BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR

The Porcupine's Quill is proud to publish a selection of biography and memoir focused on some of Canada's most fascinating lives. We have had the pleasure of publishing books about musicians, such as Leonard Cohen and R. Murray Schafer, on authors such as P. K. Page and Margaret Avison, and on publishing folk, such as Laurie Lewis and Frank Newfeld. Scroll through the listings below to find your next must-read book.

 

Thoughts on Driving to Venus
Thoughts on Driving to Venus
Christopher Pratt
ISBN 978-0-88984-384-4

Thoughts on Driving to Venus documents the thoughts, memories and impressions of Canadian artist Christopher Pratt as he drives across Newfoundland in search of inspiration.

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Trudeau: La Vie en Rose
George A. Walker
ISBN 978-0-88984-386-8

‘Master engraver George A. Walker presents Trudeau: La Vie en Rose, a compendium of engravings celebrating the life of one of Canada’s most well-known politicians: Pierre Elliott Trudeau.’

Other art books by this artist can be found here »

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Mexican Journal
P. K. Page
ISBN 978-0-88984-364-6

P. K. Page recounts her experiences as wife to the Canadian ambassador to Mexico in the early 1960s. Raw, bluntly honest and at times painfully intense, the journal entries expose Page's attempts to overcome troubling phobias and spiritual barrenness.

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Fabulous Peculiarities
Tom Smart
ISBN 978-0-88984-379-0

Fabulous Peculiarities traces the artistic evolution of Canadian artist Tony Calzetta, whose penchant for experimentation and ability to both work within and subvert the rules has resulted in a unique and complex but unified aesthetic.

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The Wordless Leonard Cohen Songbook
The Wordless Leonard Cohen Songbook
George A. Walker
ISBN 978-0-88984-375-2

The Wordless Leonard Cohen Songbook demands close and careful viewing. In this, it is like cinema, or the photographic work of a Richard Avedon or Diane Arbus. Each image is full, suggestive and rich in context and style.’

—Norman Ravvin, The Canadian Jewish News

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Davy the Punk
Davy the Punk
Bob Bossin
ISBN 978-0-88984-369-1

‘I loved this. This generation [Bossin] writes about has now vanished, but the colourful, hard-talking comedic experience of life on the edge comes back. Bossin is a great storyteller, and these are great stories. I can hear the voice of that generation clearly. Wonderful!’

—Clayton Ruby

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Changing Channels
Changing Channels
Peter S. Grant
ISBN 978-0-88984-366-0

‘A treasure trove of anecdotes which, when woven together as skilfully as Grant has done, provides a rich history of significant events in the development of communications law and policy in the four decades during which Grant practiced law in this field.’

—Gregory Kane, Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law

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The Life and Times of Conrad Black
The Life and Times of Conrad Black
George A. Walker
ISBN 978-0-88984-365-3

‘Whatever else you want to say about Conrad Black, he’s a complicated character. In this suite of drawings, Walker has done justice to Black’s complexity. Without using a word, Walker's images give voice to the inner Black.’

—Jeet Heer, The Globe and Mail

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Love, and all that jazz
Love, and all that jazz
Laurie Lewis
ISBN 978-0-88984-361-5

‘...this one is not a dirge. It is not a hard-luck story. If it could be sung, it would be a jazz tune, hard bop, a perfect tune for Shout Sister!

‘Good. Gutsy. Real.’

—Merilyn Simonds, Kingston Whig-Standard

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My Life on Earth and Elsewhere
My Life on Earth and Elsewhere
R. Murray Schafer
ISBN 978-0-88984-352-3

‘The book has the glow of sincere conviction about it that adumbrates just about everything Schafer says and does. It is a well written account of a remarkable life remarkably lived.’

—Colin Eatock, The Literary Review of Canada

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Brazilian Journal
Brazilian Journal
P. K. Page
ISBN 978-0-88984-347-9

In Brazilian Journal P.K. Page is a breathless visitor on another planet, seeing every living creature as equal in wonder.... And because she was learning how and how not to live in a foreign country this book is a fabulous and witty and compassionate ars poetica.’

—Michael Ondaatje

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Inward of Poetry
Inward of Poetry
George Johnston, William Blissett
ISBN 978-0-88984-345-5

‘Rich with historic, personal, and scholarly detail, the letters between William Blissett and George Johnston are a necessary addition to the academic and personal libraries of Canadians and those interested in Canadian literature.’

—Jennifer Fandel, ForeWord Reviews

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Dancing, with Mirrors
Dancing, with Mirrors
George Amabile
ISBN 978-0-88984-343-1

‘[George Amabile] has woven the moments of everyday life into a rich tapestry of observation and deep emotion, highlighting both the fallibility and purity of memory.’

—Tom Schmidt, Prairie Fire Review of Books

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Little Comrades
Little Comrades
Laurie Lewis
ISBN 978-0-88984-342-4

‘Music is also everywhere in New York on these exhilarating postwar days and nights, arias from operas and jazz pouring from open windows as Laurie begins to distance herself from her close bond with her mother. Which makes the collision of the personal and the political that occurs at the end of this remarkable memoir so grand and electric.’

—Elisabeth Harvor, The Globe and Mail

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I Am Here and Not Not-There
I Am Here and Not Not-There
Margaret Avison
ISBN 9780889843158

‘Reading between and below the lines, we encounter Avison as a woman whose life was extraordinary, not because she traveled to far-distant places or had heroic adventures, but because she identified with the lives of the poor and disadvantaged in her own city, lived in extreme simplicity, and delved deeply into the wellsprings of her faith and her poetry.’

—Deborah C. Bowen, Canadian Literature

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Drawing on Type
Drawing on Type
Frank Newfeld
ISBN 978-0-88984-304-2

‘Anyone who, in the last fifty years, has read a Canadian children's book, gone to school, read a text-book, studied at university, read a novel, browsed a magazine, attended an art exhibition, purchased an exhibition catalogue, reviewed an annual report, attended art school, trained as a graphic designer, looked at a coffee table book or read Canadian history—all of you know something about the work of Frank Newfeld: for Frank Newfeld is everywhere in the world of Canadian books.’

—Randall Speller

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The Names of Things
The Names of Things
David Helwig
ISBN 978-0-88984-286-1

‘The time is coming when the generation of Canadian writers that began publishing in the 1960s and flourished in the 1970s will start to pour the coffee on the campfire.... In the future story of this drift towards infinity, David Helwig's memoir The Names of Things could well become a significant primary document.’

—George Fetherling, New Brunswick Reader

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Hand Luggage
Hand Luggage
P. K. Page
ISBN 978-0-88984-288-5

‘P. K. Page need supply no apology for her memoir in verse, Hand Luggage. A major poet, her first significant publication dating from 1944, P. K. Page's sheer avidity for existence on earth offers abundant reason for an account of her life.’

—Eric Miller, Malahat Review

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The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.