Alan Twigg’s tribute to Rudolf Vrba

Rudolf Vrba, who escaped Auschwitz and co-authored a report saving 200,000 lives, remains unrecognized in Vancouver despite his significant historical impact. Alan Twigg (l.) seeks to change this.” FULL STORY



A BCBOOKLOOK visual forum for and about writers and their books.

March 18th, 2014

B O O K L O O K   D O C U M E N T A R I E S

BOOKS & WATER: The Story of Harbour Publishing

Back in 1990, publisher Howard White was interviewed for this 28-minute production made by Simon Fraser University called Books & Water: The Story of Harbour Publishing. Introduced by Rowland Lorimer, who co-created the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing, this footage produced and directed by Paul McIsaac has been unavailable to the public almost since it was made. White has since become the owner-publisher of both Harbour Publishing as well as the revitalized Douglas & McIntyre imprint, making him the most influential trade publisher in Western Canada. And he’s done it all while living in the community of Madeira Park on the Sunshine Coast. Hence BCBookLook has acquired and remounted the seldom-seen documentary for public viewing.

DIANNE WHELAN: Rethinking Everest

In the aftermath of 13 Sherpas dying on Mt. Everest, filmmaker Dianne Whelan discusses her new film and book, Base Camp: 40 Days on Everest (Caitlin 2014) in an exclusive BCBookLook interview. Supported by the Canada Book Fund and creativeBC.

GLYNIS WHITING: Wake Up and Smell the Murder

This six-minute video introduces a rising star in the murder mystery genre, Glynis Whiting, formerly a documentary filmmaker. She discusses the origins of her first “Nosey Parker” mystery, A Nose for Death (Thistledown Press), in which her detective, Joan Parker, solves a murder at a high school reunion by using her superior sense of smell. Supported by the Canada Book Fund and creativeBC.


Groundbreaking novelist, short story writer, spoken word performer and gender pioneer Ivan E. Coyote discusses her career with Alan Twigg. Supported by the Canada Book Fund and creativeBC.


IVAN E. COYOTE: Part Three


Gabrielle Prendergast has created a maverick heroine who is a prototype of herself in high school for two, connected young adult novels, Audacious (Orca) and Capricious (Orca), about an outsider named Ella who discovers boys can be more civilized than girls. Supported by the Canada Book Fund and creativeBC.

BUD OSBORN: The Poet as Hero

Downtown Eastside activist Bud Osborn was one of the originators, along with MP Libby Davies, Susan C. Boyd and Donald MacPherson, of North America’s first free injection site near Hastings and Main in Vancouver. Osborn was also a superb poet and author of six books. With an original soundtrack by Bud Osborn, David Lester and Wendy Atkinson, Remembering Bud (2014) includes footage from memorial events that occurred soon after his death at age 66 in 2014. Supported by the Canada Book Fund and creativeBC.

GEORGE WOODCOCK: Anarchist of Cherry Street

George Woodcock was the author and editor of more than over 125 books and countless essays, reviews and magazine articles, TV documentary narrations, and critical studies of literature and Canadian history. As Canada’s most prolific man of letters he was especially noted for his studies of European anarchism. As long-time supporters and friends of the Dalai Lama, he and his wife Ingeborg created and supported Tibetan refugees, particularly in India, and co-founded two charitable organizations still in existence, TRAS and CIVA. A Professor Emeritus, English Department, University of British Columbia, George Woodcock was self-educated and celebrated the lives of other autodidacts like his friends George Orwell and Canadian poet Al Purdy. True to his anarchist beliefs that made him wary of the State, he refused to accept an Order of Canada, but he accepted being honoured as a Freeman of the City of Vancouver in 1995, as shown in this half-hour documentary. Supported by the Canada Book Fund and creativeBC.

JIM SPILSBURY: Spilsbury’s Coast

Spilsbury’s Coast is a half-hour biographical portrait of one of British Columbia’s most remarkable citizens, Jim Spilsbury. Raised in a tent on Savary Island, Spilsbury became a radio pioneer, the founder of an airline, a photographer and painter, and eventually a successful author. Supported by the Canada Book Fund and creativeBC.

