Franklin WEB

Not Frozen in Time

After PM Stephen Harper had a role in finding one of the long-missing Arctic ships of Sir John Franklin, David C. Woodman’s book is re-released. FULL STORY

Who’s Who

Ayer, Paula striped shirt

Paula Ayer

A is for Ayer
Paula Ayer rebelled against her Canadian sausage-making family at age 15 by going vegan. Her husband, raised by Hindu vegetarians, rebelled by eating meat. Family dinners were interesting, to say the least. Now Ayer’s first picture book, Foodprints: The Story of What We Eat (Annick $26.95), for ages 12 and up, examines our food supply and production in a concise and informative way. Topics include history, science, marketing, and economics as well as tips regarding what is good for you. For the most part, Ayer manages to stay remarkably neutral about the industrial producers who have brought us genetically modified food, pesticides and inhumane cages in which many food animals spend most of their lives. Ayer, a Vancouverite, has worked as an editor, translator, researcher and art director. 978-1-55451-719-01997

Black, Arthur old b&w headshot with hat

Arthur Black

B is for Black
In his latest humour collection, Paint the Town Black (Harbour $22.95), Arthur Black once again tackles important subjects such as poor penmanship and the burning question of whether one-time Thunder Bay mayor Walter “Jolly Wally” Assef really did pat the queen’s bum. The title has crept onto the BC Bestseller list at number twelve in May.  Born in Toronto in 1943, Arthur Black hosted CBC Radio’s Basic Black program for 19 years. He has won three Leacock Medals for Humour–one for Black Tie and Tales, another for Black in the Saddle Again, and another for Pitch Black–making him one of only three recipients who have earned Canada’s top humour prize three times during its first 60 years of competition. Black was again nominated for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour in 2014. Black has also hosted and narrated two television programs, Weird Homes and Weird Wheels. Arthur Black moved to Saltspring Island in 1995. 978-1-55017-701-5

Nathalie Chambers

Nathalie Chambers

C is for Chambers
In 1999, Nathalie Chambers and her husband David Chambers restored and transformed his family’s Madrona Farm in Victoria into a model of sustainable agriculture. Madrona Farm then became newsworthy when the Chambers family decided to sell the property to the province’s Land Conservancy (TLC), a non-profit, charitable land trust. After a successful fundraising effort, TLC purchased Madrona Farm whereupon the Chambers family can now lease Madrona Farm back from the TLC–with the agreement that the property will remain agricultural land in perpetuity. Chambers’ Saving Farmland: The Fight for Real Food (Rocky Mountain $25) describes the process of overcoming obstacles and further outlines stories of commonly shared land, international trusts, regained farmland and heroic figures who have led the way. Nathalie Chambers is also the founder of the Big Dream Farm Society. For fun, she has also been involved in the annual Chef Survival Challenge during which chefs compete in a farm-themed obstacle course. Competitors “hurdle, hang, crawl, zip line, navigate boats to condiment island and then race around the farm to pick the vegetables they need to create a culinary masterpiece… all on survival camping gear.” Saving Farmland is co-written with Robin Alys Roberts and Sophie Wooding. 9781771600736

Ditor, Rachel

Rachel Ditor

D is for Ditor
Rachel Ditor became literary manager and dramaturge at the Arts Club Theatre in 2001 having first worked in play development in 1992 at Playwrights’ Workshop in Montreal. She has since published articles on new-play dramaturgy, taught dramaturgy at UBC and directed many plays for the Arts Club Theatre. Also a director of the Canadian Women and Words Foundation, she has edited a collection of six plays developed and produced by the Arts Club for The Arts Club Anthology (Playwrights $24.95) to mark the 50th anniversary of the largest theatre in Western Canada. Led by Bill Millerd since 1973, the Arts Club of Vancouver has produced nearly 100 original plays. The first homegrown box office success was Sherman Snukal’s Talking Dirty in 1981-82. Spearheaded by Yvonne Firkins and Otto Lowy, the Arts Club was founded in 1958 as a private club for artists, musicians, actors and writers (including novelist Jane Rule). On the second floor of a converted gospel hall at 1181 Seymour Street, the Arts Club first produced Moss Hart’s Light Up the Sky in 1964 (the same year Jane Rule’s Desert of the Heart was published in England). The 650-seat Granville Island main stage on Granville Island was added in 1979; the 225-seat Arts Club Revue Theatre nearby opened in 1983; the refurbished Stanley Theater at 12th and Granville re-opened as an Arts Club venue in 1998 after being closed since 1991. The original Seymour building was demolished in the 1990s. 978-1-77091-218-2

