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Knock, knock, who’s there?

Recently bears have been in the news for invading backyards in the Lower Mainland. Usually they are ‘removed’ as a threat to society. In Tahsis, it’s different.  FULL STORY

Who’s Who

A is for Ace
Cathy Ace has been elected head of the Crime Writers of Canada for a two-year term. She previously won the 2015 Bony Blithe Award for Light Fiction at the Bloody Words gala in Toronto. Born and raised in Wales, she immigrated to Canada in 2000. Her Cait Morgan Mysteries are published by TouchWood; her WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries are published by Severn House, UK. Her most recent mystery is The Corpse with the Garnet Face (TouchWood $14.95). 9781771511650.

Bolan, Chelsea

Chelsea Bolen

B is for Bolen
Chelsea Bolan’s debut novel, The Good Sister (HarperAvenue $22.99) was selected as the second winner of the HarperCollins/UBC Prize for Best New Fiction, a program devised to release new work emanating from the UBC Creative Writing department. Bolan’s novel focuses on contemporary Mexican culture in a tourist town in the Baja, particularly one family whose young daughter Gabriela Amador Prieto has been banished after a sexual assault, just prior to her fifteenth birthday. The novel opens with Gabi’s father burning all her belongings, removing every trace of her, including all photos. Angry at her father, brothers and devious brother-in-law for their silence and complicity surrounding Gabi’s unexplained disappearance, Gabi’s older sister and best friend, Lucy, is determined to find her. She eventually explores the dark underbelly of Mexico City to track Gabriela down, then flies to San Diego. Born in Spokane, Washington, Chelsea Bolan of Seattle has a BA in English Literature from the University of Washington and a MFA from the University of British Columbia. Her work has appeared in The Kenyon Review, The Seattle Weekly, CutBank, Fourteen Hills, Borderlands and in Particles on the Wall, an exhibition about Hanford and nuclear issues. 978-1-44344-241-1

campbell, deborah

Deborah Campbell

C is for Campbell
An unfolding international crisis in 2007 sets the scene for journalist Deborah Campbell when her guide and fellow undercover journalist Ahlam disappears, taken from her home in Damascus by secret police. Campbell is working in Syria to report on the Iraqis who fled after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein while also assisting in the founding of a school for displaced girls. In the forthcoming  A Disappearance in Damascus: A Story of Friendship and Survival in the Shadow of War (Knopf Canada $32.00) Campbell tells her journey through fear and the triumph of courage in Syria as she spends months searching for her friend. Shadowy politics behind today’s conflict are revealed as readers are reminded of those who risk their lives to bring us the world’s news. Born and raised in Canada, Campbell has lived in France and Israel. Her work as a photographer and freelance writer has appeared in Harper’s, the Economist, Foreign Policy, the Guardian, New Scientist, The Walrus, amongst other publications. Campbell is the winner of three Canadian National Magazine Awards and received a B.C. Arts Council Senior Award for Creative Non-Fiction in 2000 and has worked as an instructor at Capilano College and teaches at the University of British Columbia. 9780345809292

D’Agostino, Susan

Susan D’Agostino

D is for D’Agostino
Ten years cancer-free, Susan D’Agostino of White Rock recalls her experiences with healing in Guided to Wisdom: The Journey to Emotional Healing (Promontory $14.95). After deciding intuitively that invasive medical techniques wouldn’t save her, she “unlocked her own inner power and resolved not only the cancer, but her life-long battle with depression, and a failing marriage” when she was inspired by Brandon Bays’ The Journey. D’Agostino followed a process of “guided meditation and visualization” that “reaches the root of the emotion that has created blocked energy in the body and mind causing illness, pain or anything that holds us back from everything we want in our life.” 9781927559963

Geddes, Gary & Eriksson Ann

Ann Eriksson with partner Gary Geddes

E is for Eriksson
Formerly a biologist and the founding director of the Thetis Island Nature Conservancy, Ann Eriksson will soon release her fifth novel, The Performance (D&M $22.95)  in which she explores inequality by contrasting the worlds of elite classical piano and urban homelessness as they coexist within a city. Hana Knight is a privileged and talented pianist who develops a friendship with Jacqueline, a homeless woman who collects empty bottles and cans to buy tickets to attend Hana’s concerts. 978-1-77162-125-0

