Caetani, Sveva portrait b&w

Of reverence and sorrow

In Reading Sveva, Daphne Marlatt will pay tribute to the life and mystical art of Sveva Caetani (left) who grieved her father’s death in seclustion for 25 years.             FULL STORY

Who’s Who


Cathy Ace

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.

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

Cain, Shelby

Shelby Cain

C is for Cain
Four years ago Krissy Mathews disappeared. When she returns it is through the doors of her hometown’s hospital with a lifeless child in her arms and a man she refers to as her husband. He is charged with kidnapping and Krissy must deal with the Stockholm syndrome that developed from the twisted abuse she suffered while isolated in a mountain cabin experiencing what believed to be true love. That’s the gist of Shelby Cain’s debut novel, Mountain Girl (Oolichan $22.95). Raised in Cranbrook, Cain now lives an hour away in Fernie where she writes a monthly column entitled “Family Stroke” for Fernie Fix magazine.  978-0-88982-315-0

Denham, Joe

Joe Denham

D is for Denham
Joe Denham’s third book of poetry, Regeneration Machine (Nightwood Editions, $18.95), won the 2016 Canadian Authors Association (CAA) Award for Poetry. The prize is awarded to the Canadian author of the best work of poetry published in the preceding year. It’s a 100-stanza letter in verse to his deceased friend Nevin Sample who robbed a small credit union at gunpoint, then fled into the nearby forest with police in hot pursuit. Hidden by a stump at the edge of a small clearing, with the police calling out to him, Nevin Sample shot himself in the head. This 9,000-word letter-in-verse to his friend’s ghost has been variously described as a a requiem, an elegy and a lament. Rob Denham’s poems in his first collection Flux (Nightwood, 2003) are primarily written from a working class perspective. “Denham does for fishing on the West Coast what Peter Trower has done for logging:  he writes with the voice of experience,” commented Robert Attridge in Event, Vol 33-3. His second collection is Windstorm (Nightwood 2009). Joe Denham’s first novel, The Year of Broken Glass (Nightwood, 2011), follows a struggling crab fisherman across the Pacific Ocean to deliver a glass fishing float to a high-paying collector. Against a backdrop of seismic degradation, the protagonist, Francis “Ferris” Wichbaun, has a romantic affair with his trans-ocean travelling companion while he is deeply concerned about his dual families: Ferris is married to Anna and they have a son named Willow, and simultaneously he has a baby daughter Emily with is girlfriend Jin Su. Denham has been published in various magazines and anthologies including Open Field: 30 Contemporary Canadian Poets, The New Canon: An Anthology of Canadian Poetry and Breathing Fire 2: Canada’s New Poets. He lives with his wife and two children in Halfmoon Bay, B.C. and works as a commercial fisherman throughout coastal British Columbia.978-0-88971-8

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 it 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

Lee, Jen Sookfong

Jen Sookfong Lee

L is for Lee
In Jen Sookfong Lee’s The Conjoined (ECW $18.95), Jessica Campbell sorts through her dead mother’s belongings and makes a shocking discovery – two dead girls curled into the bottom of her mother’s chest freezers. These girls were Casey and Jamie Cheng, two troubled teenaged sisters from Vancouver’s Chinatown who lived with the family as foster children in 1988. Everyone had simply assumed they had run away. Jessica unearths dark truths that force her to confront her own life and who her mother really was. 978-1-77041-284-2

Motamedi, Pari Azarm

Pari Azarm Motamedi

M is for Motamedi
Pari Azarm Motamedi was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. She studied and worked as an architect and urban planner in Iran and England, before moving to Canada in 1984 with her husband and two young sons. She has practiced and created art for more than thirty years and has presented exhibitions, papers and workshops in various cultural and academic venues including Columbia University, Oxford University, Simon Fraser and Emily Carr universities, the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia and the Maltwood Art Museum and Gallery at the University of Victoria, as well as private and public art galleries in Tehran and Vancouver. My Blue Canvas: Life and Art, Memories and Meditations ($70 U.S. 520 pages), published in Canada by Anahita Productions in May 2016, narrates, in lyric prose, memories of her childhood and youth in Iran, coping with revolution and war before immigrating to Canada. Much of her artwork and writing emanates from the traditions of Persian poetry and culture. “It also presents my work of the past thirty years,” she writes, “created in Vancouver on the lingo-visual translations of the work of classical and contemporary Persian poets as well as other examples of my art in different media. I have presented papers on my lingo-visual translations of poetry at the University of Oxford and other academic institutions.”

