Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book News Vol. 6 No. 30



Michael Ondaatje - September 21, 2011
Join us for an evening with the Booker Prize-winning author of The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje, as he discusses his forthcoming novel, The Cat's Table. Details:

An Evening with Anthony Bourdain - 8pm, October 29, 2011
The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts. Tickets: $47.50/$55.00/$62.50/VIP package: $152.50. Tickets now on sale at Ticketmaster. Support the Writers Festival: use the code "writers" when purchasing your ticket, a portion of the ticket proceeds will go to the VIWF and you will receive a $5 discount per ticket. Details:

An Evening with David Sedaris - 8pm, November 5, 2011
The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts. Tickets: $45.00/$50.00/$57.50. Tickets now on sale at Ticketmaster. Support the Writers Festival: use the code "writers" when purchasing your ticket, a portion of the ticket proceeds will go to the VIWF and you will receive a $5 discount per ticket. Details:

Wade Davis - November 10, 2011
An evening with scientist, anthropologist and bestselling author Wade Davis discussing his latest book Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest. Details:


Alison Pick, author of Far to Go; Patrick deWitt, The Sisters Brothers; and Esi Edugyan, Half Blood Blues, are among the 13 nominees on the long list for the 2011 Man Booker Prize. This represents a timely triumph for the independent Canadian publishers that published all three books, says John Barber. The short list of six will be announced in September and the 2011 Man Booker Prize, on October 18.

Priscila Uppal, poet-in-residence for Canadian Athletes Now during the Vancouver Olympics, has been named poet-in-residence for next month's Rogers Cup Tennis Tournament in Toronto.

The Crime Writers' Association has announced the winners of a number of this year's Daggers, the prestigious awards that celebrate the very best in crime and thriller writing. They include: Anders Roslund & Börge Hellström (Three Seconds); Douglas Starr (The Killer of Little Shepherds); Mo Hayder; Phil Lovesey (Homework); Michele Rowe (What Hidden Lies). The winners of the CWA Gold Dagger (, the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger (, and the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger ( will be announced in early October.

Lee Child, the creator of the All-American hero Jack Reacher has won the 2011 Theakstons Old Peculier crime novel of the year award with the 14th instalment in his bestselling series, 61 Hours.

Celebrated for his plays, novels and journalism, Michael Frayn's first work of memoir, My Father's Fortune, has been awarded the PEN/Ackerley prize, the UK's only dedicated award for autobiography.

P.D. James received an Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction award at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival last week.


Vancouver continues the search for its third Poet Laureate. Nominations and submissions will be accepted until Aug. 24.

The Federation of BC Writers Annual Literary Writes Competition invites submissions in the category of short fiction. The competition is open to all BC writers and residents. Deadline for entries is August 7, 2011. Winners will read their pieces at the Word On The Street Festival in Vancouver in September. For guidelines and other information:

Iain Reid, author of One Bird's Choice, describes how he discovered why there's still a place in the world for literary readings.

100 years after the birth of media visionary Marshall McLuhan, Douglas Coupland reflects on 'the medium is the message' as explanation of what Google and YouTube do to our souls.

Literary icon Margaret Atwood has joined the fight against a consultant's proposed cuts to Toronto's library system, marshalling her 225,200 Twitter followers, crashing a server hosting a petition.

Toronto City Councillor Doug Ford has fired back at Margaret Atwood for her criticism of suggested library cuts, telling reporters: "I don't even know her."

He later 'clarified' his remarks.

Canada's Garfield Weston Foundation is among those that have contributed donations toward the purchase of the St. Cuthbert Gospel, a rare book dating from the 7th century and believed to be the oldest intact European book. The book belongs to the British Province of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) who set a deadline of March 2012 for the library to raise enough funds. The Jesuits have owned the book since 1769. The British Library is more than halfway towards its goal of raising £9 million ($14 million Cdn).

