Thursday, May 22, 2014

Book News Vol. 9 No. 12



A Dram Come True
Join us at the legendary Hycroft and enjoy the superb, complex flavours of a variety of rare and distinguished single malts, plus offerings from Pemberton Distillery and Tinhorn Creek Vineyard. New this year: Heighten your experience at an exclusive VIP reception before the main event-a private tasting tour of some of the special malts, guided by whisky experts.

Friday, May 30, 2014
Tickets: $120
VIP Tasting 6:30–7:30pm; Tickets: $75 (limited quantities, only available with a main event ticket)

1489 McRae Avenue, Vancouver

Click here for details and to purchase tickets,

A Dram Come True is a fundraiser for the Vancouver Writers Fest.

And in case you want to practice pronouncing Gaelic single malt names before A Dram Come True:


The Vancouver edition of Spur, a national festival of politics, art and ideas (May 22-25) features events at SFU Woodwards. Here are three events with a literary focus:

Books and Brunch
The Confabulist author Steven Galloway reads and discusses his latest novel with lawyer, author, and incoming SFU Chancellor Anne Giardini.

Books and Brunch
Join Shani Mootoo for brunch as she reads from and discusses her newest novel, Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab.

In Conversation: Signal&
Join Paul Holdengraber, writer, curator, and literary programmer at the New York Public Library, and Evgeny Morozov, author of The Net Delusion and To Save Everything, as they discuss how new technologies are changing the way we think.


This Boy, Alan Johnson's memoir of his London slum childhood, has won the £10,000 Ondaatje prize, an award "which goes to the book that best evokes the spirit of a place."

In a case of life imitating fiction, Edward St. Aubyn's novel Lost for Words, a satire of literary awards, has won the 2014 Wodehouse Prize. The prize is awarded to a novel which best "captures the comic spirit."

Unsettling news in the world of children's books awards: Rush Limbaugh has beaten kid lit superstars to win the Children's Choice Book Award for Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims. The prize is ostensibly chosen by children, though it has been acknowledged that "adults could easily vote and vote multiple times, a problem not uncommon for Internet competitions."

In more positive children's literature news, the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading festival has announced the winners of its signature kids book prizes (and none of them went to Rush Limbaugh!) Check out the winners, here:


There's a whole cornucopia of illustrated books out for kids this spring. Among the titles are works by past Writers Fest authors Caroline Adderson and Dan Bar-El.


What makes a novel 'classic'? When does it gain this status? "Sitting on this privileged shelf in a bookshop confers a lot of kudos, but close examination leaves you wondering why."

Ian McEwan's literary archive has been bought by the University of Texas. The archive includes abandoned stories, letters from other writers, early novel drafts and seventeen years worth of emails! "This acquisition represents a rare opportunity to share the work of a living, internationally-acclaimed author whose works are of strong interest to readers everywhere."

How do university presses fit into the world of publishing? With many currently existing on the edge, "a crucial question faces university presses and the universities themselves: Who will pay for the dissemination of scholarship?"

Why does every book about Africa have the same cover? A current survey has found that practically all feature "an acacia tree, an orange sunset over the veld, or both." In short, "the covers of most novels 'about Africa' seem to have been designed by someone whose principal idea of the continent comes from The Lion King."

The internet may make the dissemination of writing easier, but according to George R.R. Martin, author of the Game of Thrones series, it's far too distracting to get any work done. That's why he uses a "secret weapon": a DOS machine not connected to the Internet, with the veritably ancient WordStar 4.0 as his word processor.

On the other hand, all this new-fangled technology may indeed have its uses! Here are some reasons why the iPhone just might be saving literature:

Amazon is currently engaged in a "bitter publishing war" and Malcolm Gladwell, Stephen Colbert and J.D. Salinger are just a few of its victims. "Publishers say the bookseller, whose shares have tumbled 25 percent this year as investors itch for profits, is determined to squeeze as much margin out of its suppliers as possible."

Meanwhile, in the UK, a Member of Parliament is trying to organize a boycott against the internet book giant. Amazon currently pays only £4.2m in taxes. "Margaret Hodge says consumer action forced Starbucks to pay tax in UK and could persuade Amazon to follow suit."

