Thursday, February 10, 2011

Book News Vol. 6 No. 6


Incite @ VPL

The next installment of Incite ( will feature Steven Galloway interviewing Alexander MacLeod and readings by Gabriella Goliger and Théodora Armstrong.

7:30 pm on Wednesday, February 23
Admission is free
Alice MacKay room, Central Library

Let us know you're coming by registering here, Please note that registration is so that we know how many people to expect. Admission on the night is always on a first-come-first-served basis.


Jodi Picoult - March 13, 2011
The bestselling author of My Sister's Keeper will read from her new novel, Sing You Home, accompanied by guitarist Ellen Wilber. Details:

Howard Jacobson - April 13, 2011
Jacobson's Man Booker award-winning book, The Finkler Question, deals with love, loss and male friendship, and explores what it means to be Jewish today. Presented in partnership with the Jewish Book Festival. Details:

Elizabeth Hay & Miriam Toews - May 5, 2011
Two of Canada's most acclaimed and beloved writers will discuss their new books, Alone in the Classroom and Irma Voth. Details:


The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis has won CBC Radio's 10th annual Canada Reads.

Dame Beryl Bainbridge, who died last July, was shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize five times but never won. The prize's literary director, Ion Trewin, in an effort to end her status as the eternal Booker bridesmaid, has asked readers to vote for one of her five shortlisted novels to be awarded a special prize called The Man Booker Best of Beryl.

The nominees for the 2011 Joe Shuster Awards (for comics, graphic novels and webcomics published in 2010) have been announced.


J. Kelly Nestruck reports that Michel Tremblay's plays are, uniquely in the Canadian canon, now getting second or even third translations. And they may be getting better as that art form evolves.

The February 24 issue of The New Yorker includes The Other Place, a new story by Mary Gaitskill.

Fifteen unpublished short stories by Dashiell Hammett have been unearthed in Texas by Andrew Gulli, who is publishing one in his magazine The Strand.

The Boston Globe interviewed Irish author John Banville author of 15 novels, including The Sea, which won the Man Booker Prize in 2005. He has also written a series of popular mystery novels under the pseudonym Benjamin Black.

Protests against the planned closure of more than 450 library services were staged in Britain at the weekend including a mass "shhh-in" and a flashmob book reading. Closures may also affect Oxford's submission to become UNESCO's World Book Capital in 2014.

The Times Literary Supplement, together with the Translators Association of the Society of Authors, have announced the winners of the 2011 Translation Prizes—an assist, perhaps, to addressing the near-invisibility of writers in languages other than English identified recently by Orhan Pamuk.

An interview with Michael Cunningham, whose novel By Nightfall is now out, reveals, among other things, that he lacks confidence, and that Virginia Woolf is his hero.

When Kazuo Ishiguro began writing, it was as a songwriter; he wanted to be, he says, like Leonard Cohen. Here he reflects on past passions, fatherhood, and critical abuse.

Fifty years after leaving County Clare for London, Edna O'Brien is still preoccupied with Ireland. Rachel Cooke interviews O'Brien on the eve of the publication of Saints and Sinners, a collection of short stories, her 21st work of fiction.

"Authors are now often forced to hire their own editors, even before submitting their manuscripts for publication; the biggest-growing sector in Canadian publishing is the freelance editor," reports John Barber.

Elizabeth Bishop's poems are infused with the iridescent landscapes of Nova Scotia, where she grew up. On the centenary of her birth, Lavinia Greenlaw celebrates this most remarkable of American poets.


We still need books to make sense of Wikileaks, says Robert McCrum. Wikileaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy is unputdownable. The Leigh/Harding narrative reads like Stieg Larsson out of Joseph Conrad by Peter Carey.

Ian McGillis found that reading Alice Munro's latest short story Axis, in the January 31 issue of The New Yorker, completely distracted him from the world events (Egypt) that had so absorbed him.

