Thursday, September 8, 2011

Book News Vol. 6 No. 36


Tickets on sale now!
Festival tickets are now on sale, buy yours early to avoid disappointment. Click here ( to check out our unbelievable lineup of events and the literary luminaries who will be in Vancouver from October 18-23. Tickets can be purchased by phone, online (, or in person.

Volunteers Needed!
Volunteer registration for the 2011 Festival is now open. Click here,, to have a look at the great volunteer opportunities we have available. Click here to register to volunteer for the Vancouver International Writers Festival,


Incite, our free reading series is back for the fall! Join us Wednesdays at 7:30pm in the Alice MacKay Room at VPL Central Library. September 14: Carmen Aguirre and Carmen Rodriguez. September 28: Daniel Kalla, Ashley Little, Julia McCarthy. Please visit our website for event details:

Michael Moore - September 18, 2011
In his only scheduled Canadian appearance, Moore will share stories from Here Comes Trouble, a hilarious and revealing memoir of his early life. Details:

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 novel, The Cat's Table. Details:

An Evening with Anthony Bourdain - 8pm, October 29, 2011
The "bad boy of cuisine" shares stories from Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook. Use the code "writers" when purchasing your ticket and a portion of the ticket proceeds will go to the VIWF plus you will receive a $5 discount per ticket. Details:

An Evening with David Sedaris - 8pm, November 5, 2011
Sedaris returns to Vancouver with his latest book and his uniquely sardonic wit. Use the code "writers" when purchasing your ticket and a portion of the ticket proceeds will go to the VIWF plus 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:


In his 2003 Oscar acceptance speech, Michael Moore denounced President Bush and the invasion of Iraq. Overnight he became the most hated man in America. In this extract from his new book, Here Comes Trouble, he tells of the bomb threats, bodyguards and how he fought back.

“The cat’s table” is the opposite of “the captain’s table”, and the least privileged, the most undesirable dining assignment, writes Annie Proulx. Michael Ondaatje’s The Cat’s Table describes a journey from childhood to the adult world, a passage from the homeland to another country. A master of literary craft, says Proulx.

In The Antagonist, Lynn Coady explores the modern predicament of being male, writes Joel Yanofsky. Gentle by nature, Rank (Gordon Rankin, Jr.) is a book judged by his cover. Unfortunately, the more people fear him for no reason, the more he ends up giving them reason to. The Antagonist is a revealing effort in cross-gender empathy, says Yanofsky.

Mark Medley's profile of Coady focuses on borrowing a life for fiction.

Robert J. Wiersema writes that Lev Grossman's The Magician King picks up some months after The Magicians and that The Magician King is a breakneck read. It will also break your heart, says Wiersema, but that's what growing up will do.

Madeleine Thien, author of Dogs at the Perimeter, speaks with Fiona Tinwei Lam, about genocide in Cambodia, the work that led to this book, and why she chose fiction over nonfiction to tell the story.

Kit Pearson's The Whole Truth is just in time for school, says Tracy Sherlock. It's a Depression-era story of two sisters with a shared secret, sent to British Columbia, and split up. An enticement for youth and others to learn local history!

Aritha van Herk writes that David Gilmour's The Perfect Order of Things is a masterpiece of irony, subversive humour and astonishing self-mockery. “A delicious read”, says van Herk.


Eleven of the 17 authors on the Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist will be present at our Festival in October.

Two Canadians—Patrick DeWitt and Esi Edugyan—are also on the Man Booker shortlist. DeWitt was born on Vancouver Island; Edugyan lives in Victoria.

The Syrian poet Adonis has become the first Arab writer to win Germany's prestigious Goethe prize. The jury called him "the most important Arab poet of our time".

Poet and author Jackie Kay, has been awarded the 2011 Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book of the Year, in partnership with Creative Scotland, for her autobiography Red Dust Road.

Stephen Kelman's Pigeon English, Amy Waldman's The Submission and Siddhartha Mukherjee's The Emperor of All Maladies are among the ten authors longlisted for the Guardian first book award. The Guardian First Book Award is open to all first-time authors writing in English, or translated into English, across all genres.

Josh Rolnick's debut short story collection, Pulp and Paper, won the 2011 John Simmons Short Fiction Award, selected by Yiyun Li, and is forthcoming this October.

