Vol. 5 No. 50


The perfect gift for book lovers! Ignite a passion for reading and writing in your loved ones this holiday season with a gift certificate for events at the 2011 Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival (October 18–23). To purchase gift certificates (available in $20 increments), please call us at 604-681-6330 ext 0 by December 16. Non-fattening and easy to wrap!

Stay tuned for exciting news about the Vancouver International Writers Festival's new year-round reading series. Twice a month, we will present established and emerging writers discussing their new books—fiction, non-fiction, poetry, spoken word, travel, biography and more—in partnership with the Vancouver Public Library. And it’s free! The first event will be in the Alice MacKay Room at the Central Library on January 26 at 7:30 pm. Mark your calendar!

Eleanor Wachtel's interview with Gary Shteyngart, an event co-sponsored by the Vancouver International Writers Festival and the Jewish Book Festival, will be aired on Sunday, December 5th on Writers & Company, CBC Radio at 3pm.

The VIWF’s 2009 sold-out production of The Year of the Flood is being remounted. Writers’ Trust co-founder Margaret Atwood will narrate the theatrical performance, based on her best-selling novel. Tickets for the event, which features special guest and Writers’ Trust co-founder Graeme Gibson, a cocktail reception, and an auction of original postcard stories from celebrated Canadian writers and other select items, are $175. Tickets and more information at http://www.writerstrust.com/News/Events-%281%29/Writers--Trust-Presents-Margaret-Atwood.aspx.


Amy Sackville has won the John Llewellyn Rhys prize for her debut novel The Still Point. Judges call the novel 'breathtaking’.

The Guardian first book award—along with £10,000—has been won by Alexandra Harris's Romantic Moderns: English Writers, Artists and the Imagination from Virginia Woolf to John Piper, a choice described as counter-intuitive since serious works of art history have difficulty finding publishers, let alone win populist prizes.

David Carpenter's non-fiction work, A Hunter's Confession, won the Book of the Year Award at the Saskatchewan Book Awards. Other award-winners include Dianne Warren for Clear Water, Sandra Birdsell for Waiting for Joe and Martine Noël-Maw (at the Festival in 2007) for Dans le pli des collines. A complete list is here:

The PEI Book Awards went to Brent MacLaine for poetry, Steven Mayoff for fiction and John Sylvester for non-fiction.

Irish writer Rowan Somerville has won the Bad Sex in Fiction Award for his book The Shape of Her.

When Canadian novelist Annabel Lyon was shortlisted for this dubious award, she pronounced herself "deeply honoured" by the nomination of her bestselling novel, The Golden Mean. The news that Ms. Lyon did not win prompted this headline: Annabel Lyon denied Bad Sex writing award.

Gil Courtemanche has refused the nomination of his book Je ne veux pas mourir seul (I Don't Want do Die Alone) for the French-language Archambault Prize for Literature to show his solidarity with locked out workers at Journal de Montréal.


Bestselling mystery writer Thomas Perry is one of dozens of authors who will name characters in their books after you—if you are the highest bidder—in a fundraiser to support free speech.

It's been suggested that a boys' club generation of writers Amis-Barnes-McEwan-Rushdie has frozen out a generation of writers.

The Guardian is not convinced that literary recognition works that way.

Malicious reviews and false reviews seem to be part of the downside of online reviewing.

The Independent offers its recommendations of the best books in all categories (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, crime, children's, food, memoirs) for Christmas.

The Guardian's recommendations overlap a little.

The Globe and Mail suggests 100 Canadian books, in all categories.

Poet Siân Hughes asks: Is there even such a thing as public poetry? There have been strange rumblings in Britain about whether Carol Ann Duffy, England's poet laureate, will, or should, or ought to be expected to write for the occasion of a royal wedding.

Russell Smith urges writers to ignore advice to blog and tweet and otherwise market their books—and to finish their novels, instead.

Robert McCrum interviews Margaret Atwood about cowardly politicians, her love of birds, planet earth, the development of the Long Pen, and why she's joined the Twitterati, among other topics.

The Wall Street Journal interviews Salman Rushdie on why he became a writer.

Now that the requisite 100 years have passed and Mark Twain's autobiography has been published, what does it reveal about the father of American literature? asks John Crace.

Poet and prizewinning novelist Joe Dunthorpe describes his experience with The Ministry of Stories in Hackney. "Many of the young people who come through our secret door really struggle with writing and reading but, when they go home as published authors, their outlooks are thoroughly changed."

Grammy Award-winning singer Tom Waits is to make his publishing debut next year with a book that combines his poetry with images of the homeless.

Kate Bittman explores what makes grownups love Harry Potter.


Vancouver Island poet Patricia Young's ninth collection of poetry, An Auto-Erotic History of Swings, "shows an acclaimed poet swinging at the height of her powers," writes Candace Fertile in the Times Colonist.

David Homel's new novel, Midway attempts to restore dignity to the mid-life crisis by plumbing its emotional and psychological depths, says Harold Heft.

