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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

Gail Anderson-Dargatz Sketching the Outline of a Dream

The Federation of BC Writers: Are You A Member Yet? 8 Great Reasons to Join x

Off The Page Our popular writers in schools program allows published FBCW members to present readings, talks and workshops to students around the province. Participating members receive $200 and inclusion in the Off The Page directory located on our website.


Literary Writes The FBCW holds an annual writing contest featuring a different genre each year. Winners are awarded cash prizes and participate in readings at the Word on the Street festival in Vancouver. Winning entries are published in our member journal, WordWorks.


WordWorks Our quarterly journal features author interviews, essays, new title section, markets and contests, current industry information and members’ achievements. The journal is delivered to our members and others in BC’s writing, publishing and educational communities. Our members also receive a complimentary subscription to BC BookWorld, an invaluable source of information on BC books and BC authors.

Visit our website at


Promotion The Federation arranges and sponsors readings and book launches, refers members for participation in regional literary events and festivals, and promotes our members’ achievements in WordWorks, on our website and through email announcements to our members and others in BC’s literary community.


Work Opportunities Members can post their areas of expertise in writing, editing, design and desktop publishing on our online Hire A Writer directory. The Federation also hires and refers experienced FBCW members to conduct workshops, present readings and lectures, and judge contests.


Workshop Discounts Federation members receive discounts on Fed-sponsored workshops, on courses offered by SFU’s Writing & Publishing Program, and on workshops offered by the Victoria School of Writing.


Free and Expert Advice Puzzled by a contract clause? Copyright Issue? Looking for an editor or publicist? Consult the Federation for professional advice and access to our resources and network of affiliated organizations.


Inclusion When you join the FBCW, you become a member of BC’s vibrant writing community. We offer opportunities to meet and network with colleagues at Fed-sponsored events, to express your professional concerns at an influential level, and to contribute to the growth and development of our organization to better serve your needs.




A Note From the Executive Director


The Press Room

10 Literary Writes 2007 Publication of the Three Winning Entries 22 Launched! New Titles by Federation Members 28 Regional Reports Member News From Around the Province

Features 5

Hal Wake Holds the Golden Keys Directing the Writers Festival into its 20th Year By Janet Nicol


Author! Author! Writing Days (Defining Moments–Take #2) By Elizabeth Templeman

Contests & Markets 9

16 Gail Anderson-Dargatz Sketching the Outline of a Dream

Why Read Literary Journals? By Room magazine’s editorial collective

20 Contests & Markets

By Margaret Thompson

Cover photo by Mitch Krupp





A Note From the Executive Director





Production & Design SHIRLEY RUDOLPH





eckoning 07, a symposium on the past, present and future of BC publishing, was held in mid-September at SFU’s downtown campus in Vancouver. The two-day event included the presentation of the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award to bill bissett, a series of panel discussions, and an after-party celebrating the 50th anniversary of Duthie Books. The conference, coordinated by BC BookWorld publisher Alan Twigg, brought together a diverse group of writers, editors, publishers and academics, with the “old guard” very much in attendance. These pioneer publishers spoke of having to incorporate new technology in order to compete—no, survive—in an industry facing inadequate government funding, expensive distribution systems, monster bookstores and the realities of globalization. It was this discussion of media add-ons, author branding, “platforms” and E-book Readers that made more than a few audience members uneasy. The fear that technology could erode the role of writers and independent presses or lead to world-wide book extinction is understandable, but unfounded. The Internet is fueling literacy and people are reading more, not less, a claim substantiated by rising book sales around the world. Author blogs, online literary journals, writing forums, e-books and an ever-growing on-line readership are creating renewed interest in real books (with covers and spines and paper, oh my!). During one panel discussion, some industry type (I’m not naming names) commented that BC writers are at a serious disadvantage since the Canadian publishing scene is Toronto-centric and likely to stay that way. He also implied that our writers should accept the “limitations” associated with regional publishing should they choose to stay here, and that perhaps trying to attract a national audience may be out of reach for even our bestknown authors, dedicated as they are to living in the backwaters of Western Canada. Okay, I exaggerate, but it was all I could do to stop my seatmate from throwing her tofu and tomato panini at him. But forget Toronto. British Columbia is a literary hothouse, nourishing hundreds of new and established authors ready to be shared with the world. Embracing technology can help writers eliminate some of the barriers associated with traditional publishing and help publishers bring titles to the attention of a global audience while growing our own audience right here in British Columbia. If any one thing was made evident during the conference, it was this: that the future of BC writing is full of reasons to be optimistic—primarily because there are people, here in this province, committed to sustaining a vibrant—and regional—publishing industry. The Federation of BC Writers congratulates Alan Twigg and David Lester upon the 20th anniversary of BC BookWorld and all those true-of-heart West Coast publishers who develop, support and promote BC-grown literature. Š –Fernanda Viveiros 2



the Press Room Off The P age Applications for 2008 Page


he Federation of BC Writers once again invites participation in its writers-in-schools program, Off The Page. Every year, as part of our Off The Page (OTP) program, the Federation arranges for and subsidizes author visits to the province’s public schools to inform and inspire students and teachers about the world of writing and publishing. If you are a member of the Fed and have published work in books, anthologies, magazines, periodicals, or websites, you may be eligible for a sponsored school reading. Here’s how it works: Fill out the form located in the Off The Page section (under Programs) on the Fed website. You will include a writing resume or list of recent publications, and a brief biography. If your application is accepted, you will organize and schedule a reading and discussion at a school of your choice, and you will be paid $200. You will also have your name, bio, and most recent book cover published in the Off The Page section on the Fed website. This will give you extra exposure and let teachers in your area know that you are available for additional bookings. For additional information, contact the Fed office at 604-683-2057. This program is funded by the Direct Access program and the Federation of BC Writers. Applications for Spring 2008 will be accepted between October 15–December 1, 2007.

Wayzgoose P rinting F air Printing Fair


his year’s Wayzgoose Printing Fair will take place on November 17 from 10 am. until 4 pm. at the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch (350 West Georgia). Held every two years in Vancouver, and sponsored by The Alcuin Society, the event highlights limited edition and fine press books from contemporary publishers of the Pacific Northwest. Festivities will include displays by BC private presses, book artists and demonstrations including bookbinding, paste papers, and the Suminagashi technique [paper marbling]. Free admission. For more information, contact Eric Swanick at 778-782-4626 or .