Six translators have been shortlisted for The Corneliu M Popescu Prize for Poetry Translated from a European Language into English.


Pankaj Mishram, whose new book, The Revenge of the East, will be published next year, writes of the ways western writers reflect the post 9/11 world, and unforeseen geopolitical shifts.

Justin Webb (BBC Today), Pankaj Misharm and Jason Burke have selected a gallery of portraits of the best 9/11 books.

Amid all the writing about 9/11, by all the great and good and mediocre and bad, it's hard to imagine much will be better—more wide-ranging, more challenging, more provocative—than Granta 116: Ten Years Later, says Ian McGillis.

Patrick McGuinness, Booker prize-longlisted novelist, and author of The Last Hundred Days, writes about the novels that collapsing social orders produce: a genre without a name yet.

Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy believes that the fun and creativity of mobile texting will turn today's children into exciting poets of tomorrow. "Poems are a form of texting", she says.

'No, we shouldn't just Google it'. Sales of reference books are sinking fast as we turn online for the answers to life's big—and small—questions. But our civilisation would be infinitely poorer if Roget's, Brewer's and Fowler's go out of print, argues John Walsh.

The Royal Society is holding its first literary festival in its 350-year history. The focus will be on science and fiction, whether novelists have insight to offer the world of science and the influence of science in literary work. It's clear that science is represented in literature far more than is commonly assumed, says Professor Uta Frith.

Indian-administered Kashmir's first major literature festival has been cancelled after local writers and artists said it would give the false impression that basic freedoms are allowed in the troubled region. While Festival organizers said the event would be apolitical, local writers argued that years of intimidation have made residents unable to speak their minds.

Random House of Canada has announced it is publishing an e-book “inspired by the vision” of the late NDP leader. Hope Is Better Than Fear: Paying Jack Forward will feature a collection of short essays on a number of issues championed by Layton including homelessness, Native rights and the environment. The book will be available through all e-retailers at the end of September.

New work by around 50 leading authors, curated by the Edinburgh international book festival, is to be released in a new collection under an innovative publishing deal. The work will be published in a box set produced by Cargo, a new Glasgow-based publishing firm. The four-volume collection, on the theme of "elsewhere", will be designed by McSweeney's, the critically-acclaimed San Francisco-based imprint founded by Dave Eggers.

In tapping into the language of the 21st century and rescuing old words, the latest edition of the Chambers dictionary is more vital than ever, says Robert McCrum. He also explains why he switched from the Concise Oxford to the Chambers.

The Internet, which has sped up the life cycle of just about everything, has put pressure on writers to respond faster to world events. has published short fiction by eight writers who took on the task of imagining the fall of Moammar Gaddhafi.

A partnership between Nasa and Tor/Forge Books is set to pair the science fiction publisher's authors with scientists and engineers from Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center to release a range of "scientifically accurate and entertaining" novels.

The CBC has announced three new literary prizes: for short stories, poetry and literary nonfiction. More details here:

Canada Writes: The CBC short story contest is now open. Deadline for submissions is November 1 at 11:59 p.m. ET.


In Ragnarok: The Gift of the Gods, AS Byatt's contribution to Canongate's series on myths and legends takes the Norse apocalypse Ragnarok and triumphantly forges it anew. says Peter Conrad.

The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean, David Almond's first book for adult readers, is not only dramatically and emotionally suspenseful, it is also vividly drawn and wonderfully well paced, writes John Burnside. A master storyteller.

Steve Martin's An Object of Beauty is set in the art world, with Lacey Yeager trading her way up from Sotheby's basement to a space of her own via some dodgy dealing. An engaging story peppered with real-world references, says Iain Millar.

The Arab Revolution: Ten Lessons from the Democratic Uprising by Jean-Pierre Filiu, is a bold and timely portrait of the complexities of the Arab world, writes Simon Scott Plummer.

Wesley Wark finds the combination of bad intelligence, bad political calculations and absence of moral judgment described in Alex von Tunzelmann's Red Heat: Conspiracy, Murder and the Cold War in the Caribbean to be sobering, as the world considers its response to the Arab spring.

This Crazy Time, written by Tzeporah Berman in partnership with Mark Leiren-Young, reflects her shift from enemy of the state to hero, says Tracy Sherlock. The Royal BC Museum considers Berman one of 150 people who have changed the province's history.

