Casper wins Philip K. Dick Award

In her third novel, The Mercy Journals, Claudia Casper foretells Trump’s Wall in a post-apocalyptic story about people desperate to re-unite in the aftermath of North American strife due to a water crisis. FULL STORY

Who’s Who

A is for Abel
Injun, by Jordan Abel (Talonbooks $16.95), has been shortlisted for the Canadian shortlist of the 2017 Griffin Poetry Prize. He will be awarded $10,000 for participation in shortlist readings. The winning entry will be announced in June. Injun, his follow-up to his second poetry project, Un/inhabited, is comprised of ‘found text’ from western novels of the pulp fiction genre published between 1840 and 1950. By gathering all sentences with the word “injun” embedded, retrieved using the ‘Find’ function, Abel seeks to destabilize the colonial concept of the “Indian” as it was allowed to grow in the ‘western’ world of the so-called western world. The Nisga’a author holds a BA from the University of Alberta and an MFA from the University of British Columbia. He has been an editor for Poetry is Dead magazine and PRISM international. While completing his Ph.D at Simon Fraser University, his studies have foccussed on “digital humanities” and indigenous poetics. Jordan Abel received the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize in 2014 for his first book, The Place of Scraps, in which he revisits and re-examines the role of ethnographer Marius Barbeau. 978-0-88922-977-8

Bartley clan in summer

B is for Bartley
The Bartley family has long maintained a summer home on one of the Gulf Islands. Now mother and daughter, Joan and Tracy Bartley, have taken time off from taking time off to write Greening Your Cottage or Vacation Property: Reduce Your Recreational Footprint (Self Counsel $14.95), a recreational guide to reducing your carbon footprint while reading murder mysteries, waiting for ferries, and the like. Joan Bartley is a potter; Tracy is an avid gardener, green blogger and backyard chicken keeper who visits with her family from Los Angeles whenever she can. 978-1-77040-290-4

Jennifer Craig

C is for Craig
In Jennifer Craig’s third book Gone to Pot (Second Storey $19.95) Jess, a feisty Nelson-based Grandmother, faces near calamity. On the same day, she loses her job and almost loses her house. As an older woman, Jess finds her employment options are limited. Drastic measures are called for and she turns to growing marijuana in her basement. The new people she meets and the reactions of her old friends are a revelation. Craig’s first published work, a semi-autobiographical novel about trainee nurses in Leeds during the 1950s, Yes Sister, No Sister: My Life as a Trainee Nurse in 1950s Yorkshire, was first published in the UK in 2002. It made the London Times bestseller list and has reputedly sold in excess of 100,000 copies. She lives in Nelson, British Columbia with a dog and a cat. 978-1-77260-034-6

Jason Dorland

D is for Dorland
A former Olympic rower, Jasonorland has penned his second book, Pulling Together:A Coach’s Journey to Uncover the Mindset of True Potential (Heritage $19.95) about his evolution from ultra-competitive athlete to supportive coach. It took a life-altering loss in the 1988 Olympics at Seoul, Korea to shake his earlier belief to be ‘in-it-to-win-it’ and to view every competitor as an enemy. When he became a rowing coach, he found that by creating an emotionally safe environment for his athletes, they felt free to fail yet ultimately achieved success way beyond their goals. Pulling Together reflects on Dorland’s new philosopy and its lessons for those on and off the sports field. His first book was Chariots and Horses (Heritage 2011), a reflective memoir examining his own thought processes during and after his participation in the 1988 Olympics and shares his journey of struggling with a mindset in which failure is devastating, to developing a healthier outlook on competitive sports. After his rowing career, Dorland coached the senior boys’ rowing crew at Shawnigan Lake, B.C. to four national championships. He also co-founded and directed an organic and natural food company called Skeet & Ike’s, and he often gives keynote presentations. 978-1-77203-173-7


