Event banner with author headshots

Art of the Short: Video of the Reading with Three 2020 Scotiabank Giller Nominees

On Friday, October 2, 2020, Biblioasis partnered with McClelland & Stewart, Véhicule Press, and Maisonneuve Magazine to put on the event ART OF THE SHORT STORY: A READING WITH THREE 2020 SCOTIABANK GILLER NOMINEES. David Bergen, Souvankham Thammavongsa, and Kaie Kellough had a great discussion about their nominated short story collections with host, Dimitri Nasrallah. We streamed it on both Facebook Live and on YouTube. Thank you to everyone who tuned in! Unfortunately, we had some technical issues, as so some audience members had difficulties watching the video live. Luckily, you can still watch the video now without any disruptions:

This week on October 5th, the shortlist for the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize was announced. We are so excited that David Bergen’s Here the Dark is a finalist for the prize! Souvankham Thammavongsa’s How to Pronounce Knife (McClelland & Stewart) is also a finalist, along with three other books: Ridgerunner by Gil Adamson (House of Anansi), Polar Vortex by Shani Mootoo (Book*hug), and The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel. Learn more about the shortlist here.

Get your copy of Here the Dark today!

Here the Dark Book Cover Giller Finalist Announcement

HERE THE DARK is a finalist for the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize!

We are beyond excited that Here the Dark by David Bergen has been shortlisted for the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize! The finalists were announced this morning on a virtual live stream. Sean Michaels, the 2014 Giller Prize winner for the novel Us Conductors, announced David Bergen’s name.

This year’s 2020 Scotiabank Giller jury, comprised of David Chariandy, Eden Robinson, Mark Sakamoto, Claire Armitstead, and Tom Rachman, stated, “Sexual loneliness and moral confusion pull at the delicately wrought characters in David Bergen’s latest work, a story collection of masterly skill and tension. His third appearance on the Giller shortlist — including the 2005 winner, The Time in Between — affirms Bergen among Canada’s most powerful writers. His pages light up; all around falls into darkness.”

In a statement, publisher Dan Wells said, “We are delighted that David Bergen’s Here the Dark has made the 2020 Scotiabank Giller shortlist. Readers know David primarily as a novelist: these stories show he’s a master of shorter forms, stories and novella both, and we’re thrilled that more readers may discover them as a result of this nomination.”

The Scotiabank Giller Prize is one of Canada’s most prestigious literary awards. The prize was established in 1994 by Jack Rabinovitch in honour of his late wife, literary journalist Doris Giller, who passed away from cancer the year before. The prize is awarded annually to a Canadian novel or short story collection published that year. The winner receives $100,000 and the shortlisted authors each receive $10,000. The winner will be announced November 9, 2020 on a broadcast hosted by Canadian actor, Eric McCormack, featuring a performance by Canadian jazz pianist and singer, Diana Krall.

Previous winners of the Giller Prize include Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Esi Edugyan, Andre Alexis, Michael Ondaatje, and Mordecai Richler.

Here the Dark is one of two short story collections on the shortlist, the other being How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa. It is also one of three books published by independent presses on the shortlist— Ridgerunner by Gil Adamson (Anansi) and Polar Vortex by Shani Mootoo (Book*hug) are shortlisted as well. The fifth shortlisted title is The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel.

The short stories in Here the Dark explore the spaces between doubt and belief, evil and good, obscurity and light. They follow men and boys bewildered by their circumstances and swayed by desire, surprised by love and by their capacity for both tenderness and violence.

The title novella is about a young woman who rejects the laws of her cloistered Mennonite community, where she must adhere to rigid gender roles and not ask many questions. But she can’t stop asking questions and reading books and being curious about her cousin’s life at university. The story is told with compassion and insight, with a great understanding of the complexity of the characters’ situation.David Bergen Headshot

It’s a collection that isn’t afraid to ask difficult questions, display the contradictions within people and ask us to sit with them. Bergen has said he is not interested in easy answers to difficult questions. He portrays characters bewildered by circumstances and invites us to empathize with them.

Here the Dark deftly renders complex moral ambiguities and asks what it means to be lost—and how we might be found.

Bergen won the Giller Prize in 2005 for his novel The Time in Between and he was shortlisted in 2010 for The Matter with Morris. In total, Bergen has been nominated for the Giller five times. Here the Dark is his first title published with Biblioasis.

David Bergen has published eight novels and a collection of short stories. His work has been nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Impac Dublin Literary Award, and a Pushcart Prize. In 2018 he was given the Writers’ Trust Matt Cohen Award: In Celebration of a Writing Life.

