Thursday, May 17, 2012

Book News Vol. 7 No. 17


Mother's Day

Give the gift of great writing and ideas! Purchase an annual membership for your mom for just $35 and she'll receive discounts on books and Festival events, and a personal invitation to attend our Members' Reception. We'll also package her new membership in an attractive gift envelope! To purchase, call the office at 604-681-6330 x109.


If being a member of the VIWF didn't already have enough benefits, we've added an extra incentive! Every two weeks new and renewing members will have a chance to win a book by a Festival or Incite author, or tickets to our special event with Richard Ford on May 28. At the end of August we'll have a grand prize draw for a deluxe pack of Festival tickets - two tickets to any event of your choice for each day of the Festival! This week's winner Dave Reid, received a signed copy of Timothy Taylor's The Blue Light Project. On May 2 we will draw the winner of Linden MacIntyre's latest novel, Why Men Lie. Sign up now here,


Listen to the fourth installment in our series of audio archives from past Festival events. This week you'll hear "Conversations with Bill" from the 2011 Festival, featuring Kate Beaton and Helen Oyeyemi. Whether drawing or writing, these young, bright storytellers explore their influences with the insatiably curious Bill Richardson. Details:



Join us on May 23 for the final spring event of the Incite series. Noah Richler will read from his book What We Talk About When We Talk About War and Trevor and Debbie Greene will present March Forth, their inspiring true story of a Canadian soldier’s journey through love, hope and survival. This is your last chance to enjoy the Incite series this season, so register today,

Richard Ford

Pulitzer Prize and PEN/Faulkner Award-winning author Richard Ford will be interviewed on stage by Hal Wake on May 28. He will talk about his latest novel, Canada, a visionary novel of vast landscapes, complex identities and fragile humanity. Details:

A Dram Come True

The Vancouver International Writers Festival presents the tenth annual single malt scotch whisky sampling. Enjoy the superb, complex flavours of a variety of rare and distinguished single malts. Details:


Norwich has been named as England's first City of Literature by the United Nation's organisation, UNESCO. "Writers have known for centuries that Norwich is a dreamy city", says Ian McEwen.

David Gilmour, David Bezmozgis, Ken Babstock, Tony Burgess, Kirsten den Hartog and Phil Hall are shortlisted for the Trillium Prize, an Ontario award for fiction or poetry. Helen Guri, Jacob McArthur Mooney and Nick Thran are shortlisted for a separate $10,000 Trillium Award offered for poetry in English. Five French-language books and three French poets are also finalists for Trillium Awards.

Johanna Skibsrud is one of five authors shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Award for best debut collection, named in honour of late short fiction writer, Danuta Gleed. The other four shortlisted authors are: Andrew J. Borkowski, Daniel Griffin, Jessica Westhead and Ian Williams.

2012 Independent Book Awards have been won by Robert W. Mackay's Soldier of the Horse, Gordon Cope's Secret Combinations (the Silver Award in the Suspense/Thriller category), and Angie Abdou's The Canterbury Trail (in the Canada-West: Best Regional Fiction category).

Four books are on the shortlist for the Ondaatje prize, for the "book of the highest literary merit evoking the spirit of a place". They include: Rahul Bhattacharya's The Sly Company of People Who Care, Olivia Laing's To the River, Teju Cole's Open City and Edgelands by Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts.

Julie Otsuka has won the $15,000 first prize at the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for The Buddha in the Attic, her slim prose poem about Japanese picture brides coming to America after WWI.

The BC Book Prizes have been awarded. Go here for the full list of winners:


Almost 10 years ago, award-winning animator and illustrator Mo Willems wrote Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, which became an instant classic: fans will welcome the return of Pigeon, in a new volume titled The Duckling Gets a Cookie? Ages 2 and up.

Tillie McGillie's Fantastical Chair by Vivian French is about a little girl called Tillie who is in a wheelchair. This is unusual because there aren't many stories about children in wheelchairs. It's a very funny story about a magical Gran who waves her spotty hankie and strange things happen. Ages 7 and under.

Prince Charming doesn't know how to use a sword. And most princesses are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. Do they live happily ever after? Christopher Healy's The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom asks why old fairy tales were written as they were. Ages 8 and up.,0,7312583.story

Lots of adult readers know Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Here, The Great Cake Mystery is solved by the No. 1 Girls' Detective Agency. Precious must solve her very first case in a country that readers may know nothing about. Ages 7 and up.


The Capilano Review celebrates its 40th anniversary on May 17.

