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Two Great Events on Both Coasts: The NewYorker Festival & VIWF

abstract:On the West coast we have 100 international writers speaking at the 2008 Vancouver International Writers Festival, held October 21-26th. From André Alexis to Ting-xing Ye check out the entire list on the festival website. Then on the East coast, it's the annual New Yorker Magazine FestivalOct 3,4 and 5th.


September 28, 2008
— Depending upon which coast you live, you won't want to miss either of these.

The New Yorker Festival has luminaries of the published world in various discussion forums: "Fiction Night" is a difficult toss-up between an event with Elmore Leonard and Joyce Carol Oates, or an event with T. Coraghessan Boyle, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Jhumpa Lahiri.
Then Saturday is broken down into "Writers and their subjects," "In Conversation With," and "New Yorker Talks". On Sunday there's more of same, plus a selection of master classes. Head to for tickets and times. [Later entry: check out the list of videos from the festival here.]

With Vancouver a gateway to the Pacific Rim and comprising a large population of Chinese immigrants, there are half a dozen writers and translators. Here are three:

Ting-xing Ye lives in Ontario having moved from her homeland, China. Ting-xing Ye was an English interpreter for the Chinese government before leaving China in 1987. Her memoir A Leaf in the Bitter Wind was published in nine countries. She is the author of the award-winning Throwaway Daughter and White Lily; her latest books are the young-adult novel Mountain Girl River Girl and the memoir My Name is Number 4.

Qiu Xiaolong lives in the US. Qiu Xiaolong is a poet and translator and the author of the award-winning Inspector Chen series of mystery novels, Death of a Red Heroine, A Loyal Character Dancer, When Red Is Black, A Case of Two Cities and the award-winning Red Mandarin Dress. He is also the author of two books of poetry translations, Treasury of Chinese Love Poems and Evoking T’ang, and his own poetry collection, Lines Around China.

Young-ha Kim is from South Korea. Young-ha Kim has published three novels and numerous short stories and has a daily radio show in Seoul. He teaches drama at the Korean National University of Arts and has received all of Korea’s top literary awards. The English translation of his first novel, I Have the Right to Destroy Myself (Harvest Original), has garnered rave reviews.

Xiaolu Guo lives in the UK/China. Xiaolu Guo published several books in her native China before moving to London in 2002. Her first novel translated into English, Village of Stone, was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Her first novel written in English, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers, was shortlisted for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction in 2007. We reviewed the book at Bookbuffet. Guo is also a filmmaker and has won international awards for her features and documentaries. Her latest book is Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth: A Novel.

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Other highlights on the VIFF program come from these well-known, and well-loved International and Canadian writers:

Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula K. Le Guin is the author of numerous short stories, essays, volumes of poetry, children’s books and novels. Her honours include a National Book Award, five Hugo Awards, five Nebula Awards, the Janet Heidinger Kafka Award, a Pushcart Prize and the Howard Vursell Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her latest novel, Lavinia, revisits Virgil’s Aeneid, and has been called by many as her greatest achievement.

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Jonathan Raban
US/UK Jonathan Raban is the author of Soft City, Arabia, Foreign Land, Old Glory, For Love and Money, Hunting Mister Heartbreak, Bad Land and Passage to Juneau. He has also edited The Oxford Book of the Sea. Raban has received numerous awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Heinemann Award for Literature, the Thomas Cook Award and the PEN West Creative Nonfiction Award. His latest collection of essays is My Holy War: Dispatches from the Home Front and his latest novel is Surveillance (Vintage).

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Paul Quarrington
Ontario novelist Paul Quarrington is also an award-winning screenwriter, an acclaimed non-fiction writer and a musician, most recently with a band called Porkbelly Futures. His novel, Galveston, was nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and Whale Music won the Governor General’s Literary Award in 1989. Quarrington’s novel King Leary won the Stephen Leacock Medal and CBC’s Canada Reads in 2008. His latest novel is The Ravine.

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Amanda Boyden
I'm keen to meet Amanda Boyden (Joseph Boyden's wife) whose early career included work as a professional trapeze artist, stuntwoman and science lab assistant. She attended the University of New Orleans and graduated with an MFA in Fiction. Amanda is the author of two novels, Pretty Little Dirty and, most recently, Babylon Rolling: A Novel.




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