(March 7, 2011) – John Sylvester has been awarded second place for photography in the Canadian Tourism Commission’s Northern Lights Awards For Excellence in Travel Journalism and Photography. His photo essay, “Winter Wonderland,” featuring images of Prince Edward Island in winter, appeared in the Dec/Jan 2011 issue of COASTAL LIVING magazine. The award is presented April 5, during Canada Media Marketplace, at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. This is John’s fourth Northern Lights award.

John Sylvester's new book The Little Book of Prince Edward Island will be available in May, 2011.

February 15, 20ll
Island Book Wins National Award: CBC’s “Best Mystery”

It’s a “Bookie” for “Revenge of the Lobster Lover” published by The Acorn Press, Charlottetown. It’s a mystery set on the island, published on the island, and written by Hilary MacLeod, who considers the island “home.”

The CBC Book Club, an online entity, has launched the “Bookies” contest to celebrate the genres of fiction: romance, historical, sci fi and mystery.

MacLeod’s book beat out Stieg Larsson’s The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Giles Blunt’s Crime Machine and The Passage by Justin Cronin. She and her nearest competitor, Vicki Delany, author of Negative Image, were neck and neck over a week of online voting.

Revenge of the Lobster Lover, as the title suggests, is a light read. It’s what some call a cozy, a village or armchair mystery, set in a fictional PEI village called The Shores, and peopled by eccentric characters. It is cozy, but also “noir,’ striped with black humour and some scenes that are anything but funny.

Sign of the Cross author Anne Emery says: “Hilary MacLeod is a terrific writer…with a sly wit.”

Globe and Mail crime fiction columnist Margaret Cannon says Revenge of the Lobster Lover is a“…light and lively tale, with a batch of eccentrics in a pretty place. It’s a formula that has been tried for a century and, in the right hands, it still works.”

It worked well enough to win “Best Mystery” in the CBC Book Club Bookies.

There are four more categories to be rolled out, including Best New Writer and Best Opening Line, for which MacLeod has received nominations. The shortlists in those categories have yet to be revealed.

There are plans for an online awards ceremony February 24th. The winners receive a statuette of a beaver, reading.



In a ceremony at the Confederation Centre Public Library on November 24, the P.E.I Book awards were announced. Acorn Press wishes to congratulate Brent MacLaine and John Sylvester for their winning in their categories, poetry and non-fiction respectively.

Shades of Green by Brent MacLaine also received the Atlantic Poetry Prize in 2008 and it is thrilling to see it receive this further recognition. “Both books were beautifully produced by Laurie Brinklow and I am so pleased for her and the authors that they were honored in this way” states The Acorn Press publisher Terrilee Bulger.

The Prince Edward Island Book Awards are intended to promote and to celebrate excellence in creation and publication of books by Prince Edward Island authors, editors and creators. They are awarded biannually by the Department of Tourism and Culture. For more information on the awards, see http://www.gov.pe.ca/tourism/index.php3?number=1014539&lang=E

About Shades of Green:

It has been said that there are more than twenty-three shades of green in a Prince Edward Island landscape. Brent MacLaine's newest collection of poetry registers these modulations of tone and hue with an intense visual sensibility. And whether emerging from the local landscapes of memory or the present-day streetscapes of Manhattan, these poems, at once personal and speculative, casual and formal, record the poet's attempt to seize the chromatic complexity of experience.

About Wild Island: Prince Edward Island's Hidden Wilderness

Whether it is a long walk down a deserted beach, the discovery of spring wildflowers on the forest floor, or the sight of a bald eagle soaring above his canoe, it is the experience of wild things that brings peace, wonder, and inspiration to John Sylvester's work and life. Wild Island gathers together fragments of what remains of the “wild things” found on “The Million-Acre Farm,” presenting a picture of Prince Edward Island as Sylvester imagines it might have appeared before permanent settlement.

 The Acorn Press is moving on to the next chapter.