The W riters’ T rust of Canada ’s Writers’ Trust Canada’s Woodcock F und Fund


he Woodcock Fund, which resides at the very heart of the Writers’ Trust, was established in 1989 through the generosity of Canadian writer George Woodcock and his wife Ingeborg. Sadly, both are now deceased, but their generosity lives on in this hugely important fund. Despite his very successful career, George Woodcock himself was well aware of the difficulties faced by those who have chosen to devote their lives to literature. Not only is writing a solitary profession with no health benefits or pension plans, not only is little or no income generated during the long pre-publication period when a book is being born, there is no guarantee that even when a book is published that it will generate enough income to provide a decent standard of living. Any number of factors contribute to a book’s financial success (quality being only one of them) and almost all of these factors are impossible to control. When a writer faces an unexpected financial crisis or becomes ill, his or her ability to finish a book is at serious risk. Unless help arrives. To date, the Fund has distributed more than $420,000 in financial support to more than 130 Canadian writers, a number of them prominent and established in their respective fields. It is in the spirit of George and Inge Woodcock that the writer in need is not put through a demeaning process of application and the assessment is conducted swiftly and fairly. “I have reason for daily gratitude to the Writers’ Trust of Canada as I was given money to tide me over a time so difficult that completing final work on my book would otherwise not have been possible. My ability to sustain a passage through that time, and the book’s eventual good reviews, were direct results of an emergency grant from the Writers’ Trust.” —Anonymous Financial assistance is available to those who qualify. For application guidelines or more information please contact: Kyle Greenwood Program Manager Woodcock Fund & Writers’ Workshops Phone: 416.504.8222 ext. 243 Email:



Federation Workshops & Presentations Fall & Winter 2007 The Fall & Winter program of workshops and presentations will continue with a series of afternoon workshops held in the Boardroom at the Alliance for Arts and Culture, 938 Howe Street, Vancouver. The first workshop of the Fall 2007 season, Making Chapbooks: Book Art with Mona Fertig, will be limited to 14 participants, so early registration is encouraged. For more information on Federation workshops, contact the Fed office at 604-683-2057 or email

Making Chapbooks: Book Art with Mona F ertig Fertig Sunday, November 18, 1 – 5 pm. Registration deadline: November 10 Cost: $75 (includes materials) Location: Alliance for Arts and Culture, 938 Howe Street, Vancouver Participants will create and produce four chapbooks, from simple chapbooks with a spine and French flaps to a more complex non-adhesive book art piece. These chapbooks can be used for self-publishing titles, future limited editions, artist’s books, journals or gifts for friends and family. No previous experience necessary but an ability to work with your hands is an asset. Participants will be required to bring an Exacto knife, scissors, glue stick, metal ruler, bone folder or letteropener, self-healing cutting board or piece of thick cardboard to cut paper on. Paper, thread and needles will be supplied. MONA FERTIG is a poet, publisher, literary organizer, book artist and art sleuth. She has studied bookart with Claire Van Vliet of Janus Press, one of the premier book artists in North America. She designs, constructs and publishes at (m)Öthêr Tøñguè Presš, a private literary press on Salt Spring Island which she owns and operates with her husband Peter Haase. Founded in 1990, (m)Öthêr Tøñgué Presš is a member of The Alcuin Society and The Canadian Bookbinders & Book Artists Guild (CBBAG).




Hal Wake Holds the Golden Keys Directing the Writer’s Festival into its 20th Year By Janet Nicol Hal Wake, artistic director of Vancouver’s International Writers and Readers Festival, holds two golden keys—one leads authors through the festival door and the other delivers readers to new worlds through these writers’ books. As the festival marks its 20 th year on Granville Island at Vancouver’s False Creek, Hal discusses his unique role as “mediator” between writers and readers.

There’s always a writer out there that somebody else is absolutely passionate about,” Hal tells me. So when Hal begins the process to invite an author to the annual October festival, “you have a sense of opening up a new world with a new writer and seeing why other people are enthusiastic.” The literary extravaganza is less than nine weeks away when I meet Hal for this interview at Granville Island. We sit across from each other at a picnic table outside the festival office, armed with a copy of the 58-page booklet of events. The seagulls’ calls and excited voices of children at play fill the air as we talk “books.” Hal follows in the footsteps of founder and 18-year artistic director, Alma Lee. The transition has been seamless and the festival continues to grow. Hal has high praise for Alma’s legacy and also acknowledges the contributions of other festival staff and volunteers. “It has been really interesting to work on something for months and months,” Hal says, “and then have it all happen in a one-week period. All of a sudden these writers arrive and Granville Island becomes a bubble of excitement.” But selecting from a world of writers is not easy. “It’s one of the hardest parts of the job,” Hal admits. “About a third of our 85 writers come from BC or the West, another third comes from across Canada and a third are international.” Hal approaches festival planning as an artist might begin a creative work— in an “organic way.” And this year promises a number of unplanned events that “came about because the time was right and the opportunity was there.”


“Every year you start fresh,” Hal explains. “You’ve got the things that you know you are going to do. But there will be new things and what they are, I can’t tell you.” At last year’s festival a theme developed. “There was an Iraqi poet who lives in London and we managed to get some support to bring in a South African writer,” Hal recalls. “We found another writer from Mongolia who lives in Germany.” “I realized that we had a broad international component and then I began to look at writers from North America who brought a particular cultural background with them as well.” Though Hal is not a writer, he has interviewed many over the years. “I know when you are beginning to write it’s a matter of faith.” Hal advises aspiring writers “to keep the faith and certainly find others to write with and to support each other.” An avid reader, Hal believes “the great books are about ideas.” Hal’s entrance to the literary world began years ago when he interviewed poet Al Purdy for Vancouver‘s Co-op Radio. “It was the beginning of my connection with writers through interviews,” Hal remembers. “I was lucky enough at Co-op Radio to interview a number of interesting and important Canadian writers.” He then became books producer on CBC radio’s Morningside. “For seven years or so in the mid-1980s,” Hal recalls, “I got every book—fiction and nonfiction— published in the country of any substance, landing on my desk and I got to decide who we would talk to.” “And so for that period of time, I was at the heart of what was a tremendously exciting time in Canadian literature,” he says. “I also saw a lot of writers begin their careers during that period.” All this experience has led Hal to see many changes for Canadian writers. “There was a time when to really get recognition, you had to have two or three or four books published and then you cracked the consciousness of the public and got attention and media. That’s no longer the case.” Hal also remembers when you could read virtually every fiction book in a publishing season. “That’s no longer true,” continued next page



Hal Wake, cont’d he observes. “There are more Canadian books than you could possibly keep track of.” He also thinks Canadians have become much more open to new voices and debut novels are generally of a higher standard. “One of the benchmarks these days for a lot of Canadian books is what kind of international sales they will get,” he adds. While the festival is on solid ground financially, challenges still arise, among them limited funding to transport writers to Vancouver. As a result,” Hal explains, “a lot of the writers who come to the festival from outside of Vancouver, or outside of BC, come when they are on a book tour. Their publisher has put the promotion budget together and it includes the trip out to the festival. And that’s fine. It brings us some wonderful writers with new books.” But Hal says many worthy authors not on book tours can get missed. “I think of Marilynne Robinson, the American novelist who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2004 for a book called Gilead,” he says. “She’s written two books in 20 years. I don’t know when she’s going to write another book and have it published, yet I would love to have her at the festival. But that means we


would have to find the resources to get her here.” To address this issue, the festival is asking members of the public to donate air miles. And it’s helping, Hal says. “We’ve been able to get five writers for the festival this year.” Another festival project has been the Alma Lee legacy fund. “When we reach our goal we should have about a million dollars in the endowment which will generate income from the interest—about forty to fifty thousand dollars a year—and then we can bring in special writers.” Writers receive due respect and west coast hospitality from festival staff. “We try to provide the writers who come with the best possible experience,” Hal says, “and if that means getting somebody a bicycle so they can do a bike tour or driving them up the mountain for a hike or if that means a kayak trip, we do whatever we can.” Ultimately, an artistic director requires our trust. “The important thing for me,” Hal believes, “is that we have to develop an audience that trusts us. When that happens, we all have discoveries and revelations as well as the opportunity to see writers we’ve loved and treasured. That’s the heart of it.” Š This year’s festival takes place October 16 to 21. For updated festival information visit



Hal’s Festival Highlights The F estival’s “own Festival’s “own”” Jen Sookfong Lee

Prize W inning W riters Winning Writers

“Jen Sookfong Lee began writing when she went to Eric Hamber High School (in Vancouver) and is someone who came to the festival as a school participant. Now she is back with her first novel so it is a tremendous thing to see people who came to the festival as part of the audience and then as writers.”

