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T h e Vo i c e o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a Wr i t e r s

Literatures of the West Coast On The Edge with Nicholas Bradley

Off The Page School Program

Off The Page Writer-in-Schools Program for 2009 The Federation of BC Writers once again invites participation in Off The Page. Every year, the Federation arranges for and subsidizes writer presentations to the province’s public schools to inform and inspire students and teachers about the world of writing and Ann Walsh with Barkerville students publishing. If you are a current member of the Fed and have recently published work in books, anthologies, magazines, periodicals or websites you may be eligible. We strive to accommodate every region of BC in the selection process. If your application is accepted, you will organize a reading and discussion at a school of your choice, and you will be paid $200. You will also receive your very own Off The Page webpage with your bio and publishing information posted on the Fed website. This will give you extra exposure and let teachers in your area know that you are available for additional bookings. Applications for the 2009 season will be accepted between October 15 – December 1, 2008. To apply, fill out the web-form application provided at the Federation website, (click on Programs/Off The Page); or contact the Fed office (604.683.2057) to have a hard copy mailed to you.

Lee Edward Fodi visits the Grade 5 students of Donald E McKay School in Richmond The Off The Page writers-in-school program is funded with the support of BC Gaming’s Direct Access Program.



2 A Note From the Executive Director

Literary Writes: 4 Movers and Shakers First Place

3 The Press Room

By Katherine Fawcett

Community 22 Launched! New Titles by Federation Members 31 Regional Reports Member News From Around the Province

Contests & Markets 29 Contests & Markets

7 Issue Tissue Suck Second Place By Michèle Adams

11 Tunnel Vision Third Place

By Shirley Rudolph

14 On the Edge Literatures of the West Coast

Nicholas Bradley in conversation with WordWorks

18 A Writer’s Primer on Kids’ Books by Antonia Banyard

Cover photo courtesy of Erin Ellerbeck





A Note from the Executive Director





Production & Design SHIRLEY RUDOLPH


2008-2009 Board of Directors PRESIDENT—SYLVIA TAYLOR VICE PRESIDENT—position open TREASURER—position open SECRETARY—position open




ince it was founded, Federation staff and board members have focused their vision on implementing projects that support and sustain our working writers. In these times of funding cuts and threats to the Canadian publishing industry, an organization such as ours is needed, if only Fernanda Viveiros to assist and respond to our members on common queries: royalty issues, copyright disputes, payment terms and publishing information. But we do more than this as our long-standing programs and services can attest to and we’ll continue to do more in the year ahead given our own limited resources. In the meantime, there are several new projects underway this fall at Fed headquarters: designing and hosting individual webpages for our members, expanding our popular Off The Page writers-in-schools program to include week-long residencies and rearranging our office to take advantage of recently donated bookcases and much needed office furniture. It was while unpacking our members’ books and skimming through old issues of BC BookWorld and WordWorks (back in its slender photocopied newsletter stage during the early 90s!), that I was reminded that our writers here on the west coast are not only gifted with uniquely intelligent prose; more importantly, they have an ability to survive and even thrive in difficult economic times. Some of today’s most well known and recognized BC authors began their careers toiling away at newspapers while others circumnagivated the rules of traditional publishing by starting up their own little presses and publishing chapbooks and broadsheets. And it’s not so different today. The Federation has members working to get their first article published alongside established writers and national award-winning authors and many more starting up their own literary ventures, reminding us that the Fed is here for everyone who has a passion for writing and publishing, funding cuts be damned. This issue of WordWorks, one of the largest ever at 36 pages, includes an interview with Nicholas Bradley about the new Literatures of the West Coast program launched at the University of Victoria this fall and a “Writer’s Primer” on children’s book publishing by Antonia Banyard. We’ve also included this year’s Literary Writes’ winning short stories by Katherine Fawcett, Michèle Adams and Shirley Rudolph. And since promoting our members’ work is so important we’ve expanded our Launched! section to seven pages to include even more new titles. Happy reading! —Fernanda Viveiros




The Press Room Patrick Lane’s Debut Novel on W riters’ T rust Writers’ Trust Fiction Shortlist

The Great BC Novel Hunt

The first shortlists for this year’s major Canadian literary prizes have been decided by the Writers’ Trust of Canada and the Fed’s own Patrick Lane of North Saanich has made the cut with his debut novel, Red Dog, Red Dog. Publisher McClelland & Stewart describes the book as “An epic novel of unrequited dreams and forestalled lives…set in the mid-1950s, in a small town in the interior of BC in the unnamed Okanagan Valley. Filled with moments of harrowing violence and breathtaking description, of shattering truths and deep humanity, Red Dog, Red Dog is about the legacies of the past and the possibilities of forgiveness and redemption. With this astonishing novel, one of Canada’s best poets propels himself into the forefront of our finest novelists.” Finalists in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, and short fiction were announced on October 1 and the winners will be announced at the annual Writers’ Trust Awards event on November 17, 2008. Total prize money awarded that night to Canadian writers will amount to $155,000, making the event one of the richest awards nights in Canada. Book lovers have the chance to win a set of this year’s nominated titles by visiting

CCBC F inalist Shannon Cowan Finalist Congratulations to Federation member Shannon Cowan whose YA book, Tin Angel (Lobster Press), is a finalist for the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People. Lobster Press describes the book as being a “coming of age story of Ronnie and her transition from innocence to womanhood in the turmoil of late 1960s and early 1970s… Carefully researched and well-written… Rich in imagery and filled with raw emotion… Young readers will easily identify with the themes of family dysfunction, teen relationships, loss, depression, poverty, and guilt verses innocence.” Also nominated: John Wilson’s The Alchemist’s Dream; Shane Peacock’s Eye of the Crow: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His First Case; Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis, and Rise of the Golden Cobra by Henry T. Aubin. The award is administered by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre and comes with a $5,000 purse. The winner will be announced November 6 at a gala event in Toronto. Check out the CCBC website for a listing of all book finalists



Mona Fertig, the publisher of one of BC’s newest literary presses, Mother Tongue Publishing, is inviting BC authors to submit manuscripts for her “Search For the Great BC Novel or Novella.” “This is a terrific opportunity for both emerging and established BC authors to finish their BC based novel or novella and whet the appetite of our thirsty readers in 2010,” said Fertig. “We have three great judges; Jack Hodgins, Karen X Tulchinsky and Kathy Page.” Mother Tongue Publishing, born out of a small literary periodical called (m)Öthêr Tøñgué Presš which expanded to include limited edition chapbooks, will publish the winning entry in Fall 2010. Only in its first year of trade publishing, the literary press has launched two ambitious books this fall: ROCKSALT: An Anthology of Contemporary BC Poetry and The Life and Art of David Marshall. Fertig plans to publish two more trade books next year while continuing to produce limited editions of chapbooks and broadsides from her studio on Salt Spring Island. BC-residing authors are encouraged to submit manuscripts that will inspire and encourage the growth of and appetite for regionally based literary fiction that arises from BC landscape, history, culture, language, vision and people. The winner will receive a publishing contract with Mother Tongue Publishing, $1,000 advance, a regional book tour, coverage in local, regional and national papers, and publication of the winning novel in a beautiful trade paper edition. Read the guidelines below or contact Mona for information:

Guidelines: Open to all writers living in British Columbia. Enter the 1st chapter (maximum 30 pages) of your unpublished literary novel or novella set in British Columbia. The novel must have been completed. Include covering letter, summary (max 8 pages), short bio, name, address, ms title, phone number and email address. Ms must be double-spaced. Include SASE if you do not have email. Entries accepted or submitted for publication elsewhere are ineligible. No submissions accepted by email. No length restrictions. No entries will be returned. Winner and short list finalists will be notified by email (or SASE if provided). They must be able to provide full manuscript upon request. Submissions must be postmarked no later than May 31st, 2009. A short list will be announced Fall 2009. The winning ms will be announced by December 2009. Deadline: May 31, 2009. Entry Fee: $35 Mail entries to: The Great BC Novel/Novella Search, Mother Tongue Publishing, 290 Fulford-Ganges Rd., Salt Spring Island, BC, V8K 2K6.


The winners of the 2008 Literary Writes competition were announced with great fanfare on Sunday, September 28, at Word On The Street in Vancouver. This year’s category was short fiction and judging duties were shared by Fed past president Margaret Thompson and long-time member (and former Literary Writes contest winner!) Pauline Holdstock. Congratulations to first place winner Katherine Fawcett for her story, “Movers and Shakers,” second place winner Michèle Adams for “Issue Tissue Suck,” and third place winner Shirley Rudolph for her story “Tunnel Vision.” Honourable mentions go to Alan Girling with “Four Days to Parksville” and Kathy Page for her short story, ”What Time It Is.” Thank you to everyone who entered this year’s Literary Writes. We’ll be posting information for the 2009 Literary Writes contest in the winter issue of WordWorks.

2008 Literary Writes

Movers and Shakers by Katherine Fawcett

The only way to fail is to give up.” That’s what Ricky Wright says. They call Ricky Wright the MillionaireMaker. People pay big money for Ricky Wright’s You Were Born To Be Rich: Secrets of a Network Marketing Guru weekend seminars. Thousands. I’ve just picked up his 4-CD set for $85 at the Tools for your Empire table. By next February’s Rock the Top convention I’m going to be sitting up there in the padded, not-folding chairs in the front six rows, a red velvet rope separating me and the other Movers and Shakers from Team Players. I’ll sit up there with Ricky Wright and Al and Linda Finch and people will ask me how I did it. How did I become a Mover and Shaker, earning residual income even when I sleep, and still raise four kids from my mobile home? Of course by then I won’t be in a mobile home. I’ll be in a friggin mansion. But it won’t change me on the inside. I won’t even talk about myself. I’ll turn the conversation around and ask them about their Personal Goals and they’ll see that if I can do it they can do it too and they’ll sign up then and there. Success breeds success and my empire will never stop expanding. Just like Ricky Wright’s empire, of which I am a part, but he doesn’t know. Ricky Wright was born in Winnipeg like Kim and Randall, but he had goals. Now he has a home in Florida

and a home in Aspen and a home in L.A. He goes to Winnipeg whenever he wants which isn’t much. He talks about family values more than you’d expect for a single guy without kids. I’m always shocked how normal Ricky Wright is deep down. At last year’s Rock the Top when I had Connor here he came right down to me and said “Cute kid. Real cute. Too bad there isn’t somewhere you can go for that.” How many men who are millionaires with three homes even care how comfortable a woman is when she breastfeeds her baby? There must be 2000 balloons on the balloon arch that you walk under coming into the convention hall. We were each given a canvas bag with a ball cap, a key chain, a cell phone holder that clips onto your belt and a go-mug. At the Fuel for the Journey table they were selling coffee and muffins but the coffee is all gone. It is good to be here, to see Ricky Wright again. He challenges me to push myself, to go outside my comfort zone and hand out those pamphlets. He challenges me to brush off rejection like water off an oily duck, and to move on to the next Prospect, undaunted. It feels good. Even rejection is a rush. It’s like being in Vegas at the slots and every losing spin the machine is taunting you with Next time. Next time. You’re due. You’re getting more and more due.






garages and one who won’t speak. Forty feet of trailer. Eight inches of duct tape above Connor’s highchair covering the hole in the panelling where Randall’s fist went through. Three child support cheques on a good month. One Kim and one Randall on one fold-out that is at least 30 years old. Everyone here at Rock the Top is on the same wavelength. Everyone is well-dressed. We all “get it” and we all believe in ourselves. We all do Daily Personal Development to become more positive and committed. I read two chapters of Chicken Stew for the Network Marketers Soul this morning on the bus. We have all listed our personal and financial goals in our Aim Higher work-books, and that alone has made me aim higher. Some delegates are wearing Shoot for the Stars! pins, because they are achieving their goals. I am wearing a Shoot for the Moon! pin but at least it’s better than the Shoot to Win! pin I wore with last year when I wasn’t as Committed To Success. “Erika Murphy. Red Deer, Alberta. Senior Manager!” The woman on stage shouts into the microphone like she’s announcing the number one star in game seven of the Stanley Cup Final. Everyone cheers as she walks across the stage, in front of Fawcett a very purple curtain with little zippy lights spinning all over it. Ricky Wright greets her at the other side of the stage with a handshake and a certificate. Some people start shouting Er-i-ka! Er-i-ka! They must be Red Deer delegates. Her face is so big on three screens you can see that she missed a little when she put on her lip-liner. Erika Murphy is dressed like a professional. The blouse is what I’d call a little tight but still, nice. It’s her choice to wear something too tight because “I Own My Future” is my motto and apparently it’s Erika Murphy’s too. Even from the third from the back row, you can see how happy she is as Red Deer delegates snap pictures of their upline, now officially a Mover and Shaker, with her upline. “Stella VanderHoof from Mississauga Ontario. Senior Manager!” Stella Vanderhoof pumps a jiggly arm into the air and mouths Ya! Ya! as she hoofs across the stage and gives Ricky Wright a hug. “Jim Arbuthnot. Prince George, BC. Senior Manager!” photo courtesy of Anastasia Chomlack

My cell phone vibrates. “Yeah? What. What? Can’t Kim give you a ride? Again? That piece of shit is always breaking down. Tomorrow night. Yeah. Yeah? Put some frozen veggies on it. What? Well tell Randall it’s none of his goddamn business. No. No, not with some guy you met in the internet. Because I said so, that’s why. Look, I’m right in the middle of something. OK? Bye.” Some people don’t like to see people around them succeed. They are called Dream-Distractors and let me tell you there are plenty of them in my life. Randall, obviously. Even Kim, who was my bridesmaid twice. She knows that I am Committed to Success, but I don’t share my Personal Goals with her anymore. When I visualize prosperity, I hate to say it but Kim is not at my side. I don’t need her on my Katherine coat-tails, and she is not the kind of person to chase a dream of her own, so I’ve come to accept that she is just not going to be part of my journey. And I’m OK with that. While I do my Daily Personal Development she just goes along, working at the drop-in centre, giving Randall his meds, doing her Meals on Wheels once a week in her beater Tercel and looking after my kids in exchange for her and Randall sleeping on the fold-out. Nice life. I will share my bounty with her of course, when I can. Maybe I’ll get her a membership for the gym. Something to help expand her tiny world. Besides, I think she’s interested in learning more about how she can become a Valued Customer without actually Committing To Success. But I’m not pushing it on her yet. Kim says I shouldn’t bother with this. She says I should stay home and count my blessings. Sure. And just how’s that’s going to help me reach my Personal Goals? OK Kim, here goes. Blessings Tally: Four kids. One who’s pregnant. One who’s two. One who lights fires in other people’s