Happy Birthday, A Clockwork Orange! Anthony Burgess's diabolical tale of juvenile ultraviolence is 50. Five decades on, the novel holds a lofty position as one of pop culture's most influential and enduring pieces of literature, writes Ben Myers.

This year, the Pulitzer Prize committee declined to award a prize for fiction. So The New York Times asked eight experts to do it instead.

Mexico's most celebrated novelist Carlos Fuentes died Tuesday, at 83.

Farley Mowat is 91. He can't not write. He's still angry, writes Greg Quill. Douglas & McIntyre is reissuing 13 gems of his vast catalogue of 44 books, beginning this month with A Whale for the Killing (1972) and And No Birds Sang (1979).

What's behind the boom in dystopian literature for young readers? asks Laura Miller. "It somehow fits the paranoid spirit that adults are the ones who write and publish them, assign them in classes, and decide which ones win prizes," she writes.

Jeanette Winterson has been appointed professor of creative writing at Manchester University, in the city of her birth. Winterson, 53, is best known for her 1985 debut novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.

On May 25, fans of Douglas Adams will honor the author's memory with the annual Towel Day, a nod to Adams's delirious novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Ontario composer Abigail Richardson has composed music for the iconic Roch Carrier story The Hockey Sweater. The work made its official debut in a pair of concerts Saturday at Roy Thomson Hall.

The bicentenary of the birth of Charles Dickens shouldn't pass by without an example of his verse, writes Carol Rumens. The novelist's poetic output was small. The Fine Old English Gentleman: New Version pours scorn on his era's complacent Conservatives.

Nadine Gordimer writes in The New York Review of Books about the new threat in South Africa of updated versions of the suppression of freedom of expression that gagged South Africans under apartheid.

Joanne Kaufman writes that publishers are losing patience with multi-year, multi-volume biographies.

Author Barry Eisler, having signing with Amazon as his book publisher, ventured to Bainbridge Island to explain his views to a community that loves its library and its local bookstore. Jim Thomsen describes the conference discussion.

With May being mystery month, Canada Writes! will publish six new short stories by some of Canada's top mystery novelists: William Deverell, Gail Bowen, Peter Robinson, Mary Jane Maffini, Therese Greenwood and Doug Moles. More information, including about Louise Penny's master class, is here:


John F. Hulcoop describes Leslie Hall Pinder's Bring Me One of Everything as 'big': big-hearted, socially important, ambitious in its scope. The novel gathers together aboriginal landscapes of Haida Gwaii, ethnography, anthropology, history, art music and personal relationships. Un-putdownable, says Hulcoop.

In Time to Start Thinking, Edward Luce quotes Oliver Wendell Holmes's: "An ounce of history is worth a pound of logic." What emerges from Luce's evocative analysis and reportage is the denial of history by the current crop of American leaders, writes John Gray.

Alison Bechdel's Are You My Mother? might be the truest Mother's Day card ever sent, writes Ian McGillis, adding that reviewing a book like Are You My Mother? demands a whole new vocabulary.

Cunning foxes have long prowled through the pages of fairytales. In Mr. Fox, Helen Oyeyemi harks back to these fictional foxes while creating her own fantastical creatures, blurring boundaries through magic realism, writes Anita Sethi.

Skagboys, a hefty, 548-page prequel to Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting, is an uneasy hybrid, but it has a firmer grasp of the social forces that keep the gang at the bottom of the food chain, writes Peter Murphy. Skagways was published in April.

US National Book Award Jesmyn Ward's novel Agate, which won the 2011 National Book Award, is based on her, and her family's, experience of Katrina. She speaks of the experience at the Sydney Writers Festival.

Vancouver author Owen Laukkanen is leading a wave of Canadian crime writers being published around the world, says Jack Batten. In Laukkanen's The Professionals, the bodies start falling even when killing is the last thing on the minds of the nominal bad guys.

In Monkey Ranch, Julie Bruck's stories-in-poetry are deceptively chatty, using plain language that doesn't shy from pop-culture references to evoke little scenes. A success by any measure, says George Murray.



