is being orga­nized by the Uni­ver­sity Women’s Club of South Delta. Admis­sion is free.

The New Star Review of Reviews for February 2014


After a two-month hia­tus, we return with a new round-up of recent reviews & notices of New Star titles.

9781554200689-voyage-3DPho­tog­ra­pher Vladimir Keremid­schi­eff’s last Van­cou­ver gig was for the Van­cou­ver Sun. No sur­prise, then, that the Sun takes a spe­cial inter­est in the Vancouverite’s return, at least in the guise of author, to his for­mer home town (he now lives Syd­ney, Aus­tralia). First, free­lance writer Heidi Greco reviewed Vlad’s Seize the Time: Van­cou­ver Pho­tographed 1967–1974 in a piece that ran in the Jan­u­ary 6 edi­tion of paper. A few days later, John Mackie’s fea­ture story about Keremid­schi­eff, and his book of pho­tos, ran in the same paper’s Arts & Life section.

9781554200719-macpap-3D(The Sun also fea­tured a review of another recent New Star title last month, when it ran Tom Sand­born’s review of Mac-Pap: Mem­oir of a Cana­dian in The Span­ish Civil War, by Ronald Liv­ersedge. You can read it here.)

Vlad also shot for the Geor­gia Straight, and that organ, which began life as an under­ground news­pa­per in the late 1960s, printed George Fether­ling’s review of Seize the Time a week before Christ­mas (& too late for our last Review of Reviews). It was the Straight con­nec­tion that lead to the pub­li­ca­tion of Vlad’s pho­tos in book form — New Star stum­bled upon his work as a result of research in the Straight archives for another another recent New Star title, Lawrence Aron­sen’s City of Love and Rev­o­lu­tion: Van­cou­ver in the Six­ties.

We really liked Rebecca Boll­wit’s write-up on her lively blog, Miss 604. Joseph Planta inter­viewed Vlad for his blogsite on, where you can down­load the inter­view pod­cast. And The Tyee fea­tures a nice sam­pling of pho­tos from Seize the Time. Over on his Schrodinger’s Cat blogsite, Jamie Reid repro­duces his After­word to Vlad’s book.

9781554200689-voyage-3DA few write-ups about Graeme Tru­elove’s biog­ra­phy Svend Robin­son: A Life in Pol­i­tics didn’t make it into our Decem­ber Review of Reviews. The Sur­rey Leader inter­viewed local-boy-made-good Tru­elove, and ran a story about his book in their Jan­u­ary 6 issue. Rival Sur­rey Now’s story, by Car­olyn Cooke, ran a bit ear­lier, on Novem­ber 12. You can read it here.

The web­site Gay Van­cou­ver inter­viewed Tru­elove back in Novem­ber. Svend’s smil­ing face graced the cover of the Novem­ber 21 issue of Xtra!, which ran for­mer Xtra! edi­tor Gareth Kirkby’s spread on Robin­son and the biog­ra­phyBC Book­world edi­tor Alan Twigg’s review can be found here. And early in the New Year, the Hamil­ton Spec­ta­tor ran the uniquely per­sonal and mov­ing review of Svend Robin­son: A Life in Pol­i­tics writ­ten for them by Aidan John­son.

FranzlationsFinally — a smart review of Fran­zla­tions: The Imag­i­nary Kafka Para­bles, by Gary Bar­win, Hugh Thomas, and Craig Con­ley, a book we pub­lished three years ago, & which has mostly been greeted with puz­zled silence. Maybe Uni­ver­sity of Water­loo lit­er­a­ture prof Men­achem Feuer’s write-up on his brainy, styl­ish, and fas­ci­nat­ing blogsite, The Home of Schlemiel The­ory, is a sign that that is about to change.


Sean Johnston, Andrew Struthers take certain liberties with the story at February 13 Co-op Bookstore reading


Two writ­ers who like to have fun with story bound­aries read some of their new stuff next Thurs­day, Feb­ru­ary 13, at the People’s Co-op Book­store, 1391 Com­mer­cial Drive.

