Carr, Emily as mature artist

Emily X 2

Infamous for her prickly personality, Emily Carr was also an enduring godmother for decades and she once befriended a Parisian surrealist. FULL STORY

Who’s Who

Alden, James

James Alden

A is for Alden
James Alden has written a tongue-in-cheek “guide” for masochistic managers who enjoy creating a miserable working environment. Zan and the Mythical Art of Mizmanagement (Friesen  Press $32.99), describes eight management behaviours based on life experiences of over 45 years in various work environments. The book takes on a humorous tone while also attempting to stop such behaviours of Mizmanagers by early diagnosis. Alden is a retired architect and moved to BC in 2015. Previously, Alden practiced in Calgary during the 1980s where he worked on major projects such as the Saddledome and the Alberta Research Council. He was the University Architect at the University of Alberta from 1989 to 1999 after which he joined Public Works & Government Services Canada as Regional Manager of Architectural and Engineering Services and National Advisor for Laboratories. 978-1-77097-962-8, $32.99 (hardcover) / 978-1-77097-963-5, $15.99 (paperback) / 978-1-77097-964-2, $2.99 (ebook)

Brons, Janet

Janet Brons

B is for Brons
Janet Brons’ debut novel A Quiet Kill (Touchwood 2014) was shortlisted for the Best First Crime Novel by the Arthur Ellis Awards and the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. It’s the first instalment in Brons’ Forsyth and Hay mystery series. When the head of the Canadian High Commission’s trade section is found brutally murdered in the Official Residence in London, Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Hay of Scotland Yard investigates with RCMP Inspector Liz Forsyth from Ottawa. Assisted by Sergeant Gilles Ouellette, the pair must unravel international conspiracy, militant nationalism, and murder. Hay and Forsyth are faced with many suspects and a second death raises the stakes. Not a Clue (Touchwood $14.95) is the second installment in her Forsyth and Hay mystery series. Set in Ottawa and London, both detectives investigate the puzzling murders of two young women – a Canadian backpacker in London and a Chechen woman shot to death by a hidden assassin during a protest outside the Ottawa Russian embassy. The National Post observed that this mystery series is worth following, particularly for its unique details and settings.  Before taking to crime writing, Brons worked as a foreign affairs consultant following a seventeen-year career in the Canadian foreign service with postings in Kuala Lumpur, Warsaw, and Moscow. She has lived in Sidney, B.C. since taking retirement in 2004. The Sidney Literary Festival and Tanner’s Books will be hosting a book launch for Brons in their spring series of reading events at the Red Brick Café in Sidney on Wednesday, June 8th at 7pm. For further information, please contact Janet Daines at

Crockford, SusanC is for Crockford
Susan J. Crockford is a rarity–someone who has mainly made her living off her ability and scientific technical skill for identifying animal bones for biologists and archaeologists. She has travelled extensively for her work and written numerous scientific papers. Having honed her science writing for a general audience on a blog called PolarBearScience since 2012, Crockford used her eclectic professional background, and her experiences as an avid fiction reader, to publish her first novel, Eaten (Createspace/Amazon 2015), described as “a polar bear attack thriller.” In the course of researching and writing about current events in polar bear ecology and conservation, Crockford saw that polar bear attacks drew massive international attention – a reflection of a primal fear that lingers everywhere despite the modern city landscapes in which most of us reside. Her goal was therefore to create a gripping story based on science for readers who would likely never buy a science book. In Eaten, terror reigns across the unprepared populace of northern Newfoundland in the spring of 2025 as hundreds of hungry polar bears come looking for human prey. It’s a humanitarian crisis for the people as well as a wildlife crisis for the polar bears: stopping the carnage will be the biggest challenge local residents, Mounties, and biologists have ever faced. It’s a chilly, science-based alternative to Spielberg’s Jaws, an immersion into that primeval fear of being eaten by a bear. She hope to “generate nightmares for readers living in Ganges or Prince Rupert as in Tuktoyaktuk.” Born in Toronto in 1954, Susan J. Crockford moved to Vancouver in 1968, and settled in Victoria in 1976. She attended UBC for her B.Sc. (Zoology) and completed her Ph.D. at the University of Victoria. / Eaten (Spotted Cow Presentations Inc. 2015) Paperback, CDN $21.95 retail [Kindle, $3.99, ePub $3.79], Paperback: 9781519302557 [ISBN – Kindle: 9780991796625; ISBN – ePub: 9780991796618


