Bookmarks: Accolades include Giller nod for Billy-Ray Belcourt’s new book

Plus more Abandoned Alberta, Alberta Book Publish Awards, Monica Lewinsky in Edmonton and more

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Billy-Ray Belcourt’s latest book was less than a week past its release date when the news broke; A minor chorus was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

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His publication is one of 12 publications competing for the Giller, one of the country’s most prestigious literary awards. But the award-winning author admits there was a lot of uncertainty in the writing.

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“I struggled through most of the writing of this book because I felt like I was straying from the conventions of the novel,” says Belcourt. “I remember having something like a first draft and sending it to my agent and saying, ‘Please let me know if that’s something or if I should start over.'”

What he has is something magical; a narrator trying to find his place in the world in a book about intersectionality—a struggling student, an Indigenous person in Alberta, being a member of the queer community—without ever using the term.

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While the protagonist remains nameless, Belcourt admits many of their details are shared with his own life. When he began writing, he was working on his PhD at the University of Alberta, and the narrator is also a graduate student. Belcourt hails from Driftpile Cree Nation, about 300 kilometers north of Edmonton; its narrator is also from northern Alberta.

Belcourt’s book is one of two titles on Giller’s longlist set in Edmonton. Conor Kerr’s book Avenue of Champions also made it into the running. The shortlist of six finalists will be announced on September 27th, while the winner will be announced on November 7th.

A Minor Chorus was published by Penguin Random House Canada on September 14. Learn more about the author at

New collection of short stories from the Red Deer author

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Award-winning Red Deer author Leslie Greentree has released a new collection of short stories.

Not the Apocalypse I’ve Been Looking For contains 14 stories about the dark and sometimes funny side of life while exploring death, change and redemption.

Greentree has won CBC literary competitions for poetry and fiction, and has been shortlisted for numerous other awards.

Not the Apocalypse I Was Looking For was published by the University of Calgary Press on September 15th.

Learn more at

Alberta’s beauty captured in lost corners

Joe Chowaniec’s photos of Alberta’s abandoned places are so popular that he has published a second book.

Abandoned Alberta II contains 136 pages of new photos depicting abandoned homes, farms and businesses from the badlands to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

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The original book was published in 2020 and became a bestseller, while his photography was featured in a year-long exhibition at the Royal Alberta Museum.

Abandoned Alberta II was published by Macintyre Purcell Publishing in early September.

You can find out more about the book and the photographer at

Children’s book launch at Audrey’s

Best known for writing non-fiction for children, Mortimer: Rat Race to Space is Jean Marie Galat’s first foray into fiction.

Mortimer is a journal-keeping lab rat who lands a spot on the International Space Station to prove that rats are better suited than humans to colonize Mars.

The book launch at Audreys Books on September 24 at 2:00 p.m. will include a launch from a Space X scale model. Galat will also be at the Telus World of Science on September 25 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm to autograph copies of her new book.

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This and 15 other titles by the author, published by DCB, a Toronto-based subsidiary of Cormorant Books, can be found at

embrace the night

Another new children’s book by a local author teaches children the importance of the night.

Welcome, Dark is the latest book from author Charis St. Pierre. She has teamed up with award-winning illustrator Rachel Wada to educate children about the wonderful things that happen at night and to demystify some of the scarier elements of darkness.

The book, published September 13 by Orca Book Publishers, and more information is available at

Alberta Book Publisher Awards

The University of Alberta Press, Athabasca University Press and NeWest Press were among Edmonton and Northern Alberta publishers recognized at the 2022 Alberta Book Publishing Awards, held September 16 in Calgary.

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Edmonton publisher NeWest Press won the Book Design Award for Coconut, a collection of poetry by Nisha Patel. Athabasca University Press took home two awards; the Regional Book of the Year for Bucking Conservatism, edited by Leon Crane Bear, Larry Hannant, and Karissa Robyn Patton; and the Scholarly and Academic Book of the Year for Regime of Obstruction, edited by William K. Carroll.

Laberinto Press, a small Edmonton-based publisher that focuses on non-English writers and translated world literature, was named Emerging Publisher of the Year.

The full list of winners can be found on the Book Publishers Association of Alberta website. A recording of the awards ceremony will be available on the BPAA YouTube channel in the coming weeks.

Monika Lewinsky as a guest at the EPL

The Edmonton Public Library welcomes writer and activist Monica Lewinsky to its Forward Thinking Speaker Series.

Lewinsky will speak at the Northern Jubilee Auditorium on September 27 at 7 p.m. She rose to fame in 1998 when it was revealed that she had a close relationship with President Bill Clinton and has been an anti-bullying advocate ever since.

The evening will be moderated by award-winning journalist J’lyn Nye.

Tickets start at $10 and see the Edmonton Public Library website for more information.

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