Join emcee E. D. Morin for an evening of readings and refreshments followed by a literary Q&A. Rob Bose, Susan Calder, Joan Crate, Taylor Lambert and Sarah L. Johnson. Music by the Central Memorial Stringlets!
Crabapple Mews Collective is an author collective made up of volunteer writers and editors. We draw on our backgrounds as writers, teachers, editors, booksellers, designers, academics, publishers and producers of kick-ass literary events to help bring new stories to readers.
Our story starts here.
Last fall the wonderfully gifted Natalie Olsen packed up her books and moved to Vancouver to follow her book designing dreams. Although relocated across the Rockies, Natalie continues to work Kisscut Designs magic for her existing publishing clients, including Crabapple Mews. Her artisanal approach and exquisite aesthetic are evident in Pelee Island Stories, When the Wheels Fall Off and A Root Beer Season.
Congratulations are due to Natalie for her recent wins for the Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada. Her designs were awarded a third place and two honourable mentions in the national competition for best-looking books of 2015.
We Crabapple members are pining for a 2016 edition of her Short Story Advent Calendar. Wishing Natalie many happy bookish adventures!
So fun to see everyone at Thursday’s reading. I can’t tell you how much it makes me miss the Calgary community. Thank you to everyone who came out. And thanks to Cecelia Frey and Inanna and Owl’s Nest Books and Sarah Johnson for making it feel like a fun party in someone’s lovely living room.
Date: Thurs, March 24th, 7 pm
Location: Owl’s Nest Books, 815A 49th Ave SW, Calgary
When spring hits Alberta, we hang on to the promise of bulbs and new growth while sweeping away the last blasts of winter from our doorsteps. Or, we escape to Vancouver Island or Nevada for the weekend to kneel down and kiss the warm ground.
But hope is on the way – it’s time to celebrate a crop of new books! Join us for an evening of readings from four Inanna Publications authors. An independent feminist literary press based out of York University, Inanna will publish Writing Menopause in spring 2017. This anthology of writings by over 50 authors from across North America was conceived and edited by E.D. Morin and Jane Cawthorne. The collection includes poetry, fiction, non-fiction, flash and monologue, with entries by, among others, Crabappple members E.D. Morin, Jane Cawthorne and Lou Morin.
On Thursday, you’ll hear readings by:
Mary Murphy, The Hungry Grass
Barbara Janusz, Mirrored in the Caves
Cecelia Frey, Moments of Joy
Jane Cawthorne, Writing Menopause (forthcoming)
The CMC members would have loved to attend last Sunday’s Florida launch of Pelee Island Stories, for reasons other than the recent snow dump in Alberta. But we were there in spirit as Tanya and a host of distinguished literati gave her exquisite book the send-off it so deserved. As she recounts:
So, I’m happy and humbled to announce that my book launch was a resounding success, in the being-surrounded-by-lovely people sense. It’s a privilege to be among so many friends and writers whose work I admire. To those who could make it, thanks so much for being there. I wish I’d had more time to spend with each of you. To those who could not make it, happy thanksgiving, my dears! I’ll be seeing you soon.
We’d planned to video this speech, because I really wanted to thank people who were instrumental in the creation of Pelee Island Stories, but were unable to be there. Unfortunately, someone forgot to hit record. So I’ve included the text of my speech below.
It’s been an industrious fall for the collective. We launched first one new CMC book, then another. Now we’re launching a digital storybook—our new website—featuring such futuristic technologies as responsive templates, share buttons… and quotes! Most of all, we’re excited at the opportunity to more easily share news and stories with our readers. So grab your pocket computer, pull up a comfy chair, and flip through the pages of our site. We hope you enjoy its twists and turns.
On Sunday, November 22 at 4 pm, Pelee Island Stories will receive a proper Florida launch at Craftsman House Gallery. Tanya will read from her short fiction collection. Joining her to celebrate her book are three friends and mentors:
- Eric Deggans – NPR’s first full-time TV critic
- Thomas Hallock – Associate Professor of English at USF St. Petersburg, Florida
- Lee Irby – a novelist and historian, Irby has written extensively on Florida culture, and might be the world’s foremost expert on trailer trash
Read by E. D. Morin to those assembled at the When the Wheels Fall Off Calgary launch:
Tonight, I want to introduce a book project our collective recently helped to put out into the world. The Crabapples, I should mention, are a group of like-minded writers and editors, and we include as our members Inge Trueman, Annie Wesko, Jane Cawthorne and Lou Morin.
Our recent book project is called Pelee Island Stories and it’s a short fiction collection by Tanya Coovadia. The gorgeous book layout and cover is by Natalie Olsen of Kisscut Design who also designed both of Inge’s novels.
We found Tanya Coovadia through Jane Cawthorne. And Jane and Tanya found each other while studying Creative Writing at Pine Manor College just outside Boston, Massachusetts. Pulling Tanya Coovadia’s stories together and turning them into a book was a labour of love for the Crabapple Collective. In June, Tanya was diagnosed with an incurable cancer and given perhaps a year to live, if she is lucky. As Tanya puts it: “This is, possibly, the only way I’ll actually get a book of my work made within my natural lifetime.”