Joan Donaldson-Yarney

D is for Donaldson-Yarney
Having travelled the backroads of B.C., Alberta, the Yukon and Alaska, Joan Donaldson-Yarney of the Alberni Valley has switched from writing travel articles to fiction with her Travelling Detective series. She belongs to the Crime Writers of Canada, Federation of B.C. Writers, the Port Alberni Arts Council and the Port Alberni Portal Players. Her short story, A Capital Offense, received Ascent Aspirations Magazine’s first prize for flash fiction in 2010. Donaldson-Yarney’s first three mysteries are Illegally Dead, The Only Shadow In The House and Whistler’s Murder, available as a boxed set. A fourth release, Gold Fever, combines mystery with romance. Her Canadian Historical Series for Young Adults features West to the Best and West to Grand Portage. The former, West to the Bay, was selected by Top Grade for the CanLit for the Classroom / #WeHaveDiverseBooks brochure which features books annotated and recommended by educators for the Canadian classroom. Top Grade is an initiative of the Association of Canadian Publishers. Its brochure is distributed to Canadian classrooms. Available only as e-books, her sci-fi titles are The Criminal Streak and Betrayed. Born in New Westminster, Donaldson-Yarney was raised in Edmonton. While raising her children, she has worked as a bartender, hotel maid, cashier, bank teller, bookkeeper, printing press operator, meat wrapper, gold prospector, warehouse shipper, house renovator and nursing attendant. She belongs to Angels Abreast, a breast cancer survivor dragon boat race team in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada. Every four years the International Breast Cancer Paddlers Commission IBCPC) holds an international festival somewhere in the world. In the spring of 2014, she travelled to Sarasota, Florida to participate. She says she has moved thirty times. Most of her books are available from Books We Love Ltd. of Alberta.

Barber, Jill earring

Jill Barber coming to Nelson

E is for Elephant Mountain
One of B.C.’s most ubiquitous couples, chanteuse and kidlit author Jill Barber and CBC host and author Grant Lawrence, are just two of the headliners at the diverse Elephant Mountain Festival, July 7-10, in Nelson. Caroline Adderson will give writerly advice at the Blue Pencil Critique sessions, named in honour of the late Holley Rubinsky, and literary personalities will include Bill Richardson (The First Little Bastard to Call Me Gramps), J.B. McKinnon (100 Mile Diet, The Once and Future World), naturalist Richard Cannings (British Columbia: A Natural History) and Briony Penn,  author of the Haig-Brown Prize-winning biography The Real Thing: the Natural History of Ian McTaggart Cowan. Visit

F is for Faux
Literary culture vultures lost a favourite hang-out when the bohemian Bukowski’s closed on Commercial Drive in Vancouver after more than 25 years. It was chef Andreas Seppelt’s first restaurant. It was followed by his “sweetly iconic fish shack” called Go Fish in 2004, then another successful eatery in 2008 called Les Faux Bourgeois. The modest and playful French bistro has garnered critical acclaim and a loyal clientele, giving rise to Seppelt’s first book, Les Faux Bourgeois: Bon Vivants on the East Side (Anvil Press 26.95). Affectionately known as Les Fauxbo, the bistro also owes its origins to designer Scott Cohen and builder Stephen Gagnon. More than a traditional cookbook, with recipes often tweaked by West Coast flourishes, the volume compliments and entices ‘bon vivants on the east side’ with sidebars and stories about ingredients such as cheese, chacuterie and wine. Seppelt has also been a co-owner of Los Cuervos Taqueria and Cantina on Kingsway in Vancouver since it opened in 2013. 978-1-77214-051-4

