Holiday Magazine Subscription Guide

The deadline is approaching fast — for holiday gift shopping. (Also for the National Magazine Awards, but that deadline is January 19.) Looking for pleasurable, readable, can’t-put-down-able gift ideas. Here’s a list of gold-winning magazines from this past year’s National Magazine Awards and their subscription deals.

Cottage Life: Canada’s reigning Magazine of the Year has a fantastic online store with gift ideas for every Canadian. Plus, subscribe to Cottage Life print and digital editions for just $29.75 for a year.

The Walrus: Want some of this country’s best magazine writing and art in one compelling package? Get two years of Canada’s most award-winning magazine (Gold medals in Society, Politics & Public Interest, Travel, Best Single Issue, Magazine Website Design, Words & Pictures and One of a Kind) for under $50. Plus, the Walrus store – awesome gift ideas.

Maclean’s: Awarded Canada’s Magazine Website of the Year as well as Best Online Video and Best Short Feature; get a one-month free trial of the digital edition via Next Issue, plus access to back issues and over one hundred magazines in one app.

Maisonneuve: A one-year subscription to one of Canada’s best and most beautiful literary and arts magazines (4 Gold National Magazine Awards last year for Illustration, Spot Illustration, Photojournalism and Health & Medicine) is only $20!

Report on Business: Get Canada’s leading business magazine, winner of National Magazine Awards for Business reporting, Portrait Photography and Magazine Covers, among others, with your Globe and Mail subscription.

Legion Magazine: A double National Magazine Award winner this past year in Service: Health & Family and Investigative Reporting, Legion pursues top-notch journalism dedicated to Canadian veterans and their families and anyone with an interest in Canadian history. Five-year subscription for under $50. Read our interview with Legion general manager Jennifer Morse for more info about this great mag.

THIS Magazine: Almost 50 years old and still one of Canada’s top independent magazines where many emerging writers and investigative journalists are published, including Catherine McIntyre, winner of last year’s award for Best New Magazine Writer. Gift subscriptions for as low as $15 per year.

Western Living: Winner of 4 National Magazine Awards this year, Western Living is all about how to live well, healthy and in style in Western Canada. Get a one-year digital subscription for just $17.99.

Little Brother: One of Canada’s newest literary magazines, Little Brother won the NMA for Fiction this past year. Get 4 issues of the magazine for $50 and enjoy some of Canada’s best literary arts. Read our interview with publisher Charles Yao.

Azure: Canada’s premier architecture and design magazine, winner of the NMA for Creative Photography, get one year (8 big, bold issues) for less than $40.

Eighteen Bridges: Winner of the National Magazine Awards for Essays, Profiles and Arts & Entertainment, this Alberta magazine is always a great read. Get a year for $25.95. Read our interview with editor Curtis Gillespie to find out more about Eighteen Bridges.

Sportsnet: Canada’s ultimate sports magazine, winner of the NMA for best tablet edition. Get 26 issues for less than $30.

United Church Observer: Winner of the National Magazine Award for Science, Technology & the Environment, this veteran Canadian magazine will surprise you. Get a year’s subscription for $25.

Malahat Review: The winningest literary magazine of all time and winner of this year’s award for Personal Journalism, give a gift subscription for $35 for a year for some of Canada’s best poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction.

Prefix Photo: Get one year of Canada’s most alluring contemporary photography magazine, and NMA winner for Art Direction, for less than $30. That special photographer friend will be thrilled.

Hazlitt: The online magazine from Penguin Random House will help you discover great writing again. Browse the bookshop for Hazlitt’s anthologies and eBooks featuring National Magazine Award-winning writers.

Flare: Consistently one of Canada’s most award-winning fashion magazines, get one year of all-access print and digital editions for $14.95.

ELLE Canada: Winner of the National Magazine Award for Beauty, ELLE is one of Canada’s most popular magazines for good reason – incredible fashion, beauty and lifestyle content. Print and digital subscriptions available.

Other great fashion magazine ideas: Sharp | fshnunlimited

Check out the National Magazine Awards archive for more great magazine discoveries, plus all the winners from this past year’s National Magazine Awards.

Submissions are now open for the 2014 NMAs.

An Interview with National Magazine Award-winning Fiction writer Jess Taylor

Jess Taylor on stage at the 37th annual National Magazine Awards, June 6, 2014.
Jess Taylor on stage at the 37th annual National Magazine Awards, June 6, 2014.

