LATEST Feature Articles
by Monday, April 25, 2016-
The National Business Book Award celebrated its 30th year. The news was announced on April 21st - apologies for being 4 days late. The entire longlist is always worthwhile reading for people interested in business topics in a wide range of interests.
The winners were co-authors: Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff for their book, Losing the Signal: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of BlackBerry which chronicles the relationship between Research In Motion founders Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis.
The NBBA jury panel is chaired by CBC's Chief Correspondent, Peter Mansbridge with jury members: Wililam Dimma, Deirdre McMurdy, David Denison, Anna Porter and Pamela Wallin.
Of the six books that made the longlist
http://www.cbc.ca/books/2016/03/kirstine-stewart-john-stackhouse-on-national-business-book-award-longlist.html 1/4 3/12/2016 David Mulroney, John Stackhouse, Kirstine Stewart on National Business Book Award longlist | CBC Books | CBC Radio ...More >>
LATEST Author Interviews
by Monday, April 25, 2016-
I had a lawyer friend when we lived in Los Angeles who happened to be the nephew of a famous New York society cartoonist. He divulged an interesting factoid about this relative that has always fascinated me. When sketching his subjects live at New York plays, the Met and Broadway musicals, he used a small pencil and scratch pad from within his jacket pocket to do the work - sight unseen - so as not to distract or attract the attention of onlookers. A remarkable feat.
If you have an interest in these sorts of artistic profiles you can go to the wonderful publishing house of The NY Review of Books who have amassed a collection by four artists: David Levine (whose more than 3,500 caricatures have illuminated articles published in the Review since 1963); and John Springs, Pancho (Francisco Grails), and James Ferguson whose works have been published regularly in the Review over the past few years. Preview the extensive list in alphabetical sequence, or enter a subject or category into the search box to obtain a grouping of interest. As a bibliophile and a Canadian I chose the category "Canadian Authors" and came up with David Levine's wonderful collection - a work in progress, judging by the short list. It's all ON SALE right now if you act quickly. ...More >>
Feature Articles >>
Tuesday, March 08, 2016
This just in from The Alcuin Society: "A Canadian book has just earned international recognition." Congratulations to the designer and publisher!
"GUILLAUME LÉPINE, designer, La lecture des signes abstraits: une exploration visuelle, by Joséane Beaulieu-April. La chose imprimée (Montréal).
The Stiftung Buchkunst, based in Frankfurt, Germany, curators of the international exhibition "BEST BOOK DESIGN FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD" at the Frankfurt and Leipzig Book Fairs, selected their 2015 award-winners (for books published in 2014) in an international competition in February 2016. They have just released their list of awards, which will be presented at the Leipzig Book Fair later this month. Of almost 600 books submitted by 32 countries, 14 winners were selected. Only one Canadian designer, M. Lépine, was honoured to have his book chosen as a shortlisted title.
The 28 Canadian books on exhibit, representing Canada as participants in the international competition, were submitted by The Alcuin Society to the Stiftung. These books were the winners of the 2014 Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada, held in March 2015. The collection has been donated to the German Book and Type Museum in Leipzig, where it will be available for consultation and exhibitions. The winners of this year's Alcuin Society competition will be forwarded to the Stiftung later this Spring.
Information about the Stiftung Buchkunst may be found at www.stiftung-buchkunst.de/. Click the translate flag for language of choice.
The Alcuin Society (http://www.alcuinsociety.com) is a Vancouver-based non-profit society for the support and appreciation of fine books. In addition to the annual Book Design Competition, the Society publishes a journal, Amphora, and organizes lectures, workshops, exhibitions, and field visits on various aspects of the book. Further information on the Alcuin competition may be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org. ....More >>
Book Reviews >>
Thursday, March 10, 2016
PEN announced its shortlist for the 2016 Literary Awards. There are several categories and each has roughly 5 contenders. The winners will be announced on Mar 1st and April 11th at the New School in New York City. We've pulled this feature from the Star Tribune, so if you see a hyperlink it takes you to a Star reviews.
Here are the finalists:
PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction ($25,000):
In the Country: Stories (Alfred A. Knopf), Mia Alvar
The Turner House (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Angela Flournoy
Mr. and Mrs. Doctor (Coffee House Press), Julie Iromuanya
The Sympathizer: A Novel (Grove Press), Viet Thanh Nguyen
Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness (Europa Editions), Jennifer Tseng
PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($10,000):
After the Tall Timber: Collected Non-Fiction (New York Review Books), Renata Adler
Between the World and Me (Spiegel & Grau/Random House), Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Quarry (New Directions), Susan Howe
The Givenness of Things: Essays (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Marilynne Robinson
Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles (University of California Press), David L. Ulin
PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award ($10,000):
Publisher News >>
Friday, March 25, 2016
Finding great publishers through one of their front-listed books is a great way to discover other worthwhile writers of other great books. It doesn't come about by luck or coincidence. It takes as much talent to recognize and shape writers as it does to be one. Talon Books is one of those publishers whose books have made a difference to the face of Can Lit. And we love their story. We can't tell it any better than them - so here instead, is a rip on their About Us page:
Mandate To publish work of the highest literary merit by world class authors from the mainstream and the margins of Canada’s three founding nations, as well as from both visible and invisible minorities within Canada’s cultural mosaic, and to work with all of our authors to build their national and international literary careers throughout their active writing lives.
