Prominent authors, poets and publishers headline conference

Novelist Ray Robertson, Governor General’s Literary Award-winning poet Jacob Scheier (BA Hons. ’08) and York Professor and poet Priscila Uppal (BA Hons. ’97, PhD ’04) are three of the authors joining editors, publishers and agents for a two-day conference looking at today’s publishing trends.

Hosted by the Creative Writing and Professional Writing programs in York’s Department of English, Inside the Trade: The York University Conference on the Book will take place on Thursday, March 5 from 2 to 4pm, in 005 Accolade West Building, followed by a reading from 4 to 6:30pm at the Stong Junior Common Room, 111 Stong College, Keele campus. The conference continues on Friday, March 6 from 10am to 5:30pm, in 038 Health, Nursing & Environmental Studies Building, Keele campus.

Left: Rishma Dunlop

“The conference is important because it will bring together prominent authors, editors, agents and publishers to talk about the state of book publishing in Canada at a time of great ferment and change,” says York English Professor Geoffrey Huck, a linguist and a novelist. Huck is a former executive editor at the University of Chicago Press, and is now teaching in the Professional Writing Program at York. He is a co-organizer of the event with York English Professor Rishma Dunlop, author of White Album and coordinator of the Creative Writing Program at York.

“We look forward to a spirited and informative discussion of where the business is headed and what people interested in becoming book authors or book publishers can expect in the foreseeable future,” says Huck.

The first panel will discuss Author and Editor: The Stages of a Literary Manuscript with Robertson, Thomas Allen & Son senior editor Janice Zawerbny, poet Jason Guriel and Uppal, from 2 to 4pm.

Right: Ray Robertson

Robertson is the author of six novels, including What Happened Later, Moody Food, Gently Down the Stream and the forthcoming David, as well as a collection of non-fiction, Mental Hygiene: Essays on Writers and Writing. He is a contributing book reviewer to The Globe and Mail, appeared regularly on TVO’s "Imprint" and CBC Radio’s "Talking Books", and teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Toronto.

Left: Jason Guriel, photo by Andrei Sedoff

Guriel is the author of two collections of poems, Technicolored and Pure Product. His poems and reviews have appeared in magazines in Canada and the US, including Poetry, The Southern Review, Maisonneuve and the Literary Review of Canada. He is also a PhD candidate in English at York.

A poet and a novelist, Uppal was shortlisted for the 2007 Griffin Poetry Prize for her collection of poems Ontological Necessities. She is the author of several poetry collections, including How to Draw Blood From a Stone, Confessions of a Fertility Expert and Pretending to Die and the novel The Divine Economy of Salvation. Her most recent work of fiction is To Whom it May Concern (see YFile, Jan. 13). She also recently published a non-fiction book, We Are What We Mourn: The Contemporary English-Canadian Elegy (see YFile, Jan. 27).

Right: Priscila Uppal

Following the panel discussion, Robertson, Guriel, Scheier and Uppal will read from their work. Scheier won the 2008 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry for his debut book, More To Keep Us Warm (see YFile, Nov. 26, 2008).

On day two of the conference, Cormorant Books publisher Marc Côté, Westwood Creative Artists agent John Pearce and Inanna Publications editor-in-chief Luciana Ricciutelli will talk about marketing in the Literary Publishing Panel: The Market for Literary Manuscripts, from 10am to noon.

Left: Jacob Scheier

In the afternoon, Kids Can Press editor-in-chief Sheila Barry and ECW Press publisher Jack David will be part of the Trade & Specialty Publishing Panel: The Long Tail, from 1:15 to 3:15pm.

Looking into the future, Penguin Canada fiction editor Laura Shin, House of Anansi Press managing editor Janie Yoon and Eleanor MacKay, a developmental editor at Pearson Education Canada, will take a close look at publishing as part of the Profession of Publishing Panel: The Editor Today and Tomorrow, from 3:30 to 5:30 pm.

The conference is open to all members of the York community. For more information, contact York’s Department of English at ext. 22595 or 33836 or click here.