Vol. 7 No. 14


Mother's Day
Give the gift of great writing and ideas! Purchase an annual membership for your mom for just $35 and she'll receive discounts on books and Festival events, and a personal invitation to attend our Members' Reception. We'll also package her new membership in an attractive gift envelope! To purchase, call the office at 604-681-6330 x109.

If being a member of the VIWF didn't already have enough benefits, we've added an extra incentive! Every two weeks new and renewing members will have a chance to win a book by a Festival or Incite author, or tickets to our special event with Richard Ford on May 28. At the end of August we'll have a grand prize draw for a deluxe pack of Festival tickets - two tickets to any event of your choice for each day of the Festival! This week's winner Dave Reid, received a signed copy of Timothy Taylor's The Blue Light Project. On May 2 we will draw the winner of Linden MacIntyre's latest novel, Why Men Lie. Sign up now here, https://www.writersfest.bc.ca/secure/secure_membership.php.


This week we launch the first in a series of 25 audio archives from past Festival events. Kicking off the series is Bloody Scotland, from 2011 featuring crime writers Stuart MacBride, Denise Mina and Ian Rankin. Details: http://www.writersfest.bc.ca/multimedia/audio-archives.



At the next Incite on May 9, CBC personality Linden MacIntyre takes to the stage with Vincent Lam, the award-winning author of Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures. Both Scotiabank Giller Prize-winners will be reading from their latest books, Why Men Lie and The Headmaster's Wager. Details: http://www.writersfest.bc.ca/events/incite-may9. Also appearing at Incite in the next few weeks are Richard Stursberg, Marsha Lederman, Noah Richler, and Trevor and Debbie Green.

Vincent Lam's The Headmaster's Wager, has all the markings of a masterpiece, writes John Barber.

Richard Ford
Pulitzer Prize and PEN/Faulkner Award-winning author Richard Ford comes to Vancouver on May 28 with his latest novel, Canada. A visionary novel of vast landscapes, complex identities and fragile humanity. Details: http://www.writersfest.bc.ca/events/richardford.

Unconventionally, Richard Helm predicts that the king of the 2012 CanLit season is going to be Richard Ford.

A Dram Come True
The Vancouver International Writers Festival presents the tenth annual single malt scotch whisky sampling. Enjoy the superb, complex flavours of a variety of rare and distinguished single malts. Details: http://www.writersfest.bc.ca/content/dram-come-true.


Founding Artistic Director Alma Lee has received the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Saltspring Island-based writer Brian Brett has been named this year's recipient of the Lieutenant Governor's Award for Literary Excellence.

The Canadian Booksellers Association (CBA) has announced that the industry's prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award will be awarded to author Margaret Atwood in early June.

Richard J. Gwyn has won the $10,000 J.W. Dafoe Book Prize, for the best book on Canada, Canadians, and/or Canada's place in the world. Nation Maker: Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times is the second volume in Gwyn's John A. Macdonald biography series.

Riel Nason, Olive Senior, and Johanna Skibsrud are among those short listed for the 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize.

Tom McMillan's Survivors has won The Star Short Story Contest 2012; Olivia Anastasia Arnaud's After Red and Deepa Shankaran's The Rabbit, took second and third place.

William Deverell and Louise Penny are among those short listed for the 2012 Arthur Ellis Awards.

Deborah Ellis, Sarah Ellis, Marthe Jocelyn, Kit Pearson and Tim Wynne-Jones are finalists for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards, the annual prize judged by young readers.


Julie Fogliano's And Then It's Spring is about a boy planting seeds, his pets, and some birds—illustrated by Erin Stead. Consider the humour, when the boy wonders why nothing is sprouting and the picture shows a plump bird, wearing a bib, hungrily waiting. Ages 4-7.

In J. Anderson Coats's The Wicked and the Just, hardship afflicts Cecily when she and her father move to Wales. An unusually honest portrait of the effects of power, writes Deirdre Baker. Ages 12 and up.

At least three thousand children marched and were arrested in Birmingham, Alabama in May 1963. Cynthia Levinson chooses four young people to help her tell the story in We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham's Children March. Carefully documented, says Mary Harris Russell. Ages 10-15.

In honour of National Poetry Month, the Washington Post invited students to write and submit poems. Out of almost 700 submissions, 15 poems were selected. The poems are here:


Juror Maureen Corrigan writes about her experience as one of three jurors of the Pulitzer Prize fiction category, and suggests changes to improve the process by which the Pulitzer Prize is decided.

Thomas Jones writes: "it's an outrageous 35 years since the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction last wasn't awarded. But in the prize's first sixty years it happened 10 times: including in 1917, the year it was created, and no less than three times in the 1970s."

This week's online edition of The New Yorker includes Pulitzer: the Leaked Fiction Memos.

Michael Tolkien, eldest grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien and actor Gerald Dickens, great-great grandson of Charles Dickens, are working together to release two children's fantasy books later this year: Wish, based on The Rose-Coloured Wish and Rainbow, adapted from The Other Side of the Rainbow.