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When I make Senior Manager I will be a class act on stage. No jiggling or button popping. I’ll kiss one of Ricky Wright’s cheeks, then the other, a double-peck, very European, and smile graciously into the camera, because I was Born to be Rich. A crash and thud from the Fuel for the Journey table in the back of the room makes everybody spin around. Somebody screams. A man with no pants on is folded across the Fuel for the Journey table, his bare bum sticking out for all to see, like he’s waiting to be spanked. A group of women near him with sour-milk faces grab their handbags and each other and back away quickly. It’s kind of a droopy bum, not hairy from what I can see. It’s very white, even against the white of the table cloth, which you wouldn’t think. His head is smushed into a basket of stir sticks. Styrofoam cups wobble on the floor beside him and a coffee urn rolls up the aisle. Theoretically, he does have pants on but they are around his ankles, which are kind of dangling, toes touching the ground lightly. He’s not moving. His legs are very skinny and the ligaments behind his knees stick out so far you could twang them. Black socks are pulled high up his calves. Two young guys rush over to him. They are the guys working the video camera, so the video is stuck filming just the purple curtain and the zippy lights. Finally, people exhale and start mumbling to each other: Omygod. What happened? Who is that? Is he dead? He must be drunk. He must be homeless. Was he taking a piss on the table? How did he get in? Is he some kind of perv? Somebody call an ambulance. Do you think they have more muffins in the back? Somebody call the police. Just get him out of here. There’s no way I’m going over there. I stay in my seat. I don’t think he’s dead. Kim would know what to do. I shouldn’t look, I’ll embarrass him. I’ll embarrass the video guys, who seem to have it under control. They must be trained in this kind of thing; they put part of the table cloth over his bum so we don’t have to look at it anymore. “Thank-you Jim Arbuthnot!” says Ricky Wright, bringing everyone’s attention back to the front of the conference room. “And, without further adieu, let’s focus, please focus, on our next Mover and Shaker.” He waves to the woman waiting in the wings across the stage. She leans into the 6

microphone to announce herself. “Helen Trond. Orillia Ontario! Senior Manager! Yay Orillia.” Without the big screens, it’s hard for me to see what’s going on. Helen Trond is an ant from where I sit. The video guys flip the man over and gently sit him up on the table. They have pulled his pants up but not buckled his belt. He’s not dead. Pieces of muffin cling to his sweater and there are a few stir sticks on his forehead. He looks pretty old and kind of crazy. Tufts of grey hair stick up like grass on a drought-hardened field. His face is the colour of dust, his big frowning mouth hangs open and he’s panting like a dog. The video guys lift his arms over their shoulders. They grab each other’s hands under him and carry him, fireman style, towards the door. People move out of the way as they approach. I detect a mushroomy smell. The man slowly opens his eyes and looks around, but doesn’t seem to see anything. A lady holds out a glass of water but she’s not close enough and the man can’t reach for it. I don’t want to watch but I can’t help it. Are they going to prop him on a chair? Lay him down beside the Tools for Your Empire table? Call the Event Organizer or security officer and lodge a complaint? They are about to walk under the balloon arch when a woman about my age but probably older runs into the conference room. “Dad. Oh my God. Dad.” She throws her arms around him and for a moment there is clarity and his face lifts. He looks at this woman and actually seems to stand on his own legs briefly before he collapses into her arms. He is weeping. “I’m so sorry,” she says to the video guys over the man’s shoulder. “Thank-you. Thank-you so much. C’mon now Dad. I’ve got you.” They leave the room, slowly. She strokes his head. He leans on her. Some conference services personnel have replaced the table-cloth and laid out a fresh tray of muffins already. A new coffee urn is there too, hopefully full. Ricky Wright has taken centre stage, and his handsome face shines from three video screens again. Al and Linda Finch are beside him. They are all talking about Overcoming our Fear of Rejection. They are laughing at each others’ jokes and everyone is very inspired. They are not distracted by anything. A Styrofoam cup has rolled to my feet. I pull the go-mug out of my canvas bag. Maybe I’ll buy Kim a new car. Katherine Fawcett is a freelance writer and amateur fiddle player who raises sled dogs and children in Pemberton, BC. She recently captured first prize in the Whistler Untold creative nonfiction contest sponsored by the Vicious Circle/Whistler Writers Festival for a piece called “Sophie’s Cappuccino Bar.” WORDWORKS–FALL 2008


Issue Tissue Suck by Michèle Adams


ave an issue get a tissue suck it up Here in the waiting room life is ugly and short. All around me a bad colour of pumpkin-tan matte on the walls, cheap plastic-upholstered chairs ranged around three sides of the large empty space. Some kind of vinyl tiles in a pattern that looks like dirt, though is probably not called, “Dirt,” cover the floor. Looking at them, at their randomized speckles and blots jolting about, makes you feel a bit dizzy—after a moment you need to look away. Yet I am happy to be here. Well, not happy, just happier than I imagine I would be somewhere else. This is a no-appointment-needed clinic, sometimes pullulating with the troubled and feckless but sometimes, like now, nearly empty. And with no appointment needed, there is at least the illusion of control—I chose to come here now, after studying when this place tended to be empty (early mornings). And if I now choose to leave, no commitment will be broken—I can leave and come again when it suits me better. Whenever it suits me. Or if it doesn’t suit me, not at all. Eighteen chairs with black plastic seats, metal arms—I’ve counted them. Twice. When I’ve reconnoitred here sometimes every single one has been full with more people standing, queuing at the counter. Now only three are occupied, including mine, and the woman at the desk pushes back her long black hair and says the wait will be ten to fifteen minutes. A clock on the wall. A water cooler with paper cups, but I would never drink from it. Out of fifteen empty chairs the most recent arrival has chosen to sit one seat over from me. I am far from the magazines (women’s magazines, people magazines) and also relatively far from the water cooler, the entrance, and the hall of examination rooms. Equidistant from everything, sort of. But perhaps this person, this patient, is seeking comfort in this time of pre-medical waiting by drawing near another human being. Which is okay, of course, understandable. Perhaps I look kinder than the other people, though looks can be deceiving, or maybe it’s just that the other two are talking to each other, forming



a disease-themed social unit all their own. He might be afraid to get close to them, afraid of what they could be discussing. I would be. So I try to radiate human supportiveness as he settles into the chair, hope he won’t actually talk to me. The dark-eyed receptionist calls me and it’s only been seven minutes. Thank you, non-specific waiting room deity. I snatch a lastchance magazine from the corner table, follow her to the small examination room, one of a dozen or so on both sides of this small dark hallway. She points me at the wooden chair behind the (wooden) door, leaves me with some instruction that I don’t understand because of her accent, but I’m not worried about that. Michèle Adams Beyond sitting down and behaving myself quietly there’s not much that I can imagine needing to do in this tiny space between now and the arrival of the doctor. Waiting I page through the (woman’s) magazine, looking at all the alternate vessels that can be used to hold cut flowers. Cut flowers look rather pretty in almost any container—this is the theme of the article. It’s not exactly startling—except perhaps when placed in a severed head, rotting animal carcass, or similar, the prettiness of most cut flowers is one of the more predictable things in life—but all the better. I don’t want to be startled, and am just grateful that I didn’t open to some nastily detailed description of a newly discovered disease. Or suddenly endemic disease.


ave an issue with your tissue that can suck I’m calm. I’m calm. Of course superbugs do exist but there’s no need for me to touch any of the surfaces here. The doctor arrives. His name is Dr. Claus, he says, and he looks pleasantly like Santa Claus—even has a white beard. He smells nicely of sandalwood soap and mouthwash, continued next page



manifests a reassuring bedside manner. Chairside, I guess, in this case. He smiles, revealing a few respectable glints of gold among his teeth, asks what can he help me with and I show him my left arm featuring, about four inches below the shoulder, the issue, the bump, size of a dressmaker pin’s head, that seemed originally to be a spider or mosquito bite or maybe a puncture from a rose thorn. He takes a look as I explain that it’s been mysteriously (but not in a good way) there for months now, sometimes swelling up and sometimes subsiding, never going away, and that it ruptured once but still didn’t resolve. It’s hard and sometimes a bit itchy. Most of all it doesn’t look very nice. Or at all nice, actually. I look at it again and it looks back, tiny but angry looking, with a thin pale rim around its reddish, slightly sunken centre.


hat’s the issue with your tissue? Dr. Claus remains calm, jolly, and matter-of-fact. He explains what’s happened—something, poison from the putative spider’s bite, or an irritant from the supposed thorn, or whatever, got in and the body went to work and encapsulated it, but too well, so firmly that the bad stuff hasn’t been able to get carried off and the hard wall of encapsulation is still there, resisting away. But it’s nothing to worry about, he says—he gives me two little tubes of ointment that will peel it off. I like this phrase, peel it off, which sounds innocuous and tidy, if perhaps slightly painful. Like peeling off a bandaid, I imagine. I also like the littleness of the tubes, small enough for a dolls’ house—their size is probably due to them being free samples, but also seems to suggest that the whole issue itself is tiny. It, the bump, could also be taken care of with an in-office procedure but that might leave a scar, he goes on to say. Which would be a shame. He chuckles in an appropriate Yuletide way. I’m full of gratitude, and am to apply the ointment twice a day for a week. • All good news, and over the next week I apply the ointment enthusiastically. But, though there seems to be some change at first, the bump doesn’t peel off, subside, or do anything else. It remains, obdurate. I persist, also obdurate, a second week, then go back to the clinic, careful to come on Dr. Claus’s time. To be doubly sure I ask the receptionist, a different one but with similar long dark hair, which doctor is on duty— Dr. Claus is the reassuring reply. In the examination room, I wait, sitting again behind the door, reading what turns out to be the same magazine. Flowers can indeed be arranged in anything! This is soothing. A thin, angular, angry-looking woman with flat blonde hair strides in. “I’m Dr. Claus what is the problem.” A robot’s monotone—she glares angrily past


my ear as she speaks. Startled, I stutter. “D-Dr. Claus?” “That’s what I said. What is the problem.” Again she manages the entire second phrase without any interrogative lift. I explain about the bump, reiterating the previous doctor’s diagnosis, remove my jacket to bare my arm and show her the tiny cute ointment tube. She looks, frowns, prods with a gloved finger, and explains what has happened, stating flatly that the other doctor is wrong and the ointment will do nothing. Taking a quick step back from me, she says the bump is something different than what he said it was, that it is inconsequential but ugly and will never go away on its own. If I care about the appearance—she makes an odd face, half a sneer, half a wince—I should make an appointment to have it removed by the clinic surgeon. Though taken aback by this change in the prognosis I agree. Then, into the long cold silence that follows, I find myself faltering out a further, non-medical query. Why? because now I, like the man in the waiting room last time, want the reassurance of some human contact. A life lesson, I guess; people who need people are the luckiest people in the world, or something. I decide to manifest sentience beyond the level of the angry bump on my arm by asking this penetrating question: “There are two Dr. Claus’s in this office, then?” “Yes.” “That’s funny, eh?” “No. How do you mean?” She turns to give me a moment of stony eye contact, not quite a glare. Then she looks away again, begins yanking off her latex gloves with what seem gestures of vigorous disgust.


issue issue yuck I’m flustered—she’s washing her hands hard, really scrubbing. A smell of disinfectant floods the orange room. “Oh, just the coincidence.” “What do you mean?” she raps out, staring down at her hands. “Sort of ... unusual?” “In what way?” “Well, just—you might think they’re ...related?” She inverts her hands so the nails and nail beds are under the gushing faucet. “We are.” “Really? Father and daughter? “Yes.” “Wow. That is unusual!”



“In what way?” So she didn’t know that it was the least bit unusual for a father and daughter to both be doctors, and to both work out of the same clinic, and for the daughter-doctor to not mention that fact even when someone commented on the name “coincidence”—I feel very very confused like I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole without noticing and landed in some alternate reality. Bottles shine on shelves against the tan-pumpkin walls, though none of them say Drink Me. Unflattering fluorescent light beams dully down on both of us, emitting its achy hum into the silence. Alternate Dr. Claus sets something on the counter—a paper towel—and rotates to stare at me again, like she’s about to challenge me to a robot duel or perhaps just push me against one of the pumpkin tan walls and beat me with one of the large glass bottles until I die. “Oh, well, working with your father in the same place… both being doctors… it’s nice… anyway, thanks.” Backing away I fumble the door open behind me. She says something I can’t make out as I escape down the hall. Of course I should have ended that exchange much earlier, but somehow I felt compelled to complete it. Why? And why did I say ‘it’s nice’—it wasn’t a bit nice. What an insane, inane, mentally challenged thing to say. Feel creepy, as a result, all the way home.


ave an issue with your tissue cut it out Back in the waiting room three days later on what they call, infelicitously, surgery day, I resume my chair. For vague superstitious reasons I have apparently decided that this is the sweet spot of the eighteen black plastic seat cushions available; at least, I’ve sat here on each visit and now, sitting down, wonder what I’d have done if someone had been occupying my special chair. Sat elsewhere, I guess, but I sense it would have been another stressful moment. It’s midafternoon this time but on a weekday this is another low occupancy period—six people are waiting, and they may not all be patients. There are two small children, both look to be about four, running up and down the dark hall, enjoying the echo their leaping footsteps produce, and entertaining the receptionists with their cute rambunctiousness. Their mother and grandmother (?probably) chat in some ornate, guttural foreign tongue, maybe Portuguese, seated close to the hall, glancing occasionally at the careening girl and the paler, slightly less vigorous boy. Maybe he is the one with the appointment? But shouldn’t judge by appearances—the patient could also be the mom, or the grannie. The other patient, a pale, severe-looking woman with


tattoos, sighs through her whistling nose each time the kids reach the far end of the hall to gleefully execute their calithumpian turns. Their flipflops, his grey, hers pink, smack the vinyl producing ever-more-satisfying ricochets of sound as their speed increases. One of the receptionists turns to her computer screen and calls my first and last names. Both sound like different words but with the correct starting consonants and right number of syllables, I recognize them. We meet at the hallway entrance, skirt the kids who are now play-fighting with their flipflops as weapons, and proceed down the hall, this time turning to the left but into an otherwise identical examining room. She looks like the receptionist from my first visit, but shows no recognition of me so perhaps she isn’t the same woman. I peer at her but in the dim hallway light can’t be sure. Following her gesture, I once again sit behind the door and wait for it to swing toward me. Knowing that cut flowers look pretty in a range of atypical containers, I’ve brought my own magazine this time but now debate whether to take it out of my bag—will it be worth it, or will it just be awkward putting it away later, making the doctor silently decide that I’m a magazine thief? Bad to create a bad impression on someone with a knife. While I’m debating, the doctor arrives. Dr. Krupnik. He’s elderly, like the first Dr. Claus, but more elfin than Santa-like, with pointy features and kindly-looking lines starring out around his black button eyes. I take off my jacket and show him my left arm. To my surprise, he instructs me to get up on the high examination table/bed thing—for some reason I hadn’t imagined needing to get up here, but of course it would be a better angle for him to get at my arm. Then I’m more surprised, when he tells me to lie down. This I definitely hadn’t expected—if I had, I’d have worn jeans, not this sleeveless black dress. (When I have to interact with doctors I dress more formally as a rule, hoping for a respect factor.) “Really?” I say. “Of course—what did you expect?” “Just—thought I’d be sitting up? But of course this is more stable, right? So, okay then, I’ll just…” I lie myself down on the crackly paper-covered surface (careful to keep my dress smoothed down over my knees), look up at the ceiling, then close my eyes. He injects something freezing into my arm. The injection hurts but after that, there’s no pain, just weird pressure over there, pressure that seems to go on too long. The strangeness of the experience must be messing with my sense of time passing, I think, and make an effort at continued next page



relaxation by unclenching my fists and placing my right arm in a “natural’ position at my side. Good work—but the fists are reclenched by whenever I think of checking, probably just a few seconds later. True relaxation in this venue is not on the cards, I realize.


he issue At some point, he asks if I’m okay—I say yes. Then he asks me if I’m working. The present participle seems odd. I say, well yes, though not at the moment, but he doesn’t seem to get it. He repeats, “You’re working, then?” Keeping my eyes closed I tell him I teach at the university. I’m only a sessional but still. Then, suddenly, I wonder if he thinks I’m a prostitute— the way he emphasizes “working” seems meaningful, a euphemism. And this is a poorer neighbourhood, Eastside. Embarrassed, I expand in an exaggerated way on the pleasures and hassles of my teaching duties, as if I need to convince him that I’m not a sex worker. It doesn’t really work. Saying that I teach “communications” now sounds just as euphemisitic/dirty as “working” does. Funny that it’s probably my formal-ish attire—black linen blazer over black sleeveless dress—that has marked me a harlot. And of course, as always, once air brackets appear in conversation, every word sounds equally filthy. Enjoyment, discipline, give-and-take... I give up, let my comments about the burden of marking trail away. After all, it doesn’t really matter what job I do. In a way, it’s all prostitution. After some drifting time of silence, he says, in his gentle, Jimmy Stewart type voice, “I’ll start sewing you up now.” “Sewing?” My eyes fly open, but I quickly reclose them. “Does it need stitches?” How could it?—it was just the size of a pinhead. What was he doing to my numbed flesh while my eyes stayed closed? “Yes. To close the wound.” He continues to explain what has happened, speaking slowly and clearly. Or maybe “slowly and clearly” as per some set of clinic instructions on handling problem patients. Before they start “acting out” sort of thing. Before you need to call someone to calm them with a nurturing headlock or a lulling taser blast. “I will put in stitches to close the wound.” “How many?” Expecting to hear two, but to my astonishment he says fifteen. “That’s—more than I thought…” “Well, it is cancer,” he says. “What?!” “It could be cancer, but don’t worry, I got all of it, so it’s—cured, basically. If it is. It will be tested, the tissue, the lab will inform you.”


