Thursday, September 12, 2013

Book News Vol. 8 No. 31


2013 Festival - October 22-27

Tickets for the 2013 Vancouver Writers Fest are on sale now. This year's author lineup includes Margaret Atwood, Joseph Boyden, Tomson Highway, Wayne Johnston, Anne Michaels, Rachel Kushner, Lisa Moore, Paul Muldoon, George Packer, Marisha Pessl and Eric Schlosser. The Festival includes non-fiction events at UBC's Frederic Wood Theatre, a finale event with comedian Colin Mochrie, and a French language event with Michel Tremblay at Radio-Canada's Studio One. Festival program guides are now available at bookstores, cafes and library branches around Vancouver. Complete Festival details including a downloadable PDF of the guide are available online.

Just announced: Norwegian crime fiction star Jo Nesbø (The Snowman, The Leopard) has been added to event 27 (Up All Night).

VWF Writing Contests for Adults and Youth
Submit your finest prose and poetry to the 15th annual Vancouver Writers Fest Poetry & Short Story Contest, The top entries in poetry and fiction will be published in subTerrain magazine and receive cash prizes. New this year is our writing contest for BC students in grades 8-12 which also awards cash prizes,


The Literati Gala Cabaret
The VWF's fundraising gala on October 21 is hosted by CBC's Gloria Macarenko and features a Literary Cabaret performance with Sal Ferreras and Poetic License, celebrating the Lit Cab's 25th year. Tickets are $175; available at Corporate tables are also available-call 604 681 6330 ext 104. Literati supports the VWF's Spreading the Word education program.

Jung Chang
The best-selling author of the books Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China and Mao: The Unknown Story talks about her groundbreaking new biography, Empress Dowager Cixi. Event details:

SPECIAL FOR BOOK CLUBS! $16 per person, minimum of 5 people, book by phone only at 604-629-8849.

Thursday, November 21 at 7:30pm
Waterfront Theatre
1412 Cartwright Street, Granville Island

J.B. MacKinnon
The independent journalist and award-winning author of The 100-Mile Diet talks about his new book, The Once and Future World, providing an eye-opening account of nature as it was, as it is and as it could be. Event details:

SPECIAL FOR BOOK CLUBS! $16 per person, minimum of 5 people, book by phone only at 604-629-8849.

Thursday, October 3 at 7:30pm
Frederic Wood Theatre
6354 Crescent Road, UBC


It's not often that authors write books for both children and adults. Cary Fagan is one of the few, and therefore it's perhaps no surprise that his newest novel A Bird's Eye, though intended for adults, is all about the power of magic, and the youthful proclivity to believe in it.

The Canadian writer Charles Foran discusses Joseph Boyden's new book, The Orenda, within the context of their similar upbringings, growing up in the shadow of the Jesuit martyr, Jean de Brébeuf.

The Norwegian crime writer, Jo Nesbø, has written a new book for his Harry Hole series, in which "Harry finds himself contemplating infidelity, indulging in violent rape fantasies and questioning whether he can regard himself as morally superior to the serial killer he is hunting." A case of a detective gone wrong? You can read an interview with the author here:

Margaret Atwood is all over the press these days with her new book, MaddAddam. She received high praise in the New York Times: "this finale to Atwood's ingenious trilogy lights a fire from the fears of our age, then douses it with hope for the planet's survival. But that survival may not include us."

Marisha Pessl's second Novel, Night Film, gets a five star review in The Telegraph. 600 pages long, and filled with typed police reports, newspaper pages, transcripts of phone calls and fanzine message boards, it's not just any old thriller.

As a part of their fall preview, the Globe and Mail is releasing excerpts of soon to be published books. Here's a sneak peak of Wayne Johnston's The Son of a Certain Woman, to be released on September 17th.

Douglas Coupland has always been obsessed with the idiosyncrasies of modern life. He's currently writing regular observations for the Financial Times, and this week's segment focuses on a lexicon for 2013, the new words we need for the present-day.

Amanda Lindhout tells the story of her captivity in Somalia to the New York Times Magazine, in an adaptation from her book A House in the Sky.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the African Continent, Abdellah Taïa faced whole different challenges growing up as an openly gay man in Morocco. He just made his directorial debut at the Venice Film Festival, with the film Salvation Army. You can read an interview with the transgressive writer and filmmaker here:

Like Abdellah Taïa, Rodney DeCroo is a man of many talents. His show, Alleghany, BC is playing right now at the Vancouver Fringe Festival, and in October, he'll be bringing his poetry and music to our festival as well. You can read an excellent interview and discussion of his work here, in the Georgia Straight:


The shortlist for the Man Booker Prize has been announced, with one of the most diverse selections ever. Spanning five continents, the chosen books include Writers Fest author Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries, and British Columbian Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being.

