Listen to this while you read Serafim & Claire – guest post by Mark Lavorato

Serafim & ClaireAside from my writing, I’ve also done work composing music for a few film projects over the years. While doing so I came to realize that I loved the process, and that mixing images with my music felt like a really good fit. So I recorded an album that would act as a kind of portfolio for potential film-score/documentary work. Below are two tracks from that album which I thought might be of interest to Anansi readers.

What You Do Not Understand

The first I composed while I was writing Serafim & Claire. I was living in Brittany at the time, housesitting a white mansion on a hill with a massive bit of land that I was left to take care of. I set up my writing desk right in front of this unloved grand piano. It hadn’t been tuned in years, and I didn’t have the money to pay to do it myself, so I found a wrench that sort of fit the piano pins and tuned it as best I could (which wasn’t fantastic, let me tell you). It was while steeped in the story of Serafim & Claire that I wrote the song.

Last Train

Train sounds create all the percussion in this song. It’s sort of an era piece. I think there are elements from the story that definitely come through in the music here.

Serafim & Claire was published today. Get it on our website or at your favourite bookstore.

You can buy Mark Lavorato’s album In Autumn on iTunes or at

Read what Mark has to say about stealing moments, fielding death threats, and writing about what you don’t know in his blog post Learning how to steal.

The Spring 2014 Playlist (or, More Music to Read By)


The Spring 2014 list from Anansi and Groundwood looks nothing short of fantastic. Editorial Assistant Suzanne and erstwhile Sales Assistant Eva have teamed up once again to choose a few of the books and put together a playlist full of songs that remind us of these fantastic stories. They can be enjoyed while you read, or can be experienced on their own. What other songs would you pick to go along with these amazing books?

El NiñoEl Niño by Nadia Bozak

Available May 2014

Inspired by J. M. Coetzee’s Disgrace, El Niño tracks the survival of one woman and a young, undocumented migrant as they journey through the no-man’s-land of a remote southwestern desert.

These are the songs we’d want to hear on a lone desert road.

  • Make it Rain by Tom Waits | 
  • Higgs Boson Blues by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds |  (shout-out to Neil Turok, author of Universe Within)
  • Woman King by Iron and Wine | 
  • The Desert is on Fire by Murder by Death | 

Birding with YeatsBirding with Yeats by Lynn Thomson

Available May, 2014

A delicately rendered memoir on motherhood, family, and the beauty of the natural world.

Check out a few of our favourite birdish tunes.

  • Rooster Moans by Iron and Wine | 
  • Fly by Nick Drake | 
  • Pulling our Weight by the Radio Dept. | 
  • Backyard by The Good Lovelies | 

Based on a True StoryBased on a True Story by Elizabeth Renzetti

Available June, 2014

Globe and Mail columnist Elizabeth Renzetti’s debut novel is a hilarious look at what happens when a washed-out celebrity and a tabloid reporter go on a wild trans-Atlantic road trip in search of revenge on a former boyfriend.

Serving up some sweet tunes with an ’80s twist and a generous shot of revenge.

  • Jump (For My Love) by the Pointer Sisters | 
  • Back to Black by Amy Winehouse | 
  • Bang Bang (My Baby Shot me Down) by Nancy Sinatra | 

This One SummerThis One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

Available May, 2014

The highly anticipated following up to Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki’s award-winning graphic novel Skim is an investigation into the mysterious world of adults through the eyes of Rose and Windy, two summer friends at Awago Beach.

Everyone loves a summer song — here are a few of our favourites.

  • Animal Tracks by Mountain Man | 
  • Abducted by Cults | 
  • Boyfriend by Best Coast | 
  • Saturday Morning by Eels | 

The Tweedles Go ElectricThe Tweedles Go Electric by Monica Kulling, illustrated by Marie Lafrance

Available March, 2014

Meet the Tweedles: Papa, Mama, daughter Frances and her brother, Francis. It’s the dawn of a new century — the twentieth century! — and the Tweedles have decided to buy a car. But no gas-guzzler for this modern family. Only an electric car will do for them.

The Tweedles aren’t the only ones who’ve gone electric!

  • Odessa by Caribou | 
  • Boy from School by Hot Chip | 
  • Honey by Moby | 

Lord and Lady Bunny — Almost Royalty! by Polly Horvath, illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Available February, 2014

Literature’s most endearing rabbits are back in this sequel to Mr. and Mrs. Bunny — Detectives Extraordinaire! While the Bunnys’ human friend, Madeline, worries about saving money for college, Mrs. Bunny is more concerned about how to become a queen.

Here are some sweetly twee but driving hits for our favourite literary bunnies (though maybe we should have included more hip hop?).Lord and Lady Bunny — Almost Royalty!

  • Paperback Writer by the Beatles | 
  • Don’t Stop me Now by Queen | 
  • Girls and Boys in Love by the Rumble Strips | 

THE DRAGON HEAD OF HONG KONG: The Ava Lee Prequel [guest post by Ian Hamilton]


“Every hero has an origin story — this is the one Ava Lee fans have been waiting for!”

— Robert J. Wiersema, author of Before I Wake

I’ve always had a story arc in my mind for Ava and Uncle, but it was one that moved their lives forward, never back. It was never part of my plan to write a prequel. Then in September 2012, at the Kitchener, Ontario literary event called Word on the Street, I was approached by a man who had read all the books in the series.

“Have you ever thought of writing a prequel?” he asked. “I’d love to know how Ava and Uncle first connected.”

“That’s a great idea,” I said.

Then I began to remember other readers at other events asking similar questions. The idea of a prequel took root.

In the winter of 2012–2013, as I was finishing the edits to The Scottish Banker of Surabaya and writing The Two Sisters of Borneo, I found myself distracted by thoughts about Ava’s early life. She was in her mid-twenties, just out of school, living in a tiny apartment in Richmond Hill, and struggling to establish her career. Then dialogue began to pop into my head as I was driving or lying in bed. Uncle and Ava were speaking to each other for the very first time. It was their initial meeting and conversation, and they were feeling each other out, tip-toeing towards the formation of a partnership.

Continue reading

Girls with Grit: read the winning story!

Phoebe by Maya LannenGroundwood Books’ Girls With Grit novels share real girls’ voices, and their stories, from North America and around the world. In these books, ordinary girls overcome obstacles, make their voices heard, and stand up for what they believe in.

Groundwood’s partnership with Figment was driven by the desire to seek out stories written by teens that reflected their view of the world — demonstrating that every girl is capable of amazing feats of grit.
Figment and Groundwood received hundreds of entries to their Girls with Grit contest, but one very unique story stood out from the rest. Phoebe is that unique story.

Told from the point of view of a young woman at odds with her own mind, Phoebe demonstrates the power of friendship and personal strength to overcome great obstacles.
Groundwood is proud to present this special e-book edition of Maya Lannen’s Phoebe.

Download it here!

Read more about the contests and our finalists.

Spring/Summer 2012 catalogues now available!

Happy Friday, all! Are you looking for a way to while away the afternoon? Our Spring/Summer 2012 catalogues are now available! Please take a moment to download the PDFs and check out what we have on offer for the upcoming season. Feedback welcome! We’d love to hear which books sound good to you — leave us a comment below!

Here they are:


Download the Anansi catalogue                  Download the Groundwood catalogue