In 2011, David Lester's 300-page graphic novel The Listener, set in Germany in the 1920s, depicting the rise of Adolf Hitler, was published by Arbeiter Ring Publishers of Winnipeg. Seven years in the making, it quickly went into a second printing [see review below] and was a finalist for a Book of the Year Award sponsored by the US magazine ForeWord Reviews in the graphic novel category. (ForeWord primarily caters to librarians and booksellers and focuses on small and independent publishers. The awards were announced at the annual American Library Association conference.) Other finalists were: 1. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (The Porcupine's Quill) 2. Anne Steelyard, The Garden of Emptiness by Barbara Hambly (Penny-Farthing Press) 3. Jim Henson's Tale of Sand by Jim Henson, Jerry Juhl (Archaia Entertainment) 4. Lost Trail by Donn Fendler, with Lynn Plourde (Down East Books) 5. Rust by Royden Lepp (Archaia Entertainment).

Now few Canadians know much about it, but the Winnipeg General Strike was once the most famous labour strike in Canadian history. In May of 1919, more than 30,000 workers walked off the job in Winnipeg, Manitoba to fight for higher wages, collective bargaining rights, and more power for working people. The strikers battled police, vigilantes and the government. Along the way they made international headlines. The story has been graphically retold in 1919: A Graphic History of the Winnipeg Strike. (Between the Lines $19.95), will illustrations by David Lester, to mark the 100th anniversary of the strike. The text author of this graphic novel is known as The Graphic History Collective, a group of activists, artists, writers and researchers who are passionate about comics, history and social change.

On two nights in a row, an unconventional, graphic-novel styled educational book called Drawn to Change: Graphic Histories of Working-Class Struggle!, with artwork by David Lester, won two of Canada's top awards for history. On May 29, 2017, in Ottawa, the Canadian Historical Association's Public History Prize went to the collaboratively created Drawn to Change: Graphic Histories of Working-Class Struggle! edited by the Graphic History Collective with Paul Buhle (Between the Lines $9.95). The previous night, in Toronto, the publishers were awarded the $10,000 Wilson Prize, sponsored by the Wilson Institute for Canadian History (McMaster University).† The Wilson Prize goes annually to the best book that "succeeds in making Canadian historical scholarship accessible to a wide and transnational audience". B.C. contributors other than Lester included Kara Sievewright, Sam Bradd, Robin Folvik, Mark Leier, Tania Willard, Dale McCartney, and Ron Verzuh. Visit graphichistorycollective.com

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Graphic novelist David Lester, born in Vancouver in 1958, is a professional graphic designer and a musician whose band, Mecca Normal, a venerable guitar-and-voice duo with Jean Smith, has garnered international acclaim, including a four-star CD review in Rolling Stone, and fans throughout Europe and North America. The duo has been featured at the 'Experience Music Project' Museum in Seattle.

Lester is also the publisher of Get-to-the-Point Publishing, an imprint that has produced 20 titles since 1993 including Bud Osborn's Keys to the Kingdoms, winner of the City of Vancouver Book Prize. His own chapbooks include Afternoon Descends to Night (illustrations), The Gruesome Acts of Capitalism and I've Fallen in Love With You (written with Wendy Atkinson). The Gruesome Acts of Capitalism has been widely reviewed in such diverse places as New Internationalist (UK); Magnet Magazine; Impose (New York); Razzorcake, Rockpile; Briar Patch; Chart; Vice; Alternative Press and Punk Planet. An interview with David Lester discussing his book with C.S. Soong, host of KPFA's "Against the Grain," can be heard via www.arbeiterring.com/new/gruesome.html

In December, 2006, a revised second edition of David Lester's book, The Gruesome Acts of Capitalism was published. All author royalties have been donated to the Canadian Centre For The Victims of Torture, raising over $2,000.

In 2010, David Lester's poster of Paul Robeson was included in Celebrate People's History: The Poster Book of Resistance and Revolution (The Feminist Press, $24.95). Edited by Josh MacPhee. The book celebrates acts of resistance and great events in an often hidden history of human and civil rights struggles from the perspective of some of the most interesting and socially engaged artists working today.

Mecca Normal guitarist David Lester's poster of Malachi Ritscher (18 x 28") was included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial (March 7 to May 25) in New York City. The exhibition also includes a recording from a live set performed by underground rock duo Mecca Normal, and both sides of the cover of the Mecca Normal 7" record that includes the song "Malachi" about war protester Malachi Ritscher. These artifacts are all part of Public Collectors: Malachi Ritscher, an exhibit curated by Chicago's Marc Fischer about American activist and music documentarian Malachi Ritscher (1954-2006) who self-immolated on a freeway median outside of Chicago to protest the war in Iraq. Ritscher made a video of this action that was not widely seen. http://blackdotmuseum.wordpress.com/2014-whitney-biennial/

BOOKS:

1919: A Graphic History of the Winnipeg Strike. (Between the Lines 2019) $19.95 978-1771134200

Drawn To Change: Graphic Histories of Working-Class Struggle (Between The Lines, 2016). An anthology that Lester contributed a 12-page comic called The Battle of Ballantyne Pier.

The Listener (Arbeiter Ring Publishers) 2011. ISBN: 978-1894037488. Available from Amazon:The Listener:
The Listener

Author website:The Listener / bio / sneak peek / films:
The Listener / bio / sneak peek / films

Celebrate People's History!: The Poster Book of Resistance and Revolution (The Feminist Press, $24.95, 2010). Edited by Josh MacPhee. Contains poster of Paul Robeson by David Lester. ISBN: 9781558616776

The Gruesome Acts of Capitalism (Winnipeg: Arbeiter Ring Publishing, 2005, second edition 2006) ISBN: 1-894037-20-0; ISBN13: 9781894037204. Available from Amazon:The Gruesome Acts of Capitalism:The Gruesome Acts of Capitalism

Afternoon Descends to Night (SMARTEN UP! & Get To The Point, chapbook)

I've Fallen In Love With You (SMARTEN UP! & Get To The Point, chapbook)

I Talk so Fast That My Words Lose Context & Meaning (SMARTEN UP! & Get To The Point, chapbook)

DESIGN & ARTWORK published in:

Drippytown Comics
Warburger (Slovinia)
Stereoscomic (France)
The Best of Zines
Canadian Forum
Wegway
Canadian Fiction
Broken Pencil
Writer's Block
Vancouver Review
Sub-terrain
Re-sister
Geist Magazine
The Leveller (London)
Time Out (London)
Cultural Correspondence (NYC)
Latin America Newsletters (London) Resurgence (London)
Ten illustrations for Rebel Moon by Montreal poet Norman Nawrocki (1996) AK Press, San Francisco

GRAPHIC DESIGNER:

* Book covers * letterhead * posters * brochures * catalogues * CD covers * business cards * buttons * t-shirts * logos. CLIENTS INCLUDE: Anvil Press, Bluefield, Touchstone, Pink Ink, Playwrights Theatre Festival, Blizzard, Firehall Arts Centre, Tamanhous, New Star, Pulp Press, Crown, Harbour, New Society, Caitlin. OF SPECIAL NOTE: Zines (Booth-Clibborn Editions) design work featured in two page spread. * West Coast Music Award nomination for album cover design. * Paul Robeson poster (Celebrate Peoples' History Series, Chicago). * Inspired Agitators poster series featured in Punk Planet Magazine. Poster art in punk graphics anthology, Fucked Up Photocopied (Gingko Press).

EDITORIAL DESIGNER:

* BC BookWorld * Vancouver Sun * Musqueam News * V Magazine * Vancouver Magazine * Latin America Newsletters * Georgia Straight * North Shore Weekly * Open Road * West Ender * People's Law School * Canadian Forestry Association

ANIMATOR:

Change Is How You Act shown at 25 Years of BC Animation Festival (Pacific Cinematheque) 1999

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David Lester has designed B.C. BookWorld for more than thirty years. David Lester and Alan Twigg began working together to produce the quarterly newspaper in 1988.

[BCBW 2019] "Art" "Publishing" "Politics" "Music"