Call for Submissions: Mentorship, POC spirituality and more


Poster via

Mentorship for youth of colour in Canada

Award-winning writer Vivek Shraya has launched a new mentorship program for an Indigenous or Black writer, or artist of colour, which will include writing support, assistance with the publication process, as well as a publishing contract with Arsenal Pulp Press & VS. Books, with a $1,000 royalty advance. Deadline for applications is Sept. 15, 2017.

Call for Submissions: wish i could stop – an OCD zine

Tentatively called “wish i could stop,” this zine is for and by folks who have OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), including people who are self-diagnosed. People who are also marginalized due to race, disability, class, gender, sexuality and age are encouraged to submit to by Aug. 12, 2017. The zine may be for and by people with OCD, but that does not mean submissions have to be about the disorder.

Read more: Call for Submissions: Mentorship, POC spirituality and more

Zine Review: Dear Journal #2

Dear Journal #2

Compilation zine, Laina Hughes & Dunja Kovacevic (ed.),

Flipping open the pages of this anthology of intersectional feminism just after it arrived at my front door, I was pleasantly surprised to stumble across the work of Rochelle Brockington, a Brooklyn-based body-positive photographer. I’m a keen follower of their Instagram (@fatleopard.jpg) and the presence of their work in Dear Journal’s Summer 2016 issue read like a call to arms — and as a fat, black, femme reader, it immediately piqued my interest.

Read more: Zine Review: Dear Journal #2

Heavy Metalloid Music: The Story of Simply Saucer!

illustration by Robert Dayton

Broken Pencil is excited to share this exclusive excerpt!

Written by music journalist Jesse Locke (AUX, Weird Canada, drummer of many bands), Heavy Metalloid Music tells the story of the legendary (and underrated) Hamilton psych-punks Simply Saucer. This excerpt discusses how the band (young, scrappy and broke) collided with producer Bob Lanois in 1974 to record their seminal first album Cyborgs Revisited. The book is now in its 2nd edition with colour photos and a new epilogue. Buy it at Eternal Cavalier Press.


Coasting on the excitement of their bumpy test drive, the Saucer took its next flight less than a month later. July 14th and 15th, 1974 were booked for their first recording session at Master Sound Studio. This turned out to be a basement bunker in the Ancaster, Ontario home of brothers Bob and Daniel Lanois. Daniel’s story is, of course, enough for a tome of his own—he would go on to work with everyone from Brian Eno and U2 to Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, and Martha and the Muffins, not to mention a fantastic solo career. However, it was Bob who manned the boards for this particular session.

It’s safe to say that before the session started, the musical sensibilities of Lanois and Saucer emerged from entirely different worlds. At that time, the band members remained distrustful of anyone who wasn’t switched on to the heady sensibilities of their record collections. Case in point: the albums front man Edgar Breau brought as examples of the sounds he hoped to emulate were The Stooges’ Raw Power and the Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat. In turn, Lanois introduced them to his personal hero: Eagles producer Bill Szymczyk.

Read more: Heavy Metalloid Music: The Story of Simply Saucer!

Jordan Abel wins $65K Griffin Poetry Prize

For Jordan Abel, winning Canada’s most lucrative literary prize isn’t just a personal triumph, but a win for “all the people who continue to fight against appropriation.”

The Nisga’a writer added to his accolades the $65,000 Griffin Poetry Prize for his third collection, Injun (Talonbooks), on June 8. The winning work is a long poem that weaves together pieces from 91 old pulp western novels — published between 1840 and 1950 — to explore racism, representations of indigenous peoples and mechanisms of colonialism, such as cultural appropriation.

“I think it’s absolutely an affirmation of voices that are in resistance,” Abel said on stage of his win, the Globe and Mail reported.

Back in 2010, Abel’s short story, Three Dudes, Some Drugs, and a Bear, was a runner-up in Broken Pencil’s Deathmatch writing competition. From its opening lines, the short story had a unmistakable Fear and Loathing vibe:

“By the time the acid took hold, we were halfway to Edmonton. Tommy rode shotgun, a cigarette dangling from his dry lips, and Bear scrunched in the back seat, shifting constantly. Johansson, our first year roommate, had called us on his cell a few hours ago, breathing heavily, saying that he needed to get out, that everything had gone wrong.”

“Deathmatch was a substantial influence on my writing,” he said in a 2012 interview, largely because of the “enormous amount of feedback—more feedback than I’ve ever received for anything” that he’d gotten through the process.

After the Deathmatch, the Vancouver writer went on to publish Un/inhabited (2015) and The Place of Scraps (2013), which was the winner of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and finalist for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. His work has since been anthologized in Best Canadian Poetry (Tightrope), The Land We Are: Artists and Writers Unsettle the Politics of Reconciliation (Arbiter Ring), and The New Concrete: Visual Poetry in the 21st Century (Hayword).

At 32 years old, it’s likely Abel has quite the creative career ahead of him, but in the meantime he’s pursuing a PhD at Simon Fraser University where he’s researching the intersection between Digital Humanities and Indigenous Literary Studies. (Anisa Rawhani)

All Hail the Superqueerdo: Eric Kostiuk Williams’ comic sheroes fight back against condo-fication

by Jonathan Valelly
photography by Greg Wong

From a hidden lookout point at the top of a glassy, austere tower development in the ever-expanding downtown core of Toronto, a masked evil mastermind explains why the city is the perfect site for a surreal, hyperspeed condo boom. “It’s been almost too easy setting up shop here,” she cackles. “In a city thirsty for world-class status, with hardly any regard for its own history…” It’s a dramatic, maniacal confrontation; a classic iteration of the supervillain climax scene. Yet this crucial moment in Condo Heartbreak Disco, the new full-length comic from artist Eric Kostiuk Williams and the indie comics powerhouse Koyama Press, feels unnervingly close to reality.

Condo Heartbreak Disco is larger than life, equal parts eviction drama, cosmic “superqueerdo” existentialism and buddy-cop comedy (if cops didn’t suck!). It also takes pointed aim at Toronto’s oh-so-real overdevelopment, getting more sinister by the day. “I kept trying to make exaggerated condo cityscapes in a weird, demented way,” Williams jokes. “But every time I drew one, I would look towards the waterfront and be like — oh, it looks like that already.”

Read more: All Hail the Superqueerdo: Eric Kostiuk Williams’ comic sheroes fight back against condo-fication

Book Review: Gambling With Fire

Gambling With Fire, David Montrose, 207 pgs, Vehicule Press,, $14.95

Of particular interest to Canadian readers of this classic Noir is its setting. David Montrose provides a topography of post-war Montreal that called to mind Chandler’s Los Angeles. Dark houses huddled in winding streets cut through low elevations create a sense of isolation, danger, or romance. Bright rooms looking out from higher elevations set the mood for more frank scenes. “He led the way to a broad sun-room at the end of the corridor, a place walled with glass, floored with dull red tile, furnished with wicker chairs and great ferns. The windows looked on one side back to the glistening snow and black-limbed trees of the upper slopes of Mount Royal, on the other side down upon the heart of the city.”

Read more: Book Review: Gambling With Fire