Ami Sands Brodoff writes that the fictional autobiography of the reclusive hero of Étienne's Alphabet is arranged like a dictionary, each letter evoking a rush of associations and memories. Étienne is an insightful narrator who ultimately wins the reader's heart.

An excerpt is here:

I Love a Broad Margin to My Life, Maxine Hong Kingston's reflection on aging, has roots in her previous writing going all the way back to her first and award-winning book The Warrior Woman.,0,5861459.story

Emma Donoghue says of Karen Russell's first novel: "The plot of Swamplandia! is nothing special but the execution is. This family...survive in their scarred way, and will lodge in the memories of anyone lucky enough to read “Swamplandia!".

In his review of Swamplandia, Ron Charles reminds us that Russell's work has appeared in "Best American Short Stories," and she's been blessed by the New Yorker, Granta and the National Book Foundation, so this is a debut with an unusual amount of momentum behind it - all well deserved, he says.

Carlos Fuentes' Destiny and Desire, writes Michael Wood, offers lavish quantities of comedy, satire, allegory, fantasy and brilliant political commentary.

The book fairly smokes with acid commentary on Mexican history ("It has all been betrayal, lies, cruelty, and vengeance") and political manipulation, writes Marcela Valdes.

An excerpt is here:

Sara Wheeler applauds Colin Thubron's elegiac pilgrimage to Tibet as described in To a Mountain in Tibet, a simple story of a secular pilgrimage to the sacred slopes of Kailas.

The rise of the lonely hearts ad went hand in hand with the rise of the novel. Carole Cadwalladr finds that Francesca Beauman‘s Shapely Ankle Preferr'd falls down about the present day but the history of lonely hearts advertising abounds with entertaining 18th century detail.

Elmore Leonard, perhaps best known for his crime-ridden Westerns, has set Djibouti, his new book, off the coast of east Africa. Robert Epstein admires Leonard's willingness to investigate and interpret the geopolitical hypocrisies of this immensely complicated arena.

David Kamp says that Djibouti, for all its travelogue aspects and newsy urgency, is not such a departure from the Leonard template after all.

Donna Bailey Nurse writes that: "As a rule, Jamaican patois, broadly deployed, amusingly distances us from the characters. But (in By Love Possessed) Lorna Goodison’s alchemy of standard and Jamaican English locates us deep within the consciousness of her people."

David Nicholls' One Day, a novel about friendship, has hit a nerve, translated into 31 languages, months on bestsellers' lists, and a film version in the works.

"A sleeper hit of huge proportions," says Paul Gent.

The key to writing fiction is in knowing what to leave out. That capacity is even more essential in poetry, writes Barbara Carey, citing Rob Winger's gaps in The Chimney Stone. Vancouver's Bren Simmers connects the dots in Night Gears.

With her new collection Missed Her, Ivan E. Coyote delves into the seriousness of sexual conventions and gender roles with a wit that bridges gaps between city and country, oral and written, self-conscious writer and contemplative reader, writes Brooke Ford.

Tim Flannery writes that John Vaillant's The Tiger is a brilliantly told tale of man and nature. Flannery's article begins with a review of Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. The Tiger review begins on page 2.

There are many good reasons to read Annia Ciezladio's Day of Honey, writes Dwight Garner: tales of Middle Eastern food, narrow escapes, cultural misunderstandings. And "Ms. Ciezadlo is the kind of thinker who listens as well as she writes."


Author and journalist reads from the 20th anniversary edition of his bestselling classic, What the Buddha Never Taught. Thursday, February 10 at 7:00pm, free. Alice MacKay Room, Lower Level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street. For more information please contact Vancouver Public Library at 604-331-3603.

Readings by André Alexis (Beauty & Sadness) and Harry Karlinsky (The Evolution of Inanimate Objects). Thursday, February 10 at 7:00pm, free. UBC Library Bookstore, Robson Square, plaza level, 800 Robson Street. More information at

Reading by Governor General's Award-nominated poet Erin Moure. Thursday, February 10 at 7:00pm, free. ECU Library, Emily Carr University, 1399 Johnston Street, Granville Island.

