Vol. 7 No. 18


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! Sign up now here, https://www.writersfest.bc.ca/secure/secure_membership.php.


Listen to the fifth installment in our series of audio archives from past Festival events. This week you'll hear "We're Not the Centre of the Universe" from the 2011 Festival, featuring 2007 Griffin Prize for Poetry winner Don McKay. Details: http://www.writersfest.bc.ca/multimedia/audio-archives.


Richard Ford
In advance of his on-stage interview with Hal Wake on Monday, Richard Ford talks with Greg Quill about his novel, Canada.

Ford named the story idea 23 years ago, long before he'd formulated it as a novel. "Canada" was an attractive word, says Ford, always  possessingits own pleasing sonority. Writers often choose what they write because of the words they get to use, says Ford.

Details: http://www.writersfest.bc.ca/events/richardford.

A Dram Come True
7:30pm Friday June 1st
A beautiful June evening, a wonderful Shaughnessy heritage home, a fabulous selection of scotches... Well, we can't guarantee the weather, but we can assure you of an excellent array of rare and cask strength bottles and experts at six tasting bars to guide you. So dust off your kilt and get out your sporran, this is an event that a true connoisseur won't want to miss! Details: http://www.writersfest.bc.ca/content/dram-come-true.


Riel Nason, a New Brunswick-based writer, is a regional winner of the Commonwealth Book Prize for her debut novel, The Town That Drowned.

Inspired by his experiences during the Holocaust, Blooms of Darkness, a novel by the 80-year-old Israeli author Aharon Appelfeld has won the Independent foreign fiction prize.

The Canadian Booksellers Association's Lifetime Achievement Award will be awarded to Canadian author Margaret Atwood June 3, 2012, in recognition of Ms. Atwood's outstanding and longstanding contribution to the book industry.

Nine winners of Atlantic Book Awards 2012, representing a wide range of literary categories, were announced last week. Go here for the full list of winners.

Twelve authors and illustrators were named popular-vote winners of the 2012 Forest of Reading awards over the course of the two-day Festival of Trees children's literature festival. The awards for fiction, non-fiction, and French-language books were based on votes from 250,000 participating student readers. Go here for the full list of winners.


Taka-chan and I: A Dog's Journey to Japan by Runcible, as told to Betty Jean Lifton, is a dreamlike tale of a dog who digs his way to Japan, where he encounters a young girl who joins him in an adventurous quest to defeat the Black Dragon. Beautifully illustrated. For all ages.

Katherine Longshore's Gilt tells the fictionalized story, in the 16th Century, of Henry VIII's fifth wife, Catherine Howard, from the perspective of a friend, Kitty. Catherine doesn't believe in love—just social advancement. She does marry the king and is executed when she is 21. Ages 12 and up.

Meg Rosoff's There is No Dog is a tart, satirical work of unrelenting humour and creative energy. There is No Dog looks at the world and surmises that it's the creation of a self-absorbed, sex-obsessed, adolescent boy God. Original and highly entertaining. Ages 13 and up.

Pamela Porter's I'll Be Watching is a story in poetry tracking the inner and outer lives of the miscellaneously flawed inhabitants of their tiny town of Argue, Saskatchewan in the early 1940's. Ages 12 and up.


As the children's classic The Phantom Tollbooth turns 50, Daniel Hahn interviews the author, Norton Juster.

Neil Gaimon, who never attended college, recently delivered the commencement address at the University of the Arts' graduation ceremony, where he also was awarded an honorary Ph.D. in fine arts. "Leave the world more interesting for your being here," he said.

A toast to John Cheever, the master of the short story, who would have turned 100 on May 27.

The mobile services company Orange has announced that it will not be renewing its sponsorship of the prize for women's fiction. After this year's award is presented, Orange will withdraw its support of the prize in order to focus on film industry sponsorship.

Marjorie Perloff writes about how prizes are ruining poetry.

Anne Boleyn: witch, bitch, temptress, feminist, Hilary Mantel talks about Henry VIII's second wife, one of the most controversial women in English history. Much of what we think we know about Anne melts away on close inspection.

A recent article raises the question: should David Sedaris' s pieces be fact-checked? Is his work true? Is it fiction? Nonfiction? Does it matter? Opinions from readers are included in the article.

A book discussion in Jakarta, featuring Canadian writer Irshad Manji, was broken up by the Jakarta Police, with several people injured. Protesters claimed their opposition to Manji, who is openly lesbian, was due to her viewpoint that Islam should accept homosexuality.