“If it—but I was told it was nothing, nothing to worry about at all.” “Yes, it’s nothing to worry about—if it is cancer, if it was cancer, it’s all gone now.” “Well. That’s good, if it is. Yes.” “So when you come back to get the stitches out—” “Aren’t they dissolving stitches?” “No, we don’t use those. These are much better, they hold better, keep the wound closed without causing infections— so you’ll have to come back in ten days or so, get them out. I’ve put on a dressing, you’ll need to keep it dry, change it in two-three days, buy something like this.” He holds up a box of large bandages, then shows me one still inside its white wrapper, about 3"x6". “Okay. Thank you, doctor.” I make my way back onto the sidewalk, mind reeling, knees weak. How could nothing become cancer? Or had it? * For the first few days the wound remained a mystery under its bandage. But eventually I had to change the bandage. I removed it gingerly, revealing a three centimeter incision, red, raw, and bristly with black sutures. Nasty. I had spent a baffling half hour perusing the monstrously varied collection of bandages that had developed while my back was turned and had spent a surprisingly large amount of money on what seemed the right sort of dressing. It turned out to be barely large enough to cover the cut.


he tissue Eleven days after the last visit I was back at the clinic. To my surprise the special surgery doctor who had made the appointment was now on six weeks of holidays. My timing continued impeccable, my chair was still vacant, the receptionist still pleasantly incomprehensible. The doctor who appeared in the examining room this time was young, thirteen or fourteen, blond, and (perhaps overcompensating for not being able to drive) clipped and authoritative in all his interactions. He didn’t give his name and it seemed best not to ask; he was the doctor, that was enough. This doctor told me that the results of the lab test had come back and there was no cancer—it was apparently just what the first Santa Claus doctor had said. Then he took out the stitches, though indicating that it was rather early to do this. I looked away. It hurt a bit, or maybe felt disgusting a bit, or maybe a bit of both. He said to keep it covered another week or two and I said I would. When I thanked him, afterwards, he said “it’s my job.” continued next page



Tunnel Vision by Shirley Rudolph


continued next page

Shirley Rudolph

to side, her face crooked. In some way I am ruined now, belong here now. Not that it matters.

Issue Tissue Suck, cont’d • After the two weeks were past I uncovered the spot; a prominent red scar remained. • Ten months later it still is highly visible, at least to me, red and shiny, a scarlet letter maybe, but what is it saying? Why does it bother me? I feel like saying bother me so much, but it isn’t really so much. It’s nothing, and yet. And yet. I should have been nicer to that man in the waiting room, perhaps. People are dying and being murdered all over the world, all through this neighbourhood. A car alarm is screaming somewhere out of sight. A man is sitting in a doorway drinking something. A woman with crazy bleach blonde hair is struggling down the street, jolting from side



uck it up.

Michèle Adams is a Vancouver writer whose stories have appeared in The Fiddlehead, Geist, Event, Canadian Fiction and been broadcast on CBC Radio. Her collection of short stories, Bright Objects of Desire, was published by Biblioasis Press in 2006, and her novel manuscript Grim Sausages was shortlisted for the Metcalf Rooke award in 2007. Her screenplay Sex Lives of the Saints is in development as a feature film. Currently she’s working on a new short fiction collection and several film projects.


photo courtesy of David Riehm


ur hero’s morning, as most mornings, begins quite normally. No foreshadowing, no strange signals from the spirit world, no toy trains tumbled together on the floor, no dolls tossed in the trash because their arms or legs or head were torn off. The house is quiet on this particular morning. The children are away with their mother; our hero will be joining them at the seaside next week. He glances at the paper as he sips his coffee, eats his toast. It is full of jubilation that London has won the Olympics. He has mixed feelings about this; it isn’t as though the city isn’t already swarming with tourists. He’d actually prefer that Paris had won. It would make for less bother, really, and all the expenses would go to the French. But any irritation he might feel is small. He goes through the motions of a normal morning, brushing his teeth and shaving, stepping into the shower, but without any of the regular uproar of family. He is enjoying the unaccustomed peace. He locks up and heads off to catch the tube. He has almost forgotten the shiver of excitement he used to get in that long descent, to ride through tunnels carved out far below the city. The novelty has worn off; he thinks it is only another tedious trip underground.


* Something is obviously going to happen to our hero, something bad, most likely. If it really were just another tedious trip to work there’d be no need to tell us about it. We want stories to take us out of our lives, give us a different perspective, maybe some reassurance, maybe a little thrill, while we go about our own routines. They allow us to imagine what we might do, supposing that one day something truly horrid does happen, like getting run over by a truck say, or maybe looking out the window and seeing a plane fly right at us. It’s just a story, you might think. And you might think too, that it’s such a rotten trick when this sort of thing happens for real, cheating people out of so much of their lives, their own unwritten stories, by getting blown up, as if by accident. * Our hero is rattling along in a crush of commuters, glad at least that the Olympics have pushed Iraq into the back pages, given terrorism a rest. He is idly speculating about his holiday next week, when there is a loud noise up ahead and the train stops dead. An explosion? The lights go out, glass breaks, people are thrown about, and there are nasty injuries. It’s very eerie, in a full-of-motion, shrieking, smoky sort of way. Our hero is tossed around like everyone else. He thinks this is it; it’s his day to die. Thinks of his children. Wishes he and his wife got along better; suspects that she might not miss him much. Knows that he’s no hero at all, not to her. But as it happens, he will live through this. He’s still alive, maybe even unhurt. Not untouched though. He wonders about luck, being caught in a disaster, but not injured. How lucky is that? There is a long wait in the packed train; confused time spent either crying or soothing each other, praying or cursing, until eventually someone comes with a light and begins to lead people out. Through the haze our hero hears the sounds of other people in pain and thinks: Why not me? Why was I spared? He feels strangely guilty, so steps out of the queue and stops, supposing perhaps he might help. Not really a hero, but human enough. His mind is storing images that will haunt him, pop up in his dreams. He’s only ever seen someone dead when they’ve been nicely packaged for a funeral, never scattered about a darkened tunnel, certainly not along with the scent of smoke and blood. Once his eyes adjust to the dark, he sees the body of a young woman crumpled in her seat. She is dressed as a nurse, though her uniform is much bloodier than hospital standards might allow. He bends and listens; her breath is shallow and slow, and then it stops. He is suddenly desperate


that she live. He checks her pulse and finding one (Thank the Lord, he thinks) begins mouth-to-mouth. And then thinks: Why thank Him in all this mess? He also thinks her breath might be sweet, if it would only start, and then it does. Hallelujah! She is of course quite pretty. More help arrives, and people scramble out of the train. Our hero lifts his nurse and carries her with him. He’s not thinking particularly clearly. As he walks he remembers you’re not supposed to move someone who is unconscious. Too late. But this day has not followed the pattern of any accidents that were ever discussed in basic first aid; it’s all quite new to him, disaster. * It always seems important in a story, if one is studying it in a classroom somewhere, to try and figure out what’s the theme, what’s the point. But reading about it in the paper the next day, it’s a little harder to figure out some meaning, though we’d certainly all like to find some. Perhaps this story is as simple as our hero was meant to meet this woman right in the middle of this God-forsaken (or God-ordained, depending on your viewpoint) disaster. Is one of the older gods, Fate perhaps, involved in this story? Hard to believe any god could wreak all this destruction for such a trivial reason (assuming man-meets-woman is trivial) but the Greek gods did it all the time. * Moisture drips in our hero’s eye, hard to blink away. He shifts his burden, and lifts a hand to clear his vision. His hand comes away sticky with liquid; it’s his own blood. His guilt settles slightly; he has been injured, is part of this. He staggers out of darkness and someone in uniform pulls him aside. “Set her down here sir. We have emergency services here.” He lays her carefully on the cold floor, pulls off his jacket, and slips it under her head. He rolls her on her side so she won’t choke, then remembers he should have protected her neck. And remembers again he’s already broken that rule by picking her out of the tunnel in the first place. But she’s still breathing, and she stirs. He feels something like hope. He finds a business card, and scribbles on the back. “I got you out of the train. I must know you’re okay. Call me.” He looks about, but no one is paying any attention to them, so he slips the card into her pocket, feeling the warmth of her body. He settles himself beside her, holds her hand, and examines her face, memorizing it. It is extraordinarily important to him that she be saved. And that it is he who saves her. (This is maybe not a very worthy thought for a hero, but we can perhaps allow him this much.)



What God does this? he wonders as he sits with his nurse, watching her breathe, until finally someone attends to her, lifts her onto a stretcher. He follows her out into the daylight, where she is put in an ambulance whilst he is taken to a temporary aid station, his wound cleaned, bandaged.

meant to be. Why else would they have been in that tunnel and spared serious injury? It’s quite a bit of weight to put on love, but really, what normal person muddling along through life wouldn’t think that there was something significant about a bomb going off in their path?

* It’s hard to decide whether these two should ever see each other again; almost unfair to pile any meaning onto such a meeting. This event should quite likely stay as a random scene, part of a bigger tragedy certainly, but not a story at all. It’s just chance that found them on the train together that day, nothing more, right? But no, that won’t do. We need a reason as much as the characters do, and a story tries to provide that, doesn’t it?

* They do marry, and are happy for a while. (Everyone should get a while.) If this were a fairy tale, we could leave it there. But it’s not forever after. Forever implies eternity, immortality, and that’s only for the gods, and our hero no longer believes in God, if he ever did. In rare moments though, such as when he wakes from a recurring dream of the tunnel, he does believe he’s caught in a rather humourless cosmic joke, one that he can’t quite figure out. And though she can’t put her finger on it either, the nurse feels the theory in her hero’s manner and it wears a bit thin; the passion fades. The funny thing is, the marriage looks as good as most marriages do from the outside, maybe a bit better because of the back story. But our nurse is one of those people busy getting on with things. She doesn’t look very closely at her life, is not one to expect much. Doesn’t examine why she no longer wants children, is happy to say they have his. She won’t talk about what dreams she had before the subway bombing, not to herself either, perhaps can’t quite remember them. They’ll grow old together, as if nothing dramatic had ever happened in their lives. Their joints will stiffen and they’ll both have trouble getting on and off the bus (but will prefer it to the underground). Our hero will try to live his life well, as befits a hero. His children will come to visit now and then, but it’ll be an awkward reminder of another life. They won’t know him well, won’t much like his nurse. In the end they’ll probably be found sitting in a pub with old friends, our hero just shooting the breeze, remembering the bombing like an old war story, while his wife gets dewyeyed telling her friends about how they met. That’s the real end to a lot of stories; that last stage when everything might be so easy, if it weren’t so dreadfully difficult, as though you perhaps got on the wrong train and missed something important along the way.

* The nurse, who is regularly heroic in her daily life, will wake up in hospital and be told she has a hero. She will wonder about him; is he handsome? (Heroes usually are.) In a few days she will find his card in her pocket. Some of his blood is on it, a partial print maybe. She will call him, how could she not? He will come, a bandage wrapped around his head, a badge of honour. And yes, he is a decent looking chap, and they will fall in love. * After all, what other kind of story could this be than one about love? One about such extreme hate that people blow up trains full of people they don’t know? We’ve already intimated there’s not enough love left in our hero’s marriage to sustain a story, at least not a happy one, and why shouldn’t we want a happier story? It’s true our hero loves his children, after a fashion anyway, but everyone loves their children, so that’s not enough to carry this through. And it’s not enough to leave us with a random bombing. That’s just disheartening. No, this story needs something more; some kind of romance to add personal drama, to take our minds off all the smoke and bleeding, to give us some hope. And even though having a bomb go off in a tunnel is a bit of an extreme plot device (one that might not work at all, if we didn’t already know that bombs do go off in tunnels) it is true that a good man-meets-woman story always lifts the heart. But reality will still leak in. It’s actually quite possible that our hero’s action will destroy the nurse. Not in any dramatic way like getting blown up in a tunnel. No, it’ll be a quiet, lifelong kind of destruction. He will think he loves her and will leave his first marriage for her (and his ex-wife will snort when she hears the new wife calls him hero). But it will be a theoretical kind of love based on his belief their meeting was


Shirley Rudolph was born in Vancouver, grew up here, went to UBC, raised her kids, studied journalism at Langara, and now writes here. She is on the Fed’s editorial board and looks after the production of WordWorks for the Federation of BC Writers. Years of child-rearing have taught her it’s difficult to finish anything, but you have to try; she’s currently working on a novel and a memoir in poem-form.



