New this summer! The Festival at Ochre Pit Cove

Layout 1It’s almost summer! Breakwater Books and House of Anansi are pairing up to celebrate June in high-style. Presenting The Festival at Ochre Pit Cove, A Weekend of Newfoundland Music, Books, and ArtSituated in the beautiful North Shore community and featuring some of Newfoundland’s best-known authors, this may just be the most easterly literary festival in the western hemisphere.

Music, readings, and a pop-up gallery featuring local artists’ work — all events take place at The Church at Ochre Pit Cove.

With readings by Michael Crummey, Lisa Moore, Chad Pelley, and Claire Wilkshire. Music by What Odds and The Blue Drop (Holly Hogan & Allan Byrne).

All events $10/each; Weekend Pass $15. Advance Tickets available in St. John’s at The Travel Bug on Water Street, and in Smallpoint at the Smallpoint General Store.

Full details available at thefestivalatochrepitcove.com.

Awards! Awards! Awards!

ippy_goldmedalHow exciting is this time of year? I couldn’t be more pleased to announce that Breakwater has taken Gold in both the Fiction and Non-Fiction categories for Canada East at the IPPY Awards. The IPPYs are otherwise known as the Independent Publisher Awards. Some 2500 indie publishers from all over the US, Canada, and overseas submitted more than 5200 total entries to this year’s competition, the 17th annual installment of the IPPY Awards.

Check out the full list of winners here.

I’ve always loved one of my girls more than the other. I don’t think it makes me awful, just human. Floss was always mine—as sweet, airy, and transparent as her candy namesake. Floss was always eager to please, never once cursed at me or told me I had a face on me like a dog. How could she not be my favourite?

Lolly was never mine. She was hard like her own candy namesake, tough and unyielding with an impenetrable shell. I tried to uncover the sweetness in her but she left me before I could find it. Eventually they all left me—first Ray, then Lolly, and then Floss, in such quick succession I could have blinked and they’d all have gone away.

                                                                                                                                (from Jill Sooley’s Baggage)

FICTION

baggageCVR72dpiWEB

Winner, GOLD — Canada East: Baggage, by Mount Pearl girl and Long Island, NY, resident Jill Sooley

In Baggage, Jill Sooley blends multiple narratives in a heart wrenching and uplifting story of three women drawn by the gravitational pull of fathers and lovers to a place where they’ll ultimately find each other.

Following the death of her husband, Marie Sullivan struggles to repair the bonds that unite her with Floss, her daughter, and Lolly, the stepdaughter she never understood.

After a chance encounter in a cancer ward with her estranged biological father, Floss returns home seeking self-renewal. Instead, she finds a relationship with a recently divorced man whose loyalty to his young daughter threatens his ability to find happiness.

And Lolly, the stepdaughter who never fit in, now shares custody of her own son with her childhood sweetheart, Gabe. How long can she hide the stepfamily she’s taken for granted as she rushes headlong into a romance with a man who has secrets of his own?

An honest and revealing portrayal of modern relationships and blended families, Baggage reminds us that love runs thicker than bloodlines.

JCROY-Fluctuat nec Mergitur-CVR72dpi

Painter Jean Claude Roy first came to Newfoundland in 1966. Travelling to every inhabited corner of the island, he has recorded his personal vision. Painted almost entirely on-site, each image is the story of one day in his life — and one day in the life of a community.

NON-FICTION

Winner, GOLD – Canada East: Fluctuat Nec Mergitur by Jean Claude Roy

I have drawn and painted the Newfoundland landscape since I first set foot on the island in 1966 at the age of 17, as a novice seaman on a French cable ship. I was too young to be allowed to leave the ship unescorted, but one beautiful spring day I escaped with my sketch pad and climbed Signal Hill, and that was the beginning of my attachment to the province… While chatting with another inpatriate Newfoundlander in 2001, I heard the fateful words: “I’ve been to every community on the island of Newfoundland.” At that moment I decided that I would paint every community on the island, and thus began a journey that has ended with the publication of this book. I set out shortly after with my government-issued tourism map, marking off places as I painted them, and adding a few as I went along.

With very few exceptions, these images were painted on site, sometimes in the cold, frequently in high winds. I have had to hang a rock from my easel to keep it steady, tie it to a fence, or, on occasion, put the canvas flat on the ground and paint lying down. The wind dictates the movement on the canvas, the passing clouds alter the light: Being there, for me, is essential to capturing the feeling of the day. Every painting is a page in my diary, and in the diary of the community.

