Book News Vol. 3 No. 22



Words Without Borders
PEN Canada in partnership with the Vancouver International Writers Festival presents Joanne Arnott, Jalal Barzanji, Hadani Ditmars and Sheng Xue – 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. More information at

Extraordinary Canadians
The Vancouver International Writers Festival and Penguin Books Canada present a special event with award winner David Adams Richards, historian and author Charlotte Gray, and acclaimed novelist Lewis DeSoto on Thursday, April 17 at 7:30pm. This event is part of the launch of Penguin Canada’s new Extraordinary Canadians commissioned set of biographies of great Canadians by leading Canadian writers. For more information, visit

Barbara Kingsolver
The Vancouver International Writers Festival and HarperCollinsCanada Ltd. present the bestselling author of The Poisonwood Bible and The Bean Trees who will talk about her new non-fiction book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life on Thursday, May 29 at 7:30pm. For more information, visit

Simon Winchester
The Vancouver International Writers Festival and HarperCollinsCanada Ltd. present the bestselling author of A Crack in the Edge of the World and The Professor and the Madman who will read from his new book, The Man Who Loved China: Joseph Needham and the Making of a Masterpiece on Friday, May 30 at 7:30pm. Complete details can be found here:


April is National Poetry Month so we’re starting things off with a grab bag of all things poetic.

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins comes to YouTube. Watch the animated version of his poem Forgetfulness here:

The Globe & Mail reviews new collections by Daphne Marlatt and Alison Pick.

Check out the shortlists for two annual Canadian poetry prizes.

And here is a great website to designate as your homepage. Poetry Daily will introduce you to a new poet each morning when you open your browser.


Montreal author Rawi Hage’s novel De Niro’s Game is on the short list for the 2008 IMPAC Dublin Award. Find out who his competition is here:

Anna Porter and Lawrence Hill are two of the authors who have received awards from the Writers’ Trust of Canada.

Kathleen Winter has won Newfoundland and Labrador’s richest literary prize for her collection of thematically linked stories titled boYs.

Funny guys Douglas Coupland and Will Ferguson are among those nominated for this year’s Stephen Leacock Memorial Award for Humour.

Lloyd Jones and Julia Whitty are this year’s winners of the 12th annual Kiriyama Prize for literature that promotes greater understanding of the people of the Pacific Rim and South Asia.

And finally, to mark its 15th anniversary, the Scotiabank Giller Prize has increased its prize.


The New York Times calls Lorna Goodison’s book, From Harvey River: A Memoir of My Mother and Her Island, set in Kingston and other parts of Jamaica, a captivating read.

In Sharon Butala’s latest book, The Girl in Saskatoon: A Meditation on Memory and Murder, she repaints the portrait of a vanished girl with whom she attended high school and whose unsolved murder still haunts Saskatoon.

Craig Boyko has just been awarded the 2007 Journey Prize for his short story OZY. The story, along with 10 others, appears in his debut collection Blackouts reviewed here in the Globe & Mail.

Zoë Whittall recommends Maya Merrick’s new novel The Hole Show “if you like your plots twisting, your characters unpredictable and your sentences even more so.”

The Globe and Mail calls Charles Baxter’s new novel The Soul Thief, about an extreme case of identity theft, both “eerie and elegant.”

The New York Times writes that Jeanette Winterson’s new novel, The Stone Gods, is “scary, beautiful, witty and wistful by turns, dipping into the known past as it explores potential futures.”

Slate Magazine writes that in her new collection of short stories, Unaccustomed Earth, Jhumpa Lahiri captures “a restless feeling of uprootedness that is as representative of America now.”

Ursula K. Le Guin reviews Salman Rushdie’s latest mixture of history and fable, The Enchantress of Florence.,,2268950,00.html

The Globe & Mail writes that Joseph Kertes new novel Gratitude, set in German-occupied Hungary during the final months of WWII, “is as rich in picturesque detail as it is in its spellbinding faith of man’s ultimate humanity.”

Linda Grant makes it clear that her novels are not autobiographical, and explains why it isn’t the job of fiction writers to turn their lives, or the lives of their friends and families, into books: “because it reduces the imagination to material for journalism; it takes an axe to fiction.”,,2270329,00.html

Poets & Writers interviewed Grace Paley at her home about a year before her death. In the interview she talks about being an activist and making the switch from writing poetry to writing fiction.


