Musgrave gets Woodcock Award

“The hard-working and prolific writer of more than 30 books of poetry, fiction, non-fiction and children’s literature, Susan Musgrave (left) will receive the George Woodcock Award this year.FULL STORY



Who’s Who

Angie Abdou

A is for Abdou
Angie Abdou wrote about her experiences as a hockey mom, frankly describing her young son’s sporting experiences on and off the ice in Fernie in her memoir Home Ice: Reflections of a Reluctant Hockey Mom (ECW, 2018). Now she explores Canada’s “other” sports in a collection of essays she has co-edited with UVic’s Jamie Dopp, Not Hockey: Critical Essays on Canada’s Other Sport Literature (AU Press $37.99), to be released in May. By veering away from what is often described as Canada’s national pastime, Canadian writers such as Timothy Taylor and Aritha Van Herk share their reflections on skateboarding, fly fishing, curling and other decidedly non-hockey sports. How does “sport” differ from physically risky recreational activities that require strength and skill? Does sport demand that someone win? At what point does a sport become an art? With the aim of prompting thought and discussions about the boundaries of sport, contributors explore how literature engages with sport as a metaphor, as a language, and as bodily expression. 9781771993777

Girjinder Basran

B is for Basran
Gurjinder Basran takes on the perils of social media in her third novel, Help! I’m Alive (ECW $22.95). When video footage of a teen’s death is shared online, a community is left to try to make sense of his death and whether it was an accident or a suicide. In April of 2011, Basran was awarded the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize for her first novel, Everything Was Goodbye. Her publisher, Mother Tongue Publishing subsequently sold Canadian rights to Penguin Canada and Everything Was Good-bye was re-launched in the spring of 2012 as a Penguin paperback. Basran is a graduate of Simon Fraser University’s Writer’s Studio. 9781770416307

Kevin Chong

C is for Chong
It has been five years since Kevin Chong wrote his last novel, The Plague (Arsenal Pulp, 2018) inspired by Albert Camus’ classic of the same title. In The Double Life of Benson Yu (Atria Books $27), the narrator of the story, Benson Yu, is trying to write a story set in 1980s Chinatown about a twelve-year-old boy, Bennie, living with his grandmother. Bennie gets taken in by an eccentric neighbour named Constantine when his grandmother is suddenly hospitalized. But Yu, a bestselling comic book creator can’t help interjecting himself into Bennie’s story from the present day. Things get dark as Yu reveals his own past demons. 9781668005491

Julia Dilworth

D is for Dilworth
During the Covid 19 pandemic, “our yards became our parks and our living rooms became our art galleries,” writes Julia Dilworth in the introduction to her coffee table style book, West Coast North: Interiors Designed for Living (Figure 1, $50). The change in lifestyle brought on by social isolation drove business to design studios as people largely confined to their homes consulted on ways to renovate and re-decorate. Dilworth interviewed 29 BC design firms to find out how they work. She also showcases their projects in full-colour photography. Readers will discover the unique qualities of West Coast designers – from environmental concerns and bringing the beauty of the outside world inside, to inspiration from local craftspeople and the myriad influences of immigrant settlers who chose to live here. 9781773271811

Emi Sasagawa

E is for Emi
Completing her Creative Writing MFA while working as a communications manager at UBC’s Faculty of Arts, Emi Sasagawa is set to release her debut novel, Atomweight (Tidewater Press $22.95) about a young Japanese-Canadian woman, Aki, who discovers her passion for fighting as an atomweight while studying overseas in England. Her family isn’t likely to approve. Always viewed as a “good girl, good student and good daughter” back home, Aki must also break the news to her parents that she is gay in this story about reconciling competing cultures, traditions and values. Sasagawa is an award-winning journalist whose writing has appeared in publications ranging from The Washington Post to Room. Since November 2022, Sasagawa has been the directory of communications for UBC’s Faculty of Arts. 9781990160165

