The New Quarterly teamed up with Canadian Notes and Queries to produce this special project, celebrating the work of writers excluded from last year's Penguin anthology of Canadian writing.
When Daniel Wells, editor of Canadian Notes and Queries, walked into his local bookstore last October and picked up the latest copy of The Penguin Book of Canadian Short Stories, an anthology featuring the “best Canadian literature,” he was not impressed. Turning to the back, he noticed many of his favourite Canadian short-story writers left out. Looking to showcase those authors he believes were unfairly omitted, Wells approached fellow editor Kim Jernigan of The New Quarterly. Together, they conceived of The Salon Des Refusés, meaning The Assembly of the Rejected, a special joint project that was promoted with a launch party last week at the Gladstone Hotel Ballroom in Toronto.
The Salon Des Refuses is a package consisting of two separate issues with the same covers. While both the TNQ and CNQ shared promotions, mailing lists and packaging, the respective magazines held to their own style. “Editorially, we are still very different beasts. TNQ is nurturing and embracing whereas CNQ is critical,” says Wells.
Both issues were mailed out to subscribers and distributed to newsstands by Magazines Canada. Due to the joint mailing lists and distribution, the magazines also increased their print runs. “Normally, CNQ prints 1,000 copies. We have 1,600 for this issue. I am beginning to think we should have printed more,” Wells says. “What I am hearing from booksellers is that they are flying off the shelves.”
Though expenses have not been fully worked out, the initiative isn’t expected to drive much revenue. “It’s getting a lot of good attention though. A lot of literary magazines have gotten involved with this: Arc, Event, Dandelion and Humber. Individual writers also advertised.” A contributor, Adrian Michael, was featured on CBC Radio's "Q" to comment on Canada’s literary canon.
CNQ’s edition of The Salon gathers stories by different Canadian short-story writers, each framed by an author commentary. It also features an essay, "Thinking About Penguins," by John Metcalf, and Michael Darling’s review of the Penguin anthology.
TNQ’s edition includes an interview with Penguin anthology editor Jane Urquhart. There are also reviews, appreciations and anthologies.