Saving B.C.’s Wilderness

“Wayne Sawchuk (left) explains how he came to be involved in saving the Muskwa-Kechika Area from devastating industrial development and how contentious the planning process became.” FULL STORY

Who’s Who

Caroline Adderson. Photo Jessica Wittman.

A is for Adderson
Caroline Adderson’s new book for young people, Sunny Days Inside (Groundwood $16.99) is a collection of linked short stories about children living in the same apartment building who must stay sheltered in place during the early days of Covid-19. Not only do they have to abide by different rules but they now must spend lengthy periods of time with their parents and siblings. Being imaginative and resourceful, these kids do well. There are the twin boys who begin researching prehistoric people and discover exciting things about themselves. And a previous school bad boy develops a whole new relationship with his teacher when he confides to her that his father is showing signs of mental illness. The book is aimed at readers 9 – 12 years of age and is due out August 1st. 978-1-77306-572-4

Michael Bociurkiw. Photo Chrystia Chudczak.

B is for Bociurkiw
Former staff reporter at Winnipeg Free Press, South China Morning Post and Asia Times, Michael Bociurkiw of Sidney has written Digital Pandemic: How Technology Went From Bad to Good (Self-published $24.99) that delves into how technology acted as an accelerant for many of the trends that existed previous to Covid-19: from working from home and the mass adoption of wearable technology to disruptions to travel, food delivery, health consultations and relationships. Bociurkiw is a regular contributor to CNN Opinion, CBC, CTV, Bloomberg and Al Jazeera; and is widely published in Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, The Globe and Mail, Forbes magazine and MSNBC.com. Past employment includes: former spokesperson for UNICEF and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, contractor for the World Health Organization and Pan American Health Organization. He has twice been a TEDx speaker. 9798726069326

Gregor Craigie

C is for Craigie
People in the Pacific Northwest have been warned about The Big One, a massive earthquake followed by a tsunami, which will cause billions of dollars in damages and many deaths. On Borrowed Time: North America’s Next Big Quake (Goose Lane $22.95) is Gregor Craigie’s deep dive into the science behind earthquakes. In addition to interviewing scientific experts, he has collected first-hand accounts from people who have survived deadly quakes — all in an effort to find out what we can do to prepare now for this major natural disaster that is coming – it’s only a matter of time. Craigie is the host of CBC Radio’s On the Island in Victoria. He has also reported for CBS Radio and has been a former BBC journalist who read the news to millions of American listeners of The World on Public Radio International. 978177310206

Rachelle Delaney

D is for Delaney
Having authored seven previous novels for young readers, all of which have been nominated for, or won literary prizes, Rachelle Delaney’s latest title Alice Fleck’s Recipes for Disaster (Puffin $21.99) is about a young girl who thinks she is entering a cooking competition with her father only to find out it’s a reality TV show. Alice worries she will freeze, cry, or worse, throw up. More concerning is there might be someone trying to sabotage her. Alice must seek out and stop the saboteur while tackling the biggest cooking challenge of her life. 9780735269279

Steven Earle

E is for Earle
Gabriola Island’s Steven Earle has written A Brief History of the Earth’s Climate: Everyone’s Guide to the Science of Climate Change (New Society $19.99) due in October, that counters climate change skeptics and deniers. Earle explains how our climate evolved over 4.6 billion years and how climate change is different from human-caused global warming, which is much more dangerous. He also provides advice on action to mitigate the climate emergency. Earle has a Ph.D. and has taught university Earth Science for almost four decades. He authored the widely used textbook, Physical Geology now in its second edition.  9780865719590

S.M. Freedman

F is for Freedman
Recovering from a near-fatal accident on her 27th birthday, up and coming artist, Eve Gold is desperate to return to her old way of life in S.M. Freedman’s psychological thriller, The Day She Died (Dundurn $18.99). But brain damage leaves Eve confused by repressed memories of a troubled childhood destroyed by lies and even a suspicious death. Does she cling to stories that helped her survive her upbringing or unearth the secrets she buried? 978-1-45974-740-1

