Nancy Richler (1957-2018)

Nancy Richler from Montreal was one of the first writers to depict Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and the plight of missing women when she published the first of her three novels, Throwaway Angels. FULL STORY

Who’s Who

A is for Antifa
Widespread media coverage of the neo-Nazis in North Carolina last summer shocked many people. Some anti-fascist protestors (also referred to as antifa movements) fought the rascist neo-Nazis back and risked their lives to do so. Nevertheless, Neo-Nazis took inspiration from support received from the American president. For his part, Indigenous writer, artist and activist Gord Hill created a graphic non-fiction book, The Antifa Comic Book (Arsenal Pulp $19.95) documenting the clash of fascism and antifa movements over the past 100 years. Hill is also the author of The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book (Arsenal ) and The Anti-Capitalist Resistance Comic Book (Arsenal). He has been published in numerous periodicals including Briarpatch, Canadian Dimension, Redwire, Red Rising Magazine, Seattle Weekly and Broken Pencil. Gord Hill lives in New Hazelton. 978-1-55152-733-8

Ken Burton

B is for Burton
A retired RCMP officer, Ken Burton wrote Canada’s Arctic: A Guide to Adventure through the Northwest Passage (Pacific Marine $49.95). Starting from Unalaska in Alaska and carrying on through the Northwest Passage to Greenland, Burton explores the highlights, histories and people along the way. During his more than 30 years as a policeman, Burton held a variety of roles including as captain on RCMP coastal patrol vessels. As captain of the RCMP vessel St. Roch II, he visited many places and historic settlements in the Canadian Arctic. In retirement, he became a veteran boater, Arctic guide, photographer and lecturer. He returns often to the Northwest Passage aboard cruise ships and other vessels. In 2000, Burton captained a non-ice-reinforced vessel on a continuous circumnavigation of the North American continent in one season. He has also served as executive director of the Vancouver Maritime Museum for several years.  978-0-919317-58-1

C is for Correy
Acclaimed endurance cyclist and Rocky Mountain Books author Ryan Correy died of cancer on April 28, 2018 at his home. As an indefatigable promoter of cycling and outdoor adventure, he founded Bikepack Canada and recently revised his 2015 RMB memoir A Purpose Ridden, to include his marriage and updates on his extensive career as a long-distance competitor throughout the Americas. Due this summer, his posthumous Bikepacking in the Canadian Rockies (RMB $25) will share his passion for some of his favourite backcountry cycling trails. It outlines ten ambitious, multi-day routes complete with directional cues, detailed maps a “Bikepacking 101” section for newbies. 9781771602372

A.J. Devlin

D is for Devlin
In his debut mystery, Cobra Clutch (NeWest $18.95),  A.J. Devlin introduces his fictional character “Hammerhead” Jed Ounstead who is adjusting to life after the pro-wrestling world. Hammerhead is now a bar bouncer and errand boy for his father’s detective agency. The book uses humor and gritty realism and includes a former tag-team partner, a kidnapped pet snake, sleazy promoters, and violence inside and outside the ring. “As the venom of Vancouver’s criminal underworld begins to seep into Jed’s life, a steel chair to the back of the head is the least of his problems.” Devlin grew up in Greater Vancouver before moving to Southern California for six years where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Screenwriting from Chapman University and a Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting from The American Film Institute.  Devlin lives in Port Moody.  Photo by Gina Spanos. 978-1-988732-24-4

Jackie Kai Ellis

E is for Ellis
Last year Heather Ross, who runs a décor boutique on Fir Street in Vancouver, published The Natural Eclectic: a Design Aesthetic Inspired by Nature. Now, her next-door-neighbour entrepreneur, Jackie Kai Ellis, owner of Beaucoup Bakery, has published The Measure of My Powers: A Memoir of Food, Misery, and Paris (Random House $24.95). In the style of Eat, Pray, Love, Ellis’s memoir details how her life spiralled when she suffered with crippling depression. Despite having a handsome husband, a successful career and a beautiful home, she left it all behind to travel to France, Italy and the Congo Republic. After attending pastry school in Paris and eating perfect apricots in the Tuscan hills of Italy, she returned to start her own critically acclaimed bakery, Beaucoup. Her marriage didn’t survive her evolution.  9780147530394

Her Excellency presents the Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division) to Merna Margaret Forster.