Get your copy of HERE THE DARK now!

Double Virtual Launch Video for Jason Guriel and Carmine Starnino

Did you miss the double virtual launch last night for FORGOTTEN WORK and DIRTY WORDS: SELECTED POEMS 1997-2016? You can still watch it here!

We had a great event with Jason Guriel and Carmine Starnino. The two of them read from each other’s books, had a discussion, and answered questions from the audience. Watch the video here:

Order your copy of Jason Guriel’s Forgotten Work here. It’s available in both paperback and limited-edition hardcover. The limited edition is exclusive to Biblioasis.com. Visit Gaspereau Press’s website to learn more about Carmine Starnino’s latest book.

About Forgotten Work

In the year 2063, on the edge of the Crater formerly known as Montréal, a middle-aged man and his ex’s daughter search for a cult hero: the leader of a short-lived band named after a forgotten work of poetry and known to fans through a forgotten work of music criticism. In this exuberantly plotted verse novel, Jason Guriel follows an obsessive cult-following through the twenty-first century. Some things change (there’s metamorphic smart print for music mags; the Web is called the “Zuck”). Some things don’t (poetry readings are still, mostly, terrible). But the characters, including a robot butler who stands with Ishiguro’s Stevens as one of the great literary domestics, are unforgettable.

Splicing William Gibson with Roberto Bolaño, Pale Fire with Thomas Pynchon, Forgotten Work is a time-tripping work of speculative fiction. It’s a love story about fandom, an ode to music snobs, a satire on the human need to value the possible over the actual—and a verse novel of Nabokovian virtuosity.

Praise for Forgotten Work

“This may be the first rock ‘n’ roll novel written in iambic pentameter … strange and affectionate, like Almost Famous penned by Shakespeare. A love letter to music in all its myriad iterations.”Kirkus

“A feast of allusions—musical, literary, and cinematic—is the book’s most entertaining aspect, and it speaks to the powerful currents flowing between artists and artworks across disciplines, as well as to the effect of art on its consumers … Guriel’s bountiful celebration of connections between art finds an inspiring, infectious groove.”Publishers Weekly

“What do you get when you throw John Shade, Nick Drake, Don Juan, Sarah Records, and Philip K. Dick into a rhymed couplet machine? Equal parts memory and forgetting, detritus and elegy, imagination and fancy, Forgotten Work could be the most singular novel-in-verse since Vikram Seth’s The Golden Gate. Thanks to Jason Guriel’s dexterity in metaphor-making, I found myself stopping and rereading every five lines or so, to affirm my surprise and delight.”—Stephen Metcalf

“This book has no business being as good as it is. Heroic couplets in the twenty-first century? It’s not a promising idea, but Forgotten Work is intelligent, fluent, funny, and wholly original. I can’t believe it exists.”—Christian Wiman

Stoop City Virtual Launch Video

Last night we had a blast launching Kristyn Dunnion’s new short story collection, Stoop City! Thank you to Paige Cooper, Sybil Lamb, and Shannon Quinn for joining us. Don’t worry if you missed it—you can watch it below!

Get a copy of Stoop City here. Get a copy of Paige Cooper’s collection, Zolitude, here.


Welcome to Stoop City, where your neighbours include a condo-destroying cat, a teen queen beset by Catholic guilt, and an emergency clinic staffed entirely by lovelorn skeptics. Couples counseling with Marzana, her girlfriend’s ghost, might not be enough to resolve past indiscretions; our heroine could need a death goddess ritual or two. Plus, Hoofy’s not sure if his missing scam-artist boyfriend was picked up by the cops, or by that pretty blonde, their last mark. When Jan takes a room at Plague House, her first year of university takes an unexpected turn—into anarcho-politics and direct action, gender studies and late-night shenanigans with Saffy, her captivating yet cagey housemate.

From the lovelorn Mary Louise, who struggles with butch bachelorhood, to rural teens finding—and found by—adult sexualities, to Grimm’s “The Golden Goose” rendered as a jazz dance spectacle, Kristyn Dunnion’s freewheeling collection fosters a radical revisioning of community. Dunnion goes wherever there’s a story to tell—and then, out of whispers and shouts, echoes and snippets, gritty realism and speculative fiction, illuminates the delicate strands that hold us all together.

