Nevermore Press Publisher Jayme Spinks on the Launch of a Special Anthology in Support of the South Shore Public Libraries Bookmobile
Nevermore Press in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, has partnered with the South Shore Public Libraries to publish a new anthology, INSIDE: Thoughts From a Pandemic, a collection of short fiction, poetry and more from 29 diverse Nova Scotia writers. The special collection is supporting the library’s bookmobile. Jayme Spinks, owner of Nevermore, took the time to answer some questions about this memorable edition, which launches October 22 in Lunenburg.
Atlantic Books Today: Can you talk a little about how this collection came to be and what inspired it?
Jayme Spinks: The book is a long time coming. Ernie Hadley, Nevermore’s founder and former owner/editor, in discussion with the South Shore Public Libraries’ former chief librarian, had volunteered Nevermore Press to edit and produce INSIDE, a fundraiser for the SSPL Bookmobile, in order to bring it to fruition.
A call for submissions was shared on social media in late winter of 2021, and in early April, Ernie passed away very unexpectedly. As you can imagine, that was a challenging time for Nevermore Press, and the project moved to the back burner.
Eventually, I took over the business and was able to track down the submissions, as well as the artist (Sara Harley) of the work Ernie had wanted to include on the cover. He was very dedicated to supporting the writing community out here, and I think he would be pleased that the project eventually got finished.
ABT: Isolation is certainly a resonant theme these days, even with restrictions loosening up. Without any spoilers, what kind of insights did the writers tap into?
JS: When the call went out, I think it’s fair to say that isolation was on a lot of people’s minds. Some writers chose to take Covid as their subject matter, and others used the theme as a starting point to explore more metaphorically.
For me, I think two main things stood out: sometimes realizing you’re not the only one feeling sad or lonely is enough to help alleviate the heaviness of isolation and dread that many of us have been feeling these last two years; and sometimes things are just so bad that all you can do is laugh.
ABT: This is a unique partnership between a publisher and a library, which has the cool backstory that the publisher is located in a branch of the library. Can you talk a bit about that relationship?
JS: Ya! It’s been a relationship we’ve really cherished. Although our office is no longer in the Academy, we’ve maintained our connection with SSPL. The library has been supportive of NP since we got started, which meant a lot to us as a tiny, new local publisher.
Working on this project with them was a no-brainer. Both the library and NP were going through a transitional period for the duration of this project, and I’m proud of what we ultimately produced despite the challenges.
ABT: Specifically, proceeds from this collection are supporting the South Shore Public Libraries Bookmobile. What is the Bookmobile and why did you want to get behind it?
JS: The Bookmobile is a library on wheels that services every corner of Lunenburg and Queens counties, ensuring that everyone has access to books. Bookmobiles have been part of SSPL since 1972!
As a company who loves (and makes) books, as well as a member of the South Shore community, how could we not want to be involved?
This book project will help make sure the Bookmobile continues, hopefully for another 50+ years, and we were pleased to be a part of it. [Learn more about the bookmobile at https://www.southshorepubliclibraries.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/22-JuneDec-BOOKMOBILE-.pdf.]
ABT: Can you talk a bit about the writers involved?
JS: We received some really great submissions, and in the end, there were 29 writers included! Most submissions were either poetry, including one by George Elliott Clarke, or short stories, including writing by Carol Bruneau, Terry Fallis, and Christy Ann Conlin, to name but a few.
A number of Nevermore Press authors submitted work as well, and there’s a middle grade story excerpt from a young writing duo who Ernie had been mentoring through the editing process. Works range from funny to surreal, to moving and heartbreaking.
There’s really something for everyone. The full list includes contributions by: Jane Baskwill; Chris Benjamin; Bob Bent; Yvonne Blomer; Carol Bruneau; Esmeralda Cabral; Rhian Calcott; Catherine Khaperska & Bex Canning; Clo Carey; Lauren Carter; James Case; George Elliott Clarke; Jan L. Coates; Christy Ann Conlin; Terry Fallis; Corinne Gilroy; Brooke Gray; Susan Haldane; Tara G Harris; Anne C Kelly; Garry Leeson; Rosalie Osmond; Concetta Principe; Brenda Schmidt; David Shannon; R.E. Stansfield; Katrina Walker; Debra Whittall.
ABT: The collection officially launches on October 22, very exciting. What can people expect on that date? Is there an official event where they can pick up a copy?
JS: The launch of INSIDE is actually part of a larger event to celebrate South Shore Public Libraries turning 50! The event runs from 1–4pm at the Lunenburg Branch, and there will be cake and refreshments served, along with official words from Library staff and other invited dignitaries.
Library tours will be offered, and there will be games and other activities for kids (with prizes!). And INSIDE will be for sale, of course.
We’re excited to get it out into the world! If you can’t make it to the event, the book will hopefully be available at SSPL branches, on the Bookmobile, and will be for sale at the Nevermore web store.
A special thank you to Annie Mullins, Jeff Mercer, Sara Harley and Gary Dunfield. And of course, thanks to all the talented writers who submitted work—your generosity and support will help provide ongoing library services to folks who love books.