Karen Enns

E is for Enns
In her third collection of poetry, Cloud Physics (University of Regina $19.95), Karen Enns focuses on endings – cultural, ecological, and personal. Endings may be viewed as tragic but throughout Enns peppers her lines with affirmations of love, music and language. The importance of being rooted in place and history is another favorite topic that she mines for inspiration. Enns is a former pianist and this collection is informed as much by music as her love of language. Her first book, That Other Beauty was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Award, and her second, Ordinary Hours was shortlisted for the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize. 978-0-88977-461-2

Alan Fossen

F is for Fossen
In his Freedom in East Vancouver, The Photography and Writing of Alan Fossen (Vancouver: Electromagnetic Print, $65), photographer Al Fossen has documented the eastside of Vancouver via “people, posters, protests and places” during the 1980s and 1990s. In 110 full-colour pages he highlights “alleys and graffiti” to reflect an era in which citizens dealt with counteracting 20th century racism, colonialism, fascism and “the modern capitalist state which fuels war and criminalizes the poor.” It is intended to reflect the resiliency of the human spirit. This book will be launched at Cafe Deux Soleils on March 19th.

Ding Guo

G is for Guo
A journalist since 1990, Ding Guo has contributed to World Economic Review magazine, China Times Weekly, World Journal, Asian Weekly and Ming Pao Monthly. He also worked as a commentator for political programs on Shanghai Eastern Radio, Talentvision TV and CBC Radio and has been a producer and commentator on OMNI BC since 2003. He has received several awards, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Jack Webster Award for journalism. With David Lai he has co-authored Great Fortune Dream: The Struggles and Triumphs of Chinese Settlers in Canada, 1858-1966 (Caitlin 2016). See review posted under David Lai entry. Great Fortune Dream describes Chinese migration and life in Canada according to the four periods of Canada’s policies on Chinese immigration, ranging from Free Entry to Exclusion. In 1967, the Canadian government adopted a universal immigration policy, ending these discriminatory laws and advocating multiculturalism. $26.95 / 978-1-987915-03-7

Grant Hayter-Menzies

H is for Hayter-Menzies
Grant Hayter-Menzies, author of books about the unsung and extraordinary – mostly women – is set to release his latest in November: Dorothy Brooke and the Fight to Save the Lost War Horses of Cairo (Potomac Books – U. of Nebraska Press 2017). The story recounts the heroics of an English general’s wife to help old and retired equines that had been used during wartime. Dorothy Brooke (1883 – 1955) discovered and rescued elderly and abused former war horses and army mules abandoned in Egypt following the end of World War I. She set up a veterinary hospital in a slum area of Cairo in 1934, working there until her death in 1955. The hospital continues today and has spawned free clinics for vet care working with equines in eleven developing nations. Endorsees for the book include animal rights activist Dr. Temple Grandin and actress Joanna Lumley. Hayter-Menzies has also written about President Jimmy Carter’s mother Lillian Carter; the Manchu-American author, feminist and personality, Princess Der Ling; Billie Burke, who was a famous stage personality before she played Glinda the Good Witch of the North in “The Wizard of Oz,” as well as being the wife of Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr.; and others. He has worked extensively with playwright William Luce, providing original verse for his musical-biography The Divine Orlando (based on the life of the 16th century composer Orlando di Lasso), produced off Broadway in 1988; translations of German poetry for his 1991 Broadway play, Lucifer’s Child; and translations of Rimbaud for his play Nijinsky, which premiered in Tokyo in January 2000.

I is for Itter
Sculptor and writer Carole Itter is the 2017 recipient of The Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts. Born in Vancouver in 1939, Itter co-edited (with Daphne Marlatt) a volume in the Sound Heritage series about her Strathcona neighborhood in 1979. She later published and edited a remarkable, posthumous collection of journal writings by her daughter Lara Gilbert, I Might Be Nothing: Journal Writing, that documents her gifted daughter’s descent into drug abuse and prostitution in Skid Row, containing clear allegations of sexual abuse prior to her eventual suicide in 1996. Itter’s own writings have also been included in Room of One’s Own, Brick, A Literary Journal, Cradle and All, Women and Words, Periodics and more. Her exhibits in the visual arts include The Pink Room: A Visual Requiem at the grunt Gallery, Vancouver (l999) and at Open Space, Victoria (2001); The Float at the Or Gallery, Vancouver, l995; Where Streets Are Paved With Gold at the Vancouver Art Gallery, l991 and at the Museum of Civilization in Quebec City, 2005.