F is for Forster
When she was mainly known as an astronaut, Julie Payette wrote the foreword to Merna Forster’s second book, 100 More Canadian Heroines: Famous and Forgotten Faces. Forster later launched a campaign to include images of notable Canadian women on our banknotes with a petition and website where Canadians could suggest worthy candidates. That led to rights activist Viola Desmond being chosen to appear on the ten-dollar bill. This year, as Governor General of Canada, Julie Payette presented a Meritorious Service Medal (M.S.M) to Forster in Victoria. In 2016, Forster also received the 2016 Governor General’s History Award for Popular Media, known as the Pierre Berton Award.

Lorna Goodison

G is for Goodison
The director of the Windham-Campbell Prizes has made the call of a lifetime to eight entirely surprised writers, informing them that they will each be recognized with a $165,000 USD prize to support their writing–and Lorna Goodison is one of those writers. The awards, worth more than $1 million annually, are conferred each September at an international literary festival at Yale, where the Prizes are based. These literary awards were established in 2013 with a gift from the late Donald Windham in memory of his partner of 40 years, Sandy M. Campbell. Recently Lorna Goodison of Halfmoon Bay was installed in her new position as Poet Laureate of Jamaica for a three-year term during a ceremony at King’s House in St. Andrew, Jamaica on May 17, 2017. According to the National Library of Jamaica, Goodison was selected by a secret ballot vote conducted by the Poet Laureate Committee. Lorna Goodison is the author of two collections of short stories, eight books of poetry, and the award-winning memoir From Harvey River: A Memoir of My Mother and Her People. Her 2011 story collection is By Love Possessed. She has previously received much international recognition, including the Musgrave Gold Medal. Born in Jamaica, Goodison has taught at the University of Toronto and the University of Michigan. She divides her time between Ann Arbor, Toronto, and Halfmoon Bay, B.C. where she resides with her husband Ted Chamberlin.

H is for Hoogland
Cornelia Hoogland’s long poem sequence Trailer Park Elegy (Harbour $18.95), recalling summers at Deep Bay with her brother, has been shortlisted for the League of Canadian Poets’ 2018 Raymond Souster Award. Responding to her brother’s sudden death, Cornelia Hoogland explores “the shift in gravity his dramatic absence creates” while incorporating her child-experiences of death, literary references, chaos theory, dark matter, geological time and the effect of noise pollution on whales. “I kept talking with my brother,” she says. “Writing enabled me to hear what he had to say to me.” The winner will be announced in Toronto on Saturday, June 16, 2018, at the League’s awards ceremony.

I is for Ireland
Ann Ireland attended UBC and lived in Vancouver when she wrote her first novel, A Certain Mr. Takahashi (Seal, 1985), winner of the Seal First Novel Award and a finalist for the 1986 Books In Canada/W.H. Smith First Novel Award. It’s about the life-long enchantment two sisters feel about a Japanese pianist who they both became infatuated with while growing up in Toronto. It was reprinted in 2003 (Dundurn) after it became the source for a feature film, The Pianist, directed by Claude Gagnon. Described by her publisher as grimly relevant, Ann Ireland’s fifth novel, Where’s Bob? (Biblioasis $19.95) follows a middle-aged Canadian woman on her vacation to Mexico where she hopes to rebuild her relationship with her mother. We are also introduced to a Mexican politician and his TV-personality wife who are openly condemning Mexico’s notorious drug cartels. The title refers to a seemingly congenial guy from Detroit named Bob who always has access to pot. Somehow the possibly nefarious Bob knows all the angles in Mexican society. Pretty soon Lydia and her mother have to worry about more than putting on their sunscreen. Ireland is the past president of PEN Canada and lives in Toronto where she teaches creative writing at Ryerson University and is a contributing editor for Numero Cinq online magazine. 978-1-77196-227-8