Lucia Frangione

F is for Frangione
Award-winning playwright and actress Lucia Frangione has released her debut novel, Grazie (Talonbooks $19.95) about a mother, Graziana who ends up in the hospital after her violent stalker dies in a car crash. Graziana needs to heal both physically and emotionally and leaves her eight year-old daughter Hazel in the care of her father while she makes a pilgrimage to Italy to bike the Via Francigena. Hazel finds Grandpa Herman is “Grumpy” but she learns to adjust to the old man. Publicity describes this gritty and spiritual story as covering topics like: “transformation, forgiveness, accountability and rebirth,” and that Frangione “examines what it means to feel connection to oneself, one’s family, one’s culture and to existence.” 9781772015089

Charlotte Gill

G is for Gill
Award-winning writer, Charlotte Gill’s father is Indian and her mother is English. They met in 1960s London, married and had three children. The family left England for North America hoping to leave behind the prejudice against interracial love as Gill relates in Almost Brown: A Mixed-Race Family Memoir (Viking $36 h.c.), due out June, 2023. Seeking the dream of life, liberty and happiness tears the family apart and results in a divorce, many grudges and decades of not communicating. Eventually Gill and her father reconnect. Gill’s first collection of short stories, Ladykiller (Thomas Allen, 2005) received the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and the Danuta Gleed Award in 2006. It was also a finalist for the Governor General’s Award. Her second title, a memoir too, Eating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber and Life with the Tree Planting Tribe (Greystone, 2011) was shortlisted for the Charles Taylor Prize and then won the 2012 Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize and the 2012 Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award from the Canadian Booksellers Association, judged by independent booksellers and presented at the 2012 Libris Awards in Toronto. It also received the B.C. National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction. 9780735243033

Paula Holdstock

H is for Holdstock
In Paula Holdstock’s ninth novel, Confessions with Keith: From the Journals of Vita Glass (Biblioasis $22.95) a mother and writer goes through a mid-life crisis at the same time as her husband, as told through her journal. The story has its roots in Holdstock’s life. “I did actually keep a journal through some of the rocky years of raising a family and this voice began to creep in,” says Holdstock. “It was Vita’s voice, this sort of pretense of being in control. Rather than sitting down at a desk to open a journal and bursting into tears, which I could have done at times, I had this persona of Vita who would look at things as if it was all perfectly manageable. And so, I got quite fond of Vita and used to make a point of writing in her voice and that would entertain me.” Years later, Holdstock re-read some of her journals and realized she had the framework for a novel. “Vita could have all sorts of adventures and misadventures within this framework. So, I started working on that.” 9781771964975

Roy Innes

I is for Innes
In his 5th title, the novella Elderville (World Castle $9.99) Roy Innes’ latest crime story is about a road-trip-turned-nightmare. David Radcliffe, an eye surgeon, and his wife, Kathy, returning from a medical convention in San Francisco bypass a highway accident by turning off onto a country road which winds through farm country near Eugene, Oregon. Totally lost when their car’s GPS fails from what appears to be a cyber black out, they come upon Elderville, a town nowhere noted on their highway map and with a population they soon discover is made up entirely of old people. What begins as relief turns to terror as the couple are entrapped by a bizarre scheme to prevent them from leaving. 978-1956788303

Wanda John-Kehewin

J is for John-Kehewin
In her YA graphic novel, Visions of the Crow (Highwater Press $23.95), volume one in the series Dreams, Wanda John-Kehewin introduces us to Damon Quinn who is struggling to get through his senior high school year. Bullies cause Damon trouble; a new girl named Journey keeps digging into Damon’s personal business; and a mysterious crow begins following him. Home life isn’t any easier. His mom struggles with alcohol and is barely coping with day-to-day issues. After Damon is seized by a waking dream in the middle of a busy street, he confronts his mom with some hard questions: Why haven’t I met my dad? Where did we come from? Who am I? Help comes from new friends. Damon also travels through time and space to move forward in his life. Set to be released in April 2023, illustrations are by nicole marie burton. Wanda John-Kehewin is a Cree writer who uses her work to understand and respond to the near destruction of First Nations cultures, languages and traditions. 9781774920459

Jack Knox. Photo Erin Glazier.