G is for Gentile
Leslie Gentile of Brentwood Bay has published her debut kidlit novel Elvis, Me, and the Lemonade Stand Summer (Cormorant $13.95) for ages 9 – 12 about an Indigenous girl who learns the importance of being part of a supportive community. It’s the summer of 1978 and most people think Elvis Presley has been dead for a year — but not 11-year-old Truly, because she knows Elvis is alive and well and living at the Eagle Shores Trailer Park. Truly sets out to prove that her cool new neighbour is the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll while finding sanctuary with a Salish woman when her mother neglects her. 978-1-77086-615-7

Glen Huser

 

H is for Huser
Spanning generations and geography, Glen Huser’s novel Burning the Night (NeWest Press $19.95) portrays a small-town young man, Curtis who moves to Edmonton where he forms close ties with his elderly, blind Aunt Harriet. He learns of Harriet’s intended husband who died in World War 1 and the artsy friends in her past. It inspires Curtis to realize that he wants to get into the arts and find fulfilling love. Curtis also discovers he is a gay man. Glen Huser was a sessional lecturer in children’s literature and creative writing at UBC for several years and his short stories have appeared in literary magazines. His past books have been nominated for, and won several awards. 978-177439-011-5

Ivan Coyote

I is for Ivan
For an inveterate traveler and performer like Ivan Coyote, the Covid-19 pandemic initially proved to be confining. The non-binary writer turned to their file of special letters and communiques they had saved over the years from readers and audience members including Facebook messages, emails and notes written-on-the-run. Coyote began answering those letters & notes, eventually combining both the originals and their responses in Care of: Letters, Connections, and Cures (McClelland & Stewart $25) due out this June. As a whole, the compilation reflects many of the central themes of Coyote’s past writing: compassion & empathy, family fragility and identity. 978-0771051722

Melanie Jackson

J is for Jackson
Novelist Melanie Jackson has written over 15 mysteries for young people, often using a theme like the five she titled based on thrilling forms of amusement including The Big Dip (Orca, 2009), Fast Slide (Orca, 2010), High Wire (Orca, 2012), Eye Sore (Orca, 2015) and Death Drop (Orca, 2016). Her latest has a distinctly musical flavour: The Fifth Beethoven (Crwth Press $10.95) for ages 11-13 about piano-playing Nate, who gets robbed by a thief in a Beethoven costume while admiring a building designed like a quarter note, called the Keynote. But the theft leads to a summer job for Nate performing in the Keynote’s courtyard. Nate does his job while sleuthing for the light-fingered Ludwig that swiped his wallet. 978-1-989724-05-7

Lorraine Kiidumae

K is for Kiidumae
Beginning with a quote from poet e.e. cummings — ” i fear no fate(for you are my fate, my sweet)” — Lorraine Kiidumae’s debut novel River of Forgiveness (PTP Book Division $14.77) is a coming-of-age story set at the close of the Second World War. Eighteen-year-old Sydney Archumbault’s chance encounter with an older British stranger awakens her longings to the exuberant power of her one true love, forever altering the course of her life. Intrigued by this educated, artistic man, whom she later discovers is an escapee from an internment camp, Sydney impulsively embarks into a complex and tumultuous relationship, finding herself embroiled in a love that can never be. 9798518474543

Kevin Loring

L is for Loring
Lytton-raised Kevin Loring’s latest play, Little Red Warrior and His Lawyer (Talonbooks $16.95) concerns the last remaining member of a First Nation, Little Red Warrior who is fighting in court to get back his traditional lands. His lawyer, Larry invites Little Red to live in his basement during the court case. Romantic sparks fly between Little Red and Larry’s wife Desdemona. Then the court case takes an unexpected turn and everything is up in the air. 9781772012545

M is for McCartney
In her seventh collection of poetry, Villa Negativa (Biblioasis $19.95), Sharon McCartney reflects on events such as a sibling’s death, an eating disorder, and dismal dating relationships. Described as part satire, part self-examination, McCartney uses few words and injections of humour to create deep layers of meaning. “You don’t read these poems, you feel them,” says fellow poet George Elliott Clarke. “Hammer in the head, shod foot on the throat, stiletto in the heart. It’s those combos of wild, piercing insights (or unusual but poignant images); yep, that’s what makes it good for you — or kills you, laughing.” 9781771963497