Praise for Stoop City

“No one writes like Kristyn Dunnion, not even those of us who really, really want to. These are stories that live under your skin and force new colours into the spectrum, that rip open and fold inward at the same time. You read them and wonder about the talent that allowed them to be told. Just how many lives has Dunnion lived exactly, to be able to write like this? Because you believe every word and walk beside every character. I am a long-time fan of Kristyn’s work and now I think I may be head-over-heels in love.”—Cherie Dimaline, Kirkus Prize-winning author of The Marrow Thieves

“Like her feral, tormented citizens, Dunnion swaps registers, altitudes, myths, and meanings with heartbroken elan. These stories are merciful and naked; these sentences never miss.”—Paige Cooper, author of Zolitude

Stoop City is a tender snarl of an album, a glorious collection of wreckage and beauty and insight. Dunnion’s care shines through each carefully crafted page.”—Casey Plett, author of Little Fish

Poster with Reaching Mithymna cover

Reaching Mithymna Virtual Launch Video

Did you miss the virtual launch last night for Steven Heighton’s new memoir, Reaching Mithymna? Watch it here!

Click here to buy Reaching Mithymna.



In the fall of 2015, Steven Heighton made an overnight decision to travel to the frontlines of the Syrian refugee crisis in Greece and enlist as a volunteer. He arrived on the isle of Lesvos with a duffel bag and a dubious grasp of Greek, his mother’s native tongue, and worked on the landing beaches and in OXY—a jerrybuilt, ad hoc transit camp providing simple meals, dry clothes, and a brief rest to refugees after their crossing from Turkey. In a town deserted by the tourists that had been its lifeblood, Heighton—alongside the exhausted locals and under-equipped international aid workers—found himself thrown into emergency roles for which he was woefully unqualified.

From the brief reprieves of volunteer-refugee soccer matches to the riots of Camp Moria, Reaching Mithymna is a firsthand account of the crisis and an engaged exploration of the borders that divide us and the ties that bind.


Steven Heighton’s most recent books are The Nightingale Won’t Let You Sleep and The Waking Comes Late, which received the 2016 Governor General’s Award for Poetry. His work has received four gold National Magazine Awards and has appeared in Granta, Tin House, London Review of Books, Best American Mystery Stories, Best American Poetry, TLR, and five editions of Best Canadian Stories. His novel Afterlands was cited on year-end lists in the USA, the UK, and Canada, and is in pre-production for film. In 2020 he will publish two books, a nonfiction account of the Middle Eastern refugee influx on Lesvos, Greece, and a children’s book drawing on the same events.


Sadiqa de Meijer’s debut collection, Leaving Howe Island, was a nominee for the 2014 Governor General’s Award for English-language poetry and for the 2014 Pat Lowther Award. Her second collection, The Outer Wards, was released in April of this year by Vehicule Press. Her forthcoming book, alfabet/alphabet, will be published with Palimpsest Press in September 2020. She lives with her family in Kingston, Ontario.

2020 Giller Prize nomination announcement featuring Here the Dark's book cover

HERE THE DARK nominated for the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize!

We are thrilled to announce that Here the Dark by David Bergen has been nominated for the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize! The 2020 nominees were announced this morning by Ian Williams, the winner of last year’s award for his novel Reproduction, on a virtual live stream.

In a sHere the Dark book covertatement, publisher Dan Wells said, “All of us at Biblioasis are thrilled about David’s selection for this year’s Giller longlist. We feel quite strongly that Here the Dark is his strongest book to date.  We’re particularly happy, in this pandemic-stricken year, when so many important books were a little lost or overlooked, for David’s wonderful collection to get a little more of the attention it deserves.”

David Bergen said, “I am thrilled that Here the Dark is on the Giller longlist. To be acknowledged by the jury, and to be with such a great company of writers—astonishing. So happy for my publisher, Biblioasis, as well.”

The Scotiabank Giller Prize is one of Canada’s most prestigious literary awards. The prize was established in 1994 by Jack Rabinovitch in honour of his late wife, literary journalist Doris Giller, who passed away from cancer the year before. The prize is awarded annually to a Canadian novel or short story collection published that year. The winner receives $100,000 and the shortlisted authors each receive $10,000. The shortlist will be announced virtually October 5, 2020.

Previous winners include Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Esi Edugyan, Heather O’Neil, Andre Alexis, Michael Ondaatje, and Mordecai Richler.

The jury members for this year’s prize are Canadian authors David ChariandyEden Robinson and Mark Sakamoto (jury chair), British critic and Editor of the Culture segment of the Guardian, Claire Armitstead, and Canadian/British author and journalist, Tom Rachman.

On choosing the longlist, the jury stated, In this tumultuous year, the jurors took the responsibility bestowed upon us by the Scotiabank Giller Prize most seriously. We were determined to find the most powerful pieces of fiction published this year … We are proud of the collection of books that has emerged from our lengthy debates; and we believe that this longlist is but one clear reflection of the talent and global relevance of Canadian writers. To the nominees, we offer our sincere gratitude and our heartfelt congratulations.”

