Thursday, May 12, 2011

Book News Vol. 6 No. 19


Incite @ VPL

The next installment of Incite ( will feature Madeleine Thien, Jen Sookfong Lee and Patrick deWitt.

Reviews from the recent Incite event with Bernhard Schlink:
This is a wonderful opportunity to meet and listen to great writers.
Well done - interesting author who expressed a compelling perspective.
Excellent event - remarkable author and glad I heard about it.

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.

This is the last Incite event before our summer hiatus. Incite events launch again September 14.


A Dram Come True - May 13, 2011
Tomorrow ! There are still tickets available for A Dram Come True but they are going fast! Join us for a scintillating evening of scotch whisky sampling and enjoy a variety of rare and distinguished single malts. "The light music of whiskey falling into a glass - an agreeable interlude." - James Joyce. Details:

Mellissa Fung - May 28, 2011
CBC Journalist Mellissa Fung will discuss her soon to be released memoir, Under an Afghan Sky, with Kirk LaPointe. Details:


A group of Australian women writers and publishers are working to set up an equivalent of the Orange prize in their country, to combat what they describe as "the systemic exclusion of women writers over several decades" from the country's major literary awards. The new prize has the working title of A Prize of One's Own.

Storytellers of Canada/Conteurs du Canada have announced that Vancouver storyteller Melanie Roy is the winner of the 2nd annual Storykeeper Award/Prix Guardienne des Contes.

Three Doug Wright Awards—celebrating excellence in the Canadian art and alternative comic scene—were awarded Saturday. Montreal-based cartoonist and illustrator Pascal Girard won the best book award for Bigfoot, Alex Fellows, the emerging talent honour for Spain and Morocco, and Michael DeForge, the Pigskin Peters Award, for Spotting Deer.

Vancouver writer Helen Waldstein Wilkes' Letters from the Lost: A Memoir of Discovery is one of five finalists for the $10,000 Alberta Readers' Choice book award. Other finalists are: Robert Kroetsch, Jeff Gailus, Michael J. Martineck; and brothers Clem and Olivier Martini.

Five authors have been shortlisted for The Caine Prize for African Writing, known as the African Booker: David Medalie (South Africa); Tim Keegan (South Africa); NoViolet Bulawayo (Zimbabwe); Laura Kubuitsile (Botswana); and Beatrice Lamwaka (Uganda).

Read the five finalists on the Caine Prize website:

Tim Wynne-Jones is a finalist for the biennial Hans Christian Andersen Award—often dubbed the Nobel Prize for children's literature, or "Little Nobel".


Peter Mansbridge talks to Mellissa Fung about her 28 days as a hostage in Afghanistan—a story she tells in her book Under an Afghan Sky.

Citing ''security reasons'', the Chinese government has banned the dissident author and poet Liao Yiwu from travelling to Australia to attend the Sydney Writers' Festival.

Boyd Tonkin describes the careers of the six writers shortlisted for this year's Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. The Prize will be awarded at the end of May.

After decades of pirated editions of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude in China—prompting Garcia Marquez to swear that even 150 years after his death his books would not be authorized in China—a Chinese publisher will bring out the first authorized edition this summer.

Zhang Lei describes how Marquez was persuaded to relinquish the 100 year ban.

Montreal Gazette journalist Ian McGillis writes of his love of Ganges, Salt Spring Island, and especially its book stores.

The web allows stories to be spun in different ways. The use of multimedia is beginning to take storytelling in radical new directions, writes Robert McCrum.

Harper Lee has written one book—To Kill a Mockingbird. Marja Mills has written a memoir about Lee. While Lee denies cooperating with The Mockingbird Next Door, the publisher claims there was direct access to Lee, friends and family.,0,7537664.story

Philip Hensher comments: "The task of balancing the awareness of past success with the necessary task of producing new work is not one that every writer can achieve...much harder to deal with when they come early in a writer's career."


Douglas Todd writes that Andre Girard's Fathers: A Literary Anthology simultaneously acknowledges that fathers and mothers are inextricably linked and provides readers with a riveting collection of emotive examinations of dozens of particular dads. The author's blog is here:

Writing about Madeleine Thien's bracing, shattering tales of Cambodian lives in Dogs at the Perimeter, Charles Foran describes Thien as a deeply empathetic and instinctive writer whose novel merits slow reading.

David Chau adds that "Dogs at the Perimeter is a work of restrained power, a remembrance of Cambodia's genocide and the accumulated identities that linger."

Ursula LeGuin says China Miéville‘s sophisticated science fiction novel Embassytown addresses who we are—"a fully achieved work of art."

The radicalism inherent in the best science fiction is at the heart of Miéville's work, and makes it perfect reading for our troubled times, writes Damien Walter.

If we were to roll back history to the start of the 20th century and undo one would be the war that began in 1914, suggests Adam Hochschild's To End All Wars. A compassionate and sympathetic book, writes Andrew Motion.

Jonathan Manthorpe writes that Peter Godwin's The Fear is an important book not only for anyone who knows and loves Zimbabwe, but also for anyone who cares about human values.

Is Journalism Worth Dying For? is a collection of essays by Russia's murdered Anna Politkovskaya, including dispatches from Chechnya, Paris and Sydney. There is also a long and surprisingly tender essay on her dog, writes Jason Farago.

There is much more to modern Icelandic writing than detectives and crime scenes, says Carolyne Larrington describing From the Mouth of the Whale by Sjón (Sigurjón B. Sigurðsson).