The longlist for the Samuel Johnson Prize, the UK's most prestigious non-fiction award, has been announced. With a heavy focus on biography and history, this year's list includes The War That Ended Peace, by Canadian author Margaret Macmillan.

Michel Noël, who has participated in past Festivals, is shortlisted for the Prix TD 2013 de litterature canadienne pour l'enfance et la jeunesse for À la recherche du bout du monde.


It may seem like a cliché for celebrities to release books, but in the case of Jim Carrey, the beloved Canadian comedic icon, we might have to make an exception. He has just written his first book, which is not a celebrity tell-all, but rather, a children's story, dedicated to his grandson. How Roland Rolls, to be published on September 24th, is the story of a wave named Roland "who realizes that he is part of the ocean and not simply a wave that's separate from it".


How important is clothing in literature? This question was piqued by a conversation with Margaret Atwood at the Guardian Book Club two weeks ago. Now, they want to examine the question within a broader context. Would Jane Austen's Mrs. Bennet, for example "be quite as prone to the vapours were it not for the effect of make-do-and-mend Regency corsetry on her increasingly matronly physique?"

And in case you missed that Margaret Atwood discussion, you can listen to it in Podcast form here:

It may seem like blasphemy to some, but a revolutionary all-digital library is opening this week in San Antonio, Texas. Called the BiblioTech library, it will have six hundred e-readers available on loan, along with over ten thousand eBooks. It's an especially edgy conceit, considering the demographics of the area: predominantly Hispanic, low-income, where 75% of the population lacks Internet access.

Have you ever read a book and preferred its villain to its protagonist? At the Huffington Post, they're addressing the issue head-on, with a list of the nine most sympathetic villains in literature.

The 3rd Annual Geist Erasure Poetry Contest has been extended to September 30! Information re: entries can be found here:


It's a topic that has always been relevant in Canadian life, and Canadian fiction in particular: the immigrant perspective. Here, in an interview with the New York Times, Jhumpa Lahiri discusses immigrant fiction (albeit within the American context), and why she believes the genre doesn't really exist at all.

J.D. Salinger may have stopped publishing ages ago, but his life and writing have always been big news, even after his death. Shane Salerno has spent the last 10 researching the author's life for his upcoming documentary and accompanying book, both called Salinger. You can watch him in discussion with Charlie Rose here, as he talks about the impact J.D. Salinger has had on his life, and so many other lives around the world. It's a long, but highly worthwhile discussion.

American revolutionaries take on new meaning in Jonathan Lethem's just published Dissident Gardens. The novel takes place in Queens, New York, and spans three generations of a family of political idealists. Communism, hippie utopias and the Occupy Movement all come to the fore, as the book asks: "Is there ever an unselfish revolutionary?"

After a 39-year retirement, Hercule Poirot is making a comeback. With the permission of Agatha Christie's family, the bestselling crime novelist Sophie Hannah is writing a new Poirot novel, with the hopes of bringing his exploits to a new generation of readers.


Poet Daphne Marlatt and artist Carole Itter recall experiences and memories of the diverse women interviewed in the 1970s for their book. They will be joined by historian James Johnstone. Thursday, September 12 at 7:00pm, free. City of Vancouver Archives, 1150 Chestnut.

A night of incredible talent all in support of this year's emerge anthology that features work by all 36 writers of the Writer's Studio at SFU. Readings by Betsy Warland, Wayde Compton, Jen Currin and a special reading by the emerge publisher, Andrew Chesham, with musical guests Leanne Dunic and Ryan Ogg of Luck Commander. Thursday, September 12. Entrance by donation (suggested $15) so arrive early to ensure entry. Max 75 people. Calabash Bistro, 428 Carrall Street.

President and CEO of Tourism Vancouver Rick Antonson will regale you with tales of his epic journey by train, boat, four-wheel drive, camel and on foot. Monday, September 16 at 7:00pm. West Vancouver Memorial Library, 1950 Marine Drive, West Vancouver. More information at 604-925-7403.

Join Beryl Young to celebrate the launch of her new picture book, a whimsical tale for children aged four to eight is about an outrageous talking parrot and a pair of red-haired twins who cause all kinds of trouble as the parrot wins a permanent place in their home and their hearts. Tuesday, September 17 at 7:00pm. Kidsbooks, 3083 Broadway Avenue. More information at 604-738-5335.

Inaugural reading by VPLs 2013 Writer in Residence, award-winning Canadian author. Tuesday, September 17 at 7:00pm, free. Alice MacKay room, lower level, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia Street. More information at

Features guest reader Daniela Elza with open mic. Tuesday, September 17 at 8:00pm. La Fontana Caffe, 101-3701 East Hastings Street (at Boundary Rd). More information at

Canada's Poet Laureate Fred Wah and Christine Leclerc featured at Sept 18 'Lunch Poems at SFU." Presented by SFU Public Square, 12-1pm in SFU Harbour Centre's Teck Gallery (515 W Hastings St.). Free admission, no registration required. Lunch Poems hosts well-known and up-and-coming poets on the third Wednesday of every month except July and August. For more information visit

In a reading and panel discussion on hybridity, identity and creativity, Canadian poet laureate Fred Wah, author Yasuko Thanh, author David Chariandy and UBC English professor Glenn Deer explore mixed cultural upbringing and its influence on creative work. Wednesday, September 18 at 7:00pm, free. Alice MacKay Room (Vancouver Public Library, 350 W. Georgia). Information at

Author Tom Swanky shows who, where, when, why and how smallpox featured in the Tsilhqot'in War, a pivotal event in B.C.'s history. Wednesday, September 18 at 7:00pm. West Vancouver Memorial Library, 1950 Marine Drive, West Vancouver. More information at 604-925-7403.

Vancouver-based prize-winning author of three acclaimed short fiction collections and a novel, will be launching her fourth book of stories, Red Girl, Rat Boy. Wednesday, September 18 at 7:00pm, free. Van Dusen/McKay room of the main branch of the Vancouver Public Library.

In a talk on hybridity, identity, and creativity, Canadian poet laureate Fred Wah, author Yasuko Thanh, author David Chariandy, and UBC English prof Glenn Deer explore mixed cultural upbringing and its influence on creative work. Wednesday, September 18 at 7:00pm, free. Alice MacKay room, Central Branch, VPL, 350 W. Georgia Street. More information at 604-331-3603.

Poet Bonnie Nish will launch her collection Love and Bones. Friday, September 20 at 7:00pm. St. Mark's Church, 1805 Larch S. Vancouver. For more information, contact

Author celebrates the release of the final book in the Gallagher Girls' series, United We Spy. Saturday, September 21 at 2:00pm. Chapters Granville, 2505 Granville Street.

Sharon MacGougan will talk about her novel, The Mayan Mysteries. The real-life ancient mystery of the disappearance of the Mayan people converges with the inner transformation of a fifteen-year-old girl in this adventure story. Wednesday, September 25 at 7:30pm. West Vancouver Memorial Library, 1950 Marine Drive, West Vancouver. More information at 604-925-7403.


Award-winning author Ronald Wright will outline the "progress traps" that threaten our civilization and assess what has changed since his bestselling 2004 Massey Lecture A Short History Of Progress. Thursday, September 26 at 5:00PM, free. Cecil Green Park House, UBC. Part of the Utopia/Dystopia lecture series organized by UBC's Creative Writing Program. Information at

Features poets Celeste Snowber and Carl Leggo with open mic in collaboration with Word Vancouver. Thursday, September 26 at 7:00pm. Suggested donation at the door: $5. The Cottage Bistro, 4468 Main Street, Vancouver. More information at

Carol Shaben discuses her book Into the Abyss, with special guest former pilot Erik Vogel. Thursday, September 26 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

Author of Code Name Verity reads from her latest book Rose Under Fire. Thursday, September 26 at 7:00pm. West Point Grey United Church Sanctuary, 4595 8th Ave. W. For tickets and information, visit

Author reads from her new book, Read Me a Story, Stella. Monday, September 30 at 7:00pm at Kidsbooks Surrey (15033 32nd Ave., South Surrey). And Tuesday, October 1 at 7:00pm at Kidsbooks Vancouver (3083 West Broadway). Information and tickets available at

The bestselling author of blockbuster books and films such as Safe Haven, The Lucky One and The Notebook signs his new novel, The Longest Ride. Wednesday, October 2 at 7:00pm. Chapters Metrotown, 4700 Kingsway, Burnaby. More information at 604-431-0463.

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