Thursday, March 29, 2012

Book News Vol. 7 No. 10




At the next Incite on April 4, Will Ferguson takes readers behind the scene of the world's most insidious internet scam in 419 and Journey Prize-winner Yasuko Thanh reads from her new collection of short stories, Floating Like the Dead. Details: Also appearing at Incite in the next few months are Linden MacIntyre, Vincent Lam, Richard Stursberg, John Boyne, Buffy Cram, Owen Laukkanen and Trevor Green.

Richard Ford
Pulitzer Prize and PEN/Faulkner Award-winning author Richard Ford appears with his latest novel, Canada. A visionary novel of vast landscapes, complex identities and fragile humanity. Details:

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B.C. poet Susan Musgrave has been honoured with the Spirit Bear Award, in recognition of the significance of a vital and enduring contribution to the poetry of the Pacific Northwest. The biennial award was founded in 2010 by B.C. authors Patrick Lane and Lorna Crozier.

Graphic novelists Chester Brown and Seth are among those short-listed for the 2012 Doug Wright Awards.

Jack Gantos's Dead End in Norvelt is the winner of the 2012 Newbery Medal for the year's best contribution to children's literature and the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction.

Award-winning Dutch author Guus Kuijer has won the world's richest children's books prize, the Astrid Lindgren memorial award, for his novel that in Engllsh is called The Book of Everything.

Pulitzer-Prize winning author Steven Millhauser is the Story Prize winner for books published in 2011. The winning work, We Others, is a collection of seven new stories and 14 previously published pieces.


The illustrated Wimpy Kid books, peppered with handwritten notes and cartoon illustrations, trace the daily tribulations of computer game nerd Greg. The seventh novel in the series will be launched this fall. No title yet, but the storyline centres around a school dance.

Jack Gantos's books include the Joey Pigza and Rotten Ralph series. And Dead End in Norvelt has won the Newbery Award as the best children's book of 2011. Ages 11-13.

While most teenagers dream of being a spy, Alex wants be a normal kid and go to school. Purple Unicorns rates Snakehead (in the Alex Rider series) 10 out of 10 because of the way it's written and the way the characters interact. Ages 12-15.

In Guus Kuijer's Astrid Lindgren award-winningThe Book of Everything, Thomas can see things no one else can see: tropical fish swimming in the canals, the Lord Jesus, and his father hitting his mother. And then he discovers how happiness begins: with no longer being afraid. Grade 4-6.


The traditional Olympics truce has inspired a series of 'peace camps' that will bring poetry readings, inspired by the 2012 Olympics, to remote coastal sites across the UK and Ireland.

The phenomenal popularity of The Hunger Games reminds us that killing is good entertainment. Kenneth Oppel finds it disquieting, however, that the same adults who are horrified by the notion of child soldiers offer critical praise of The Hunger Games' children killing children.

This week, the CBC presents the second of the ten shortlisted entries for the CBC Short Story Prize. This week features Terence Young's Mantra. Note the Q&A following the story. The "people's choice" poll enabling you to vote for your favourite shortlisted story is now open.

The first-hand account of 17-year old John "Jack" Thayer, a passenger on the Titanic, lost for several decades, will be published next month to mark the sinking's centennial.

A South Carolina parent has complained to police and a school about Orson Scott Card's Hugo and Nebula award-winning story Ender's Game's being read in a class of teenagers. The police found nothing criminal, the school investigation continues.

Rosetta Books has released Basic Training, an unpublished novella by Kurt Vonnegut, close to 60 years after it was written. The Saturday Evening Post rejected the book in the late 1940's, long before Mr. Vonnegut had become famous.

Some writers/dramatists have created interesting, admirable versions of James Barrie's Peter Pan. Others have created cheap, vulgar versions, writes Alison Lurie. Now there is a new Annotated Peter Pan, edited by the Harvard folklorist Maria Tatar.

Some Works of Art Can't Be Labeled as Fact or Fiction, and That's OK, writes Ruth Franklin in The New Republic.