Thousands of protesters joined a march organized by Russian writers in Moscow, May13. "We see by the number of people that literature still has authority in our society," said poet Lev Rubinstein, one of the organizers. "No one will forget it," he said.

A treasure trove of pre-revolutionary books and magazines has been discovered in the archives of the Russian State Polytechnical Museum Library in Moscow, hidden behind false walls.

We've been taught that Gutenberg invented the printing press, changing the course of civilization forever. It is, however, an undisputed historical fact that Johannes Gutenberg did not invent the printing press. Printed books existed nearly 600 years before Gutenberg's Bible.

Amazon reviews are as likely to give an accurate summary of a book's quality as those of professional newspapers, according to a study from Harvard Business School. Amazon reviewers tend to look favourably on debut authors, while professionals prefer prizewinners.

So, do we need professional reviewers? asks Lionel Shriver who is, herself, a professional reviewer.

Margaret Atwood will mentor British novelist Naomi Alderman as part of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. Launched in 2002, the Arts Initiative was developed because Rolex wanted to extend its arts philanthropy.

Authors Isabel Allende, Junot Díaz, Jonathan Kozol, Rudolfo Anaya, bell hooks, Sandra Cisneros, James Baldwin, and Howard Zinn, have been banned from Arizona schools, as well as Thoreau's Civil Disobedience. And a teacher was fired for assigning an upper-level class an essay on censorship.

With May being mystery month, Canada Writes! will publish six new short stories by some of Canada's top mystery novelists: William Deverell, Gail Bowen, Peter Robinson, Mary Jane Maffini, Therese Greenwood and Doug Moles. More information, including about Louise Penny's master class, is here:

Mark Kingwell's essay on the mystery of mysteries is equally timely.

Margaret Cannon's latest list of recommended thrillers and mysteries is here:

12 masters of suspense name their favourites here:


Nahlah Ayed's A Thousand Farewells: A Reporter's Journey from Refugee Camp to the Arab Spring is part memoir and part history lesson, writes Enza Micheletti. Ayed brings insight to the "modern Arab identity," as she recounts the stories of ordinary Arabs she meets along the way.

Peter Carey's novel, The Chemistry of Tears draws compelling parallels between a Victorian-era automaton of a defecating duck and the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a tour-de-force performance, writes Emily Donaldson. Carey is the finest writer Australia has produced, says Donaldson.

Lynn Crosbie's Life is About Losing Everything chronicles her slouching toward middle age. She does not go gently. The seven years she documents were clearly harrowing ones for Crosbie but slowly, she is putting everything back together, writes Laura Penny.

Eight people are stuck together for a week in Mark Haddon's The Red House, a closely observed domestic drama that gives the impression of being a random slice-of-life, says Carol Birch. But every character is coming to terms with something.

In Just Send Me Word, Orlando Figes tells the true story of two young Moscow scientists, whose love for each other endured the Gulag, Stalin's attempts to "reforge" them, and Hitler's 1941 invasion. Their correspondence is preserved in a Moscow archive.

Pamela Porter writes novels in verse for young adults, which have acquired many awards. No Ordinary Place, her latest book of poetry for older adults, reflects her life in the natural world on her family's acreage outside Sidney, on Vancouver Island.

Alison Flood writes that Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl's dark, disturbing story of a wife's sudden disappearance is a contender for thriller of the year.

The Marlowe Papers, the first novel of poet Ros Barber, brings to life the premise that playwright Christopher Marlowe was not killed in a Deptford tavern in 1593, but survived in exile and became the secret author of William Shakespeare's works.

Two decades after Nobel Laureate Jose Saramago shocked the religious world with his novel The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, he has done it again with Cain, a satire of the Old Testament, and part of Saramago's long argument with religion.

Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease are some of the neurodegenerative terrors that haunt boomers as they age. In Fatal Flaws, Jay Ingram, whose métier is simplifying science for Canadians, examines new research into these illnesses and the molecule called a prion.

Award-winning author Brian Brett writes in The Tyee on his duty to ‘confront the world'.


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

Readings by Jamella Hagen (Kerosene), Clea Roberts (Here Is Where We Disembark), and Claire Tacon (In the Field). Thursday, May 24 at 7:00pm, free. BC Bookstore/Library at Robson Square, 800 Robson Street. More information at www.robsonreadingseries.ubc.ca.

Sarah Leavitt discusses her graphic memoir Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer's, My Mother and Me. Thursday, May 24 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.