Julie Paul

J is for Julie
Also a massage therapist and teacher, Ottawa Valley-raised Julie Paul, from Lanark, moved to Victoria and published her first collection of fiction, The Jealousy Bone, in 2008. Now her first poetry collection, The Rules of the Kingdom (McGill-Queens $16.95), has appeared as part of the Hugh MacLennan Poetry Series. Paul recently gained the spotlight when her second collection of twelve unsettling stories, The Pull of the Moon (Brindle & Glass 2014), received the twelfth, $5,000 City of Victoria Butler Prize, presented by City of Victoria acting mayor Chris Coleman and sponsor Brian Butler. The title was selected as a Top 100 Book of the Year by the Globe & Mail. Paul’s stories, poems and essays have been accepted for publication in numerous journals, including The Danforth Review, Little Fiction, The New Quarterly, The Malahat Review, Event, The Fiddlehead, The Dalhousie Review, PRISM International, Qwerty, Geist, Vallum, existere, The Rusty Toque, Boulevard, Canadian Living, and in the anthologies Coming Attractions 07 and Women Behaving Badly. 9780773548992

K is for Knox
Alligators and tigers can be white. Lobsters can be blue. One in twelve people have a rare disease. So what should we do? To raise awareness of rare diseases, “the underdogs of health care,” Deborah Katz, an artist and nursing professor with twenty years of experience in health care, has produced Rare is Everywhere (Miss Bird / Sandhill $19.95) in an attempt to educate children about nature and make them feel better if they have a rare disease or any anomaly that makes them feel different. The overriding message about her assortment of strange animals comes at the end: “So if you ever feel different, like a white spirit bear, you don’t have to worry because, Rare is EVERYWHERE!” Proceeds go to the Rare Disease Foundation, started in Vancouver in 2007. A rare disease is defined as a condition affecting fewer than one in 2,000 people. There are more than 7,000 known rare diseases. 978-0-9958261-0-6

Colin D. Levings

L is for Levings
Colin D. Levings’ encyclopedic treatment of how sea-going salmon, trout and char make their transition from fresh to salt water (and the other way) at the river mouth, Ecology of Salmonids in Estuaries Around the World: Adaptations, Habitats and Conservation (UBC Press $75) provides case histories dealing with BC estuaries and species while incorporating conservation issues. There is also an on-line appendix that provides a primer on salmonids and estuaries for the citizen scientist. Also the author of about 200 scientific papers, he increasingly spends time at Pender Harbour, teaching his five grandsons to fish. 978-0-7748-3173-4

Helen May

M is for May
With illustrations by Marc Luc Poelvoorde, Helen May’s self-published novel Mother Tongue (Friesen Press 2016) is about a Scottish girl, Madelaine, who was born in South Africa near the outset of World War II and the apartheid era. “Raised by the Zulu people who work in her family’s household and on the farm, Madelaine speaks Zulu and learns from them valuable messages about kindness and survival. When she attends the village school, she is punished for her friendship with the Zulu, thus beginning a lifelong, soul-searching journey towards practicing kindness and forgiveness in a world torn by prejudice.” Madelaine eventually drives from Rio de Janeiro to Vancouver where her marriage disintegrates and she recognizes Canada’s racism and colonization in terms of its indigenous people. Her own ‘duty to humanity’ comes to the fore during a series of epiphanies fueled by compassion. 978-1-4602-8342-4 / unpriced. A resident of Vancouver, Helen May has worked as a life story coach, an oral storyteller and an Early Childhood Educator. Her educational books are The Possibilities of Music and Stories (1975) and It Works (1987).

