James Heneghan 1930 – 2021

“One of Canada’s foremost authors of historical and realistic fiction for young readers, James Heneghan (left) has died. He won the Sheila Egoff Award for children’s literature three times.” FULL STORY

Who’s Who

A is for Abdou
When Angie Abdou challenged her daughter, Katie to accompany her hiking a peak a week over the summer holidays one year, Angie learned some valuable lessons – most importantly that she loves hiking but Katie doesn’t. Abdou writes about the experiences in This One Wild Life: A Mother-Daughter Wilderness Memoir (ECW $21.95) due out this April. 9781770416000

Barbara Black. Photo by Erin Clayton

B is for Black
Barbara Black’s genre-bending debut short story collection Music from a Strange Planet (Caitlin $22.95) deals with identity and emotional attachment, and its characters are often at their most vulnerable. An awkward child envisions herself as a beetle; an unemployed business analyst prefers water-walking over “rebranding” himself; and a biogenetically-altered couple in a squatters’ district visit an attic to observe a large cocoon. Ranging from subversive to comic, and humane to outlandish, Black’s fiction contemplates a strange world. 9781773860589

C is for Chafe
Burnaby’s Aidan Chafe follows up his first collection of poetry Short Histories of Light (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016) with Gospel Drunk (University of Alberta Press $19.99), one person’s journey to find clarity and identity as he contemplates his Catholic upbringing and struggles with loneliness and alcohol addiction. Chafe’s work has appeared in journals and literary magazines in Canada, United States, England and Australia. 978-1-77212-546-7

Danny Ramadan

D is for Danny
Vancouver author, activist and former Syrian refugee, Danny Ramadan has published his first children’s book, Salma the Syrian Chef (Annick Press $21.95) with illustrations by Anna Bron. Newcomer to Canada, Salma decides that a homemade Syrian meal might cheer up her mama, but she doesn’t know the recipe, or what to call the vegetables in English, or where to find the right spices. With help from friends and her new community, Salma shows her mama that even though things aren’t perfect, there is cause for hope and celebration. The book represents Syrian culture and speaks to the power of cultivating community in challenging circumstances. 978-17732137501

E is for Edugyan
As the author of The Second Life of Samuel Tyne, Half-Blood Blues and Washington Black, two-time Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning novelist Esi Edugyan of Victoria has been curating a blog post for articles by Black women writers who include Afua Hirsch, El Jones, Namwali Serpell, Roxane Gay and Nikole Hannah-Jones. For information on twenty-five black authors of British Columbia, visit abcbookworld.

F is for Fox
One of B.C.’s senior potters, Mary Fox has written: My Life as a Potter: Stories and Techniques (Harbour $44.95), part memoir, part coming-of-age story and part handbook for ceramicists. Having reached the peak of her craft, Fox’s work has been shown in galleries across Canada and internationally. In this book, Fox shares her plans to leave behind a legacy of support and mentorship for young artists in the form of an artist-in-residence program. 978-1550179385

Leslie Gentile

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 over her neglectful mother. 978-1-77086-615-7

H is for Henman
After getting hit head-on by a serial drunk driver as she was driving home to Nelson in 2013, performer, singer, actor and director Pat Henman went through years of recovery and her daughter, Maia was left permanently disabled. Henman manages to tell her story of the catastrophic event, including the years of medical and legal battles they endured, in life-affirming and humorous ways in her first book, Beyond the Legal Limit (Caitlin $24.95). Photo by Jacey Kendall. 978-1-77386-049-7

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

K is for Kogila Moodley
Kogila Moodley has written Race, Culture, and Politics in Education: A Global Journey From South Africa (TCP, Columbia University Press $34.95). She has co-authored six previous book on politics and antiracism with her husband Heribert Adam. Moodley is professor emerita of UBC and the first holder of the David Lam Chair in Multicultural Education at UBC. 9780807764886

Barbara Lambert

L is for Lambert
At the start of WW2, a young German Canadian girl, Eva, living in the Okanagan, gets a new friend when Wanda, a child refugee from the London blitz moves to her town. But Eva fears Wanda will abandon her when she learns Eva’s family has been branded as German enemy aliens. Barbara Lambert’s new novella, Wanda (Fish Gotta Swim $20) covers this time period when B.C.’s interior towns teemed with prejudices. The story focuses on young Eva as she grapples with the realities of guilt, innocence, shame and love for her family. 978-0-9780054-7-

Marion McKinnon Crook. Photo Duke Morse

M is for McKinnon Crook
In 1962, newly minted public health nurse Marion McKinnon was just 22 years old when she arrived in Williams Lake. Loaded with immunization supplies, baby scales and emergency drugs, she got into her government-issued Chevy and headed out into her 9,300-square-kilometre territory. She encountered freezing temperatures with only a candle, antifreeze, chains and chocolate bars as emergency equipment. Under her full name, Marion McKinnon Crook, she tells her story of providing health care to rural communities in Always Pack a Candle: A Nurse in the Cariboo-Chilcotin (Heritage $22.95). 9781772033625

