Book News Vol. 3 No. 27


The Vancouver International Writers Festival and HarperCollinsCanada Ltd. present two special events, sponsored by the UBC Writing Centre.

An Evening with Barbara Kingsolver
7:30 pm, Thursday May 29 at Frederic Wood Theatre, UBC
The bestselling author of The Poisonwood Bible and The Bean Trees will talk about her new non-fiction book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle makes an important contribution to the chorus of voices calling for change.” – Chicago Tribune.

Simon Winchester
7:30 pm, Friday May 30 at Frederic Wood Theatre, UBC
“Another formidable, absorbing reading experience by versatile Winchester…displaying the author’s habitual ability to make any subject seem urgently momentous, this admiring biography of Joseph Needham (1900-95) will send many readers rushing off to read Needham’s magnum opus, Science and Civilization in China.” – Kirkus Reviews.

Tickets at Ticketmaster outlets, charge-by-phone at 604.280.3311 or Information: or call 604.681.6330.

Donate Your Airmiles!
Bring internationally renowned authors to the 21st annual Vancouver Intenational Writers Festival by donating your points.

This week in Writers’ Rooms Billie Livingston describes her gruesome imaginings when deprived of what is an essential element for many writers: quiet.

For a second consecutive year a children’s story about a family of Penguins with two fathers tops the list of library books the American public objects to the most.

The Guardian talks to Dylan Thomas’s daughter Aeronwy in the lead up to the release of a film about her parents, The Edge of Love, and a new stage production of Under Milk Wood.,,2277961,00.html


Kenneth Oppel has won the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award for a fourth time, this time for Darkwing, a fantasy novel set in a world of bats.

The shortlist for the “African Booker,” or Caine Prize for the best short story in English by an African writer includes authors from South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, and Malawi.,,2278201,00.html

Best-selling and self-published authors appear on the longlist for this year’s Frank O’Connor international short story prize.,,2278198,00.html


This article in the Globe & Mail asks if a recently published biography of Mordecai Richler is a definitive one.

André Alexis rejects the idea that his new novel Asylum is in any way autobiographical but admits that it does cover personal emotional terrain. Read the CBC profile here:

This past weekend the NY Times looked at the work of several Chinese authors and suggested that novels in China are coming into their own. In this review, Mo Yan’s novel Life and Death are Wearing Me Out is referred to as “harsh and gritty, funny and raunchy.”

Francine Prose says that Wang Anyi’s new novel The Song of Everlasting Sorrow “is particularly illuminating and incisive on the subject of female friendship, on what draws girls and women together and then drives them apart.”

China’s most loved and hated writer is 24-year-old Guo Jingming whose readers are rarely over twenty and whose novels “focus on the tortured psyches of his adolescent characters.”

In his latest novel, Breath, Australian author Tim Winton draws on the surfing culture of his youth.

This article in the Guardian looks at Lionel Shriver’s use of the old-fashioned, epistolary form in her modern-day novel We Need to Talk About Kevin.,,2277649,00.html

Sherman Alexie talks about his formative years growing up on a Spokane Indian reservation in Washington State and what inspired him to stop drinking and start writing.,,2277677,00.html

Celebrity graphic novelist Neil Gaiman talks about the genre’s renewed popularity.

Rick Moody sees his writing as belonging to two different eras, pre and post 9/11.


Author reads from her new book, How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed. Thursday, May 8 at 7:00pm, free. Indigo Books & Music (1025 Marine Drive, N. Van.). More info:

Reading featuring the author of the Warriors series for children. Thursday, May 8 at 7:00pm at Park Theatre (3440 Cambie St.). Tickets: $5. More info:

Dr. Esther Geva speaks on the significance of learning to read in a second language to the development of literary skills. Friday, May 9 at 7:00pm, free. Alice MacKay Room, Central Library (350 W. Georgia). More information at

Two appearances by the author of The Silk Train Murder, her debut mystery novel. Book signing – Saturday, May 10 at 1:00pm, free. Chapters-Langley (20015 Langley By-Pass, Langley). Reading & book signing – Wednesday, May 14 at 12pm, free. UBC Bookstore (6200 University Blvd.). More info:

A story with believable characters and situations is something a writer strives for. In this workshop, author Billie Livingston will discuss how to unearth the details from the world around you and transform them into compelling fiction. Saturday, May 10 at 1:00 pm, free. To register call Kyle Greenwood at The Writers’ Trust of Canada: (416) 504-8222, ext. 243 or e-mail kg********@wr**********.com. Alice MacKay Room, Lower Level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street.

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.

Local authors Susan Lyons, Kate Austin, and Eileen Cook discuss how they research and write their books. Monday, May 12 at 7:00pm. Alice MacKay Room, Central Library (350 W. Georgia). For more information please contact Vancouver Public Library at 604-331-3603.

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:

This workshop is about early literacy and what parents and caregivers can do to help four- and five-year olds become aware of, and comfortable with, books and language. Saturday, May 17 at 11:00am, free. Oakridge Meeting Room Oakridge Branch #191-650 West 41st Avenue. For more information please contact Oakridge Branch at 604-665-3980.


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

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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
* * * * * * * * * * *
2008 Festival – 21-26 October inclusive
Vancouver International Writers Festival
Suite 202, 1398 Cartwright Street
Vancouver, BC V6H 3R8
p: 604 681 6330 x102
f: 604 681 8400
e: hw***@wr*********.ca

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