Thursday, July 25, 2013

Book News Vol. 8 No. 24


While we're reveling in the glorious summer weather of the last few weeks, we can't help looking to the fall with great anticipation. The Writers Fest office is abuzz with excitement-books by Festival authors are arriving
daily and we're putting the final touches on the 26th Vancouver Writers Fest program guide. The guide will be on the street and online by the end of August. Stay tuned for details! In the meantime, pencil in the Festival
dates: October 22-27.


2013 Vancouver Short Film Festival: Call for Submissions Announcement
BC short filmmakers! The 4th Annual Vancouver Short Film Festival is accepting entries until August 1. Students, recent grads, and professional filmmakers can submit films and videos, the shorter the better! Last year, 29 short films were screened, and over $15,000 in prizes were awarded to BC filmmakers. More info at


British Columbia-based writer Ruth Ozeki and Canada authors Alison MacLeod and Eleanor Catton have been nominated for the prestigious Booker Prize.

Poet and novelist Lavinia Greenlaw will chair the judging panel for a new literature prize open to English-language fiction from around the world. The Folio prize regards itself as a complement, rather than a rival, to the Booker. The new award, founded by literary agent Andrew Kidd and sponsored by the Folio Society, will be open to writers regardless of form, genre or where they are from.

The Not the Booker prize is back, and you're a judge. Our pioneering attempt to create a truly democratic, reader-judged books prize, is returning for another year of high-toned brawling, writes Sam Jordison.

Toronto's Mohan Srivastava is the winner of CBC's Canada Writes competition this year for his creative nonfiction piece about The Gods of Scrabble, an impromptu game of Scrabble with three Eastern European women learning English. Srivastava will be awarded $6,000 and a writing residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts for his story, The Gods of Scrabble. Read the story here:


After Dick, Jane and their dog, Spot, there is Veronika Martenova Charles's Wonder Tales, with five slim volumes of fairy and folk tales from around the world. Based on traditional tales like The Frog Prince and Rumpelstiltskin, the paperbacks offer three versions of each tale. At the end of each book, an author's note adds information about the stories. For ages 6 to 8.

If warrior frogs don't appeal to you, what about a frog princess? In Vivian Vande Velde's Frogged, Imogene is a 12-year-old princess who doesn't feel particularly good or pretty. When a talking frog asks for a kiss to break a witch's spell, she agrees. But when Imogene is frognapped, she starts to believe she will never make it home. For ages 10 and up.


Independent booksellers striving to keep their shops profitable are paying attention to Belgian researchers who have discovered a simple, inexpensive way to keep customers in the store longer and possibly boost sales. They report shoppers are more likely to engage in leisurely browsing—and ultimately purchase books in certain popular genres, if the store is infused with the scent of chocolate.

Natalie Hanman offers 12 great reads to aid in the recovery from all the excitement of the birth and naming of the royal baby.

Literature Is Dead (According to Straight, White Guys, At Least). A controversial Harper's essay about the waning relevance of poetry is just the latest in a long history of similar writings—whose authors share a few particular characteristics.

Chinese authorities have a toolbox of phrases they use to guide website editors dealing with sensitive topics: harshest is "completely and immediately delete." For acceptable stories, the operative phrase is "first censor, then publish." We know this, thanks in part to Xiao Qiang, an adjunct professor at the School of Information at Berkeley, leading the world in piecing together how Chinese Internet censorship works.

The 3rd Annual Geist Erasure Poetry Contest is now underway! Information re entries can be found here:


A.S.A. Harrison's The Silent Wife is reminiscent of Gillian Flynn's thriller Gone Girl, writes Robert J. Wiersema. While the characters are skillfully drawn, and the plotting tight and efficient, The Silent Wife reads more like an insightful, well-written, carefully annotated case file than it does a novel.

Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die; Cherish, Perish, David Rakoff's posthumous novel cements his reputation as a master of bittersweet comedy, writes Ian McGillis. Rakoff had established himself alongside a small group of eminent contemporary comic essayists, before he died last year, at 47. His final collection, 2010's Half Empty, bears a title summing up its author's world view: he was a self-described "life-affirming pessimist." McGillis adds that the ultimate effect is uplifting.

From The Spy Who Came in From the Cold to The Constant Gardener, John le Carré's novels have been as concerned with the lies we tell ourselves as with the secrets we keep from each other. Now the ill-considered use of the BlackBerry in your own pocket can be your undoing, writes Michael Berry.

Philipp Meyer studied at Cornell University and produced two novels. Early works were rejected, but Meyer persevered, penning another book while on a writing fellowship. American Rust was published to huge critical acclaim in 2009 and the New Yorker rated him one of the 20 best novelists under 40 in 2010. His novel The Son, was greeted in the US as the big literary read of the summer.

Jane Austen will be featured on the Bank of England £10 note, and will include the quotation from Pride and Prejudice: "I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!"

Round two in the search for Canada's most iconic book cover! Among this week's match ups, Roch Carrier's The Hockey Sweater takes on W.O. Mitchell's Who Has Seen the Wind.


Features poets Miranda Pearson and Robert Martens with open mic. Thursday, July 25 at 7:00pm. Suggested donation at the door: $5. The Cottage Bistro, 4468 Main Street, Vancouver. More information at

Arts and literary event features poet Kat Norris, author Siobhan "Mama says" Barker, and performer Daksh Kubba. Open microphone to follow. Friday, July 26 at 5:30pm, free. City Centre, Surrey Public Library, 10350 University Drive, Surrey.

Bring a poem, a song, or other musings to read/sing/perform to the garden and the birds and the people. Please also bring something for the barbecue grill. Sunday, July 28 at 6:00pm. Admission by donation. Please RSVP to Historic Joy Kogawa House, 1450 64th Ave. W.

IL CENTRO Italian Cultural Centre is thrilled to announce the publication of the Rules & Regulations for the 2014 Edition of the F.G. Bressani Literary Prize. The literary prize honours and promotes the work of Canadian writers of Italian origin or Italian descent. Deadline: April 2, 2014. Complete details can be found here:

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