K is for Knox
Victoria’s funny man, Jack Knox has released his fourth collection of comedic stories about the absurdities of island living, Fortune Knox Once: More Musings from the Edge (Heritage House $22.95). His first two titles in the series, all based on the humour columns he wrote for the Times Colonist newspaper for more than 25 years, Hard Knox: Musings from the Edge of Canada (Heritage House, 2016) and Opportunity Knox: Twenty Years of Award Losing Humour Writing (Heritage House, 2017) were both longlisted for the prestigious Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. Clearly Knox can write laugh-out-loud stories. Fellow writer, Susan Lundy advises Knox readers to be prepared for sudden “spit-your-coffee-out” snorts of laughter. Knox’s new material covers such topics as: the sexiness of the Canadian accent, the lost art of handwriting, the Rogue Cow of Metchosin, ugly trucks, ugly people, a parody of end-of-school announcements, and a letter to Prince Harry. 9781772034172

Illustrator David Lester

L is for Lester
Under the Banner King of Death (Beacon Press $17.95), by David Lester & Marcus Rediker, features an African American fugitive from bondage, an undercover woman and “outcasts of all nations” in an arresting graphic exploration of the resistance and radical vision of 18th-century pirates. A tale of mutiny, bloody battle and social revolution, this graphic novel explores for the first time the real pirates, an itinerant community of outsiders, behind our legends. The story breaks new ground in our understanding of piracy and pirate culture. It was named one of CBC’s top 20 Canadian comics to check out in the first half of 2023. David Lester is the Vancouver-based illustrator of four previous graphic novels. Marcus Rediker is a professor and the author of The Fearless Benjamin Lay and Villains of All Nations. 97808070239834     

Vesanto Melina (left) with Brenda Davis

M is for Melina
Vesanto Melina, a Vancouver-based registered dietitian, has written numerous books on being vegetarian as well as books on veganism. Her book co-authored with Brenda Davis, Becoming Vegetarian (Macmillan 1994, Book Publishing Company 1995 and 2003, Wiley Canada 2003) has been published in eleven countries and in three languages. Now Melina has joined forces with Brenda Davis and Cory Davis to publish Plant Powered Protein (Healthy Living $29.95) that delves into the politics and fallacies surrounding plant-based protein. They argue that protein derived from plants is not only comparable to protein from animal products but is also often superior. The authors target specific age groups, as well as athletes and pregnant women, and offer recommendations for how to obtain all the vital protein and nutrients their bodies require. Pantry suggestions, cooking tips, and thirty recipes are included. 9781570674105

Sandra Nomoto

N is for Nomoto
While earning her degree in English Literature, Sandra Nomoto published poetry in literary journals and film reviews online. At twenty-five, she founded Conscious Public Relations Inc., and after a decade in business, she authored and self-published The Only Public Relations Guide You’ll Ever Need (2019). Living vegan since 2018, Nomoto is now a content writer, editor and marketing consultant for vegan businesses. She also helps vegan and spiritual authors. She has self-published Vegan Marketing Success Stories (Sandra Nomoto Enterprises, 2022) that focuses on case studies and examples from vegan industry leaders. The book is equal parts inspiration, cautionary tale, and a practical manual. Sandra Nomoto lives in East Vancouver. 9781778052309

O is for Omulo
Businesses are increasingly confronted by Canada’s complicated relationship with Indigenous peoples. Where some see challenges, others see opportunity and Priscilla Omulo of Tsartlip First Nation shows how to take positive action in her guide: Amplifying Indigenous Voices in Business: Indigenization, Reconciliation, And Entrepreneurship (Self-Counsel Press $26.95). Omulo explains how any organization can make plans to improve the way they do business by creating a more sustainable and inclusive place for all. Her steps include doing the right research, consulting the right people, and formulating a productive Indigenization strategy. Omulo has amassed more than a decade of experience advocating for, and working with Indigenous youth and families. She sits on a variety of anti-racism boards and task forces. In 2019, she was awarded the Indigenous Leadership Award by the Women’s Collaborative Hub. 9781770403406

