Time and details TBA.
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On his fifteenth birthday, in the summer of 1880, future science-fiction writer M.P. Shiel sailed with his father and the local bishop from their home in the Caribbean out to the nearby island of Redonda—where, with pomp and circumstance, he was declared the island’s king. A few years later, when Shiel set sail for a new life in London, his father gave him some advice: Try not to be strange. It was almost as if the elder Shiel knew what was coming.
Try Not to Be Strange: The Curious History of the Kingdom of Redonda tells, for the first time, the complete history of Redonda’s transformation from an uninhabited, guano-encrusted island into a fantastical and international kingdom of writers. With a cast of characters including forgotten sci-fi novelists, alcoholic poets, vegetarian publishers, Nobel Prize frontrunners, and the bartenders who kept them all lubricated while angling for the throne themselves, Michael Hingston details the friendships, feuds, and fantasies that fueled the creation of one of the oddest and most enduring micronations ever dreamt into being. Part literary history, part travelogue, part quest narrative, this cautionary tale about what happens when bibliomania escapes the shelves and stacks is as charming as it is peculiar—and blurs the line between reality and fantasy so thoroughly that it may never be entirely restored.
Michael Hingston is the author of Let’s Go Exploring and The Dilettantes. His journalism has also appeared in National Geographic, Wired, and the Washington Post. Hingston lives in Edmonton, Alberta, with his partner and two kids.
Time and details TBA.
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Shortlisted for the Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry
A CBC Best Canadian Poetry Book of 2021
Drawing on Arthurian myth, the Romantic poets, the ill-fated “Great War” efforts of the Newfoundland Regiment, modern parenthood, 16-bit video games, and Major League Baseball, these poems examine the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, both as individuals and as communities, in order to explain how and why we are the way we are. At its heart, Romantic interrogates our western society’s idealized, self-deluding personal and cultural perspectives.
Mark Callanan is the author of two previous poetry collections, Gift Horse (Véhicule Press, 2011) and Scarecrow (Killick Press, 2003), as well as two poetry chapbooks, Skylarking (Anstruther Press, 2020) and Sea Legend (Frog Hollow Press, 2010). He was a founding editor of the St. John’s-based literary journal Riddle Fence, and co-edited The Breakwater Book of Contemporary Newfoundland Poetry (Breakwater Books, 2013). He lives in St. John’s with his wife, poet and critic Andreae Callanan, and their four children.