Emily Nilsen

N is for Nilsen
We get our balance from our ears. An otolith is a series of bones in the ear that enable us to be oriented within the context of physical space, our environs. In her debut book of poems, Otolith (Goose Lane $19.95), Emily Nilsen of Nelson examines the ache of nostalgia in the world’s passage of time. Publicity states: “These poems are full of life and decay; they carry the odours of salmon rivers and forests of fir; salal growing in the fog-bound mountain slopes.” Born and raised in Vancouver, Nilsen lives in Nelson. Her poems have appeared in PRISM International, Lake, and The Goose. She was a finalist for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2015, after having been longlisted for the prize on three occasions, and her work has been longlisted for the UK National Poetry Prize. 978-0-864929-62-4

Emisch Oghma

O is Oghma
After a severe accident caused agnosia—the inability to recognize and identify objects or persons—Emisch Oghma of Victoria began studying and modernizing the ancient Chinese face reading system called siang mien. By being more observant and interested in people’s faces, Emisch was able to reduce the effects of agnosia, giving rise to his book, In Your Face (Agio $19.95), designed to show how anyone can quickly “read” their own face, their friends, family or co-workers. 978-1-927755-54-9

P is for Peffers
Nicola Peffers has emerged as the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit filed against the Canadian Armed Forces by a collection of sexual trauma survivors. Peffers had left the Canadian navy five years earlier after five years of service at the rank of Ordinary Seaman. In her memoir, Refuge in the Black Deck (Caitlin $24.95), she describes feeling isolated and threatened aboard the HCMS Winnipeg, often taking refuge by hiding in the black deck, a dark and cramped area of the ship that nobody else wanted to visit. At age 26, having graduated near the top of her training class, she had optimistically boarded the ship in 2009, only to soon discover she would be mistreated by superiors and sexually harassed. After years of struggling with Post Traumatic Stress, Nicola Peffers was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and put in a permanent medical category by the Navy. The categorization meant that she could not be promoted or receive any more training, resulting in the end of her naval career. She was honourably discharged in 2012. 978-1-987915-43-3 $24.95

Q is for Quartermain
Set in Vancouver, in 1972, U Girl (Talon $19.95) is a coming of age story about Frances Nelson as she arrives in big city for her first year of university, escaping her small-town life. Sexual experimentation, drugs, working at menial jobs, meditating on Wreck Beach and studying at the University of British Columbia during the “free love” era are all incorporated in her struggle to be taken seriously as a woman with a desire for gender equality. 978-1-77201-040-4

Fauzia Rafique. Photo by Nasreen Pejvack.

R is for Rafique
South Asian Canadian writer Fauzia Rafique–originally from Pakistan–writes fiction and poetry in English, Punjabi and Urdu. Endorsed by literary friends Susan Crean and Heidi Greco, her second novel, The Adventures of SahebaN: Biography of a Relentless Warrior (Libros Libertad $20), interprets and responds to various kinds of oppression that she has witnessed in Pakistan and Canada, in accordance with Simone de Beauvoir’s statement in The Second Sex: “All oppression creates a state of war. “The heroine of the story, Saheban, rebels against her family in overtly sexist Pakistan by refusing an arranged marriage. Embarking on a new life in Canada, Saheban encounters oppression in the guise of racism and economic disparity. Rafique’s first novel was Skeena (Libros Libertad 2011) and a chapbook appeared the same year for her English and Punjabi poems, Passion Fruit/Tahnget Phal (Uddari Books 2011). She is a co-founder and the coordinator of Surrey Muse, an interdisciplinary art and literature presentation group that began to meet on a monthly basis in Surrey in 2011. [The spelling of SahebaN is correct.] 978-1-926763-44-6