Readings by Maureen Medved (The Tracey Fragments), Teresa McWhirter (Dirtbags) and Sachiko Murakami (The Invisibility Exhibit). Thursday, April 3 at 7:00pm, free. UBC Bookstore Robson Square (Plaza Level, 800 Robson Street).

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

Poetry readings by the author of At the Mercy Seat and Lifting the Stone. Friday, April 4 at 6:30pm. The Wired Monk (2610 4th Ave. W., Vancouver). More info:

American poet and translator reads from his most recent collection, The Insanity of Empire. Friday, April 4 at 7:30pm. Tickets: $18. Unitarian Church, 949 49th Ave. W., Vancouver. Information and tickets: Banyen Books at 604.732.7912.

The Dali Lama Center hosts an evening with the author of books such as Emotional Intelligence. Friday, April 4 at 8:00pm. Tickets $30/25. Chan Centre for the Performing Arts (6265 Crescent Rd., UBC). More information at

Join San Francisco author, lecturer, and blogger Kevin Smokler and Vancouver’s Michelle Hoar, business director of, as they consider the potential of technology and the arts working in tandem. Saturday, April 5 at 1pm. Tickets: $20. SFU Vancouver. More information at pu******@sf*.ca.

All five authors on the shortlist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize – Mary Novik, Shaena Lambert, David Chariandy, Heather Burt and Claire Mulligan – will chat with Gail Anderson-Dargatz on her forum, Sunday, April 6, 10:00am to 1:00pm PDT. Note that if you intend to chat with the authors, you will have to register a day or two before the event, to allow time for your account to be activated. Complete info:

Saskatoon poet Elizabeth Phillips reads from her various published collections. Wednesday, April 9 at 7:00pm, free. Community Arts Council of White Rock & District Gallery (90-1959 152nd St., Surrey). More information at

Rodger Cove from the Vancouver Film School speaks on the subjects of Canadian screenwriting and the advent of new media during the Canadian Authors Association Meeting. Wednesday, April 9 at 7:00pm. Tickets free for members, otherwise $5/2. Alliance for the Arts (938 Howe).

B.C. born author reads Gillian Wigmore selected poems from her book Soft Geography. Also reading is Canadian poet Susan McCaslin. Thursday, April 10 at 6:30pm, free. UBC Bookstore Robson Square (Plaza Level, 800 Robson Street).

Canadian author Joy Kogawa reads from her latest book, Naomi’s Tree. Thursday, April 10 at 7:00pm. Tickets: $5. Kidsbooks (3083 W Broadway). More information at ev****@ki*******.ca.

Thousands of books on sale each day. April 10-13. Alice MacKay room, lower level, Central Library (350 W. Georgia St.). Complete info:


The CBC Radio Studio One Book Club is springing back into action on Monday, April 14 with the debut novel of one of the 2008 New Faces of Fiction, Padma Viswanathan. The Toss of a Lemon is based on family stories her grandmother told her. It’s an evocative tale of a young Brahmin bride widowed with two children at the age of 18, with the private turmoil of family immersed in the upheaval of India’s intense social and political transformation. Join the conversation with Sheryl MacKay, special co-host Jen Sookfong Lee and Padma Viswanathan! To enter to win tickets, go to

Back for its ninth spectacular year, 2008’s North Shore Writers Festival will bring some of Canada’s brightest literary stars to our local libraries, including William Deverell (Kill All the Judges) and Sandra Gulland (Mistress of the Sun). The Festival runs April 19 – 26 at the North Vancouver District Public Library, North Vancouver City Library, and the West Vancouver Memorial Library. From humour to French history to medical thrillers to great non-fiction, there is truly something for everyone at this fabulous Festival. Info:

Aboriginal author Lee Maracle, Vancouver poet laureate George McWhirter, and Giller Prize- and Governor General’s Award-nominee David Chariandy are among the literary stars lined up to mark the 8th Annual BC Book & Magazine Week, April 19 – 26. Complete details:

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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
p: 604 681 6330 x102
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