On the Edge Literatures of the West Coast Nicholas Bradley in conversation with WordWorks

This year, the University of Victoria is offering a brand new graduate course, Literatures of the West Coast. Nicholas Bradley, Assistant Professor in the Department of English, took some time off the frenzied beginning of the academic year to discuss the course with Margaret Thompson.

photo courtesy of Erin Ellerbeck

Literatures of the West Coast is a brand new course at UVic this year and I imagine you have invested considerable time and energy in its evolution. Why did you feel it was important to offer it? Literatures of the West Coast is actually a new concentration in our existing MA program in English. Students who pursue this concentration complete several courses in the area—this year we are offering four—and write a thesis on a topic related to the West Coast. Nine students started the program this fall and we have a dozen faculty members teaching courses or available to supervise student research in the area. The concentration is intended to examine boundaries—between countries, peoples, environments, languages, and oral and written traditions—rather than to follow the historical and geographical contours that have typically defined “English” as a discipline. The concentration is interdisciplinary and offers students the opportunity to pursue their research interests in one of several directions, including indigenous literatures, transnational writing, or comparative studies of any of the constitutive traditions of the West Coast. The program allows students to focus on the literature of the region in which they live—at least during their time as students here in Victoria—and on aspects of literature that have tended to be overlooked by conventional critical approaches to Canadian and American literature. The plural in the title of your course intrigued me. Why “literatures”? And what are they? We hope that the program will place in dialogue the various literary traditions of the west coast of Canada and the U.S.: Indigenous, British, American, Asian and Canadian. The West Coast is home to dozens of languages and cultures, some of which are overlapping and many of which have come into contact with each other. Even literature in English, which is the focus of our program, can be classified according to various regional, national, and cultural categories. Sometimes these categories are complementary; sometimes they are contradictory. We have used the plural— “literatures”—to reflect the complexity of the regional literary landscape, which is, I think, one of its most fascinating aspects and one of the reasons why those of us teaching in the program are so enthusiastic about it. Would you explain the connections you see between anthropology and these literatures, please? My course, “Literary Anthropology and Anthropological Literature on the Pacific Coast,” examines the oral texts that were entered into the print record by anthropologists in the early twentieth century. European and North American ethnographers and linguists have studied the indigenous cultures of the West Coast intensely and have written about them extensively. But the 14



literary value of the anthropological record isn’t always To compare the Stawamus Chief and Mount Shasta as places recognized, although it contains a wealth of stories and of cultural significance? These are the kinds of questions that songs. So students in the course will approach these texts a cross-border approach raises and that, we hope, will lead to from the perspective of literary critics and scholars, trying to changes in the way that scholars understand the relations understand them as literature, not simply as folklore—I am between literature and place. John Steinbeck wrote about asking students to consider the literary nature and influence Monterey and Malcolm Lowry wrote about Dollarton in of anthropological texts and address the anthropological ways that reveal a similar ambivalence about the modernizadimension of literary texts. They are tackling several tion of the coast. Joan Didion’s L.A. and Douglas overarching topics. First is the matter of genre: what is Coupland’s Vancouver are very different places, to be sure, literary about anthropological writing? When and how do but both authors use their cities’ positions “on the edge” of indigenous oral performances become part of written the continent as a means of expressing their malaise. The literature? How can literary critics account for orality and border, from a literary point of view, is very porous. linguistic difference in their discussions of written texts? Theodore Roethke, a poet from Michigan who lived in How do poets and other writers respond to and draw on Seattle, wrote about a Vancouver Island river (Oyster River) anthropological writing? The in a poem, The Far Field, with a distinctly second major topic is the ethics of American vision. Robin Blaser, an Amerianthropological and post-anthropocan poet who has lived for decades in “The border, from a logical writing. What constitutes Vancouver, has been a great influence for literary point of view, cultural appropriation or appropriawriters on both sides of the border. There’s is very porous.” tion of voice? How do representano shortage of interesting examples of tion and ethics intersect? What are literary border-crossings on the West Coast. the connections between anthropology and colonial history? What rights and responsibilities do Let’s consider this portion of the West Coast for a minute and writers have, and how are these determined and assigned? BC writing in particular. What is distinctive about West Coast The third major focus concerns the relation of the anthropo- literature? Isn’t it just Canadian? Aren’t the themes of indiglogical to Canadian literature. In what sense, if at all, are enous tradition, immigration and migration, colonialism, and these texts “Canadian” or part of a national literature? the land integral to all Canadian literature? So isn’t “West Coast These questions are complicated, but the students are eager literature” an artificial distinction, bringing with it a danger of to take them up—and are developing insightful answers. ghettoization? Some literature from BC, oral and written, exists in We tend to think of “West Coast” proprietarily as the BC coast, languages only spoken here. Even in translation, the indigbut the course description makes it plain that the term is not to enous literatures of the region are tied to place in a distinct be taken as specifically Canadian. To what extent can the and very specific sense, and in many ways are not “Canaliteratures of the western seaboard of North America be regarded dian” at all. Literature in English from BC can be many as a unit? Why is that a useful or illuminating thing to do? things at once: local, Canadian, North American, and so on. The border at the 49th parallel is a relatively recent These categories are not mutually exclusive, but different development in the history of the West Coast and one that categories create different emphases and may help us underdoesn’t recognize, for example, traditional Salish territory, the stand the literature in different ways. A novel written in continuity of the Coast Mountains and the Cascades, or the English by a writer on Vancouver Island will inevitably have experience, shared by residents of northwestern Washington something in common with novels written elsewhere in the and southwestern BC, of living in an area of heavy rainfall. world and with other writing in English—the language and There are, of course, important historical and political the genre are not unique to the place. Jack Hodgins’s novels differences between Canada and the US, as well as tremenowe something, as is often noted, to the fiction of William dous cultural differences between, say, southern California Faulkner and Gabriel García Márquez. At the same time, to and Oregon or between Vancouver and Haida Gwaii. But focus only on what is “Canadian” or “international” about the points of literary connection are extremely interesting Hodgins’s writing would be to overlook what is local about and can shed new light on our understanding of the region. it. The “ragged green edge of the world,” to use a phrase What does it mean to compare Vancouver and San Francisco from The Resurrection of Joseph Bourne, is not quite the same as centres of avant-garde poetry? To compare Steveston and as anywhere else, his books suggest. Angel Island as sites of Japanese North American experience? continued next page WORDWORKS–FALL 2008



looked further west, to Asia, for literary models as a way of escaping convention—think of Gary Snyder or Kenneth Rexroth or Phyllis Webb. And regional publishers and magazines up and down the coast have been instrumental in Margaret Laurence, Al Purdy, and Alice Munro are often supporting West Coast writers. thought of as representative of a certain kind of Can Lit. But At the same time, the West Coast has played an importhe time that Laurence spent in Vancouver, that Purdy spent tant role in national literary conversations in both Canada in Sidney, and that Munro spent in Victoria, and the effects that their experiences here had on their writing, are fascinating and the U.S. Important critics have been based at western universities—such as Yvor Winters at Stanford or George to consider from a regional perspective—even if these writers Woodcock at UBC—and are not as invested in the ostensibly regional writing West Coast, as, say, programs have made Hodgins is. notable contributions to It’s also true that the national literatures. Under “Canadian” themes of Theodore Roethke, the immigration, migration, creative writing program at and colonialism are also the University of Washingimportant aspects of ton was home to Carolyn American literature. One Kizer, David Wagoner, of my colleagues, Chris James Wright, and Richard Douglas, is teaching a Hugo. The departments of course that examines the creative writing at UBC ways in which the Ameriunder Earle Birney and at can West Coast became an UVic under Robin Skelton occasion for writers to were centres for local writers think about migration, Some of the students in Nicholas Bradley’s new but were also internationalrace, culture, nation, and graduate course. ist in outlook, publishing the limits of politics and well-known journals (Prism identity—from Frederick at UBC and the Malahat Jackson Turner’s Frontier Review at UVic). Hypothesis, through Franz Boas’s Jesup Expedition in the Pacific Northwest and Siberia and Robert Park’s work on the Whenever West Coast art of any kind is discussed, people always Pacific Survey, to the politics of Japanese American Internseem to dwell on the sense of place. Those iconic images - forest, ment and Native American Relocation. Chris’s course suggests that the American West Coast has variously signaled mountains, sea, whales, eagles, bears and salmon - are they just setting, or do they have a more seminal role in West Coast the fulfillment of Manifest Destiny, the dangers of the literatures? “yellow peril,” the possibility of imperial adventures further These elements are certainly common in West Coast westward (in places like Hawaii, the Philippines, or Vietwriting, but a sense of place is also created in other ways. nam), the Pacific Rim as the possible limit of American Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles couldn’t be more different power, and the place where political questions have turned from John Muir’s Sierra Nevada, but both are vital parts of into questions of style and of identity. literary California. Julius Shulman’s heroic photography of architecture in Malibu and Hollywood suggests that the west The Tish group articulated their resistance to the influence of the literary establishment in the east. How much does that sort of deter- is in fact a modernist fantasia, not simply wilderness. And there are many examples of vivid writing about experiences of mination to work out its own rules come into play in the west? The Tish poets were certainly not the only western writers immigration and labour in the resource industries that demonstrate that the beauty of the West Coast has not been who have wanted to distinguish themselves from the eastern establishment. In California, the poet Robinson Jeffers was a universally accessible. My colleague Nicole Shukin is teaching a course that uses Marxist, psychoanalytical, and postcolonial notorious recluse who isolated himself from the literary life, theories of fetishism to understand how West Coast forests for instance. Many Canadian and American writers have photo courtesy of Erin Ellerbeck

Literatures, cont’d




have been understood symbolically and economically. Her course examines a range of writers and artists, including Daphne Marlatt, Don McKay, Jin-me Yoon, and Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, and it makes it clear that the idea of a timeless West Coast nature—as in the tourist slogan, “Super, Natural British Columbia”—in fact conceals histories of race, gender, labour, and struggle. But when forests and mountains do appear in writing about the West Coast, they are often far more than “just setting.” Mount Rainier, as it appears in Marianne Moore’s poem “The Octopus,” is a sublime mountain in the romantic tradition, but the mountain has also been understood as the central image in a poem that is primarily about Moore’s own gender and sexuality. As you have noted, Robin Skelton believed that indigenous traditions lie at the heart of the contemporary artistic culture of the West Coast. Can you talk a bit about the place of oral tradition and the vexed question of appropriation of voice? In many ways, Skelton was ahead of his time, writing in the late 1970s that West Coast writing in English, no matter what its accomplishments, represents only a very recent contribution to the extensive literary traditions of the region. For nearly all of its history, literature on the West Coast has been oral, not written, and has existed in the many indigenous languages of the region, not English or Spanish. Skelton’s views have been shared by certain writers on either side of the border, such as Gary Snyder and Robert Bringhurst, and scholars such as Ted Chamberlin have demonstrated that understanding indigenous storytelling traditions is essential to today’s processes of land claims negotiations and reconciliation. As I mentioned, major figures in academic anthropology have written extensively about the cultures and oral traditions of what is now the West Coast of Canada. Contemporary Canadian writers such as Anne Cameron and Susan Musgrave have in turn drawn heavily on the indigenous traditions and texts described in the anthropological literature. These writers have, to varying degrees, been criticized for their use of indigenous cultural material. Skelton himself, although certainly well intentioned, envisioned a system of unrestricted cultural exchange that, today, seems at odds with some understandings of intellectual property. The study of literature, in the broadest sense, involves the study of history, linguistics, ethics, and aesthetics. These are inseparable concerns. The question of respect for different cultures and competing values and traditions is a vital aspect of research and teaching in this new field. We hope that the concentration in Literatures of the West Coast will be especially attractive to indigenous students and that UVic will become a centre for indigenous literary scholars, so that


questions of intellectual property, copyright, and access are examined from a wide variety of perspectives. What writers will you be using in your course? Why will these authors be particularly useful to you as illustration and example? In the course that I’m currently teaching on literature and anthropology, we’re reading books and essays by various anthropologists who travelled to and wrote about the West Coast (including Franz Boas, John Swanton, and Claude Lévi-Strauss), ethnographic documents that they prepared (such as Boas’s Tsimshian Texts), and contemporary writing that draws on the anthropological record, such as Ted Hughes’s Crow poems, Robert Bringhurst’s translations of Haida texts, and Anne Cameron’s Daughters of Copper Woman. Some of the texts have attracted controversy, but I hope to use these works in order to identify, from a literarycritical perspective, the accomplishments and the limitations of the anthropological tradition. I’m also encouraging my students to read as widely as possible. Those of us in the seminar collectively have some knowledge of several of the languages that have been spoken on the West Coast: English, of course, but also Nuu-Chah-Nulth, French, Spanish, Russian, and Japanese. I hope that this range allows us to start to understand the West Coast as a multilingual region with a variety of literary traditions; the complexity of the field demands, I think, a collaborative approach. Other seminars in the Literatures of the West Coast concentration focus on authors including M. Allerdale Grainger, Daphne Marlatt, Timothy Taylor, Emily Carr, John Okada, Maxine Hong Kingston, Frank Chin, N. Scott Momaday, Sherman Alexie, Gloria Anzaldúa, Luis Valdez, Ishmael Reed, Thomas Pynchon, William Gibson, and Philip K. Dick. Our seminars this year are quite different from one another and the range of authors covered is broad—which reflects the scope of West Coast writing, in the past as well as today. What do you hope will be the outcome of offering this course? One of my students explained that she had signed up for the course because, although she has lived her whole life on the coast, she didn’t know anything about its literary history— about the stories and the storytellers that can be said to belong to the place that she calls home. If the students in the courses that we’re offering at UVic learn about and develop an interest in the complex culture of the West Coast, then the program will be successful. One of the basic questions that I use to guide my courses is “What does it mean to be here?” There are no easy answers to the question, but I find it a helpful way of coming to terms with the challenges and rewards of studying the literatures of the West Coast.



A Writer’s Primer on Kids’ Books by Antonia Banyard

I’ve had the opportunity to work for a literary fiction publisher and a children’s book publisher, and have often been amazed at the difference between these two worlds. I have also written in both genres, so have taken in the view from both sides of the desk. What follows are a few things I’ve noticed.


lthough readerships are not as distinctly defined as they once were, kids and adults generally do not read the same books. Children’s books are evaluated using different criteria from those used for adult books, by their own unique set of gatekeepers, for a separate market. The publishing world is also divided into these two categories. The larger companies who publish in both fields often have a distinct imprint, and specialist editors, for their children’s books. And while the cost of making a children’s book is closer to that of an adult book than you might think, the economics of the two worlds differ in important ways. Finally, the writing is the one aspect in which kids’ and adults’ books are most alike. Good writing is simply good writing. Antonia Banyard at her desk at Annick Press in Vancouver. But what do these differences have to do with the author? A lot, in my opinion, though no doubt, my experience has biased me. First, let’s look at what a kid’s book actually is. I’ve always been an avid reader, but when I first started working in children’s book publishing, I discovered whole genres that seemed to lurk in a universe parallel to the one I knew. Writers who think they might want to try their hand at writing for kids will probably think first of picture books. These come in all shapes and sizes, expressing all kinds of attitudes. Many will also be familiar with young adult (YA) books. But what lies between these two poles and what is a YA book anyway? Once children tire of picture books and learn to read, they graduate into middle reader novels. These are sometimes known as chapter books because, as you might suspect, they are divided into chapters. They also lose their colour and become shorter and skinnier than picture books—from say, 9” x 9” to 5” x 7 ½”. Size does matter in kid’s books. Just try to get a teen to read a big, square novel! Middle readers haven’t quite weaned themselves off pictures, however, so you will find black and white illustrations sprinkled throughout, maybe one or two per chapter. The content and length will vary greatly—from fantasy to realism; from 48 pages, all the way up to more than 200—but the protagonist is almost always a couple of years older than the intended audience. And after reading a few yourself, you’ll notice a certain “middle reader” sensibility, distinct problems, appeal, and humour that engage this age group. Some companies publish books for micro-niches between the picture book and middle reader novel. For example, Random House’s Step Into Reading series is divided into five stages, from books with full-colour illustrations and a handful of words per page to those with short chapters. Some children progress step by step, but others will leap-frog over several stages at once.




