Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Power of Small

Event Announcement: Sono Nis Press Panel: The Power of Small
October 15th at 7:30pm - Spectrum Community School Library, 957 West Burnside Road
Sponsored by the Victoria Children's Literature Roundtable - Members Free, Public $5.00/$4.00

A publisher that won’t sell to Chapters? Tours its authors? Pays decent advances? Refuses to print offshore? Doesn’t quibble about royalty rates? Keeps backlist books in print? Throws fabulous author dinners several times a year? Hosts visiting authors in a specially built guest suite? A thriving publisher located not in the heart of Toronto but on the side of a mountain in the Slocan Valley? When most Canadian publishers are crying doom and gloom, how is it possible for such a small press to exist in today’s tough business climate?

Come meet publisher Diane Morriss and three Sono Nis authors with new books out this fall and learn the secrets of Sono Nis’ success. Nikki Tate, Sylvia Olsen, and Julie White (author of the new novel High Fences) will share their experiences working with one of Canada’s smallest (but finest) publishing houses. Other guests will include Ron Martin (the inspiration and guide for Sylvia Olsen’s new picture book, Which Way Shall I Go?) and Karen Brain (the subject of Nikki Tate’s biography, Double Take: Karen Brain’s Olympic Journey). This panel presentation hosted by the Victoria Children's Literature Roundtable is a great opportunity to celebrate the release of three new titles, meet the authors and their muses, and the publisher who works so hard to create quality books.

The Press
Sono Nis Press - Diane Morriss
Sono Nis Press was established 39 years ago by J. Michael Yates and began its life as a literary house specializing in poetry and fiction. Richard Morriss of Morriss Printing bought Sono Nis in 1976 and moved it to Victoria, B.C. He continued to publish poetry and added high-quality regional non-fiction to the mix. Many of those early non-fiction works have been reprinted many times and are still in print. When Richard Morriss passed away in 1994, his daughter Diane Morriss took over the company.

In 2002, publisher Diane Morriss and her husband, graphic designer Jim Brennan, moved Sono Nis from Victoria to Winlaw, a small community in the Kootenay mountains of southeastern British Columbia. Sono Nis' new office building and warehouse are situated on a picturesque thirty-three-acre mountainside retreat overlooking the Slocan Valley.

In 2007, Sono Nis celebrates 39 years of publishing: 39 years, more than 300 titles, 300 authors, and a fabulous string of Canadian poetry and history prize nominations and awards including the Pat Lowther Memorial Award, Eaton's Book Prize, BC Book Prizes, Governor General Awards, Lieutenant Governor's Medal for History, CAA Award, BC History Prize and others. For more than three decades Sono Nis has been devoted to its talented authors and committed to marrying strong content to high production values. The press publishes an average of six books a year and has approximately 130 titles in print. After all these years, Diane Morriss remains enthusiastic about publishing, throwing herself heart and soul into each new project. Morriss is known for thinking outside the box and running her company with passion, enthusiasm, and innovation.

The Authors
Sylvia Olsen
Popular author, Sylvia Olsen is all about stories. "I love storytelling," Olsen says. "I tell stories about the things I know, the people I meet, and the faces I see every day." Born and brought up in Victoria, BC, Olsen married into the Tsartlip First Nation when she was seventeen and for more than thirty years she has lived and worked and raised her four children in the Tsartlip community. As a writer, she often finds herself exploring the in-between place where Native and non-Native people meet. Olsen currently works in the area of First Nations community management, with a focus on reserve housing.

Nikki Tate
Nikki Tate is the author of the best-selling StableMates series, the Tarragon Island novels, the Estorian Chronicles, and half a dozen other titles for young readers. Tate lives on a tiny farm on Vancouver Island, which she shares with several equine friends, goats, dogs, cats, and birds.

Julie White relies heavily on her family, friends, and coworkers to cover for her when she’s on a writing binge. Fortunately, her husband and daughters are willing to jump in and help out with chores on the family horse farm near Armstrong, BC. A dreamy, imaginative child, White began writing as soon as she could wield a pencil. Today she writes about the subjects she understands best; children and their horses and ponies, the world of horse shows and riding lessons, and the everyday challenges faced by children, family, and friends as they learn to muddle through life as best they can. White loves immersing herself in the lives of her characters and sometimes finds herself thinking that writing is more fun than real life.

The Books
Which Way Should I Go?
By Sylvia Olsen with Ron Martin
Illustrated by Kasia Charko
ISBN: 978-1-55039-161-9
$19.95, full colour hardcover

Illustrated by Kasia Charko, this charming picture book captures the close relationship between grandparent and grandchild and shares a profound message with a deft, light touch.

Joey is a happy Nuu-chah-nulth boy, eager to help and quick to see the bright side of things. But when he loses his beloved grandmother, the sun goes out in his world. Fortunately, she has left something of herself behind ­ a song, which keeps knocking on Joey's heart, and a dance, which urges him to get up on his feet and choose again. Choosing was what their song was about, and Grandma's lessons prove strong indeed. Joey chooses to remember Grandma with joy and to take up his daily life again with a spring in his step.

Double Take: Karen Brain's Olympic Journey
by Nikki Tate
Suitable for ages 10+
Sono Nis Press

Double Take is for young horse-lovers, biography fans, or anyone who loves an inspiring true story. From an early age, Canadian equestrian Karen Brain is determined to someday compete in the Olympics. Her first riding lessons aren't terribly encouraging, but Karen is determined. Soon jumping over obstacles becomes her specialty - literally and figuratively - as she struggles to get her own mount, the coaching she needs, and the funds to achieve her goals. Winning isn't a problem, though. Karen's hard work puts her at the top again and again. And then, one day, she falls. Her spine is shattered, and her doctors tell her she might never walk again, much less ride a horse. And jumping? Impossible.

Well, obstacles are this rider's specialty. How much so readers will discover as they follow her challenging but ultimately successful course from hospital bed to Paralympic triumph.

The story is expertly guided by the capable hands of Nikki Tate, author of many popular horse novels for young readers. Tate's characteristically energetic prose - plus many photos from the Brain family's own collection - beautifully convey Karen's zeal for her beloved horses and the work of riding them; her generous gratitude for the support of friends, family, and coaches; her joy and infectious enthusiasm; and, above all, her indomitable spirit.

High Fences by Julie White

ISBN: 978-1-55039-163-3
Suitable for ages 8+
Sono Nis Press
Fans of The Secret Pony will be delighted by this companion novel about Kirsty’s friend Faye. Readers new to Julie White are sure to become fans of the author’s perfectly evoked world of young riders – and its complicated friendships.

When Faye finds herself in the horrible position of having to sell her beloved pony, she struggles to accept the inevitable and rise above her feelings of frustration and resentment to help the same person who is causing her so much grief.

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