Barbara Nickel

N is for Nickel
In her historical, middle-grade novel Dear Peter, Dear Ulla (Thistledown Press $12.95) Barbara Nickel crafts a child’s eye view of WW2 through the exchange of letters between two cousins who have never met in person – Peter in a Mennonite Saskatchewan community and Ulla in Nazi-occupied Danzig. Illustrations throughout the book represent drawings that Ulla creates and sends to Peter with her letters depicting things she sees such as battleships and explosions, and things she wishes for, like cakes to eat. The story uses humour and empathy to relate stories of complex cultural and moral issues. 9781771872171

O is for Olding
A lifelong reader, always with a book on the go, Victoria-based Susan Olding has written a collection of essays, Big Reader (Freehand $22.95) due out in May. From the dissolution of her marriage to the forging of a tentative relationship with her new partner’s daughter, and from discovering Toronto as a young undergrad to, years later, watching her mother slowly go blind, through every experience Olding crafts  essays about what it means to be human, to be a woman — and to be a reader. Her debut collection Pathologies: A Life in Essays (UTP, 2008) was selected by 49th Shelf and Amazon.ca as one of 100 Canadian books to read in a lifetime. 9781988298818

Earle Peach

P is for Peach
Vancouver musician and social activist Earle Peach has written Questions to the Moon: Songs & Stories (Lazara Press $20) about his musical life, how music drives his social activism and his deep belief that everyone has the right to create beauty. Each section in the book begins with a story by Peach, followed by a group of songs that elaborate on the theme. From 1984 – 2000, Peach was the music coordinator at Vancouver’s Carnegie Community Centre on the Downtown Eastside. 9780920999158

Q is for Quintana
Christine Quintana has written Selfie (Playwrights Canada $17.95) about how sexual assault against minors can happen in any community. “The question I want to pose,” says Quintana, “is how can we talk about consent in a way that prevents this from happening in the first place?” She is a Siminovitch Prize Protege winner for playwriting and a founding member of the Canadian Latinx Theatre Artist Coalition. Born in Los Angeles to a Mexican American father and a Dutch British Canadian mother, Quintana holds a BFA in Acting from U.B.C. and is currently playwright-in-residence at Vancouver’s Tarragon Theatre. 9780369101259

Rowena Rae

R is for Rae
In Upstream, Downstream: Exploring Watershed Connections (Orca Footprints $19.95), due in September, Rowena Rae asks, do you know your watershed address? Most people don’t have a clue. Rae argues we should know because its where we get our drinking water and our watershed includes the land and everything on the land too. Critically, watersheds the world over are stressed due mainly to human activity. Rae explains watersheds and names some of the heroes working to save them. A former biologist, Rae now writes fiction and non-fiction from Victoria. 9781459823921

Ron Sakolsky

S is for Sakolsky
Denman Island’s Ron Sakolsky has published his magnum opus, Dreams of Anarchy and the Anarchy of Dreams: Adventures at the Crossroads of Anarchy and Surrealism (Autonomedia). This comprehensive critical history documents the fleeting and troubled affiliations of scores of surrealist legends in France, Spain, North America, and elsewhere, not only with anarchism but also Trotskyism, Stalinism, council communism, anti-fascism and Indigenous cultures. 9781570273766

Jon Turk

T is for Turk
Jon Turk’s fifth adventure narrative about being on the unforgiving savannah with a Samburu headman, Tracking Lions, Myth, and Wilderness in Samburu (RMB $30) explores the aboriginal wisdom that endowed our Stone Age ancestors with the power to survive — and how, since then, our culture has often been hijacked and distorted by our urban, scientific, oil-using world. In 2012, Turk was nominated by National Geographic as one of the top ten adventurers of the year. He has kayaked around Cape Horn and across the North Pacific from Japan to Alaska, mountain biked across the northern Gobi in Mongolia, made first climbing ascents of big walls on Baffin Island and first ski descents in the Tien Shan Mountains in Kirghizia. In 2011, he circumnavigated Ellesmere Island.  Jon Turk splits his time between Darby, Montana and Fernie. 9781771604734