Here the Dark is one of three short story collections nominated for the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize. Dominoes At The Crossroads by Kaie Kellough and How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa. Other longlisted titles include Ridgerunner by Gil Adamson, Watching You Without Me by Lynn Coady, All I Ask by Eva Crocker, The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue, Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi,  Five Little Indians by Michelle Good, Indians on Vacation by Thomas King, Consent by Annabel Lyon, Polar Vortex by Shani Mootoo, The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel, and the first graphic novel to be nominated for the Giller Prize, Clyde Fans by Seth.

The short stories in Here the Dark explore the spaces between doubt and belief, evil and good, obscurity and light. Following men and boys bewildered by their circumstances and swayed by desire, surprised by love and by their capacity for both tenderness and violence, and featuring a novella about a young woman who rejects the laws of her cloistered Mennonite community, Scotiabank Giller Prize-winner David Bergen’s latest deftly renders complex moral ambiguities and asks what it means to be lost—and how we might be found.

This is the fifth time Bergen has been nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. He won in 2005 for his novel The Time in Between. Here the Dark is his first title published with Biblioasis.

David Bergen has published eight novels and a collection of short stories. His work has been nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Impac Dublin Literary Award, and a Pushcart Prize. In 2018 he was given the Writers’ Trust Matt Cohen Award: In Celebration of a Writing Life.

Get your copy of Here the Dark now!


THE DISHWASHER wins the 2020 First Novel Award!

We are pleased to announce that The Dishwasher by Stéphane Larue (trans. Pablo Strauss) has won the 44th annual First Novel Award! This award honours the achievements of Canadian authors and their debut novels. The the grand prize is $60,000. The Dishwasher is the first work of translation to win the First Novel Award.

In a statement, Biblioasis publisher Dan Wells said, “We’re thrilled by the news. We feel very fortunate indeed to have brought this Quebec bestseller to an English-speaking audience. It’s a powerful moral story with universal appeal, and its success in translation is testament to the artistry of Stéphane’s writing, both its thematic and structural brilliance and its astonishing control of language. And as a press with a very active translation program, we consider this a victory as well for Stéphane’s translator, Pablo Strauss, and for translated literature as a whole. Translations are often treated as secondary in awards recognition, but should of course be valued as the complex works of art that they are. This is the first time that a translation has won this major English prize—indeed, it may be the first time in Canada that a work of translation has won any major English-language prize—and we’re especially proud that it will introduce this important piece of Québécois literature to a wider audience.”

Since its establishment in 1976, the Amazon Canada First Novel Award has launched the careers of some of Canada’s most beloved novelists, including Michael Ondaatje, Joan Barfoot, Joy Kogawa, W. P. Kinsella, Nino Ricci, Rohinton Mistry, Anne Michaels, André Alexis, Michael Redhill, Mary Lawson, Colin McAdam, Joan Thomas, and David Bezmozgis.

The Dishwasher was selected from a shortlist which included The Western Alienation Merit Badge by Nancy Jo Cullen, Going Dutch by James Gregor, Mooncalves by Victoria Hetherington, Aria by Nazanine Hozar, and When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald. Each finalist will receive $6,000.

This year’s jury consisted of Liz Harmer, Shani Mootoo, and Anakana Schofield.

On the judging process, Anakana Schofield said, “We agreed, we disagreed, we discussed, we compromised as all jurors must. I was looking for a lively and disciplined relationship with language, probing ideas, and significant promise. I was delighted to also discover invention, formal ambition, and an unusually uplifting appetite for the ludic in some of the works. Our shortlist offers a literary spectrum that samples the prodigious in scale to the quiet and dire ordinary, which is quite the achievement for first novelists.”

The Dishwasher was also nominated for CBC’s Canada Reads earlier this year. The New York Times Book Review called it “Vivid and moving.”

Author Stéphane Larue was born in Longueuil in 1983. He received a master’s in comparative literature at L’Université de Montréal and has worked in the restaurant industry for the past fifteen years. He lives in Montréal.

Translator Pablo Strauss Pablo Strauss grew up in British Columbia and has lived in Quebec City for over a decade. His translations of Quebec fiction include Daniel Grenier’s The Longest Year (a finalist for the 2016 Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation), and Maxime Raymond Bock’s Baloney (Coach House Books, 2016) and Atavisms (Dalkey Archive Press, 2015). He has also published shorter translations and reviews in Granta, Geist, and The Montreal Review of Books. Pablo has worked as a dishwasher in nine restaurants in three cities.