Hazel Jane Plante

P is for Plante
Librarian, musician and cat photographer, Hazel Jane Plante, has released her second novel Any Other City (Arsenal Pulp $22.95), a two-part fictional memoir ostensibly written by the narrator, Tracy St. Cyr, leader of an indie rock band. Referencing the two sides of a vinyl record, the book’s first half, “Side A,” covers the year 1993 when Tracy, a fledgling artist, arrives in a big city to pursue her ideals and falls in with a group of trans women. “Side B” flashes forward to 2019, when Tracy returns to the same city after a long healing period from a traumatic event only now she’s a semi-famous musician. Plante’s debut novel, Little Blue Encyclopedia (Metonymy Press, 2019) received a Lambda Literary Award and was a finalist for both a Publishing Triangle Award and a BC & Yukon Book Prize. 9781551529110

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?” Selfie had a German language premiere in Berlin in January, 2022. Quintana 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

Harold Rhenisch

R is for Rhenisch
Harold Rhenisch continues his love affair with Iceland (and his ongoing investigation of land and place) in his latest collection of poems, Landings: Poems from Iceland (Burton House $20) in which every poem springs from part of that elemental island and bears its name. For example, Urridafossar, which means Trout Falls, is a popular horse trekking destination in the country’s northern area. It is here, while on a writer’s residence trip that Rhenisch composed The Foal – Urridafossar, a paean to the scope of geological time in comparison to the minute span of a man’s life: “where water once carried off the ice / that ground mountains into sand … Am I, / the you I meet, the man who stepped into the sun, // or the mountain who walked back? / Fate plays these tricks with time // when time gets up on its four foal legs / and plays these tricks with fate.” 9780994866967

Amanda Swinimer harvesting kelp.

S is for Swinimer
For over 25 years, Amanda Swinimer has hand harvested seaweed off the west of Vancouver Island, supplying health food stores and discerning food buyers. She also sells her kelp for other uses such as to a local distillery for their Seaside gin. Over the years Swinimer earned the nickname “Mermaid of the Pacific” and is a speaker in schools throughout BC where she educates children about the importance of protecting the oceans. In 2021, Swinimer published The Science and Spirit of Seaweed: Discovering Food, Medicine and Purpose in the Kelp Forests of the Pacific Northwest (Harbour Publishing) for adults. She has followed with The Science and Superpowers of Seaweed: A Guide for Kids (Harbour $24.95) a colourful, activity-packed book (with recipes) that explores the science and harvesting of seaweed while sharing interesting facts about marine plants and animals. It features seaweeds from both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and showcases the vital ecosystems of the coasts. 9781990776199

Tim Crich

T is for Tim Crich
Vancouver-based Tim Crich’s Assistant Engineers Handbook (Black ink Publishing) — required reading in audio schools across North America — was followed up with Recording Tips for Engineers (Focal Press) that has 1000 hints for recording engineers and musicians starting with a crash-course in physics — breaking down wavelength, amplitude and frequency into digestible explanations and illustrations. Advice ranges from eliminating guitar hum to charting frequency clusters. His latest title, Pendulums and Falling Bodies: A collection of technical illustrations – Volume One (Black ink Publishing, 2022), is an exquisite collection of illustrations culled from his previous books on sound recording. On average, each illustration took two weeks to complete. Crich finishes the book on a highlight: the last illustration on page 100, he started on in 1978. 9780969822349

