Book News Vol. 3 No. 19


A Book News reader sent us an email that introduced us to a web site called Library Thing. A full description of what the site is about would take paragraphs, but let’s just say you can list the books in your actual home library, into a virtual library and compare yours with millions of others around the world.

The City Opera of Vancouver has revealed plans to produce an opera based on the life of E. Pauline Johnson, the libretto for which was written by Margaret Atwood.

According to a recent study, the Canadian publishing industry is leading the way in the implementation of forest-friendly book production.

New York is where the book publishers are, but apparently Seattle is where America’s reading list is defined.

The author of this article finds reading a novel on Amazon’s e-reader, the Kindle, similar to reading a traditional book. So what exactly does this mean for the world of paperbacks?

In the wake of the publication, and subsequent discontinuation, of two fraudulent memoirs, the Tyee’s John Dolan attempts to explain why we fall for these literary shams.

J.K. Rowling and Warner Brothers have taken out a court injunction to prevent the publication of a Harry Potter Lexicon based on a popular web site that has been recognized by Rowling herself as one of the most useful and accurate Potter fan sites on the internet.,,2264094,00.html


Judith Thompson has become the first Canadian to win the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for playwriting in the award’s 30-year history. Thompson’s play, Palace of the End, examines the effects of the Iraq war.

Kate Christensen has won the PEN/Faulkner Award for her satirical novel The Great Man.

Egyptian author Baha Taher has won the inaugural International Prize for Arabic Fiction, launched in association with the Booker Prize Foundation.,,2264158,00.html

Junot Diaz, a profile of whom we included in last week’s Book News, has been awarded the National Book Critics Award for fiction. Winners in the non-fiction and poetry categories are included in this article.

And lastly, the Galaxy British Book Awards shortlists have been announced.,,2264999,00.html


Poet and essayist Christopher Dewdney’s preoccupation with time is the subject of his latest book Soul of the World: Unlocking the Secrets of Time.

As Zimbabwe’s presidential and parliamentary elections approach, Alexandra Fuller recommends the work of three authors as a way to gain insight into the country’s psyche.

Elizabeth Abbott’s new book Sugar: A Bittersweet History, examines how sugar’s rise in popularity changed the world.

Newfoundland poet Randall Maggs’s collection of narrative poems, Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems, is based on the life of legendary NHL goaltender Terry Sawchuk and reads like an “exquisite biographical novel.”

Dede Crane calls Sandra Gulland’s latest novel Mistress of the Sun a fine escape with a galloping plot.

Martin Amis discusses the controversial comments he made about the Muslim community in a 2006 interview and attempts to clarify his views.

Marina Lewycka, the author of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, explains why she is driven to write in this interview with the Guardian.,,2264498,00.html


A fast-paced tour of Vancouver’s finest Celtic pubs gets an added blast of fun and frolic when it’s combined with the ultimate literary experience: a head-to-head poetry face-off featuring the most famous Celtic writers. Thursday, March 13 at 5:30; crawl is free, finale event is $5 at the door. Crawl starts at Doolin’s Irish Pub (654 Nelson Street). Complete info:

On Edge Reading Series presents a reading by Roy Miki, author of There and Surrender. Thursday, March 13 at 5:30pm, free. Room 406, south building, Emily Carr Institute (1399 Johnston Street). Info:

Join Arsenal Pulp Press and Little Sister’s for a reading from First Person Queer: Who We Are (So Far) edited by Richard Labonte and Lawrence Schimel. Hosted by editor Richard Labonte with readings by Vancouver contributors: Mette Bach, Daniel Gawthrop, George K. Ilsley, Gayle Roberts and Jeff Rotin. Thursday, March 13 at 7:00pm, free. Little Sister’s Bookstore (1238 Davie Street). For more information contact 604.687.4233.

The Ikon Speaker Series presents Gwynne Dyer who will discuss his latest book The Mess They Made: The Middle East After Iraq. Friday, March 14 at 7:00pm. Tickets $20/$15. Kay Meek Centre, 1700 West Vancouver. More info:

Midnight Bridge is poet Murray Reiss and singer-songwriter Phil Vernon. Together they layer original songs and poems into a “folkenword” performance that’s poignant, thought-provoking and hilarious. Funds raised will support an HIV/AIDS education project in Kenya coordinated by Tuendelee Mbele EPZ Workers Welfare. Saturday, March 22 at 8pm. Rhizome Café, 317 East Broadway. More information:


Join celebrated author Miriam Toews who will read from her Governor General’s Literary Award-winning novel A Complicated Kindness (Knopf, 2004), and preview her upcoming novel, The Flying Troutmans (Knopf, October 2008). Part of UBC’s Centenary Celebrations, this Friday night artsWednesday event is co-presented by the UBC Creative Writing Program and the Arnold and Nancy Cliff Writers in Residence Program. Friday, March 28 at 6pm; free, drop-ins welcome. UBC Robson Square (800 Robson St.). Info: 604.822.5812.

PEN Canada presents Afua Cooper, Jalal Barzanji, Sheng Xue and Hadani Ditmars – authors who write about local and global political issues. Saturday, April 5 at 7:30pm. Ticket Price $10 (suggested admission). The Firehall Arts Centre (280 East Cordova St.). Advance Tickets (604) 689.0926.

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Produced by the Book News Collective: Hal Wake, Clea Young, Brenda Berck, Ann McDonell, and Sandra Millard.

Hal Wake
Artistic Director
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Vancouver International Writers Festival
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