Farrant, Marion brick wall

M.A.C. Farrant

F is for Farrant
In 2014, the much-nominated M.A.C. (Marion) Farrant received the $5,000 City of Victoria Butler Prize for her fiction collection, The World Afloat: Miniatures. She’s keeping it small with The Days: Forecasts, Warnings, Advice (Talonbooks $14.95), her new absurdist guidebook made up of 90 short stories collected into three sections that delve into the mundanity of life as well as what makes life special day after day. Farrant captures the ordinary moment in an average day and brings overwhelming truths to the readers’ attention. 978-1-77201-007-7

G is for Gotera
Adelina Gotera’s I Will Play With You (Printorium), written for teachers and parents, centres on child’s play as joy, emphasizing the importance of exploration and learning experiences vital to growth and development. It uses laughter, song and play to offer concrete ways to connect with young children’s hearts and minds.  Born in The Philippines, Gotera immigrated to British Columbia in 1998. She is a former professor, having taught at Manila’s College of Commerce, as well as the University of Santo Tomas. Presently, she is a BC-licensed early childhood/special needs educator and manages a licensed childcare facility in Sidney, British Columbia. Previously she worked as an ECE/Special Needs Educator in several childcare facilities in the province and spent three years as an early learning facilitator at StrongStart, the BC government program for preschoolers and their parents. 978-1-4269-9263-6

Hancox, Ralph headshot

Ralph Hancox

H is for Hancox
Ralph Hancox’s third novel in two years, The Ape and the Peacock (Fictive Press $17.99), emanates from his social conscience. Set in the fictional Canadian province of Superior, his story spans a few days in November of 1957, following the paths of two miscreants and their differing fates. As the lives of several high-level government officials and a colourful cast of “destitutes” are forever altered, Hancox explores unequal consequences for the privileged and the dispossessed. After some 50 years in the publishing industry in the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, and Italy – – including 16 years as CEO, chairman and president of The Reader’s Digest Association (Canada) Ltd. – –  Hancox taught Topics in Publishing Management at SFU’s Master of Publishing program for almost ten years upon his retirement.1927663334

Richard Wagamese

Richard Wagamese

I is for Indian Horse
Film producers Trish Dolman and Christine Haebler of Screen Siren Pictures have commenced casting for a movie version of Richard Wagamese’s novel Indian Horse (D&M 2012) with shooting slated for Sudbury, Ontario, Oka and Kamloops in the fall of 2016. It’s about an Ojibway man named Saul Indian Horse who reviews his life while he’s a reluctant inmate of an alcohol treatment centre. Screen Siren recently made film Hector and the Search for Happiness. Indian Horse was selected as a finalist for the 2013 CBC Canada Reads competition and won the First Nations Communities Reads Awards. According to publicity materials, “a character named Saul Indian Horse has hit bottom. His last binge almost killed him, and now he’s a reluctant resident in a treatment centre for alcoholics, surrounded by people he’s sure will never understand him. But Saul wants peace, and he grudgingly comes to see that he’ll find it only through telling his story. With him, readers embark on a journey back through the life he’s led as a northern Ojibway, with all its joys and sorrows… For Saul, taken forcibly from the land and his family when he’s sent to residential school, salvation comes for a while through his incredible gifts as a hockey player. But in the harsh realities of 1960s Canada, he battles obdurate racism and the spirit-destroying effects of cultural alienation and displacement.”

J is for Jones
Kari Jones’ forthcoming tale of West Coast surfing, alcohol abuse and teen angst, At the Edge of the World (Orca 2016) will be also about a deep friendship that becomes burdened by a secret. Maddie and Ivan are long-time friends but as Ivan’s life goes seriously awry, she has to make a decision as to whether or not she tells Ivan’s biggest secret in order to possibly save his life. By letting others know what is going on in Ivan’s family, she will be betraying his trust. 9781459810624

