Thursday, December 16, 2010

Book News Vol. 5 No. 52


Holiday Break
We wish everyone a joyful holiday season. Book News will be taking a break for the remainder of the year and will be back on your screens on January 6.

Final call for the perfect gift for book lovers! Ignite a passion for reading and writing in your loved ones this holiday season with a gift certificate for events at the 2011 Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival (October 18–23). To purchase gift certificates (available in $20 increments), please call us at 604-681-6330 ext 0 by 11am on December 17. Non-fattening and easy to wrap!

Join the Writers Festival for a new twice-monthly series at the Central Library for illuminating readings and discussions with novelists, poets, non-fiction writers and more. Confirmed Spring appearances include 2010 Giller Prize winner Johanna Skibsrud and 2010 Giller Prize nominee Alexander MacLeod, as well as local stars Zuszsi Gartner and Timothy Taylor. Presented in partnership with the Vancouver Public Library. Info:


Anosh Irani's Dahanu Road is one of the 10 books on the Man Asian Literary Prize longlist. Also included is Kenzaburo Oe, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1994. The shortlist will be announced in February.

The shortlisted titles for the BC National Award for Canadian Non-fiction are: The Boy in the Moon: A Father's Search for His Disabled Son by Ian Brown; Burmese Lessons: A Love Story by Karen Connally; The Cello Suites: J.S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the Search for a Baroque Masterpiece by Eric Siblin; and The Uncrowned King: The Sensational Rise of William Randolph Hearst by Kenneth Whyte. The award will be presented January 31, 2011.


Green College at the University of British Columbia has opened their Writer-in-Residence program to applications for Fall 2011, with a deadline of February 1, 2011. They are accepting applications from writers located outside of the Lower Mainland of BC, and especially welcome playwrights who also work in one or more other genres to apply.

While many Africans express their regret that Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong'o did not win the Nobel Prize in Literature, Daobi Tricia Nwaubani writes that African literature is better off without another least for now.

Minneapolis-based independent publisher Graywolf Press has bought world rights to a first English-language collection of poetry by Chinese poet and newly anointed Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, translated by poet Jeffrey Yang. June Fourth Elegies, explores the Tiananmen Square massacre on 4 June 1989. A second book of Liu's political writings will be published by Harvard University Press in 2012.

Richard Lea interviews Amy Sackville, who has just won the John Llewellyn Rhys prize for her debut book, The Still Point. Lea describes Sackville as an "accidental novelist".

The New York Times' selection of the 10 best books of 2010 includes Emma Donoghue's Room.

The Montreal Gazette offers a list of this year's best graphic novels and comics.

The Star's list of great gift books for kids can be found here:

Globe and Mail cartoonist Anthony Jenkins talks to the artist behind the famed Doonesbury comic strip and casts some of their interview in Trudeau's unmistakable style.

In an article responding to UK government cuts to library budgets and a key proposal that skilled librarians be replaced by volunteers, Kate Mosse writes that: "The government has little idea of what skilled and trained librarians actually do". Mosse, Phillip Pullman and others are to meet with culture minister Ed Vaizey next week.

On a recent journey on the train, Edward Docx noticed that the majority of the passengers were reading books. Then he noticed they were all reading Stieg Larsson. He argues that even good genre fiction doesn't bear comparison with works of true literary merit.

An early copy of Anne of Green Gables, auctioned by Sotheby's last week, sold for $37,500 US. The copy, printed in 1909, had a pre-sale estimate of $20,200 to $30,300 Cdn.

Leah McLaren writes that she welcomes e-books, especially when she's traveling. However, the act of giving books as gifts–once the simplest of holiday rituals–has been perverted beyond recognition as a result of technology. And sharing the reading experience is no longer an option.

In the household of David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic, the rule is that he and his wife will always pony up for a book. "Whatever else they are, after all, books are gifts (for the mind, the eye, the hand), which makes it downright uncharitable to deny them to anyone," he writes.,0,5779882.story

Marie Aranaaranam writes about Dave Eggers as "literary evangelist" and his passion for spreading the love of writing to the young.

In an article reflecting on the writing life, Dave Eggers writes: "This kind of life is at odds with the romantic notions I once had, and most people have, of the writing life. We don't imagine-or I didn't imagine-quite so much sitting... And so I have to get out of the shed sometimes."