At a certain point, novels, except for the graphic novel, a million appealing ways. You’ll also find imaginative blends which is a whole separate topic, lose their pictures altogether of narrative and fact such as On Board the Titanic by Shelley and become YA books. YA is an ever-expanding genre. The Tanaka, or The Great Number Rumble by Cora Lee and term “young adult” itself is ambiguous and can refer to a Gillian O’Reilly. And chances are, if you take the time to twelve-year-old or a twenty-one-year-old. I am constantly read them, you’ll learn a lot. surprised at what is labeled a “young adult novel.” You’ll find One YA genre targets kids who either don’t like to read or everything from Harlequin-style stories like the Sweet Valley have trouble reading. These are known as “reluctant readers” High series to verse novels such as Sold by Patricia (the books as well as the readers themselves) or “high-low” McCormick, about child prostitution in India, or The books (high interest, low reading skill). Orca Books has Apprentice’s Masterpiece by Melanie Little, set during the developed several series aimed at teens whose reading skills Spanish Inquisition. You’ll also find dense historical epics fall below their grade level. For the writer, high-low books such as The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to present unique challenges: they must convey a teen sensibilthe Nation by M.T. Anderson, and hard-hitting contempoity with simple vocabulary. The vocabulary and sentence rary novels about issues such as AIDs in Africa (Chanda’s structure may be limited, but the writing must definitely not Secrets by Allan Stratton), terminal talk down to the reader. Fast-paced, cancer (Before I Die by Jenny engaging storytelling is key. Downham), or homosexuality Now that I’ve spent more time “Adult titles can also be (Hello, Groin by Beth Goobie). with children’s books, I’m amazed reinvented into young adult Then there are “crossover” that they are often listed as one novels—books published for kids genre, between say, “Business & novels and given a new but read by adults, or vice versa. Investing” and “Comics & Graphic lease on life.” The act of crossing over may be Novels.” Really, it’s a whole set of simple—an adult novel shelved in genres. For me, becoming more the children’s section of the library, familiar with what was being or sold in a children’s bookstore. Vancouver Kidsbooks has a published—especially new releases—was the first step separate shelf for advanced readers where you’ll find lots of towards thinking about what kind of book I could or books that are “adult” in every way: Londonstani by Gautam couldn’t write. Malkani, A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews, or The I was impressed that the system, the machine, behind the Life of Pi by Yann Martel. children’s book industry is quite different from that behind Adult titles can also be reinvented into young adult the adult literary industry. Schools, libraries and various novels and given a new lease on life. Steven Galloway’s related institutions actively cultivate a reading public for Finnie Walsh, for example, was first published as an adult kid’s books. As a society, we actually care that children read. literary novel in 2000. In 2005 it reappeared with a new Then once we’re adults, what does it matter whether we keep cover and a teacher’s guide (a dead giveaway that this book reading or not? This has never made sense to me. It’s like had become “YA”). Same words, different market. devoting money and time to building a road that leads off a As for children’s non-fiction, I have to confess, I rarely cliff. thought about it until I started working in kids’ book However, these formal institutions are your friends. publishing and writing it myself. As a child, the only nonTeachers and librarians make the world go round for fiction I encountered was in textbooks. As a writer, it never children’s writers and publishers. I’ve worked on the trade occurred to me that I might be able to write non-fiction. My show floor during a couple of American Library Association ignorance may be due to the fact that non-fiction books for (ALA) conferences. I’m always stunned by the genuine kids are overshadowed by fiction. Unless you venture into a passion librarians have for our books. Unlike other trade store dedicated to children’s books (such as Vancouver shows, which can be more about glitz and celebrity, Kidsbooks), you likely won’t find these titles in a bookstore. librarians come into our booth because of the books! They This doesn’t mean that children’s non-fiction isn’t selling, read them cover to cover, often on their own time, then however. A thriving non-fiction scene does exist, mostly recommend them to others. Teachers are the same. Many thanks to schools and libraries. put in extra time to organize author visits or to read and Once you start digging, you’ll find history, science, social discuss books with their students. For the children’s author, science, media studies, you name it, delivered to children in continued next page




read these publications, even if they aren’t looking for reviews. You will often pick up on the general feel of the industry, and the concerns and enthusiasms of those working in it. connections with teachers and librarians are easily as valuable As well, the usual bestseller lists won’t tell you what’s hot as those made with booksellers or organizers of reading series in children’s books. Instead, check the American Library and festivals. Association’s yearly “best of ” lists, such as “Best Books for Because the key players in children’s literature are not Young Adults,” or “Notable Children’s Books.” The Canaalways the same as in adult literature, you’ll have to search dian Children’s Book Centre compiles an “Our Choice” list them out. If you’re looking for reviews of recent children’s every year. Not only will these lists introduce you to what’s books, the Globe and Mail Books section, Quill & Quire, or new and interesting, they also influence people who buy the New York Review of Books are less relevant than School books. Library Journal, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA), The Horn In terms of awards, the BC Book Prizes and GGs are just Book, or Canadian Materials (CM). Booklist also features a the tip of the iceberg for children’s books. Along with the healthy section on “Books for Youth.” I encourage writers to venerable Newbery and Caldecott medals, new awards specific to children’s literature abound. My favourites are the so-called “Tree” awards, such as the Red Cedar, and the Silver Birch. In these provincial awards, readers vote for their favourite books. This means that a nominaCanadian Children’s Book Centre tion alone guarantees sales. That’s the kind of award I like! • Of course, the obvious truth behind these Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, reviews, lists, and awards is that children read Illustrators and Performers (CANSCAIP) books that have first been sold to adults. For • the writer, this means your book, to be truly School Library Journal successful, must appeal to two audiences. It also means that, in order for your book • to be seen by its potential audiences, you Booklist need to spend time where they do, or you • won’t be visible. Librarians might attend Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) conferences and read School Library Journal, • but preteens and teens read blogs and hang out on Facebook or MySpace. The more The Horn Book innovative children’s book publishers and • savvy authors also hang out in these virtual Canadian Review of Materials (CM) places. I’ve heard several people say that for • anyone under thirty, books or authors simply don’t exist unless they can be found JustOneMoreBook (podcast reviews) on the web. • Related to this, some standard forms of Young Adult Library Services Association marketing in the adult book world are no (part of ALA) Booklists and Book Awards longer relevant to children’s book publishing. • The book launch is an example, as is the crossCanada reading tour. Publishers may feel their New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age (2007) limited marketing dollars are better spent on • online marketing initiatives, which have the potential to reach a much wider audience.

A Writer’s Primer on Kids’ Books, cont’d





With the emergence of virtual book tours, this may soon novels are often priced a dollar or two less for paperbacks become the case for adult book publishers as well. than YA novels. Typically, paperback picture books range Happily, children exist in the real world too. This from $3 to $7 each, even though the cost of artwork and leads to another key aspect of being a writer for children: printing are just as high as, if not higher than, those for a school and library visits. In the world of book readings, black and white novel. most writers’ festivals program events for children and The reality is that nobody wants to spend a lot of money adults alike. For children’s books, libraries will arrange on a book for a child. Children grow out of books as fast as author presentations and invite local school groups to they grow out of clothes. This is the market in which attend. Authors can also schedule events in the schools children’s book publishers operate. But the tight profit themselves. The children’s book margins (and I mean tight) don’t author has the advantage of being only affect the publisher. As the perceived as “educational” and writer, your royalty is generally a “The usual bestseller lists therefore necessary. This may open percentage of the retail price of the won’t tell you what’s hot in doors and lead to presentations at book, and for picture books and community events, conferences, etc. other illustrated books, the royalty is children’s books.” Many kids’ book authors are able to most often split between author and make a modest living out of school illustrator, so you might get no more and library presentations. than four or five percent of the list You’ll notice I’ve used the word “presentation” as well as price. “reading.” Children will not sit through a solid hour of you, On the flip side, sales for children’s books can be higher reading from your brilliant novel. Well, if they do, they’ll than those for the average literary book. As well, the average hate you for it and never pick up your book. I was fortunate time spent writing a children’s book is usually less than for to give a series of library presentations in the Fraser Valley as an adult novel. This is just a general rule, of course. Some part of Spirit of BC Week. Actually reading from my book non-fiction, middle reader, or young adult novels take took up about ten minutes of a sixty-minute presentation. several years to write, while some writers can produce an Planning a presentation can take just as much time adult novel in less than a year. (Unfortunately, I’m not one of and effort as writing a chapter in your book. Luckily, you them!) don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You can ask other While it’s impossible to make generalizations about authors what they have done or sit in on a presentation at whether there’s more or less money in children’s books, I feel your local library. As well, CANSCAIP (Canadian Society that authors who know more about the economic realities of of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers) has book publishing are less likely to be unpleasantly surprised. put together a useful brochure on school presentations. Keep in mind that these are my own observations only. (Copies can be ordered through their website.) I personIf you’re interested in writing for children, I hope you’ll ally find the process leading up to presentations nerveseek out a second, a third, or a thirtieth opinion. As well, wracking. I write because I’m NOT a performer. book publishing is a business. In my experience, business is However, I practiced several times in front of my cat (he’s organic—always changing—and everyone has his or her very forgiving) and felt much better for having said the own version of what’s really going on. Which is what words out loud, over and over. Once I started actually makes it so fascinating. Finally, to everyone who decides to giving the presentations, I almost enjoyed myself. And explore the world of children’s literature, it’s an exciting getting paid was thrilling! world, so have fun! Now that I’ve touched on the subject of money, I’d like to jump to the other side of the desk and say a bit about the Antonia Banyard should really listen to her own advice: her economics of children’s books from the publisher’s point of website exists in her imagination only and while she has a view. Things are not always as they seem. The average young Facebook page, she rarely updates it. But she’s learning html and adult novel might sell for two-thirds or half the price of the has big plans She’s worked in book publishing and graphic average literary novel, but chances are the publishing costs design and has undergrad and master’s degrees in creative are about the same, especially for 200- to 300-page YA writing. Her non-fiction book for children, True Stories From novels. The same applies for other genres. Middle reader the Edge: Dangerous Crossings! was published in 2007.




Launched! New Titles by

Federation Members

Once a Murderer

Good Intentions Gone Bad!

Zoë Landale Wolsak and Wynn, April 2008 ISBN 978-1894987-23-3 $17.00

Barbara Shave Raven Press, April 2008 ISBN 978-09737959-3-6 $20.00

A gritty, original collection on a subject rarely addressed: the surprising affinities between crime and poetry. To gather material for a mystery novel, Zoë Landale accompanied RCMP officers on patrol. In Once a Murderer, the novel’s protagonist has stepped out of prose fiction into poetry that is consuming and seductive. A running subversive commentary on love, crime and poetry appears in the margins, giving depth and flesh to the voices.

Good Intentions Gone Bad! is Barbara Shave’s second collection of articles, many of which were previously published in magazines. Noted artist Laila Campbell, whose mother was adopted into the Raven Clan of the Haida, created the stunning cover image. Through Laila’s depiction and Barb’s oftenhumorous perspective on the twists of fate and fancy that ultimately govern all lives, both encourage others to enjoy the game of life even as the Trickster Raven continually changes the rules.

“Zoë Landale’s poems in this book are lifechanging, irrecoverable moments, touching timelessly on the border between contact and catastrophe.” —George McWhirter, Vancouver Poet Laureate, 2006-2008 “Brace yourself. These poems are locked and loaded. Zoë Landale’s instinct for capturing the heightened moment is strong and true. These poems tell a story that shimmers.” —Lorri Neilsen Glenn, Halifax Poet Laureate, 2005-2009 Zoë Landale is a poet, nonfiction writer and fiction writer whose work reflects her longtime love affair with the BC coast. She has won significant awards including the National Magazine Gold for memoir, first prize in the 2003 CBC Literary Competition for poetry and first prize in the Stony Brook University Short Fiction Competition.


“As her writing progresses [in her second book], so does her sense of humour, leading her into mini-adventures that are eclectic, winsome, and sometimes weird … Barb is at her best when she focuses on the eccentricities of both her fellow travelers and herself … Her stories concentrate on the fascination, the humour and the brilliant illuminating adventures that can happen in the most banal places.” —Kelowna Daily Courier A retired teacher turned writer, Barbara Shave is a frequent contributor to Okanagan magazines in which she often writes under a “Gray Matters” header. Visit her website at



Zach & Zoe and the Bank Robber


Yeny and the Children for Peace

Kristin Butcher James Lorimer & Company, May 2008. ISBN 978-1552770-15-3 $8.95

Virginia Danserseau Kalamalka Press, August 2008 ISBN 978-0-9738057-5-8 $10.00

Michelle Mulder Second Story Press, September 2008 ISBN 978-1-897187-45-6 $14.95

Ten-year-old twins, Zach and Zoe Gallagher, live next door to Mr. Dotty, a very nice, albeit eccentric middle-aged man. Mr. Dotty’s main goal in life is to live harmoniously with nature. Consequently, his whole yard is a garden, he owns no car, and he is a devoted recycler. Mr. Dotty is also a big collector, keeping the things he collects in the old garage at the back of his property. Fascinated with all Mr. Dotty’s stuff, the twins visit the garage regularly…until one day they go to visit and the garage is locked! There’s a secret inside. But what is it? Zach and Zoe are determined to find out.

Place dictates this collection of short stories by Virginia Dansereau. Here are stories located in the Saskatchewan haunts of her childhood, the Okanagan where she now lives, the West Coast, and the exotic locales of a New Mexican mesa and a Costa Rican hideaway. Wherever her characters visit or reside, they bring with them underlying struggles which threaten to pull them under. Only something more powerful than themselves can rescue them. In the title story “Undertow,” for instance, Rhea, a young mother who runs away to prevent herself from hurting her baby, finds solace in caring for a Rottweiler runt. And in “The Harrow Man,” Vern, who is ready to bash his head on his bathroom sink over his wife’s alcoholic addiction, is rescued by a mysterious woman he encounters on Kalamalka Beach each morning.

Yeny and her friends decide to fight against the violence in Colombia. Their weapon? A vote for peace! Yeny’s family has escaped from violence in their mountain village in Colombia to live with cousins in the city. Determined to make a change, she and her new friends decide to promote peace by organizing carnivals, parades and parties for kids in their neighbourhoods. Before long, the peace movement has attracted children from across the country, and when children gather together to celebrate peace, who knows what might happen?

Kristin Butcher is a teacher turned writer. Since the publication of her first novel, The Runaways (Kids Can Press, 1997), she has written 12 books for young people from ages 7 through 18—though she’s heard through the grapevine that many adults enjoy her novels too. Four more of her books will be published in 2009 and 2010, and many more are waiting to be written. She is currently working on book two of the Zach & Zoe series. Look for it in May of 2009. In addition to writing books, Kristin is also a reviewer.

Virginia Dansereau lives and writes in Vernon. Her work has appeared in Grain, Fireweed, A Room of One’s Own and Other Voices and her short stories have been shortlisted or have won competitions in Canada and England. Dansereau is a founding member of The Kalamalka New Writers’ Society and served as manager of Kalamalka Press through its first ten years. Undertow is Dansereau’s first book.



On October 25, 1996, millions of children throughout Colombia held a vote for peace that resulted in a full day with no bombs, shootings or kidnappings. The Colombian Children’s Peace Movement has been nominated for every Nobel Peace Prize since the Movement’s inception. Michelle Mulder is the author of Maggie and the Chocolate War, the first book in the Kids’ Power Series. She lives with her husband in Victoria and loves finding inspiring true stories about kids worldwide. Visit her website at


Jewel of the Kootenays: the Emerald Mine

Wild Talent: a Novel of the Supernatural

Larry Jacobsen Gordon Soules Book Publishing Ltd., September 2008 ISBN 978-0-9781640-1-0 $25.00

Eileen Kernaghan Thistledown Press, September 2008 ISBN 978-1-897235-40-9 $15.95

Tucked away near Salmo in the West Kootenays, the Emerald mine operated during three periods, between 1905 and 1973, and for the first time the history of this mine has been compiled in a book. The Emerald was the first mine in Canada to use heavy diesel-powered equipment underground. It was likely the only mine in the country to have a heated Olympic-sized swimming pool (built with volunteer labour). Life in a company town evokes a bleak picture of isolation, deprivation and hardship, but from the scores of personal accounts the reader will learn that this mine was very different. These accounts afford a rare glimpse into mining half a century ago, and into the lives of people in this company town, which many remember fondly. The book is richly illustrated with hundreds of photographs, as well as diagrams, tables and maps, which all help to bring the mine and its people to life. Port Coquitlam author Larry Jacobsen is uniquely qualified to write this book. He worked as a miner for 13 years including a summer at the Emerald Mine.