J is for Joseph
A former associate professor at Royal Roads University, Bob Joseph described the draconian and oppressive effects of the Indian Act since its creation in 1876 with 21 Things You May Not Know About The Indian Act: Helping Canadians Make Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples a Reality (Indigenous Relations Press $19.95)—outlining such prohibitions as entry into pool halls or soliciting funds for Indians to hire legal counsel. He is founder of Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. and a member of the Gwawaenuk Nation. Also known as, Gwawa_enux_w, the Gwawaenuk Tribe is a First Nations band government of the Kwakwaka’wakw people located in the Queen Charlotte Strait region of the Central Coast region of British Columbia, Canada. The Gwawaenuk Tribe is described as an off-grid, water access-only community. Its main communiuty is known as Hopetown, located at on the south coast of Watson Island in Grapler Sound.  978-0-9952665-2-0

Tima Kurdi

K is for Kurdi
Describing herself as a “nobody hairdresser” in Coquitlam, Tima Kurdi, the aunt of two-year-old Alan Kurdi—whose death on the tideline in Turkey in 2015 awakened the world to the plight of Syrian refugees—has produced The Boy on the Beach: My Family’s Escape from Syria and Our Hope for a New Home (Simon & Schuster $32). She and her brother Abdullah, Alan’s father, now promote awareness of refugees with the Kurdi Foundation. “When you saw the photograph of that little boy, my dear nephew Alan, dead on a faraway shore, you became a part of our family,” she writes. “You shared our horror, our heartache, our shock, and our outrage. You wanted to save him, but you knew it was too late. In your grief, you reached out, and by doing, you grabbed hold of my hand and pulled me to you. You joined my family’s chorus of grief. You helped save me from drowning.” The family memoir is due in mid-April. 978-1-5011-7523-7

Fiona Tinwei Lam

L is for Lam
Fiona Tinwei Lam co-edited, with Jane Silcott, Love Me True: Writers Reflect on the Ins, Outs, Ups & Downs of Marriage (Caitlin $24.95), a collection of short stories and poems about the institution of marriage. It includes a story from Andreas Schroeder about him and life partner Sharon Brown, two people from the freewheeling 1960s who get married in 2007 after having lived together for more than 30 years and raising two children. He writes that while it is now fashionable to dump on the sixties, people forget how “anthropoidal” the fifties were. To make his point, he quotes “The Good Wife’s Guide,” published in Housekeeping Monthly in 1955, advising wives how to greet their husbands when they return from work: “Let him talk first – remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours. Don’t complain if he’s late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Arrange his pillow, or offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice. Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him. A good wife always knows her place.” After this quote, Schroeder pointedly comments, “I rest my case.”

Carol Matthews

M is for Matthews
Describing the final stage of her marriage in Minerva’s Owl: The Bereavement Phase of My Marriage (Oolichan $17.95), Carol Matthews cites both the philosopher Hegel and author C. S. Lewis. The title comes from Hegel who observed that the owl of Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom, only spreads its wings with the coming of dusk. That is, understanding comes late in life. And C.S. Lewis opined that “Bereavement is not the truncation of married love but one of its regular phases – like the honeymoon.” Finding the latter hard to digest at first, Matthews explores in her latest book how she eventually came to see bereavement of her long term relationship with her late husband as part of an ongoing relationship. It is the fourth memoir for Matthews. Her writings also include a collection of short stories. One of her magazine stories, “The Boat, as it Happened” won Prism International’s 2017 Jacob Zilber Prize for Short Fiction. Born in Vancouver, Carol Matthews has worked as a hospital social worker, as executive director of Nanaimo Family Life and as an instructor and dean at Malaspina University-College, where she has continued as an honorary research associate. As of 2010, she was retired as Dean of Instruction, Human Services Programs and Community Education at Vancouver Island University. 978-0-88982-325-9