Gallagher. Diane Headshot jpeg

Diane Gallagher

G is for Gallagher
Born in North Vancouver in 1961, Diane Gallagher was raised in Vancouver and spent part of her adult life in Japan. A retired teacher-librarian, she divides her time between Vancouver Island and Sicily. She is passionate about social justice issues, particularly those to do with gender, gender identity, sexual orientation and poverty. Her novella Greenwich List, written for the 3 Day Novel Contest, describes a young woman running away to London to escape from a bad relationship. She picks up a romance novel in Greenwich market that has a woman on the cover that looks remarkably like her. Through reading this book, she makes two new friends who help her find herself in amusing and surprising ways. Her follow-up, Mancia di Sanu: A Canadian Expat’s Take on Sicilian Life and Cuisine (Island2Island, October, 2016) will be creative non-fiction that examines the experiences of a Canadian expat in Sicily. Each chapter will be coupled with a recipe adapted from an original Sicilian dish. 978-0-9951839-0-2. $29.95

Harvey, Elaine

Elaine Harvey

H is for Harvey
In 1980, Elaine Harvey, as a nurse, worked for the International Red Cross in the Cambodian refugee camps after the fall of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime which inspired her first book of creative non-fiction Encounters on the Front Line: A Memoir (Promontory Press 2015). In this journey Harvey met the new face of Cambodia and the people on the front lines – the human rights activists, the caregivers, and those who needed care. To quote Harvey “I was not a victim of war, poverty, or starvation, but I was a witness. As a witness, I came to understand that front lines test how far we will go, how much we will give and how deep we will travel.” Encounters on the Front Line explores the concerns of our common humanity and connections made in a disconnected world.  978-1-927559-66-6 $19.99

I is for Ikebuchi
Here’s one we haven’t heard of before… Just as missionaries in B.C. sought to shelter First Nations women and girls from prostitution, the Methodist Woman’s Missionary Society in Victoria established a “Chinese Rescue Home” as a refuge for Chinese prostitutes and other “slave girls” for more than three decades. The facility also accepted Japanese girls and women. The institution sought to redeem the lives of more than 400 women by teaching them domestic skills from 1886 to 1923. With a Ph.D. from UBC, Shelly D. Ikebuchi, department chair on Sociology at Okanagan College, has examined the rescue operation in From Slave Girls to Salvation: Gender, Race, and Victoria’s Chinese Rescue Home, 1886-1923 (UBC Press $95). 978-0774830560

Johel, N.K. also Nirmal Gerow

N.K. Johel

J is for Johel
A Boston-born, New York forensic scientist named Elanna Forsythe George is hired by the Bollywood starlet, Simryn Gill, to investigate the oddly under-publicized death of Rajesh Sharma, a Bollywood director who supposedly died of a heart attack two years previously. She travels to Mumbai and begins to unravel a cult that controls the Bollywood film industry, herself becoming a screen performer at age thirty-three, in N.K. Johel’s two-volume novel, Bollywood Storm–that includes five Bollywood song ‘n’ dance numbers. Johel is a pseudonym for an Indo-Canadian writer born in Duncan, B.C. on August 15, 1959. She attended Lake Cowichan Secondary School (1972-1977) and Vancouver Island University (Theatre 1983-1985), as well as Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design (1987-2002). Her grandfather was a Sikh who immigrated to North America during the first decade of the twentieth century. She credits Toni Morrison’s Jazz and Michael Ondaatje’s Running In The Family as strong literary influences. BOOKS: Bollywood Storm, Book I: New York (Surrey BC: EFG Publishing Dec 2015). $19.99 978-0991797738 / Bollywood Storm, Book II: Mumbai (Surrey BC: EFG Publishing Dec 2015). $19.99 978-0991797738

Kishkan, Theresa headshot

Theresa Kishkan

K is for Kishkan
Winter Wren by Theresa Kishkan, a novella set on Vancouver Island, has been released via her new imprint for novellas called Fish Gotta Swim Editions. In 1974, in the disrupted midst of her life as a painter in France, Grace Oakden comes home to Canada and buys a cabin on a west coast beach. A friendship with the dying, embittered son of a famous artefact collector, and an affair with a local potter working in the Bernard Leach tradition, buttress her awakening engagement with a chosen place and a discovered purpose: to paint the view at dusk. 978-0-9780054-5-0 $18

April 18, 2013 Charla Huber/News staff Kem Luther, a Metchosin BioBliz co-ordinator, checks out some antlered perfume lichen at Witty's Lagoon. The lichen is commonly used in perfume as a mordant.