This is neither an art book nor travel book, nor is it a retrospective of my work as an artist. It is not meant to be an accurate depiction of every community. It is a unique story – a love story, really – of a foreigner who thinks he is a Newfoundlander. I have driven and walked all over the island and I have done what I do best in this life – I painted what I saw: the physical and the human landscape. It’s my story, and I’m sticking with it, and I’d be pleased if you would come with me on a trip around the island.  — JC Roy

Shoulder to Shoulder at the Ship! Breakwater’s Spring Lit Party packs ’em in….

Here’s a quick photo gallery from our Spring Literary Party, last Thursday (April 11, 2013) at the Ship in St. John’s. We rang in the new season with new books by Claire Wilkshire and Chad Pelley, music by Pilot to Bombardier and Katie Baggs,  book-cookie loot bags, and the finest crowd you ever did see…

20130411_203844 custom cookie swag 189 192 205 206 211 231

News Release: BREAKWATER BOOKS TO PUBLISH MEMOIR BY RCMP HARASSMENT REPRESENTATIVE PLAINTIFF JANET MERLO

 

St. John’s, NL.  March 28, 2013 –  Breakwater Books is pleased to announce that Breakwater President and Publisher Rebecca Rose has acquired the rights to No One To Tell: Breaking My Silence on Life in the RCMP by former RCMP officer Janet Merlo.

Merlo is the Representative Plaintiff in a Proposed Class Action Lawsuit that was filed one year ago, on March 27, 2012.

A vocal supporter of the class-action suit, Janet Merlo was among the first female RCMP officers to publicly allege she had experienced sexual harassment and gender discrimination while serving in Canada’s national police force. The women kept silent for so long, Merlo says, because there was no one to tell.  In her courageous memoir, Janet recalls how her love of policing was soured by covert and overt sexism within the ranks and by an institutional culture that valued toughness and silence over ethics and accountability.

“After years of living and working in a hostile environment where silence was the norm, I’m finally finding my voice,” Merlo said today. “Sharing my story serves both as a way for me to find healing, and for me to reach out to other women who may be experiencing the same kind of harassment.”

Tracing her twenty years in uniform, Merlo’s story details the highs and lows of her career in the RCMP – while her mental health and personal life disintegrated. Eventually, the cost of keeping quiet was simply too high. Her story emerges as a lone, brave voice seeking change.

“Janet Merlo’s story deserves the nation’s careful attention,” Breakwater Publisher Rebecca Rose said. “Breakwater is pleased to be able to announce the acquisition today, as the class-action lawsuit reaches its one-year anniversary.”

The memoir will be edited by author Leslie Vryenhoek, with an introduction by journalist Linden MacIntyre.

No One To Tell: Breaking My Silence on Life in the RCMP will be published by Breakwater Books in September 2013.

For more information and all media inquiries, please contact:

Elisabeth de Mariaffi

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

Breakwater Books

phone.   (709) 722-6680 x 226

email.    elisabeth@breakwaterbooks.com

–30–

Pelley Does New Brunswick

Hello, New Brunswick! Are you ever in for a treat!

Even before we whoop it up here in St. John’s, Chad Pelley will be in full-on book launch mode in the Picture Province. Pelley leaves tomorrow morning for an Every Little Thing mini-tour that includes stops in Fredericton, St. John, and Moncton. Details below!

Stop One: 

Chad will be Fredericton at Westminster Books on March 26 at 7pm.  Admission is free and all are welcome to attend!

Stop Two: Get a fine meal & a signed copy of Pelley’s new book!

Salon and Breakwater Books present author Chad Pelley for a special evening at The Shadow Lawn Inn in Rothesay, on Wednesday, March 27, at 6 p.m., to celebrate Pelley’s winning the inaugural Salon Fiction Prize.  Join Pelley and host Mike Landry, the Telegraph-Journal’s arts and culture editor, for a reading, conversation and a special Newfoundland-themed dinner from Chef Nancy Fox.

Tickets are $50 for the event and include a copy of Pelley’s soon-to-be-released sophomore novel, Every Little Thing. Enjoy a lovely meal, support local literature and head home with a signed copy of Pelley’s new book. Pelley received the $1,000 Salon Fiction Prize for his short story “A Short Look at Nothing”, beating out more than 100 other writers from across Canada. Based in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Pelley is one of the Rock’s top emerging writers.

“Here is complicated love, human failing, tenacity and true feeling. Chad Pelley takes on addling jealousy, heartache, loss, and the need to be forgiven. Stylistically fresh, taut with emotional torques and charges, Pelley’s Every Little Thing is can’t-put-it-down compelling.”  — Lisa Moore, Canada Reads winner

You can reserve your seat at 645-3225 or salon@telegraphjournal.com.