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

Pallan, Corol 2015-11-15 01

Corol Pallan

P is for Pallan
In June of 2016, the BC Genealogy Society awarded Corol Pallan’s self-published Footsteps To Dreams its Family History Book Award its First Prize for books published in 2015. Fascinated for years with her great grandfather’s memoirs and a collection of vintage family photos, Pallan sought to learn about the lives of her pioneer ancestors who chose Canada as their home. After creating a scrapbook to document the family story, she realized there was a greater saga to be told. The ten year research process, after her retirement from teaching, spanned the history of two centuries, the breadth of three continents and the lives of seven generations, encompassing her family and that of her husband’s. Her research took her from her home in Victoria to cities, towns and villages throughout North America, the United Kingdom and India. Footsteps To Dreams is legacy intended not only for her two sons and five grandchildren but also for the extended family of siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews. Corol (Smith) Pallan was born 1946 in Calgary, Alberta. She moved to British Columbia at a young age and has lived in Victoria since 1952. As a graduate from the Faculty of Education, University of Victoria, she began a career teaching primary school children, mainly Kindergarten and Grade One.

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

Roth, Pamela

Pamela Roth

R is for Roth
Edmonton snagged itself the title of “Murder Capital of Canada” in 2011 with 48 of its citizens coming to a sudden and violent end. The city also earned that undesired title in 2005, and in 1938 when the “City of Champions” had a higher per capita murder rate than Chicago. In Deadmonton: Crime Stories from Canada’s Murder City (University of Regina Press $21.95) Roth takes a look a some of the city’s most notorious murders, both solved and unsolved, while exploring the pain left in the wake of these horrors. Pamela Roth moved to Victoria in 2015 to work as a journalist for the Victoria News. 9780889774261

Smith, Judy & Roger Cristofoli

Judy Smith and Roger Cristofoli

S is for Smith
Judy Smith of Castlegar self-published Out of Poverty: Living and Teaching in Asia (Tellwell Talent $49.95) to document the years she spent abroad teaching English with her husband Roger Cristofoli, mainly in South Korea, Thailand, China and Oman. “At the brink of losing their home and going on welfare, they happened across an advertisement for English teachers in South Korea. This led to a 10-year adventure from a cockroach-infested hovel in Korea to the incredible architecture of old Krakow to a posh 2-living room villa in Oman.” Accommodation in China was unheated; treatment in a Thai private school was hostile–as was their reception outside their teaching and living quarters in Oman. Smith began this teaching odyssey when she and her husband were in their mid-fifties. 978-0-7726-6974-2

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 Vassilopoulos
For his tenth title since his classic West Coast maritime title Antiques Afloat in 1988, Peter Vassilopoulos has altered course from books meant primarily for pleasure boaters and released his first title in a new series for tourists, Cruising the Inside Passage: Puget Sound to Alaska (Pacific Marine Publishing / Heritage $39.95). Although that word cruising remains in the title, the founding publisher of Diver Magazine has gathered his photos from approximately 150 coastal trips over 40 years for his first coffee table book to appeal to all Pacific Northwest travellers by boat, ferry, cruise ship or “pocket cruises” (ie charters). Replete with some of his aerial photos, it is meant to be a souvenir book that gives visitors a collection of sights (and sites) they have seen “as well as those they have missed that may prompt them to return.” Photos are mainly accompanied by cutlines or lengthy captions, so the emphasis is pictorial. The 274-page book is printed on a lighter paper and has a fairly flexible cover. This was done to achieve a lighter weight for carrying or shipping. Some of the places depicted in the book are accessible by road and there are instructions for Skagway excursions by land. Already in the works are similar books for the West Coast of Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii. 978-0-919317-50-5

Wiebe, Sam

Sam Wiebe

W is for Wiebe
It can take a surprise award to kick-start an aspiring author’s career. Such was the case for Vancouver’s Sam Wiebe when his novel Last of the Independents (Dundurn $17.99) won the 2012 Unhanged Arthur Award for Best Unpublished First Novel, and was subsequently published in 2014.  That led to Weibe being picked up by Random House, which has just published his second novel Invisible Dead (Random House $22). In this first of a series, Wiebe introduces readers to PI Dave Wakeland whose big case is the mystery surrounding the disappearance of indigenous woman Chelsea Loam, last seen alive eleven years ago. The trail leads Wakeland to career criminals, powerful men, and possibly his own death.  Sam Wiebe’s stories have appeared in Thuglit, subTerrain, Spinetingler and Criminal Element’s Malfeasance Occasional e-collection. He lives in Vancouver.  978-0-345-81627-6

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

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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