British Conservative MP Louise Mensch who asked Rupert Murdoch at the House of Commons media committee: had he considered resigning? is also the author Louise Bagshawe. Since her election last year, Mensch's career as a bestselling author is apparently bandied about as an indication of her lack of gravitas, with the word ‘chicklit' used often.

Jennifer Egan, winner of the 2011 Pulitzer prize for fiction, on expectations of female authors. says: "I don't think the world is out there looking for the next genius female fiction writer, they don't tend to think genius is going to come from the female side."

Boyd Tonkin reflects on the possible repercussions of the Murdoch debacle for the publishing arm of News Corp, HarperCollins in the UK.

Robert McCrum believes that the e-revolution will be a bigger problem for Murdoch than phone hacking.

Erica Jong, Ann Patchett and 12 other writers give their take on the downfall of the Borders book chain.

Newly released files reveal that the RCMP spied on literary scholar Northrup Frye because of his involvement in political activities, including the anti-Vietnam War movement, and efforts to end apartheid in South Africa.

Governor-General and other Awards-winning, Edmonton-based author Gloria Sawai, has died, at the age of 78. Among her best-known works is the 1975 short story entitled, The Day I Sat with Jesus on the Sundeck and a Wind Came Up and Blew My Kimono Open and He Saw My Breasts.

Historians and archaeologists are hunting for the bones of Don Quixote author Miguel de Cervantes in a Madrid convent, to reconstruct and reveal Cervantes' true face, and to discover the cause of his death.

In an interview with P.D. James, Julie Bindel writes: "While many contemporary female crime writers are increasingly developing plotlines involving serial killers and extremely violent sex crime, James can appear almost genteel and quaint in comparison." At almost 91, James is (hand-)writing a new novel, not Dalgliesh.

John Banville writes about the birth of his dark twin, Benjamin Black.

A collection of nine short stories by Alexander Solzhenitsyn—that reveal the writer was still experimenting in his final years—is to be published in English for the first time. The collection will appear under the title Apricot Jam and Other Stories, fulfilling the author's long-held desire that the work be available to the English-speaking world.

A landmark hearing last Tuesday marks the first judicial review into proposed library closures in Britain as angry campaigners prepare to take their case to the courts.

What does Australia's best-known author do when he wants to downsize his 2500-book library? Thomas Keneally has donated his book collection to be enjoyed by others.

Publishers Weekly reports that sales of print books in Canada dropped dramatically (10.9% in units sold) in the first quarter of 2011 compared to the first quarter of 2010, according to new figures from BookNet Canada. Until BookNet can track digital sales (expected in a year), it's hard to know whether the total sale of all types of books has changed.

As the digitization of human culture accelerates, publishers and academics have begun addressing a basic question: Who will control knowledge in the future? So far, the answer has been Google, a private company, says Richard Beck. Robert Darnton, a cultural historian and director of Harvard University's library system, has raised the prospect of creating a public digital library: a vision for the largest library In history.

The indie bookstore Bookhampton has a section called Hipster Lit. The titles listed under Hipster Lit can be found here:


Jay Bahadur has spent time in Somalia discovering the background to, and the reality of, the lives of pirates and those who harbour the high-seas criminals. Bahadur has turned his research into a compelling and insightful book, says Daniel Sekulich.

After many years' work in Haiti, Dr. Paul Farmer offers a prescription for Haiti in Haiti After the Earthquake, writes René Bruemmer. " and shelter, education and health care, jobs that promote dignity", prescribes Doctor Paul.

The New York Review of Books includes Deborah Eisenberg's new short story Recalculating.

Dimiti Nasrallah's Niko reminds Donna Bailey Nurse of Nasrallah's stating "how a people's history complicates their personal lives". With superb powers of description, Nasrallah reminds us that every crowd of refugees consists of scores of people like Niko and Antoine. says Bailey Nurse.

Ian McGillis regrets that the newest Granta—The F Word—dedicated to the theme of feminism, went to press too late to incorporate a response to VS Naipaul's pronouncements on the inferiority of women writers. Two highlights for McGillis are Helen Simpson and Rachel Cusk.