The Guardian offers a series of Season's Readings, suggested by readers and reviewers: Laura Ingalls Wilder and Jonathan Franzen, Susan Cooper, Charles Dickens, and Babar—and more.

And The Star offers great reads for younger eyes.


Alison Pick used the family stories of her own Czech grandparents' five-year escape to Canada as the inspiration for her novel Far to Go. Nancy Wigston finds the story mesmerizing.

Nicholas Wroe hails 2010 as a good year for verse, and briefly reviews a dozen new books of poetry.

In his review of Thomas Powers' Crazy Horse, David Treuer writes: "More than the story of Crazy Horse or the battles between two implacable foes, Powers gives us a portrait of a place, done in the blood of the heartland. Powers has given us a great book."

My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, edited by novelist Kate Bernheimer, includes 40 fairy tales and fairy tale-esque stories. Celebrity writers include Lydia Millet, Aimee Bender, John Updike, Chris Adrian, Neil Gaiman, Michael Cunningham and Francine Prose. These fairy tales are decidedly not for children, writes Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer.

Joe Queenan writes that David Bajo's Panopticon, paying affectionate homage to everyone from Jorge Luis Borges to Aldous Huxley to Jim Thompson to J.G. Ballard, is a mildly futuristic science-fiction novel written by someone who can actually write.


Author launches her new book Fugitives at the Mouth of Pearl River. Saturday, December 18 at 2:00pm, free. Chinatown Cultural Centre, 2nd floor 50 Pender Street E. More information at

VPL hosts a fantastical writing and illustration workshop with author/illustrator Lee Edward Fodi. Open to teens 13-18. Saturday, December 18 at 3:00pm, free; call 604-331-3663 to register. Alma VanDusen & Peter Kaye Rooms, Lower Level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street.

Storytelling and music featuring Irish storyteller Philomena Jordan, Deaf Dog musicians, and the Candy Cane Circle with short open-mike stories. Sunday, December 19 at 7:00pm. Tickets $7 at the door and includes tea, treats by donation. St. Mark's Anglican Church, 1805 Larch. More information at

Highlights include readings from the magazine, music by the Creaking Planks and Geometric Shapes, photos with Santa, ugly sweater contest, and carolling. Bring items for the food bank and receive a free raffle ticket. Sunday, December 19 at 8:30pm. Tickets are $10 at the door. Railway Club, 579 Dunsmuir. More information at


Caitlin Press presents readings from Walk Myself Home, an anthology of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and oral interviews about violence against women, with contributions by Kate Braid, Yasuko Thahn, and Susan Musgrave. Thursday, January 13 at 7:00pm, free. Central Library, 350 W. Georgia.

Readings by Sheila Heti (How Should A Person Be?) and Bren Simmers (Night Gears). Thursday, January 13 at 7:00pm, free. UBC Library Bookstore, Robson Square, plaza level, 800 Robson Street. More information at

Author reads from her warm and witty novel, Advice for Italian Boys. Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 7:00pm, free. Alma VanDusen & Peter Kaye Rooms, Lower Level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street. For more information please contact Vancouver Public Library at 604-331-3603.

Local authors explore post World War England in their books Sweet England and Ignorant Armies with dramatically different results. Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 7:00pm, free. Alma VanDusen Room, Lower Level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street.

Seventh annual gala, celebrating Robbie Burns Day and Chinese New Year. A celebration of Chinese and Scottish traditions with a distinctly Canadian twist! Monday, January 24 at 7:00pm, free. Alice MacKay Room, Lower Level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street.

Reading by the author of NEWS: Postcards from the Four Directions and Motorcycles & Sweetgrass. Thursday, January 27 at 7:00pm, free. UBC Library Bookstore, Robson Square, plaza level, 800 Robson Street. More information at

One of Canada's finest writers, Steven Heighton reads from Every Lost Country. Wednesday, February 2 at 7:00pm, free. Alma VanDusen & Peter Kaye Rooms, Lower Level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street. For more information please contact Vancouver Public Library at 604-331-3603.

Writers' Trust co-founder Margaret Atwood will narrate a theatrical performance based on her best-selling novel, The Year of the Flood at a Writers' Trust of Canada fundraiser on February 3. The performance at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver will feature the singers and actors from the VIWF's sold out 2009 production. Tickets for the event, which features special guest and Writers' Trust co-founder Graeme Gibson, a cocktail reception, and an auction of original postcard stories from celebrated Canadian writers and other select items, are $175. Tickets and more information here,

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