British novelist Linda Grant has done something truly terrible. "I have killed my books," she says! "Books have always been Linda Grant's friends; they made her the writer she is. So why did she decide to murder her library?"

Where do conscientious objectors fit in war literature? "There are many references to conscience: to soldiers who signed up but later doubted the rightness of the cause and to deserters, to those who were, by our standards, wrongly accused of cowardice. But references to actual conchies, as they were (not always affectionately) known, are thin on the ground."

The Chicago Public Library has a new addition to its collection: robots! "Thanks to a donation of 500 Finch Robots, which help users learn the basics of computer coding, from Google Chicago, adult patrons of Chicago Public Libraries can now check out a robot at six different CPL locations."

Are you looking for the latest writing by Jonathan Safran Foer, Malcolm Gladwell, Toni Morrison, George Saunders and Michael Lewis? Then you better head over to your neighbourhood Chipotle restaurant, because their work is now being featured on their cups and takeout bags. Or you can just check them out here:

Hong Kong publisher Yao Wentian has been sentenced to ten years in prison for "smuggling prohibited items." The trial and conviction appear to be politically motivated. "At the time of his arrest he was preparing to publish a book by U.S.-based dissident writer Yu Jie entitled Chinese Godfather Xi Jinping." Read more and take action, here:

Junot Díaz's condemnation of creative writing programs for their "unbearable too-whiteness" has been taken up by Aminatta Forna and Daljit Nagra (among other authors). Diaz's goal has been to create a space "where our contributions were not an adjunct to Literature but its core."


Downtown Eastside poet and activist Bud Osborn passed away on May 6th. He wrote his poem '1,000 Crosses in Oppenheimer Park' to commemorate a protest that highlighted the health crisis occurring in his neighbourhood. Here's a chance to see and hear him read that poem:

Do you consider yourself a prankster, hacker or mischief-maker? Then you might enjoy Kembrew McLeod's new book, Pranksters: Making Mischief in the Modern World. It tells the story of four centuries of mischief, and features appearances from Jonathan Swift, Benjamin Franklin, the Merry Pranksters, and Steve Jobs, among others.

To prepare for his upcoming third novel, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, Joshua Ferris and his editor Reagan Arthur "emailed about how nervous he gets to let her into the room, about the 200 pages lost from the novel, and about learning the work practices of his dentist hero from YouTube videos." They discuss their working process, here:

"We're all open books now. Literally," says Montreal writer Arjun Basu, discussing the "brave new world of social media and the role it plays in his new novel." His latest book is called Waiting for the Man.

A story called 'A Noise in the World" is being featured in this month's Geist Magazine. You can read M.A.C. Farrant's tale online, here:

Philip Roth is quitting public life. "I set out upon the great task of doing nothing...I'll do my best to stay alive 'til 2020, but don't push me. Now that I don't write, I just want to chatter away. Bye, bye."

J.R.R. Tolkien's translation of Beowulf has finally been published. He completed a prose translation in 1926, despite skepticism that turning the poem into modern "plain prose" could be "abuse."


Hear riveting stories from the heart of the Vancouver Sikh experience as author Sadhu Binning reads from his new book. Thursday, May 22 at 7:00pm, free. Alma VanDusen room, lower level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street. More information at

George Bowering discuses his memoir Pinboy. Thursday, May 22 at 7:00pm. Christianne's Lyceum. 3696 W. 8th Ave. $20 (includes refreshments). To reserve your space call 604.733.1356 or email More information at

Features Linda King and Sue Cormier with open mic. Thursday, May 22, 7–9:30pm, at The Cottage Bistro, 4468 Main Street, Vancouver. Suggested donation at the door: $5. Sign up for open mic at 7pm. More information at

Three days of professional local, national and international performing and visual artists. May 22-24, 2014. Surrey Arts Centre and Bear Creek Park. More information at

Local author signs his debut novel The Killer Trail. Friday, May 23 at 4:00pm. Black Bond Books, Haney PLace Mall, Maple Ridge. More information at

Join authors Trevor Clark, C.P. Boyko, Andrea Routley and Brett Josef Grubisic as they share from new works that explore the strange geographies of the human condition. Saturday, May 24 at 1:00pm, free. Alice MacKay room, lower level, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia Street. More information at 604-331-3603.