“We have Kiran Desai who won the Booker Prize last year, Peter Behrens who won the Governor General’s award for fiction, Vincent Lam who won the Giller Prize, Nancy Huston who won the Prix Goncourt. And if Lloyd Jones doesn’t make the short list for the Booker Prize then he will come. He won the Commonwealth Prize. Also coming is Rudy Wiebe who won the 2007 Charles Taylor prize.”

Solo W riters Writers “Last year we started a single author series, which is one writer and no interviewer. It’s in an intimate venue so that if you really care about one writer you will have a full hour.”

Working Man ’s P oetry Man’s Poetry “Gary Geddes has written a series of poems based around the collapse of the Second Narrows Bridge. We will have a theatrical reading of those poems at the Ocean Concrete. I’m excited because the poems are very much about work—about dangerous work—about working people and to have it in a venue where you can smell the engine grease and feel the atmosphere of daily work, I think, is very fitting.”

The W riters’ Ex change Writers’ Exchange We have an exchange with the Dublin Writers Festival. Two Canadian writers, Alistair MacLeod and Timothy Taylor, were commissioned to write about their engagement with the city and then perform, reading what they had written, while they were at the Dublin festival. So the other part of the exchange is Nuala O’Faolain and Claire Keegan coming here. They are very different kinds of writers and they will have the task of spending a week before the festival going where they want, doing whatever they want to do and then writing for us about their engagement with the city of Vancouver.”

Words and Song

Very Y oung W riters Young Writers “We have two young writers—and I mean young. They both published their first novels before they were 20 and now each has a second novel out. They are probably 23 years old. Helen Oyeyemi is from England, of Nigerian heritage, and Faiza Guene grew up in a suburb of Paris and has written a book called Kiffe Kiffe Demain. Faiza doesn’t speak English so we are going to have translation. She will be reading in French but we are going to have the English translation on a screen. That’s a new wrinkle and it leads me to hope perhaps some day we can put on a reading where everyone reads in their own language.”


“Alistair MacLeod and the Chor Leoni Men’s Choir will perform. Alistair is going to read and the choir will sing, alternating—reading, song, reading—a very special event.”

Poet Laureates On Saturday afternoon we have an event with a number of “first” Poet Laureates: George Bowering who is the first Canadian Poet Laureate, George McWhirter from Vancouver, Carla Funk from Victoria and Agnes Walsh from St. Johns. So they will read and exchange experiences.”




Writing Days (Defining Moments–Take #2) By Elizabeth Templeman Funny about writing, how I long for the time and focus, and when it’s within reach, I balk and procrastinate, and have to resist the urge to attack the mending or to reorganize the photo albums…


or two months I’ve looked forward to this day, guarded my availability and planned how to corral my energies. Now it has arrived, and I can only wonder at how peculiar I feel and act. It’s the morning of the twentyfour-hour creative nonfiction writing competition. A glorious excuse for focus and dedication to the writing I love: my annual day to be, unabashedly, a writer. Yesterday was the day to set the mood, a challenging task after a week away, the trip I carefully fit in so as not to interfere with the writing day. Work was eight hours of scattered demands, following upon two hours of scattered demands of home. Evening was a fluster of errands, and then a play in town, which was good—relaxing though emotionally charged—a war story. I worried about not sleeping, then fell hard and fast into the best sleep of the past two weeks, awakening groggy with rest, an hour later than I had expected to rouse myself. Ten past nine: a less than comfortable margin for our coffee and oatmeal, breakfast of champions. There are only the two of us home, and yet I feel distracted. There’s laundry to start, and some sort of dinner to plan. There’s even work intruding—a student leader I should go to observe this afternoon, but won’t. At ten past nine, I dress with some careful consideration. I think, so often, of E.B. White’s loving description of his wife, who most always dressed in an elegant suit to work in 8

her garden, honouring the activity by her attire. While that description of her gardening habit obviously touched me, it also forever left me feeling that I fall short. This morning, however, I choose the navy wool sweater, not the grey sweatshirt, to complete my outfit of grey stretch yoga pants, patterned woollen socks, and white t-shirt. Katherine White would not consider this attire fit for camping, I expect, but it will work for me. For me, wearing something that will commit me to an afternoon run is also important. But the woollen socks, favoured over the usual white cotton ones, a nod to KW, cause me to slip across our hardwood floor. My hand is bruised from breaking the fall. Not a start to inspire confidence. No gods favouring my moves this morning. Maybe they drifted through at eight, when I was supposed to be up. Ten o’clock is the moment the topic will be released. It is two minutes to the hour when the radio begins to beep in ten am. Our clock is slow. I am slow. I gather the dishes, and head downstairs to the computer. The moment is now. But first, check my email, and then stop and restart the laundry, fitting my husband’s work pants into the load. Removing a sopping t-shirt from the mass of sodden laundry, I make decisions about what should go into the first load with all the care that a wiser writer might bestow upon crafting an essay. What else can I do? Nothing but to begin. The topic is defining moments; the word limit, six hundred. Draft one is done. It came fast, and in one long draw, like a satisfying drink of water after a run in July. But it’s not what I anticipated doing. It’s residual from three days spent with my mother and siblings in Colorado. It arises from the weight of the past, not from where I am grateful to be now. The completion of draft one has left me spent and giddy, when what’s called for is decisive and disciplined. The day is a period of intensity set off by the arrival of a single moment. At such moments—those arbitrary markers in time that ought to matter—my focus evades me. I’m left thinking that what I do in defining moments is to blur the edges, with as much purpose as I prepare for such a moment’s arrival. It may just be that, while I long for dedicated writing time, with its precise and exclusive purpose, it is the murkiness and disorder of ordinary time that sustains the writing. Š Elizabeth Templeman teaches at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, and lives with her family on a small farm at Heffley Lake. A collection of creative nonfiction (Notes from the Interior) was published by Oolichan Books in 2003, and her essays and book reviews have appeared in various journals and magazines including Harpweaver, High Plains Literary Review, Mothering, and Canadian Women’s Studies. WORDWORKS–FALL 2007


Why Read Literary Journals? By Room magazine’s editorial collective

Literary Magazines Are Important 1. Writers must read, read, read! And Canadian literary journals contain the work of your peers. Keeping abreast of this is an important part of your professional and creative development. 2. The ephemeral nature of magazines means they can take more risks than many book publishers. Also, many literary journals were launched as an act of rebellion and the work they publish is often risky, inventive and fresh—which makes great reading. 3. They’re your best market. The more familiar you become with Canadian magazines and literary journals and what kind of work each one publishes, the better your chances of publishing in one. 4. Canadian literary journals are our incubators. Supporting them by subscribing or picking them up on the newsstand is supporting your own cultural industry.