Principal Accomplishments We have more than 500 titles in print, which have received well over 300 awards. We have built and continue to keep in print one of the finest and most diverse literary lists in Canada.
Role in Canadian Publishing Talon’s dedication to the publication of over four decades of excellent Canadian literary work, created through an unbroken line of internal mentorship and succession of ownership in the company, has earned our publishing house the privilege of being one of the pre-eminent independent Anglophone literary presses in Canada. We are the only one of the pioneering “first generation” of Canadian literary publishers of the 1960s to have consistently maintained our success and independence over the past 45 years. We are Canada’s largest independent publisher of drama; do more translations from Québec than anyone else; and publish more Native voices than any other Canadian publisher with the exception of First Nations publisher Theytus Books. ....More >>
Whistler Reads >>
Sunday, February 14, 2016
Back by popular demand... John Vaillant returns to Whistler. The author of three bestselling books: The Golden Spruce, The Tiger and his latest, a fiction titled The Jaguar's Children (Penguin-Randomhouse) on Monday, March 14th from 6:30-9 pm in the Squamish-Lil'Wat Cultural Centre for a public screening and discussion of the film, HADWIN'S JUDGEMENT. Hadwin's Judgement is nominated for 2 Canadian Screen Awards for Best Documentary and Best Cinematography and has won a number of other Film Festival Awards across Canada. Tickets are sold out. Another date is in the works. Email wr (at) bookbuffet.com to get priority notice. Don't miss this sublimely haunting docudrama by filmmaker Sasha Snow that is based on the life of Grant Hadwin, the man accused of chopping down a rare and revered 300-year-old giant spruce, a genetic variant, growing in the protected rainforest of Haida Gwaii, BC. The golden coloured spruce was revered by the local First Nations. It was admired and studied by forestry biologists, and it attracted eco-tourists to the destination from the worldwide.
Part myth, part madness this film "chronicles the tormented transformation of Grant Hadwin from expert logger to environmental terrorist, a man who dared to challenge the destruction of the world's last great temperate rainforest." based on Vaillant's book, "The Golden Spruce" that was awarded a GG for nonfiction.
The cinematography of Haida Gwaii is breathtaking. If you have never been there - this is your chance to witness our temperate rainforest and discuss its future. If you have been there, you won't want to miss this event. John will introduce the film and do a Q&A following. Copies of his books will be available for sale. As THE JAGUAR'S CHILDREN is our Whistler Reads Feb-March book selection, we will reserve time at the end for members to discuss. Click to view the movie trailer. ....More >>
WGBH Boston >>
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Since 1971 the good folks at WGBH Boston have been producing award-winning series of programming for television. Their run-a-way success "Downton Abbey" took the world by storm and is now in its 6th season. Fall 2015 kicks off with a dramatic program series set in a subtropical paradise during the twilight era of the British Empire. Indian Summers explores the collision of the ruling class English with their Indian subjects, and the intricate game of power, politics, and passion that ensues. Julie Walters (Harry Potter, Oscar® nominee for Billy Elliot and Educating Rita) stars as Cynthia Coffin, the glamorous doyenne of an English social club, and is joined by Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Jemima West, Nikesh Patel, Roshan Seth, and Lillete Dubey.
Told from both the English and Indian perspectives, the drama of Indian Summers unfolds as illicit agreements, romance, and revolution abound. Though the English socialites are having the time of their lives in Simla, the local Indians have started to call for national independence, a path which is quickly rendering the world’s greatest empire helpless. As pressure builds, the two sides alternately clash and merge in a passionate and dangerous game. Indian Summers airs in nine sweeping episodes, and premieres on Sunday, September 27, 2015 at 9/8c on MASTERPIECE on PBS. ....More >>
Wine & Book Club >>
Friday, January 01, 2016
It's winter - let's revel in that. Who better to read this January and February than Sheila Watts-Cloutier, the Inuit writer whose book The Right to Be Cold: One Woman's Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic and the Whole Planet is a manifesto on climate change and its effect on the indigenous peoples of Canada's north. Cloutier is a compelling speaker. I've listened to her in the media and on several radio programs. This book will change the way you view the plight of peoples of the North. Sheila is a member of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, the non-governmental body representing the interests of Inuit people living in four Arctic nations. This led to her becoming a powerful advocate for Inuit rights at United Nations climate-change negotiations that garnered her nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.