Sean Johnston’s brand-new Lis­ten All You Bul­lets takes a pop­u­lar 1949 duster, Shane, by Jack Schae­fer, and gives its char­ac­ters a back­story that puts them at the cen­tre of their own nar­ra­tives. Accord­ing to Johnston’s pub­lisher, Wolfville, NS-based indie Gaspereau Press, Kelowna, BC-based John­ston “sets out to explore the pos­si­bil­i­ties of a story’s resis­tance to its own arrested after­life”, and by all accounts he’s done that in Lis­ten All You Bul­lets.

Vic­to­ria writer, film maker & illus­tra­tor Andrew Struthers will join John­ston, read­ing from his own work-in-progress, Around the World on Min­i­mum Wage. Sched­uled for Fall 2014 pub­li­ca­tion by New Star Books, Around the World on Min­i­mum Wage is Struthers’s own mem­oir–cum–philo­soph­i­cal inves­ti­ga­tion, cast in the form of a Vic­to­rian travelogue.

Struthers is the author of The Last Voy­age of the Loch Ryan and The Green Shadow, also pub­lished by New Star. His films can be viewed at his YouTube site, Apeman888, where his new film, Tiger­bomb! A Sym­phony in Dyna­mite, is cur­rently being featured.

John­ston is the author of The Ditch Was Lit Like This (This­tle­down, 2011), All This Town Remem­bers (Gaspereau, 2006) and A Day Does Not Go By (Night­wood, 2002), which won the 2003 ReLit Award for short fic­tion. He co-edits Ryga: A Jour­nal of Provo­ca­tions and teaches at Okana­gan College.

The Co-op Book­store read­ing gets under­way at 7 pm-ish. Admis­sion is free.

The New Star Review of Reviews :: A roundup of recent write-ups


Hav­ing had a chance to catch our cor­po­rate breath after an intense Sep­tem­ber / Octo­ber / Novem­ber of book releases and book launches, it’s time to get caught up with our New Star Review of Reviews, in which we link to some recent men­tions of those very books we’ve been work­ing on all year.

9781554200689-voyage-3DNo doubt about it, the 2013 New Star title cur­rently gar­ner­ing the most atten­tion is Graeme Tru­elove’s Svend Robin­son: A Life in Pol­i­tics. Ten years out of the lime­light doesn’t seem to have damp­ened people’s fas­ci­na­tion about the long-time Burn­aby MP.

Over on, Robinson’s old comrade-in-arms Judy Rebick writes a long and appre­cia­tive review of Truelove’s biog­ra­phy. The site fea­tures pho­tos of the Toronto launch on Novem­ber 30 at Fron­tier Col­lege. Kudos to the web­site Gay Van­cou­ver, which chose to take the less obvi­ous path by inter­view­ing the straight author rather than the gay sub­ject of his book. Robin­son is sched­uled to be a guest on Power and Pol­i­tics, hosted by Evan Solomon, later this month.

Per­haps the most mov­ing review is this one by Lynda Philippsen on her blog, The Way of Words. Phillipsen was Truelove’s high school Human­i­ties and Eng­lish teacher, and as her review makes plain, she tried to be a very fair teacher to all of her stu­dents. And Xtra! fea­tured Svend Robin­son on the cover of their Novem­ber 21 — Decem­ber 4 issue.

Here’s a gallery of pho­tos by Truelove’s new bride, event pho­tog­ra­pher Janine Bell. Shots are from the Van­cou­ver, Ottawa, and Toronto launches for Svend Robin­son: A Life in Pol­i­tics, as well as the Novem­ber 16 book sign­ing at Chap­ters Straw­berry Hill, where the young author spent many an afternoon.

9781554200689-voyage-3DAnother recent New Star title that’s gen­er­at­ing a cer­tain amount of warmth is Rolf Knight’s mem­oir Voy­age Through the Past Cen­tury, pub­lished this past spring. The book has its devo­tees, includ­ing Alan Twigg, who devotes the cen­tre­spread of the cur­rent issue of BC Book­world, with Dou­glas Cou­p­land on the cover, to a long and appre­cia­tive review-essay about Knight’s Voy­age. Alex Varty wrote an appre­cia­tive review in the Geor­gia Straight. Another fan is Daniel Fran­cis, the North Vancouver-based his­to­rian who wrote about Voy­age Through the Past Cen­tury on the 49th Shelf book review blog (scroll down). Not every­one loves Knight: a forth­com­ing BC Stud­ies review by John Belshaw crit­i­cizes the book for the very thing that other review­ers seem to like most: Knight’s sharp obser­va­tions and even sharper tongue. (He also seems pre­oc­cu­pied with cor­rect­ing the his­tor­i­cal record: John is NO RELATION to Cyril Belshaw, long­time UBC anthro­pol­o­gist.) And there’s a review in the bran’ new Geist, No. 90 (wow!), not on-line, which I’ll have to rush out now and buy.

