Canada Reads: Essex County week * Updated 1/28

As you may or may not know, Jeff Lemire’s Essex County Trilogy is one of the five featured books in the Canada Reads battle to the death debate over which book is the best new Canadian work of the last decade, and ECT is the only graphic novel in the running. The winner will be selected in a couple of weeks.

Since Essex County is the book featured this week, there’s a lot of stuff going on:

– UPDATED! Podcast: Sara Quin defends Essex County
– NEW! Meet indie artist Sara Quin
The Beguiling bookstore gives us the inside scoop on Essex County
Live chat with author Jeff Lemire (today, Jan. 27 at 2pm)
Jeff Lemire, Chris Oliveros, Matt Forsythe, & Sully in Montreal at the D+Q store (Jan 27 at 7pm in Montreal)
Brian Francis visits Essex County
Jeff Lemire gives us a tour of Essex County
CBC Books – Canada Reads 2011 – Defending Essex County (Sara Quinn and Andrea Chiu

Expect to hear more about this and Jeff over the next couple of days, and I think it would be a fair guess to assume that you will see his name at least once in next week’s Joe Shuster Award Nominations.

I remember when we sat down with the JSA jury in the spring of 2008 to discuss the nominees for the category of Best Cartoonist, and I was overwhelmed by the love that the jury had for the first two volumes of the Trilogy – Tales from the Farm, and most particularly the second chapter – Ghost Stories. It is rare to see people discuss comics and graphic novels using the terms transcendent, heartfelt and highly emotional, especially in a situation as clinical as an awards jury discussion, but everyone who had read the books that year was clearly MOVED by Jeff’s stories. While other cartoonists were being identified as being more technically proficient that year, there was no one who embodied the term cartoonist more in spirit, passion and in practice than Jeff Lemire with those two chapters of this massive work, and he deserved (and received) the award.

Bravo Jeff! This is all well-deserved as Essex County is a tremendous work, and we hope you win the Canada Reads competition.