Stop Three:

On March 28, Breakwater Books, in partnership with the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick, will present St. John’s novelist Chad Pelley and a special guest, musician Pat LePoidevin, at Café Aberdeen in the Aberdeen Cultural Centre in Moncton.  The event will begin at 7pm, with doors open at 6 (come and have a great meal), and there’s is no admission fee.  The reading is part of the Attic Owl Reading Series.

Breakwater grabs two Atlantic Book Awards nominations

The Atlantic Book Awards shortlists were released yesterday — and we’re very pleased to report that we’ve got two Breakwater nominees!

Bracothe debut novel by former Canadian Forces peacekeeper Lesleyanne Ryan, has been nominated for the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award. Told from a kaleidoscope of perspectives, Braco follows fourteen-year old Bosnian refugee Atif Stavic as he crosses forty kilometres of enemy territory to rejoin his family after the fall of Srebrenica in 1995.

**and**

In the Field by Joan Sullivan has been shortlisted for the Rogers Communications Award for Non-Fiction. A compelling history, In the Field examines the legacy of the death of Lieutenant Steven Norris of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment: both the immediate effect on his community and, almost ninety years later, the lasting impact of his story. 

Ryan and Sullivan just did a tag-team Book Club reading here at Breakwater Headquarters, and we couldn’t be happier to see them on the Atlantic Book Awards list together, as well! For information on the awards or to set up an interview or Book Club visit, please contact Elisabeth de Mariaffi:

(709) 722-6680 x 226, or by email, elisabeth@breakwaterbooks.com

The 2013 Atlantic Book Awards and Festival runs May 9-16 with free literary events taking place in all four Atlantic Provinces. Festival details will be available at www.atlanticbookawards.ca in the coming weeks.  Winners of the 2013 Atlantic Book Awards will be announced at a special awards show on the last night of the week-long festival, Thursday, May 16, at 7:00 p.m. at the Alderney Landing Theatre in Dartmouth, NS. It’s a special year this year for the Dartmouth Book Awards – 2013 is the 25th anniversary of these awards, some of the oldest in Canada.

Layout 1

Layout 1

I’m No Bully!

Happy Pink Shirt Day, everyone! I just spent the morning at Roncalli Elementary School in St. John’s, where Breakwater’s own Debbie Hanlon put on her Read-Along I’m No Bully! show for an ocean (or, at least, an auditorium’s-worth) of pink-shirted, anti-bullying cuties.

Kids' author Debbie Hanlon poses with Roncalli  school teachers (wearing their Pink shirt Day finest!)

Kids’ author Debbie Hanlon poses with Roncalli school teachers (wearing their Pink shirt Day finest!)

With the pages of Hanlon’s first book, The Adventures of Gus and Isaac: Backyard Bullies projected up on the big screen, the 200+ crowd of kids were all treated to a read-along led by Miss Debbie herself.

“This is a story about Isaac the Cat,” Hanlon begins. ” Now, who knows what’s different about Isaac?”

“HE HAS NO TAIL!” all the kids holler back. Many of them already know the characters: Gus, the Seagull-Who’s-Afraid-Of-Heights, and Isaac the Bob-Tail Cat.

In this first adventure, Isaac is new to the neighbourhood and finds himself a target of the neighbourhood bullies: Vamps the Cat and his cronies, Berg and Flake.

“That’s right,” Hanlon says. “He’s a bob-tail cat, and that sure makes him different! And what sometimes happens to people who are different?”

“Bullies!”

The kids have had good Pink Shirt Day training, and they have lots of ideas about what makes people bullies: usually, bullies are pretty scared themselves. Scared of people who are different. But bullying isn’t the way to combat those fears. Hanlon leads the kids in a discussion of the “bystander” role in a bullying situation, and reiterates the two things every kid needs to do if they see someone being bullied:

1. Say something! “Stop! Bullying isn’t cool!” the kids yell.

2. Tell someone! “Find an adult — it can be your teacher, your Mom, your Dad — and tell them what’s going on. An adult will help you!” Hanlon says, before leading the kids in an anti-bullying ditty she’s written herself — accompanied, of course, by a pink ukelele.

Hanlon’s I’m No Bully show is a favourite at elementary schools across the region, with frequent performances in the St. John’s area, and a recent fall tour into Central Newfoundland. Next up, Hanlon plans to hit the west coast, with stops in Corner Brook and Stephenville.