Vol. 6 No. 25


Indian Summer Literature Series
Anosh Irani, Shrabani Basu, Vikram Vij, Tabu Hashmi, Yann Martel and many more stellar Canadian and Indian performers in a 10-day festival of music, literature, dance, film, yoga and cuisine. July 7-17, 2011, at SFU Woodward's in downtown Vancouver. For info and tickets, visit indiansummerfestival.ca.

July 8 Yann Martel in conversation with Bollywood film star Tabu, who will appear in Oscar-winning director Ang Lee's film adaptation of Martel's Booker Prizewinning novel, Life of Pi. (Followed by a screening of The Namesake, based on the novel by Pulitzer prize-winning author Jhumpa

TD International Jazz Festival
We love the Jazz Festival and this year's lineup is as stellar and adventurous as ever. Events include Jazz at the Lincoln Centre Orchestra with Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Wynton Marsalis at the Orpheum Theatre, and Matheson/Roper/Mollerup – Literary Cabaret trumpeter Allan Matheson, Jon Roper and Laurence Mollerup play original compositions inspired by Tom Harrell, Miles Davis and Bill Evans at Canada Place. Both performances are on June 26.

The full festival guide is here: http://www.server-jbmultimedia.net/VancouverInternationalJazzFestival/

Check out free Jazz education programs including workshops and artist talks at the David Lam Park/Roundhouse Jazz Week-end, and the TD High School Jazz Intensive Band perform on the Outdoor Stage July 2 and 3. More info at www.coastaljazz.ca.


Michael Ondaatje - September 21, 2011
Join us for an evening with the Booker Prize-winning author of The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje, as he discusses his forthcoming novel, The Cat's Table. Details: http://www.writersfest.bc.ca/events/ondaatje.


Irish writer Colum McCann has won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for Let The Great World Spin. Let The Great World Spin also won the U.S. National Book Award in 2009. Past Canadian winners of the IMPAC Award include Rawi Hage and Alastair MacLeod.

Jean Little's Exiles from the War: The War Guests Diary of Charlotte Mary Twiss and a picture book version of Gordon Lightfoot's Canadian Railroad Trilogy are among the titles nominated for the Canadian Children's Book Centre Awards. Édith Bourget, participant in the Festival's La Joie de Lire program, and member of a team of Québec writers contributing to Oh! La vache!, is among French writers nominated for the Prix TD de litterature Canadienne pour l'enfance et la jeunesse.

Rabindranath (Robin) Maharaj's The Amazing Absorbing Boy is the winner of this year's $20,000 Trillium Book Award for Ontario authors. The $10,000 poetry prize went to Jeff Latosik's Tiny, Frantic, Stronger. French-language prizes went to: Estelle Beauchamp's Un souffle venu de loin (the $25,000 Trillium Book Award); Daniel Marchildon's La première guerre de Toronto won the $10,000 children's literature award.

Andrea Levy's story of the end of slavery, The Long Song, has won the £25,000 Walter Scott prize for historical fiction.

John Le Carré is one of this year's recipients of Germany's Goethe Medal, which goes to individuals who "have performed outstanding service for the German language and international cultural dialogue". The Goethe Institute describes Le Carré as Great Britain's most famous German speaker.

Kim Scott is the 2011 winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award for That Deadman Dance.


Novelists Timothy Taylor (The Blue Light Project) and Peter Darbyshire (The Warhol Gang) were struck by the parallels between their latest books and the chaos that engulfed Vancouver after the Canucks lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. In this conversation, exclusive to The Afterword, the two writers reflect on what transpired last week.

Returning to his hometown of Dublin to accept this year's Impac Dublin Literary Award, Colum McCann speaks to Eileen Battersby about being an ‘Irish New Yorker' and how he has succeeded as a writer—despite his happy childhood.

The most recent decisions on the Miles Franklin Literary Award has generated criticism. Two years ago, the five shortlisted novels were all by men. This year the Miles judges had a shortlist of only three books—again, all by men. Critical comment continues.

Ann Patchett's first published work was in The Paris Review while she was still in college. She went on to become published in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Gourmet, Vogue and elsewhere—among other accomplishments. If you missed hearing Shelagh Rogers' interview on The Last Chapter this past Monday, it will be re-broadcast on Saturday at 4pm. The podcast is available here.