Edge, Marc striped shirt

Marc Edge

E is for Edge
Marc Edge has explored the history and finances of North American newspapers and media conglomerates in Greatly Exaggerated: The Myth of the Death of Newspapers (New Star $21) to conclude that the newspaper business is still healthy and profitable. Despite much hype from those who support the growth of the internet, it appears that nearly all major North American cities still support at least one major daily newspaper, usually with a myriad of giveaways newspapers, as well. As a Media Writing Professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, Marc Edge first wrote and published his doctoral dissertation, Pacific Press: The Unauthorized Story of Vancouver’s Newspaper Monopoly (New Star Books, 2001). As an associate professor in the department of Mass Communication at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, he then published a follow-up study, Asper Nation: Canada’s Most Dangerous Media Company (New Star 2007) in which he critically assessed the media control exerted by Izzy Asper’s CanWest Global Communications network. Edge has worked as a legal affairs reporter for the Province (1983-93) and the Calgary Herald. As a former contributing writer for Hockey magazine, he also wrote Red Line, Blue Line, Bottom Line: How Push Came to Shove Between the National Hockey League and Its Players (New Star, 2004). Born in New Westminster, Edge has a Master of Labour and Industrial Relations degree from Michigan State University and a Ph.D in Mass Communication from Ohio University. 978-1-55420-102-0

Fodi, Lee Edward wizard hat

Lee Edward Fodi

F is for Fodi
Magical monsters, talking animals and enchanted mythology abound in the stories and art of daydreaming specialist Lee Edward Födi. For his sixth fantasy title, and his fifth as the chronicler of the adventures of Kendra Kandlestar, he describes how wizards of Een are on quests to find Arazeen, “a mythical state of peace and wonder,” in Kendra Kandlestar and the Search for Arazeen (Simply Read $9.95). But the heroine Kendra Kandlestar is on the search for something very different—her long-lost family. Born in Oliver, Födi studied at the University of British Columbia and has a degree in English Literature and a diploma in Fine Arts. Födi lives in Vancouver where he is the facilitator and mentor for Dream Workshop, a program designed to unleash the creative energies of children. 978-1-927018-29-3

Gordaneer, Alisa necklace

Alisa Gordaneer

G is for Gordaneer
Aliza Gordaneer’s fourth collection of poetry, Still Hungry (Signature Editions $14.95) explores the complicated relationship that contemporary foodies have with food, hunger and desire. The poems reflect on a society where food abundance and starvation co-exist; a world in which we ‘Instagram’ our meals and then resist eating to pay penance for having eaten at all. Food is not just about eating and survival. It plays an essential role in our well-being. Beyond conjuring the many metaphors of food, Alisa Gordaneer of Victoria has taught at UBC, University of Victoria, Camosun College and Royal Roads University. She has also worked as a newspaper editor for both Victoria’s Monday magazine and Detroit’s Metro Times. 978-1927426-64-7

H is for Hammond
Kristie Hammond, born in 1957, is a transplanted American who has lived in B.C. since 1981. Her first children’s book, Ting Ting, is a about an eight-year-old whose family suddenly moves from China to Vancouver. Hammond is the mother of five children, one of whom is an amputee. In her new book, The Moment (Sono Nis $9.95), James, a teenager in Kamloops, loses an important hockey game and his lower leg in one tragic night. As he struggles to overcome anger and bitterness at his new reality, adapting to life with a prosthetic leg, James finds friendship in places he never expected. It takes a return to the ice and a secret friend to get him back in the game. 978-1-55039-235-7

