Book News Vol. 3 No. 29


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

Simon Winchester
7:30 pm, Friday May 30 at Frederic Wood Theatre, UBC
In The Man Who Loved China, Simon Winchester brings to life the extraordinary story of Joseph Needham, the brilliant Cambridge scientist who unlocked the most closely held secrets of China, long the world’s most technologically advanced country. Both epic and intimate, The Man Who Loved China tells the sweeping story of China through Needham’s remarkable life, an unforgettable tale of what makes men, nations, and mankind itself great.

A friend of the Festival reports seeing Simon Winchester talk in Philadephia this month: “Saw Simon Winchester last night at the Free Library, talking about the Needham book. He was GREAT, and what he had to say about Needham and writing the book was…I’m struggling for the right words here…”spell-binding”, captivating”, “compelling”, I don’t know, none seem to fit. But he was totally absorbing, and very generous with his audience.”

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

An Evening with Barbara Kingsolver
7:30 pm, Thursday May 29 at Frederic Wood Theatre, UBC
This event is sold out!

The Vancouver International Writers Festival presents the sixth annual

A Dram Come True
Single Malt Scotch Whisky Sampling
Sample a variety of single malts, including rare bottlings not otherwise available in BC. Limited edition bottlings of rare malts and other select items will be available at auction.
7:30pm – 10:00pm, Friday, June 6 in a Shaughnessy heritage home
Tickets: $75 Order on line at or call 604 681 6330 ext 104.

Donate Your Aeroplan Points!
Bring internationally renowned authors to the 21st annual Vancouver International Writers Festival by donating your points. In case there’s been any confusion, we are asking for your Aeroplan points, not your Airmiles (blue card).

This week in Writers’ Rooms we enter Spider Robinson’s “Fortress of Solitude,” a former potter’s studio in his backyard.

Carol Ann Duffy is poised to become Britain’s next poet laureate, notably the first woman to hold the 400-year-old office.,,2280870,00.html

A statue of iconic Canadian poet Al Purdy, who died in 2000, was unveiled this week in Queen’s Park, Toronto.

Why aren’t any Canadian authors on the shortlist for the Best of the Booker? For a little drama follow this link:

The Globe & Mail rates the latest eReader by Sony.


Toronto author Lawrence Hill has won the main Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for his novel The Book of Negroes.

Montreal-based translator Sheila Fischman has received a Molson Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts, awarded annually to Canadians in the arts and social sciences for lifetime achievement in their field.

Belgian-born cognitive scientist Paul Verhaeghen has won this year’s Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for his novel Omega Minor. He plans to donate the prize money to the American Civil Liberties Union.


Maggie Helwig’s third novel Girls Fall Down ” gives fresh and intelligent thought to our responsibility for the people around us,” writes the Globe & Mail.

Kill All the Judges, the latest from William Deverell, is a “well-crafted and at times raging-mad study into the complexities of a human mind in turmoil.” Read the full review here:

Jim Bartley, first fiction reviewer for the Globe & Mail, finds “rare and riveting dissections of the human animal” in filmmaker Matt Bissonette’s debut novel Smash Your Head on the Punk Rock.

The Toronto Star reviews new collections of poetry by Alison Pick and Kevin Connolly.

Ali Smith’s prose in Girl Meets Boy, a retelling of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, is “exuberant and subtle, humorously intelligent and provocatively dry.”

Israeli writer Etgar Karat’s short stories average three pages and often describe a single surreal incident. The NY Times writes that in three-page bursts, Karat “shows us an Israel no longer filled with pioneers and heroes but with ordinary people – a view from the ground, as genuine as it is bleak.”

James Meek’s new novel We Are Now Beginning Our Descent opens with a parody of a Tom Clancy thriller but turns out to be a “sharply observed meditation on modern war.”

The NY Times reviews Charles Simic’s 19th collection of poetry, That Little Something.

