Looking for a special gift for the book-lovers on your list? Look no further! The VWF has gift ideas to bring joy to readers of all persuasions, from gift certificates to memberships.
AWARDS & LISTS
The 2015 International Impac Dublin literary award's 142-book longlist has been announced. JK Rowling's alter ego made the cut, as did 49 novels in translation, nominated by libraries in 114 cities and 39 countries. But some think the prize is still not as international as it should be.
Which famous literary character "stands up for things" and is "not afraid of going to the top and giving them a hard stare?" You'll never guess who it is...Paddington Bear! Michael Bond, author of the Paddington stories is interviewed, here,
Sarah Ellis' Outside In is "a wonderful, unique story about love and beauty." She recently appeared at the Writers Fest to discuss her new book, but if you didn't get the chance to see her, here's The Globe and Mail's review.
NEWS & FEATURES
Mark Strand, former US Poet Laureate, died this week. "Death was arguably Strand's great theme—few poets have written more acutely or more movingly about the chasm at the end of life."
While he may have been known for works that plumbed the depths of America, Mark Strand's background was actually very international. In fact, he was born in Canada.
Speaking of all things international, China has banned wordplay in an "attempt at pun control." Chinese officials claim that "casual alteration of idioms risks nothing less than ‘cultural and linguistic chaos', despite their common usage."
A Christmas campaign to boycott Amazon is underway. A group called Amazon Anonymous is claiming that Amazon doesn't pay their workers a living wage, takes money from local businesses, and avoids taxes. They have worked with Ethical Consumer magazine to provide a guide to alternative retailers for those pledging to boycott Amazon.
Are book publishers blockbustering themselves into oblivion? "Several recent acquisitions by big American publishing houses, mostly for debut novels, [have] involved payouts of more than $1-million. That's right–debut novels."
Here's a new way to look at the Russian literary canon: through an infographic of misery! As Tolstoy wrote, "every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
A new survey claims that readers prefer authors of their own sex. Despite 2014 being dubbed as "the year of reading women," male authors still accounted for 90% of men's 50 most-read titles this year.
And on that note, can you actually distinguish between prose written by a man or woman? Here's a quiz to find out.
BOOKS & WRITERS
What were the best books of 2014? Here are recommendations from many different writers, including Margaret Atwood, Naomi Klein and the Writers Fest's own Eimear McBride.
Another group of writers set out to answer that question too! This particular batch includes suggestions by Writers Fest author Colm Tóibín and Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie.
Slate has also released its best-of list. Columnists, editors and bloggers pick their favourite books of 2014.
Last but not least, here's President Obama's indie bookstore haul! "To celebrate Small Business Saturday, President Obama and his daughters went to Politics & Prose and bought 17 books."
What's the greatest advice author Sarah Waters ever received? "It's the re-writing that counts."
Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist, has been lauded for writing a book that contains "strong women." "I was not conscious of having a strong female lead, it just came naturally," she says. "Very few male novelists get asked: 'You've put some really strong males in your book, why is that?' Or: 'You've got a lot of men in your book'."
Fairy tales might be "tales as old as time," but they have a history too! Maria Warner's Once Upon a Time explains just that.
Claudia Rankin's new book of poetry, Citizen: An American Lyric, "has achieved something that eludes much modern poetry: urgency," featuring references to Trayvon Martin and stop-and-frisk policies, among other things. It was also a finalist for this year's National Book Award in poetry.
THE ACTIVE FICTION PROJECT
A real life "choose your own adventure" walking tour, where public space meets literary fiction with (very) short stories that are 'hidden' in public spaces for readers to discover as they walk through the neighborhood. Starting point: Go to Main & 28th and look around the planters outside the art shop. On now through December 7. More information at the following: web: activefictionproject.com; twitter: @activefic; facebook: facebook.com/activefictionproject.
Readings featuring Helen Guri, visiting from Toronto, and great local poets Gillian Jerome, Alex Leslie and Cecily Nicholson. Thursday, December 4 at 7:00pm. People's Co-Op Bookstore, 1391 Commercial Drive, Vancouver.
WRITER'S STUDIO READING SERIES
Readings by Margreet Dietz, Nilofar Shidmehr, Laura Cuthbert, Bruce Rice, Nikki Hillman, Karen J Lee, Patrik Sampler, and George K. Ilsley. Thursday, December 4 a 8:00pm. Cottage Bistro, 4470 Main Street, Vancouver. More information at email@example.com.