Emily Nilsen

N is for Nilsen
For her debut collection of poems, Otolith (Goose Lane $19.95), Emily Nilsen of Nelson has been longlisted for both the League of Canadian Poets Gerald Lampert and Pat Lowther Memorial Awards. According to publicity materials, “Otolith — the ear stone — is a series of bones that govern our sense of gravity, balance, and direction to help us orient ourselves.” Her book examines the ache of nostalgia in the world’s passage of time with poems “full of life and decay; they carry the odours of salmon rivers and forests of fir; salal growing in the fog-bound mountain slopes.” Born and raised in Vancouver, Nilsen was a finalist for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2015 for a chapbook entitled Place, No Manual, after having been longlisted for the prize on three separate occasions. Her work has also been longlisted for the UK National Poetry Prize. 978-0-864929-62-4

O is Oghma
After a severe accident caused agnosia—the inability to recognize and identify objects or persons—Emisch Oghma of Victoria began studying and modernizing the ancient Chinese face reading system called siang mien. By being more observant and interested in people’s faces, Emisch was able to reduce the effects of agnosia, giving rise to his book, In Your Face (Agio $19.95), designed to show how anyone can quickly “read” their own face, their friends, family or co-workers. 978-1-927755-54-9

P is for People’s Co-op
People’s Co-op Bookstore on Commercial Drive in Vancouver has a new lease on life. Started in 1945, the bookstore has been located at 1391 Commercial Drive since 1983 and offers books on a myriad of subjects. At a special general meeting in January, co-op members approved a plan to develop a new foundation for the future. The stock of new, recently released titles has been expanded, while donations of used books will continue to be gratefully accepted and sold at the store. The ever-popular toonie shelves in front of the store continue to offer great deals to browsers. “As far as we know,” says Co-op board member Rolf Maurer, “the Co-op is the oldest bookstore in the country, not just Vancouver. We are unaware of any other store, apart from some university bookstores, that have continually stayed in business for this long.”

Q is for Quebec
It was Gordon Campbell’s regime that instructed ICBC to become more litigious when British Columbians try to get compensation as accident victims. Possibly it says something about his popularity, after a decade-long premiership that included the Winter Olympics, that the first critical book to examine his legacy isn’t B.C.-published. I have one director who has bailed, mostly cuz she lives out of town. But that is easily remedied when a first meeting is held. There is zero urgency at present. From the McGill-Queen’s imprint in Quebec, UNBC professors J.R. Lacharite and Tracy Summerville have gathered 368 pages of critical essays for The Campbell Revolution? Power, Politics and Policy in British Columbia (MQUP $31.46). 9780773551039

On Arbutus Island in 2014, Wayne Campbell locates a Black Oystercatch nest with two eggs. Ronald D. Jakimchuk photo.

R is for Rhinoceros Auklet
We now know that seabirds account for less than 6% of the 316 species of birds in B.C. but there are more than 5.6 million seabirds from sixteen species that nest in 542 colonies in B.C. Five species account for 97% of breeding seabirds in B.C. They are the Fork-tailed storm-petrel, Leach’s storm-petrel, Ancient Murrelet, Cassin’s Auklet and Rhinoceros Auklet. About 22% of all breeding B.C. seabirds are found on Triangle Island. Six seabird species nest in old growth forests; the most threatened of which is the Marbled Murrelet. The info is all lovingly and extensively provided in Seabird Colonies of British Columbia: A Century of Changes (Biodiversity Centre for Wildlife Studies 2018) by a trio of authors with 127 years of combined seabird experience: Michael S. Rodway, R. Wayne Campbell and Moira J.F. Lemon. $40 Cdn.

S is for Sicherman
According to her publisher’s website: Claire Sicherman grew up reading Anne Frank and watching Schindler’s List with almost no knowledge of the Holocaust’s impact on her specific family. Though most of her ancestors were murdered in the Holocaust, Sicherman’s grandparents didn’t talk about their trauma and her mother grew up in Communist Czechoslovakia completely unaware she was even Jewish. Now a mother herself, Sicherman uses vignettes, epistolary style, and other unconventional forms to explore the intergenerational transmission of trauma, about the fact that genes can be altered and carry memories, which are then passed down–a genetic imprinting, in her first book, Imprint: A Memoir of Trauma in the Third Generation (Caitlin $22.95). Claire Sicherman is a graduate of the creative non-fiction program at The Humber School for Writers. Her work has appeared in the anthology Sustenance: Writers from B.C. and Beyond on the Subject of Food, and on She lives with her husband and son on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. 978-1-987915-57-0 / Ramona Lam photo.

