Book News Vol. 3 No. 26



Single malt aficionados take note: A Dram Come True
The Vancouver International Writers Festival presents its sixth annual single malt scotch whisky sampling on June 6. Tickets on sale now!

Donate your air miles to bring authors to the 2008 Festival!
Last year’s campaign for air miles was a great success and we are once again inviting you to donate your idle miles to help us bring authors to the 2008 Festival. Thanks to your donations in 2007 we were able to bring Alistair MacLeod and Richard Siken to Vancouver. We were also able to partially fund trips for three other authors. For more information and to download the donation form, visit our website.

Madeleine Thien transports us to a rooftop in Kampot, Cambodia in this week’s installment of Writers’ Rooms.

Vancouver’s first poet laureate George McWhirter has launched a website, just one of many projects aimed at raising the status of poetry in the everyday consciousness of Vancouverites.

Conservative senator Nancy Ruth has been identified as the anonymous donor who helped save the childhood home of author Joy Kogawa.

Vladimir Nabokov’s son has decided to publish his father’s final, incomplete novel, The Original of Laura.

Award-winning playwright Yasmina Reza’s account of the year she spent documenting French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s campaign has been translated into English as Dawn Dusk or Night.

Iran’s culture minister has advised authors who want to see their work published in Iran to censor it according the country’s “religious, moral, and national sensitivities.”

Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Irshad Manji are critics of “mainstream Islam,” yet each woman’s approach is strikingly different, writes the NY Times.

David Sedaris tells the tale of his first and last cigarette in the New Yorker. Incidentally, he bought his first pack in Vancouver.


The winners of the BC Book Prizes have been announced!

The shortlists for the Canada’s National Magazine Awards can been found here:

Louise Penny is among the nominees for Canada’s crime-writing honours for her novel The Cruellest Month.

Self-published author Terry Fallis has won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humor for his novel The Best Laid Plans.

Poet Gary Snyder, who began writing in the 1950s as a member of the beat movement, has been awarded America’s richest poetry prize.

Graham Robb has won the 2008 Ondaatje Prize for his book The Discovery of France, the research for which involved cycling through 14,000 miles of French countryside.,,2276818,00.html


The reviews are coming in for André Alexis’s latest novel Asylum. Read two of them here:

In Lavinia, Ursula K. Le Guin’s new novel, she gives a rich fictional life to a character not even granted a speaking role in Virgil’s ‘The Aeneid’.

A horrifying act of racism is at the core of Louise Erdrich’s new novel The Plague of Doves. Read Michiko Kakutani’s review in the NY Times.

Writer and musician Paul Quarrington talks with the Globe & Mail about his latest novel The Ravine and his newly released CD with his band The Porkbelly Futures.

The New York Review of Books calls Peter Matthiessen’s Shadow Country: A New Rendering of the Watson Legend, a recension of three novels into one 900-page epic, a “bravura performance.”

Michael Chabon looks in depth at the life and work of Richard Price and, like most critics so far, speaks favourably about his latest novel Lush Life.

The New York Review of Books writes that Jumpa Lahiri’s stories have “grace and poignancy and for someone so young they show an unusual, appealingly unshowy degree of prowess.”

Vanity Fair interviews James Frey, his first since the 2006 Oprah Winfrey debacle.


Arts Club Theatre Company presents a remount of Mitch Alborn’s bestselling nonfiction novel featuring Antony Holland and Warren Kimmel. May 1-31. Tickets: $30-$41. Granville Island Stage (1585 Johnston St.). More info:

Thursday, May 1 at 7:30pm, free. Alice MacKay Room, Lower Level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street. Information: Vancouver Public Library at 604-331-3603.