The Charlottetown-based Press, which has been publishing books about Prince Edward Island by Prince Edward Islanders since 1994, has a new owner as of August 5, says current owner Laurie Brinklow.

"I'm delighted to be handing over the Press to Terrilee Bulger. Terrilee grew up in Sherwood, so knows the Island. She's been working in the industry and knows what she's getting into. I couldn't be happier that Islanders' voices and stories will continue to be heard through Island-published books. And she brings strong marketing skills that will take Acorn to the next level."

Bulger has a strong background in books. She started her career in books at the former Charlottetown bookstore, the Bookbrowser, in 1987. After seven years of bookselling, she moved to Ottawa to work in book publishing, where she worked as sales rep and publicist for a number of publishers, including Firefly, Key Porter Books, Raincoast, and Douglas and MacIntyre, to name a few.  She moved back to the Martimes in 2000 and is currently the Sales Manager for Nimbus Publishing in Halifax. Bulger has also just completed her studies with the Society of Management Accountants and is expected to be a Certified Management Accountant in September.  Purchasing the Acorn Press is the next big step for Bulger, who is committed to keeping the press an Island press. She says, "I want to keep The Acorn Press focused on publishing books for and about Prince Edward Island. It is important to me that island writers continue to be published here."

Brinklow founded the Press in 1993 after receiving the original logo as a birthday present from the then Director of Institute of Island Studies Harry Baglole. Brinklow learned the publishing business from Libby Oughton at Ragweed Press, before becoming Publishing Coordinator for Island Studies Press, and later an editor/writer at University of Prince Edward Island. She leaves the Island later this summer to pursue another passion, Island Studies. She begins a PhD program at the University of Tasmania's School of Geography and Environmental Studies in Hobart, Tasmania.

Since Acorn's first book, An Island Christmas Reader by David Weale, Acorn has published over 50 titles, including poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and children's books. Acorn's stable of authors includes Poets Laureate John Smith, Frank Ledwell, and Hugh MacDonald; UPEI professors Richard Lemm, Shannon Murray, Brent MacLaine, Deirdre Kessler, Godfrey Baldacchino, and Sean Wiebe; photographers John Sylvester, Anna Karpinski, and Juliet Wilson; Acadian historian Georges Arsenault; comedian Lorne Elliott; children?s writers Jordan McIntyre, Gerry O'Brien, David Weale, and Jacqueline MacKay; several members of the PEI Writers? Guild, including Joseph Sherman, Judy Gaudet, and Michael Hennessey; members of Brinklow?s writing groups, including Margie Carmichael, Orysia Dawydiak, Kathleen Hamilton, Beth Janzen, Dianne Morrow, and Elaine Hammond; and well-known community figures Bud Ings, Hilary MacLeod, Boyde Beck, Jane Ledwell, Betty Howatt, Gerry Steele, Catherine Edward, Donnie Doyle, Judy McCann-Beranger, and George Wright. Acorn also co-published books with several community organizations.

In addition to publishing Island writers, Acorn showcases Island artists wherever possible, on book covers and in children's picture books, including Dale McNevin, Karen Gallant, Brenda Whiteway, Barry Jeeves, Brian Burke, Brenda Jones, Catherine Miller, and Nigel Roe.

Acorn's bestselling title is The True Meaning of Crumbfest written by David Weale and illustrated by Dale McNevin, with over 18,000 copies in print. Two Christmases ago, Bud Ings' first book, Mud, Sweat and Tears: Tales from a Country Vet, sold out its first print run of 2,000 in three weeks; Dr. Ings is now working on a sequel.

Acorn authors and friends have been invited to drop in to the Churchill Arms Thursday, August 5, anytime between 4 and 6 p.m., to meet Terrilee. Everyone is welcome.


Acorn congratulates Hugh MacDonald on his appointment as Poet Laureate!

Congratulations to Hugh MacDonald, editor of two Acorn publications, on his recent appointment as PEI's Poet Laureate! Here's a copy of the press release...

