Book News Vol. 3 No. 43


The 2008 Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival program guide will be available on our website by September 3. Tickets will go on sale to members September 8 and to the general public on September 15. In the meantime, check out some of the highlights here:

Special Event
The Vancouver International Writers Festival and Random House of Canada present Miriam Toews. The bestselling author of A Complicated Kindness and Summer of My Amazing Luck will read from her new book, The Flying Troutmans. Appearing on the same bill will be Joan Barfoot, author of the Scotiabank Giller Prize shortlisted Luck and a new novel Exit Lines.

7:30 pm, Monday September 15
Granville Island Stage
1585 Johnston Street
Tickets $15/$13 plus $2 facility surcharge. Tickets are now on sale at VancouverTix: 604.629.VTIX (8849 or For information call 604.681.6330.

Invest in a Bestseller
Become a member of the Vancouver International Writers Festival and help bring the world of words to readers of all ages. To find out about all the groovy benefits, including ticket discounts, visit our website:

Call for Volunteers
Volunteers are still needed for the 2008 Festival for everything from program guide distribution to box office and production to front of house and bar & concession help. Register on-line now!

Writers’ Rooms
Starting this week with C.C. (Chris) Humphreys’ piece, we will be featuring the rooms of authors who will be coming to the Festival in October. Humphreys will be appearing at the Festival with two new books, Possession for young adults, and Vlad: The Last Confession, for adults.

Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Montreal on Wednesday to protest government cuts to arts and culture programs. Earlier this summer the Conservative government announced $48.5 million in funding cuts.

A graphic novel by Australian Matt Ottley has come under fire for its use of strong language. The Queensland Writers Centre has come to the book’s defence: “Children have plenty of access to violence and foul language on TV and YouTube, without the uplifting story line or realistic characterization shown in Requiem for a Beast.”

Listen to a brief interview with Miriam Toews discussing her new novel The Flying Troutmans.


The Alberta Foundation for the Arts has created a new award for visual artists and boosted prize money for its annual awards for literature and the performing arts. Nominees for the awards were announced last week in Edmonton.


Ronald Wright, author of What is America?, will present the Festival’s 2008 Duthie Lecture. This review in the Toronto Star calls What is America? “an angry book with an excellent case.”
The Georgia Straight writes that in his new book, Wright aims to show how the main themes of the “frontier myth-raw individualism and perpetual growth-resound today in the market-obsessed social model that the U.S. exports to the rest of the world. It is, Wright says, a model built for a long-lost era.”

Vancouver author Kevin Chong speaks with Rawi Hage about his “morally complicated and intellectually engaged” novel Cockroach.
In this interview with the Toronto Star, Hage says he is embarrassed to admit that he wrote Cockroach in four months: “I’m always surprised at how much stuff I have. And how easy it is, at least so far.”

Amanda Boyden, author of Babylon Rolling, talks to the Globe and Mail about her evolution as a writer and why New Orleans will always be home.

The idea for Lee Henderson’s debut novel The Man Game grew out of an assignment he did for the Vancouver Sun almost a decade ago, the research for which took him to real-life fight clubs in a rented legion hall in New Westminster. Read an interview with Henderson here:

The Winnipeg Free Press reviews four new collections of poetry by Canadian authors: Here Come the Moonbathers by Patricia Young, Daughters of Men by Brenda Leifso, Blert by Jordan Scott, and Augustine in Carthage by Alessandro Porco. Jordan Scott will be appearing at the Festival.

Cary Fagan has been contracted to write the fourth installment in Mordecai Richler’s Jacob Two-Two books. The book, tentatively titled High Seas, will follow Jacob’s crossing from England to Montreal by boat, a journey that was glossed over in a single sentence in Hooded Fang.


North Shore Writers Association invites all writers to come share their work and listen to others read their published or un-published works. Wednesday, September 3 at 7:00pm, free. Mollie Nye House (940 Lynn Valley Rd). More information at


Alberta poet will read from her latest book, Cars (Turnstone, 2007), as well as sharing her work in progress – poems about her most recent obsession, James Bond. Thursday, September 11 at 7:30pm, free. White Rock Community Arts Council Gallery (#90, 1959 – 152nd Street). Sponsored by the Canada Council for the Arts and the League of Canadian Poets. For more information, visit

The 5th Annual Kootenay Bookweekend will be held in Nelson, B.C. on September 19, 20 & 21st. The celebrity author in attendance will be Jack Hodgins, Governor General’s Award winner and bestselling author. His book to be discussed is Broken Ground. The other selections for this year are: To All Appearances a Lady by Marilyn Bowering, The Rug Merchant by Meg Mullens and Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje. Come join other passionate page turners for this stimulating event. For more information visit, or email kb*@ko*****************.ca, or call Victoria at 250-352-6197.

IKON Speaker Series
New York Times foreign correspondent, Dexter Filkins, will give a talk on his new book, The Forever War – a memoir from the front lines of the Iraq War that captures the human essence of the greatest conflict of our time. Sunday, September 21 at 7:00pm. Tickets: $18/$15. Capilano Performing Arts Theatre (2055 Purcell Way, North Vancouver). Box Office: 604.990.7810. More information at

The CBC Radio Studio One Book Club is launching their fall season with the incomparable Margaret Visser on September 21st. Her new book The Gift of Thanks explores all aspects of gratitude, from how the simple phrase of “thank you” is received in different cultures, to how acts of reciprocation and rejection are treated in folklore, mythology and fiction. For all the details and to win tickets to this fascinating conversation, go to

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Produced by the Book News Collective: Hal Wake, Brenda Berck, Clea Young, 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
f: 604 681 8400
e: hw***@wr*********.ca

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