Curry, Gwen

Gwen Curry

I is for Tod Inlet
Every inlet in B.C. deserves a book. Helen Piddington’s The Inlet: Memoir of a Modern Pioneer (Harbour 2001) recalls life in 35-kilometre-long Loughborough Inlet. Ray Phillips recalls the varied history of Jervis Inlet, where he grew up, in The Royal Fjord: Memories of Jervis Inlet (Harbour, 2015). Now Gwen Curry of Brentwood Bay has recorded the history and beauty of her nearest waterway in Tod Inlet: A Healing Place (Rocky Mountain $25). Even though it’s located only about half an hour from downtown Victoria, this tiny fjord known as a “hidden gem” has had a low provincial profile. It was long home to the WSÁNE? (Saanich) people; then it became the twentieth century home to the Vancouver Portland Cement Company. A marine dock, railway access and employee housing were constructed to serve the factory, and the nearby limestone quarries (which later became the Butchart Gardens) offered the necessary base material. Long after the limestone quarries were depleted, development plans for this quiet inlet included hotels, golf courses and a marina. First Nations, local citizens, scientists and environmentalists fought against the development, and it was preserved as part of Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. Through her prose and photographs, Curry pays tribute to its vibrancy and wildlife. Gwen Curry earned a Master of Fine Arts at Arizona State University and has taught Fine Arts at the University of Victoria. 9781771600767

Judson, Gillian

Gillian Judson

J is for Judson
As a lecturer at Simon Fraser University, a director of the Imaginative Education Research Group and coordinator of the Imaginative Ecological Education program, Gillian Judson has produced Engaging Imagination in Ecological Education (Pacific Educational $29.95), this book “illustrates how to connect students to the natural world and encourage them to care about a more sustainable, ecologically secure planet. Cultivating ecological understanding can be more challenging for teachers than simply imparting knowledge of ecological issues; it requires reimagining the human world as part of, not apart from, nature.” Dr. Judson obtained her BA and MA at the University of Victoria, and a Ph.D from Simon Fraser University. 978-1-926966-75-5

Kope, Beth

Beth Kope

K is for Kope
After her first book about coping with her mother’s dementia, Falling Season (Leaf $15.95), Beth Kope contrasts her personal losses with the comfort she finds through nature walks with her canine companion in Average Height of Flight (Caitlin $18). Her off-trail wanderings offer the opportunity for inspiration and observation, no matter what the season. “The metre of feet and heartbeat creates a cadence of solace, but lovingly follows the nose of a dog.” Kope has worked as a special education teacher with autistic adolescents and adults. 978-1-927575-68-0

Levine, Shar with Leslie-Johnstone1-150x150

Prolific duo Shar Levine and Leslie Johnstone

L is for Levine
It’s a common misconception that marine creatures like fish, shrimp and seahorses live silently in the sea. These water-dwellers actually make “some of the most interesting sounds you’ve never heard,” according to the co-authors of What Sound Does a Seahorse Make? (Ronsdale $18.95). Thanks to Shar Levine, Leslie Johnstone and Aran Mooney, readers can learn more about these critters and scan QR codes to access audio and video recordings of the surprising noises made underwater. Also included are interactive science projects that illustrate various aspects of sound, such as waves and frequencies. 978-1-55380-359-1

McDonald, Bob

Bob McDonald

M is for McDonald
Astronauts remain in the spaceship, while spacewalkers step out into the universe. In Canadian Spacewalkers (D&M $29.95) science journalist Bob McDonald interviews Canada’s three legendary Canadian astronauts who have achieved spacewalker status: Chris Hadfield, Steve MacLean and Dave Williams. Their one-on-one accounts detail the extreme mental and physical demands of training and describe the out-of-this-world experience of taking a spacewalk. Bob McDonald has hosted CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks since 1992. In 2011, he was named to the Order of Canada. McDonald recently left his longtime home of Toronto to settle on the west coast in Victoria, BC. 978-1-77162-044-4

Nozick Nicole 2015- longshot

Nicole Nozick

N is for Nozick
Nicole Nozick is the new Executive Director of the Vancouver Writers Festival, taking over from Camilla Tibbs who has become the Executive Director of the Richmond Gateway Theatre. Nozick holds a B.A. in English from University of Cape Town, and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Journalism from Tel Aviv University. Most recently, she was Director of the Cherie Smith JCC Jewish Book Festival in Vancouver.

