Book News Vol. 4 No. 6


Seasons greetings from everyone here at the Vancouver International Writers Festival. May you have a joyous holiday with the company of loved ones and good books. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the many individuals, government partners and organizations that have supported the Writers Festival in the past year-there are too many to mention them all here (you can see them all on our website) but we would like to mention our generous sponsors that have helped present great writers to you and Spreading the Word reading and writing programs for schools in 2008:

CMHC Granville Island, BC Transmission Corporation, HSBC Bank Canada, Penguin Group (Canada), Kidsbooks, Raincoast Books, Random House of Canada, Scotia Private Client Group, Simon & Schuster Canada, D&M Publishers, HarperCollinsCanada Ltd., UBC Creative Writing, Weyerhaeuser, UBC Writing Centre, CBC/Radio-Canada, The Vancouver Sun, Granville Island Hotel, Hangar 18 Creative Group, Rogers, Book Warehouse, Granville Island Brewing, Origins Coffee. Thank you!

The Vancouver International Writers Festival presents Spoken World
Spoken word stars from three continents. Featuring Regie Cabico (US), Morganics (Australia), Lemn Sissay (UK) and Kinnie Starr (Canada) and the improvised grooves of Sal Ferreras and his band, Poetic License.

7:30 pm February 18 & 20
Performance Works
1218 Cartwright Street, Vancouver

Tickets: $20/$18 students & seniors (Vancouver Tix surcharges will apply). Tickets on sale December 20 through Vancouver Tix: 604.629.8849 or online at More information:

Spoken Word workshop for grades 9 – 12
with Regie Cabico, Morganics, Lemn Sissay and Kinnie Starr
10 – 4 pm, Saturday February 20
$35 (lunch included)
Tickets will be available starting January 5, 2009.
Registration: 604 681 6330 or

About the Cultural Olympiad
The Cultural Olympiad is a series of multi-disciplinary festivals and digital programs showcasing the best in Canadian and international arts and popular culture.

Donate to a world of words!
Your gift to the Vancouver International Writers Festival will help us present award-winning authors to Lower Mainland readers, create stimulating events that provoke discussion and thought, and introduce thousands of young people to the magic of storytelling, reading and writing. You can make a secure online donation at

Australian poet Dorothy Porter has died after a lengthy battle with breast cancer. Porter was last a guest at the Festival in 2005.

Barack Obama has chosen his friend, the poet Elizabeth Alexander, to read at his inauguration. Alexander will be only the fourth poet to have read at a presidential inauguration.

Quill & Quire offers up its picks for the most important Canadian books of the year.

Likewise, the books columnists for The Georgia Straight reveal their favourites in this week’s edition.

And the last of the lists, Slate’s best books of 2008:

The latest edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary, aimed at children aged 7 and up, forgoes vocabulary of the natural world in favour of the technological. In this article, Robert Bateman and David Suzuki express their dismay.

Margaret Trudeau is writing her third autobiographical book, this one about her struggle with bipolar disorder, set to be released in 2010.

The book district in Baghdad which had suffered from the effects of a car bomb explosion in 2007 has been resurrected.


Seven mid-career artists have won the Canada Council’s Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Awards. Pender Island poet Marlene Cookshaw was honoured in the writing/publishing category.


The Guardian writes that The Paris Review Interviews Vol. 3, which showcases interviews with Chinua Achebe, Raymond Carver, John Cheever, Ralph Ellison, Ted Hughes, Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie, and many more, is an indispensable book if you care about writing.

The New Yorker calls Susan Sontag’s Reborn: Journals and Notebooks, 1947-1963, edited by her son, David Rieff, “a fascinating document of her apprenticeship, charting her earnest quest for education, identity, and voice.”

Nadine Gordimer has said the short story is “the form of the age.” Read a brief review of her most recent collection Beethoven was One-Sixteenth Black.

2008 Festival guest Damon Galgut interviewed here in the Globe & Mail. Galgut’s latest novel, The Imposter, looks at the South Africa of today in its “reign of ambiguity, contradiction and nuance.”

In light of the upcoming premiere of the film adaptation of Richard Yates’s novel Revolutionary Road, The New Yorker and the NY Times revisit the acclaimed 1961 novel.

David Hare, who wrote the screenplay for Bernhard Schlink’s Holocaust novel The Reader, recounts the difficult journey from book to film in the Guardian.


Rowan Lipkovits hosts an open-stage variety show featuring spoken word, music, dance, improv, clowning, puppet shows, etc. Thursday, December 18 at 8:00pm, by donation. Spartacus Books (319 W. Hastings). More information at

The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival is proud to announce its fourth annual Cherry Blossom Festival during March/April 2009 and invites poets from British Columbia and around the world to submit one unpublished haiku about the cherry blossom in the spirit of international friendship. Selected haiku will become part of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s Musically Speaking concert on March 28th, 2009, and be displayed on Vancouver TransLink city buses and SkyTrain cars during March and April. Please visit for full submission details. Submissions must be received by December 19th, 2008.

Fireside readings by Cam Cathcart, Don Mowatt, and Carolyn Finlay with piano accompaniment. Saturday, December 20 at 7:00pm. Tickets $12. Roedde House Museum (1415 Barclay).

Vancouver Society of Storytelling presents winter stories of warmth and fuzziness, featuring Paddy Graber, Lei Lani Harmon, Larry Matier, Brian Nelson, and Pauline Wenn. Sunday, December 21 at 7:00pm. Tickets: $5 members, $6 nonmembers. St. Mark’s Anglican Church (1805 Larch).

Produced by the Book News Collective: Hal Wake, Brenda Berck, Clea Young, Ann McDonell and Sandra Millard.

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Hal Wake
Artistic Director
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2009 Festival – 20-25 October inclusive
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