Author introduces her latest book, Raging Star, the much-anticipated, thrilling conclusion to the Dust Lands trilogy. Saturday, May 24 at 2:00pm. Chapters Metrotown, 4700 Kingsway, Burnaby. More information at 604-431-0463.

Reading by poets Russell Thornton, Susan McCaslin, and Lee Johnson. Sunday, May 25 at 3:00pm. Renaissance Bookstore, 43 Sixth Street, New Westminster. More information at

An evening of poetry, music and dance featuring poets Jude Neale and Daniela Elza, musicians Jared Burrows (Guitar), Clyde Reed (Bass) and Chris Corrigan (Celtic Flute) and dance by Su-Lin Tseng. Sunday, May 25th, 7pm, Presentation House Gallery, 333 Chesterfield Ave., North Vancouver. Tickets $20.

Author reads from her new novel High Clear Bell of Morning. Tuesday, May 27 at 7:00pm, free. Bolen Books, 111-1644 Hillside Ave., Victoria. For more information, visit

Join author Chris Hutchinson for the launching of his new book, Jonas in Frames, a collection of poetry disguised as a novel. Wednesday, May 28 at 7:00pm, free. People's Co-op Bookstore, 1391 Commercial Drive.

A gripping historical thriller told by former geologist and gold prospector Michael Maser. Wednesday, May 28 at 7:00pm. Welsh Hall West, West Vancouver Memorial Library, 1950 Marine Drive, West Vancouver. More information at 604-925-7403.

Sample new and forthcoming work from Brett Josef Grubisic, Janine Alyson Young, Grant Buday, Chelsea Rooney, and hosted by Dina Del Bucchia. Wednesday, May 28 at 8:00pm, free. Cottage Bistro, 4468 Main Street, Vancouver. More information at

George Bowering reads from bill bissetts's groundbreaking body of work in prose and poetry. Thursday, May 29 at 6:30pm, free. The Reach Gallery Museum, 32388 Veterans Way, Abbotsford. More information at 604-864-8087.


Author reads from her new poetry collection, Bonsai Love. Sunday, June 1 at 3:00pm. The Heritage Grill, 447 Columbia Street, New Westminster.

Meet the author of the teen series Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising. Friday, June 6 at 1:00pm. Cloverdale Library, 5642 - 176A Street, Surrey. More information at

Author presents her latest book, The Cougar: Beautiful, Wild and Dangerous. Saturday, June 7 at 7:00pm, free. Village Books, 1200 11th Street, Bellingham. More information at

The winner and finalist for the 2014 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize read from their nominated works. The evening will be hosted by Heidi Greco, Surrey's 2012 Resident Poet. Monday, June 9 at 7:00pm, free. Alice MacKay room, lower level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street. More information at

Featuring Billeh Nickerson and Heather Haley. Wednesday, June 18 at 12:00 noon, free. Teck Gallery in SFU's Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver. More information at

A Proclamation and Reading honoring Jean Barman, B.C.'s most active historian, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, as the 21s recipient of the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award. Thursday, June 19 at 7:00pm, free. Alice MacKay room, lower level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street. More information at

Features Portuguese novel The True Actor (O verdadeiro ator) by Jacinto Lucas Pires. Saturday, June 21 at 4:00pm. Free but register at Istituto Italiano di Cultura, 500-510 West Hastings Street, Vancouver. More information at

Readings by poets Lee Johnson and Susan McCaslin. Tuesday, June 24 at 7:00pm, free. Peter Kaye room, lower level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street. More information at

The Painting is the second book in the Detective Kelly O'Brian series by Geoffrey Tigg. Wednesday, June 25 at 7:00pm. Welsh Hall West, West Vancouver Memorial Library, 1950 Marine Drive, West Vancouver. More information at

No comments:

Post a Comment