Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Alcuin Society

The Alcuin Society is still going strong and is happy to report a steady membership and a great involvement in our events from the general public. This spring the Alcuin Society organized its 31st design competition. The judges were Will Reuter (Dundas), Marvin Harder (Montreal) and Naomi MacDougall (Vancouver). Forty-one books were chosen as winners in the following categories: Children, Limited Editions, Pictorial, Poetry, Prose Fiction, Prose Non-Fiction, Prose Non-Fiction Illustrated, and Reference. These books went on tour throughout Canada, and even beyond our borders to Germany and Japan. Will Reuter was also chosen as the recipient of the Robert R. Reid Award and Medal. On this occasion, Mr. Reuter delighted the audience with his knowledge and wit in an interesting interview conducted by Rollin Milroy from Heavenly Monkey, which covered graphic design, bookbinding, typography among other topics.

Our Annual General Meeting in May was astonishingly successful, a sold-out event. The credit may go to the guest of honour and speaker, Scott McIntyre, the founder of well-known publishing house Douglas & McIntyre, who charmed those in attendance with his memories and passion. Starting September 26, the Alcuin Society organized or participated in ten days of book events, beginning with a lecture from Mark Purcell about the UK National Trust Libraries. On September 28-29, the Vancouver Book Fair featured antiquarian, collectible or rare books, the only fair of its kind in Western Canada. At the same time, the Society participated in Word on the Street, where it displayed award-winning books. The Book Awards in Vancouver took place on October 2, and had as a guest David Esslemont, printmaker and publisher. The Toronto Awards ceremony was on October 7, and featured Rod McDonald, type designer from Nova Scotia. The Wayzgoose on October 5 was very popular, with more than 300 visitors, who browsed the displays of the book artists and publishers.

Before the last event of the year, a presentation by David Zieroth at the Vancouver Public Library, there was the Book Auction on November 16. Although not as productive as in years past, the auction was a wonderful, fun event, with plenty of laughter among gorgeous books.
With issue 165 of Amphora reaching our members by the end of December, the Alcuin Society has managed to bring its publication up to date. Peter Mitham, our editor, worked around the clock to produce four issues in 2013, one more than usual. Thanks to him and his team we are back on track, without a decline in quality.

The Alcuin Society is welcoming 2014 with confidence, ready to organize more outstanding events and publish rare books. Our Program Committee has contemplated adding new types of events that might interest our members and the public in general, tapping into Vancouver’s multi-culturalism and its passion for book arts.

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