Kenneth J. Harvey's Reinventing the Rose delivers timely counterpunches against the economic and cultural policies of every political regime that uses the language of stable government and family values to overturn women's rights, says T.F. Rigelhof.

Philip Marchand writes that Jacob Striker, the cop hero of The Survivor, is well named. He strikes while the iron is hot. This novel, by Vancouver police officer Sean Slater, is a "police procedural" that highlights procedure.

Like The O'Briens, Peter Behrens has spent much of his life crossing the Canada-U.S. border. The O'Briens, originally planned to precede the award-winning The Law of Dreams, now takes place two generations later. Many of its characters are composites of Behrens' family members, says Vit Wagner.

The lives of Flaubert and Florence Nightingale are intertwined in Anthony Sattin's A Winter on the Nile, a fascinating account of their pre-fame trips to Cairo, says James Purdon.

The daughter and granddaughter of diamond merchants, Alicia Oltuski is understandably fascinated by the trade. Precious Objects is simultaneously a portrait of the tiny, insular world of the diamond business—its secrecy, trust, and history—and a family memoir.

George R.R. Martin's fantasy is not far from reality. For all its extravagant and far-fetched trappings, A Song of Ice and Fire has much to tell us about our day-to-day world, says Damien Walter.

The Globe and Mail has commissioned short stories to run over six weeks. This week: Safety issue by Peter Robinson.


World Poetry, Aboriginal Writers Collective West Coast, and the City of Richmond present a First Nations welcome by World Poetry First Nations ambassador Roberta Price, a biography by Loretta Todd, music by Russell Wallace, and readings of Johnson's poems. Friday, July 29 at 6:30pm, free. Richmond Cultural Centre, 180 - 7700 Minoru Gate.

The American mystery-suspense writers promote their two new titles I'll Walk Alone and Mobbed. Wednesday, August 3 at 7:00pm, free. Chapters Granville, 2505 Granville Street.

Literary readings by authors from both sides of the Canada-US border, curated by Rachel Rose, featuring John Barton, Jen Currin, Lydia Kwa, Elizabeth Colen, Carol Guess and Wayne Koestenbaum. Wednesday, August 3 at 7:30pm; donation. Roundhouse Exhibition Hall, 181 Roundhouse Mews. More information at

A long weekend of papers, presentations, workshops, readings, and other activities in celebration of haiku poetry, held at the Seattle Center. August 3-7, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. More information at

Canada's longest running summer gathering of Canadian writers and readers, featuring Charles Foran, Susan Juby, Alexander MacLeod and Margaret Trudeau and many more. August 4-7, 2011. Rockwood Centre (5511 Shorncliffe Ave.), Sechelt, BC. Complete details at

Display of Rand Holmes' art curated by Martha Holmes and Patrick Rosenkrantz. Holmes, who passed away in 2002, is best known for his Harold Hedd comics and covers for the Georgia Straight in the '70s. Saturday, August 6 at 7:00pm. Lucky's Comics, 3972 Main Street. More information at

Ten local authors traverse not only the wide breadth of queer sex, desire and identities, but also explore how different literary genres and modes of storytelling all make fine bedmates for erotica. Monday, August 8 at 7:30pm; donation. Roundhouse Exhibition Hall, 181 Roundhouse Mews. More information at


For the next CBC Studio One Book Club, author William Gibson suggested British writer Sarah Salway. Her three novels and her short stories all share a common theme of how identity is formed through the stories we tell about ourselves - or those that are told about us. William is a big fan of Sarah's writing, so he's going to co-host with Sheryl MacKay, on Thursday August 25th at 6:30 pm. Check out Sarah's writing and enter to win free tickets at

The 8th Annual Kootenay Book Weekend will take place in Nelson B.C. September 23, 24 an 25. The featured books are: Christos Tsiolkas' The Slap; Kathryn Stockett's The Help; Li Cunxin's Mao's Last Dancer, and special guest Ruth Ozeki and her books My Year of Meats and All Over Creation. Further information and registration forms can be found at

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