O is for Olav
Prolific and much-decorated UBC geographer and author Olav Slaymaker–surely one of the most memorable names in B.C. literature–won’t be able to attend the investiture ceremony for his Order of Canada in May because he will  be off in Siberia, doing whatever it is that venerable geography professors do. With degrees from Cambridge and Harvard, Slaymaker is the author or editor of a dozen books and an expert on climate change in cold climates. Officially retired since 2004, Slaymaker still specializes in the sustainability of mountain environments, alpine hydrology and geomorphology, lacustrine sedimentation and the human impact on geomorphic and hydrological processes. He shares an office with heavyweight geographer, Cole Harris, who is arguably better-known beyond academe, but his name isn’t as much fun to say.

Paleja, Shaker sweater

Shaker Paleja

P is for Paleja
The first non-fiction book for kids by Vancouver actor and writer Shaker Palega, Native Americans: A Visual Exploration (Annick Press $19.95) was chosen for the White Ravens Collection at the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany. Power Up!: A Visual Exploration of Energy (Annick $19.95), illustrated by Glenda Tse, covers topics such as how the main sources of energy are harnessed; the reasons and effects of climate change; hot issues like the oil sands, fracking, and greenhouse gases; future sources of energy and more. It uses brightly coloured pages filled with charts, graphs and diagrams to appeal to visual learners and reluctant readers. S.N. Paleja moved to Canada from India as a boy. He is an actor who has performed in theatres across North America, and appeared in numerous films and TV shows, including the role of “Ravi” in the Syfy Network show Sanctuary. Other credits include Stargate SG-1, Battlestar Galactica, Smallville, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and Elegy. He has also been working on a novel for a number of years, which takes place in Bombay, India, where he was born. 978-1-55451-726-8

Q is for Quiver
A dwarf mistletoe can shoot its seeds up to 50 feet away. The Arctic heather plant can create subtropical conditions within its leaves. Often exposed to bitter cold, relentless winds, intense heat, drought, fire, pollution and other adverse conditions, such plants demonstrate remarkable strategies for surviving their environment. Jesse Vernon Trail’s first book, Quiver Trees, Phantom Orchids and Rock Splitters (ECW Press $24.95), highlights the world’s most unusual plants for a general audience of plant and nature enthusiasts. Quiver Trees is also a fact-filled reference source on some of the lesser-known plants that populate landscapes around the world. Jesse Vernon Trail is an instructor and curriculum developer in environment, ecology, sustainability issues, horticulture and the natural history of plants. His articles have been published in The Ecologist, Garden Making, Canadian Gardening, Plant and Garden, Fine Gardening, Gardenwise, Harrowsmith Country Life, Alive, and Outdoor Canada. He lives in Vernon, B.C. “Gardening will never go out of fashion,” Trail told the Vernon Morning Star newspaper. “People will always buy plants even when they don’t have very much money. There is something in the greenery and beauty of plants that gives us a feeling of comfort and joy.” 978-1-77041-208-8

Roberts, Jillian headshot

Jillian Roberts

R is for Roberts
As a University of Victoria instructor, Jillian Roberts first co-wrote School Children with HIV/AIDS (Detselig, 1999) with Kathleen Cairns. As a Child and Adolescent psychologist in Victoria, the UVic educational psychologist has since created an app called Facts of Life and written a book for ages 3-to-6, Where Do Babies Come From?: Our First Talk About Birth (Orca $19.95), illustrated by Cindy Revell. It’s the first book in her Just Enough series to include topics such as death, cultural diversity, and parental separation or divorce. As a psychologist she specializes in medically fragile children. 9781459809420