Kalteis, Dietrich

Dietrick Kalteis

K is for Kalteis
Levi Hayes has served his time in San Quentin Prison for the theft of $30,000 in gold coins from the San Francisco Mint and now he is ready to take back what is his in Dietrich Kalteis’  House of Blazes (ECW $19.95). After scheming to retrieve his bar from the powerful Healey brothers, Levi Hayes and his nephew end up in lock-up when the great earthquake of 1906 hits. Now the two must escape the collapsing building and burning city while avoiding Quinn Healey’s revenge, to get the gold coins. 978-1-77041-286-6

L is for Laurence

Laurence, Robin

Robin Laurence

Vancouver-based independent writer and critic, Robin Laurence won this year’s Royal Canadian Academy of Arts medal, given to individuals who have made a significant contributuion to the cultural life in Canada. Joseph-­Richard Veilleux, RCA President wrote to Laurence that, “You have been one of Vancouver’s most active and integral arts writers and cultural contributors for over twenty years. Your achievements as an award-winning visual arts critic for The Georgia Straight and as a contributing editor of both Canadian Art and Border Crossings magazines, have provided an insightful and intelligent context for the arts in the BC region, and Canada as a whole. Your ongoing dedication to the visual arts in Canada through numerous publications, reviews, essays, and curatorial work, has informed and supported the cultural community of arts in this nation.” Robin Laurence’s published titles include: The Spirit of Haida Gwaii: Bill Reid’s Masterpiece (Douglas & McIntyre, 1997; 2006); and A Sense of Place: Art at Vancouver International Airport (Figure 1 Publishing, 2015). 9781927958261

Mounteer, Jordan

Jordan Mounteer

M is for Mounteer
Perhaps the best way to introduce nomad-poet Jordan Mounteer’s first collection, liminal (Sono Nis $15.95), is to report one’s initial response could likely be, “Hey, this guy can really write!” Intensity shimmers in nearly every line, “As if a hammer over and over / has bent my need to be alone / upon itself.” A world traveller (Japan, East Asia, East Africa, South America, New Zealand) who is now housed in the Slocan Valley upon publication, Mounteer is also a veteran tree planter who has been shortlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize, the Montreal International Poetry Prize and the Malahat Review‘s Open Season Award. His prose articles on-line are poised, skilfully feigning ease; and there is a restless energy in his poems, marinated in an extensive vocabulary, rejoicing in “The rendered decay of mangoes in the alley.” He is both a thinker and a sensualist. While in Thailand he writes, “Years from now it’ll be easier to decipher / you tell yourself. Where you veered away from / your likely futures, and why. By now you’ve diagnosed / each foreign city, train station, and insomnia / as a quarantine, a way to remission the malady / Baudelaire once coined the horror of home–.” 978-1-55039-247-0

N is for Hasan Namir

Hasan Namir

N is for Namir
God in Pink, the debut novel by Hasan Namir, won the Lambda Literary Award in the category of best gay novel at an awards ceremony in New York on June 6, 2016. Previously it was named to the “Globe 100” list of the best books of 2015 by The Globe and Mail. God in Pink (Arsenal Pulp $17.95) is about Ramy, a young Iraqi boy who is gay. Ramy struggles to find a balance between his sexual yearnings and his culture. Having lost his parents, he lives with his strict brother and sister-in-law, who pressure Ramy to marry. Eventually Ramy turns to Ammar, a sheikh at a local mosque. A searing exploration of the world of gay Muslims in Iraq, the book contains graphic depictions of violence juxtaposed against serene moments of beauty. Born in Iraq in 1987, Hasan Namir of Vancouver came to Canada at a young age and holds a BA in English from Simon Fraser University. Hosted by comedienne Kate Clinton at NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, the Lambda ceremony brought together over 500 attendees, sponsors, and celebrities to celebrate excellence in LGBT literature and 28 years of the groundbreaking literary awards. 978-1-55152-607-2

O is for Okot Bitek
Juliane Okot Bitek’s poetry project on the 20th anniversary of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide is 100 Days (University of Alberta $19.95) published in January of 2016, with an introduction by Cecily Nicholson. It’s part of a literary series dedicated to Robert Kroetsch. As someone who has lived in both her native Kenya and Uganda, Okot Bitek recalls her family’s displacement under the vicious regime of dictator Adi Amin while reflecting on the horrific and tragically undeterred genocide in Rwanda. Her work incorporates the Ugandan Acholi oral tradition of her father, the poet Okot p’Bitek, as well as Anglican hymns; slave songs from the Americas, and the contemporary styles of spoken word and hip-hop. 978-1-77212-121-6