But the details of her upbringing and the stark contrast between the experience of living at home in the North compared with living at a lower latitude with a non-indigenous family during her formative years, highlights the importance of cultural identity and traditions.
As Naomi Klein writes in the Mar 13th issue of The Globe and Mail:
As the title of the book suggests, a major theme of The Right to Be Cold is how climate change poses an existential threat to cultures that are embedded in ice and snow. If the ice disappears, or if it behaves radically differently, then cultural knowledge that has been passed on from one generation to the next loses its meaning. Young people are deprived of the lived experience on the ice that they need to become knowledge carriers, while the animals around which so many cultural practices revolve disappear. As Watt-Cloutier has been arguing for well over a decade now, that means that the failure of the world to act to reduce its emissions to prevent that outcome constitutes a grave human-rights violation.
While some may snicker and say more NK hyperbole, we all know that the arctic at both poles are the puffin/penguin in the tunnel, and haunting images of polar bears clinging to a slab of ice condemn us all. Awareness is the forerunner to action, and the time for rhetoric has passed. We each need to become part of the solution to solving our planet's climate change issues. ....More >>
Author Interviews >>
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Mark your calendar for February 4th, 2016 at 11:45 when the annual luncheon hosted by The BC Achievement Foundation holds the British Columbia National Nonfiction Awards in the ballroom of the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver 900 Canada Place Way. Created in 2005 to honour Canada's finest nonfiction writers, the prize is one of the largest in the country - $40,000 will go to the winner.
I have had the pleasure of attending the past 4 years and look forward to this event again with fresh anticipation. The four finalists are always of a stunning calibre, and the topics of their books are as varied as they are fascinating. Names like Thomas King, Modris Eksteins, Charlotte Gill, John Vaillant, Ian Brown, Russell Wangersky, Lorna Goodison, Noah Richler, Rebecca Godfrey, and Patrick Lane are a few of the past winners.
However the erudition of the speakers chosen to introduce each author and their book is what makes this event particularly entertaining. I am quite sure that these four writers will not receive a better introduction in their careers than what is said about them here. Add to that the opportunity to mingle with a cross-section of BC and the nation's literati from Candian publishing heads to top literary agents to festival organizers, to university chancellors and MFA writing programs, to our wonderful library system professionals — all avid readers and supporters of the literary arts.
Here are the nominees **starting with my pick** for the winner... (—Book blurbs courtesy of the BCAF's Website.) ....More >>
Technology Corner >>
Monday, February 01, 2016
When I first started using Songza a few years ago [circa 2012] I felt both elated and relieved! Elated that someone with brains had designed a music app that cost nothing and provided endless hours of streaming playlists curated to any musical genre or mortal mood, all coordinated around hypothetical tasks at any particular time of day in the week. It was a relief to finally pack up my CD collection, which I had reverted to in frustration after Apple had once too often dumped my music library and carefully organized personal playlists for the zillionth time during yet another forced system upgrade to my iPod or iPhone - sorry Apple, not everyone has a PhD in computer science to manage the workarounds!
Now another technology behemoth has bought Songza along with all their clever ideas and my favorite playlists. What is in store for us? Well on January 31st we saw the Songza team bid us farewell, and on February 1st we saw the Google Play Music (with its branded, baby-talk name) take over. The question is, will Google's computer generated algorithms pick new playlists to match the clever variations and subtleties of the playlists created by the many real live music experts consulted by Songza? I doubt this. And how long will it remain free - of ads or other placed content?
Skepticism aside, I do want to remind you of the enthusiasm and creativity of the original Songza team. Here they are back in 2012 talking to Tech Crunch. ....More >>
Saturday, March 26, 2016
While the axiom in writing is "write what you know"; the axiom in reading should perhaps be to stretch out of that comfort zone and "read who and what you don't know". Canadians can celebrate a new festival called FOLD (the acronym for Friends of Literary Diversity) that purports to be the first festival for diverse authors and stories. It's the brainchild of Jael Richardson and so it's set in her hometown of Brampton Ontario May 2016.
"The Festival of Literary Diversity will celebrate stories that are underrepresented in Canadian literature — stories that reflect variations in geography, ethnicity, race, culture, gender, ability, sexual orientation, and religion, and stories that employ different methods of story-telling." Check out the program here.
The FOLD will utilize a “three-fold” approach in the programming: engaging readers, inspiring writers, and empowering educators. The main festival runs from Friday, May 6 to Sunday, May 8, but the larger festival includes a workshop for educators and sessions dedicated towards high school students.
Who knew that "Brampton is Canada’s second fastest growing city and the ninth largest city in the country. Located immediately north of Lester B. Pearson International Airport, Brampton residents represent more than 170 different cultures and speak more than 70 languages. People have literally come from around the world to live, work, play, read, and write in this City," write the organizers. ....More >>