Blue Portugal

June 17, 2022

Sightings of Blue Portugal out in the world:

The generous Vicki Ziegler (@bookgaga) featured a passage from Blue Portugal as her Sunday Sentence on Twitter last weekend, with a beautiful photograph:
“These are my years, scraps of my years, cut into squares and small rectangles, arranged as a series of cobbles for the mind to step along, carefully, one after another.”
bookgaga's image

I love seeing the book in bookstores! I didn’t take a photograph of the copies at Sechelt’s Talewind Books but here’s what it looks like at Madeira Park’s Earth Fair:
blue portugal at earth fair

People have also written me the most beautiful letters about the book. I can’t tell you how it feels, or maybe I can, to find a note waiting in my email box or in my mailbox at the corner of the Sunshine Coast Highway and Hallowell Road. The other night I came downstairs to work on an essay that will appear in an anthology in 2023 and there was a gorgeous email from someone who took the time to not only read Blue Portugal but to put in the context of my work as a whole. I sat in the dark and felt so grateful.

May 30, 2022

A lovely talk with Joe Planta…

Theresa Kishkan

May 23, 2022

I had two nice invitations to write about something loosely connected to Blue Portugal.

May 17, 2022

A lovely review of Blue Portugal in the Quill and Quire this morning:

Blue Portugal and Other Essays

May 11, 2022

A few of my fellow writers were approached for potential cover quotes for Blue Portugal. What they said:

“Kishkan’s lyrical essays glow with the generosity and poetic grace of a richly perceptive mind. Blue Portugal and Other Essays explores natural and human histories, the veins and rivers of then and now, with fierce and tender insight. An overnight train, a weathered rock, a button, a blueprint, the complications of the human heart—all rendered in beautiful prose.” Lorri Neilsen Glenn, author of Following the River: Traces of Red River Women

Phantom places resonant with mysterious meaning, dreamy hauntings from half-remembered lives, revenant landscapes fragmented in the prism of memory; the living, the dead; rivers as the veins of life and veins as the rivers of being; migrations through time, geography, and experience; a husband and wife reading Dante’s Inferno to each another by firelight and the machinery of medical technology delivering readings from Cancerland—this is just a marvellous book. Theresa Kishkan is amazing.” Stephen Hume, author of A Walk with the Rainy Sisters

“Blue Portugal and Other Essays is forget-me-not powerful, small sparking essays building and building to cacophonies of bright brilliance. Be prepared to be cracked (Crack. CRACK) wide open—raw, vulnerable and moved: you’ll then be carefully knitted and quilted back into a transformed whole. Such is the skill of Kishkan’s literary craft: she narrates entire, and stunningly well-researched, universes. From the intimately domestic and inner to the bountiful global and beyond, Kishkan takes you by the hand and the heart. She walks with you through her worded worlds and gently restores you back into a revisioned life, days and places you’ll never see quite the same way ever again. Gently profound. Richly delicate. Therapeutic and needed.” Sarah de Leeuw, author of Where It Hurts


May 5, 2022

Yesterday my neighbour knocked on the door, holding in his arms a large box. I was expecting a courier to deliver my copies of Blue Portugal the day before (someone had called to confirm my address and I explained how to find my house, suggesting the courier call if there was a problem. Don’t go as far as the locked gate, I said. That leads to my neighbours’s house and it means you’ve gone too far…) but no sign of it. Not until my neighbour appeared. Where did you find them, I asked, and he replied, By the locked gate! (There was another delivery last week, of Fish Gotta Swim Edition books, and because the locked gate was in fact open, the courier went down to my neighbour’s house and simply left the boxes by his door.) Anyway, I opened the large box and was so delighted to see my copies of my book of essays, just published by the University of Alberta Press. Doesn’t it look nice with the keepsakes we made last month?

book and keepsake

May 2, 2022

Last Thursday evening I participated in an online event with 3 other University of Alberta Press authors as part of the Edmonton Poetry Festival. If you’re interested, here’s a recording. My reading is at about the 16:00 minute point.

April 15, 2022

On the essay:

Theresa Kishkan On Writing Essays

And the registration information for the Literary Cocktails event on April 28, 6 pm MT, is here:

April 14, 2022


April 10, 2022

John observed the other day that it’s been weeks since we ate at our dining table. That’s because it’s cluttered with projects—a quilt top in progress, the keepsakes I’ve been working at 8 or 10 at a time when I find a moment. But maybe it’s time to finish up so today I worked on the quilt top until it was done


and I’m going to sew the buttons on the final keepsakes in the next few days. If you intend to buy a copy of Blue Portugal, either by ordering from your local independent bookseller or else from the University of Alberta Press (though you will have to pay shipping if you do that, a little heads up…), let me know and I will put a keepsake in the mail to your address.



April 2, 2022

You can sign up here for this virtual event! Confession: although I’d dearly love to drink a sophisticated cocktail, they always end up being mother’s ruin in my case. So it will be a glass of wine for me, maybe something sparkling to celebrate these books!



March 16, 2022

Just a little heads-up that Blue Portugal‘s publication date has been pushed back until the middle of May. So if you order and you don’t receive your copies right away, you’ll know why. I hope it’s worth waiting for!

Blue Portugal 3 cover1

March 14, 2022

The keepsakes John printed and I embellished are finished! If you are intending to buy a copy of Blue Portugal, either by ordering from the publisher or from your local bookseller, just let me know and provide me with your mailing address. I’ll put one of these beauties in the mail for you!



February, 2022

Telling the Truth February 2022

February 7, 2022

There’s a nice piece on the B.C. BookLook page today! And lovely to be included on the 49th Shelf’s list of most-anticipated Spring nonfiction!

January, 2022

Blue Portugal 3 cover1

In April, 2022, the University of Alberta Press will be publishing my collection of loosely-connected essays, Blue Portugal, as part of their Wayfarer Series. The book is composed of ten essays exploring family history, travel, the intricacies of textile and colour relationships, the challenges of an aging body, wine, personal geographies echoing the land forms and rivers of B.C., and the search for family stories through the landscapes of the Czech Republic, Ukraine, and the badlands of Alberta. It’s been a joy to work on the edits of this book over the cold winter, basking in the warmth of editor Kimmy Beach, and I am looking forward to seeing the book find the light of actual day as winter turns to spring.

Because of the times we are living through (prefigured in one of the essays, “The River Door”, about my grandmother’s experiences in Drumheller during the Spanish Flu epidemic), I’m not sure how much actual physical promotion I will be able to engage in with this book. (Watch this page for news.) My husband John Pass and I have always loved to celebrate the publications of our books with some special keepsake, time-permitting. We have a 19th century Chandler and Price platen press and John has designed and printed small cards to give away with the sale of books at our launches.


We are thinking about a bookmark this time, on nice cardstock, with some special sewn embellishments, to honour the abundance of indigo-dyed textiles in the book. Closer to the publication date, I’ll make details available to any of you who buy a book from the University of Alberta Press itself or from your own bookseller of choice (and given the times, with the difficulties so many small businesses are facing, I urge you to support those booksellers). I’ll mail you a keepsake to hold your place in my book. Almost (almost) as nice as meeting you in person and signing your book!

So watch this page. As news develops, I’ll post it here: reviews, events (by Zoom or in person), and anything else connected to Blue Portugal.