Hon. Carolyn Bertram, Minister of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, has announced the appointment of poet, editor and novelist Hugh MacDonald of Brudenell as the new poet laureate for Prince
Edward Island.

With nine books to his credit as author and editor, Hugh MacDonald is perhaps best known to Islanders through his Random Acts of Poetry which, for the past five years, have brought poetry to the streets and workplaces of P.E.I. Hugh MacDonald retired after more than thirty years of service in the educational system of the province and, since 1999, has been a full-time writer. His work has also been included in four anthologies of the best of Canadian poetry.

Mr. MacDonald has served on the executives of both the Prince Edward Island Council of the Arts and the P.E.I. Writers Guild. Recognition for his work and leadership includes awards and prizes in the P.E.I. Literary Awards, a first prize from the Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia, and first prize in the Atlantic Poetry competition. In 2004, he was presented with the Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Literary Arts on Prince Edward Island.

Minister Bertram said she was very pleased that Hugh MacDonald agreed to serve as the province's poet laureate. "Mr. MacDonald is an excellent choice for the position," she said. "He has a dedication and energy and an enthusiasm for poetry which will certainly contribute to the mission of the Poet Laureate to bring poetry into the lives of Islanders."

Mr. MacDonald said he was looking forward to his term as poet laureate. He indicated that he felt honoured and humbled by the recognition and that he looked forward to exploring new ways of increasing knowledge of the importance of poetry. "I am delighted, in this poetry-blessed province, to be chosen as the next Poet Laureate. I will do my best to add a new voice to those of my extraordinary predecessors, Frank Ledwell, John Smith and David Helwig, and to do honour to my beloved Prince Edward Island," said Mr. MacDonald.

The post of Poet Laureate does not have fixed duties and previous holders of the post have used a variety of approaches to making poetry a more central part of the lives of Islanders.

Minister Bertram also paid tribute to David Helwig who has completed his term. "I want to thank David Helwig for his service throughout the past two years as the Prince Edward Island Poet Laureate. The creation of the Poetry PEI website under Mr. Helwig's direction has provided access to both the creators and readers to P.E.I. poetry both past and present. I know he will continue to contribute to the literary heritage of our province."

The Poet Laureate Program was established in Prince Edward Island in 2002. Past Poet Laureates are John Smith (2002-2004), Frank Ledwell (2004-2007) and David Helwig (2008-2009). Objectives of the P.E.I. Poet Laureate Program include the following: to celebrate Prince Edward Island and its people, to raise the profile of Prince Edward Island poets and poetry in general, to promote a higher standard of literacy, and to provide for the expression of culture and heritage through the literary arts.

Selection of the Poet Laureate is based on criteria including the following: active and recognized as a poet of stature who has published at least one volume of poetry within the last ten years with a reputable publishing house, or whose body of work over the years has brought honour to themselves and the province; and a full-time resident of Prince Edward Island and have been a resident of the province for at least the five years
preceding the appointment. Poetry produced in either the English or French language is considered in making the selection of poet laureate but age, gender and ethnic background are not considered.


Word on the Street Fundraiser

The Word on the Street Board is launching a new fundraiser and they need your help! Here's a note from Errol Sharpe from Fernwood Books on behalf of the Board:

We are conducting a "No Go" Fundraiser. We are simply looking for a $20 donation and hoping that you could commit to asking 10 of your contacts for a $20 donation to the cause Just think of the time (no attendance required), money (no parking, gas, new outfit), and effort (no hair-do, and no small talk!) you will SAVE by NOT having to attend yet another holiday function.

Cheques should be made out to "Word on the Street Canada" and can be sent to 1480 Carlton St, Halifax HS B3H 3B7, by our fundraising deadline of December 14. A charitable tax receipt can be issued. There is more information attached to this email if you are interested in viewing it.

Our ultimate goal is raise $20K in order to pay old debts and start some new literacy initiatives. We are approaching this in stages and hope to raise $20K by December 14, 2009 through this initial fundraising effort.Can you help us by donating or raising $2200? (or more!)