James Magowan finds Steve Burgess' new memoir, Who Killed Mom? to be a marvelous book with an unfortunately silly title. It's a poignant, darkly humorous but very loving memoir of his parents, his mom especially, says Magowan.

An excerpt is here:

Pulse is a quietly apt title for Julian Barnes' vibrant new collection of stories, a book at once full of life and voice, and also pierced at points by sadness, writes Sylvia Brownrigg.

In his review of Ian Brown's The Boy in the Moon, Roger Rosenblatt comments that the mystery of his son contains other mysteries and that Walker has made the Browns greater people.

An excerpt is here:

Katja Grubisic writes that Best European Fiction 2011 is laudable and exciting for the number of non-mainstream translations, for the discovery of writing in languages too small and writers too far to reach, and for its very good writing.


The Alcuin Society presents a book arts show-and-tell evening featuring artisis' books from over 100 artists, from the Brooklyn, NY, arts organization known as "Booklyn". Hosted by Chalk Exchange. Free admission. Chalk Exchange, 593 East Georgia St. Friday, May 13, 7:30-9pm. Doors open at 7:00.

Reading by the author of Demeter Goes Skydiving, her new volume of poetry. Friday, May 13 at 7:00pm. Admission by donation. Take 5 Cafe, 429 Granville Street. For more information, email

Join food and lifestyle writer Christina Symons and horticulturalist and landscaper John Gillespie for a book signing, featuring refreshments and a demonstration from their new book Everyday Eden: 100+ Fun, Green Garden Projects for the Whole Family to Enjoy. Saturday, May 14 at 2:00pm, free. Barbara Jo's Books to Cooks, 1740 2nd Ave. W. Pre-register at 604-688-6755 or visit

Readings by Roberta Rich, Sheryda Warrener, Catherine Owen, Michael Dylan Welch, and Jericho Brown. Saturday, May 14 at 5:00pm, free. SFU Harbour Centre. room 7000 Earl and Jennie Lohn Policy Room.

Author launches his debut collection of poetry, The Other Side of Ourselves. Saturday, May 14 at 7:00pm, free. Rowan's Roof Restaurant and Lounge, 2340 4th Ave. W.

Join the author, illustrator and creator of Haida Manga for a discussion about his graphic novel Red: A Haida Manga. Saturday, May 14 at 7:00pm. Tickets are $20, call 604-733-1356 or email to register. Christianne's Lyceum, 3696 8th Ave. W.

Enter Musicworks magazine's writing contest and composition contest to win some fabulous prizes including an Apple iPad or Ableton Live composition software. Deadline is May 16. For complete contest details and to enter, visit

Two Vancouver authors will give dynamic presentations from historical novels set 1000 years apart. Monday, May 16 at 7:00pm, free. Alma VanDusen room, lower level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street. More information at 604-331-3691.

Award-winning science and history writer Robert Whitaker reads. Monday, May 16 at 7:00pm, free. Peter Kaye room, lower level, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia Street. For more information please contact Vancouver Public Library at 604-331-3603.

Featuring the poetry of Carol Matthews, Jay Ruzesky and Kim Goldberg. Monday May 16 at 7:30pm. Cost: $3 per person. Serious Coffee, 230 Cook Street, Victoria.

The author will read from his book On Potato Mountain: a Chilcotin Mystery. Wednesday, May 18 at 6:30pm, free. Firehall Meeting Room, Firehall Branch, 1455 10th Ave. W. For more information please contact Firehall Branch at 604-665-3970.

Author Bob Ross discusses his book The Cucumber Tree: Memories of a Vancouver Boyhood in celebration of the 14th Annual Dunbar Salmonberry Days festival. Wednesday, May 18 at 6:30pm, free. Dunbar Branch, 4515 Dunbar Street, Vancouver. More information at 604-665-3968.

Author reads from his new graphic novel, Paying For It, a contemporary defense of the world's oldest profession. Wednesday, May 18 at 7:00pm, free. Alice MacKay room, lower level, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia St. For more information please contact Vancouver Public Library at 604-331-3603.

Six Orca authors celebrate the release of their books for young readers. Wednesday, May 18 at 7:00pm, free. Ardea Books & Art, 2025 4th Ave. W. More information at 604-734-2025.

Join Shari Graydon and other contributors to the new anthology, I Feel Great About My Hands, a collection of stories from remarkable women who revel in the joys of aging. Wednesday, May 18 at 7:00pm, free. Alma VanDusen room, lower level, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia St. For more information please contact Vancouver Public Library at 604-331-3603.

The CBC Studio One Book Club presents three of B.C.'s hottest garden bloggers with new books - Andrea Bellamy with Sugar Snaps and Strawberries and Christina Symons & John Gillespie with Everyday Eden. Thursday, May 19th, 6:30 pm, at the CBC Broadcast Centre. Free tickets

Reading and discussion by the author of First Contact. Thursday, May 19 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.

Reading by the author of Demeter Goes Skydiving, her new volume of poetry. Wednesday, May 25 at 7:30pm, free. Pelican Rouge Coffee House, 15142 North Bluff Road, White Rock. For more information, email


Launch of the author's new book The Life and Art of Mildred Valley Thornton. Thursday, June 9 at 8:00pm. Heritage Hall, 3102 Main Street. More information at

A long weekend of papers, presentations, workshops, readings, and other activities in celebration of haiku poetry, held at the Seattle Center, at the foot of the Space Needle. Featured presenters already include Cor van den Heuvel, Richard Gilbert, David Lanoue, Carlos Colón, Fay Aoyagi, Jim Kacian, Emiko Miyashita, George Swede, and many others. August 3-7, 2011. For more information, visit

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