Since Jumpa Lahiri’s second collection of short stories, Unaccustomed Earth, rose to the top of the NY Times fiction list 10 days ago, both the NY Times and Time Magazine have commented on a “fundamental shift in American Letters.”,,2280871,00.html

Susan Sontag’s son David Rieff writes about his mother’s illness and fear of death in the Guardian.,,2280793,00.html


Book launch of two new publications about Japanese Canadian history: Michiko Midge Ayukawa (Hiroshima Immigrants in Canada, 1891-1941) and Patricia E. Roy (The Triumph of Citizenship, The Japanese and Chinese in Canada, 1941-67). Thursday, May 22 at 7:00pm. RSVP to mu****@ni*********.org. National Nikkei Heritage Centre (6688 Southoaks Crescent, Burnaby). Info:

Author reads from her new novel Clan of the Dung-Sniffers. Friday, May 23 at 1:00pm. Indigo-Park Royal (900 Park Royal S., W. Van.). Info:

Author of More Moxie than Money: Three Women-One Company reads from her book. Friday, May 23 at 6:00pm. Support Services Unlimited (102-211 Columbia St. Vancouver). More info: 604.681.0295.

A book launch for Crossing Lines feature readings from the anthology by ten of the 18 contributing poets who reside in BC. Hal Wake, the Artistic Director of the Vancouver International Writers Festival, is the emcee. Vancouver Poet Laureate George McWhirter will read a selection of poems. Friday, May 23 at 7:00pm. Canadian Memorial Centre for Peace at 16th and Burrard. More information: in**@th*********.com or

A rare opportunity to enjoy an epic romance, one of the pillars of Western literature and lore, told by one of Canada’s foremost tellers, Melanie Ray. Saturday, May 24 at 6:30pm. Cost: sliding scale between $15.00 to $20.00. Families (children 12 and older only please due to performance length and story content) $25.00. RSVP to el************@ya***.ca. Our Town Cafe (245 E. Broadway).

The Canadian Academy of Independent Scholars presents its Inaugural Symposium featuring a keynote address by John Ralston Saul entitled, “The Independent Scholar and Public Intellectual in a Corporatist Era”. Saturday, May 24th at 7:30 pm. Admission to the keynote lecture is $10. Reservations required, call 778-782-5100. SFU, Vancouver, Harbour Centre. 515 W. Hastings St. The Symposium continues on Sunday, May 25th with Max Wyman, Chuck Davis, Jim Green, Paul Whitney and others. To register, visit

Poetry and music in celebration of Asian Heritage Month, hosted by Ariadne Sawyer and Alejandro Mujica-Olea. Monday, May 26 at 7:30 pm, free. Alice MacKay Room, Lower Level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street. For more information please contact Vancouver Public Library at 604-331-3603.

Three appearances by the author/illustrator of the Scaredy Squirrel series. Wednesday, May 28 at 4:00pm at Kidsbooks Vancouver (3083 W. Broadway). Wednesday, May 28 at 7:00pm at Kidsbooks Surrey (960-15033 32nd Ave.). Thursday, May 29 at 7:00pm at St. James Community Square (3214 10th Ave. W.). Ticketing and information at

Reads from his book Madness, Betrayal and the Lash: The Epic Voyage of Captain George Vancouver. Thursday, May 29 at 7:30 pm, free. Alma VanDusen Room, Lower Level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street. For more information please contact VPL at 604-331-3603.

Launch of The Echoing Years: An Anthology of Poetry from Canada & Ireland. Featuring readings by Gary Geddes, Susan Musgrave, Joanne Arnott, George McWhirter and many others. Saturday, May 31 at 7:00pm. Cedar Room, Ponderosa Centre, 2071 West Mall, UBC.


Tickets to the 26th Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts are on sale by telephone only (1-800-565-9631 or 604-885-9631). Complete details and the list of authors is on the Festival website Note: some events have already sold out!

Elizabeth George fans rejoice! The CBC Radio Studio One Book Club welcomes Elizabeth with her new Inspector Lynley novel Careless in Red on Sunday June 8, at 11:30 am at the CBC. This is your chance to join the conversation with the writer The New York Times calls “A master of the British mystery”. Sheryl MacKay will be joined by guest co-host John Burns of Vancouver Magazine. To win tickets, go to

Please email vi**@wr*********.ca if you would like to unsubscribe from this email list.

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

Ways to Share: