Prairie Art Book Fair books dancing back and forth

Art Book Show + Tell with Cason Sharpe

Friday, September 11, 2020 | 6 pm CT

Link to livestream

What is an art book? Cason Sharpe has been asking that question for several years, and no one has given him a straight answer. He’s been told that it’s a certain type of book, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a book, and it certainly isn’t every book. Cason has been in contact, whether personally, professionally, or artistically, with a number of artist books, as well as the people who make them, their publishers, their distributors, and their collectors. He meets these people at launches and readings and openings and book fairs, but more frequently he meets them over the internet. Some of these people are warm and inviting. Others are sophisticated and clever. Some of these people are pretentious and want nothing to do with Cason, just like the books they produce. Cason doesn’t claim to be an expert about any of this. How do you judge an art book? Depends on which route you take.

Join Cason as he discusses a few of his favourite art books, from high-production coffee table tomes to xeroxed, self-published zines. Through an investigation of the conceptual and formal strategies employed by these various titles, Cason will attempt to unravel the opaque definition of “art book,” gesturing towards the political potential of the medium along the way.

Cason Sharpe is a writer currently based in Toronto. His fiction and criticism has appeared and is forthcoming in Canadian Art, C MagazinePublic ParkingCleo Journal, Guts Canadian Feminist MagazineBrickPRISM International, and the Hart House Review, among others. His first collection of stories, Our Lady of Perpetual Realness, was published by Metatron Press in 2017. Named a Queer Writer to Watch by THIS Magazine, Cason has presented work at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Vancouver Art Book Fair, and the Hamilton Film Festival. As the Shop and Inventory Manager of Toronto’s Art Metropole, Cason has participated in book fairs in New York, LA, and Tokyo, widening his knowledge of artists’ publications from around the world. He is currently at work on a book of experimental criticism in the form of epistolary nonfiction.

Cason Sharpe’s Our Lady of Perpetual Realness is available here.


We are on Treaty 1 Territory. Plug In ICA is located on the territories of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and the homeland of the Métis Nation.

We offer our sincere thanks to Red River Co-op for their generous support of our 2020 book fair. Thank You!

We are grateful to artists Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber for the Prairie Art Book Fair logo designed for our first fair in 2018.

Plug In ICA extends our heartfelt gratitude to our generous donors, valued members, and dedicated volunteers. We acknowledge the sustaining support of our Director’s Circle. You all make a difference.

We would like to The Winnipeg Foundation for their ongoing support of Plug In ICA.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Canada Council, the Manitoba Arts Council and Winnipeg Arts Council. We could not operate without their continued financial investment and lobbying efforts.

Plug In ICA relies on community support to remain free and accessible to all, and enable us to continue to present excellent programs. Please consider becoming a member of Plug In ICA and a donor at or by contacting Erin Josephson-Laidlaw at

For more information about the Prairie Art Book Fair, contact Erin Josephson-Laidlaw at or Luther Konadu at

For more information about our programming, contact Nasrin Himada at

For general information, please contact: or call 1.204.942.1043.