A reading with Justin Lukyn (Henry Pepper) and Michael Turner, author of Hard Core Logo, the book behind the classic cult film. Thursday, May 1 at 7:00pm, free. UBC Bookstore Robson Square (Plaza Level, 800 Robson Street). Info:

West Vancouver Children’s Literature Festival features a series of events for preschool, elementary, and secondary school students, including author visits, illustrator’s workshops, poetry readings, storytelling, and spoken-word events. May 2-13. West Vancouver Memorial Library (1950 Marine Dr.). More information at

Past international president of Médecins sans Frontières and author of his soon to be published memoir An Imperfect Offering, discusses the nature of humanitarian action in the twenty-first century. Sunday, May 4 at 7:00pm. Tickets: $12/10. Capilano College Performing Arts Theatre (2055 Purcell Way, N. Van.). More info:

Naomi Steinberg
shares her stories from the annual International Storytelling Festival in Vancouver to the Science Meets Dharma project in southern India. Monday, May 5 at 7:30pm, free. Alice MacKay Room, Lower Level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street. For more information contact Vancouver Public Library at 604-331-3603.

Eight of Vancouver’s top poetry slammers compete to the part of the 2008 Vancouver Poetry Slam team; Toronto spoken-word artist Dwayne Morgan also performs. Monday, May 5 at 9:00pm. Tickets: $10 advance, $15 at the door. WISE Hall (1882 Adanac). More information at

The woman who first brought the issue of spousal abuse to the forefront in Canada presents her memoir No Laughing Matter: Adventure, Activism and Politics. Tuesday, May 6 at 7:00pm, free. Britannia Branch, VPL (1661 Napier Street). For more information please contact Vancouver Public Library at 604-331-3603.

Author presents his latest book The Truth About Canada. He has combed through world statistics to see how Canada really measures up and says the results are astonishing. Tuesday, May 6 at 7:30pm, free. Alice MacKay Room, Lower Level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street.

The Canadian Authors Association presents a panel discussion with kc dyer, James McCann, and Meg Tilly, with a special tribute to 100 years of Anne of Green Gables. Wednesday, May 7 at 7:00pm. Tickets: $5/2. Alliance for the Arts (938 Howe). More information at

Authors Lauren Bacon and Emira Mears present the launch of their book, The Boss of You: Everything a Woman Needs to Know to Start, Run, and Maintain Her Own Business. Wednesday, May 7 at 7:00pm. Sophia Books (450 W. Hastings). More information at

Two readings featuring the author of the Warriors series for children. Wednesday, May 7 at 7:00pm at Highland Elementary Gymnasium (3120 Colwood Dr., N.Van.). Thursday, May 8 at 7:00pm at Park Theatre (3440 Cambie St.). Tickets: $5. More info:

Book discussion of The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama. Guest speaker John Weston will address the issues and principles put forward in the book; discussion to follow. Saturday, May 10 at 7:00pm. Tickets: $10 and available at Whistler Public Library (4329 Main Street, Whistler). Info: 604.907.2804.


The SFU Writing and Publishing Program and the Geist Foundation present the author of Snow Man and Götz and Meyer. Monday, May 12 at 7:00pm. Free but reservations required; contact cs******@sf*.ca or phone 778.782.5100. SFU Harbour Centre (515 West Hastings Street). More info:

Launch of Claudia Dey’s new novel Stunt along with special guest appearance by local author Teresa McWhirter, author of the recent publication, Dirtbags. Friday, May 16 at 7:00pm, free. Rhizome Cafe, 317 East Broadway. More information at:

The CBC Radio Studio One Book Club and Barbara-Jo’s Books Cooks to present Taras Grescoe and his new book Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood on Sunday, May 18 at 12 noon. The author of the bestselling The Devil’s Picnic will entertain you as he tours the world looking for delicious seafood. Special guest co-host for this event is Quang Dang, Chef de Cuisine of C Restaurant. To win tickets go to

The Vancouver International Writers Festival presents two special events with Barbara Kingsolver (Thursday, May 29) and Simon Winchester (Friday, May 30) at UBC’s Frederic Wood Theatre. More info:

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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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