Annual festival of children's literature intended to promote literacy, celebrate language arts and cultivate creative thought in West Vancouver. Now until May 31, 2012. Complete details at


Launch of the youth organization's book that explores Ethiopian communities through the eyes of Ethiopian youth. Proceeds from the book go back to the involved centers or schools to support youth community and leadership programs. Thursday, May 17 at 6:30pm, free. Robert Lee YMCA, 955 Burrard. More information at


Readings by Catherine Owen (Catalysts) and Waubgeshig Rice (Midnight Sweatlodge). Thursday, May 17 at 7:00pm, free. UBC Bookstore/Library at Robson Square, 800 Robson Street. More information at


Three days of poetry, song and storytelling featuring Carolyn Forche, Tony Hoagland and many others. May 17-20, 2012. La Conner, WA. Complete information at


The author will talk about his new novel In One Person on Friday, May 18th, 2012 at 7:30 pm at the North Shore Credit Union Centre for the Performing Arts. Capilano University, 2055 Purcell Way, North Vancouver. Ticket price of $30 includes a copy of the new novel available for pick up at the event. More information at 604.990.7810 or


Author discusses her travel guidebook My Seductive Cuba. Saturday, May 19 at 2:00pm, free. Chapters Robson, 788 Robson Street, Vancouver. More information at 604-682-4066.


Book launch features author Tatsuo Kage, UVIC prof John Price, retired SFU prof Roy Miki, and former president of the National Association of Japanese Canadians Grace Eiko Thomson. Saturday, May 19 at 3:00pm. Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre, 100-6688 Southoaks Cres., Burnaby. More information at


Part of the Pen-In-Hand Poetry/Prose Reading Series, the featured reader is Victoria's Poet Laureate, Janet Marie Rogers. Monday, May 21 at 7:15pm. Cost: $3. Serious Coffee, Cook Street Village, 230 Cook Street, Victoria.


Author reads from her book Whoever Gives Us Bread, that tells the stories of BC's Italian immigrants. Tuesday, May 22 at 7:00pm, free. Meeting room, level 3, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia Street.


Readings by Jamella Hagen (Kerosene), Clea Roberts (Here Is Where We Disembark), and Claire Tacon (In the Field). Thursday, May 24 at 7:00pm, free. BC Bookstore/Library at Robson Square, 800 Robson Street. More information at


Sarah Leavitt discusses her graphic memoir Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer's, My Mother and Me. Thursday, May 24 at 7:00 PM. Christianne's Lyceum. 3696 W. 8th Ave. $20 (includes refreshments). To reserve your space call 604.733.1356 or email More information at


Susan Aihoshi will read from her new book Torn Apart: The Internment Diary of Mary Kobayashi , about a young girl whose life changes when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbour. Thursday, May 24 at 7:30pm. Admission by donation. Historic Joy Kogawa House, 1450 64th Ave. W. More information at


Canadian economist and author reads from his new book The End of Growth. Thursday, May 24 at 7:30pm. Tickets: $24. Admission includes one free copy of the book. North Shore Credit Union Centre for the Performing Arts, 2055 Purcell Way, North Vancouver. More information at


26th annual Margaret Laurence Lecture featuring Canadian poet, novelist, essayist and documentarian. Friday, May 25 at 8:00pm. Alice MacKay room, Central Branch, 350 W. Georgia Street. More information at



The W.A. Deacon Literary Foundation and Alcuin Society will be presenting the cash prize to this year's first place winner of the National Book-Collecting Contest for young Canadians under 30 years of age. Monday, May 28 at 7:00pm. Room 2260, SFU downtown, 515 W. Hastings. More information at


Linda Hutsell-Manning talks about her writing career and reads from her novel. Monday, May 28 at 7:00pm, free. Meeting room, level 3, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia Street.


Fan appreciation night and the debut of the 2012 Vancouver Youth Poetry Slam team. Monday, May 28 at 8:00pm. Cafe Deux Soleils, 2096 Commercial Drive. More information at


Please join Montreal writer Julija Sukys for a reading and discussion of her new book Epistolophilia: Writing the Life of Ona Simaite. Tuesday, May 29 at 7:00pm, free. Peter Kay room, lower level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street. More information at 604-331-3603.


Featuring Ahava Shira, Avie Estrin, Taslim Jaffer, Daniela Elza, Bonnie Nish, Ms. Spelt and David Shewel, who will read their poetry inspired by the art exhibit, Celebrating Jerusalem. Tuesday, May 29 at 7:00pm. Gallery Room, Jewish Community Centre, 950 W. 41st Ave. More information at


Reading by the author of From Bombs to Books: the remarkable stories of refugee children and their families at an exceptional Canadian school. Tuesday, June 5 at 6:30pm. Free but please register by phoning 604-522-3971. Tommy Douglas branch, Burnaby Public Library, 7311 Kingsway.


Local poet and artist shares poetry, slides and discusses poetry and painting. Wednesday, June 6 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.


Author will talk about her memoir recalling her life as South Africa's first female airline pilot, This is Kucki Your Pilot Speaking. Thursday, June 7 at 7:00pm. Free but please register in advance by phoning 604-299-8955. McGill branch, Burnaby Public Library, 4595 Albert Street, Burnaby.

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