JEANNETTE ARMSTRONG: Okanagan Knowledge Keeper

Jeannette Armstrong is the great-granddaughter of First Nations novelist Mourning Dove and acknowledges Pauline Johnson and George Ryga as literary influences. Armstrong oversaw the creation of the En’owkin International School of Writing for Native Students in association with First Nations-owned Theytus Books in Penticton. Fluent in the Okanagan language, she received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from University of UBC, Okanagan, in 2006. Her best-known novel is Slash (1985). This half-hour documentary includes a visit to the En’owkin Centre. Supported by the Canada Book Fund and creativeBC.

ERIC NICOL: Look Back in Humour

Eric Nicol won Canada’s Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour three times. He started writing at UBC’s student newspaper under the pen name Jabez. Feeding the family via a regular job, he wrote more than 6,000 columns for The Province newspaper. He was also a playwright, and became the first living Canadian writer to be included in The Oxford Book of Humorous Prose and the first recipient of the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for B.C. writers. Supported by the Canada Book Fund and creativeBC.

PETER TROWER: The Men There Were Then

Peter Trower, the province’s best-known “logger poet,” received the eighth George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for an Outstanding Literary Career in British Columbia. In 2005 he was awarded the Canadian Authors Association Jack Chalmers Poetry Award for Haunted Hills and Hanging Valleys: Selected Poems 1969–2004. This half-hour portrait includes logging footage from Between the Sky and the Splinters. Supported by the Canada Book Fund and creativeBC.


Thomson Highway’s theatrical exploration of the controversial issue of land claims, Ernestine Shuswap Gets Her Trout, was inspired by the visit of Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier to Kamloops, British Columbia, in 1910. He’d been invited by the Chiefs of the Okanagan, Thompson and Shuswap Tribes to hear their grievances at a banquet in his honour. Through the words and actions of four Shuswap women who prepare the feast, Tomson Highway reveals how life was changing for the First Nations in the Thompson River valley a century ago. This documentary shows the celebrated playwright of Rez Sisters and Drylips Oughta Move To Kapuskasing in the process of creation. Supported by the Canada Book Fund and creativeBC.

CHUCK DAVIS: A Final Appearance

Chuck Davis was easily the most knowledgeable person about Vancouver. As a congenial radio host, quizmaster, newspaper columnist and author, he continuously popularized B.C. history. Most notably, he compiled and edited The Vancouver Book in 1976, followed by an 882-page omnibus called The Greater Vancouver Book in 1997. The latter was co-produced with John Cochlin. In October of 2010, Davis was diagnosed with terminal cancer but was determined to complete his most ambitious project, the exhaustive, year-by-year omnibus to be published as The History of Metropolitan Vancouver. “I don’t think there’s anyone more passionate about the city,” said former Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan. On October 14, 2010, at the Fletcher Challenge Theatre at Simon Fraser University’s Harbour Centre campus, Chuck Davis received the 17th annual George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for an outstanding literary career in British Columbia from Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. This video documents his final public appearance. Supported by the Canada Book Fund and creativeBC.

CAROL M. CRAM: Reinventing Female Art History

Carol M. Cram
talks about the origins of her debut novel, The Towers of Tuscany (2014), set in the Tuscan town of San Gimignano. It imagines the difficult life of a fictional female painter in the 14th century. “On visits to Tuscany’s lovely city of towers,’ she says, “I was captivated by its medieval towers and commanding views over the iconic Tuscan landscape. About fifteen of these towers remain, but in its heyday in the fourteenth century, over 70 towers pierced the blue Tuscan sky.” Supported by the Canada Book Fund and creativeBC.


This short film features speeches by winners Ashley Little, David Stouck, Jordan Abel, Julie Morstad, Kit Pearson and publisher Howard White at the 2014 BC Book Prizes Gala, hosted by Charles Demers, on May 4, 2014 in Vancouver. Supported by the Canada Book Fund and creativeBC.