Meichi Ng

N is for Ng
Meichi Ng is the creator of Barely Functional Adult: It’ll All Make Sense, a comic she started in 2015 that attracts 130,000 followers on Instagram. Ng has now released a collection of short stories of the same name, in the graphic novel Barely Functional Adult: It’ll All Make Sense (Harper Collins $35) about exes, murder, friendship, therapy, anxiety, Hufflepuff, sucking at things, freaking out about things, calming down momentarily, melodrama, wrinkles, pettiness and other topics. 9780062945594

Susan Olding. Photo Helene Cyr

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

Marcus Paladino

P is for Paladino
Photographer Marcus Paladino struggles to explain in words why he specializes in taking pictures of surfers on Vancouver Island’s west coast. “There are constantly unique images, angles or moments that burn away in my mind and the only way to be rid of them is to try to bring them to life,” he says in Cold Comfort: Surf Photography from Canada’s West Coast (RMB $45), due out in May. This inspiration drives his work, which has also appeared in publications around the world, making him one of Canada’s most desired water photographers. He writes in his new book but it’s his images that take center stage. 9781771603997

Christine Quintana

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

R is for Ritchie
Author and illustrator, Scot Ritchie’s new kidlit picture book Lilliana and the Frogs (Harbour $22.95) is about a young frog-lover who decides to capture chorus frogs for her bedroom but encounters a few challenges. Based on Ritchie’s memories of exploring Camosun Bog as a child, his new title inspires young readers to explore nature but leave it outside. 9781550179347

S is for Scott
Victoria-based Marianne Scott has written The Distilleries of Vancouver Island: A Guided Tour of West Coast Craft and Artisan Spirits (TouchWood $25), the first book to showcase the 21 craft and artisan distilleries that have sprung up on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands in recent years, an area described as “one of the most fascinating — and largely undiscovered — distilling regions of the world” by Jim Murray, author of the international bestseller Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible. 9781771513326

Michael Tregebov

T is for Tregebov
Michael Tregebov’s Winnipeg-based novels continue with The Renter (New Star $18), the story of a young Jewish man in the late 1960s who is hoping to marry up. During an era when it was both common and even socially acceptable to deal in soft drugs, Bret Yeatman, our Duddy-Kravitz-of-Manitoba protagonist, is seeking romance and social redemption for his family at Winnipeg Beach, formerly the “cottage country” preserve of the province’s WASP elite. The target for both his ambitions and affections is the delectable Sandra Sugarman — but our man-on-the-make will have to renounce his easy, promiscuous life in the drug trade. Tregebov earned his MFA in Creative Writing from UBC also studied at SFU before moving to Spain in 1982, where he works as a translator. 9781554201631

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.

 

Naomi Wakan

W is for Wakan
“My early poems, written in my late twenties and thirties,” says Naomi Beth Wakan in Wind on the Heath (Shanti Arts $18.95 U.S.), “seem very strange and distant to me now at eighty-nine.” Now aged ninety, the long-time Gabriola resident and former Poet Laureate of Nanaimo has produced a retrospective collection augmented by new poems written between 2018 and 2020. It’s her 60th book. 1-978-1-951651-55-8

X is for Xwalacktun
Xwalacktun (born Rick Harry) was born and raised in Squamish. His mother is originally from Squamish and Alert Bay (Coast Salish, Kwakiutl) while his father was Coast Salish (Squamish). Xwalacktun was given his indigenous name by his father, Pekultn, who was a hereditary chief, originally from the Seymour Creek area of North Vancouver. He increased his skills and education as an artist at Emily Carr College of Art and Capilano College but feels he also learned a lot through trial and error. The North Vancouver Arts Council contracted Xwa-lack-tun [alternate spelling] to do a print of a historic site for the new Millennium. In 2001 he was invited to Scotland to promote the country’s totem pole project and he returned in 2002, 2003 and 2005 to travel Scotland and demonstrate carving techniques. Xwa-lack-tun worked on designs for the 2010 Vancouver/Whistler Winter Olympic Bid. He has also created and carved the yellow cedar, double doors for BC Hydro’s main buildings in Vancouver and Burnaby. Harrison Hot Springs Resort also commissioned him to create its set of doors placed at the entrance of its spa. He has created a 41.5-foot, red cedar pole for a gallery in New Hampshire, USA. Perhaps most auspiciously, in 2014-2015, he was commissioned by the Audain Museum in Whistler to create the waterjet cut, aluminum house post for its main entranceway entitled He-yay meymuy (Big Flood). No, he doesn’t have a book yet. It’s only a matter of time.

Y if for Yu
UBC history professor, Henry Yu, who is also the Principal of St. John’s College at UBC has compiled the coffee table book Journeys of Hope: Challenging Discrimination & Building on Vancouver Chinatown’s Legacies (UBC Initiative for Student Teaching and Research in Chinese Canadian Studies $50). The book tells the story of Vancouver’s early Chinese immigrants and their fight for justice against the City of Vancouver, which historically supported, and legislated for, white supremacy. Yu also outlines steps for reconciliation. 9780993659317

Robert Ziegler

Z is for Ziegler
Robert Ziegler’s second novel The Telling Method (Self-published $24.95) explores a relationship between two writers, both with mental health conditions, and tells how they manage to heal themselves through their story telling. Ziegler has worked as a therapist in the Prince George region for thirty years. 981777362003

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