The year is 1888. Life takes an abrupt turn for sixteen-year-old Scottish farmworker Jeannie Guthrie when she defends herself against the advances of her n’er-do-well cousin George. Convinced that George’s wound may prove fatal, Jeannie flees in panic to London. There, she is befriended by the free-spirited Alexandra David, and introduced to Madame Helena Blavatsky’s famous salon. In that eccentric household Jeannie comes to realize that she possesses a dangerous and unwished for “wild talent.” Drawn reluctantly into the world of the occult, and seemingly haunted by her cousin’s vengeful ghost, Jeannie must learn to control her mysterious power in order to survive. We follow Jeannie and Alexandra as they travel from the late Victorian world of spiritualists and theosophists to the fin de siècle Paris of artists, anarchists and esoteric cults; and finally to the perilous country of the Beyond. Eileen Kernaghan lives in New Westminster. Wild Talent: a Novel of the Supernatural is her eighth historical fantasy novel and her fourth Thistledown Press title for young adults. The Snow Queen won the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Award, the Aurora, for best novel in English, and was shortlisted by the Canadian Library Association for Best Children’s Book of the Year. The Alchemist’s Daughter was shortlisted for the Sheila Egoff Prize for Children’s Literature and the Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice.


Pete’s Gold Luanne Armstrong Ronsdale Press, September 2008 ISBN 978-1-55380-059-0 $10.95 Pete’s Gold, a novel for readers ten and up, is a captivating book of adventure that will appeal in particular to boys. Pete has been sent to stay with his grandmother in the country for the summer because his parents are splitting up. At first, he thinks country life will be boring, but that is before he hears of a hidden stash of gold—gold that may allow his grandmother to keep the farm that is heavily mortgaged. Pete takes off on a top-secret and dangerous adventure where he is chased by a ghost, trapped in a cave with a skeleton, and lost on the far side of the lake, far from help. Through his grandmother and his new friends, Pete begins to discover what really matters to him, and begins to gain a sense of maturity and self-confidence. Luanne Armstrong is a novelist, freelance writer, editor and publisher. She has written a number of award-winning books for children, as well as novels, non-fiction and poetry. Luanne lives on her organic heritage farm on the east shore of Kootenay Lake. She has a PhD in Education and is an adjunct professor of Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia.



Book Magic: Turning Writers into Published Authors Julie H. Ferguson Beacon Publishing, September 2008 ISBN 978-0973949-33-9 $16.99 Book Magic is for every writer who aims for publication. Easy to read and practical, it contains all the information to understand the Canadian and US publishing industries, and all the tools to get commercially published or manage the self-publication process, in print or electronically. Aspiring authors discover: • how to weave spells that boost their chances of getting published, in print or electronically • the wizardry surrounding agents, query letters, and marketing out loud • the crystal ball that interprets trends in the North American market, as well as what’s happening in electronic and self-publishing • the magic bullets of research, book proposals, synopses, etc. • the latest electronic sorcery • the enchantment of successful publication Julie H. Ferguson has written thirteen books, including six for writers and teachers. Dundurn publishes her naval and church history titles, and she self-publishes the rest. Julie is also a sought-after professional speaker for teachers’ and students’ events, and an instructor for two creative writing programs: one at Vancouver Community College and the Creative Writing Diploma Program in Surrey, BC. Please visit for details.

Follow the Wind


Kenn Joubert Trafford Publishing, September 2008 ISBN 978-1-4251-4567-5 $30.00

Manolis Libros Libertad, September 2008 ISBN 978-0978186-58-6 $14.95

It is 1687. Susanne Reyne watches helplessly as her family is murdered during an attempted escape across the border from France into Switzerland. Alone and penniless, she is desperate until she recognizes, on the streets of Geneva, a face from Provence—and seeks help. Although the Huguenot refugees from Provence are now “safe,” they are pursued by an avenging troop of disguised Dragoons determined to assassinate them.

“Perhaps only a poet of Greek origin, who creates in the manner of his master Elytis could, using and renewing the conventions of Ode and Epode, Strophe and Antistrophe and an imagery that “unfolds like the fragrance of white hyacinths to the end of space” write a eulogy to the loss of Logos.

Attacked continuously, they desperately search for a future and flee through Switzerland, down the Rhine, to Holland. Now terrified and excited, fate throws the refugees a daring challenge—an offer of farmland in darkest Africa. The reader will share the terrors of a long and treacherous sea journey to the Cape on the Dutch galleon China, facing cannon attacks, vicious storms, pirates, starvation, fever and death. Kenn Joubert is a retired government psychologist and author. His first book in the Huguenot Trilogy, Escape to Freedom, received a good reception with sales in France, England, Australia, South Africa and Canada. It won second prize for Historic Fiction in the 2008 Premier Book Awards.



In these poems the reader encounters the virginal and sculpted limbs of the Kore and her ethereal beauty embraced by the gross and murderous Troglodyte, imprisoned and abused by organized religion, academic education and capitalistic greed. Here also is the young poet, her intended lover and here is creation as it was at the beginning, in the Middle Ages, and in our modern world. Troglodytes has an overarching vision lyrically expressed of the history of man and the loss of that Greek ideal we no longer know how to translate and so we mumble platitudes about logics and the word of a single god that miss the mark.” —Joanne Ford, author of Eros Operatica Manolis was born on the island of Crete in 1947 and immigrated to Vancouver in 1973. He has written three novels, a number of collections of poetry, various articles and short stories in Greek as well as in English. After working as an iron worker, train laborer, taxi driver and stock broker, he now lives in White Rock where he spends his time writing, gardening, and travelling.


Not Until Now

Meeting Miss 405

Sandra Harper Hawthorne Publishing Company, September 2008 ISBN 0-9734986-3-9 $21.95

Lois Peterson Orca Book Publishers, October 2008 ISBN 978-1-55469-015-2 $7.95

Not Until Now is an unforgettable story of genius, rivalry and passion that plays out for one man and two women in the tumultuous backdrop of the early days of British Columbia. This novel brings together the legendary architect, Frank Rattenbury, with a recognized architectural legacy in Western Canada, and two women with a burning desire for independence. Florrie is quiet, staid and dutiful—driven to be a woman of her own distinction. Alma is creative, dynamic and fiery—determined to be a musical star. Each of them tells the story of their intertwining lives. When their worlds come together, the fragile balance of their relationships collapse with startling results. Their tale, with its shocking climax, compels the reader to consider how relationships between men and women have changed. Or have they? Sandra Harper is the author of three other books, including Traveling the Sun, Inside Kenya – Creating Tomorrow and Breaking Out, and an intermediate grade novel written specifically for a teacher resource kit, Kenya: Our Global Friend, which is being distributed to BC elementary teachers through a significant CIDA grant. Harper is an active member of Vancouver’s writing community and is clearing her desk to volunteer in Kenya and write another novel.

Life is hard enough for nine-year-old Tansy Hill with her mom away indefinitely and her dad making a mess of things at home. Then her dad sends her down the hall to a wrinkly old babysitter named Miss Stella. She doesn’t even own a TV. Or a computer. Or a car. She eats brown spaghetti and Bird’s custard. What kind of a babysitter is she? This novel in Orca’s Young Reader series touches on the topics of bullying, nut allergies, mindfulness and a child’s painful separation from her mother. But at its heart is the story of resilient Tansy whose growing confidence in new skills helps her learn to worry about only one thing at a time, and still have a good time with friends, family, and her new babysitter as she waits for mother to recover and for life to return to normal. Lois Peterson spent seven years of a long career in public libraries working in children’s services, presenting story times and programs, and helping children, parents and teachers select recreational and educational materials. She turned to writing for children early last year after having published short stories, essays and articles in a range of international markets for two decades and is a popular writing instructor and storyteller. Check out (Writing for Children) and (writing, editing, teaching).


ROCKSALT: An Anthology of Contemporary BC Poetry Edited by Mona Fertig & Harold Rhenisch Mother Tongue Publishing, October 2008 ISBN 978-1-896949-01-7 $24.95 ROCKSALT: An Anthology of Contemporary BC Poetry features new and previously unpublished poetry and poetics from 108 British Columbian poets. Dynamic and groundbreaking, this first anthology of BC poetry in 31 years highlights an eclectic mix of new, mid-career and established poets writing in a rich variety of styles, from Nelson to Masset, Prince George to Vancouver. Edited by Mona Fertig & Harold Rhenisch and published by BC’s newest literary/arts publisher, Mother Tongue Publishing. Mona Fertig is a poet, publisher and book artist. She edited A Labour of Love, an anthology of poetry on pregnancy and childbirth in 1989, and has been active in the west coast literary scene since 1972. She runs Mother Tongue Publishing from her studio on Saltspring Island. Harold Rhenisch is the author of twenty-one books, including the George Ryga Awardwinning The Wolves at Evelyn, and Tom Thomson’s Shack. Return to Open Water: Selected and New Poems is his latest book. He lives in Campbell River with his family.



Borrowed Rooms

The Year I was Grounded

A Thousand Shades of Blue

Barbara Pelman Ronsdale Press, October 2008 ISBN 978-1-55380-061-3 $15.95

William New Tradewind Books, October 2008 ISBN 978-1-896580-35-7 $12.95

Robin Stevenson Orca Book Publishers, October 2008 ISBN 978-1-55143-921-1 $12.95

These poems, spare and nuanced, explore the borrowed rooms we inhabit in personal relationships: the temporary homes of marriage and parenting; the personas we carry for a little while and must ultimately abandon. In tight and unsentimental poems, Barbara Pelman grieves the death of a father, notes the changing dynamics of mothers and daughters, watches the doors irrevocably close on a marriage, and delights in the temporal beauty surrounding her. The image of a borrowed room has other implications: from the window of the unfamiliar, her perspective on the familiar changes—her poems glimpse a Zen garden of star magnolia and early daffodil, islands drifting in a new sea, the rain shining the bones of trees on the beach—a sense, finally, of home.

Geordie likes baseball, crunching carrots, playing the trumpet in the school band and anything to do with water. Not quite telling the truth earns: “You’re grounded!” And then things change.

A sailing trip to the Carribean might sound great, but sixteen-year-old Rachel can’t stand being trapped on a small boat with her family. She misses her best friend and feels guilty about leaving her older sister Emma, who lives in a group home. Her father is driving her crazy with his schedules and family rules, her brother is miserable, and there is never anyone her own age around. Worst of all, there is nowhere to go when her parents fight. Which they do, all the time.

For many years Barbara Pelman has taught English at high school and college, primarily in B.C. She has been an active participant in the Victoria writing community: as a member of the Random Acts of Poetry team, a regular reader at Planet Earth Poetry, and the instigator of Victoria’s “Poetry Walls,” created by her students, in the downtown core. Her poems have appeared in many literary journals, including Event, Fiddlehead, Antigonish Review, Dalhousie Review and CV2. This is her second book of poetry.

Over the year that follows, the world’s truths turn out to be more interesting than Geordie ever imagined. Some discoveries are comic, some are exciting, some upsetting, some sad. And some things are puzzling. Consisting of word puzzles, a series of poems and a diary, The Year I was Grounded will delight young readers and teenagers alike. “ Some days my brain turns somersaults and ideas tumble head over heliotrope Whirlwinds rampage, and if I happen to be thinking of a field of cows, suddenly they’ll all be running, the brown ones in front of the black-and-white ones, running towards a purple hill with a purple lake on the far side… ” William H. New has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for his contributions to Canadian literature. The Year I was Grounded is his fourth book for young readers. An award-winning author, New is one of the most prolific and versatile literary critics in Canada, having written and edited more than 40 books.



Emma was the one who was injured in the accident twelve years earlier but sometimes Rachel thinks that everyone in the family carries their own scars. Then the family anchors their boat to spend a few weeks in a small Bahamian community, and Rachel and Tim discover a secret which turns their world upside down and threatens to destroy the fragile ties that hold their family together. Robin Stevenson is the author of four other books for children and teens, including the young adult novel Out of Order. She lives in Victoria, BC, with her partner and son. More information about Robin and her books is available on her website at


The Steppes are the Colour of Sepia: A Mennonite Memoir Connie Braun Ronsdale Press, October 2008 ISBN 978-1-55380-063-7 $21.95 The Steppes are the Colour of Sepia: A Mennonite Memoir invites the reader to embark on a journey that traces the paths of ancestral memory over the steppes of the Russian empire to the valleys of Canada’s Fraser River. Connie Braun’s narrative takes us back to the catastrophic events of twentieth-century Europe and intimately ushers us into the life of one extended Mennonite family. Braun focuses on the lives of her father and grandfather, living under the terror of Stalin, and later, under the military expansion of Hitler’s Nazi Lebensraum in the Ukraine. Braun offers a lyrical second-generation witness to her family members and to all other Canadians who have suffered displacement in history’s disasters, and whose obscure stories must be told, and honours the refugees who have created and transformed Canadian society. Connie was born and raised in the Fraser Valley. She is an emerging writer whose work has most recently appeared in Half in the Sun: Anthology of Mennonite Writers (Ronsdale) and in the Mennonite literary journal, Rhubarb. In both her academic work at the university and in this Mennonite memoir of creative nonfiction, Braun focuses on the second-generation narrative voice as witness. Her short stories, poems and reviews have appeared in various publications.

Reckoning A.S. Penne Turnstone, October 2008 ISBN 978-0-88801-337-8 18.95 In her short story collection, Reckoning, A.S. Penne scrutinizes the all too human desire to be understood and known by others before first understanding and knowing oneself. “Summer About to Happen” reveals a teenager’s first foray into the realm of desire, which ends in shock as she understands her fantasy love will never materialize. The father in “A Different Kind of Wanting” struggles to come to terms with the death of a son he never learned to accept. “Heat” explores the meaning of friendship when a woman takes stock of the expectations she has of her partner and of her friend. In “Threshold” the superstitions of a confirmed bachelor convince him that a woman he works for is his intended soul mate. The characters in Reckoning are adrift, reluctant to fully engage in their lives. Eventually, through a tumult of conflicting emotions, they come to a reckoning point and are forced to accept culpability for refusing to meet life and love head-on. A.S. Penne is the author of the memoir Old Stones (Touchwood Editions). Her writing has won a number of awards, including the Ian St. James Award in the UK, the Writers’ Digest award in the USA, and the Prairie Fire Creative Non-fiction Contest. She has an MFA from the University of British Columbia. Since 2000, she has facilitated a creative writing workshop for youth for the Festival of Written Arts in Sechelt, BC.


The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Cats Joyce L. White and Lee Harper Flame Tree Publishing, September 2008 ISBN 978-1-4351-0540-9 $29.95 The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Cats is a comprehensive tome on cats and their significance in history and culture. The book includes essential and practical advice on choosing and buying a cat, care and management, health, breeding and showing. The Breeds section, written by Joyce White, opens with a discussion of the evolution and classification of cats, including pedigree, nonpedigree, and feral cats. The remaining half of the book covers over 60 breeds that are divided into longhairs and shorthairs, new and rare breeds. For each breed, informative text on historical background, characteristics and care is complemented by statistics and icons providing at-a-glance information on size, coat care, diet, body shape, colour variations, and life expectancy. Joyce L. White has been writing about cats for over 20 years, during which time she has written for most Canadian and US cat publications. She began writing for I Love Cats in the mid-1980s and became contributing editor in 2001. Joyce has published five nonfiction and two fiction books. Lee Harper is the founding editor of the award-winning on-line cat magazine and She began breeding cats under the Mockingbird cattery name in 1994.