Andrew Scott

S is for Scott
Andrew Scott’s well-researched The Promise of Paradise: Utopian Communities in British Columbia (Harbour $24.95) is a revised and updated second edition of an important book from 1997, with several new sections, thirty additional photos, a number of maps, an appendix and a detailed index. In it Scott explores the successes and failures of the many idealistic intentional communities that have appeared across BC over the past 150 years, from the “model” Christian villages of the missionaries, through the Doukhobors, the Brother XII cult and the counterculture era, to today’s sophisticated co-housing projects. “Many communities discovered hardship, disillusionment and failure,” he says, “but new groups sprang up—and continue to spring up—to take their place.” With engaging first-person accounts, the book affords detailed and reliable records of communalists such the early Scandinavian settlers who, with great stamina and courage, created utopian colonies at Bella Coola, Cape Scott and Sointula. Scott similarly relates the history of the Emissaries of Divine Light, who went forth from their base at 100 Mile House to build hotels, own a jet and establish branches around the world. The 1960s and ‘70s are a particular focus, from the Sunshine Coast’s many communes, which set off a storm of hostility from locals, to the Ochiltree Organic Commune in the Cariboo, which rebelled against hippie standards to embrace meat-eating and coffee-drinking. More than a compendium of astounding misadventures, this book offers Scott’s intriguing analysis of what moves people to search for paradise as he sifts through the wreckage of the utopia-seekers’ dreams to lay bare the practices and philosophies of today’s intentional communities.

T is Tham
Born in Malaysia, William Tham Wai Liang published his first novel, Kings of Petalling Street (London: Buku Fixi 2017), about fate, death, and hope in crime-ridden Kuala Lumpur. It’s inspired by Malaysia’s most notorious and deadliest gangster, Wong Swee Chin, a.k.a. Botak Chin, as well as the stories of crime and poverty he heard while growing up. Dubbed the King of Petaling Street, a fictionalized mobster named Wong Kah Lok suffers from an existential crisis and hopes to repair his relationship with his estranged son, Gavin. Inspector Ramalingam and an opportunistic politician, Chancellor Zahid, are the other main characters. The foursome are all linked to a mysterious assassin, Maut (death, in Malay). “If I substituted the haze of Kuala Lumpr with fog, says Tham, “it could have been the setting of a Raymond Chandler or Mario Puzo story.” Having travelled in Malaysia’s Klang Valley and China’s Jiangsu Province, Tham lived in the UK and Edmonton before settling in Vancouver where he wrote the novel and doubled as creative non-fiction editor of Ricepaper magazine. His short short stories and articles have appeared in Toronto-based Looseleaf and Malaysia’s Calibre magazine and Buku Fixi. $17 9780995555808

Ulrike Narwani

U is for Ulrike Narwani
North Saanich’s Ulrike Narwani has published her first book of poems, Collecting Silence (Ronsdale $15.95) covering a life arc through youth, love and loss, to maturation and aging. She shares religious moments in other lands – “We stumble outside./ Hurry past prayer wheels./ Set them turning./ Hands skimming faith./ The letters foreign./” – finding something new to say about the world’s most famous painting, the Mona Lisa – “who does not know you/ iconed/ xrayed on history’s gurney, flesh cold/ measured/ the droop or lift/ of left or right upper lip/ or lower/ cameras on selfie sticks bristle-strut/ send portraits home” – and the loss of a grandmother – “I could not discern the moment you left./ You were just no longer,/ a snowflake melting/it seemed so easy./ I could not discern-/ until a coldness rolled in/a morning mist/ sinking warmth beneath it/ until it drowned.” Narwani’s poems remind us of the power of silence to size-up, reshape and transform. She says when we are silent, our deepest experiences – our memories – talk to us in a language that we know without speaking. Of Baltic-German heritage, Narwani’s family was forced to emigrate from their homeland Latvia at the onset of WWII. She grew up in Edmonton before completing a Ph.D in Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Toronto. Her poetry has appeared in Island Writer, CV2, FreeFall, Vallum, two chapbooks edited by Patrick Lane, and the anthology Poems for Planet Earth. 978-1-55380-487-1

V is for Vadym
After writing three books on stock market trading strategies, Vadym Graifer of Victoria decided to alter his diet and lose weight when he was diagnosed with diabetes at age 52. In The Time Machine Diet (RTS 2016) he describes his methodologies to reverse diabetes reversal with better food instead of medications in keeping with his TimeTravelDiet website.  Born in Ukraine in 1961, Vadym Graifer graduated as a construction engineer and rose to a head of a private design and construction company during hi8s country’s transformation after the USSR collapse. He immigrated to Canada in 1996 and lived for ten years in Manitoba before moving to B.C. In Winnipeg, Graifer turned to stock market trading and founded educational company RealityTrader, teaching private investors to manage their portfolio. He has been invited to numerous seminars across North America and the Caribbean as a featured speaker. Upon moving to Victoria, Graifer resumed his life-long hobby, taking photography on a semi-professional basis. His photos have been used by various tourism campaigns. 978-0973779677

Mark Warrior in his logger days.

