Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fiction fotos

The evening of female fiction with Zoe Whittall and Elise Moser was as fabulous as advertised. Full house enjoyed the readings and the improvised one-author-interviewing-another-author-discussion, and at the Q & A period attendees were curious to know how does an author's workday look alike, and if both of them always knew they will become authors.

Zoe's novel Holding Still For As Long As Possible took us to the streets of Toronto, were her witty 20something characters were wrestling with paramedics work, inner insecurities and relationship puzzles.

Zoe holding her newest novel. She told that she was four years old when she published her first book - it was a hand made book from cover to cover, covers were made of wallpaper.

Elise's magical voice transferred us to Montreal, where her main character Julia was coping with her sudden losses, surprising news and relationship puzzles as well.

Elise signing a copy of her book Because I Have Loved and Hidden It for the fellow author, Zoe. Elise read heavily already at young age, and her 8th grade classmate noted that "one day Elise will have to write a book because she will have read all the other books of the world."

The informal chatting with the authors (Zoe on the left, Elise on the right) went on late to the night.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Photos from Yann Martel event

The interartistic evening with Yann Martel and Back Burner art exhibition at the Patrick Gordon Framing was a great success, we want to do this again!

Martel turned out to be as witty speaker as he is as a writer. He shed light on his on-going writing process of What Is Stephen Harper Reading?, how he selects the books (for example, the book has to be under 200 pages and relatively easy to read) and how the bi-monthly deadline is always around the corner. He was puzzled by the fact that Harper has never mentioned in public any of his favourite novel or as a matter of fact, if he reads fiction at all. "It's ok to read Robert Ludlum, if that's what he likes, as long as he just reads fiction!"

Yann Martel was astonished and honoured when he saw the art exhibition Back Burner. PM might be getting a letter with Back Burner flyer soon .... Stay tuned with the "Canadian Author VS. Canadian PM" battle and click at

The audience listened carefully what Yann Martel had to say about art, politics and the Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The art exhibition Back Burner is still hanging at the walls of
Patrick Gordon Framing, go and have a look!

More photos of the evening also at

In addition to the 29 Back Burner artists, Yann Martel and What is Stephen Harper Reading? inspired also the New Political Theatre The Wrecking Ball in Ottawa.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Launch for Sheema Khan's Of Hockey and Hijab

The last 40th anniversary year event will be the launch of Sheema Khan's Of Hockey and Hijab and a panel discussion on women’s rights, integration and cultural understanding, and finding the balance between security and civil rights.

Since 2002 Sheema Khan - Canadian hockey mom, Harvard PhD and liberal, practicing Muslim - has been writing a monthly column for Globe and Mail on issues pertaining to Islam and Muslims. Her columns on a variety of issues, such as terrorism, human rights, Islamic law, women’s rights, and the meaning of hijab, are now being published as a collection under the title Of Hockey and Hijab.

At the book launch she will be joined by Kerry Pither, author of Dark Days; Farhat Rehman, Women’s Rights Activist; and Keith Neuman, VP Environics Research Group, in a panel discussion. The moderator of the evening is human rights lawyer Yavar Hameed.

The event takes place on Monday December 7, at the Auditorium of the Main Library (120 Metcalfe) at 6:00 pm. As usual, there's no admission fee, and in addition, there will be some light refreshments after the official part of the event is over.

The event is sponsored by CAIR-CAN ( and Muslim Presence Ottawa (

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Birthday party pictures

Our 40th birthday party on October 30 at the Carleton Tavern was a huge success, thank you all for being a part of it! Over 100 people came to celebrate the store's long journey, meet friends old and new and share the stories of the colorful history of Octopus Books.

Here are just some of the photos from the night, we'll be soon posting a link with more glimpses of the evening. Photos taken by our poster designer Nadia Collins,

Jean-Claude Parrot, the former CUPE leader and hero of many birthday party attendees covered the past, present and the future.

From left: former store employees Jennifer (emerging local
author) and Fiona (MC of the evening) with the owner Lisa.

Carleton Tavern was packed!

One of the early 1970s Octopus figures, Bruce Winer,
is cutting the cake with Lisa.