Mallory Tater

T is for Tater
In her first collection of poems, This Will Be Good (BookThug $18), Mallory Tater writes about her feminism and struggles with an eating disorder. She also critically observes the suburbs of the Lower Mainland and nearby American lands, from Delta to Point Roberts, painting disturbing images of modern suburban life. She describes the latter as “a bruised thumb of American soil” and people in the former, “where Baptist women get regular perms, where palm trees rest in traffic islands, and a Walmart will soon sprout from the earth.” It is not only her own bulimia she notices. At a house moving party she writes of: “each room peopled with vodka-drenched carpet, vodka-shaped us, frantic to touch each other, not knowing who else doesn’t know how much their stomachs can hold,” knowing that she, “puked my mother’s cooking before, homemade broth and barley.” Mallory’s poetry and short stories have been published in literary magazines across Canada including Room, CV2, The Malahat Review, The Fiddlehead, The Maynard, The New Quarterly, Qwerty, Carousel, Prism International and Arc Magazine. She was shortlisted for Arc Magazine‘s 2015 Poem of The Year Contest, The Malahat Review‘s 2016 Far Horizon’s Contest and Room Magazine‘s 2016 Fiction and Poetry Prizes. She was the recipient of CV2’s 2016 Young Buck Poetry Prize. Tater is a writer from the traditional, unceded territories of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg Nation (Ottawa). She lives in Vancouver and is the publisher of Rahila’s Ghost Press, a poetry chapbook press. Tater also works as a sessional poetry instructor at The University of Victoria. 978-1-77166-394-6

U is for Uphill
Previously a mayor of Fernie, Thomas Uphill was B.C.’s longest serving MLA from 1920-1960. His political career began during British Columbia’s Prohibition. Uphill opposed Prohibition on the grounds it restricted the average worker’s right to enjoy a well-deserved beer at the end of his working day. Uphill famously stood up in the Legislature and brandished a bottle of beer, declaring, “Beer is as necessary to the worker as milk to the baby… Hands off the workers’ beer!” Wayne Norton, author of Fernie at War: 1914-1919 (Caitlin $24.95), has been campaigning to get a plaque for Uphill installed at the Legislature in Victoria. At Norton’s book launch, at Swan’s Brewpub in Victoria, patrons will be able to enjoy a new beer named Thomas Uphill Amber Ale. The event commences at 7 pm at 506 Pandora Street on Tursday, October 26. 978-1-987915-49-5

V is for Valgardson
Having been made a member of the Royal Society of Canada in 2002, W.D. Valgardson received the Joan Inga Eyolfson Cadham Award in 2017 to recognize individuals who have been outstanding in the promotion of Icelandic culture and heritage by way of literature, arts, or media. William Dempsey Valgardson, a former UVic mentor of the late W.P. Kinsella, is now following his short story collection, What the Bear Said: Skald Tales from New Iceland (Turnstone 2011) with a gothic crime novel, In Valhalla’s Shadows (D&M 2018). l 978-1-77162-196-0

W is for Wasserman
No, we haven’t read it yet, but our favourite title of the year is Teaching in the Age of Disinformation: Don’t Confuse Me With the Data, My Mind is Made Up! (Rowman & Littlefield $69 / $39) by the unstoppable Selma Wasserman, born in 1929. Don’t tell the Russians, but in an era of alternate truths and outright lies, she provides teachers with research-tested methods for developing students’ abilities to decipher what the heck is for real on the Internet, social media, television and the press. We assume the title Bullshit Detection was considered and dropped. Wassermann is Professor Emerita in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University but she has also published four series of books for children. HC 978-1-4758-4097-1; PB 1-4758-4098-8

