Vol. 6 No. 26



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.

Wade Davis - November 10, 2011
JUST ANNOUNCED! An evening with scientist, anthropologist and bestselling author Wade Davis discussing his latest book Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest. Details: http://www.writersfest.bc.ca/events/wadedavis.

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.


Rudy Wiebe, Victor Lethbridge, Clem Martini and Olivier Martini are among the winners of 2011 Alberta Book Awards. The Collected Works of Pat Lowther won the Poetry Book Award and its editor, Christine Wiesenthal, the Lois Hole Award for Editorial Excellence. The complete list is here:

The Locus Science Fiction Foundation—whose areas of interest are Science Fiction, fantasy, the universe, and related subjects, according to their website—announced the 2011 Locus Awards last week in Seattle. The complete list of category finalists and winners is here:

Anjali Joseph, a continent-crossing author with roots in Mumbai, Paris and Norwich has taken the 2011 Desmond Elliott prize, for Saraswati Park, her first novel.

Grahame Baker-Smith has won the 2011 Kate Greenaway medal for FArTHER. Images of the book's illustrations are here:

Helen Limon has won the Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Award that, as the prize's name suggests, celebrates diversity in children's fiction. Her book, yet to be published, is Om Shanti, Babe.

Chicago writer and teacher Billy Lombardo is one of four winners of Nelson Algren Awards.

Patrick Ness has won this year's Carnegie medal for his young adult novel Monsters of Men, the third book in the Chaos Walking series. The earlier books were shortlisted for the Carnegie in 2009 and 2010—the first time all the books in a series have been contenders. Describing himself as a "child that libraries built", Ness used his Carnegie medal acceptance speech to honour librarians and to excoriate the British government for its policy on libraries.


An extract from Monsters of Men can be found here:

In an interview with Nicolette Jones about his trilogy, Patrick Ness says "What is important to me in the Chaos Walking books, and is the whole point of A Monster Calls, is the complexity of a person, that you are at one time many contradictory things."

A Dutch group torched the cover of Lawrence Hill's The Book of Negroes in Amsterdam last week, as a protest against the bestselling title. The group, Foundation Honor and Restore Victims of Slavery in Surinam, claim the word ‘negro' is an insult to the black community. The title originated with a long-forgotten historical document.

The New Yorker online continues the conversation and includes a link to Lawrence Hill's response to the group.

Novelist and poet Robert Kroetsch, author of Studhorse Man and many other books, has died in a car accident, age 83. The Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry is given annually to an emerging Canadian poet.

Jonathan Jones observes that our culture is turning into one long awards ceremony and asks whether juries are taking over the arts and shaping our cultural landscape.

Poetry magazine, which turns 100 next year, has been discovering the acrimony and other downsides that can come as a result of receiving large ($200 million) endowments.

Geoff Pevere speaks with Joyce Carol Oates about writing, some proposed changes to A Widow's Story when it is reprinted, and not forgetting.

Historian Miguel Caballero Pérez claims to have found the real grave of playwright/poet Federico García Lorca, as well as the individuals—police and volunteers—that formed the firing squad that executed Lorca and other prisoners early in the Spanish civil war.

In a brilliant marketing campaign, J.K. Rowling has generated huge interest in Pottermore, a free, interactive website which launches in October. Ostensibly encouraging reading among young people, the new interactive site is a perfectly positioned platform for selling millions of e-books, writes Sam Jordison.

Given their collaborative involvement in the growth of the Harry Potter phenomenon since the first books were published, booksellers are frustrated, that they are "effectively banned" from selling digital editions as Rowling sees Pottermore as exclusive e-bookseller.

Carolyn Kellogg reports that Anthony Bourdain's most recent book Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook has been a bestseller.

Rapper 50 Cent is writing the book Playground to steer teenagers away from schoolyard bullying. The story, partly based on 50 Cent's own life, is about a 13 year-old bully who learns to mend his ways.

The Boston Globe offers a list of summer reads for kids, annotated with approximate reading levels.

Amazon and other resellers are discovering a growing problem—spam ebooks—due to the ease with which content can be licensed and repackaged to sell as ebooks.

When asked in an interview with Jan Dalley why he had stopped reading fiction, Philip Roth responded: "I don't know. I wised up..."

Washington Post critics pick the best books for summer reading.

Work to build the new town of Andricgrad is to begin this week. Completion of the project, inspired by the novel The Bridge on the Drina and other work by Yugoslavian Nobel laureate Ivo Andric, is expected by 2014.

Teachers in north London (UK) are using hip hop to teach poetry.

Much like the 6-year-old children who enjoy his books, Tomi Ungerer recently spent the better part of a week celebrating his birthday. And his actual birthday—his 80th—isn't even until November. Pamela Paul interviews Ungerer during his most recent visit to the United States.

Vancouver is seeking its third Poet Laureate. Nominations and submissions will be accepted until Aug. 24.


Finally we have a sequel to Lisa See's Shanghai Girls, exclaims Anne Sutherland. Dreams of Joy picks up the story left hanging at the end of the first book, when Joy runs away to the country her mother and aunt had fled.

Gina Moynihan's is the only perspective provided in The Forgotten Waltz, says Ian McGillis, but the novel occasionally feels more multiple-voice than first person. A born outsider, Gina makes the perfect mouthpiece for Anne Enright, the acerbic critic of social pretence.

The western was an American mythology, a re-creation myth out of the ashes of the Civil War. Patrick DeWitt's The Sisters Brothers serves as a poignant, powerful reminder of what has been lost. It's a powerful, compelling novel, writes Robert Wiersema.

Jamil Ahmad's collection of stories The Wandering Falcon is one of the finest collections of short stories to come out of south Asia in decades, writes Basharat Peer.

She addressed him as Mr. Stieglitz: he called her Miss O'Keeffe. He became Dearest Duck and she, Fluffy. My Faraway One is not just one more book about the couple but a sampling of correspondence that was sealed until 2006, says Suzanne Muchnic.

An open purse near the sink, its owner in a stall, not touching the wallet: following her curiosity, Jennifer Egan wound up with A Visit From the Goon Squad, which captured the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, notes Meredith May.

Robert Wiersema describes Steven Price's Into That Darkness as a brilliant debut novel of survival, an account of loss in its myriad forms, and of hope at its most vital and true: a novel that will satisfy at every level.

Jeffrey Foss loves David Eagleman's Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain because it reveals the strings and levers of human nature, revealing us for what we truly are, he says: bio-robots, engineered by Richard Dawkins-dubbed Blind Watchmakers.

The June 27 issue of The New Yorker includes Alice Munro's story Gravel.
E.B. White is fascinating in part because of his legendary shyness and hypochondria. While Michael Sims' The Story of Charlotte's Web does not add earth-shattering revelations, it's a fitting echo to the resolution of Charlotte's Web, writes Valerie Sayers.

Anna Porter's review of Daniel Stein: Interpreter is part book review, part interview with author Ludmila Ulitskaya. The book seems to both hide and explore the extraordinary tale of Daniel, the interpreter. He emerges a redemptive, compassionate person, writes Porter.

Francisca Zentilli writes that Carmen Aguirre's Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter—Aguirre's memoir of growing up in the resistance—is raw, courageously honest and funny; an insightful journey into the formation of a revolutionary soul.


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, July 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.