Vol. 6 No. 34


Michael Moore
7:30pm, September 18, 2011

Before Michael Moore became an Oscar-winning filmmaker, and all-round rabble rouser and thorn-in-the-side of corporate and right-wing America, he was the guy who had an uncanny knack of just showing up where history was being made. In his only scheduled Canadian appearance, Moore will share stories from Here Comes Trouble, a hilarious and revealing memoir of his early life. Details at www.writersfest.bc.ca/events/moore.

Incite, our free reading series is back for the fall! Join us Wednesdays at 7:30pm in the Alice MacKay Room at VPL Central Library. September 14: An on stage interview with Carmen Aguirre, author of Something Fierce and Carmen Rodriguez, Chilean -Canadian activist and author of Retribution. September 28: Daniel Kalla discusses his latest book The Far Side of the Sky, Ashley Little reads from her debut novel PRICK: Confessions of a Tattoo Artist and poet Julia McCarthy reads from Return from Erebus. Please visit our website for event details: www.writersfest.bc.ca/events/incite.


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.

An Evening with Anthony Bourdain - 8pm, October 29, 2011
The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts. Tickets: $47.50/$55.00/$62.50/VIP package: $152.50. Tickets now on sale at Ticketmaster. Support the Writers Festival: use the code "writers" when purchasing your ticket, a portion of the ticket proceeds will go to the VIWF and you will receive a $5 discount per ticket. Details: http://www.writersfest.bc.ca/events/bourdain.

An Evening with David Sedaris - 8pm, November 5, 2011
The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts. Tickets: $45.00/$50.00/$57.50. Tickets now on sale at Ticketmaster. Support the Writers Festival: use the code "writers" when purchasing your ticket, a portion of the ticket proceeds will go to the VIWF and you will receive a $5 discount per ticket. Details: http://www.writersfest.bc.ca/events/davidsedaris.

Wade Davis - November 10, 2011
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.


David Bezmozgis writes about the experience of Soviet Jewish émigrés in the 1980s in his debut novel, The Free World, which he will be presenting at the Festival. Bezmozgis was on the New Yorker's "Top 20 Under 40" list last year. Q guest host Zaib Shaih's interview of Bezmozgis can be heard here.

James Urquhart is loath to say much about the plot of Lloyd Jones' Hand Me Down World, for fear of giving away too much or give scant impression of the true subtlety of this masterful, prismatic piece of storytelling.

Boyd Tonkin says of John Vaillant's The Tiger: "this enthralling true-crime narrative takes us on a snowbound search not only for a beast, but for a motive. Vaillant's book moves with grace and stealth—and shakes the observer's soul."

Alexandra (Bobo) Fuller treats us in this wonderful book to the inside scoop on her glamorous, tragic, indomitable mother, writes Binka Le Breton.

Michiko Kakutani describes Bobo's mother as a sort of African version of Scarlett O'Hara—and a survivor. Alexandra Fuller manages the difficult feat of writing about her mother and father with love and understanding, and conveys the terrible human costs of the colonialism they supported.

Michael Berry writes that Lev Grossman has put a postmodern spin on heroic fantasy and dramatized the dangerous attraction of children's literature. He has devised an enchanted milieu in The Magician King.

Grossman's work has recently been recognized with  the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2009 or 2010. The Award is sponsored by Dell Magazines and is not a Hugo Award, however, he received his award during an event honouring fifteen Hugo award-winners.


Connie Willis's gripping portrait of London during the Blitz has won the American author a remarkable 11th Hugo award for her two-volume time travel sequence. The 2011 Hugo ceremony also saw Ted Chiang win the best novella prize for The Lifecycle of Software Objects, Allen M. Steele takes the best novelette award for The Emperor of Mars and Mary Robinette Kowal wins best short story for For Want of a Nail.

Debut novelist Tatjana Soli won Britain's oldest literary prize—the James Tait Black prize—for The Lotus Eaters, a love story about a female war photographer covering the fall of Saigon during the closing days of the Vietnam War.

A part-biography of Pearl Buck by Hilary Spurling won the James Tait Black best biography award for Burying the Bones: Pearl Buck in China.

The breadth, impact and influence of his writing have won Stephen Sondheim the 2011 Chicago Tribune Literary Prize for lifetime achievement. Sondheim will be honored at the Chicago Humanities Festival in November, when the Tribune's 2011 Heartland Prizes will be presented to Jonathan Franzen for fiction (Freedom) and Isabel Wilkerson for nonfiction (The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration).