Recently the literary journal Echolocation published a great interview with Jess Taylor about her National Magazine Award-winning short story, “Paul,” the challenges of writing and her pursuit of a book project: the story collection Pauls will be published in 2015 by BookThug.

The interview was conducted by Liz Windhorst Harmer, herself a National Magazine Award winner earlier this year for Personal Journalism (“Blip,” published in The Malahat Review).

In this excerpt from the interview, Liz and Jess discuss the “hard place,” the core of the writerly being from which the literary art emerges.

Liz: What is exciting to watch as far as your “emerging” (a word with multiple meanings, it seems to me!) career, is just how many things you manage to balance and balance well. You recently wrote about ways of building community. You of course are the founder of Toronto’s Emerging Writers series. Your Puritan article discusses the joys and pitfalls of building community, and in it you use the phrase “the hard place”: you hoped “you’d meet people who’d understand you and what you describe as a hard place in yourself”. I love this essay. As we close out this interview, I hoped you could talk a little about the hard place.

I think I know what you mean by the phrase, and you don’t need to elaborate, but I wondered if your relationship to it has changed as your life as a writer has become more public. The transition from aspiring to published and awarded comes with its own costs. Have you found this?

Jess: Thanks, Liz! I’m glad you liked the essay.

The hard place for me is this little place inside of me that tells me I will always write, that I’m a writer. It’s the one aspect of my identity that is always consistent. It’s what spurs me on and gives me my sense of self. I know I’m a hard worker, I take pride in being a hard worker, and writing is my work. I hope this means that I will be able to build a life either from writing or around writing, but I know that even if no one publishes me, it will always be something I do and something that contributes to my sense of self. Some people may describe this as confidence. I think it’s different than confidence. It’s a baseline. More than knowing my name is “Jess,” that the word “Jess” refers to me, I know that this place exists in me.

To me, this is separate from any sort of public writing life or awards or publications. It’s a deeply personal and special thing. Of course, with public recognition comes a little validation that you’re doing the right thing, that other people can see it and know that you’re doing good work. But that’s almost an extra. Having the hard place in me has allowed me to not worry too much about whether or not my work fits into the current trends of writing. Having studied literature, it’s obvious that what’s popular changes and what’s lasting remains to be seen. So I’m just going to do what I like, write the type of work I like to write and read, and hope that the enjoyment comes across to other people. After winning an award or signing a contract, I guess all that changes for me is that I start to think, “Oh, ok, people are starting to see this my way. They like this too. Interesting.” But that could all change again in a moment.

This isn’t to say that I don’t have moments of doubt. We all do. Right after I was nominated for the National Magazine Award, I had a huge crisis. It was one of the first times I really doubted the hard place existed. I was happy about the nomination and starting to think about focusing on Pauls instead of the novel I was currently working on. A couple of my male colleagues who I really respected told me I should wait until I was older to publish. One was barely older than I was! It made me desolate. Normally someone else’s opinion about that sort of thing wouldn’t faze me; it might make me a little annoyed, but it wouldn’t put that doubt in me. It made me feel that awards were pointless because it wouldn’t change the fact that I was young and a female writer. There would still not be the same level of respect, even if I was doing good work and working hard. And having the award nomination just meant that people would gossip about me and form these opinions about me, about whether I deserved it, and I had no interest in being the subject of this sort of gossip or these dismissive attitudes.

But then everyone was surprised because I did win. The hard place was restored, as it was the one time I think I needed some external validation for that hard place. I’d been sending work out and getting rejected (as we all do), had never had a paid publication in my life, and all of a sudden I had won an NMA. It changed a lot in my life. I finally qualified for TAC grant, which only requires one paid publication, people were actually reading my work and coming to my readings, people were respecting me for my work instead of just as a promoter, it helped me with my job, and I signed a contract for Pauls. The hard place whispered, “I told you so, Jess, you big idiot.”

People are always going to talk, they are always going to be critical, haters gonna hate. But I know I can’t let it interfere with me and my work. Nothing can interfere with that. And that’s what great about having a hard place … everything else could be gone, they could take away the NMA, the book deal, my job, everything, but I’d still be me. The hard place would still be there. I’d keep trying to communicate and write in anyway I could. I always will. At this point, I’m still emerging, I would hesitate to say I have any real public writing life or that I’m the center of anyone’s focus, but if things were to go that way, the experiences I had over the summer really helped prepare me and reaffirmed why I write and why it’s a necessity.