Contests & Markets Please note that inclusion in WordWorks is not an endorsement of any contest or market. We encourage our readers to thoroughly research all contests or markets before submitting work. Read one or two copies of the publication in question to make sure your writing “fits”. Be sure to read—and follow—submission guidelines. Our home page at lists recent additions to Contests and Markets. Tell your regional rep about any success you may have placing your writing so your good news can be included in the regional report. Good luck!

LOOMING DEADLINES The 34 Annual Cecilia Lamont Contest Deadline: postmarked October 31, 2008 Info: th

Considers short stories, articles, fiction and non-fiction not previously published for a fee. Maximum length 1,000 word for Prose, 36 lines for poetry. Blind judging. Manuscripts to be type written, double-spaced. Each submission must have a separate cover letter with title(s) and full contact information. Send entries to: Cecilia Lamont Annual Contest, C/O Community Arts Council of White Rock and District, #90-1959152 St., Surrey, BC V4A 9E3.

clear connection. $20 entry fee gets you 1 year’s subscription. Send, with a cover letter giving your name, contact information, title(s) of story, and where you heard about the contest, to Geist Postcard Contest, #200 - 341 Water Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 1B8.

The Writers’ Union of Canada Short Prose Competition for Developing Writers Deadline: PPostmarked ostmarked November 3, 2008 cn_shortprose.asp

CBC Literary Competition Deadline: postmarked or emailed November 1, 2008 $6,000 first prize, and $4,000 second prize in each category! Canada’s only literary competition celebrating original, unpublished works in both official languages. Three categories: short story, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Check website for details.

Geist Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest Deadline: postmarked November 1, 2008 Clip a postcard to a standard piece of paper on which you’ve typed a fiction or non-fiction story, maximum 500 words. The relationship between the image on the card and your story must show some

Canadian citizens or landed immigrants who have not been published in book format are welcome to enter unpublished non-fiction and fiction prose, up to 2,500 words. $25 entry fee. Entries should be typed and doublespaced on standard paper, paperclipped, not stapled. Blind judging. Include a separate cover letter with your full name, address, and phone number of the entrant, title of the entry, number of pages of the entry, and whether the submission is fiction or nonfiction. Include your full name and the title of the entry on each numbered page. Mail to: SPC Competition, 90 Richmond St. E, Suite 200, Toronto, ON, M5C 1P1.

Prairie Fire Fiction/Non-Fiction/Poetry Contest Deadline: postmarked November 30, 2008 Unpublished, original fiction to 15000 words, non-fiction to 5,000 words, and/ or up to three poems, maximum 150



lines. Blind judging. Enclose a cover sheet with your name, address, telephone number, the title(s) of your piece(s) and word count (prose) or line count (poetry). Prose must be double-spaced. $27 entry fee gets you a one-year subscription. Entries will not be returned. If you wish to be informed of contest results, include a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

The Ontario Poetry Society’s Open Heart Poetry Competition Deadline: December 25, 2008 Openheartpcomp.html TOPS is seeking poems, maximum 36 lines, that have a heart theme, be it love in its many facets or heart, the muscle, or even heartwood. You could win $100, plus $100 to be donated to the charity of your choice, which you will name and provide the address for in your cover letter. Entry fee is $5 for the first poem, $1 for additional ones, Previously published poems are okay, but not previous contest winners. Send entries with payment to: The Ontario Poetry Society, 31 Marisa Court, Thornhill, Ontario L4J 6H9

Horsefly Literary Magazine Deadline: postmarked December 15, 2008 For info email: Accepting submissions of poetry, (5 poems max.), and prose, (5000 words max.) Submit by snail mail to: HORSEFLY LITERARY MAGAZINE, c/o #308-507 Baker Street, NELSON BC V1L 4J2 or by email or word doc. to:


CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS Antigonish Review Arc Poetry Magazine Accepts unsolicited submissions September through May. Send 4–8 unpublished poems, not to exceed 8 pages total, to Arc Poetry Magazine, PO Box 81060, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1B1. Include their General Submission Form (print from website). Include a short bio in cover letter.

Broken Pencil Considers fiction from 50 to 3000 words, just not at the same time. Query them about articles on indie/alternative culture. They have a rant section, too.

Descant Considers submissions of unpublished poetry (about six poems), short stories, novel excerpts, plays, essays, and interviews. No simultaneous submissions, but you may wait up to a year to hear back from them. Send to: Descant, PO Box 314, Station P, Toronto, Ontario M5S 2S8

Event Send 3-8 poems and maximum 2 short stories (maximum 5000 words eash) with brief cover letter stating your name, contact information, titles of your submissions and bio with publishing history to Event, PO Box 2503, New Westminster, BC V3L 5B2. If you don’t want your manuscript returned, tell them. If you do, send SASE.

The Fiddlehead Reads fiction to 4,000 words and poetry (3 to 5 poems). The Fiddlehead prides itself on its rejection notes, responds in up to 6 months, and requires a SASE if you want to hear back from them. Send to: The Fiddlehead, Campus House, 11 Garland Court, UNB, PO Box 4400, Fredericton NB E3B 5A3

Filling Station Fiction and poetry journal considers all contemporary writing, including poetry,

fiction, one-act plays, essays, short film/video treatments and scripts, as well as black-and-white artwork. Send to: Filling Station, PO Box 22135, Bankers Hall, Calgary, AB T2P 4J5. Better yet, send via e-mail. Include contact information and a short bio.

New Orphic Review neworphicpublishers-hekkanen Send submissions of fiction, poetry, reviews, and essays, along with SASE, to New Orphic Review, 706 Mill Street, Nelson, BC V1L 4S5

The New Quarterly Accepts submissions of no more than one short story, 3–5 poems, or 1–3 postscript stories (under 5 pages) at a time.

On Spec Quarterly magazine features speculative fiction, fantasy, and horror. Some poetry, mostly prose.

Other Voices Accepts submissions of unpublished poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction prose, essays, solicited reviews, photographs, and artwork. Publishes summer and winter. Send, with SASE if you want a reply, to: Other Voices, Box 52059, 8210-109 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2T5

Qwerty Qwerty likes innovative and unconventional poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. Send up to 5 poems, fiction and non-fiction to 3,000 words with SASE (or work will not be considered or returned) to: QWERTY, c/o UNB English Dept., PO Box 4400, Fredericton, NB E3B 5A3. Qwerty happily accepts e-mailed submissions. Either way, include a cover letter with your name, address, phone number, bio, and e-mail address.



ONLINE Ghoti Magazine Elegant ezine ooking for fiction or nonfiction (maximum 2500 words), flash fiction (500 words or less), and poetry (3-5 poems per submission) that is fresh, strong, polished, unpublished, and takes risks.

The Pedestal Magazine Interested in high-quality literary fiction of all sorts, including traditional and experimental works and flash fiction. Considers a wide variety of poetry, from the highly experimental to the traditional.

RESOURCES FOR WRITERS Duotrope’s Digest Great database for current markets in poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Register with them (free, although they do accept donations) and track your submissions.

New Pages “Good reading starts here”, says the website, and they’re not kidding. Great place to find lists of online lit mags, alternative magazines, indie bookstores, and more.

Places for Writers Good place for up-to-date market information. Lots of interesting content, including links to a variety of Canadian writers’ sites.

The Writers’ Show with Holley Rubinsky Lively radio interviews with writers, editors and publishers, including Angie Abdou, Vivien Bowers, Anne DeGrace, Katherine Gordon, Pauline Holdstock, Theresa Kishkan, Patrick Lane, Rita Moir, Kathy Page, Eileen Delehanty Pearkes, Adam Lewis Schroeder, Mary Schendlinger, Alan Twigg, John Vaillant, Tom Wayman, and Terence Young. Kootenay Co-op Radio in Nelson airs this show on Mondays at 6 PM, but thanks to archiving you can listen to any of the past shows online whenever you like.


Regional Reports North Hilary Crowley, Summit Lake

organized by Donna on behalf of Writing on the Ridge and hosted by writer, photographer, and conservationist Wayne Sawchuk. Vivien Lougheed participated in two events promoting her book, Understanding Bolivia (Harbour). One in Whitehorse was to an exceptionally full house much to the delight of the library staff. Considering the reading was on the same day as the Yukon River boat race, she was complimented on this achievement. Haines Junction, headquarters for Kluane National Park, also hosted an event and again the hosts were extremely pleased with the turnout. For Vivien it was a gathering of old friends which she totally enjoyed. On September 30 she will be in Vancouver, presenting at an event hosted by GAP, an ecologically sensitive agency that takes small groups to places such as Bolivia. On October 2 she reads with Martin Mitchenson, author of The Darien Gap in Victoria at the Bruce Hutchinson and the Emily Carr Libraries, and on October 5 she will read at the Oak Bay Library. The final event of her book tour takes place at the Yarrow Library in Chilliwack on October 7. Hilary Crowley participated in the Prince George Public Library literary event at Heritage Lane at the Exhibition. She’s been reading some of her short stories on the weekly Storytellers program on the community radio station, CFIS FM. As the new editor of a professional publication, Dispatches, for the International Health Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, she’s been collecting stories from around the world dealing with the challenges of living with spinal cord injury in developing countries. This issue will be published online in early October.

Photo courtesy of Hilary Crowley

We were excited to host a reception for Vici Johnstone, the new publisher of Caitlin Press, at Books & Co. in Prince George on September 20. More than 50 writers from around the North attended to meet Vici and to hear her vision for Caitlin Press. The press will focus on both literary and non-fiction work that reflect the lives and adventures of Interior British Columbians and BC women. Dan Boudreau published the first edition of the RiskBuster newsletter, a bi-weekly e-zine for curious and serious entrepreneurs. His next book, which he thinks will be named RiskBuster, is in the hands of the copyeditor and he is hoping to have it published before Christmas. Many new articles have been added to his blog at Donna Kane has interesting news from the Peace River end of continued next page this huge region. She held the third MuskwaKechika Artist Camp this summer from August 7 to 14. The Muskwa-Kechika is a spectacular wilderness area in the Northern Rocky Mountains nestled among magnificent peaks, fast flowing creeks, pretty lakes, an abundance of wildlife and spectacular geological formations such as hundreds of unique erosion pillars. Twelve artists, including Victoria poet Tim Lilburn and Jacqueline Hoekstra, formerly from Terrace and now living in Gibsons, BC, flew from Muncho Lake to Mayfield Lake by floatplane to spend eight days in the wilderness area. Activities included a two-day horse-pack trip into the alpine. While there, artists engaged in dialogue on art and wilderness and began Publisher Vici Johnstone of Caitlin Press speaks to Prince George work on the writing and visual art that they will writers at a Fed reception organized and hosted by Hilary Crowley produce for a show in May 2009 at the and Vivien Lougheed. Dawson Creek Art Gallery. The camp was WORDWORKS–FALL 2008



Fraser Valley Lois J. Peterson, Surrey

Flexing their muscles in preparation for a busy fall, Fraser Valley members’ work showed up in a variety of venues in the late spring and summer as they put their time and skills to a variety of uses. The Red Wall author Jane Hall was featured in the summer issue of BC BookWorld. In July she presented a paper in Florida at a Summit on Leadership in Public Safety and was a guest of Texas Women’s University. In August she held a book signing at the Coquitlam Chapters. Her book was recently reviewed in Alberta and Oregon and is currently spotlighted on the Public Safety Leadership Development Consortium website. Jeanne Ainslie’s erotic novel A Country Girl (Dell, Blue Moon), which sold over 64,000 copies, came back into print in August with Xlibris. Debbie McKeown launched her writing website,, and published an article in WestCoast Families magazine about a new Special Olympics program for young children. Susan McCaslin’s poems appeared in the anthologies White Ink: Poems on Mothers and Motherhood, Ascent Aspirations Magazine and Crossing Lines: Poets Who Came to Canada in the Vietnam Era. Her poems also appeared in Precipice, Room, Descant and The Merton Journal; her latest volume of poetry, Lifting the Stone, was reviewed in Room; The Pacific Rim Review of Books published her paper on Denise Levertov’s and Thomas Merton’s peace poetry and an essay on Blake. Since the launch of Lifting the Stone (Seraphim Editions), she has read at Fort Langley’s Fort Art Gallery, The Canadian Memorial Centre for Peace, Victoria’s Planet Earth Poetry Series, the Wired Monk in Vancouver, the UBC Robson Square Bookstore, the Vancouver Public Library and for an Association of College and University Instructors of English conference. In April she gave three readings in Edmonton and in early June moderated a workshop at the “Our Way Home” conference at SFU Harbour Centre.


Lois Peterson started converting her adult memoir to a children’s novel Return of the Summer Fish for Tradewind Books, loosely basing it on her childhood in Iraq. Doris Riedweg signed a book contract with Libros Libertad Publishing of White Rock for her novel, Fury of the Wind, to be released early in 2009. Writer/ storyteller/performer Robert Stelmach toured 17 Fraser Valley libraries over the summer, as part of his “Little Johnny Small and Other Stories” tour, as well as presenting four performances on the Island. In April, Thuong Vuong-Riddick made an Off the Page presentation at Devon Elementary School and met with four-year students in the History of Canada course at the University College of the Fraser Valley at Abbotsford. On May18 Thuong made a presentation at Bridge Elementary School in Richmond. David Watmough’s memoir Myself Through Others was published by Dundurn Press in August.

Central Kay McCracken, Salmon Arm

Nancy Holmes, from the department of Creative Studies, UBCO Kelowna, brings us the new fall line-up of literary events. The Lake: A Reading Series will host two campus readings and three downtown readings between September and December 2008.For more information, visit creative/events/literaryevents.html Heidi Garnett’s work will be represented in the anthology, ROCKSALT: An Anthology of Contemporary BC Poetry, edited by author Harold Rhenisch and Mona Fertig, publisher of Mother Tongue Publishing. Heidi, who lives in Kelowna, was recently shortlisted for Arc Poem of the Year but withdrew due to a conflict.



photo courtesy April Klatte

Two other central region poets, Garry Gottfriedson of paintings, is titled “Sun Records & Texaco Stadiums” and is Kamloops, and Howard Brown of Faulkland, have also been available from the Gallery. included in ROCKSALT. Dorothy Rolin, co-coordinator for the “Secrets in My Barb Shave of OWL (The Okanagan Writers’ League) Garden” project—a collaboration of writers, artists, and organized a sale of the League’s books at the Art Walk in photographers brought together to capture local gardens Lake Country, on September 6 and 7. in every season—says the project is nearing completion Sterling Haynes had a humorous column called “Tubed” as the last of the fall gardens are completed. These works (about an MRI) published in the local newspaper eVent. His of art will be displayed for the month of November at essay, “An Emergency in the BC Wilderness,” was selected by SAGA Public Art Gallery in Salmon Arm as a fundraiser the Royal Museum in Victoria for publication on their for the Shuswap Association of Writers. Attend the Gala website and placed in their historical archives. The essay is evening and final chance to bid at the silent auction on based on the survivors of a plane crash in the Chilcotin at Nov. 29. One-Eyed Lake in 1961. In July, Ann Walsh read from her Barkerville trilogy in of Ab McQuillin’s book, The Fight of Her Life, was reviewed all places—Barkerville! She was sponsored by the Canada in the Prince George Citizen on July 11. An interview with Council, The Writers Union of Canada and The Friends of Ab followed on July 15 on Day Break, CBC North Radio. Barkerville. The reading took place on Canada Day—make Alexander (Alex) Forbes, Deanna Kawatski, Kay that Dominion Day, because it is always 1970 in Barkerville, McCracken and Caroline Woodward (now living in a and Ann said it didn’t rain this time! lighthouse on Lennard Island near Tofino) have recently continued next page birthed Gracesprings Collective. Gracesprings is a group of writers and artists who draw upon the strong Canadian tradition of collective support for individual achievement. Artistic freedom and excellence are twin values upheld by the Collective. Its desire is to publish works of the highest quality, which might fall outside the commercial mainstream of much (though fortunately not all) contemporary publishing. Gracesprings Collective ( only considers invited submissions at this time. In June, an exhibition of the poems of Alexander Forbes, together with the paintings of Tricia Sellmer, opened at the Island Mountain Arts Public Gallery in Wells. Alexander gave a reading, and the evening ended with everyone sitting around a Southeast Region rep Anne DeGrace hosted a Fed potluck at her mountaintop karaoke machine singing Elvis “chicken ranch.” At the potluck: L-R (back) Shirl Bayer, Jane (visiting writer), songs! The Island Mountain Linda Crosfield, Anne DeGrace, Sara Boddy, Vivien Bowers, Cyndi Sand-Eveland, catalogue of the exhibit, which Ernest Hekkanen, Margrith Schraner, Ross Klatte; (front): Jenny Craig, Sue Shaw, includes all the poems and Dorothy (visiting writer), Lonnie Facchina.




