And thanks to the BC Book Prizes Tour for sponsoring me and Alan Woo as we gadded about hugging trees and visiting schools and meeting booksellers and having fantastic local food and singing “Dream a Little Dream of Me” at the Flying Canoe’s open mic in Courtenay.
Here’s our tour blog if you want to catch up.
And speaking of laughing oysters, why not enjoy “Taking My Oyster for Walkies“?
Alan Woo, the author of Maggie’s Chopsticks, and I are pairing up for the Vancouver Island leg of the BC Book Prizes Book Tour. Pretty amazing the Book Prizes put this on. All told, they sure cover a lot of ground: Peace Country, Northern BC, and the Interior as well as the Island.
We start our week in Nanaimo next Monday and follow up with Port Alberni, Parksville, Campbell River, Courtenay, and Ladysmith. We’ll visit schools in all of these places, and bookstores and libraries here:
Monday April 29, 6 pm Nanaimo Harbourfront Library
Wednesday May 1, 7 pm Coho Books, Campbell River
Thursday May 2, 6.30 pm Courtenay Public Library
Friday May 3, 2.30 pm Mulberry Bush Books, Ladysmith
And tonight’s the BC Book Prize soirée at Joe’s Apartment on Granville, 6-8.30 pm. I am checking the budget to see if I can stock up on the shortlisted titles to read while on the Vancouver Island leg of the 2013 Book Prizes Tour.
I had a CanLit score at Black Sheep Books on Saltspring week before last. Not only did I snag “the fourth book of poems by a brilliant young Canadian poet”
but I found a 1967 Laurentian Library edition of Hetty Dorval and a New Canadian Library edition of The Double Hook, which my parents had a copy of and I started once but never finished.
They were all sitting on the desk at the checkout and I was paying for them when Cindy came in and saw the Hetty Dorval on top. “You’re getting an Ethel Wilson?” she said.
“Yeah, isn’t it great?” said I, admiring the perfect 1967ness of the paperback.
“You’re nominated for the Ethel Wilson Prize!”
And how did I like Hetty Dorval? I liked Hetty Dorval a lot. It’s one of those nicely shaped, deceptively simple slender volumes whose impact far exceeds its volume. I loved its evocation of the landscape of Lytton, BC.
“Every town that stands at a confluence of rivers has something over and above other towns. This is true whether the town is little or big. Lytton was so small that relatively it was a village. But relative to the surrounding solitudes it was a town. Roads converged there. The railroad passed through it, trains stopped there, it was fed by this system, and it fed the surrounding solitudes for a long radius, especially northwards into the hills.
But what gives Lytton its especial character, lying there at the fringe of the sage-brush carpet in a fold of the hills at the edge of the dry belt and the coast area, is that just beside the town the clear turbulent Thompson River joins the vaster opaque Fraser. The Fraser River, which begins as a sparkling stream in the far northern mountains, describes a huge curve in northern British Columbia, and, increased in volume by innumerable rills and streams and by large and important tributary rivers, grows in size and reputation and changes its character and colour on its journey south.
At the point where the Thompson, flowing rapidly westwards from Kamloops, pours itself in the the Fraser, flowing widely and sullenly southwards from the Lillooet country, is the Bridge. The Bridge springs with a single strong gesture across the confluence of the rivers and feeds the roads and trails that lead into the northern hills which are covered with sage, and are dotted here and there with extravagantly noble pine trees. The way to my own home lay across the Bridge.”
Great news. Gay Dwarves of America has been shortlisted for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize of the BC Book Awards!