Archival Footage (in the photo) , Brothers Creeggan and
the Bidiniband entertained the crowd late in the night.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fabulous Female Fiction - evening with Elise Moser and Zoe Whittall

We are thrilled to be hosting Elise and Zoe as they launch their newest works of art. The event takes place on Saturday, November 28 at 7 pm at the store, 116 Third Ave.

Elise is a dear friend of the store, and an inspiration to those who know her. We are excited about her book, and tickled pink to be able to introduce you to her. Elise Moser is the current president of the Quebec Writers' Federation. Her short stories have been published and broadcast in Canada, the U.S. and across the Commonwealth. Her stories "Malke's Baby" and "Advanced Pilates Tickle Trunk" have won the CBC/QWF Short Story Competition in 2004 and 2006 respectively. After many years working as a buyer at Paragraphe Bookstore in Montreal, Elise is now familiar to many stores across the country as a sales rep with Lexa Publishers' Representatives. She is also the Literary Editor of The Rover, an electronic independent review of arts and culture. Elise lives in Montreal.

Zoe Whittall is a newer friend who knocked our socks off when she was here in 2007 reading with Stacey May Fowles. She is the author of two novels - Holding Still For As Long As Possible, and Bottle Rocket Hearts, named one of top 100 books of 2007 in the Globe and Mail and top 15 books in Quill & Quire magazine. She won emerging author of the year in Now Magazine, and the Dayne Ogilvie Award for Best Emerging Gay Writer in Canada. Her poetry books include The Best Ten Minutes of Your Life (McG, 01) and The Emily Valentine Poems (Snare, 06) and Precordial Thump (Exile, 08).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Monday will be big...

For weeks, the same nightmare theme has been returning once a week. The launch of What Is Stephen Harper Reading? by Yann Martel is about to start, and suddenly
* we realize that we've been promoting the wrong night, and no one comes to the event.
* the venue is so full of people that we can't fit everyone in.

Both options have had several endings, but the absolute favorite is the one with the happy ending: Patrick Gordon Framing is fully packed and there's a long lineup outside. We are trying to find a solution how to fit everyone in. We're thinking thinking thinking but nothing helps. Until we suddenly realize that there is a huge building with a giant auditorium next to PGF (building actually landed from the outer space - remember that this is a dream); in a trice the whole crowd is smoothly relocated and the event can start.

Luckily there's not much time for nightmares anymore, since the real thing is on Monday, hurray!

The art exhibition by 29 local artist, Back Burner, was opened already today, and it's definitely worth of visiting, and visiting with time. 29 different and differently thought-provoking pieces of art reflecting the importance of art. Tonight at the exhibition opening PGF was buzzing with people, and we hope it to be so on Monday night again. Come early, at 6.30pm when the doors are opened, so you will have time to see how local artists got inspired by Yann Martel. .

See you there!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What Is Stephen Harper Reading? asks Yann Martel

We are thrilled to co-host an interartistic evening with Patrick Gordon Framing on November 16: the launch of What Is Stephen Harper Reading? by Yann Martel is accompanied with Back Burner, an art exhibition by 29 local artists inspired by Yann Martel.

Martel’s new book is a collection of letters, and over fifty recommendations of great books, which he has mailed to the Prime Minister Stephen Harper since March 2007. Martel’s admiration for and strong belief in the power of arts in one hand, and his frustration with art funding cuts on the other hand inspired 29 artists to create an exhibition Back Burner with a common theme “message to the government”.

It will be an evening of great discussion on literature, visual arts and importance of Canadian art. The MC of the evening is Peter Honeywell, the Executive Director of the Council for the Arts in Ottawa.

The event takes place on Monday, November 16 at Patrick Gordon Framing, 160 Elm Street. (

Doors open at 6.30, speakers at 7 pm.

No admission fee, no advance tickets, better to come early!

Back Burner artists: Adrian Gollner, Andrea Sutton, Beth Levin, Bill McCann, Christopher Griffin, Christos Pantieras, Daniel Marchand, Daniel Sharp, Danny Hussey, Dave Cooper, David Barbour, John Barkley, John Moffat, Justin Wonnacott, Maggie Knaus, Marjory Loveys, Mary Spicer, Michele Provost, Mike Ross, Mirana Zuger, Pat Durr, Patrick Cocklin, Patti Normand, Pedro Isztin, Peter Shemlzer, Petra Halkes, Reid McLachlan, Remi Theriault, Wojciech Jakobiec.