Ted Hughes's 92-year-old brother, Gerald, is writing a memoir about the two boys' country upbringing, which will show how the poet's well-known love of nature developed in childhood. Ted and I, by Gerald Hughes, is due this autumn.

A tiny, doll-sized fairytale (4cm by 3.5cm) created and written for Queen Mary, the story of the fairy Joe Smith, who falls out of Fairyland and lands in London, is to be published at full size for the first time.

Andrew Motion's recently published sequel to Treasure Island is to have sound effects. Sound effects for four other book possibilities (the reader is expected to identify the novel rendered in sound) are found here:

On Monday night, Sophie Kinsella, Stephen Fry, and many other volunteers handed out a million books for free, to encourage people to read more. Monday was World Book Night in Scotland, England, Canada, the U.S., Australia, and Germany (and possibly more). The Scotsman asked some of them what titles they chose to give, to whom and why.

In an interview with William Skidelsky, AN Wilson discusses the mystique of Tolstoy, his spat with Richard Evans and the limitations of the Kindle.


Richard Stursberg's memoir, The Tower of Babble: Sins, Secrets and Successes is a chronicle of his stormy half-decade at the helm of CBC's English television. Despite the bitterness, Stursberg's achievements shine through, writes Peter C. Newman.

Stursberg's six years at "Mother Corp" were tumultuous, says Sandro Contente. More than anything, he became a lighting rod for the battle of what the CBC should be. Stursberg and Tony Burman agree it's time for a consensus on the CBC's role, writes Contente.

April is Poetry Month and to many readers, that means guilt, writes Michael Dirda. Dirda's comments apply here, as in Washington. Our City's poet laureate, the many local and national poets—such poets reward their readers anytime, not just in April.

Recent poetry reviews include:
Brett Josef Grubisic on Billeh Nickerson's IMPACT: The Titanic Poems

Paul Muldoon (poetry editor of The New Yorker) on Philip Larkin's Complete Poems.

Stevie Howell on Pamela Porter's No Ordinary Place.

When Gerbrand Bakker's first book, The Twin, won the Impac Award, it was clear that an assured, mature new voice had emerged in European fiction, writes John Burnside. Still, as accomplished as The Twin was, The Detour is even more powerful.

Beastly Things, Donna Leon's 21st novel featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti, is one of her best, writes Margaret Cannon. No Brunetti book has ever disappointed, and this one, which takes Brunetti out of his usual zone, is riveting, says Cannon.

The Light of Amsterdam is Northern Irish novelist David Park's eighth book. It is perhaps the first book by a serious Northern Irish novelist which might be described as a genuinely post-Troubles novel, writes Ian Sansom.

Kari Herbert's Polar Wives is the first to document the stories of women who supported their explorer husbands during their world-famous Arctic and Antarctic expeditions. Using original sources, Herbert documents the stories of seven such women.

Taras Grescoe visited 14 cities as he explored more and better public transit, His new book, Straphanger: Saving Our Cities and Ourselves from the Automobile shows how people around the world are trying to tame the car to cut congestion and pollution and generally make cities nicer places in which to live, writes Andy Riga.

All of us eavesdrop, even when we try not to do so. Are we not implicated in what we hear? Such questions are at the heart of Ellen Ullman's extraordinary novel, By Blood, in which the reader becomes a kind of eavesdropper, writes John Freeman.

In Ben Stephenson's A Matter of Life and Death or Something—with a small cast of characters, a notebook, a scattering of illustrations, and a startling ability to get into the head of a 10-yer-old and a distressed young adult—everything works together seamlessly, writes Candace Fertile.

Rahul K. Parikh writes that Sanjay Gupta explains why his new novel, Monday Morning is set in once-secret "morbidity and mortality" meetings. In his novel Monday Mornings, Gupta lifts the veil on these gatherings.

In the Orchard, the Swallows by English author Peter Hobbs can be read as allegory and as literal story, writes Ian McGillis. Now living in Canada, Hobbs has created a feat of empathy not only across cultures, but also across experience.

Jennifer Hunter interviews Hobbs about this book she describes as "beautifully crafted".

The moment she first heard Thelonious Monk play the piano, Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter walked out on her own life and devoted herself to the American jazz genius. Hannah Rothschild tells her great-aunt's extraordinary story in The Baroness: The Search for Nica, the Rebellious Rothschild.

Roger Morgan's touching faith—in Truth Like the Sun—that, through sheer energy and handshake deals, Seattle can be made truly and inarguably "world class" proves to be the kind of thing a city both needs and would be wise to be suspicious of, writes Andrew Pyper.

King Canute has had a raw deal from history. He took his throne down to the beach in order to show his servile courtiers that not even a king could control the waves (that was in God's power alone). It was satire, writes Mary Beard.


Book launch of the author's latest novel, Darkest Light. Thursday, April 26 at 7:00pm, free. Rhizome Cafe, 317 East Broadway.