Why Submit to Literary Journals? 1. Learning to prepare a submission, to find your markets, to navigate the world of publishing houses, and to work with editors is critical to becoming a professional writer. 2. Crafting work around submission deadlines, contest formats and for the specific tone of each individual journal is excellent motivation, direction and training. 3. Even rejections are an important part of the learning process. Examine your markets, take heed of any editors’ notes and try, try again.

4. Agents and publishing houses want to know that you have been peerreviewed and that you have experience working with an editor. Publishing credits are especially important for writers who want to publish a book of poetry. 5. Along the same lines, having published brief excerpts from novels-in-progress can help convince an agent or publisher to take you on. 6. By reaching a certain number of publishing credits in literary magazines, you can qualify for Canada Council grant funding, Access Copyright repertoire payments, Public Lending Rights payments and other grants and funds. 7. It’s wonderful to see your work in print! And you usually get a little money and some free issues out of it.

Tips and Guidelines for Submitting to Literary Magazines Where Should You Submit? There is a huge range of literary magazines in Canada—from risky little zines published in someone’s kitchen to century-old university journals. Each one will say they’re looking for “great” writing, but beyond that they will each have their own tones, their own favourite lengths, themes and genres, and their own specialties. This is the best and only advice we can give: read as many as you can, as often as you can. You’ll begin to see where your work will fit. You can also begin to target magazines you really WORDWORKS–FALL 2007


want to publish in, by crafting work to suit—and ideally surprise—your market. How Should You Package Your Submission? —First, read the publication’s writers’ guidelines carefully to determine their own preferences. Most don’t accept email submissions, some do, some allow simultaneous submissions, some ask for SASEs, some only want an email address, and so on. —Include a cover letter that lists previous publishing credits, if any. Keep it BRIEF! —Double space, use a standard font in a decent size on plain paper, and don’t cram it into a too-small envelope. Editors can’t afford time to struggle to read your work. —Don’t send too much work at a time: one or two stories or five to eight poems is best. What Kind of Response Can You Expect? You’ll need patience when submitting to literary journals as most are staffed by overworked volunteers. Even if they intend to publish you, it can take some time to find a place for your work. Give the magazine at least three or four months to respond. If you haven’t heard by then (or within their own posted guidelines), you can send a polite email asking for its status, or requesting permission to submit it elsewhere while you wait. If it is accepted elsewhere, send a note to let them know it’s withdrawn. If rejected, more likely than not you’ll receive an impersonal form letter with a returned submission. Don’t be discouraged! The hard truth is that it’s just not possible to comment on every submission, and editors feel that writing a hasty or overly brief comment can do more harm than good. If you do receive comment—even criticism— take it as a good sign. Š


Literary Writes 2007 The winners of the 2007 Literary Writes competition for travel stories were announced September 30 at Vancouver’s Word on the Street. This year’s judge, George Fetherling, read nearly one hundred submitted travel essays and chose a long list of twelve pieces before deciding on the three winners. “What struck me first and most deeply as I read the essays,” said Fetherling, “was how few of them— scarcely any, in fact—concerned North America. The Asia Pacific region was the favourite subject of the majority, with Europe in second place. I think this reminds us not only of British Columbia’s location on the map of the world but also of the fact that by now almost everybody has been almost everywhere—or so it sometimes seems. Air travel becomes ever more frustrating, expensive and inefficient, but its deterioration hasn’t deterred people from venturing farther and farther field. Globalization is not simply a matter of economics; it’s one of experiences as well. The three winning entries, chosen from among so many, seem to me to be saying as much between the lines—each in its own way.”

First Place, $500 prize: Sarah LL.. TTaggart aggart “Bangkok “Bangkok””

Second Place, $300 prize: Rebecca Cuttler ”V aranasi” ”Varanasi”

Third Place, $150 prize: Carla Reimer ”Almost at Cape Camorin Camorin””

Congratulations to Sarah L. Taggart for her essay, “Bangkok,” Rebecca Cuttler for “Varanasi,” and Carla Reimer for “Almost at Cape Camorin.” The following writers made our judge’s long list selection: Margrith Schraner, Peter Ludlow, Sarah Crover, Lynda Grace Phillippsen, Carol Tulpar, Maddy Harlamovs, Peggy Herring, David Leach and Christi Howes.




Bangkok By Sarah L. Taggart


he Kuachumwan birds, they’re like meditation. Through the telescope, the world closes in on each one. They are focused, adept. They have a place in the world. Forty minutes she will sit in this spot. She will count each bird, write it down. The plovers and curlews. Herons too, but they’re nothing like the ones back home. She likes the Caspian terns best. Seagull-sized, squatting in packs on the sand bars, red beaks bright with the naked eye. The black man’s dark grabbed her. Eyes locked, she looked away first, shy, and ten minutes later he appeared at her right elbow as if he’d always been there. His name was Paul. Ally expected something foreign, something tinged with the Nigerian landscape that surrounded him when he was born. Up close, she barely believed the perfection of that skin. And the cheekbones, high like a woman’s. She fluttered a hand self-consciously to her face, smoothing an eyebrow. His were widespaced, perfectly symmetrical. Tweezed. On the Bangkok SkyTrain from the club to his condo, they were both far from home. He spoke through a heavy London accent. When the doors shut, they sang do-doo-dooo just like in Vancouver. The same train after all. But in the seats were the Asian faces of three months in Thailand, soft mouths that smiled easily. Ally slid sunburnt cheeks against his silk shirt. Pale blue, navy pinstripes. Expensive. Paul had told her, “I’m an ambassador.” On Monday, he would go to the British Embassy. He was important. His lips moved against her ear. “What’s your boyfriend’s name?” She took a breath. A small snort escaped her nose. She could not remember. She buried her face in his silk. Paul WORDWORKS–FALL 2007

laughed softly, his arms tightening around her, a coat zipped up. The First Place train zoomed and the car cradled the white girl and the black man. In bed, she imagined him a puma, prowling the length of her white Canadian legs. He breathed on her hip bone and played with the lace frill of her panties. When he said cock, she laughed, the uptight accent wrapped around harsh consonants. He was her first black man, the first she’d been with here, the first lapse into unfaithful. Yet, he was familiar. He pulled her head up, kissed her hard and didn’t let go. When he slid between her legs, nothing but a sheen of sweat on his skin, the flash of worry was a tiny flare extinguished between their bodies. Hours later, a plover shakes the acacia behind her and she wishes mistake was the only word for that choice. The plover scoots from under the bush, followed by another. The size of grapefruits, the fat things chase each other all day. She wonders why they don’t flap their wings and fly. On the street below his condo, he said he would take her to breakfast. He meant rice. She wanted real food, bacon and eggs. “I’m sure you have better things to do with your day,” she said. She lifted her chin, an attempted nonchalance. Hard to do when surrounded by a metropolis, exhaust leeching into the skin, the hair. She had soup in her lungs. She lit a cigarette. “You smoke,” Paul said. “Sometimes,” she said. The smoke curled into her gut. “My dad’s in town. He’ll be right pissed if I don’t stop by.” She expected a slap on the back like a dear old chap. “Ambassador’s son, got to be a straight-laced guy.” Lines spread below his eyes like fingers. She hadn’t asked his age. Ally pulled hard on the cigarette, filling herself to the brim. They faced four lanes of traffic careening toward Khao San Road like gum balls down a chute. Three lanes from the curb, a bus stopped and amidst a jingle of horns continued next page 11


