The Ephemera

Achieving the impossible.

Winter, 2019-2020 / No. 44
Illustration by Hartley Lin
Hartley Lin

The seemingly impossible happened on the evening of May 31st, when RJ Edwards brought Taddle Creek home its first gold National Magazine Award. RJ beats out all competition in the fiction category, winning for the short story “Loose Time,” originally published in Taddle Creek No. 42. This was both RJ’s first time being nominated for a writing award and first appearance in the magazine, but long-time readers will note that this certainly wasn’t Taddle Creek’s first attempt to bring home a winning N.M.A. The magazine’s scorecard now stands at one gold, one silver, and somewhere between nineteen and eleven million honourable mentions since Taddle Creek began entering the awards, with issue No. 4, in 2001.

Taddle Creek has mixed feelings about this victory. Winning only one National Magazine Award in nearly two decades is a lot less impressive sounding than the cool outsider status that comes with having lost nineteen. Taddle Creek might suggest that the National Magazine Awards people gave the magazine a prize just to shut it up, but that would also suggest RJ wasn’t deserving of the honour, and that simply is not the case. So Taddle Creek will wear its award with pride (the magazine assumes there is an Order of Canada–like lapel pin to allow winners to publically flaunt their superiority), while offering RJ sincere and deserving congratulations—as well as a big thank you for breaking the magazine’s losing streak.

With a National Magazine Award now under its belt, Taddle Creek will focus its attention on browbeating the organizers of the Journey Prize. (Six long lists in fourteen years? Come on!)

RJ Edwards isn’t the only Taddle Creek contributor to receive some recent attention. David Collier’s comic “Toronto Reference,” from Taddle Creek No. 32, was included in the latest volume of the Kramers Ergot anthology series. If you enjoyed reading David’s comic for two dollars, read it again for forty. Also, the magazine would be remiss if it didn’t mention that Hartley Lin, Tad’s official portrait artist, took home the 2019 Doug Wright Award—an award the editor is forcing Taddle Creek to call “Canada’s greatest cartooning honour”—this May, for his debut collection, Young Frances. (His comics have also started showing up in the New Yorker.)

If you’re reading this before January 5, 2020, and are in or can make your way to the Hamilton area, be sure to check out This is Serious: Canadian Indie Comics, a showing of contemporary Canadian comic art, hosted by the Art Gallery of Hamilton, co-curated by Taddle Creek super contributor Joe Ollmann, and including work by such beloved Taddle Creek regulars as Hartley Lin, Nina Bunjevac, David Collier, Michel Rabagliati, Seth, Fiona Smyth, Walter Scott, and Maurice Vellekoop. (Fiona’s bit of wall even contains her comic from way back in Taddle Creek No. 22.) Old Joe tells Taddle Creek the show may end up on tour, but don’t take the chance—see it today.

Welcome aboard to Skylight Books, Los Angeles’s best bookstore with a tree in it. Newsstand isn’t exactly a growing distribution channel for Taddle Creek these days, so when Skylight dropped the magazine a line expressing interest in carrying a few copies, Taddle Creek could hardly say no. The magazine will be popping in to sign copies at this amazing store on its next L.A. visit.

Taddle Creek’s pulp issue made the magazine all manner of new friends, namely collectors of old pulps. The magazine also received letters from several regular readers saying how much better they liked the size and lesser paper quality of No. 43. It’s enough to give a magazine pause. Still, Taddle Creek decided to return to its usual level of quality this issue, much to the joy of Chris Young and the gang at Prolific, the magazine’s regular printer. (Chris now has the honour of having overseen Taddle Creek’s printing for a record-breaking ten-plus years and more than half of the magazine’s run. Thanks, Chris.) More quality to come next issue. Until then.