Kem Luther

L is for Luther
Kem Luther’s book, Boundary Layer (Oregon State University Press $22.95), uses a multifaceted approach to explore the point where air meets earth. This point, a layer that Luther calls the stegnon, is home to a host of life including lichens, mosses, ferns, fungi and diminutive plants. Boundary Layer reveals an ecosystem as complex as any found on earth, one that shifts with every temperature and condensation change.  The book also focuses on the stegnon’s scientific community. Luther explains that the “narrations in Boundary Layer owe a great debt to the army of biologists who spend their lives investigating the humble inhabitants of the regions just above the soil line. Without their research, all would be speculation.” In pursuit of the boundary idea, Luther’s book also explores the borders between culture, science, nature and the humanities. Luther has degrees from the Universities of Chicago and Toronto. He has taught at Eastern Mennonite University, Sheridan College, York University, and the University of Toronto. He lives on Vancouver Island. 978-0-87071-844-1.

That Night CoverM is for McManus
In Lisa McManus’ debut novella That Night (Evernight Teen $9.99), she explores themes of teen suicide, bullying through social media, and loyalty. After the attempted suicide of Luke’s girlfriend Jessica, the school is buzzing with rumours when she doesn’t show up to school on Monday morning. Everyone is blaming Luke for Jessica’s suicide attempt, including Jessica, and without contact from her the lies and gossip begin to spiral out of control. Luke is at risk of losing everything: Jessica and his dreams of becoming a mechanic, all because of what happened that night unless he can solve the mystery. Lisa McManus was born in Richmond, BC and now lives with her husband and two sons on Vancouver Island. 978-1-7723-592-7 (paperback), $3.99 (ebook)

N is for Nova
As a disabled child in Kimberley, B.C., Nova Bannatyne-Eng fought for acceptance. Born with cerebral palsy,  she became one of the first children with a significant disability to be integrated into, and graduate from, a B.C. public school. When Nova Bannatyne-Eng retired, she began making presentations to school children, educators and other groups about living with cerebral palsy. For most people, meeting Nova is their first encounter with the disease. In her memoir, Just Think, I Could Have Been Normal: Growing Up Extraordinary with Cerebral Palsy (Agio Publishing $19.95), Bannayne-Eng gives insights into what people with disabilities want and need, which is much the same as everyone else: to respected, appreciated and loved. Her story has inspired many others, both with and without disabilities. “I have pursued a career based on seeing the able in disabled, thanks to her courageous and inspirational example,” says teacher Lorri Taylor at Vancouver Children’s Hospital. “Nova is the bravest person I have ever known.” 978-1-927755-40-2

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

Page, Gwyneth on right with MeganP is for Page
Gwyneth Jane Page is the author of a children’s book series entitled The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse, which is illustrated by her second oldest daughter Megan. Her series took its inspiration from the hope that if children appreciate the world, and the unique animals and places in it, then they will want to look after it. This series is meant to encourage children to try new things and explore the world. The stories are told from the perspective of PJ Mouse, the stuffed animal that travels everywhere with Emily and her family on their journeys.  Page was born in Vancouver in 1966, and now resides in Victoria with her husband and four children. The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse – In Canada (2015) ISBN 978-1-4602-3740-3, $13.00  /  The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse – In Queensland (2015) ISBN 978-1-77084-508-4, $13.00  / The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse – In a Small Corner of England (2015) ISBN  978-0-9938161-1-6, $13. [Photo shows Gwyneth on the right, with daughter Megan on left–and that’s PJ in the middle.]