W is for Warrior
“When one reads other accounts of the history of British Columbia since the Second World War,” says Mark Warrior, “the role of unions generally receives short shrift.” So he’s done something about it. Warrior’s history of the Labourers’ International Union of North America in British Columbia since its first local was chartered in 1937 is Building the Power: The Labourers’ Union in British Columbia (LiUNA! Local 1611). Born (1952) and educated in England, Mark Warrior of Ladysmith has published in several anthologies, both in Canada and abroad. He wrote a chapbook entitled Quitting Time (Vancouver: MacLeod Books 1978) published by antiquarian bookseller Don Stewart. He worked for ten years in the forest industry during which he was an IWA job steward, a logging Camp Chairman and a member of IWA Haney Local 1-367’s Executive Board. This was followed by twenty years as a commercial fisherman as a member of the United Fishermen & Allied Worker’s Union, during which he was Secretary-Treasurer its 1,000-member Vancouver Fishermen’s Local 1 and Fishermen’s Strike Captain during UFAWU’s 1989 industry-wide “Free Trade” strike. Building the Power can be downloaded without charge at:

X is for Xinjiang
As a sessional lecturer at UBC, Kim Trainor has released Karyotype (Brick $20), a poetry collection about a woman who lived four thousand years ago. Dubbed Loulan, her body has been preserved in the sands of the Taklamakan Desert—the largest desert in China, in the southwest Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The word karyotype, we are told, is “the characteristic chromosome complement of a species.” Trainor worked in a biomedical library and for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Previously her poetry won the Ralph Gustafson Prize from The Fiddlehead and the Long Poem Prize from The Malahat Review. 978-1-77131-379-7

Katolen Yardley

Y is for Yardley
Medical Herbalist Katolen Yardley MNIMH has published her first book, The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies: Simple Salves, Teas, Tinctures, and More (Good Books $22.99) with color photographs plus tips, tools and techniques for using plants for first aid, common health ailments (such as arthritis, dermatitis, inflammation, indigestion, insomnia), cosmetic and body care use, and home cleaning. The 310 pages contain recipes, an extensive guide for preparing common herbal medicines at home (including teas, tinctures, poultices, salves and herbal honeys) plus indepth descriptions of over 40 medicinal plants (herbs and common foods) including their numerous applications for internal and external use. Yardley is perhaps best known for her appearances on Global TV News “Ask an Expert Segment” where, since 1998, she has offered information on herbal medicine, nutrition tips and other holistic approaches to improving ones health issues. Katolen lives in Vancouver where she has a private practice and teaches and offers workshops on herbal medicines for improving ones health. 978-1680991574

By Sarah Race,

Zena Sharman

Z is for Zena
Editor Zena Sharman’s “moving and incendiary” LGBTQ anthology, The Remedy: Queer and Trans Voices on Health and Health Care (Arsenal $18.95), presents true stories from queer and trans people about their health-care experiences and challenges. From gay men with HIV recalling systemic resistance and to a lesbian couple dealing with the experience of cancer, the stories and essays from health-care providers and activists explore and examine the challenges and politics of LGBTQ health issues in the shadow of the new post-truth Trump era. Contributors include Amber Dawn, Sinclair Sexsmith, Francisco Ibanez-Carrasco, Cooper Lee Bombardier, Kara Sievewright and Vivek Shraya. Zena Sharman co-chairs the board of the Catherine White Holman Wellness Centre, a holistic health care centre for transgender and gender-diverse communities, located on Kingsway in Vancouver. With a Ph.D in interdisciplinary studies from UBC, previously Zena Sharman has co-edited the Lambda Literary award-nominated anthology, Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2011), and she has been a cabaret host, a go-go dancer for a queer punk band and a campus radio DJ. 9781551526584 [photo by Sarah Race]

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