MECCA NORMAL: Death by Self-Immolation

Authors Jean Smith and David Lester have performed original music together around the world since 1984 as the revered musical duo called Mecca Normal. Here they are interviewed about the death of the American anti-war activist Malachi Ritscher for the War & Peace Report, part of Democracy Now from New York. Ritscher burned himself to death in Chicago to protest the U.S. military invasion of Iraq. Smith and Lester perform two songs, before and after the interview. Supported by the Canada Book Fund and creativeBC.

ALAN TWIGG: What it means to be a British Columbian (click here)

Keven Drews of The Canadian Press interviewed Alan Twigg outside the Hastings Mill Store in Vancouver in February of 2015 after the publisher/writer of B.C. BookWorld, BCBookLook and ABCBookWorld was named to the Order of Canada. Supported by the Canada Book Fund and creativeBC.


A short film of the 2015 BC Book Prizes, Saturday, April 25, 2015 at the Pinnacle Vancouver Harbourfront Hotel. Host: Bill Richarson. Filmed by David Lester (BC BookWorld). The BC Book Prizes, established in 1985, celebrate the achievements of British Columbia writers and publishers. The Prizes are administered and awarded by West Coast Book Prize Society, a non-profit society who represent all facets of the publishing and writing community.

2015 RODERICK HAIG-BROWN Regional Prize

Alan Twigg presenting the 2015 Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize to The Sea Among Us: The Amazing Strait of Georgia (Harbour Publishing) by Richard Beamish, Gordon McFarlane (editors). The 2015 BC Book Prizes took place on Saturday, April 25, 2015 at the Pinnacle Vancouver Harbourfront Hotel. Filmed by David Lester (BC BookWorld).

2015 George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award

Acceptence speech of Wayson Choy, upon receiving the 2015 George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award at the Vancouver Public Library. Introduction by Professor Emeritus Jean Barman. Video by Elwin Xie.

BC BookWorld’s 30th Anniversary

BC BookWorld’s 30th anniversary featured on CTV NEWS AT SIX (Vancouver) on December 1, 2016 (2 minutes, 26 seconds). With BCBW publisher Alan Twigg and CTV reporter Mike McCardell.

wordmark-col Thanks to Canada Book Fund for helping us to research, create, record, acquire, transfer, edit and broadcast several of these documentaries (Ivan Coyote, Bud Osborn, Glynis Whiting, Dianne Whelan, Gabrielle Prendergast, Chuck Davis, George Woodcock, Eric Nicol, Jeannette Armstrong, Peter Trower, Thomson Highway, Jim Spilsbury) in 2014. The primary director/editor for BCBookLook film and video projects was Tom Shandel of Getaway Films. The primary cameraman was Ken Hewlett. The primary interviewer’producer was Alan Twigg.

B O O K  T R A I L E R S:

Abel, Jordan
The Place of Scraps
 (Talonbooks, 2013)

Angus, Julie
Olive Odyssey: Searching for the Secrets of the Fruit That Seduced the World 
(Greystone, 2014)

Austen, Catherine
All Good Children
 (Orca Book Publishers, 2012)

Farnsworth, Vanessa 
Vanessa Farnsworth’s Rain on a Distant Roof: A Personal Journey Through Lyme Disease in Canada (Signature Editions, 2014)

Gunn, Genni
Solitaria: a novel (Signature Editions, 2010)
Alternate Visions (an opera)

Milner, Donna
Somewhere In-Between 
(Caitlin Press, 2013)

Stewart, Elizabeth
Blue Gold  
(Annick Press, 2014)

A U T H O R S:

Sonkina, Marina:
Marina Sonkina’s collection of short stories “Expulsion” (Geurnica Editions, 2015).

Sellars, Chief Bev
Chief Bev Sellars Truth and Reconciliation Commission Expression

St. Pierre, Paul
Paul St. Pierre interviewed for THEN & NOW by Lynne McNamara in 1988.a



  1. […] He was also a playwright, and became the first living Canadian writer to be included in The Oxford Book of Humorous Prose and the first recipient of the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for B.C.  […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • About Us

    BC BookLook is an independent website dedicated to continuously promoting the literary culture of British Columbia.