Bangkok, cont’d the passengers wove through taxis, candy-coloured pink and orange. Two tiny women, spinstered sisters locking arms, stuffed themselves through the crevasse that separated Ally from the black man. He stared across the shifting traffic as if considering walking into it. Ally stepped away and onto the curb’s lip, hailing with the cigarette. The next car was her taxi, lemon-lime. “Lovely meeting you, Paul,” she said, the Paul a sound without an ‘L’, the British way. Ally chews her cheek, blinks away the double image in the telescope. The curlews have stopped eating. They stand one-legged, calm. When she first arrived here, she thought of them as storks. So much focused on that one skeletal leg, the other tucked, invisible. But no. Not much like storks at all. The curving beak an obvious contrast against the stork’s to-the-point bill. And the curlew a member of the sandpiper family, shore birds, the waders. When a curlew sickens, it is abandoned by the flock. When she first noted this, writing it in the margins of her notebook scoured


with sand, she felt an uneasy anger. It was mercury poisoning, not disease. But now she understands how much more strength it takes to push away the injured bird, the one that chose the mercury-heavy fish. An intuitive allegiance that saves an entire flock. The acacia bush behind her buzzes with cicadas. The curlews on the sandbars are silent from this telescope distance. They move, dance, shift. They take one shape and then another. She closes the tripod and cradles the telescope under an arm. She leaves the cold, hard seat in the sand and breaks the water line with bare feet. In the village a hundred metres down the beach, someone has started supper. The air blisters with sweet and sour chili sauce and cashews. She heads for the sandbar. On slim bones, her wrap pants fold and unfold, close and open, like the wings of the plovers that choose not to fly. Š Sarah L. Taggart is a recent grad of the University of Victoria writing program. Her most recent foray into foreign territory was a trip to China to attend her brother’s wedding. She hasn’t been to Thailand yet, but it’s on the list.



Varanasi By Rebecca Cuttler


hubh poised on the final step of Manikarnika Ghat and touched his hand to the clay silt, rust-coloured and washed flat by the slow river. He lifted a pinch of the earth and rolled it between his fingers. He looked at the skim of muck on the stone between his feet. There was a tiny depression where his fingers had dug. He smeared the soil between his palms and it left a stain like henna. That was beautiful. Beauty lay in what you picked up. In the dirt. His weight was on the tips of his feet, heels slightly raised, his elbows between his knees. He sneered reflexively – the huge red sun burned low in front of him, and his eyes were not sharp, he spent too much time looking close, in narrow corridors, in dark spaces, reading in inadequate light. The far side of the river was a blur that he could not comprehend. So his eyes lit on the closer shore. Half-immersed on a subaqueous stair, an old married woman, a pilgrim, made darshan. Threading water evaded the joined blades of her palms. It fell through and aligned as a cord that twisted around itself. Her redSecond Place hemmed sari was hooded over her face. Her eyes moved in correspondance to her gathering and lifting motion. The liquid was illuminated, silver, dispersing into drops, pearling her skin, each drop reiterating the low lying sun. When the remaining water was aligned with the point between her eyes she loosed it to fall in front of the vermillioned part in her hair. The river was stagnant at the edges and ornamented with flowers, decaying paper, fecal matter, bits of plastic. A dog rooted in the marigold-strewn seam where water and stone met. Liquid dragged down the channel, dirtied as it entered. There was no foam or curl or eddy. The current pulled in bits of debris, toying, pushing back again. There was an oily film and the water was deep metallic. There was music, the canvas of the waterfront, brass bells and chanting braiding together. Copper bells rang in three-syllable words with the last beat accented. Water sucked at thick stone. These were the noises that formed the background of Shubh’s mind. So familiar were they that he had never before attempted to listen analytically. On normal days they were so familiar that he did not hear them at all.


He cleared his throat. The three high bells sounded again but the music did not resume. A cow bleating on the step. Two men conversing. A voice calling. He tried to hold them at fore in his mind – not as language instantly decoded, not as known quantities, but as rising and falling sound. He tried to follow the path of the sound. It was almost impossible to do so. The rhythms were incised in his mind; they fell back into their well-worn courses, and he could not dredge them to the surface. At pleasure-bursting moments he could grasp a line of concentration and become lost in the sounds – no longer understanding people’s words, the familiar cries of his native language. Then, always, something would come to distract him. A hand on the back of his neck. “Shubh! I kept calling your name. Why are you sitting there? What are you looking at?” “Nothing, just looking. Just listening.” Manjit squatted beside him. He leaned the flat of his left continued next page



Almost at Cape Camorin By Carla Reimer


t exactly 4 pm. on January 16, 1973, Teresa Wells was blessed with her first period. The previous day, before her body gave birth to a torrent of blood she equated with the raging waters of the Ganges, she had visited the Keshava Temple in Somnathpur. Staring at the voluptuous carvings of naked couples on the temple’s outer walls, Teresa hadn’t been able to breathe. This is nothing like the temple in Mussoorie. It’s impossibly old, she had thought to herself. Her mother had pointed to the crudely painted sign prominently placed at the entrance of the temple: No menstruating women allowed inside. “You’re lucky you’re a girl,” she had said with a laugh. Her mother, an art teacher at a boarding school in the Himalayan foothills, had planned their winter vacation to the southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. She had brought along a horde of books on erotic Hindu architecture. When they were travelling on the train, she occasionally shared a passage from one of her books—something she hoped would give her daughter a window of illumination. Teresa knew she should pay attention to her mother. She had seen the way men looked at her when they went shopping in the bazaar. Her mother had chestnut-colored hair and flawless skin. Her breasts were perfectly shaped, like a pair of ripe mangoes, and when she walked down the crowded streets, it was as if she was handing out garlands of jasmine to everyone,