San Francisco poet will be reading from his works. Friday, February 11 at 8:00pm, free but please RSVP to Room 1700 (Labatt's Hall), SFU Vancouver - Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings Street. For more information, email

VANOC CEO signs his behind-the-scenes book about the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, Patriot Hearts. Saturday, February 12 at 3:00pm. Chapters, Broadway and Granville, 2505 Granville Street. More information at 604-731-7822.

Submissions are being accepted until February 14, 2011 for the Writers' Union of Canada's 12th annual Postcard Story Competition. The winning entry will receive $500 and will be published in Write, the magazine of The Writers' Union of Canada. Submission details here:

Author reads from her new novel, The Ghost Brush, the story of Oie, daughter of 19th century Japanese printmaker Hokusai. Tuesday, February 15 at 7:00pm, free Alice MacKay Room, Lower Level Central Library 350 West Georgia Street. For more information please contact Vancouver Public Library at 604-331-3603.

Featuring readings by Julie Ferguson and Daryl Stennett. Tuesday, February 15 at 8:00pm. La Fontana Caffe, 101-3701 East Hastings, Burnaby. For more information, visit

Reading by Aaron Peck, author of The Bewilderments of Bernard Willis. Thursday, February 17 at 7:00pm, free. SB406, Emily Carr University, 1399 Johnston Street, Granville Island.

Launch of Steve Weiner's new novel Sweet England and George Bowering's new historical novel Caprice. Tuesday, February 22 at 7:00pm, free. The Sylvia Hotel, 1154 Gilford Street. More information here,


Readings by the authors of Living Under Plastic (Lau) and Cold Sleep Permanent Afternoon (Hsu). Thursday, February 24 at 1:00pm. Dodson Room (level 3), Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall, UBC. More information at

Readings by Eve Joseph, Lydia Kwa and Kenneth Radu. Thursday, February 24 at 7:00pm, free. UBC Library/Bookstore at Robson Square, Plaza Level, 800 Robson St. More information at

Author discusses Ladykiller, her debut collection of short stories.Thursday, February 24 at 7:00pm. Call 604-733-1356 or email to register. Christianne's Lyceum, 3696 8th Ave. W.

With Gene Yang (American Born Chinese), Raina Telgemeier (Smile), Matt Holm, co-creator of Babymouse, Aaron Renier (The Unsinkable Walker Bean and Spiralbound) and JASON SHIGA (Meanwhile). February 26, 2011 @ SCARFE 100 (the Education Building), UBC 8:00-3:30 pm. Early Bird (before Feb 1): Student $50.00 Members $125.00 Non-members $140.00. Lunch included. Registration:

Discussion with Dr. Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, author of Eye of the Hurricane: My Path from Darkness, hosted by Neil Boyd. Monday, February 28 at 7:30pm. Tickets $28/$22. Capilano University Performing Arts Theatre, 2055 Purcell Way, North Vancouver. Details here:

Yarn Bombing (the art of crochet and knit graffiti) at Historic Joy Kogawa House, 1450 West 64th Avenue, Vancouver. Help stitch knitted blossoms in place on the Kogawa cherry tree (whose story is told in Joy Kogawa’s book Naomi’s Tree) on Sunday, March 6, 2 to 3:30pm. More details:

EVENT is both a literary journal showcasing fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction and a sponsor of an annual non-fiction contest. The deadline for submissions to the 2011 EVENT Non-Fiction Contest is April 15, 2011. Three winners will each receive $500 (plus publication payment). Publication in EVENT 40/3 (December 2011). Submission details here:

A long weekend of papers, presentations, workshops, readings, and other activities in celebration of haiku poetry. August 3-7, 2011, Seattle, Washington. For more information, visit

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