long-time writer on climate change science and activism, Elizabeth Woodworth has co-authored with Dr. Peter D. Carter, Unprecedented Crime: Climate Science Denial and Game Changers for Survival (Clarity $27.95). Not only does the book review and update the alarming environmental damage done by global warming, it lays out a case for criminalizing climate science denial. A foreword, written by NASA’s former chief climate scientist, states that Woodworth and her co-author have made an overwhelming case for the criminality of climate science denial. The doomsday clock, previously used to predict nuclear warfare threats to mankind, but which has now been redesigned to include the human-caused catastrophe posed by climate change, was set at its lowest point since 1953. The cause: “…the rise of ‘strident nationalism’ worldwide… and the disbelief in the scientific consensus over climate change by the Trump administration.” Unprecedented Crime shows how criminal prosecutions could be used to repress and deter climate-changing conduct. 978-0-9986947-3-3

X is for Xwi7xwa
With more than 15,000 items, Xwi7xwa (pronounced whei-wha) is a UBC library that was started in the 1970s for exclusively indigenous materials as part of the Indian Education Resource Centre. The name is also the Squamish work for echo. The collection later came under the care of the Native Indian Teacher Education Program (NITEP). A new head librarian will will be hired in February.

Onjana Yawnghwe

Y is for Yawnghwe
Xerography is a literary journal co-founded and co-edited by Onjana Yawnghwe, also co-founder of a ‘micro press’ for hand-made publications called fish magic press. Yawnghwe was born in Chiang Mai, Thailand, but is a part of the Shan people from Burma. She grew up in Vancouver, earned an MA in English literature, and received the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Emerging Literary Artist in 2012. Her first poetry collection, Fragments, Desire (Oolichan $17.95) has quickly led to The Small Way (Caitlin $18). Her handmade chapbook, The Imaginary Lives of Buster Keaton (JackPine Press), is a precursor to a book-length biography-in-poems about Buster Keaton, entitled The Book of Buster. Her poems have been featured in numerous anthologies and journals, including The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2011, 4 Poets, CV2, Room, Ricepaper, The New Quarterly, Force Field: 77 Women Poets of British Columbia (Mother Tongue) and Poems from Planet Earth (Leaf Press) edited by Yvonne Blomer and Cynthia Woodman Kerkham. Featuring work by Yawnghwe, Daniela Elza, Peter Morin and Al Rempel, 4 poets (Mother Tongue 2009 $18.95) was the first volume in a proposed series from Mother Tongue to highlight emerging poets. It included poetry drafts, interviews, author photographs, poetics and short biographies as well as translations of select poems into French, Thai, Bulgarian and Tahltan. Desire 978-0-88982-317-4 / Small 978-1-987915-77-8

Mark Zuehlke

Z is for Zuehlke
As the twelfth installment in Mark Zuehlke’s military history series, The Cinderella Campaign: First Canadian Army and the Battles for the Channel Ports (Douglas & McIntyre $37.95) describes First Canadian Army’s urgent and thankless mission of opening the Channel ports to Allied victory in World War II. They thought of themselves as the “Cinderella Army” and international correspondents agreed. This was because First Canadian Army had been relegated to the left flank of the Allied advance toward Germany from the Normany beaches and given the tough and thankless task of opening the Channel ports from Le Havre to Ostend in Belgium. Then suddenly in September 1944, securing these ports became an Allied priority that would allow Field Marshal Montgomery to drive to the Rhine with Operation Market Garden and win the war before Christmas. Over the month of September, the Canadians set about fighting for control of each port–a terrific undertaking fought against brutal German resistance–and scrambling for supplies while under constant military pressure to get those ports open now. For Canada this was the Cinderella Campaign, the battle for the Channel ports. For those who fought it, the sacrifice of comrades dead and wounded would never be forgotten. The Cinderella Campaign: First Canadian Army and the Battles for the Channel Ports ($37.95) is one of five shortlisted titles for the 2018 John W. Dafoe Book Prize, a $10,000 prize in memory of Canadian editor John Wesley Dafoe. 978-1-77162-089-5



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