Read the complete interview here.

Echolocation Magazine (www.echolocationmag.com) publishes fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, visual art, reviews and interviews. Their joint poetry/fiction contest with Qwerty Magazine on the theme of Doubles closes on December 31.

Check out our Off the Page department for more interviews with NMA winners, including our recent chat with Little Brother magazine publisher and art director Charles Yao.

See also:
Writer’s Guide to Canadian Literary Magazines & Journals
Guide to Fall 2014 Magazine Writing Contests

Read Governor General’s Literary Award winners in the NMA Archive

The 2014 Governor General’s Literary Awards have been announced, and we are delighted to see several wonderful books by National Magazine Award winners among those chosen as Canada’s best of the year.

In Children’s Literature (Illustration) the winner is Jillian Tamaki for This One Summer (Groundwood Books), with text by her sister Mariko Tamaki. Jillian is a 4-time National Magazine Award-winning illustrator whose work has appeared in The Walrus, More and other great Canadian magazines. Read our Off the Page interview with Jillian about her career and illustration work. Check out Jillian’s award-winning illustrations in the NMA archive.

TheEndofAbsence_300In Non-Fiction, the winner is Michael Harris, for The End of Absence (Harper Collins), an exploration of the gains and losses of living in a hyper-connected world. Michael has twice been nominated for a National Magazine Award for his journalism in The Walrus, most recently for his profile of civil rights attorney Joseph Arvay. Read more in the NMA archive.

In Fiction, the winner is Thomas King, for The Back of the Turtle (Harper Collins). Thomas King won a National Magazine Award for Fiction in 1991 for his story “Borders” published in Saturday Night.

The ceremonies to honour this year’s Governor General’s literary award winners will be held on November 26 (English-language winners) and November 27 (French-language winners) in Ottawa. Read up on all the finalists and winners at ggbooks.ca.

See also:
NMA winners headline shortlists for GGs, Writers’ Trust and Giller Prize
Off the Page, with Arno Kopecky
Off the Page, with Jillian Tamaki

Off the Page, with Arno Kopecky

Arno Kopckey (Photo by Jay Devery)
Arno Kopecky (Photo by Jay Devery)

Off the Page is back. In the latest installment of our popular interview series, we chat with National Magazine Award finalist and freelance writer Arno Kopecky, author of The Oilman and the Sea, shortlisted for this year’s Governor General’s Literary Awards.

NMAF: You’re an intrepid magazine journalist. We’ve read your reporting from Iceland and Columbia and others in The Walrus, from Beaver Lake in Alberta Views, and recently from the British Columbia coast in the Reader’s Digest story “The $273 Billion Question,” for which you were a finalist for a National Magazine Award this past spring. How did you get started on this journey to a freelance magazine writing career, and what do you find personally or professionally rewarding about it?

Arno: Intrepid? Thanks, but groping in the dark is usually how it feels. I studied creative writing at the University of Victoria, and when I graduated in 2002 I realized I had no idea how the world worked, let alone how to write about it; so, on Bertrand Russell’s advice, I travelled. Moved to Spain and got a job teaching English, and after two years I’d learned (barely) enough Spanish to land a reporting internship in Oaxaca, Mexico. A string of magazine and newspaper internships followed: New York, Toronto, Nairobi. I was basically a professional intern for a few years. Somewhere along the way I started selling the odd story to various publications, and before long I was too old to be an intern, but the writing and travelling continued.

The thing I love about my “job” is what I think many journalists love, whether they travel or not: Writing gives us an excuse to meet interesting people doing interesting things. We get to join the conversation.

NMAF: The RD feature story appears to have led to an even larger project, your latest book The Oilman and the Sea (Douglas & McIntyre), which won the 2014 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction and is shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award. Was there momentum from your fascinating voyage up the BC coastline to the magazine article to the book, and how did your writing journey proceed?

Arno: Actually it was the other way round: the book contract came first. I pitched the idea to my then-editor at Douglas & McIntyre about two days after my friend Ilja Herb (whose photographs are in the magazine story and book) bought a 41-foot sailboat. We wanted to see the oil tanker routes proposed by Northern Gateway for ourselves, and it was clear from the beginning that the trip would generate tens of thousands of words, if only we could find a home for them. Douglas & McIntyre signed on early and gave us the reason we needed to pursue the expedition.

But Reader’s Digest signed on very quickly as well, and was hugely supportive from the outset. My editor there fought to get me real estate for one of the longest stories that magazine has published in recent history.

Two weeks after I got home from the sailing trip, D&M went bankrupt. Suddenly that Reader’s Digest feature was the only thing I had going for me. Thankfully, Harbour Publishing swept in to the rescue and resuscitated D&M, so that by the time my RD feature was on the stands I had a book contract once again. All I had to do was… write a book.

oilman-sea

NMAF: Your approach as a writer to the complex debate about the Northern Gateway pipeline could be characterized by journalistic curiosity, a sense of adventure (to say the least) and perhaps a sense of responsibility, at least with respect to seeking out grassroots perspectives in places such as Bella Bella, Kitimat and others. Was there a particular place or event in the evolving process that made you think, This is the heart of the story, this will grab the reader’s (and editor’s) attention?

Arno: The Great Bear Rainforest–as the north and central coast of British Columbia is known– was itself the thing that captivated me from the outset. In some ways it’s the story’s central character. Here’s this Switzerland-sized labyrinth of whale-jammed fjords and evergreen islands on BC’s north and central coast, the biggest chunk of temperate coastal rainforest left on earth, that also happens to be one of the oldest continually inhabited regions on the planet–Heiltsuk, Haisla, Haida, Gitga’at and many other coastal First Nations have called this place home since the last ice age. I’m not sure how many Canadians are aware of its existence. The fact that oil tankers are now poised to navigate through those waters for the first time was, in some ways, just an excuse to talk about this teeming, volatile, amphibious zone, the likes of which happen not to exist anywhere else on the planet.

NMAF: What is the significance to you of being nominated for or winning awards for your work, whether National Magazine Awards or others? Is there (or do you foresee) a measurable impact on your career?

Arno: I heard a debate on CBC a while back as to whether there weren’t too many awards in Canada’s literary scene these days; that may well be true, but it doesn’t feel so when you get a nomination yourself. It’s become a cliché, how hard it is to make a living at writing, and anyone who wants to give writers a few bucks and some attention-grabbing praise has my everlasting gratitude.

That said, it’s hard to measure what the impact is on your career. Doors crack open, but you still have to push through; money comes, and then it goes. I guess for me personally, insecure hack that I am, the psychological boost that comes with an award is its most lasting aspect. Recognition helps put the self-doubting demons to rest, and it can be called on to subdue them when they inevitably reappear.

Arno Kopecky is the author of The Oilman and the Sea, which is nominated for a Governor General’s Literary Award (to be announced next Tuesday, November 18) and won the 2014 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction. He is also the author of The Devil’s Curve: A Journey into Power and Profit at the Amazon’s EdgeFollow him on Twitter @arno_kopecky.

See also:
NMA winners headline shortlists for GGs, Writer’s Trust, Giller Prize
New book by Arno Kopecky investigates anti-mining activism
More Off the Page interviews with NMA winners

From the National Magazine Awards archive:
The $273 Billion Question, by Arno Kopecky
Reader’s Digest, Honourable Mention, Science, Technology & Environment, 2013

The Only Risk is Wanting to Stay, by Arno Kopecky
The Walrus, Honourable Mention, Investigative Reporting, 2011

Read Giller Prize winner Sean Michaels in the NMA archive

Sean Michaels with his Giller Prize (Photo via CBC)
Sean Michaels with his Giller Prize (Photo via CBC)

Last night at the annual Giller Gala in Toronto, Montreal-based writer Sean Michaels won the $100,000 prize for his debut novel, Us Conductors. This remarkable story, noted the CBC, is

“… inspired by the life of Lev Sergeyevich Termen, the Russian inventor of the eerily beautiful theremin, taking him from the rambunctious New York clubs of the 1930s to the bleak gulags of the Soviet Union. The Giller jury praised Michaels’ writing, saying “he succeeds at one of the hardest things a writer can do: he makes music seem to sing from the pages of a novel.”

Like many a former Giller nominee and winner, Sean Michaels has built a successful career as a magazine writer. First nominated for a National Magazine Award for his music criticism in Maisonneuve, he won a gold medal National Magazine Award in 2010 for his essay “The Lizard, the Catacombs and the Clock” in the literary magazine Brick.