Varanasi, cont’d arm across Shub’s upper back. “I don’t hear anything.” “I’m not listening to anything, I’m just listening.” “Shubh, you’re crazy. I think you have fallen in love!” Shubh slapped Manjit on the cheek and smeared the cracked soil, which had dried in his hand. “Hah, I haven’t fallen in love. I met a tourist woman yesterday. She was crying, she was sitting near to here, she couldn’t find her way. So I – she asked me – I mean I asked her, what’s your problem. She said, well, ‘I’m not finding the way of Vishygatha temple.’” “Vishygatha. I don’t know that temple.” “Nor do I. But I told her that I would help her.” The two men looked up for a minute and across the water. “She was strange. She didn’t know, she didn’t understand how—“ Shubh trailed off. He remembered how he saw the girl weeping and went to talk to her. Shubh had no category in his mind in which to place a girl sitting unaccompanied at the waterfront, crying with brazen confidence undercut by nervous fear. It was not the dead bodies, or the potential of danger, or the smells, she said. It was the crush of people who refused to leave her alone. She wanted to go and meditate in Vishyagatha temple,


or maybe it was Vishyahartha she said. Shubh did not know those names and all that he could say was that this is a city of temples, that the devout say that every stone and every grain of sand within every stone is itself a tiny linga. Then he tried to talk to her about movies but she steered him away. “I like to sit and just look at the world, not at a screen,” she said. “This place is so strange. People won’t leave me alone. Where I come from in Canada there are stairs that go into the water, kind of like this, but there is tons of space and no one tries to talk to you.” “Here, people like to be together,” said Shubh. Ana told him again that what she wanted to do was just to sit and look and listen. She could not understand what people were saying so she simply heard voices and music as poetry rising and falling. “Will I see you again?” Shubh asked when she finally left. “Probably not,” she said. And the next morning Shubh rose early. He went to the ghat he had known since childhood to look and listen with a new mind. Š Rebecca Cuttler is a recent B.F.A. graduate of Emily Carr Institute, where she completed her degree in India through an SFU Field School. Literary Writes is her first contest entry. She is currently working on several short stories and looks forward to further expanding her writing practice.



Third Place

even the harijan sweepers. Teresa thought her mother’s eyes were her best feature. They reminded her of the moss that flourished on the trunks of trees during the monsoon season. Green velvet. Unexpected bounty. Come hither, her mother’s eyes whispered. Come. “The Bible must supplant the narratives of their false divinities; their temples, covered now with sculptures and paintings which crimson the face of modesty, even to glance at, must be demolished; the vile lingam must be levelled to the ground,*” said her mother, interrupting her reverie. “See what I mean? The missionaries were so unenlightened. They failed to see the significance of the erotic.” Teresa tried to make sense of what her mother was saying. But her words simply floated away, like the rhododendron blossoms that disappeared from the hillside each summer. I don’t want to see any more temples, she thought, as she watched the verdant landscape flash by their compartment window. I want to be a herd-girl.


few days before their trip south, Teresa had bought some stationery from a shop on Mullingar Hill. The cards had been outrageously expensive, but she hadn’t been able to resist the intricately painted scenes of Lord Krishna seducing Radha, the village cowgirl. In most of the paintings, he was holding a bamboo flute. “It’s not an ordinary flute. It’s known as the Call-of-the-Infinite. His music is irresistible to everyone who hears it, especially girls our age,” her friend, Shahnaz, had said with a serious expression on her face. Teresa had brought the cards of Krishna and Radha along with her, thinking she might send one to her father, a swami at an ashram in Goa. She hadn’t seen him for six months. He had left her mother after their family trip to Hardwar, on the banks of the Ganges. Teresa couldn’t imagine her father wearing a saffron-colored dhoti. He had blue eyes and his skin was as pale as the flesh of an apple. Krishna, Lord of the Cowherds, Lord of the Senses, Lord of the World, had black, black skin. Usually, he wore

a jewelled sari. But in the stationery Teresa had purchased from the Gupta Gift Shop, his skin was slate blue and he was dressed like a Mogul prince. A bright red turban was wrapped around his head. Blue is the holiest of colors, she recalled, as she sat on the train bench examining the painting of Krishna with his hand on Radha’s breast. Teresa and her mother were travelling to their last destination—Cape Camorin—before they returned to Mussoorie. Radha was covering her long, flowing hair with the edge of her sari as she glanced at a group of female musicians. They were offering her garlands of flowers. There were peacocks resting on tops of trees. It must be their wedding day, Teresa surmised. She felt the urge to leave the compartment. “I need to use the bathroom,” she told her mother. “Don’t be long,” her mother replied, without looking up from her book. Teresa opened the compartment door. As she walked down the narrow corridor, she wondered if her mother’s breasts were as large as the ones she had seen that morning. While her mother was still asleep, she had watched an Indian woman washing her body by the tap outside of their room at the Parvati Hotel. She hadn’t mentioned the incident to her mother on their way to the train station. The train corridor was unusually empty. Probably because it was lunchtime, Teresa supposed. As she neared the end of the carriage, she saw one of the porters smoking a bedi by the large, open door. He was gone by the time she got there. Outside, everything was incredibly green. Holding onto the edge of the frame with one hand, Teresa leaned out, far out, into the midday sun. She could almost taste the salt in the air. We must be getting close to Cape Camorin, she thought. The waving branches of the palm trees reminded her of Radha’s dark hair. She couldn’t understand why no one had ever told her she was beautiful. Š Carla Reimer is a poet and short story writer. She is currently working on a collection of stories set in India and poems about the ancient Olympics. She lives in Vancouver.

* Ferdinand de Wilton Ward: India and the Hindoos (1850)



photo by Mitch Krupp


Gail Anderson-Dargatz Sketching the Outline of the Dream By Margaret Thompson Gail Anderson-Dargatz needs no introduction. She is an internationally known and celebrated author who has earned a prodigious number of prestigious awards: her first novel, The Cure for Death by Lightning, for example, won the VanCity Book Prize, the Ethel Wilson BC Book Prize, the UK’s Betty Trask Prize, and just to round things out, was a Giller finalist as well. A Recipe for Bees was also an international bestseller and Giller finalist, A Rhinestone Button made the national bestseller list, and her very first book, The Miss Hereford Stories, was a finalist for the Leacock Award for humour. Anderson-Dargatz also teaches fiction in the MFA creative writing program at UBC, and lives in the Shuswap, in the landscape of so many of her stories. In between returning from a festival at Woody Point, Newfoundland where she launched her new novel, Turtle Valley (and had a honeymoon!) and setting out on the road once more, she drew breath at home and agreed to an interview with Margaret Thompson, conducted by email.




The publication of your first novel, The Cure for Death by Lightning, was the cue for a flood of comparisons and labels— you were compared to Margaret Laurence, Alice Munro, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and the novel was hailed as the emergence of Pacific Northwest Gothic. What was your reaction to these comparisons? Were they of any use? Relevance? Or just a burden on a new novelist? Those labels were cool! And often quite funny. I’m really not sure what “Pacific Northwest Gothic” means, though I’m sure because of it, I ought to wear black. But how can you complain about being compared to Margaret Laurence and Alice Munro? Both these writers were, and continue to be, my heroes. The comparison with Gabriel Garcia Marquez seemed a wee bit silly, however flattering. Anyone who throws ghosts and premonitions into the mix seems to get compared to Mr. Marquez. But his writing is so terribly different, and wonderful. I just grew up hearing a lot of weird and spooky tales in the Shuswap. That’s where the magic comes from. You have described your mother as your Muse. Can you tell us more about that? Irene Anderson was a writer herself, and the reason I became a writer. Just as my character Beth does in Turtle Valley, my mom spent most of her days scribbling down the events of her days on stationery, sometimes to send as letters, sometimes to keep as a sort of journal, but very often to fax to me in response to the questions I asked of her as I researched for my fiction. She offered me her stories, but more importantly she gave me her approach to life. As I wrote on my blog, she helped me to see the good in everyone, and the magic in the everyday. Magic realism, a natural affinity for the inexplicable— premonitions, dreams, synchronicity, second sight—is an integral part of your novels, as much as the rural landscape. I understand its place in your own experience, but how would you describe its importance in the construction of your novels? What kind of creative advantage does it give you? Working in magic realism gives the writer tremendously useful tools to demonstrate the psychological issues of her characters. For example, writers have been struggling forever to express the mystical experience, something that by its nature can’t be expressed. In A Rhinestone Button, I gave my character synaesthesia, a cross-over of the senses so he senses sound as colour and tactile sensation, in order to allow the reader to experience something of that mystical experience. In Turtle Valley, rather than wax on in exposition, flashback WORDWORKS–FALL 2007