If each book lover we reach out to could reach out to 10 of their contacts who care about literacy and the continuation of the Word on the Street Festival, then we can continue working towards raising literacy awareness at a community level and ensure the Festival has another successful year in 2010.

The benefit is the ability to know that you have helped a struggling not-for-profit meet its budgetary needs.

It is no secret that The Word on the Street has struggled in the last few years. We have worked hard to put together a free festival that provides access to
local authors and entertainers and that promotes literacy while offering support for our writers and publishers. With increased competition for government grants and sponsorships, our funding has decreased while our expenses overall have increased. As a result we have had to change the way we do business and this has been a learning process.

With many new members on our Board, we have a renewed focus and energy. Our current board is made up of a diverse group of passionate individuals, including local authors and publishers with a vested interest in the success of WOTS. We are working on increasing our corporate sponsorships and building on new partnerships that we initiated with local companies in 2009, including NS Power and the Halifax Seaport.

While there are pros and cons to the current location at Cunard Center, we are considering a number of options for 2010 to increase attendance and decrease costs while still providing a safe, dry venue for our exhibitors that is welcoming to the public.

Everyone who donates will have their name entered into a draw for a chance to become a member of The Word On The Street Book Club. This Book Club will meet four times in 2010. Each meeting will be held in HRM hosted by the author of the selected book.

Please help us continue with our endeavors. Your support is hugely appreciated!


Humane Society benefits from author's generosity

Through a generous donation to the PEI Humane Society by Dr. Bud Ings, author of the bestselling book, Mud, Sweat and Tears: Tales from a Country Vet, the Society has named part of its facility in his honour: the Dr. Bud Ings Get Acquainted Room.

Part of the royalties from sales of the book are being donated to the PEI Humane Society.

Brent MacLaine wins 12th Annual Atlantic Poetry Award

(Halifax, May 18, 2000) Prince Edward Island poet Brent MacLaine won this year's Atlantic Poetry Award for his book, Shades of Green. The prize was given Friday, May 8, 2009, at this year's Atlantic INK celebrations at St. Mary's University in Halifax.

The poems in Brent MacLaine’s Shades of Green consistently demonstrate a keen ear for the music in words, an observant eye giving rise to precise description and an inventive and playful touch with metaphor. MacLaine can handle big ideas, deftly casting the abstract in concrete terms. His poems are full of surprising and lovely juxtapositions. He can be funny and profound at the same moment. Shades of Green reveals Brent MacLaine to be a masterful poet in fine form.

Congratulations, Brent!

In 1993, Writers Federation of Nova Scotia endowed funds ($5,000) for a prize to honour the work of Atlantic poets. Led by poet Deirdre Dwyer, Atlantic Canadian poets gave readings, held bake sales, organized raffles and wrote letters. The overwhelming support of both local and national writers, writing organizations, universities, and publishers (special thanks to Harlequin Enterprises) was heartening. WFNS has subsequently worked to increase the endowment to ensure an annual $2,000 prize.

The inaugural prize was awarded in 1998 to Carmelita McGrath for To the New World. Last year's winner was Don Domanski for All Our Wonder Unavenged. Previous winners include Steve McOrmond, John Steffler, Ken Babstock, Anne Simpson, M. Travis Lane, Brian Bartlett, Anne Compton, and David Helwig.

John Sylvester wins Northern Lights Award

(New York: March 29, 2009)  John Sylvester was awarded second place in this year’s Northern Lights Awards For Excellence in Travel Journalism and Photography. His photography illustrating the feature story, “Of Ice and Men,” about Newfoundland’s northern peninsula, appeared in the June 2008 issue of COASTAL LIVING magazine. The award was presented April 22, 2009, during Canada Media Marketplace at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. This is John’s third Northern Lights award. John's book, Wild Island: Prince Edward Island's Hidden Wilderness is being launched in Prince Edward Island in July 9, 7-9 p.m., at the Carriage House at Beaconsfield in Charlottetown. Everyone is welcome!