The Canada Writes Poetry Prize competition is now open. Deadline for entries is May 1 at 11:59 pm ET. More information at:

Geist has announced the Second Annual Geist Erasure Poetry Contest. Writers are asked to create their own poetic masterpiece from an excerpt of How Should a Person Be? a creative non-fiction novel by celebrated author Sheila Heti. Visit for more details and to read the excerpt.

The Aspiring Poets Contest, a new contest in Canada, is for unpublished Canadian poets, and begins in April, national poetry month. Vancouver's Poet Laureate Evelyn Lau is the honorary patron. Submissions will be accepted, beginning April 1. More information at:


Two new books alleviate the problem of bad writing about sex, writes Jacqueline Turner: Sarah de Leeuw's Geographies of a Lover and Daniel Zomparelli's Davie Street Translations.

Vancouver author Alan Clements, 61, wrote A Future to Believe In for his daughter, Sahra, 5. A mammoth 3,000-page collection of wisdom and values distilled into a 262-page book that includes 108 reflections on freedom: wisdom for the future, writes Tracy Sherlock.

What happened beginning in 1812 remains poorly understood, writes Dennis Drabelle. Unbeknownst to the armies fighting it, fighting occurred in remote New Orleans in January of 1815, after peace had been declared. Draglle reviews three books to help us see through the murk.

Alice Kaplan's Dreaming in French is an account of the year Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, Susan Sontag, and Angela Davis each spent, separately, in Paris, before launching themselves into public life, a chance to explore the self, writes Michel Basilières.

Stephanie Merritt describes Sadie Jones's The Uninvited Guests as The Woman in Black meets Downton Abbey in this happy marriage of ghost story and country house drama. Highly entertaining, says Merritt.

Hermione Lee writes about Joyce Carol Oates' Mudwoman in The Terrors of the Woman President.

Arley McNeney's The Time We All Went Marching is timely, writes M.A.C. Farrant: the Depression, work camps, despair, marching, and a Prime Minister (Bennett) who views the unemployed as "a threat to society". McNeney deftly describes the times, without sentimentality, says Farrant.

Science writer Kitty Ferguson has been working for over 20 years to reveal the real Stephen Hawking to the world. After one biography and assisting Hawking with The Universe in a Nutshell, she has written an updated biography, Stephen Hawking: An Unfettered Mind.

In No time Like the Present, Nadine Gordimer, Nobel laureate and one of the best-known chroniclers of apartheid, turns her gaze on post-democratic South Africa. Gordimer has not shied away from asking difficult questions. A complex book, writes Gillian Slovo.

While a secretary at Ghana's embassy in Washington, Peggielene Bartels learned that she was the new king of Otuam, a fishing village in southern Ghana. Co-written with American author Eleanor Herman, King Peggy is a remarkable, but not a Cinderella, story.

Silver: Return to Treasure Island, Andrew Motion's imagined sequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's swashbuckling classic, is a literary companion piece, writes Daisy Hay. Motion reinvents Stevenson's world to reveal its dark underside and provides a fitting sequel to Treasure Island.

Clare Clark acclaims an exquisite novel of wartime Romania in Georgina Harding's Painter of Silence. A key character is both deaf and mute. Painter of Silence has recently been longlisted for the Orange prize, an accolade it richly deserves, says Clark.

Mike Doherty writes that Blaine Harden's Escape from Camp 14, the biography of Shin Dong-hyuk, the only person known to have escaped from a North Korean prison camp, makes The Hunger Games and its fellow dystopias read like Fantasy Island.

Patrick Flanery's Absolution is part literary detective story, part deeply unsentimental portrait of South Africa, where freedom came recently and a lot of people are not entirely sure whether to embrace, ban or shoot it, writes Christopher Hope.


APRIL, ten days of events with readings, multimedia, book/pub crawl and panels on independent publishing. March 22-31, 2012 in Seattle, WA. Complete details at

The Alcuin Society presents its fifth Robert R. Reid Award and Medal to Stan Bevington. John Maxwell will also give a talk entitled Coach House Press as a Digital Pioneer. Friday, March 30 at 7:30pm, free. Fletcher Challenge room, Simon Fraser University Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings. More information at 604-732-5403.