Jack Batten highly recommends the latest works on skullduggery from two octogenarians (just barely), John Le Carré's Our Kind of Traitor and Eric Walter's A Likely Story.

In his review of Joseph Boyden's Louis Riel & Gabriel Dumont, Doug Grant writes "The enduring historical question is not whether Riel wasvmentally ill but whether his cause was just and he justly dealt with. There's no doubt in Joseph Boyden's mind about Riel's answer."

Physician and author Susan Okie describes Siddhartha Mukherjee's The Emperor of All Maladies an enthralling, scholarly, wonderfully written history of cancer.

International affairs columnist Jonathan Manthorpe describes Andre Gerolymatos' Castles Made of Sand: A Century of Anglo-American Espionage and Intervention in the Middle East as "an often fascinating account of the American and British interventions in the Middle East after the collapse of the Turkish Ottoman Empire", including some errors in judgment.

Historian Alan Taylor's The Civil War of 1812 presents a bold new argument about the War of 1812 and America's attempted invasion of Canada, writes Michael O'Donnell in a Barnes & Noble Review.

Craig Davidson's Sarah Court can be read as any genre, writes Michelle Berry—a connected collection of stories, a novel—and, says Berry, it will please readers who think they don't enjoy science fiction.


Mike McCardell signs his newly released book, Everything Works. Saturday, December 4 at 11:00am at Save On Foods in Coquitlam (Pinetree Village, 2991 Lougheed Highway). Also at 3:00pm at Save On Foods in Surrey (South Point, 3033 152nd Avenue). For information, phone Save On Foods at 604-552-1772 (Pinetree Village) or 604-538-7331 (Surrey).

Santa Klaus Meine hosts the fifth annual spoken-word fundraiser, featuring the Svelte Ms. Spelt, Fang!, the Juggle Man, and the Klute, with proceeds to the AIDS Vancouver Holiday Food Hamper Program. Saturday, December 4, doors at 7:00pm, show at 8:15pm. Admission by donation. Café Deux Soleils, 2096 Commercial Drive.

Vancouver Society of Storytelling presents Cric Crac storytellers Helen May, Kira Van Deusen, Anne Anderson, Wong Wing-Siu. Sunday, December 5 at 7:00pm. Tickets $8/6, includes tea and cookies. Silk Purse Arts Centre, 1570 Argyle Ave., West Vancouver.

Launch of an anthology of fiction/non-fiction/poetry about violence against women edited by Andrea Routley. Monday, December 6, doors open at 7:00pm, launch at 7:30pm. RSVP recommended. Historic Joy Kogawa House, 1450 64th Ave. W. More information at kogawahouse@yahoo.ca.

Join Bibiana Tomasic and Sandy Shreve reading from their latest works at Vancouver's newest independent bookstore. Wednesday, December 8 at 7:00pm. Sitka Books & Art, 2025 West 4th Avenue. More information at 604-734-2025 or http://www.sitkabooksandart.com.

Turner Music's "All Things Spoken" presents the competitive performance poet and Vancouver SLAM champion with special guest R.C. Weslowski. Thursday, December 9 at 6:00pm. Tickets $10. Cory Weeds' Cellar Jazz Club, 3611 W. Broadway. More information at www.turnerme.com/brendanmcleod.shtml.

Readings by Anna Swanson (The Nights Also) and Deborah Willis (Vanishing and Other Stories). Thursday, December 9 at 7:00pm, free. UBC Library/Bookstore Robson Square, Plaza level, 800 Robson Street. For more information, visit www.robsonreadingseries.ubc.ca.

Canadian publisher presents Spaz author Bonnie Bowman, Ravenna Gets author Tony Burgess, A Mountie In Niagara Falls author Salvatore Difalco, Spat the Dummy author Ed Macdonald, and Vs. author Kerry Ryan reading selections from their newest works. Friday, December 10 at 7:00pm, free. Cafe Montmartre, 4362 Main Street. More information at www.anvilpress.com

Vikram Vij, author of Vij's at Home and Evaleen Jaager Roy, author of Four Chefs One Garden are signing their new cookbooks. Saturday, December 11 at 12:00pm. Chapters Granville, 2505 Granville Street.

Book launch and signing by New Westminster Poet Laureate. Sunday, December 12 at 2:30pm, free. Renaissance Bookstore, 43 6th Street, New Westminster. For more information, phone (604) 525-4566.

Vancouver Sun columnist will give a reading and talk based on his new book A Walk With the Rainy Sisters: In Praise of British Columbia's Places. Wednesday, December 15 at 7:00pm, free. Central Library, 350 W. Georgia St. More information at www.vpl.ca.

Sara Bynoe hosts an evening of deliciously rotten writing, as read by Ryan Steele, Billeh Nickerson, Andrew Barber, Eric Fell, and Jeff Gladstone. Wednesday, December 15 at 8:00pm. Tickets $10/5. Cottage Bistro, 4470 Main Street. More information at www.sarabynoe.com/shows/say-wha/.