Farewell, Descant

Descant, the arts and literary quarterly published independently in Toronto since 1970, has announced that its forthcoming 167th issue, Vol. 45, No. 4, Winter 2014, will be its last.

Editor-in-chief Karen Mulhallen posted a farewell note on the magazine’s website, noting that after painstaking efforts to find alternative funding and deliberations among staff and funders, “we have jointly decided that Descant magazine in its present form is no longer sustainable.”

Grants have been in decline for more than five years, although other revenues such as sales and subscriptions have held steady or increased. We have cut costs everywhere we could, but many expenses over which we have no control have continued to spiral up.

Descant has won 6 National Magazine Awards since 1980 for its fiction, poetry and essays, most recently Adam Lindsay Honsinger‘s short story “Silence” in 2009.

What began as a mimeograph forty-four years ago evolved into a robust and stimulating literary magazine that has published works by Anne Michaels, Timothy Findley, Evelyn Lau, Margaret Atwood, Isabel Allende, Tom McGuane, Jane Urquhart, Dennis Lee, Michael Ondaatje and R. Murray Schafer, among many others. Lately its production office has been the historic George Brown building at the corner of Baldwin and Beverly Streets.

Browse through the back issues of Descant for a more complete perspective on what the magazine has published.

From the National Magazine Awards online archive:
Up the Amazon–1959; Mexico–1960” by P.K. Page (Descant), Honourable Mention, Poetry, 2005
Fudge” by Alex Pugsley (Descant), Honourable Mention, Fiction, 2010

Round-Up of November Magazine Events

Happy Hallowe’en from the National Magazine Awards. Don’t forget to watch out for little ghouls and goblins and kids dressed up as magazines on the streets tonight. And sleep an extra hour on Sunday. Here’s a look at what’s on tap in Canadian magazines for the month of November.

Saturday, November 1 (Toronto) & November 8 (Vancouver)
CANZINE, presented by Broken Pencil, Saturday, November 1 in Toronto and November 8 in Vancouver, Canada’s annual Zine festival.

Tuesday, November 4, Toronto
OCCUPY NOW, presented by This Magazine and Rabble.ca, a panel discussion about the Occupy Movement, three years on.

Thursday, November 6, Toronto
State of the Magazine Nation, a one-day event presented by Magazines Canada on the latest innovations in Canadian magazine publishing.

Friday, November 14, Toronto
Shamie Awards, Shameless magazine’s 10th anniversary celebration and presentation of the Shamie Awards, hosted by comedienne Catherine McCormick

Wednesday, November 19, Toronto
Return of the lecture series, “What We Talk About,” presented by Little Brother magazine. 8pm at the Drake Hotel. Cost of admission gets you a copy of the latest issue.

Thursday, November 20, Toronto
Canadian Online Publishing Awards: 5pm at The Phoenix. Recognizing excellence in online publishing, including by consumer and trade magazines.

Friday, November 21, Toronto
Grand opening of the Spacing Store. 401 Richmond Street.

Saturday, November 22, Toronto
Meet the Presses Indie Literary Market, featuring more than 30 small, independent Canadian magazine and book publishers. At the Tranzac in the Annex, all day.

Tuesday, November 25, Toronto
The Walrus Talks Philanthropy, a panel discussion event of The Walrus Foundation on the state of philanthropy in Canada, also featuring music by Molly Johnson, Tom Jackson & more.

Tuesday, November 25, Toronto
Ryerson Review of Journalism fundraiser to support the Spring 2015 issue of Canada’s leading j-school magazine. At the Supermarket in Kensington Market.

December 1, Nationwide
Call for Entries for the 2014 National Magazine Awards.

Did we miss one? Leave a comment or tell us on Twitter @MagAwards.

Apply for an Internship with the National Magazine Awards

The National Magazine Awards Foundation (NMAF) is now accepting applications for one paid Administrative Internship position for the National Magazine Awards (NMAs) and the Kenneth R. Wilson Awards (KRWs) in Toronto for Winter 2014/Spring 2015.