U is for Umingmak
Umingmak is the Inuit word for muskox and a symbol of strength, authority and protectiveness. It was also the nickname the Inuit gave Stuart Hodgson, the first resident commissioner of the Northwest Territories who arrived in 1967. Commissioners and their council were appointed then and Ottawa gave Hodgson the mandate to establish a modern, self-elected government in NWT with Yellowknife as its capital. Hodgson succeeded and did so, as Indigenous leader, James Wah-Shee, chair of the Tlicho National assembly says, through recognizing the importance of governing by consensus, which is “the Aboriginal way – and this is part of his legacy.” The story is told by Jake Ootes in, Umingmak: Stuart Hodgson and the Birth of the Modern Arctic (Tidewater $29.95), due out in May. The book also tells how Hodgson co-founded the Arctic Winter Games, organized three royal visits to the NWT, and united the entire population of about 26,000 people in fifty isolated communities spread over 3,400,000 square kilometers.  9781777010102

Tamara Vukusic

V is for Vukusic
Former reporter, Tamara Vukusic of Kamloops has written obittersweet: Life Lessons from Obituaries (Mosaic Press $24.95), a collection of essays inspired by real obituaries. Ultimately, she transforms her favourite obits into witty advice. The essays are organized by theme — one for each month. For example, Vukusic’s January, a month normally associated with resolutions, looks at doing the opposite. Rather, she recommends “reflecting on what you already do that is worth celebrating” and proceeds to share obituaries for people who are remembered for living lives that honoured individuality, provided gathering places to create communities, made sacrifices for better tomorrows, and let others know they mattered. In highlighting people from the past, Vukusic shines a light on her own eccentric life. 9781771615280

Caroline Wong

W is for Wong
A seminal time in Caroline Wong’s life occurred in her early teens when her family moved from Southern China to Canada. It led her to write poems and stories following the interior journeys of a transplanted woman. In Primal Sketches (Signature Editions $17.95) Wong writes of hiking in B.C., Spain’s Camino de Santiago, the Yangtze River in China, loss, death and hope. She also references two ancient Chinese poets, Li Po and Li Qing Zhao, both of whom were exiles. Wong is a graduate of SFU’s Writer’s Studio. She lived in Vancouver’s Chinatown with her family from the 1950s to the early 1960s and now lives in Burnaby. 9781773240862

Xiran Jay Zhao

X is for Xiran
They’ve got over 250,000 YouTube subscribers, 65,000 Twitter followers, 25,000 Instagram followers and a website that averages 5,000 unique visitors per month. Now non-binary Xiran Jay Zhao of Vancouver is publishing their first sci-fi/fantasy novel Iron Widow (Penguin $21.99) for ages 14 and up. Using a blend of Chinese history and futuristic mecha (humanoid mobile robots) science fiction, the book features a heroine inspired by China’s only legitimate female sovereign, Wu Zetian (who is credited with reducing corruption and revitalizing the country’s culture and economy). Xiran is a first-generation Chinese immigrant who lives and works in Vancouver where they are training to become a biochemist. 9780735269934

Terence Young

Y if for Young
Having retired from teaching English and creative writing at St. Michael’s University School, Terence Young has published a spellbinding collection of poems, Smithereens (Nightwood $18.95) in which he finds the extraordinary in everyday things – the last raspberries of summer, a ferry trip that is detoured, watching TV shows from the past, a family car that lasted twenty years, a child’s picture lost in a fire, a bear at the cottage. All are bits of life that Young turns into “shining artifacts of memory,” a phrase he quotes from Leonard Cohen in one of his verses. 9781550179439

Andy Zuliani

Z is for Zuliani
In Andy Zuliani’s Last Tide (NeWest Press $21.95) two burnt-out employees, Ana and Win are sent to an island in the Pacific Northwest. There they meet a climate scientist who is studying “the big one” — a cataclysmic earthquake and tsunami that will destroy the region — and an athletic-leisure clothing mogul building a vacation home that will double as an apocalyptic shelter. Then police investigators arrive, which throws everyone into an uproar and re-opens personal fault lines between the islanders. Zuliani is working on his PhD in American and French literature and is drawn to narratives of crisis and healing. 9781774390344

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