Kate Kellaway writes that when you read a poet for the first time, it is like meeting someone new: first impressions count, especially if you might be spending hours in their company. She picked up Anthony Carelli's Carnations—and read on.

In response to his question: “Where is the transformative book about Sept. 11, the one that, like Erich Maria Remarque's "All Quiet on the Western Front" or Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried," evokes its emotional resonance?” David L. Ulin finds the answer in "The 9/11 Commission Report: The Attack from Planning to Aftermath". That Report may be as close as we've yet come to the great Sept. 11 novel, says Ulin.,0,5034376.story


An evening of storytelling and poetry featuring Melanie Jackson, a suspense-adventure writer for children and young adults. Thursday, September 8 at 7pm. Rhizome Cafe, 317 East Broadway. More information at

Saturday Sept 10 - CBC's North by Northwest is doing a special Kids Book Club featuring Erin Bow, who is shortlisted for the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award for "Plain Kate". It's a thriller for readers 12 & up that love magic and mystery. Open to kids of all ages - no tickets or RSVP's - just come on down to CBC. Doors open at 10:30 am and taping begins at 11 am

Author Dennis Bolen presents Anticipated Results, his first story collection, in collaboration with unconventional soundscapes and song by artist Soressa Gardner. Wednesday, September 14 at 7:00pm, free. Alma VanDusen & Peter Kaye rooms, lower level, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia Street.

Vancouver Kidsbooks is hosting a book launch for Kit Pearson’s The Whole Truth on Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. at their store at 3083 West Broadway. Tickets are not required.

Presenting John Barton and Miles Lowry. Monday, September 19 at 7:30pm. Cost: $3. Serious Coffee, 230 Cook Street, Victoria.


Inaugural reading by the Library's seventh Writer in Residence. Tuesday, September 20 at 7:00pm, free.Alice MacKay room, lower level, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia Street.

Award-winning poet reads from her new volume of poetry, Demeter Goes Skydiving. Wednesday, September 21 at 7:00pm, free. Literature, Social Sciences and Multicultural Services, level 3, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia St.

Are you the best Vogon poet? Prove it and you may win Earth dollars! Submit your absolutely worst poems to be presented slam style at the VPL/VCON Gala with 501st Legion Stormtroopers. Prizes: $100, $60, $40. Youth prize: $42. Thursday, September 22 at 6:30pm, free. Alice MacKay room, lower level, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia Street. Information:

Readings by Linda Besner (The Id Kid) and Matthew J. Trafford (The Divinity Gene). Thursday, September 22 at 7:00pm, free. UBC Bookstore/Library at Robson Square, Plaza level, 800 Robson Street. More information at

Join author Jen Sookfong Lee for a discussion about her novel The Better Mother. Part book club, part literary reading, the event includes wine, light refreshments and lively discussion. Thursday, September 22 at 7:00pm. Tickets: $20. Christianne's Lyceum, 3696 8th Ave. W. More information is available at Call 604.733.1356 or email to register.

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

The VPL invites you to one of Canada's biggest annual book and magazine festivals. Sunday, September 25 from 11am to 5pm, free. North & South Plaza, Promenade, Alice MacKay room, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia Street. Information at

Meet international award-winning author Louise Penny as she signs the newest book in the Armand Gamache series, A Trick of the Light. Sunday, September 25 at 2:00. Chapters Granville, 2505 Granville Street.

Meet the author as she signs the third book in The Seven Realms series, The Gray Wolf Throne - a tale of fierce loyalty, unbearable sacrifice and the heartless hand of fate. Wednesday, September 28 at 7:00pm. Chapters Langley, 20015 Langley By-Pass, Unit 115.

Timothy Taylor reads from his novel, The Blue Light Project. Thursday, September 29 at 2:00pm, free. Dodson Room (302), Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall, UBC, Vancouver. More information at

Join six brilliant authors as they sign their bestselling Teen novels and have fun with prizes, games, music and more! Saturday, October 1 at 2:00pm. Chapters Metrotown, 4700 Kingsway.

Childhood Under Siege by Joel Bakan. 8:15 pm, Saturday October 1 (doors open 7:30 pm). Vancouver Institute in Lecture Hall No. 2, Woodward Instructional Resources Centre, University of British Columbia.

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