John Gold discusses his novel Seven Good Reasons Not To Be Good. Thursday, April 26 at 7:00 PM. Christianne's Lyceum. 3696 W. 8th Ave. $20 (includes refreshments). To reserve your space call 604.733.1356 or email lyceum@christiannehayward.com. More information at www.christiannehayward.com.

Food and lifestyle writer Christina Symons and professional horticulturalist and landscaper John Gillespie for a demonstration and book signing, featuring a project from their new book. Saturday, April 28 at 3:00pm, free. Cedar Rim Nursery, 7024 Glover Road, Langley. For information, visit www.cedarrim.com.

Launch of Alex Leslie's new collection of stories, with story-inspired menu by Michael Speier. Special guests Daniel Zomparelli and Dina Del Bucchia. Saturday, April 28 at 8:00pm, free. Project Space, 222 E. Georgia Street, Vancouver.

Showcase of work by Diana Hayes (This is the Moon's Work) and Daniela Elza (The Weight of Dew). Thursday, May 3 at 7:00pm, free. Alma VanDusen room, lower level, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia Street. More information at 604-331-3716.

Readings by Stephanie Bolster (A Page from the Wonders of Life on Earth) and Theresa Kishkan (Mnemonic: A Book of Trees). Thursday, May 3 at 7:00pm, free. UBC Bookstore/Library at Robson Square, 800 Robson Street. More information at www.robsonreadingseries.ubc.ca.

Author presents his latest book, The Serpent's Shadow. Thursday, May 3 at 7:00pm. Tickets: $25 (includes book). Hellenic Centre, 4500 Arbutus Street, Vancouver. For complete details and to purchase tickets, visit www.kidsbooks.ca.

Annual festival of children's literature intended to promote literacy, celebrate language arts and cultivate creative thought in West Vancouver. May 4-31, 2012. Complete details at www.booktopia.ca.

Meet Canadian children's authors and illustrators for a fun-filled and entertaining day with writers such as Michael Kusugak, Julie Flett and Paul Yee. Saturday, May 5, 2012 in Nanaimo, BC. Cost: $10 per child or $25 per family; ticket sales start March 26. Details here: www.bookfest.ca.

Author of the popular Mysterious Benedict Society series presents his newest book in the series, The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict. Saturday, May 5 at 2:00pm. Tickets: $21 (includes book). West Point Grey United Church Sanctuary, 4595 8th Ave. W. Details and ticket purchase here, www.kidsbooks.ca.

Reading by the author of Passing Through Missing Pages, a chronicle of the life of Annie Foster Hanley. Monday, May 7 at 7:00pm, free but registration required. White Rock library, 15342 Buena Vista, White Rock. More information at 604-541-2201.


Reading by the documentary photographer and writer Gabor Gasztonyi from his new book. Wednesday, May 9 at 7:00pm, free but please register by phoning 604-937-4155. Board room, Poirier branch, Coquitlam Public Library, 575 Poirier Street.

Reading by the author of Falling in Time. Thursday, May 10 at 2:00pm, free. Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, Point Grey Campus, 1961 East Mall. More information at www.robsonreadingseries.ubc.ca.

Meet bestselling medical thriller author with his novel, The Far Side of the Sky: a novel of love and death in Shanghai. Thursday, May 10 at 7:00pm, free but register at 604-598-7426. Meeting room 120, City Centre Library, 10350 University Drive. More information at www.surreylibraries.ca.

Finalists for the 2012 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize read from their nominated work. The evening will be hosted by Evelyn Lau, Vancouver's Poet Laureate. Friday, May 11 at 7:00pm, free. Alice MacKay room, lower level, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia St.

Featuring readings by Lilija Valis, Kate Braid, Chris Gilpin, George McWhirter and Evelyn Lau. Sunday, May 13 at 3:00pm. Entry by donation. Project Space, 222 East Georgia Street, Vancouver. Details and registration here, www.deadpoetslive.com.

Reading by the author of Love Has Wings. Monday, May 14 at 7:00pm, free. Alice MacKay room, lower level, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia Street.

Reading by the author of Deadly Lessons, his first novel that was nominated for the Crime Writers of Canada award. Wednesday, May 16 at 7:00pm, free. Peter Kaye room, lower level, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia Street.

Readings by Catherine Owen (Catalysts) and Waubgeshig Rice (Midnight Sweatlodge). Thursday, May 17 at 7:00pm, free. UBC Bookstore/Library at Robson Square, 800 Robson Street. More information at www.robsonreadingseries.ubc.ca.

Three days of poetry, song and storytelling featuring Carolyn Forche', Tony Hoagland and many others. May 17-20, 2012. La Conner, WA. Complete information at www.skagitriverpoetry.org.

The author will talk about his new novel In One Person on Friday, May 18th, 2012 at 7:30 pm at the North Shore Credit Union Centre for the Performing Arts. Capilano University, 2055 Purcell Way, North Vancouver. Ticket price of $30 includes a copy of the new novel available for pick up at the event. More information at 604.990.7810 or http://www2.capilanou.ca/news-events/nscucentre.html.