Stosek, Kristina

Kristina Stosek

S is for Stosek
West Vancouver resident Kristina Stosek has used her website solely devoted to gluten-free recipes as a springboard for her first softcover cookbook, Entertaining the Gluten-Free Way (Bluecap $19.95). Her tried and true recipes for friends and loved ones include Baked Quinoa Gyoza Bites, Smoked Salmon on Parmesan Crisps, Spicy Thai Coconut Chicken Soup, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Fennel and Leeks, Gourmet Turkey Burgers, Lemon Raspberry Cake and Fresh Figs Dipped in Chocolate. It’s a precursor to a second book, Small Bites The Gluten-Free Way. “Remember, gluten free does not necessarily mean healthy,” she advises. “The recipes I have created are HEALTHY gluten free. When home cooking from scratch, you will find no additives, mysterious ingredients, chemicals, or unhealthy fillers. All my recipes use the purest form for ingredients, as nature intended.” 978-0-9940371-0-7

Tait, Cam with Gretzky

The Great One is on the left.

T is for Tait
Even though Cam Tait was unable to speak, sit up or move his arms or legs at birth, in Cam Tait: Disabled? Hell No! I’m a Sit-Down Comic (Harbour $24.95), co-written by Cam Tait and Jim Taylor, we learn how Edmonton Journal sportswriter Cam Tait overcame cerebral palsy to parasail, play golf and hang out with the likes of Wayne Gretzky. He cruised alongside Rick Hanson for his Man in Motion tour and helped his grandson take his first steps. Tait benefited from a radical new type of physical therapy that required unwavering commitment by Tait, his parents and his 116-person strong group of volunteers. Eventually he learned to speak, move his hands and maneuver a wheelchair; eventually becoming a writer with a newspaperman’s inveterate sense of timing. According to publicity materials, “Tait moves seamlessly from one-liners and tales of debauched hijinks to candid accounts of his depression, career struggles and loss of loved ones.” 978-1-55017-697-1 

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Monika Ullmann

U is for Ullmann
After she resurrected the reputation of a talented Pacific Coast sculptor with The Life and Art of David Marshall (Mother Tongue 2008), Monika Ullmann has released her first novel, City of Desire (Victoria: ProWord $20), set largely in Vancouver, but with global concerns. “I do not know if or how this novel, which plunged me into a depression that is only now lifting,” she says, “will engage with the world. I hope it does find readers, and dissenters; I welcome them all.” After a devastating underwater quake and a tsunami turn Vancouver into rubble, two art students, half Chinese Athena and her best friend, Aboriginal Moira, are galvanized into action With a pet crow, they make an epic journey to the Tar Sand and start to inspire their generation to rebuild for a smarter future that considers climate change. “Expecting scientists to do the science and also tell the story of Climate Change is too much to expect,” says Ullmann. “The storytellers have to take this on so people can engage on an emotional level with the most important issue of our time.” 978-0-9921449-0-6

Varcoe, Lillian

Lillian Varcoe

V is for Varcoe
Darwin Marsh, the hero of Lillian M. Varcoe’s first novel, Headwinds: Seeing a Murder Forgotten (Amazon $7.99), is a veteran floatplane pilot who lands an easy job flying Hollywood North movie types–a swell change from flying into northern logging camps and fishing resorts. Trouble is, cold-case cops are accusing him and his grandfather of complicity in a murder. As far as Marsh can recall, he was vacationing with his grandparents on a Gulf Island when the murder happened. He must revisit childhood memories of a summer spent “in a rancorous community of draft dodgers and volatile losers” in order to clear his name. Lillian M. Varcoe flew floatplanes and sailed on the B.C. coast for thiry years. She is the first woman to fly across Canada, coast to coast, and the first person to do it in a floatplane. She has written for Aviation Canada, EAA Sport Aviation, Westworld, Pacific Yachting and many other magazines. Varcoe lives on a small Island in B.C.’s Salish Sea with her partner, raccoons and deer. (Amazon $7.99; Kindle $3.99; Chapters/Indigo $6.25; iTunes $4.99) 978-0-9878331-2-9.