Pollon, christopher

Christopher Pollon

P is for Pollon
A 93-square-kilometre artificial lake is bound to drown the best topsoil left in northern B.C. when a 60-metre-high wall of compacted earth will stretch more than a kilometre across the main stem of the Peace River. Farmers, ranchers, trappers and habitat to innumerable creatures big and small will lose their homes as a result. To witness the first steps of construction for the most expensive infrastructure project in B.C. history, Pollon accompanied by photojournalist Ben Nelms paddled through the section of the river that will be destroyed by the Site C dam reservoir. By touring the same stretch by land they interviewed locals who stand to lose everything, a prosperous home to people for over eleven thousand years. Pollon’s upcoming The Peace in Peril (Harbour $24.95) tells the story of the trade-off of hydro power for resources like timber and farmland Christopher Pollon is a Vancouver-based independent journalist who reports on the politics of natural resources, focusing on energy, mines and oceans. His work has appeared in The Walrus, Reader’s Digest, The Globe and Mail, and National Geographic Books, earning nominations by the National Magazine Awards (2016) and Western Magazine Awards (2013) for best business writing.  Since 2008 he has been a Contributing Editor at The Tyee. 978-1-55017-780-0

Quartermain, Meredith headshot

Meredith Quartermain

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

Rajala, Daniel black robe

Daniel Rajala

R is for Rajala
In 2014, Daniel Rajala resumed his Captain Under Pants show on Monday nights with the Community Radio Station CJMP 90.1 FM in Powell River where he has often been involved as an activist in community issues. Now he’s released another pamphlet of self-published poetry. “If there is no peace in your mind,” writes Rajala in Yuletide, “there can be no peace in the world.” This collection of sensitive, humour-tinged inner thoughts mainly consists of Christmas-related poems from 1998 to 2015. They include ‘Christmas in July’ in which Rajala ruminates on the idea that Saint Nick could still be around in the summer but he doesn’t need all those winter clothes. The cover image features a young, handsome, store-window-like-mannikin figure in white underwear with a traditional Santa hat on his knee. There is an overriding wistfulness at play, as if the poet is wishing the good feelings that often arise at Christmas can resonate throughout the year. A poem called ‘Birthday Boy’ from December of 2005 begins, “The one day you will / find you turn fifty-one. / They put you out on an / iceberg and then you are / left alone to die and / doesn’t seem like a lot of fun.” Rajala’s estranged eccentricity has an affinity with bill bissett’s ‘soul of sweet delight’ reverence for life, verging on childish wonder, but he’s also burdened with a darker perspective, perhaps arising from loneliness. He’s describes being still determined to revive the “the old popular fad” of streaking. “And when the Supermarket was / Packed with shoppers like big logs / To fuel the furnace, standing still / I streaked past the checkout stands / The most Holy Communion ever had….” A streaker can get arrested for creating a public nuisance; a poet is usually ignored. Neither brings happiness. 978-0-9865051-9-5

Stenson, Bill book jacket HanneS is for Stenson
Never mind Hannah and Her Sisters. Due in October, Hanne and Her Brother (Thistledown $19.95) is Bill Stenson’s novel about Hanne Lemmon who, at age sixteen, moves beyond her isolated, home-schooled life in the Cowichan Valley with a protective father to seek independence and love within the very different landscape of Eastend, Saskatchewan. Nelson-born Bill Stenson of Victoria was the driving force behind The Claremont Review, an effort to publish literary works by teens. 978-1-77187-114-3

Telfer, Susan

Susan Telfer


T is for Telfer
A high school English teacher in Gibsons, B.C., Susan Telfer received the Sunshine Coast Arts Council Gillian Lowndes Award for a community artist who has demonstrated long-standing achievement and growth. In 2013 she appeared at the Festival of Written Arts, and won the Vancouver’s Writer’s Festival Poetry Contest that year as well. Her first poetry collection, House Beneath (Hagios Press, 2009), was followed by Ghost Town (Oolichan $17.95) which focuses on the mutability of identity: who we are before and after major life events. The endless recreation of the self stems from the undertow of family dysfunction, ancestral influences, and from grief and loss. 978-0-88982-307-5