Southeast Region Anne DeGrace, South Slocan We’ve been sweating it out at the keyboard in the Southeast Region. When the Writing Olympics comes around, we’re sure to be in top form! Angie Abdou’s novel The Bone Cage received international attention in the wake of the Olympic Games. The Journal of Sport Literature praised Abdou’s perceptive take on elite athletics as an antidote to the media’s one-dimensional representation of the Beijing Olympics. Angie’s fall season includes a presentation to the Jaffray Book Club. She’ll instruct Creative Writing 101 at the Fernie campus of the College of the Rockies. Vivien Bowers’ children’s book, Crazy About Canada!, has been nominated for the Red Cedar Book Awards. The Red Cedar Book Awards Program encourages BC students in grades 4 to 7 to read Canadian fiction and nonfiction titles and vote on favourites. The nomination involves travel to schools throughout BC. Rita Moir taught creative nonfiction at the Victoria School of Writing in July. Rita reports that she was inspired by the students in her class as well as the readings by students and instructors. In August, Linda Crosfield spent a weekend on Bowen Island at the Rivendell Retreat Centre with a group of poets. One result is a forthcoming chapbook, edited by Linda Crosfield and Richard Osler (LeafPress), which includes an introduction by group leader Patrick Lane. One of Linda’s poems will appear in the next issue of Cascade: Journal of the Washington Poetry Association. Linda came first in the Canadian Poetry Association’s annual contest for 2007 with a poem called “Could Be A Bigger One.” One of her poems also came third, and she picked up an honourable mention for another poem as well. Anne DeGrace read from her first novel, Treading Water, at the Kootenay Gallery of Art, History, and Science as part of the August 9 opening celebration for the exhibition: Remembering Renata: Faces, Voices and Landscape. Luanne Armstrong has taken up a position of writer-inresidence at the Kimberley Library this fall. On September 19 she spoke at the Capitol Theatre in Nelson as part of Kootenay Co-op radio’s Deconstructing Dinner series.


The 5th Annual Kootenay Book Weekend (Sept 19 - 21) featured Jack Hodgins and his book Broken Ground. He was recorded in conversation with Holley Rubinsky (Host of The Writer’s Show on Kootenay Co-op Radio, CJLY) in a special segment for Nelson Before Nine, CJLY’s morning show. Thanks to the eating-local movement, Eileen Delahanty Pearkes has seen a surge in interest in her book, Geography of Memory, a History of a Landscape’s First People. Consequently, she’s been leading Sinixt ethnobotany walks and presentations, and has embarked on a new edition of the book. Margrith Schraner and Ernest Hekkanen have published the Fall 2008 issue of The New Orphic Review. Ernest’s novel, Of a Fire Beyond the Hills, made the shortlist for the George Ryga Award. He was recently interviewed by ARTiculate Magazine for an author profile in the fall/winter edition. Newest SE Fed member Cyndi Sand-Eveland is celebrating the release of her first book for young readers, Dear Toni (Tundra Press). Susanne Shaw entered the International 3Day Novel Writing Contest (Labour Day Weekend), sponsored by BookTelevision and Geist. Susanne’s sponsor for this Olympic-worthy literary marathon was the Cranbrook and District Arts Council. The Olympics were neither watched nor discussed at the SE Fed Potluck held August 23 at Anne DeGrace’s mountaintop chicken ranch. Instead, attendees plotted a bright literary future for the SE Region, despite announcements of nasty federal cuts to the arts. As a result of this get-together—with special thanks to Linda Crosfield—the SE membership now has a new e-discussion listserve to facilitate future plottings.

The Islands David Fraser, Nanoose Bay

Ann Graham Walker received her MFAW in Creative Writing from Goddard College (Port Townsend Campus) this summer. She has a completed manuscript for a novel, The Girl in the Garden, set in Argentina in the 1950s in the era of Juan and Evita Peron. Ann also had her poem “Tom’s Old Boots” accepted for Rocksalt: An Anthology of Contemporary BC Poetry.



Judith Millar facilitated the first of Nanaimo Arts Council’s Creative Currents sessions, speaking on “Attaining that Creative Edge” at the Nanaimo Art Gallery in June. In July she read her poem “Mukmuk’s Dream,”—featuring 2010 Olympic mascot sidekick, Mukmuk, a Vancouver Island marmot—to children at the Wellington Branch of the Nanaimo Public Library. She has been a frequent reader at WordStorm, Nanaimo’s popular spoken-word event. Five of her song lyrics were published on a new children’s CD, Smart Fitness, Smart Foods (Kimbo Educational) in September. Her short story “The Green Box” was shortlisted in Hamilton’s Creative Keyboards Short Story contest (LiT LiVe, September). She also published an article in Senior Living. David Fraser’s poem, “Finding A Path,” was included in ROCKSALT: An Anthology of Contemporary BC Poetry. The book will be launched at a number of venues throughout October and November. David also published two flash fiction pieces, “My Papa’s Eyes” and “The Beech Tree” in Long Short Story. Joanna Weston has published five poems in 7Beats Here and Now, four poems in Ascent Aspirations Magazine, four poems published on Barrio Poetry Posters, two poems in Blue Skies Poetry, one poem in Current Accounts, two poems in The Cynic Online Magazine, four poems in Ken*Again, one poem in Lynx, one postcard story in The Painted Door, one story in Pen Pricks, one poem in Poetry Monthly, one story in The Skyline Magazine, two poems in Tower Poetry, one poem in Weyfarers, one poem in Wild Violet, one poem in Write on!, and six poetry reviews in The Danforth Review. Mel Dagg from Sointula read from the short story collection Four Wheel Drift on September 13 at the Downtown Nanaimo Art Gallery, as part of the Nanaimo Arts Council Creative Currents series. Margaret Gracie’s short story “Tango” won second place in the 2008 Summer Fiction contest at Monday Magazine and was published in July. In August her short story “Life with Marty” was published in the online magazine Inscribed. Christine Lowther’s nonfiction story about swimming at night with a harbour seal, “A Cure for Despair,” has been accepted in a new anthology to be released in February, Wild Moments: Adventures with Animals of the North, edited by Michael Engelhard (University of Alaska Press). Stan Evans’ sixth novel, Seaweed on the Rocks, published by TouchWood Editions, was released in September 2008. His fifth novel, Seaweed Under Water, was awarded best novel of the year by Monday Magazine, and is on the list for the Victoria Book Prize.


Rosemary I. Patterson has released her latest literary history. Timber Sale, A British Columbia Literary History About Alexander Duncan McRae, Maillardville, The Comox Valley and the Canadian Western Lumber Co., 1907-1916 through Booksurge Publishing. Mary Ann Moore is teaching two courses at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo: “Passion to Paper” and “Writing Your Life Stories.” She read at Oceanfest in August and was a featured reader at WordStorm in Nanaimo in October. Mary Ann’s poem, “The Names of Things,” will be included in How Light Needs to Bend, a chapbook of poems by the Glenairley poets edited by Patrick Lane (Leaf Press, Lantzville) to be published in November. Michelle Mulder’s Yeny and the Children for Peace (Second Story Press) was released in September. In this second book in the Kids’ Power Series, Yeny and her friends fight against the violence in Colombia. Michelle also has a new website: Kim Goldberg had poetry, prose and visual art published in Front, subTERRAIN, Filling Station, Post Road, Journal of Martial Arts and Healing, and Istanbul Literature Review. In August she read ocean-themed poetry at OceanFest in Nanaimo along with Mary Ann Moore, Winona Baker and Jim Erkiletian. Earlier in August, Kim and Shirley Goldberg co-hosted an Urban Poetry Cafe for Radio CHLY featuring new poetry from the Middle East and Asia. Joan Donaldson-Yarmey launched her novel Illegally Dead by Sumach Press. This novel finds time-travel writer Elizabeth Oliver smack in the middle of a murder investigation and will delight mystery lovers and Canadian history enthusiasts alike. Nobody’s Father: Life Without Kids, the sequel to the celebrated collection Nobody’s Mother edited by Lynne Van Luven and Bruce Gillespie (TouchWood Editions) was launched in Victoria on September 30, 2008, at Open Space. Joy Huebert won the 2008 Grain Postcard story competition with her story “Making Baby Nathaniel.” In September, Shirley Skidmore published her third book, Murder in the Sooke Potholes (Windshift). Elizabeth Rhett Woods’ mystery novel, Double Entry Death, was serialized at one chapter per week, from June 9, 2008 onward at Linda M. Langwith’s essay, “The Double Helix of Writing and Motherhood,” was a runner-up and received honourable mention in the McGill-Queen’s University Press Double Lives Writing Contest. continued next page



Lorraine Murphy, Vancouver I picked a fine time to start repping the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast region; September and October are the two busiest months of the year in the local literary community, and there is something happening nearly every day. I hosted my own literary event (The Shebeen Club, on September 15 at the Shebeen, tucked behind the Irish Heather at 212 Carrall Street in Gastown. Our guest, Sylvia Taylor, longtime Fraser Valley rep and now President of the FBCW, gave attendees an overview of the Federation, its goals and member services. Paul Blakey, publisher of Twin Eagles Publishing in Sechelt, is pleased to launch Dancing On Air: My Life with Rai Purdy ( by local author Verity Sweeny Purdy on October 10th at the Sechelt Arts Centre. In August Julie H. Ferguson announced the second edition of her top-selling Book Magic: Turning Writers into Published Authors and had photos and an article published in the September edition of Topic. As always Julie has a full schedule of workshops for writers—please visit Schedule2008.htm for details. Zoe Landale new poetry collection, Once a Murderer, (Wolsak & Wynn) was chosen as an “Editor’s Choice” in the Vancouver Sun and received a long review in The Toronto Star. Zoe will read at the West Vancouver Library on September 24, Word On The Street in Vancouver on September 28, in Courtenay on October 4 and in Victoria at Wendy Morton’s reading series on October 3. The publication date for Jancis M. Andrews’ second book of short stories, Walking on Water (Cormorant Books), has been changed from September 2008 to Spring 2009. Kami Kanetsuka’s article on the Island of Gozo was published in the September issue of CARP magazine. Irene Livingstone’s poem “Two Small Women” won first prize in the Ontario Poetry Society’s rhyming poetry contest and, in the Kisses and Popsicles contest (Pandora’s Collective) “Echoes” took 2nd prize. Her poem “Perfidia” received an Honourable Mention. On September 25 (Glenn Gould’s birthday), Kate Braid launched her new book, A Well-Mannered Storm: The Glenn 36

photo courtesy of David Riehm

Lower Mainland/ Sunshine Coast

Gould Poems (Caitlin Press), at the Sylvia Hotel in Vancouver. She co-launched with Christine Lowther and Anita Sinner, editors of Writing the West Coast: In Love with Place. Allan Brown (Powell River) had one poem published in the August issue of Island Catholic News and two reviews in Jones Av. XIII/2 (Toronto). He will give a reading and talk from his new poetry collection, the chapbook Biblical Sonatas (Serengeti), at the Vancouver Public Library on October 6. Ruth Kozak is the Vancouver expert for a new travel website, Planet Eye, at Ruth will be teaching classes on travel writing, novel writing and memoir for the Vancouver School Board this fall. She welcomes contributions to her travel site, Travel Thru History ( In May Bernice Lever ( read poems for Poets Potpouri Socety; in June for Poets Around the World and for World Poets at Vancouver’s “Carless Festival”; Montreal’s Westmount Library for the Canadian Authors Association, in July at “Write on Bowen; then Pandora’s Summer Dream Festival in Stanley Park. Bernice will read at the Word Storm reading series in Nanaimo on September 18, at Word On The Street Vancouver on September 28 and at the Vancouver Public Library for World Poets on September 29. She will co-lead a poetry workshop, “Images” for World Poets, Sept. 26, Vancouver; “Publishing Poetry” for West Vancouver Library, Oct. 29, and three workshop talks for Surrey International Writers’ Conference, Oct. 24-26. Phyllis Grant Lavelle is pleased to announce the launch of the Brock House Writers’ collection of short stories, Fact, Fiction, Fantasy (

Literary Writes winners Michèle Adams, Shirley Rudolph and Katherine Fawcett are congratulated by Fed president Sylvia Taylor at Word on the Street, Vancouver. WORDWORKS–FALL 2008



he twenty contemporary writers featured in this anthology have mined the literary potential inherent in a setting and captured landscape, seascape, nature, history and the unique cast of characters that inhabit our province. Their essays and memoirs have been inspired by, or are in some way affected by, the particular “sense of place” that sets that left-hand corner of the country apart from other provinces. Some are humorous; others are poignant. Whether describing a family history in Kitsilano, the difficulties fitting in as an immigrant, or a close encounter with a grizzly bear, these stories communicate a sense of belonging to, or a trying to find, a sense of place.


ome of Canada’s best-known writers, all members of the Federation of BC Writers, are featured in this anthology, including Pauline Holdstock, Harold Rhenisch, George Fetherling and M.A.C. Farrant. The list of contributors includes established authors Katherine Gordon, Margaret Thompson, Trevor Carolan, Luanne Armstrong, Deanna Kawatski, Jan Drabek, A.S. Penne, Howie White, Joan Skogan, Mona Fertig and Shannon Cowan. Emerging writers Pam Galloway, Victoria Marvin, Trisha Cull, Dawn Service and Elizabeth Templeman further attest to the new talent found within our membership. The book features an introduction by editor Daniel Francis, a historian and author of twenty books.

Anvil Press is pleased to announce the publication of Imagining British Columbia: Land, Memory & Place, edited by Daniel Francis Please send me ________ copy/ies of Imagining British Columbia: Land, Memory & Place Name: ______________________________________________________ Address: ____________________________________________________ City: _______________________________________________________ Postal Code: _________________________________________________ Telephone or email: ___________________________________________ Cost: $20 each ($18 plus $2 shipping & handling) Enclosed is my payment of $ ____________________________________


Return this form with a cheque or money order made payable to: Anvil Press P.O. Box 3008, MPO Vancouver, B.C. V6B 3X5


Wordworks Fall 2008 Literatures of the West Coast  

Wordworks Fall 2008 Literatures of the West Coast Edition. Wordworks is the literary magazine produced by the Federaton of BC

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