Vancity Theatre presents the film adaptation of Haruki Murakami's bestselling novel. Friday, March 30 and Saturday, March 31 at 8:30pm. Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour Street. Details at

Seventh annual festival celebrating books and food and the people who love them. Saturday, March 31 at 12:00pm. Cost: $10. The Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N., Seattle, WA. Details at

Readings in support of New Star Books, featuring George Stanley, Larissa Lai, Fred Wah, David Chariandy, Daphne Marlatt and others. Saturday, March 31 at 3:00pm. Western Front, 303 8th Ave. E.

Anakana Schofield launches her debut novel. Sunday, April 1 at 3:00pm. People's Co-op Bookstore, 1391 Commercial Drive.

In celebration of National Poetry Month, readings by Margaret Christakos (Welling), Leigh Kotsilidis (Hypotheticals) and Steven Price (Omens of the Year of the Ox). Tuesday, April 3 at 7:00pm, free. UBC Bookstore/Library at Robson Square, 800 Robson Street. More information at

Meet the stars of MTV, Oprah and YouTube as they entertain, answer questions and sign their new book. Wednesday, April 4 at 7:00pm. Cost: $25 includes ticket and signed book. Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, 2550 Camosun. Info and tickets at

Performance by Kate Braid and Daniela Elza with bass player Clyde Reed. Thursday, April 5 at 7:00pm. Suggested donation: $5. The Prophouse, 1636 Venables Avenue, Vancouver. More information at


Presents readings by Kaie Kellough and Cornelia Hoogland. Thursday, April 12 at 7:00pm, free. SB301, Emily Carr University, 1399 Johnston Street. More information at

US poets Sharmagne Leland-St. John and Ellaraine Lockie, and BC poets Sandy Shreve and Kate Braid read from the newly published poetry anthology Villanelles (an Everymans Library Pocket Poets book). Friday, April 13 at 7:00pm. People's Co-op Bookstore, 1391 Commercial Drive.

All day event featuring speakers, authors, workshops, readings and more. Saturday, April 14 at 9:00am. Douglas College, 700 Royal Avenue, New Westminster. More information at

Author reads and presents a slideshow from his new book Adventures in Solitude. Monday, April 16 at 7:00pm. Admission free for members; $5 for non-members. Capilano Public Library, 3045 Highland Blvd., North Vancouver. For more information or to register, visit

Author reads from his most recent book My Year of the Racehorse: Falling in Love With The Sport of Kings. Books will be available for purchase. Tuesday, April 17 at 7:00pm, free. Tommy Douglas branch, Burnaby Public Library, 7311 Kingsway, Burnaby. More information at 604-522-3971.

Launch of the new publisher of many young adult books. Meet authors Jay Asher, Hiromi Goto and Carrie Mac. Tuesday, April 17 at 7:00pm, free. Chapters Metrotown, Burnaby.

Meet the author of the A Dream of Eagles series and the Templar Trilogy. Wednesday, April 18 at 7:00pm. Register at 604-598-7426. City Centre Library, Surrey Public Library, 10350 University Drive, Surrey.

Readings by Gerhard Winkler and the Rogue Writers. Wednesday, April 18 at 7:00pm, free. Dr. G. Paul Singh Study Hall, North Vancouver City Library, 120 14th Street W., North Vancouver. More information at 604-998-3450.

BC members of Crime Writers of Canada will present a lively panel discussion about Canadian crime writing, followed by announcement of nominees for this years Arthur Ellis Awards. Thursday, April 19 at 7:00pm, free. Alice MacKay room, lower level, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia Street. More information at 604-331-3691.

Two appearances by the author of Box of Shocks. Friday, April 20 at 10:00am at Semiahmoo Library, 1815 152 Street, Surrey. More information at 604-592-6900. Also Friday, April 20 at 1:00pm at Fleetwood Library, 15996 84 Ave. Surrey. To register, call 604-598-7340. More information at

13th annual festival of writers and readers, this year featuring Marina Endicott, Anita Rau Badami and Daniel Kalla. Saturday, April 21, free. From 11:30am to 8:30pm. West Vancouver Memorial Library, 1950 Marine Drive, West Vancouver. Complete details at

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