Friday, 6 February 2009

Book News Vol. 4 No. 11


We want to hear from you!
Please take a few minutes and complete a short survey about Book News. Surveys submitted with contact information before Monday, February 9, 2009 will be entered into a draw for a two tickets to Spoken World on Wednesday, February 18 at 7:30pm.

The Vancouver International Writers Festival and the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad present

Spoken World
Don't miss this opportunity to catch amazing spoken word artists from around the world, on stage with the Festival's Literary Cabaret favourite Sal Ferreras and his all star band Poetic License. Two performances only!

7:30 pm February 18 & 20
Performance Works
1218 Cartwright Street, Vancouver

Tickets: $20/$18 students/seniors plus service charge available from or phone 604.629.8849. Group rates: group of 8 or more adults - $17 each plus service charges; group of 8 or more students/seniors - $15 each plus service charges. Advance purchase only. More information:


Spoken World workshop
A one day spoken word workshop for students in grades 9 - 12 with Regie Cabico, Morganics, Lemn Sissay and Kinnie Starr.
9 - 4:30 pm, Saturday February 21
$35 (lunch included)
Register today by phoning 604 681 6330.

About the Cultural Olympiad
The Cultural Olympiad is a series of multi-disciplinary festivals and digital programs showcasing the best in Canadian and international arts and popular culture.

Reed Exhibitions has now cancelled BookExpo Canada.

While booksellers struggle in the economic crisis, self-publishers are flourishing.

Brain-imaging study shows that the mental stimulation of reading may improve skilled behaviours.

Can serious fiction be science fiction?


Russell Wangersky has won Canada's largest non-fiction award.

More on Costa Prize winner Sebastian Barry: an article about his "flawed" winning novel and an interview.

J.K. Rowling is knighted in France.


New review of Ali Smith's collection: The First Person is "full of stories folded up within stories"; "a book about stories themselves: why they work and why we tell them."

The bicentennial of Darwin Day is coming up. Here are a few reviews of two new books about Darwin: Angels and Ages: A Short Book about Darwin, Lincoln and Modern Life, and Darwin's Sacred Cause: Race, Slavery and the Quest for Human Origins.

Quill & Quire profiles 70-year-old debut writer Alan Bradley.

Margaret Atwood introduces The Paris Review Interviews, Vol 3.

In an interview in The Independent, British writer Hanif Kureishi talks about psychoanalysis, fundamentalism, and his sex life.

The Star calls Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum's second novel, Ms. Hempel Chronicles, "an anatomy of vulnerability with its cringing, heartbreaking detail, mercifully offset by a saving, redemptive humour."


The Vancouver International Storytelling Festival celebrates its 17th season with a weekend of performances by sought-after professional storytellers from home and abroad, all on the theme of "In the beginning." Main Street's Heritage Hall, decorated in the style of a magical, Arabian Nights-inspired Bedouin tent, will be home to origin stories from all over the world, and tales about beginnings of all kinds. Local favourites Kira Van Deusen, Jean-Pierre Makosso, Melanie Ray, Naomi Steinberg, EvenSteven, Wing-Siu Wong, Max Tell, Philomena Jordan and Helen Mintz will be joined by Eric Gauthier, Kagan Goh, Tanya Evanson, Vanessa Richards and the Cultural Medicine Cabinet Choir and also special guests Janet Blake (world-renowned teller from the UK) and Pat Braden (from the NWT). February 6 - 8, 2009. The 17th Annual Vancouver International Storytelling Festival Heritage Hall (Main St. @ W. 15th Ave.) Tickets at or 604-684-2787.

Cree artist Steve Sanderson will be giving a presentation on his comic book, Darkness Calls, which focuses on suicide prevention in youth. The piece has recently been adapted as an animated film, narrated in Gitxsan (with English subtitles). Monday, February 9 at 2:30pm, by donation. SFU Burnaby Mountain, Classroom ASSC 9095. More information at

Launch of Tightrope Books' new anthology series, featuring readings by contributors and a performance of music and spoken word by Leanne Averbach & Indigo. Saturday, February 7 at 7:00pm, free. Montmartre Café (4362 Main Street). More information at

Ivan Penaluna hosts a five-minute-story competition with eight storytellers. Sunday, February 8 at 8:00pm. Suggested donation $5. Café Deux Soleils (2096 Commercial). More information at

Join Vancouver's Poet Laureate George McWhirter (The Anachronicles) and Barbara Pelman (Borrowed Rooms) for a poetry reading. Monday, February 9 at 7:30pm, free. Central Branch, Alma VanDusen Room, Lower Level, 350 West Georgia Street.

Featuring Adelene da soul poet and Jive Poetic. Monday, February 9 at 8:00pm. Cafe Deux Soleils (2096 Commercial). More information at

Talking Stick Festival presents singer and storyteller Pat Braden and Métis poet Greg Scofield. Tuesday, February 10 at 9:00pm, by donation. UnWine'd Lounge (Howe at Davie). More information at

Local writer and author of Instant Replay Len Corben reads from his work. Wednesday, February 11 at 7:00pm. Free; seating is limited and pre-registration is required. Please call 604-984-0286, ext. 8144 to register. Lynn Valley Main Library - Program Room, 1277 Lynn Valley Road.