Tanya Coovadia is an accomplished and gifted writer. She makes her home in Florida, grew up in small-town Ontario, and spent many of her formative years on Pelee Island. Pelee, as Coovadia writes in the collection’s final story “Coming Back Alone,” is a “nine by four-mile oblong in the middle of the west corner of Lake Erie with two finger-like projections, one that points north, toward Canada, and another that points south toward the US.” Each of the five stories in the collection are set on Pelee Island, and span about two decades.
From author Sandra Scofield: “Tanya Coovadia is in the midst of it. Life. And life on the islands is hardscrabble. The problems are familiar, sure. Who to love, how to make it, how to stay out of the way of what’s coming next. But they are particular, too. Coovadia creates a universe all her own, and her characters announce themselves as survivors. They give and take, and somewhere in the tension you find yourself remembering to catch your breath.”
Pelee Island Stories was birthed as a limited print run at the University of Toronto. I am lucky to be holding a copy, which I just received yesterday! The book will be widely available on Amazon, but we don’t have an exact publication date yet. I encourage you to check the Crabapple Mews Collective website (the address is on our bookmark!) for news about the book’s release.
E. D. Morin
How it all started
In the summer of 2015, the Collective took on an unusual project. One of our members, Jane Cawthorne, heard from a fellow MFA student, Tanya Coovadia, that she had cancer. Jane is a huge admirer of Tanya’s work, especially a series of linked short stories that are set on Ontario’s Pelee Island. With Tanya’s permission and the help of our member editors, a book was born. Pelee Island Stories is our first crowdfunded project. Here’s how the project unfolded.
July 23, 2015 – Kickoff
Posted on Tanya’s GoFundMe campaign site.
Tanya Coovadia is a talented writer and an all around wonderful friend. She has a collection of moving stories set on Pelee Island in Lake Erie where she lived as a child. Tanya also has cancer – Stage 4 esophageal cancer. (If you want to know more about this, see her blog, I’m literally fucking dying.
I have this dream of having Tanya hold her own book of stories in her hands and have some of her amazing writing to give to her family and friends. To a writer, what can be better than holding your own book in your hands? And for the rest of us who don’t know how to help or who live far away, this is a tangible gift we can give to her.
Here’s more background. Tanya and I met as MFA students at the Solstice Program for Creative Writing at Pine Manor College in Boston. Our program director advises all new students to fall in love with someone else’s writing, and I fell in love with Tanya’s. Tanya earned her degree in July 2015.
I happen to belong to a publishing collective called the Crabapple Mews Collective, and we have everything we need to create a great book for her. Well, we have everything except money. Tanya has done all the hard work in writing the stories. My sisters in the collective and I are volunteering our editing skills. But there are a few people who need to be paid. These include the book designer and the printer.
With $2000, I can get a beautiful design for the book and print a short run (about 50) of Tanya’s Pelee Island Stories.
You might ask, why not do a bigger print run? Well, I’m trying to work quickly. Time is pretty important right now. My priority is to get this ready as soon as possible. Also, the goal here is to give Tanya a gift of her own work, not to sell books, although that might be something we could consider in the future. This will be a very limited edition. If we go over the goal, we can print even more for her to give away, or possibly even print some to sell to all of you, but I have to take this one step at a time. I’d rather start small and grow. When we are done, Tanya will have the files to do with as she wishes and all the up-front costs will have been covered for her.
You might ask, why not do a smaller print run? The upfront costs of design would get spread out over an even smaller number of books, increasing their individual cost even more.
You might also ask, why not do this through a traditional big house publisher? Good question. First, it’s the time thing again. Second, there are only a few stories, and generally, a publisher would want more. It will be a slim little volume, but packed with great prose. One of the stories has already been published in an anthology put out by Writers In Paradise, a writing conference in Florida. But there’s something special about seeing a whole book of your work.
When someone has cancer, no one knows what to do or how to help. This is one way. Thanks for helping.
August 4, 2015 – Update
Tanya’s crowd-funding campaign has reached its goal!
(Jane – is this ok? it’s from your email) People are mailing me cheques. So we should be able to print quite a few books. With the funds raised through GoFundMe, I received a little over $1800 and this new money brings us back over $2000. The printer at U of T will try their very best to print fast. It’s the beginning of school, so they are busy, but she knows the situation and, like the rest of us, will work as fast as she can.
September 20, 2015 – Update
Tanya has her book! The first book arrived at her place this week. A box of books will arrive some time in the next two or three weeks. Tanya has the files and it is her plan to make Pelee Island Stories available on Amazon. She is also having a book launch in St. Pete. I’m sure she will be keeping everyone informed via her blog. Happy reading my talented friend and enjoy all the well-deserved accolades on these beautiful stories.
This is my last update for the project. I’ll take this opportunity to say one more huge thank you to all of you for making this dream come true.
Tanya with Pelee Island Stories