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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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See you at Word on the Street

This weekend a great Canadian literary tradition continues as Word on the Street comes to five cities for a day of magazine and CanLit love.

Come on out Sunday in Toronto, Saskatoon, Halifax and Lethbridge, or Saturday in Kitchener, to discover new magazines, find great deals on subscriptions and books, listen to your favourite writers talk about their craft, and enjoy a fun afternoon.

WOTS Toronto
Sunday, September 21, 11am – 6pm, Queen’s Park Circle

WOTS Kitchener
Saturday, September 20, 11am – 5pm, Downtown Kitchener City Hall

WOTS Saskatoon
Sunday, September 21, 11am – 5pm, Civic Square

WOTS Lethbridge
Sunday, September 21, 11am – 5pm, Main Library, 5th Ave S. & 8 St. S.

WOTS Halifax
Sunday, September 21, 11am – 5pm, Halifax Waterfront

Participating National Magazine Award-winning magazines include:

Alternatives Journal, Brick, Broken Pencil, Canadian Art, Canadian Dimension, Descant, The Feathertale Review, Geist, Hazlitt, Little Brother Magazine, Shameless, Spacing, Taddle Creek, The New Quarterly, The Walrus, This Magazine, Toronto Life, Vallum, Worn Fashion Journal, Zoomer and more.

See you this weekend.

Hat tip: Canadian Magazines

This post was updated to correct a misspelling of Saskatoon. We regret the error.

Toronto Life, Canadian Living lead magazine nominees at 2014 Canadian Online Publishing Awards

The 2014 Canadian Online Publishing Awards (COPAs) finalists were announced today, and National Magazine Award winners Toronto Life, The Walrus, Fashion Magazine and Canadian Living are among the leading nominees.

In the Red division (“consumer market niche content and companies”), Toronto Life leads all publications with 7 8 nominations. Other major nominees in the Red division include Money Sense, Style at Home, Cottage Life, Canadian Family and Taddle Creek, all of whom are National Magazine Awards winners.

Awards at the COPAs include Best Website Design, Best Blog, Best Use of Social Media, Best Mobile Solution, and more.

Each of three divisions (red, blue, green) grants awards in 15 digital categories. The COPAs also expanded their mandate this year to include corporations and ad agencies in addition to media companies. As noted on the website:

… as the COPAs have been restricted in the past to media publishers, any company and ad agency this year can enter the COPAs this year. The divisions have also been changed to reflect the blurred lines between traditional and digital media as to the type of content that is produced.

There are also 3 new Best of Canada categories: Best Digital Solution of the Year, Best Online Ad of the Year, and Best Content of the Year.

The 2014 COPA Party will be held on Thursday, November 20, at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto, where the winners will be announced.

The call for entries for this year’s National Magazine Awards will be December 1.

Image via COPA website.

Foundation Award winner John Macfarlane stepping down as editor of The Walrus

NMAF_JohnMacfarlaneVenerable Canadian magazine editor John Macfarlane, winner of the 2005 Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement, the highest individual honour given by the National Magazine Awards Foundation, announced today that he is stepping down from his position as editor-in-chief of The Walrus, effective the end of the year.

The Walrus Foundation, publisher of the magazine which has won more NMAs than any other since its first issue in 2003, published a statement from John on its website:

“More than five years ago, I came on board as interim editor for six months, and suddenly it’s five years later. The world of journalism has changed in the last five years, and although I’ve enjoyed every minute here the time has come, as the Walrus said, for a new kind of editor—an editor of all Walrus platforms. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and decided the timing is right—for me and for the organization.”

Following a 15-year editorship of Toronto Life (1992-2007) during which that magazine won an industry-best 118 National Magazine Awards including Magazine of the Year in 2007, John Macfarlane was hired at The Walrus in 2008 and since then the magazine has won 59 NMAs, also best in the industry. His long career in publishing also includes Saturday Night, Financial Times of Canada, Weekend Magazine, the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail.

He served as President of the National Magazine Awards Foundation from 2000-2002.

More information:
NMA Archives
Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement