Vol. 6 No. 42



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.

Chuck Palahniuk - 7pm, November 30, 2011
The bestselling author of Fight Club, Choke and Snuff reads from his latest novel, Damned. Details: http://www.writerfest.bc.ca/events/palahniuk


The 2011 Nobel Prize in literature was awarded to the Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer, whose surrealistic works about the mysteries of the human mind won him acclaim as one of the most important Scandinavian writers since World War II. The Swedish Academy said it recognized the 80-year-old poet "because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality."

Don't know Tranströmer's work? Slate offers a few good entry points.

Vancouver poet and author Evelyn Lau has been named Vancouver's third poet laureate. The position is for three years.

The PEN/Pinter prize is shared each year by two writers—one British, one international who, in Pinter's words, “cast an unflinching, unswerving gaze upon the world”. The British prize went to David Hare, who was present at the ceremony. Not present was Italian author Roberto Saviano, the international prize-winner, who lives under a permanent death threat from the Neapolitan Mafia.

Gillion Slovo profiles Roberto Saviano.

Julian Barnes has won the Man Booker Prize for The Sense of an Ending.

BBC News profiles Barnes:

The names of the winners of each of the ten categories of Daggers' Awards for 2011 can be found here:


Critical of opinions expressed by Man Booker Prize judges, a group of agents, publishers, writers and critics is launching a brand new literary award—The Literature Prize—to celebrate excellence in English-language fiction.

What is the purpose of literary prizes and how do we determine the excellence of a book, asks Laura Miller, adding that arguments over literary prizes at home and abroad show how little we agree on what constitutes great literature.

Margaret Atwood is a long-term campaigner for the conservation of birds and is one of 112 contributors to The Ghost of Gone Birds, an exhibition about extinct birds, opening in London next week. It includes a Great Auk knit by Atwood while she was traveling in the Arctic. It is hoped that the exhibition will travel to America, especially for the 2014 International Convention Congress of Bird Life, in Ottawa.

Constance Brissenden and Larry Loyie recount the 40-year project of Jay Powell and Vickie Jensen to preserve Aboriginal languages.

The CBC has announced the 2012 Canada Reads: True Stories Top 40 List. The deadline for voting for the finalist of your choice is October 30, before midnight ET.

Members of the public are invited to vote in the Globe and Mail online for their choice of the finalists for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. The Globe and Mail is printing an excerpt each day of one of the finalists' work. The prize-winner will be announced November 1.

Each day this week, the New Yorker's Book Bench features an excerpt from It Chooses You by Miranda July.


Julian Barnes' The Sense of An Ending is "succinct, rich and powerful" writes Martin Rubin. The book packs into so few pages so much that the reader finishes it "with a great sense of satisfaction,” says Rubin.

Gold Boy, Emerald Girl, Yiyun Li's short stories of modern China, have the sparseness and impact of a Raymond Carver or Haruki Murakami, writes Alice Fisher. A wonderful talent, says Fisher.

In anticipation of the spooky season, The Globe and Mail includes an excerpt from Highly Inappropriate Tales For Young People, by Douglas Coupland and Graham Roumieu (reprinted with permission from Random House Canada).

Laura Miller writes that Haruki Murakami's new novel 1Q84: Love in an alternate universe is the international literary giant at his uncanny, mesmerizing best. Note that In Japanese, the title is a pun, ichi-kyu-hachi-yon: the "nine" sounds like "Q".

Tracy Sherlock describes Ami McKay's second novel, The Virgin Cure, as both lovely and unforgettable, written in a style that is both clean and subtle. Readers will take to The Virgin Cure just as they did The Birth House, says Sherlock.

J.J. Lee's The Measure of a Man both chronicles the evolution of the men's suit and tells the story about a son's quest to understand his father's life, and their relationship, writes Carla Lucchetta. A beautiful, cleverly executed story, says Lucchetta.

During British rule, India-cultivated opium was shipped to Canton in massive amounts. In River of Smoke, Amitav Ghosh launches his cast toward China, as the first Opium War looms. Ghosh takes us places we never thought to go, writes Nancy Wigston.

Black Cat Bone is a deserving winner of this year's Forward Prize for best collection, writes Fiona Sampson. John Burnside's 12th volume adds to, and deepens, a body of poetry that is already exceptionally significant. But he is also simply one of the finest poets writing today, says Sampson.

Ibi Kaslik writes that in Johanna Skibsrud's This will Be Difficult to Explain and Other Stories, Skibsrud comes at prose through the headiness of the intellectual, rather than the frank opacity of a storyteller.

Readers of Alan Hollinghurst's work know that his characters like going to parties. While Margot Livesey craved a little more drama in The Stranger's Child, that's like complaining about the lack of cream puffs after a 10-course meal, she says.


Readings by Susan McCaslin (Demeter Goes Skydiving) and Christopher Patton (Curious Memory). Thursday, October 27 at 7:00pm, free. UBC Bookstore/Library at Robson Square, Plaza level, 800 Robson Street. More information at www.robsonreadingseries.ubc.ca.

Author Claudia Cornwell discusses her new book At the World's Edge—Curt Lang's Vancouver: 1937–1998. Slideshow included. Registration required. Thursday, October 27 at 7:00pm. Lynn Valley Main Library, 1277 Lynn Valley Road, North Vancouver). More information at 604-984-0286 x8144.

Musical and poetic collaboration features 10 poets interpreting Van Halen's self-titled debut album. Includes a live performance of the album by Van Halen cover band Eruption. Thursday, October 27 at 9:00pm. Tickets: $8. Cottage Bistro, 4470 Main Street. More information at weslowhiskey@shaw.ca.

Book signing of The Name of the Starr, a new book by the author of The Last Little Blue Envelope and Scarlett Fever. Saturday, October 29 at 2:00pm. Chapters Surrey, 12101 72nd Avenue, Surrey. More information at 604-501-2877.

Readings by Rob Taylor, Maureen Hynes, Peggy Shumaker, Rhea Tregebov, Joan Kane, and Sherry Simpson. Saturday, October 29 at 5:00pm. Room 1415, SFU Harbour Centre, 515 W. Hastings Street. More information at cbprs.wordpress.com.

Author Robert C. Belyk gives a multimedia reading of true, local ghost stories. Saturday, October 29 at 6:00pm. Tickets: $10/$7. St. James Hall, 3214 10th Ave. W. More information at www.famousartists.ca.

Two opportunities to meet the author of the popular Ivy + Bean series. North Vancouver: Tuesday, November 1 at 4:00pm, Lynn Valley Branch library. Vancouver: Tuesday, November 1 at 7:00pm, West Point Grey United Church Sanctuary, 4595 8th Ave. W. Tickets: $5. Information and tickets at www.kidsbooks.ca.

Meet the author of the popular series Ranger's Apprentice. Thursday, November 3 at 7:00pm. Tickets: $5. Our Lady of Perpetual Help Gymnasium, 2550 Camosun Street. More information and tickets at www.kidsbooks.ca.


Kidsbooks is hosting an evening presentation with two-time Caldecott Medal-winner. Wednesday, November 9 at 7pm. Tickets are $30.00 which includes the new hardcover book The Chronicles of Harris Burdick. Our Lady of Perpetual Help Gymnasium, 2550 Camosun Street, Vancouver.

Ami McKay presents her second novel, The Virgin Cure, along with BC author Frances Greenslade, who will read from her first novel, Shelter. Wednesday, November 9 at 7:30pm, Alice MacKay Room, lower level, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia Street.

Reading by Michael V. Smith, author of Cumberland. Thursday, November 10 at 2:00pm. Rm 301, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall, UBC, Vancouver.

Freehand Books and Little Sisters present a special evening of literature and conversation with a reading by Stephen Gauer from his new novel. Facilitated discussion and reception to follow. Thursday, November 17 at 7:00pm, free. Little Sisters, 1238 Davie Street.