Quillevere, Hanne

Hanne Quillevere

Q is for Quillevere
Hanne Quillevere’s The Pivotal I CHING (Mac Zen Consulting, 2015) bring’s the ancient Chinese book of wisdom into the modern world. Using the I Ching, Quillevere seeks to  resolve a persistent modern quandary: that of “learning to live in external harmony with Nature by first mastering our inner world of often conflicting aims and shortsighted egocentricity.” Her work serves as a tool for anyone looking to bridge the gulf between their material and spiritual lives. Quillevere was born in Denmark. She came to Canada as a child with immigrant parents. A fully certified teacher for B.C. schools, at one point she taught in French Immersion. However, over the years she mostly taught English language and literature (B.A. Eng. Hon.; M.A. in Eng., UBC). Upon her retirement, Quillevere’s chief interest has been the Chinese oracular book of wisdom, the I Ching. She has devised and taught several continuing-education courses on this subject.  978-0-9916920-3-3

Rivers, Karen smiling blonde

Karen Rivers

R is for Rivers
In Karen Rivers’ The Girl in the Well is Me (Dancing Cat Books $12.95), an exploration of bullying for middle grade readers, a new girl to the neighbourbood, Kammie Summers, accidentally disappears down a well as the result of an initiation ritual for a club whose three popular members don’t want her to join. They know she’s down there but they torment her by failing to tell anyone. While the eleven-year-old narrator is trapped in claustrophobic peril from the outset, waiting to be rescued–or not–Rivers blends humour with seriousness to explore all the reasons for Kammie’s distress in Nowheresville, Texas (her term). Kammie reviews shameful events in her family’s history, most notably her father’s trespasses. “I wonder if heaven is real?” she thinks. “I hope so. If it’s not, this whole life thing is going to have felt like a major ripoff.” Reviewed by the New York Times in March of 2016, The Girl in the Well is Me is Karen Rivers’ 14th book since 1999, published simultaneously with another novel, Before We Go Extinct (FSG). Born in Nanaimo in 1970, Karen Rivers mostly grew up in Victoria. She studied writing courses at University of Victoria for two years, then received her B.A. in International Relations from UBC in 1991. She nearly completed a second degree in Physiology/Microbiology before dropping out. She had two babies instead. She started writing her first novel, The Tree Tattoo, when she moved back into my parents’ basement. It was eventually published in 1999, after Dream Water. 9781770864641

Vernice Loretta Shostal

S is for Shostal
Vernice Shostal’s debut novel, Night Drive (Island Gals Media Group, 2013) is inspired by the death of Neil Stonechild, a Saskatchewan Aboriginal youth who was found frozen to death miles away from his home in Saskatoon. Night Drive reveals the struggles of a gifted teenager with peer pressure, drugs, alcohol, school assignments, as well as his sister’s lure into prostitution and his mother not having enough money to buy them groceries. This novel has been approved by ERAC for use in the senior grades in B.C. high schools. Loretta Shostal was born in Canora, Saskatchewan, and taught English and French with the Saskatoon East School Division for 26 years. Shostal has a a BA (hon) and BEd degrees from the University of Saskatchewan and she has taken writing classes from the University of British Columbia. In 2003 Shostal moved to B.C. where she has been a freelance writer, having been published in Senior Living Magazine and Island Gals Magazine. $14  978-0-9921246-0-1

Tocher, Catherine Ann

Catherine Ann Tocher

T is for Tocher
Catherine Ann Tocher’s three and a half acre property on Saltspring Island, where she created an “enchanted forest” with tiny houses she built and placed along trails and mossy bluffs to guide children (and adults) through the natural beauty, inspired her to write a fantasy book for children. Fairy Rose and the Power of Eleven (FriesenPress 2016) is about the powerful Fairy Rose who brings together ten other young people to protect the world’s land, water, flora and fauna. Calling themselves The Power of Eleven, Fairy Rose and her gang discover the West Coast Trail, Aurum the Golden Spirit Bear and a little dragon called Shadow. Their goal is to stop environmental destruction and encourage thoughtful progress in the future. The book brings its readers ideas about collaboration, the need to preserve the natural environment, respecting cultural differences, and the development of self-esteem. 978-1460269275.