The intoxicating story of the underground labyrinths of Paris and the cataphiles who spelunk within them, Sean Michaels explored one of the more mysterious sides of the world’s most-visited city.

Parisians call it a gruyère. For hundreds of years, the catacombs under the city have been a conduit, sanctuary, and birthplace for its secrets. The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables’ Jean Valjean both haunted these tunnels, striking students descended in 1968, as did patriots during the Second World War. The Nazis visited too, building a bunker in the maze below the 6th arrondissement.

Read the complete article in the National Magazine Awards archive.

In 2012 Sean Michaels won a second National Magazine Award, alongside veteran Canadian photojournalist Roger LeMoyne, in the Words & Pictures category for “Ringmasters” – a portrait of Montreal’s Tohu circus published in The Walrus.

But the artists still remember what drew them under the lights: the risk, the thrill, the chance to brush up against another world. Experiments are once again taking place in the streets, in the metro — or even at Tohu, where management rents studios for as little as $2 an hour: a troupe called Recircle salvages equipment from the trash, while Cirque Alfonse reinvents the family circus with a show that turns Québécois stereotypes (sometimes literally) on their heads.

Read the complete article in the National Magazine Awards archive.

The National Magazine Awards Foundation congratulates Sean Michaels on the Scotiabank Giller Prize win.

Pick up your copy of Us Conductors and your favourite Canadian magazines today.

In Memory of Mark Anderson

The sad news reached us recently of the passing of Mark Anderson. Mark was an accomplished and enthusiastic magazine journalist who won three National Magazine Awards for his work in Explore and Outdoor Canada.

We read his work in a number of other Canadian magazines, including Financial Post Magazine, Listed, Report on Business, MoneySense, Canadian Geographic, Reader’s Digest, Cottage Life, Ontario Nature and Canadian Business.

His editor at Outdoor Canada, Patrick Walsh, former president of the National Magazine Awards Foundation, talked to us about Mark’s enduring legacy.

For us at Outdoor Canada, Mark was the complete package—an incredibly gifted storyteller with the added bonus of being a highly accomplished angler. Not only did he win major awards for his feature writing, he also earned laurels for his fly-fishing expertise, competing in both national and international competitions. Mark leaves a major vacancy in our stable of writers, and all I can say is we are so thankful we had him on our team when we did.

Mark was indeed one of Canada’s best fly fisherman. The Canadian Fly Fishing Championships awarded him its Lifetime Achievement Award earlier this year.

In one of his best-known stories for Outdoor Canada, “Requiem for a River,” Mark travelled to Quebec’s Rupert River, famous among anglers for its exquisite natural beauty and genetically unique brook trout, the summer before it was dammed as part of a massive hydroelectric project in the province. The story showcased Mark’s rare gifts as an inquisitive and thoughtful writer and conservationist.

I start working my way down the shoreline, all heavy brush and treacherous deadfalls, and when I break out into the open a half-kilometre later, I’m in for a shocking sight: clear-cut as far as the eye can see. It’s the slash Freddy Jolly warned us about, Hydro-Québec’s relentless drive to denude the banks of the Rupert in preparation for the coming flood. After three days surrounded by raw wilderness, it’s a dismal, depressing scene.

The story won a National Magazine Award for Travel writing in 2008 and was also nominated in Sports & Recreation. You can read the entire story here from the National Magazine Awards archive.

A Celebration of Mark’s Life was held at Algonquin College’s Observatory lounge on Sunday, October 26. Donations are being accepted in Mark’s name to Algonquin College Foundation’s Mark Anderson Memorial Bursary, via CanadaHelps.org. Mark’s obituary appeared in the Ottawa Citizen on October 22.

Photographs by Theodore Smith for Outdoor Canada. Special thanks to James Little and Patrick Walsh.

NMA winners headline shortlists for GGs, Writers’ Trust, Giller Prize

Yesterday’s revealing of the Giller Prize shortlist, today’s announcement of the Governor General’s Literary Awards finalists, both on the heels of last week’s release of the five finalists for the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, means that the big three Canadian literary prizes are counting down the days until we find out who wrote the best in Canadian literature for 2014.

Each year, it seems a handful of the nominees for these prestigious CanLit prizes have come from the magazine world; this year, almost all of the shortlisted authors have National Magazine Awards on their resumes.

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