and/or dialogue about how the history of this family continues to haunt it, I expressed that in a literal haunting: ghosts walk this farm and follow its inhabitants. The past lives on. Job, in A Rhinestone Button, is a character with a wonderfully magical quality which eventually disappears. It seems to be replaced by his happiness at an almost mystical perception of the presence of something mysterious – God? – in all things. Is this a more profound sort of magic? The mystical experience is cool, but man, what’s here, right now, in front of us, is way cooler. To hold my little girl in my arms and feel her cheek against my neck. To eat that really great, soul-altering meal. To master a skill like writing and feel that exhilaration and satisfaction that comes at the end of a writing day. To spend an evening with my lover and see his eyes glisten as he takes in my face. That’s magic. The other trademark of your novels is the rural landscape, again with obvious connections to your own background. In your new novel, Turtle Valley, you have returned to the setting of your first novel, and even to some of the same characters. Apart from familiarity, what is it about rural Canada and its people that draws you back over and over again? If you were to write a book with an urban setting, how do you think it would differ (if it did!)? I have written urban; I started out that way. But when I returned to the small town, rural landscape that I grew up in, when I stepped off the pavement, well, that’s when the magic started to happen. Things are not neat and orderly or expected here. The wild is still very close. A bear ripped off the door to my garbage shed just recently and I see from his calling card that he’s returned for our plums. Coyotes regularly run through our backyard. Anyone who has spent any time in the bush knows that here is where we face the deepest part of our subconscious. But I’m curious why I keep getting asked this question as I know many of my city dwelling buddies don’t get asked why they write urban, which is something I’d be very curious about. What draws these writers back to the city over and over again when there is so much rural, small town and wild landscape in this province, in this country, to explore? If they wrote a book in a rural setting would it be different? You betcha. The reality is, of course, that fewer and fewer writers write about rural settings because most writers live in the city. However a great many people do still live out here. Rural living is still very much our reality in this country, and it needs to be expressed, now more than ever as we struggle with continued next page 17


Gail Anderson-Dargatz, cont’d environmental issues. As Jack Hodgins and I were saying on my forum, we both get a little annoyed with the unspoken assumption that the urban experience is somehow more worthy of writing about and why would anyone want to write about a rural experience (hence the comparisons with rural writers from the past)? That rural living is somehow less sophisticated. But when I look for story, of course I’m looking for conflict, and man, is there ever potential for conflict in a small town setting. Everybody knows what you’re up to and by god they all have a stake in it. There is much less opportunity for that sort of conflict in an urban setting where the people around you often don’t realize you are there, much less care enough to stick their nose in your business! A Rhinestone Button is set in Godsfinger, a fictional town in Alberta (a perfect name! If there were prizes for fictional names, you’d be adding to your list of awards)—again making use of your own experience as a farmer, I believe. Is rural Alberta essentially the same as the Shuswap, or are there differences that intrigued you? Oh, rural Alberta is worlds away from the rural ShuswapThompson I know both in terms of landscape and culture. When I was living in Alberta I went on book tour through New Zealand. I experienced far more culture shock in Alberta than I did in New Zealand! So, I’m a B.C. girl. And, of course, the landscapes are so very different. In fact it was in that flat prairie landscape that I first came to understand that I carried a map of the Shuswap inside of me and that this was how I expected the world to look: layers of forested mountains, lakes and fogshrouded hills. A secretive, gothic place. But in Alberta, everything is laid open; neighbours know exactly what you are up to. And in that prairie landscape my sense of perspective was off: I kept missing turnoffs or stopping for them too early because my sense of distance was so distorted by that strange horizon that contained no mountains. It gave the Alberta landscape a magical feel: the big sky, the perfect clouds receding below the horizon. It always felt a wee bit like those Monty Python cartoons: I expected that any moment God would stamp down a huge foot and squish someone. I know the feeling exactly! In A Recipe for Bees, the narrator says of Augusta’s memories, “Sometimes she believed her own stories as truth; other times she believed them as fiction.” Does this reflect your own approach to using personal recollection in your novels?

Oh, for sure. I sometimes don’t quite remember what is real and what I made up in my own books. But that’s true for all of us. It’s a fact of the way the brain works that we make up a memory each time we remember it. As we recall a memory it is reinvented, reconstructed, and that memory is deeply influenced by what we are going through right now. So, it’s the old what’s truth and what’s fiction? As I write in Turtle Valley, “memory (is) such a mercurial companion, and one not to be counted on.” You have said, “My job as a fiction writer is to sketch the outline of a dream.” That begs for expansion! Many readers fail to recognize that they create the book right along with the author, that a book changes each time it is read as the reader takes in her own history, expectations, beliefs, and wonderful imagination. If you don’t buy that idea, try reading the same book at twenty, at thirty, at forty…each time you read the book it will be different. Of course the book itself has remained the same; the reader has changed. So, keeping that in mind, my job as writer is to provide a sketch, a vessel, in which the reader pours his own history, imagination, stories, world view and hopefully, together, we cook up something wonderful. Your novels seem like very rich tortes to me, the tasty surface always yielding to more and more succulent strata beneath, the present events triggering buried layers of memory, each contributing to an understanding of characters, motives, lives, marriages, deaths. Does that pattern hold for Turtle Valley? What a lovely compliment! Well, I certainly hope that pattern holds for Turtle Valley. I worked very hard to make it happen. I think the goal of every writer is to have the reader recall the book long after they have read it, to have the reader stumble on a new realization, perhaps, as they remember some element of the book, much as we might remember a nighttime dream long after having it, and discover something new in it. A comment you have made about books refers to their “chameleon nature”, which I assume to mean the way we discover new things in books on re-reading, or the way readers have quite different interpretations of the same text. When you look back at your own books, in what way have they changed for you? Do you detect any kind of progression? I generally don’t reread my own books. I’m always on to the next. But as many of the characters from The Cure started tapping me on the shoulder and asking to be written about