Whishaw, Iona

Iona Whishaw

W is for Whishaw
A former high school principal and a graduate of the Creative Writing Master’s program at UBC, Iona Whishaw has followed her much earlier children’s book, Henry and the Cow Problem, with a murder mystery, Dead in the Water (Friesen 2015). The heroine Lane Winslow is inspired by the author’s sophisticated and adventurous mother who was risk-taker. “She cut a swath through life that was completely independent,” Whishaw writes on her blog. “It was she who put my father through university, and bought our first houses.  When we were children she hitchhiked to Alaska with interstate truckers because she was tired of waiting around for my father to come back from geology field trips, and in the same devil-may-care spirit drove me and our German shepherd all the way to Nicaragua to find him, long before the highway through Central America was even complete. She wrote books and spoke 6 languages, and went off to university to get 4 Master’s degrees after I grew up and left for university. And of course, there was that brief episode of spying during the war in South Africa where my father was a pilot for the RAF.” In a tiny community near Nelson, populated by older British émigrés from before WW I, a young British ex-secret service agent looks to put the war and England behind her, only to be arrested when a dead body is found in her creek. Burdened by the requirements of the Official Secrets Act, she is unable to clear herself. Whishaw’s grandfather was a spy in both World Wars. For UBC Creative Writing department head Linda Svendsen, author of Marine Life, has provided praise for the independently published novel: “Inspector Darling and Lane Winslow join the ranks of Dorothy L. Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane in this exquisitely written, psychologically deft postwar mystery. I couldn’t put it down.” 978-4602-5496-7 (-4 paperback)

X is for Xwisten
A Xwisten First Nation elder, Christine Jack is one of twelve indigenous elders whose lives are celebrated in Wisdom from our First Nations (Second Story $10.95) by Lyle Ernst and Kim Sigafus. Born in Lytton in 1967 as her mother’s tenth child, she overcame alcoholic parents and various family tragedies, including her mother’s death when Christine was eight, and was raised by her aunt and uncle in Lillooet. Overcoming alcohol and drugs, she became the first girl in her family to graduate from high school in 1985. Christine Jack has since worked to stop violence against women. 978-1-927583-55-5

Young, Janine Alyson b&w

Janine Alyson Young

Y is for Young
Sunshine Coast-based UBC Creative Writing student Janine Alyson Young has been shortlisted for the annual $10,000 Danuta Gleed Literary Award for the best first English-language collection of short fiction by a Canadian author from among 37 collections submitted. Born to backpacking ski bums during the 1980s, Young is a self-described former Generation Y taco stand operator. As a child, she read every book she could in her local library. Her debut fiction collection Hideout Hotel (Caitlin 2014 $18.95) contains several stories of small-town women taking refuge alone, set in coastal BC, the Yukon and Western Australia. Young was 28 when the collection appeared. 978-1-927575-46-8

Z is for Zeballos
Born in Viking, Alberta in 1942, Eleanor Witton Hancock grew up in Zeballos from age three onwards. Her family mainly ran the Zeballos general store after her grandfather Seth Witton purchased it in 1939. Years later, she married a mining engineer, settled in Kamloops and became interested in researching the 1938 Zeballos gold boom. During the early 1980s she interviewed 120 people about the pioneers at Nootka Sound, Zeballos and Kyuquot, publishing several articles about old-timers in the Times-Colonist, the Journal of the BC Historical Federation, the Seniors Review and the Bank of British Columbia’s Pioneer News. Including a worthwhile bibliography and photos, her self-published book Salt Chuck Stories from Vancouver Island’s West Coast (Kamloops: Partners in Publishing / Sandhill Distribution $17.95) recalls the Perry Brothers of Nootka Sound, Eva Benjamin of Zeballos, carpenter Alder Bloom, Rebecca McPhee and the Red Cross Hospital at Kyuquot and Swiss trapper/prospector Andy Morod of Nootka Sound. (CONTACT: Partners in Publishing, #308-525 Nicola Street, Kamloops, BC V2C 6J5 $17.95) 978-0-9739980-3-2

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