Book News Vol. 3 No. 20


Arthur C. Clarke, author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, has died at the age of 90.

Canada’s largest independent bookstore, McNally Robinson, is closing its store in downtown Calgary on August 1st due to high cost of real estate.

Calgarian councillors are at odds over whether or not to introduce a poet laureate position as Edmonton, Toronto, and Vancouver have already done.

Libraries are popping up all over Columbia and last year Bogotá was declared the World Book Capital by Unesco. This article in the Guardian discusses the Columbian peoples’ love of literature.,,2266620,00.html

Fantasy fiction author Terry Pratchett was diagnosed with a rare form of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease last year and has just donated the equivalent of $1M Canadian to research. In this article Pratchett admits that although he has seen photos of what’s happening to his brain, it’s actually quite hard to tell if he has dementia or not.,,2266270,00.html

If you ever find yourself procrastinating while at your computer (not likely, but just in case), check out this website where you can test your vocabulary and donate food through the UN World Food Program at the same time.


Two Canadians, Nancy Huston and Heather O’Neill, along with several first time authors, are on the longlist for this year’s Orange Broadband Prize for literature.,,2266167,00.html

Canadian writers Lawrence Hill and C.S. Richardson are regional winners for the Commonwealth Writers Prize.


Paul Quarrington, whose novel King Leary recently won CBC’s Canada Reads, has a new book out titled The Ravine, which he admits is semi-autobiographical.

Quill & Quire says Mark Anthony Jarman’s latest collection of short stories, My White Planet, displays an author who is positively word drunk, and that’s a good thing.

The Globe & Mail writes that the protagonists of both Sylvain Trudel’s Mercury Under My Tongue and Hélène Dorion’s Days of Sand try to come to terms with life, death, and illness, but in very different ways.

As is often the case with reviews of anthologies, this critic questions the editor’s selections and omissions in The Best American Erotic Poems.

The English version of the novel that won the inaugural Man Asian Literary Prize, Wolf Totem, the story of a Chinese student living in Mongolia during the Cultural Revolution, will be released in North America at month’s end.
Read a review of Wolf Totem here:

Jhumpa Lahiri, author of the Interpreter of Maladies and The Namesake, has a new collection of stories titled Unaccustomed Earth. In this interview with the Atlantic Monthly, she talks about why she doesn’t write criticism and why her characters are always on the move.

Booker Prize winner Anne Enright tells the Guardian that fiction matters, and that stories might even have the power to change the world.,,2265486,00.html

Even though Nobel Laureate V.S Naipaul authorized his forthcoming biography written by Patrick French, he doesn’t intend to read it. You can read an extensive interview with Naipaul here:,,2265761,00.html


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:

Reading by Montreal novelist (A Fine Ending) and small-press organizer. Part of the Open Text Reading Series. Tuesday, March 25 at 12:30pm. Library 321, Capilano College (2055 Purcell Way, North Vancouver). More info:

World-renowned archaeologist Brian Fagan and author of The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations presents an illustrated public talk that explores the science of modern archaeology and highlights some of the important global issues of climate change and heritage conservation that archaeologists face today in our modern world. Wednesday, March 26 at 8:00pm, free. Alice McKay Room, VPL, 350 West Georgia Street. Info:

Vancouver historian Rex Weyler will read from his book The Jesus Sayings and discuss the modern search for a historically accurate Jesus. Book signing to follow. Thursday, March 27 at 7:00pm. Chapters (Broadway & Granville, Vancouver). Info:

The author of An Enchantment of Birds presents a talk on bird populations, and how they provide a powerful indicator of current and future changes. Thursday, March 27 at 7:30pm, free. Alice MacKay Room, Lower Level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street. For more information, please contact the VPL at 604-331-3603. Sponsored by Vancouver Natural History Society,

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 event is co-presented by the UBC Creative Writing Program and the Arnold and Nancy Cliff Writers in Residence Program. Friday, March 28 at 6:00pm; free, drop-ins welcome. UBC Robson Square (800 Robson St.). Info: 604.822.5812.

The Capilano Review announces the launch of the Collaborations Issue 3.4. Hear poets Ted Byrne, Larissa Lai and Rita Wong; see and hear an excerpt from the recording of Hadley+Maxwell and Stefan Smulovitz’s “(The Rest Is Missing)” with Turning Point Ensemble; and hear live performances of song room pieces “unselected works” by Viviane Houle, Stefan Smulovitz, Andrew Klobucar; “Occupying Army” by Vanessa Richards, John Korsrud, Chris Derksen; and more. Friday, March 28 at 7:30pm. Tickets: $5. Western Front, 303 8th Avenue East, Vancouver. Info: (604) 876-9343.

Readings by Eileen Cook (Unpredictable) and Robert Wiersema (Before I Wake). Sunday, March 30 at 7:00pm. Book Warehouse Downtown (552 Seymour Street). Info:


Reading by the author of Tamarind Mem, The Hero’s Walk and Can You Hear the Nightbird Call. Tuesday, April 1 at 12:30pm, free. Refreshments will be served. Special Collections, room 7100, WAC Bennett Library, SFU (8888 University Drive). Info: 778.782.6676 or

Celebrate National Poetry Month with the launch of Vancouver author and member of the ‘vertigo west’ literary collective Jen Currin, as she launches her second book, Hagiography, a collection of surrealist urban fairy tales. Tuesday, April 1 at 7:00pm. The Railway Club, 579 Dunsmuir Street. Info:

Book designer and publisher of The Porcupine’s Quill Press recalls life in the Ontario small press world of the last 30 years. Thursday, April 3 at 7:00pm, free. Reservations: aw****@al***********.com or (604) 732-5403. Vancouver Museum (1100 Chestnut Street). Co-sponsored by The Alcuin Society and The Vancouver Museum. For more information see

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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2008 Festival – 21-26 October inclusive
Vancouver International Writers Festival
Suite 202, 1398 Cartwright Street
Vancouver, BC V6H 3R8
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