Alternes, Serge book jacket Live SoulsU is for Uncharted
Jim McDowell’s book from Ronsdale Press about the first European to reach the area that has become greater Vancouver, Uncharted Waters: The Explorations of José Narváez (1768-1840), received a Silver Medal for Western Canadian history at the Independent Publisher Book Awards that honour the year’s best independently published titles from around the world. Another Ronsdale title, Live Souls: Citizens and Volunteers of Civil War Spain by Serge Alternes and Alec Wainman received a Bronze Medal for European regional history. The IPPY Independent Publisher awards were presented in Chicago before Book Expo America.

V is for von Essen
With text by Phil Saunders, Derek von Essen’s photos are featured in No Flash, Please!: Toronto Music Scene 1987-92 (Anvil $25), a compendium that records the pop music scene in Canada’s largest city during the early 1990s. Working for various independent publications of that era, the pair covered concerts and gigs by local bands as well as music from touring groups that included Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Jesus Lizard, Mudhoney, Soundgarden, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Henry Rollins. Von Essen works in graphic art, photography, painting and mixed-media assemblage for fine arts, dance, theatre, music, film and publishing projects. 978-1-77214-037-8

wheeler, christine

Christine Wheeler

W is for Wheeler
Since 2002 Christine Wheeler as been certified as an Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) practitioner, helping alleviate thousands of people from physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges and instead to live with hope and joy. Wheeler lives in Vancouver, B.C. In The Tapping Solution for Teenage Girls: How to Stop Freaking Out and Keep Being Awesome (Raincoast $15.99), Wheeler applies her EFT skillset and teaches teenage girls how to use tapping to reduce stress and have more confidence in any situation. Tapping is a technique where one physically taps meridian points through the human body which helps with the flow of energy. This book focuses tapping on the stresses of teenage girls and helps them deal with problems such as grades, test anxiety, conflicts with parents or sibilings, as well as friendships, romantic relationships and breakups. 978-1401948924

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

YakuglasY is for Yakuglas
Yakuglas’ Legacy (UTP $85) by Ronald W. Hawker examines the life and times of Charlie James (1867-1937), also known by his ceremonial name Yakuglas, who was a premier carver and painter from the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation. Hawker examines James’ transition from art that was primarily ceremonial to more contemporary art in the 1920s, which allowed James to make critical statements about the vitality of the Kwakwaka’wakw culture during a time of widespread oppression. The son of a Kwakwaka’wakw mother and an American father, he is often cited for playing a key role in the revival of totem pole carving among his people. 978-1-4426-4940-8

Hayter-Menzies, Grant Billie Burke bio

Billie Burke as the good witch in Wizard of Oz (1939).

Z is for Ziegfeld
Most people remember the actress Billie Burke, if they remember her at all, for her role as Glinda the Good Witch of the North in MGM’s 1939 film, “The Wizard of Oz,” but many years before that she was a famous stage personality, in London and New York, as well as being the wife of Florenz Ziegfeld. Grant Hayter-Menzies’ biography Mrs. Ziegfeld: The Public and Private Lives of Billie Burke (McFarland & Company, US $25) is the first to be written about her. The book’s release in hardcover in 2009 was planned to be concurrent with the 70th anniversary of “Oz”. “It is something of an ‘authorised’ biography,” says Hayter-Menzies, “as Burke’s daughter and grandchildren cooperated with me in researching Burke’s private life.” He also interviewed actors who performed with her on stage and screen. The bio reveals that Burke did not like it to be known that she was once a dancer with the Ziegfeld Follies before she became known in Hollywood as an actress. “Billie never really stopped being an Edwardian beauty, with all the exaggerated characteristics of behaviour and address that this implies,” writes Hayter-Menzies. “Her effusions strike a note either false or sensual to the modern ear. But they were neither – they were simply the way Billie Burke knew best how to express herself and further her interests at the same time.” This book has just been released in a soft cover version. 978-1-4766-6596-2

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