USED BOOK CHRISTMAS SALE
Looking for a special gift for someone on your holiday shopping list? Browse a great selection of gently used children's and adult books, CDs and DVDs. December 4-6, 2014 from 10am to 5pm. Central Branch, 350 W. Georgia St., Vancouver. More information at vpl.ca.
An exhibition showcasing some of the finest book designs in Canada in appreciation of beautifully produced books. December 5 to January 21. Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall, UBC.
Author signs her new book Looking Back at Maple Ridge. Friday, December 5 at 1:00pm. Black Bond Books, Haney Place Mall, Maple Ridge. More information at 604-463-8624.
Author will be reading from The Disarmed Heart at the Planet Earth Poetry Series with Dvora Levin, Hillside Coffee and Tea, 1633 Hillside, Victoria, B.C., Friday Dec. 5, 2014, 7:30-9 pm.
Author will sign copies of his newest book Cardboard Ocean. Saturday, December 6 at 11:00am. Coles Bookstore, Seven Oaks Mall, Abbotsford.
CRIME WRITERS PANEL
Three local authors explain what goes into writing believable murder mysteries and thrillers, and answer all the questions that you're just dying to ask. Saturday, December 6 at 2:00pm, registration appreciated. Terry Fox Library.
POETIC JUSTICE READING SERIES
Debut poets Elaine Woo and Kayla Czaga present their new books. Sunday, December 7 at 3:00pm. The Heritage Grill, 447 Columbia St., New Westminster. More information at poeticjustice.ca.
Author of Sensational Vancouver will be in store promoting this gorgeous local history book. Monday, December 8 at 7:00pm. People's Co-op Bookstore, 1391 Commercial Drive, Vancouver.
Coast Salish and Dene storyteller Rosemary Georgeson explores cross-cultural connections between First Nation and non-First Nation cultures. Tuesday, December 9 at 7:00pm. West Point Grey branch, 4480 10th Ave. W. More information at 604-665-3982.
A WINTER SOLSTICE CELEBRATION WITH POETRY AND MUSIC
Celebrate the solstice with local poets and musicians at a fundraiser for kids in need. Features Evelyn Lau, Christopher Levenson, Bonnie Nish, Rob Taylor, Diane Tucker, Fiona Tinwei Lam, and musical performers Fraser Union, Christina Kent, Samuel Louis, and Bob Walker. Wednesday, December 10, 7-9:30pm, at The Cottage Bistro, 4468 Main Street, Vancouver.
THE CORPSE WITH THE PLATINUM HAIR
Author Cathy Ace signs her latest mystery novel. Saturday, December 13 at 1:00pm. Black Bond Books, Haney Place Mall, Maple Ridge. More information at 604-463-8624.
Join singer-songwriter as she reads from her newest children's book, Music is for Everyone! Sunday, December 14 at 2:00pm. Alice MacKay room, lower level, Central Branch, 350 W. Georgia St., Vancouver. More informatin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WINNING THE WAR
Author Mark Zuehlke offers an insightful, informative journey back to February and March 1945 when our nation's soldiers launched one of the Second World War's most important offensives in his new book Forgotten Victory: First
Canadian Army and the Cruel Winter of 1944-45. Tuesday, December 16 at 7:00pm. Alice MacKay room, lower level, Central Branch, 350 W. Georgia St., Vancouver. More information at vpl.ca.
LUNCH POEMS AT SFU
Jacqueline Turner and Changming Yuan are the featured poets. Wednesday, December 17 at 12:00 noon, free. SFU Harbour Centre's Teck Gallery, 515 W Hastings St. For more information visit www.sfu.ca/publicsquare/lunchpoems.
local debut author Kristi Charish launches her new book Owl and the Japanese Circus. Monday, January 19 at 7:00pm. Central branch, 350 W. Georgia Street, Vancouver. More information at 604-331-3603.
SOME SORT OF LIFE
Naomi Waken, Nanaimo's first Poet Laureate, shares her latest novel, Some Sort of Life. Wednesday, January 28 at 7:00pm. Welsh Hall, West Vancouver Memorial Library.