Viv Groskop writes that Goodnight Keith Moon, a spoof of the children's classic Goodnight Moon, told through the eyes of The Who's late drummer, is the latest in a very strange fad: children's bedtime books for adults.

The latest list to argue about: The Guardian's books desk has generated a list of—in their view—the 100 greatest non-fiction books, the very best factual writing, organized by category, and then by date.

Drew Grant writes that for the upcoming edition, entirely composed of "Talk of the Town" pieces, the New Yorker created an instructional video (in the style of a 1960s classroom film) on how the magazine cherry-picks certain people for "Talk of the Town" segments.

On a rare visit to the UK, Nobel prize-winning Nigerian poet and dramatist Wole Soyinka talks to Sarah Crown about his fears for his country and using theatre to 'fire pellets at the complacent body of society'.

Derek Walcott, the winner of this year's TS Eliot prize, talks to Rob Sharp about why Britain means little to him.

While H.G. Wells remains best known for what he called his “scientific romances,” he was far more than just the author of The War of the Worlds. The founder of modern science fiction was also a major social novelist of the Edwardian period. Now Weidenfeld & Nicolson have made these novels available again.

The Wimpy Kid will be back this fall, with a most un-wimpy first printing. Cabin Fever, the sixth in Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, will be out November 15, with a first printing of 6 million copies.

Canadian Bookshelf is a new online book community that hosts the largest publicly available collection of Canadian books and authors ever assembled. Find recommended books and book reviews.

Or, test your CanLit knowledge with The Cover Shuffle Challenge.

Diary of a Combatant, revolutionary icon Ernesto Che Guevara's journal of the time leading up to Fidel Castro's rise to power, was launched in Havana on what would have been his 83rd birthday. Diary of a Combatant is the sequel to The Motorcycle Diaries.

In her profile of Margaret Drabble's life in writing, Lisa Allardice writes that with more than 20 books to her name, Drabble this month publishes her first collection of short stories, A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman.

Vit Wagner interviews Maya Soetoro-Ng, half-sister to President Barack Obama, and author of the children's book Ladder to the Moon, described as "a character study of how all of us shape our lives out of what we are given."

Staff and contributors at The Tyee offer up a list of perfect summer reading to complement all of your favorite summer activities.

The unfinished fourth novel by Stieg Larsson is set in Canada and Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist continue to play key roles. These details emerge in Charles McGrath's conversation with Eva Gabrielsson about her own book There Are Things I Want You to Know about Stieg Larsson and Me.


Aravind Adiga's second novel Last Man in Tower is a complex and multi-layered novel that builds on his Booker win and continues his project of shining a light on the changing face of India, writes Alex Clark.

Shakespeare invites many superlatives and much sublime exaggeration, which Stephen Marche employs in his new book, How Shakespeare Changed Everything. For Marche, Shakespeare is a messy writer because of his encompassing vision and extreme brilliance, writes Richard Handler.

In the latest post-Fleming James Bond tale, Jeffery Deaver gives the spy a taste for Canadian whisky—he drinks Crown Royal—and his thriller Carte Blanche a breakneck pace, writes John Barber.

Bharati Mukherjee's territory is cultural shock: she has been chronicling the traumas of displacement for more than four decades. Miss New India is the final volume of a trilogy: old meets new, says Linda Leith.

Steven Hayward writes that, In The Meagre Tarmac, a collection of linked short stories, Clark Blaise addresses himself to India and the stories of Indian immigrants to North America: with dislocation and disorientation perhaps uniquely Canadian.

Theo Tait says that Alan Hollinghurst's new novel, The Stranger's Child, is a sort of ironic meditation on the evolution of literary memory and is undoubtedly one of the best books this year.

Alice Ozma's father read to her every night for 3,218 days and didn't stop until the day she moved into her college dormitory. The accomplishment is chronicled in The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared, says Jessica Gelt.

River of Smoke, the second part of Amitav Ghosh's Ibis trilogy is a subversive act of empathy, viewing a whole panorama of world history from the "wrong" end of the telescope, says Tim Adams.

