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Bookmarks: The Man Who Cataloged Canada

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Plus new releases from a local publishing house, nature wooing our inner artist, St. Albert’s new Poet Laureate and more.

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James Marsh’s career in publishing was both hard work and part of the right place at the right time – a lifetime spent working on important books that shaped this country. Today, the former editor of The Canadian Encyclopedia shares his life story in a new book.

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Know it All: Finding the Impossible Country is the story of how Marsh made his way from the railroad tracks of Toronto to his time at the heart of publishing and the debate about what it means to be Canadian. It was released on May 4 by Durville Imprint.

“The day I started working in 1966 as an editor, I went from one job to another. I loved it,” says Marsh. “Because I got lucky in a publishing job, I had no idea what it was or how lucky I was and loved every minute of it.”

Its beginnings in publishing coincide with the debates of the 1960s and 1970s around Canadian identity sparked by the country’s 100th anniversary. It all started with a book he worked on called Unity and Diversity, which brought English and French Canadians together to talk about the country’s history.

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“For me, it was a preparation to meet Mel Hurtig. He was a singular voice on a kind of Canadian nationalism. This dynamism, with Peter Lougheed, led to the creation of the Canadian Encyclopedia.

A well-known bookstore owner and publisher, Hurtig brought Marsh to Edmonton to work on the encyclopedia, a project that would be funded in part by the Alberta government as part of the province’s 75th anniversary celebration.

According to Marsh, the encyclopedia’s success was due in part to the presence of offices on the University of Alberta campus, with access to libraries and experts to help write and verify entries.

Marsh remained in Edmonton and retired from the encyclopedia in 2013, after 33 years as editor. For more information about the book, visit durville.com.

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A struggle for equality in the 19th century

USA Today bestselling author Audrey Blake owes half of her success to Edmonton, a success she hopes to replicate with a new book coming out this month.

To be precise, Blake is the pseudonym of Edmontonian Jaima Fixsen and her co-author Regina Sirois, from Kansas. Their new book, The Surgeon’s Daughter, follows their incredibly popular The Girl in His Shadow, released last year, which spent a week at No. 101 on USA Today’s 150 best-selling titles.

Nora Beady wants to be a doctor, but studying medicine as a woman in 19th century Europe is difficult, even at the prestigious medical school in Bologna. Her success is taken for granted and her failures as proof that women should not study medicine.

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The Surgeon’s Daughter is out May 10 from Source Books. To learn more about the authors, visit audreyblakebooks.com.

Nature inspires art

Nature Is an Artist by Jennifer Lavallee with illustrations by Natalia Colombo.
Nature Is an Artist by Jennifer Lavallee with illustrations by Natalia Colombo. Provided

An Edmonton author is releasing her first picture book this month.

Jennifer Lavallee is the author of Nature is an Artist, a book about finding art everywhere you look, even in nature. Lavallee hopes to teach young readers the confidence to think of themselves as artists, and even presents craft ideas with the story.

Lavallee will be a featured writer at the Edmonton Public Library from June 22 until the end of October.

Nature is an Artist is illustrated by Natalia Colombo. The book was released in North America by Greystone Kids on May 17. For more information about the author, visit jenniferlavallee.com.

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Poetry License in St. Albert

There’s a new Poetry Champion in St. Albert after the city announces its new Top Poet.

Lauren Seal, a local writer and librarian in the city, was named the latest Poet Laureate, taking over the position from Julia Sorenson.

“It’s a great honor and I look forward to deepening my connection to the community through poetry,” Seal said in a released statement. “During my time as Poet Laureate, I will work to make poetry as inclusive, accessible and fun as possible for the people of St. Alberta.”

Seal will be St. Albert’s Poet Laureate for two years.

How to Live Without You by Sarah Everett

How to Live Without You by Sarah Everett.
How to Live Without You by Sarah Everett. Provided

Edmonton’s Sarah Everett, known for her work in the field of young adults, has added a new title to her collection of works.

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How to Live Without You, published May 17 by HarperCollins, is Everett’s fourth publication since 2016. In the book, Emmy returns home after her sister Rose goes missing. She comes to terms with loss and secrets, and reconnects with her childhood best friends.

For more information about the author, visit saraheverettbooks.com.

Four new releases from the Edmonton publisher

A chef in an unknown setting, a family massacred in their home, a difficult choice between known and unknown families and a woman discovering Canada for the first time.

It’s the new season for Stonehouse Publishing, a small Edmonton-based publisher that releases a handful of books each year – the latest batch came out earlier this month.

All four books hit the Edmonton bestseller list in their first week, and the authors are from Calgary, Saskatoon and San Diego.

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For more information about the publisher and its publications, visit stonehousepublishing.ca.

History in a small package

Looking at life through small objects, Edmonton-born historian Dr. Joseph Pearson takes a fresh look with his latest title, My Grandfather’s Knife.

A diary, a recipe book, a cotton pouch; they are everyday objects, but also a hook to the stories of the Second World War, objects worn by a generation that is gradually disappearing. Pearson interviews the owners of these objects, who tell a story about the conflict.

Pearson is currently a lecturer at the Barenboim-Said Akademie in Berlin. My Grandfather’s Knife was released last month on HarperCollins. For more information about the author, visit josephpearson.ca.

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A dog at work

The working life of a service dog is a special thing, and it’s a global local author that Wynne Edwards is spotlighting for a new children’s book.

Goldie, dog at work! serves as both a fun story and a teaching moment about service dogs as the reader follows Goldie through her training adventures.

Net proceeds from the sale of the books will go to service dog training centers including Dogs with Wings Assistance Dog Society and Aspen Service Dogs Inc. here in Edmonton.

This is Edwards’ second book on working dogs, having written A Dog for Uncle Peter about a guide dog.

Goldie, dog at work! was self-published last month and is available from Audreys Books.

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