It’s October in Montreal, 2002, and winter is coming on fast. Past due on his first freelance gig and ensnared in lies to his family and friends, a graphic design student with a gambling addiction goes after the first job that promises a paycheck: dishwasher at the sophisticated La Trattoria. Though he feels out of place in the posh dining room, warned by the manager not to enter through the front and coolly assessed by the waitstaff in their tailored shirts, nothing could have prepared him for the tension and noise of the kitchen, or the dishpit’s clamor and steam. Thrust on his first night into a roiling cast of characters all moving with the whirlwind speed of the evening rush, it’s not long before he finds himself in over his head once again. A vivid, magnificent debut, with a soundtrack by Iron Maiden, The Dishwasher plunges us into a world in which everyone depends on each other—for better and for worse.


Get your copy of The Dishwasher now!

The Last Goldfish Virtual Launch

Did you miss last night’s virtual launch of Anita Lahey’s new memoir The Last Goldfish? Never fear! You can watch it here!

Anita was joined by Carmine Starnino, Molly Peacock, and Monique Holmes.

Get your copy of The Last Goldfish here.


Twenty-five years ago and counting, Louisa, my true, essential, always-there-for-everything friend, died. We were 22.

When Anita Lahey opens her binder in grade nine French and gasps over an unsigned form, the girl with the burst of red hair in front of her whispers, Forge it! Thus begins an intense, joyful friendship, one of those powerful bonds forged in youth that shapes a person’s identity and changes the course of a life.

Anita and Louisa navigate the wilds of 1980s suburban adolescence against the backdrop of dramatic world events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall. They make carpe diem their manifesto and hatch ambitious plans. But when Louisa’s life takes a shocking turn, into hospital wards, medical tests, and treatments, a new possibility confronts them, one that alters, with devastating finality, the prospect of the future for them both.

Equal parts humorous and heartbreaking, The Last Goldfish is a poignant memoir of youth, friendship, and the impermanence of life.

We’re hiring! Now accepting applications for a full-time Publicity and Digital Marketing intern

Publicity and Digital Marketing Intern

Biblioasis is an award-winning independent publishing house based in Windsor, Ontario. We publish approximately 25 titles a year, including short fiction, novels, poetry, literary criticism, memoir, belle lettres, local and regional history, and general nonfiction. We are also the publishers of the critical journal CNQ: Canadian Notes & Queries and the annual Best Canadian anthologies, and operate an independent bookstore in Windsor’s historic Walkerville.

We are seeking a full-time publicity and digital marketing intern to join our Windsor office. This is a paid 12-month position primarily entailing the promotion of titles to media, planning and logistics of virtual events, and assisting marketing staff with metadata, digital sales materials and bookseller outreach.

Major Responsibilities:

  • assist with national and international publicity strategies for 16-20 books annually, including electronic pitches, digital review copy management and print review copy mailings, and related follow-up
  • build and manage relations with key media throughout North America
  • write and update press releases and pitches
  • organize and secure media coverage for virtual events, including author appearances at launches, readings, and virtual festivals, as well as in-person events and trade shows as public health recommendations allow
  • assist in designing promotional material such as digital graphics, postcards, bookmarks, posters and advertisements
  • oversee media and product updates on the press’s website and assist with the creation and management of metadata
  • work in collaboration with sales representatives in both Canada and the United States so they are informed and enthusiastic about Biblioasis titles.
  • interact with authors to strategize publicity opportunities and to execute promotional and publicity events.
  • field author queries and help manage author relations, including travel arrangements where public health recommendations allow
  • other duties as assigned

Knowledge, skills, and abilities required:

  • individuals must be extremely organized, detail-oriented, and self-motivated
  • excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • excellent interpersonal skills
  • must have a high degree of creativity and the ability to think strategically
  • must be willing to work occasional evenings and weekends
  • computer skills include: Word and Excel experience required. Experience with Photoshop, InDesign and Acrobat an asset.

Education and experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in marketing, communications, English, art history, or related field
  • experience in the book publishing industry would be considered an asset
  • previous publicity or marketing experience would be an asset
  • courses or certificate in a publishing program an asset

To apply, email resume and cover letter to Dan Wells at dwells@biblioasis.com by June 19, 2020.


Menno Moto Virtual Launch

Did you miss last night’s virtual launch of Menno Moto: A Journey Across the Americas in Search of My Mennonite Identity? Watch it here! Cameron Dueck talks with Dora Dueck and answers questions from viewers at home.

Buy Menno Moto here.