Montreal-born, U.S. resident, David Rakoff, is one of three finalists for the 2011 Thurber Prize for American Humor, for his essay collection Half Empty. The winner will be announced October 3. Previous winners include Jon Stewart, David Sedaris and Christopher Buckley.


Martin Levin's list (with short reviews) of sure-fire hits for the fall we should have on our radar include Michael Ondaatje's The Cat's Table; Marina Endicott's The Little Shadows; Misha Glenny's Darkmarket: Cyber Thieves, Cybercops And You; Michael Moore's Here Comes Trouble: Stories from my life; and Guy Vanderhaege's A Good Man.

Journalist and author Gil Courtemanche, whose novel on Rwanda was translated into 23 languages, has died. He presented A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali (among other writing) when he participated in our Festival in 2003.

Peter Ackroyd, the greatest living chronicler of London's seamy, violent underside, tells Andy McSmith that 'Rioting has been a London tradition for centuries' since the early Middle Ages when both the fighting and the penalties were more ferocious.

In an interview, author and poet Precious speaks of the ongoing racism that exists in the book business, for example, the type-casting that occurs in shelving books by African-Americans in "African-American literature" instead of "literature".

Obsessive watchers of Michiko Kakutani, the New York Times' chief book critic, celebrate the return of her favorite obscure word "limn"—which means to depict or make a portrait of, in words.

What happens to words that aren't used anymore? Do they go extinct? Collins Dictionary compilers are creating an endangered words list, words presumed to have become extinct in the past year. Aerodrome and charabanc are among them.

In an interview with Stephen Moss, Edward St. Aubyn says he has spent 22 years trying to transform painful experience into pleasurable reading. With At Last, St. Aubyn has ended the five-book series on his alter ego, Patrick Melrose.

The United Kingdom's first-ever statue of Charles Dickens—in spite of Dickens's request, made at his funeral, that there be no monuments in his honour—will be unveiled in Portsmouth, the writer's birthplace, in August next year.
Here's what I hate about Writers' Houses, writes April Bernard. That art can be understood by examining the chewed pencils of the writer; visiting such a house can substitute for reading the work; that writers can, or should be sanctified.

Killian Fox interviews Jennifer Egan, author of A Visit from the Goon Squad, discovering her views on winning awards, writing the future and why she would have gone on the road with The Who.

Creepy strangers, decadent families and (fill in the blank)... the Guardian revisits the 10 worst fictional holidays—in pictures.

The visionary science fiction writer, Ray Bradbury (Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451, and other books) turned 91 this week.

Toronto author Maureen Jennings (Detective Murdoch, Murdoch Mysteries, television series) has embarked on a new literary project, the Season of Darkness trilogy.

CBC Books invites Canadian fiction fans to nominate a book for the Scotiabank Giller Prize 2011 longlist—and become eligible for prizes. The most nominated book will be added to the official longlist. More information, and nomination forms are here:

A reminder that Readers' Choice nominations to the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist must be submitted by midnight ET on August 28. As part of the Readers' Choice contest, a random draw each week offers an entrant the prize of a Kobo eReader.

The CBC has announced three new literary prizes: for short stories, poetry and literary nonfiction. The short story competition begins September 1. More details here:


Risks are taken and relationships forged during the three-week ocean journey at the heart of Michael Ondaatje's The Cat's Table, a glittering coming-of-age story, writes Christian House. An eloquent, elegiac tribute to the game of youth, shaping what follows.

Ursula K. LeGuin writes that Solace by Belinda McKeon is a tightly controlled debut from a promising Irish writer.

The 2011 Homeless World Cup in Paris prompted Bill Littlefield's review of Dave Bidini's Home and Away, describing his inspiring experience at the 2008 World Cup in Australia. Especially moving was the parade of the athletes, and the community response.

Joseph Heller is recalled in Yossarian Slept Here: When Joseph Heller Was Dad, the Apthorp Was Home, and Life Was a 'Catch-22', a memoir by daughter Erica Heller and Just One Catch: A Biography of Joseph Heller, by Tracy Daugherty.

"The New Generation" ("Molodniak"), a newly translated story by Alexander Solzhenitsyn asks elegant, timeless questions, says Elif Batuman.

Thanks to Hemingway and Mark Twain, errant boys have long been running through our novels. Here, Ron Charles reviews four new novels about errant boys from Africa and the Middle East: their journeys take us somewhere entirely different, writes Charles.

Tracy Sherlock is fascinated by Denise Mina's The End of the Wasp Season, a crime story from four perspectives: the killer's, the victim's, a suspect, and the police. A fascinating psychological study that leaves the reader guessing, says Sherlock.

In Amy Waldman's The Submission, New York City is struck by a catastrophic terrorist attack. Two years later, in an anonymous competition, a jury selects a design for the memorial—and discovers that the winning architect is a Muslim American.

With flaming cinders dropping from the sky and trees all around him exploding into fireballs. James Alford seems doomed to death in a forest fire. But Orland French reminds us that the title of Paul Almond's book is The Survivor.


For the next CBC Studio One Book Club, author William Gibson suggested British writer Sarah Salway. Her three novels and her short stories all share a common theme of how identity is formed through the stories we tell about ourselves - or those that are told about us. William is a big fan of Sarah's writing, so he's going to co-host with Sheryl MacKay, on Thursday August 25th at 6:30 pm. Check out Sarah's writing and enter to win free tickets at www.cbc.ca/bc/bookclub.

Read and talk about Ursula K. LeGuin's The Birthday of the World and Other Stories, a collection of short tales about love, sex, life, and alienation. Thursday, August 25 at 7:00pm. The Grind & Gallery, 4124 Main Street. More information at darthbuddy2000@yahoo.ca.

Author talk and book signing with Gary Kinsman and Patrizia Gentile, in support of their book Canadian War on Queers: National Security as Sexual Regulation. Sunday, August 28 at 2:00pm. Little Sister's Book & Art Emporium, 1238 Davie.

Writers Fred Wah, Joanne Arnott, and Tanya Evanson engage the audience in mixed root dialogue and share their literary expression in fiction, poetry and spoken-word performance. Wednesday, September 7 at 7:00pm, free. Alice MacKay room, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia Street. Information at www.hapapalooza.ca/wednesday.

Pacific Arbour Speaker Series presents Tzeporah Berman on Wednesday, Sept 7th @ 7:30pm. Currently Greenpeace International's Climate and Energy co-director tasked with working on climate change, Berman will address her past and the future of the environmental movement in relation to her new book entitled "This Crazy Time." Tickets and Info: 604.990.7810 / www.capilanou.ca/nscucentre


An evening of storytelling and poetry featuring Melanie Jackson, a suspense-adventure writer for children and young adults. Thursday, September 8 at 7pm. Rhizome Cafe, 317 East Broadway. More information at www.thewritersstudio.ca.

Author Dennis Bolen presents Anticipated Results, his first story collection, in collaboration with unconventional soundscapes and song by artist Soressa Gardner. Wednesday, September 14 at 7:00pm, free. Alma VanDusen & Peter Kaye rooms, lower level, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia Street.

Presenting John Barton and Miles Lowry. Monday, September 19 at 7:30pm. Cost: $3. Serious Coffee, 230 Cook Street, Victoria.

Inaugural reading by the Library's seventh Writer in Residence. Tuesday, September 20 at 7:00pm, free.Alice MacKay room, lower level, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia Street.

Award-winning poet reads from her new volume of poetry, Demeter Goes Skydiving. Wednesday, September 21 at 7:00pm, free. Literature, Social Sciences and Multicultural Services, level 3, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia St.

Are you the best Vogon poet? Prove it and you may win Earth dollars! Submit your absolutely worst poems to be presented slam style at the VPL/VCON Gala with 501st Legion Stormtroopers. Prizes: $100, $60, $40. Youth prize: $42. Thursday, September 22 at 6:30pm, free. Alice MacKay room, lower level, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia Street. Information: www.vpl.ca.

Readings by Linda Besner (The Id Kid) and Matthew J. Trafford (The Divinity Gene). Thursday, September 22 at 7:00pm, free. UBC Bookstore/Library at Robson Square, Plaza level, 800 Robson Street. More information at www.robsonreadingseries.ubc.ca.

The 8th Annual Kootenay Book Weekend will take place in Nelson B.C. September 23, 24 an 25. The featured books are: Christos Tsiolkas' The Slap; Kathryn Stockett's The Help; Li Cunxin's Mao's Last Dancer, and special guest Ruth Ozeki and her books My Year of Meats and All Over Creation. Further information and registration forms can be found at www.kootenaybookweekend.ca.

The VPL invites you to one of Canada's biggest annual book and magazine festivals. Sunday, September 25 from 11am to 5pm, free. North & South Plaza, Promenade, Alice MacKay room, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia Street. Information at www.vpl.ca.

Timothy Taylor reads from his novel, The Blue Light Project. Thursday, September 29 at 2:00pm, free. Dodson Room (302), Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall, UBC, Vancouver. More information at www.ikebarberlearningcentre.ubc.ca/robson.