Susan Aihoshi will read from her new book Torn Apart: The Internment Diary of Mary Kobayashi , about a young girl whose life changes when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbour. Thursday, May 24 at 7:30pm. Admission by donation. Historic Joy Kogawa House, 1450 64th Ave. W. More information at kogawahouse@yahoo.ca.

Canadian economist and author reads from his new book The End of Growth. Thursday, May 24 at 7:30pm. Tickets: $24. Admission includes one free copy of the book. North Shore Credit Union Centre for the Performing Arts, 2055 Purcell Way, North Vancouver. More information at www.capilanou.ca/nscucentre.

26th annual Margaret Laurence Lecture featuring Canadian poet, novelist, essayist and documentarian. Friday, May 25 at 8:00pm. Alice MacKay room, Central Branch, 350 W. Georgia Street. More information at www.writerstrust.com.

Jellyfish Publishing presents poetry by Michael Twist and original music from Megan Twist. Saturday, May 26 at 7:30pm. Arbutus Coffee, 2200 Arbutus. More information at michaeltwist.com.

The W.A. Deacon Literary Foundation and Alcuin Society will be presenting the cash prize to this year's first place winner of the National Book-Collecting Contest for young Canadians under 30 years of age. Monday, May 28 at 7:00pm. Room 2260, SFU downtown, 515 W. Hastings. More information at www.deaconfoundation.com.

Linda Hutsell-Manning talks about her writing career and reads from her novel. Monday, May 28 at 7:00pm, free. Meeting room, level 3, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia Street.

Fan appreciation night and the debut of the 2012 Vancouver Youth Poetry Slam team. Monday, May 28 at 8:00pm. Cafe Deux Soleils, 2096 Commercial Drive. More information at www.vancouverpoetryhouse.com.

Please join Montreal writer Julija Sukys for a reading and discussion of her new book Epistolophilia: Writing the Life of Ona Simaite. Tuesday, May 29 at 7:00pm, free. Peter Kay room, lower level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street. More information at 604-331-3603.

Featuring Ahava Shira, Avie Estrin, Taslim Jaffer, Daniela Elza, Bonnie Nish, Ms. Spelt and David Shewel, who will read their poetry inspired by the art exhibit, Celebrating Jerusalem. Tuesday, May 29 at 7:00pm. Gallery Room, Jewish Community Centre, 950 W. 41st Ave. More information at blnish@pandorascollective.com.

Screening of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the 2011 movie based on the John Le Carre spy novel. Thursday, May 31 at 6:30pm, free. Alice MacKay room, lower level, Central Branch, 350 W. Georgia St. More information at www.vpl.ca.

Local author reads from his novels Secrets Kept—Secrets Told and Blood, Feathers, and Holy Men. Thursday, May 31 at 7:30pm. Pelican Rouge Coffee House, 15142 North Bluff Rd., White Rock. More information at www.semiahmooarts.com.


Reading by the author of From Bombs to Books: the remarkable stories of refugee children and their families at an exceptional Canadian school. Tuesday, June 5 at 6:30pm. Free but please register by phoning 604-522-3971. Tommy Douglas branch, Burnaby Public Library, 7311 Kingsway.

Local poet and artist shares poetry, slides and discusses poetry and painting. Wednesday, June 6 at 7:00pm, free. Dr. G. Paul Singh Study Hall, North Vancouver City Library, 120 14th Street W., North Vancouver. More information at 604-998-3450.

Author will talk about her memoir recalling her life as South Africa's first female airline pilot, This is Kucki Your Pilot Speaking. Thursday, June 7 at 7:00pm. Free but please register in advance by phoning 604-299-8955. McGill branch, Burnaby Public Library, 4595 Albert Street, Burnaby.

Readings by Phil Hall (Killdeer) and Aaron Bushkowsky (Curtains for Roy). Thursday, June 14 at 7:00pm, free. BC Bookstore/Library at Robson Square, 800 Robson Street. More information at www.robsonreadingseries.ubc.ca.

Launch of the fifth book in the series The Unheralded Artists of BC, The Life and Art of Ina D.D. Uhthoff. Saturday, June 16 at 8:00pm, free. Martin Batchelor Gallery, 712 Cormorant St., Victoria. More information at www.mothertonguepublishing.com.

VVF seeks videopoems that wed words and images, the voice seen as well as heard. Deadline for submissions is September 1, 2012. For more information, contact Artistic Director Heather Haley at hshaley@emspace.com.