And, but also:

9781554200689-voyage-3DVladimir Keremid­schi­eff’s book of pho­tos, Seize the Time: Van­cou­ver Pho­tographed, 1967–1974, is start­ing to get some atten­tion. Over on the Van­cou­ver Is Awe­some web­site, Lani Russ­wurm, who has his own very fine dog in the show, Van­cou­ver Was Awe­some, pub­lished by Arse­nal Pulp Press, nev­er­the­less lists Seize the Time as a Great Gift Idea on his own blog. Now that’s class.… Ronald Liv­ersedge’s posthu­mously pub­lished Mac-Pap: Mem­oir of a Cana­dian in The Span­ish Civil War was reviewed in the Geor­gia Straight.… rob mclen­nan per­am­bu­lates Peter Cul­ley’s Park­way, and talks about Culley’s “Ham­mer­town” project, over on his epony­mous rob mclennan’s blog.…On Sep­tem­ber 19, Mark Leier was fea­tured in Simon Fraser Uni­ver­sity’s down­town series of talks, Heroes and Vil­lains. The event dou­bled as a book­launch for the newly released update of his Rebel Life: The Life and Times of Robert Gos­den, Rev­oluionary, Mys­tic, Labour Spy, orig­i­nally pub­lished in 1999. Leier’s highly inter­est­ing talk about Gos­den, and about his book about Gos­den, can be viewed here on the SFU site.… Seat­tle poet and critic Paul Nel­son takes on George Stan­ley’s spring release After Desire here. Mean­while, the Geor­gia Straight asked Stan­ley, and a bunch of other writ­ers, to name the book that changed their lives, and Stanley’s choice is, typ­i­cally, not one you’d expect a poet to cite.


Mac-Pap launch set for Friday, November 22, at the People’s Co-op Bookstore


The offi­cial launch for Mac-Pap: Mem­oir of a Cana­dian in The Span­ish Civil War9781554200719-macpap-3D, by the late Ronald Liv­ersedge, has been set for Fri­day, Novem­ber 22, at the People’s Co-op Book­store. The launch will get under­way at 7:30 p.m., and admis­sion is free.

Avo­ca­tional labour his­to­rian David Yorke, who was given a copy of the Mac-Pap man­u­script by Liv­ersedge before the author’s death in 1974, and who doggedly saw it through to pub­li­ca­tion, will deliver a brief talk and slide show at the launch.

Liv­ersedge was a Cana­dian World War I vet who signed up for the Span­ish con­flict at the age of 37, becom­ing one of 1,200 Cana­di­ans serv­ing in the Inter­na­tional Brigades in the Mackenzie-Papineau Batal­lion for Cana­dian enlis­tees — the “Mac-Paps”. The author of a book about the On-to-Ottawa trek, Liv­ersedge wrote his mem­oir in the 1960s, but attempts to have it pub­lished at the time were thwarted by sec­tar­ian politics.

The last of the Mac-Paps died two months ago in Ottawa. Read more in this New Star blog item.

Svend Robinson bio author Graeme Truelove coming to Strawberry Hill Chapters


Truelove-Graeme-lgOttawa writer Graeme Tru­elove, whose new book Svend Robin­son: A Life in Pol­i­tics looks at the career of the long-time BC NDP MP, pays a visit on Sat­ur­day, Novem­ber 16 to the Straw­berry Hill Chap­ters — the book­store he fre­quented while grow­ing up in South Sur­rey and Delta in the 1990s.

Tru­elove will sign copies of his book and answer ques­tions between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Straw­berry Hill Shop­ping Cen­tre, site of the Straw­berry Hill Chap­ters, is at 72nd Avenue and Scott Road in Surrey.

Svend Robin­son: A Life in Pol­i­tics is avail­able from all Chap­ters and Indigo stores, as well as on-line from Launches are being held this month in Van­cou­ver, Ottawa, and Toronto. See our blog story for more details.