Like le Carré's The Constant Gardener, Ann Patchett's State of Wonder explores the unsavory behavior of Western pharmaceutical firms in Third World countries, observing the strange choices individuals make. The smartest, most exciting novel of the summer, says Ron Charles.

An excerpt ofChapter 1 is here:


The Toronto-based author reads from her latest poetry collection, Marrow, Willow. Friday, June 24 at 7:00pm, free. People's Co-op Bookstore, 1391 Commercial.

In celebration of National Aboriginal Day, the descendant and ambassador of the Squamish and Nisga'a Nations tells stories and shares her culture, history, and understanding of what it means to be from the Northwest Coast. Saturday, June 25 at 2:00pm, free. Hastings Branch, VPL, 2675 E. Hastings. More information at www.vpl.ca.

Launch and discussion of the anarchist fiction anthology features speakers from the Montreal Anarchist Writers Bloc and the B.C. Black Ink Group, as well as Norman Nawrocki, Ron Sakolsky, David Lester, and Bob Sarti. Saturday, June 25 at 3pm, free. Spartacus Books, 684 E. Hastings. More information at awb@daemonflower.com.

Join Sheryl MacKay and the North by Northwest Library Sleuths when they celebrate "100+ Years of Library Services to British Columbians" at Library Square in the Vancouver Public Library on Wednesday June 29 at 10am. Sheryl will tape a special live segment of "Lost Childhood Books" and you can bring your own requests for future episodes too. The day is full of celebration with lots of activities for all - check it out at http://thelibrarybook.bclibraries.ca/booklaunch/

Students are offered a chance to perform in the TD Vancouver international Jazz Festival. Open rehearsal: Saturday, July 2 from 1-4pm, Tom Lee Music Hall; free. Feature performance and scholarship presentations: Sunday, July 3 from 12-1pm, David Lam Park Mainstage; free. Complete details here: http://tinyurl.com/3ztx7jl.


Sharon Levy, author of the new book Once and Future Giants, explores the causes of the mass extinction of mammoths and the reasons why this ancient story is vitally important here and now. Wednesday, July 6 at 7:00pm, free. Alice MacKay room. lower level, 350 W. Georgia St. For more information please contact Vancouver Public Library at 604-331-3603.

Lots of great fiction for summer reading plus some DVDs, childrens, travel, gardening and multilingual items will be available. Admission ends 30 minutes before sale closes. All sales final. Prices .75 to 2.50. Cash and carry. Thursday, July 7 at 10:00am, free. Alma VanDusen & Peter Kaye rooms, lower level, Central Branch, 350 W. Georgia St.

Son of reggae icon Bob Marley presents his biography of his dad, Dear Dad. Friday, July 8 at 4:00pm. Chapters Robson, 788 Robson Street. More information at 604-682-4056.

Join writers from all over the Lower Mainland for a series of intensive, interactive writing workshops, panel presentations, and other events. July 8 to 11, Artisan Square, Bowen Island. For complete details, visit www.writeonbowen.com.

Readings and conversations with writers and poets from Canada, US, and Scotland. Featuring Alan Jamieson, Carmen Aguirre, Andrew Feld, Pimone Triplett, Bren Simmers and Maggie de Vries. Saturday, July 9 at 5:00pm. Room 1530, SFU Harbour Centre, 555 W. Hastings Street. More information cbprs.wordpress.com.

Lisa See, the New York Times best-selling author of Shanghai Girls, Peony in Love, and Snow Flower & the Secret Fan will be coming to Vancouver in July, with her latest novel Dreams of Joy. The CBC Studio One Book Club will be taped in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden on Sunday afternoon, July 17. To win tickets, go to www.cbc.ca/bc/bookclub.

Reading by the author of Never Knowing. Monday, June 25 at 7:00pm. Chapters Granville, 2505 Granville Street. More information at 604-731-7822.

A long weekend of papers, presentations, workshops, readings, and other activities in celebration of haiku poetry, held at the Seattle Center, at the foot of the Space Needle. Featured presenters include Cor van den Heuvel, Richard Gilbert, David Lanoue, Carlos Colón, Fay Aoyagi, Jim Kacian, Emiko Miyashita, George Swede, and many others. August 3-7, 2011. For more information, visit www.haikunorthamerica.com.