Colin Upton at VanCaf, 2019

U is for Upton
Colin Upton, a veteran of the Vancouver comics and lowbrow art scenes for more than 30 years, will release in May, Post-Modern Mini-Comics (Conundrum Press $10), a palm-sized collection of rare autobiographical work of the artist’s everyday experiences. See him struggle with a new pair of stiff Doc Marten boots, or cross the border on a bus. One thing you won’t read about is celebrity culture, which Upton says misleads people into believing life has no meaning without fame. After dropping out of art school in 1985, Upton went on to create over 300 mini-comics and digests. He has also created indie comics Big Thing, Buddha on the Road and Incubus; won awards for cartoon illustrations; and appeared in numerous comics anthologies. 9781772620849

Délani Valin

V is for Valin
In her debut collection of poems, Shapeshifters (Nightwood $19.95), Délani Valin embodies different personas to deal with her urban Métis experience and neurodivergence. It was fellow poet Marilyn Bowering who suggested to Valin that she “play with different personas as a way to access difficult experiences” says Valin in her acknowledgements. Valin’s choice of personas is intriguing: Barbie, Betty Crocker, Michelin Man and Starbucks among others. She even shapeshifts to conditions like autism and depression. Other poems are more straightforward confessionals. Valin’s publisher says this book “maps ways in which an individual can attempt to fit into a world that is inhospitable to them, and makes a case for shifting the shape of that world.” 9780889714281

Calvin Wharton

W is for Wharton
Former chair of Creative Writing at Douglas College, Calvin Wharton has published his second collection of poetry, This Here Paradise (Anvil $18), which is balm for a troubled world facing a number of existential crises. There is a recognition that “paradise” has both highs and lows but Wharton ends on a high note. According to publicity the tension in these poems resolves through the book’s five sections “as Wharton opens a suitcase of birds and watches them soar over a landscape alive with radiant, open waters.” Wharton’s first book of poems was The Song Collides (Anvil, 2011), described as a “metaphysical investigation” of the natural world. He has also published two poetry chapbooks, Visualized Chemistry from Tsunami Editions and The Invention of Birds from Alfred Gustav. He also released a collection of short fiction, Three Songs by Hank Williams (Turnstone, 2002) and co-edited East of Main: An Anthology of Poems from East Vancouver (Pulp Press, 1989) with Tom Wayman. 9781772141931

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

Robin Yeatman. Photo by Vivian Doan.

Y is for Yeatman
Victoria is an unhappily married woman who buries her melancholy in books and daydreaming in Robin Yeatman’s debut novel, Bookworm (Harper Perennial $21), a darkly humorous story of obsession and deeply- rooted fantasy life. One day, in Victoria’s favorite café, she notices a handsome man with the same book she is reading. She daydreams that this stranger must be her soul mate. Then, remembering she is married, Victoria’s mind retreats to darker places and ways of getting rid of “dreaded husband” for “café man.” It’s harmless fantasy until one night, fiction and reality blur. Will Victoria get what she’s wished for? Vancouver-based Robin Yeatman describes herself as a bookworm who learned to read at the age of three. She composed her first novel at the age of twelve and kept up the writing habit. She took early drafts of Bookworm to the Iowa Summer Writing Festival before finishing it in her spare time. The novel will be released on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2023. 9780063273009

Karina Zhou

Z is for Zhou
Karina Zhou’s debut picture book, Kai’s Tea Eggs (Arsenal Pulp $21.95), due out April, 2023, is a celebration of Chinese culture and food. Growing up in Surrey, Zhou struggled with accepting her Chinese heritage. “I never knew how to navigate feeling ‘different’ from everyone else,” she says. “I felt embarrassed whenever I brought my Chinese food to school.” In Zhou’s story for ages 3 to 7, a girl named Kai is nervous about taking her mother’s special dishes to school for Multicultural Day and runs off on her own. She meets Ming the dragon who takes her on a special journey exploring Chinese culture – including all the delicious food. Ming teaches Kai about her family roots and shows how she is unique. At last, Kai appreciates who she is and embraces her heritage. Karina Zhou is currently studying animation at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. 9781551529097


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