U is for Urquhart
Including her description of a trip to Tanzania with her husband to investigate the high incidence of albinism in that country, Emily Urquhart’s memoir Beyond the Pale: Folklore, Family and the Mystery of our Hidden Genes (HarperCollins $29.99) investigates the phenomenon of albinism from her perspectives of folklorist and the mother of Sadie, a daughter diagnosed with albinism, a rare genetic condition. We learn, among many things, that the term ‘albino’ is now politically incorrect. People with “oculocutaneous abinism” have little to no pigment in their skin, hair and eyes. As well, they have little protection against the sun; burns are quick and dangerous and may cause skin cancer. “Low pigmentation,” she writes, “results in photophobia, meaning that daylight, particularly the searing rays of high noon, can be intolerable.” With a doctorate in folklore from Memorial University of Newfoundland, Emily Urquhart of Victoria won a National Magazine Award in 2014. 978-1-44342-356-4

Vedam, Shereen tree

Shereen Vedam

V is for Vedam
Shereen Vedam is possibly the only B.C. author who was born in Ceylon, later renamed Sri Lanka. She came to Canada in the early 1970s, eventually relocating to Vancouver Island. As an avid reader of fantasy and romance novels, she is self-described as “a fan of resourceful women, intriguing men, and happily ever after endings.” A Devilish Slumber (ImaJinn $14.80) is her first novel in a fairytale-inspired trilogy or “historical paranormal romance series” set in London, England, in the year 1813. A troubled heroine must undertake an extraordinary journey to clear her name and protect those she cares for. It mixes humour, fantasy, romance and history. 978-1611945928

W is for Wells
Martin Wells’ fourth title, North Shore Story (Vancouver: Blue Crab Books 2016), is a literary and industrial history of the three civic areas that make up the North Shore of Burrard Inlet, including Moodyville, Lonsdale and Lynn Valley. Previously he has profiled pioneer engineer Byron Riblet in Tramway Titan: Byron Riblet, Wire Rope and Western Resource Towns (Trafford, 2006, $35),an illustrated, 340-page volume that primarily celebrates Riblet’s work building tramways near mining communities around British Columbia. After constructing dams and street railways, Riblet came to the Kootenays where he began building tramways with cable link (wire rope), eventually building a twelve-mile link near Stewart, B.C. He later built longer systems in the U.S. and the Andes. Steam to the Cariboo (Vancouver: Cordillera Books 2007) recalls the Cariboo Gold Rush, recounting the perils and problems of the pioneer goldseekers as they travelled by steamboats, camels, and steam road tractors to make the 500-mile journey from New Westminster to Barkerville. Characters include Billy Barker, Mathew Begbie and Gustavus Bin Wright. Coal Harbour, the body of water that divides Stanley Park from the downtown core of Vancouver, stretching from the foot of Granville Street to Brockton Point, was the commercial hub of Vancouver and the first location of European habitation in the area. At the suggestion of Bert Bensen of Benson Brothers Shipyard, Martin J. Wells has produced Coal Harbour Recollections (Cordillera 2009), an historical overview. $26.95 978-1-895590-37-1

X is for Xan
In thirty years we’ve had three authors with surnames that start with X… Georgia Xydes wrote Alexander Mackenzie and the Explorers of Canada (Chelsea House, 1992). Born in Chongqing, China, in 1953, Gu Xiong came to Vancouver in 1990. Initially he was a sanitation worker at a UBC cafeteria. Hired by UBC’s Fine Arts Department, he published his drawings in The Yellow Pear (Arsenal Pulp 1997).  The Brother XII was the contrived name for dictatorial cult leader, Edward Arthur Wilson, a scoundrel, theosophical leader and author who founded a spiritual community on southern Vancouver Island in the late 1920s and early 1930s… Marilyn Bowering’s daughter Alexandra, who goes by the name of Xan Shian, contributed to the photos to Threshold (Leaf Press $20), her mother’s tribute to the 17th century Hebridean rebel poet Mary MacLeod. 978-1-926655-88-8

Y is for Yekelchyk
As a UVic history professor in the Department of Germanic and Russian Studies, Serhy Yekelchyk examines the ‘politics of memory’ under Josef Stalin with analysis based on declassified information from eight Ukrainian and Russian archives. Stalin’s Empire of Memory: Russian-Ukrainian Relations in the Soviet Historical Imagination (UTP $29.95) uses the Ukrainian republic as a case study to explain intricate relations between the Kremlin, non-Russian intellectuals and their audience. 978-1-4426-2846-5

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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