Presentation for both writers and readers who are interested in how authors travel from idea to finished novel, featuring Kate Austin, Kaylea Cross, and Lee McKenzie. Wednesday, February 11 at 7:00pm, free. Alma VanDusen Room (Vancouver Public Library, 350 W. Georgia).

Presenting Patricia Young, author of eight books of poetry and one book of short fiction, Airstream and Terence Young, author of two books of poetry, a book of short stories and The Island in Winter. Thursday, February 12 at 7:00pm, free. UBC Robson Square Bookstore/Library, 800 Robson Street (plaza level). More information at

On Edge Reading Series presents the author of The End of East. Thursday, February 12 at 7:00pm, free. South Building, room 406, Emily Carr University, 1399 Johnston Street, Granville Island. More information at:


Author Sam Wharton reads from his novel Passe Partout. Monday, February 16 at 7:30pm, free. Peter Kaye Room, Lower Level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street. For more information please contact VPL - Popular Reading Library at 604-331-3691.

A celebration of African Heritage Month in words and music featuring performers Tanya Evanson, Carlos Costa, and Roger Blenman. Monday, February 16 at 7:00pm, free. Alma VanDusen Room (Vancouver Public Library, 350 W. Georgia).

Acclaimed author Shaena Lambert reads from her novel, Radiance. Wednesday, February 18 at 7:30pm, free. Alma VanDusen Room, Lower Level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street.

Readings from 'Gods and Idols' issue by contributors Rhoda Hodjati, Tony Power, C.J. Leon. Music from The Creaking Planks, Ballgag 'n Chain Gang (Victoria), Wintermitts & Vancouver Cantata Singers. Thursday, February 19. Doors at 8:30pm. Cover $10 (includes copy of the magazine). Railway Club, 579 Dunsmuir, Vancouver.

Produced by the Book News Collective: Hal Wake, Brenda Berck, Catharine Chan, Ann McDonell and Sandra Millard.

To unsubscribe, please visit

Hal Wake
Artistic Director
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2009 Festival - 20-25 October inclusive
Vancouver International Writers Festival
Suite 202, 1398 Cartwright Street
Vancouver, BC V6H 3R8
p: 604 681 6330 x102
f: 604 681 8400


Writing Stories for Children - register this weekend!

If you wish to take this great course by Ellen Schwartz, you must register by Monday, February 9th, at 10 am.


Writing Stories for Children

3 Saturdays, February 14-28, 9 am–4 pm, February 14-28, Vancouver
Instructor: Ellen Schwartz
Fee $410 / WRIT 333

Course description:

The field of children's literature is a vibrant and competitive one. Books for young readers are more visually appealing, informative and imaginative than ever. This course is for those who want to learn the basics of writing a vivid and engaging story for children. It covers the craft of writing for young readers as well as the business of marketing stories to publishers. Topics include character development, plot, setting, point of view, dialogue and self-editing. The class includes discussion, small group work, in-class writing exercises and constructive group critique. Participants will have the opportunity to work in variety of genres from picture books through novels and non-fiction books.


None – but it helps to have read widely in recent children's literature.

What will I learn?
By the end of the course, you will be able to:

Discuss the similarities and differences between writing for children and writing for adults
Identify and describe the genres of children's books
Describe the characteristics of a good children's book
Name at least two ways to get to know your characters
State two qualities that make a satisfying resolution of a story
Recognize plot problems in a children's story
Discuss what happens in an effective scene
Access sources of information about children's book publishers
By the end of the course, you will be able to:

Use several different techniques for developing and revealing characters
Describe and trace the story arc of a children's story
Solve plot problems in your own story
Write from a consistent and effective point of view
Write convincing dialogue
Write an effective scene with narrative, action and dialogue
Edit your own writing for greater clarity and force
How will I learn?

You will learn concepts and skills through the following activities:

Class discussions
Independent assignments (take-home)
Exercises (in-class)
What are my responsibilities?

You can expect to complete the following:

Assignments/reports/projects (weekly in-class exercises and homework assignments)
Sharing your work and critiquing others in small groups and with the class
How will I be evaluated?

To be announced.

The program will supply:
Custom course materials
Instructor biography
Ellen Schwartz has been writing since 1980 and has published 12 books for children as well as one non-fiction book for adults. The variety of kinds of writing in which she engages includes: picture books, early chapter books, novels and non-fiction books for young adults. She has also published dozens of magazine articles and short stories for adults.

Ellen Schwartz' books have been nominated for numerous awards, including the BC Book Prizes (Christie Harris Illustrated Book Award), the Marilyn Baillie Children's Book Prize, the New York Public Library Best Books for Young Readers list, Booklist Magazine's Top 10 Sports Books list, the Red Cedar Award, the Silver Birch Award and the Chocolate Lily Award.

She received an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia in 1988, with a major in writing for children. I have taught courses in writing for children at SFU Vancouver campus for many years and through Douglas College's Creative Writing department.

Phone: 778.782.5093
Fax: 778.782.5098