again, I went back to The Cure and reread it. I expected to be embarrassed at this young attempt, but I found myself loving the novel, though I also found myself reading it as if another writer had written it. I had changed so much since I wrote the novel that I found it hard to identify with the writing as my own. I do think I’m a much better writer now, and that Turtle Valley is the best novel I’ve written to date. (I hope I can always say that!) I can see myself maturing through these books, my perspective on life enlarging. No surprise there, I imagine. I have read that a woman writer, in Canada at least, reaches her peak in her fifties. I have that to look forward to. Every writer, consciously or not, has a compact with a reader. What is the nature of that relationship for you? Have you ever discovered that the book you wrote is not apparently the one they read? Oh, that happens to me over and over. I’m constantly surprised at what readers see in my novels. Again, this isn’t surprising as each reader reads a very different book. I remember having a reader recognize me in a bookstore in Ontario and she enthused over a passage in The Cure, delighting in the smells, tastes and textures in such wonderful detail that I felt blessed that I had written such a masterpiece. When I got back to my hotel, I read the section just to bask in the glory of it, and found that it wasn’t anything like what she had described. This reader had taken her own marvelous imagination, her own history, her own experiences into the book and, as I’ve said, created it with me. It was her own genius that she was reading there. Another time I got an email from a reader who thought The Cure for Death by Lightning was the funniest novel he had ever read! I was flattered but you know, I don’t think I’d invite that fellow over for dinner. Like many writers, you also teach writing at UBC, and include Mentor in your list of personal roles. The benefits to your students go without saying; what are the benefits to you? Oh, yes! Simply put, teaching in the MFA creative writing program at UBC has made me a better writer. There is the expected, that when you teach, you must really think about your craft. But as this program is on-line, we attract writers who already have established lives and are accomplished in so many diverse fields (and live and work all over the world; one of my students this year is in Australia). I have “students” who are producers at CBC, working stage actors, or who work in film. Others have business ventures of their own. And still others are highly accomplished writers in other genres. Each of these writers brings not only their unique voice into the workshops, but their unique set


of skills as well. For example, one writer gave us all a lesson on interviewing which was so useful that I posted it for the rest of the students on our general forum. Week after week I find myself taking notes. I’m learning as much as the writers I work with. It’s a terrific program as we all teach each other. Can I quote you again? You have said, “If I’m not surprised by a day of writing, I don’t feel that I’m doing my job.” Would you expand that, please? What kind of surprise are you hoping for, and what, precisely, do you feel your job is? Well, that’s the great dilemma we’re all faced with at the cocktail party, isn’t it? What exactly does a writer do? Maybe the real question is, “What do you feel your role is?” What is a writer’s role? I imagine the answer to that question is different for each writer who answers it. Shelagh Rogers interviewed me on stage at the Writers at Woody Point festival in Newfoundland this past week. During this interview Shelagh asked me a question that, surprisingly, I haven’t been asked before. She said, “You’ve been so candid about where your writing comes from. What has that cost you?” I really had to think about that one. Aside from the occasional bit of embarrassment, being candid about my inspirations hasn’t really cost me. Rather, it allows others to be candid too. Each time I do an event where I talk about what has inspired a novel, at least one member of the audience comes up to me afterwards, very often in tears, and relates his or her own story. That’s what it’s all about for me: opening the door so that others can tell their stories. I remember reading Alice Munro’s Lives of Girls and Women for the first time as a very young woman and thinking, this story is about me! A young woman. A Canadian. Living in a rural or small town setting. So my story is worth writing about! That was a revelation. So I guess to the question, “What is your role?” my answer is that I hope I can give a similar revelation to those who read my stuff. I want to show the reader that his or her stories are not only worth writing about, but worth celebrating. Your new book is just out, so I’m sure you’ve already started on the next projects. What’s in the works for us to look forward to? I’m about a year and a half into the next book. I’m again writing about this Shuswap landscape, the river this time. It’s a much more poetic novel, much more focused on language. I’m writing sections of it as poetry, and then translating (quite literally) back into prose. And I expect some innovations. I’m back to my experimental self, at least a little. But, as they say in the reviews, while experimental, it will still be “accessible,” in other words, fun to read. Š



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 CBC Literary Competition Deadline: postmarked November 1, 2007 $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. To find out how to enter visit their website or email CBC at or call CBC toll-free at 1-877-888-6788.

The Writers’ Union of Canada Short Prose Competition for Developing Writers cn_shortprose.asp Deadline: PPostmarked ostmarked November 3, 2007 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: November 30, 2007 Unpublished, original fiction to 15,000 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 doublespaced. $27 entry fee gets you a oneyear subscription. Entries will not be returned. If you wish to be informed of contest results, include a stamped, selfaddressed envelope.

Geist Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest Deadline: postmarked December 1, 2007 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 clear connection. $20 entry fee/1 year’s subscription. Send to Geist Postcard Contest, #200 - 341 Water Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 1B8.

The Ontario Poetry Society’s Open Heart Poetry Competition Openheartpcomp.html Deadline: December 25, 2007 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

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS 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

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

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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 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.

you are sending. Let them know if you are just starting to send out your work. Send SASE if you want your manuscript back. If not, say so in your cover letter and send a small SASE or postcard, or your e-mail address, so they can respond. Prairie Fire Press, Inc. 423 100 Arthur Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 1H3.

Qwerty 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.


Paula Wheeler Creative Studios

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

Prairie Fire Send a maximum of six poems OR one short story (maximum 10,000 words) per submission, along with a brief cover letter with a short bio, your contact information, and title(s) and genre of the piece

Improve your writing skills and keep your book on track with my one-to-one manuscript evaluations and writer coaching.

• Priced per chapter/short story • Senior judge for the CAA “Winners Guide” competition for five years



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 http:// “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.


Launched! New Titles by

Federation Members

Runnerland John Burns Raincoast Books, March 2007 ISBN 978-1-55192-957-6 $11.95 Huckleberry Finn meets The Outsiders with a modern, pop-culture twist in this story of a teenage runaway who goes underground. Peter is a normal boy living a normal life— until his father dies suddenly. Then he accidentally discovers that he was adopted. Feeling betrayed, overwhelmed and confused, Peter runs away and finds himself living among street kids in a squat ruled by the dangerous yet charismatic Dekman. Soon bored of panhandling, Peter finds himself blacking out and escaping to a psychedelic subconscious world he calls Runnerland. As real-life pressures mount, the borders between Runnerland and reality begin to blur, forcing Peter to make some hard choices and find answers to the questions that have been plaguing him. Can he escape Dekman’s gang? And if he does escape, what kind of home does he have to return to? John Burns is the managing editor and the books columnist for Vancouver’s Georgia Straight and was a finalist for the Western Magazine Awards (2002 and 2005) and National Magazine Awards (2004). Burns is also a regular contributor and event host for CBC radio and CBC-related events such as CBC Radio Studio One Book Club. He co-authored Urban Picnic, a book of recipes.


Terra Infirma: A Life Unbalanced Anna Jean Mallinson Windshift Press, March 2007 ISBN 0-0736560-2-6 $17.95 Folktales tell about elixirs that course through and transform one’s body. Such elixirs exist today, one of them the antibiotic gentamicin. Benign as an antipathogen, gentamicin sometimes destroys the myriad hair follicles in the inner ear that enable us to stand upright, to put one foot in front of the other. Those who suffer this toxic reaction are forever damaged, doomed to live in a visually unstable world, learning to walk again with a body that has lost its essential equilibrium, its inner steering device. Terra Infirma: A Life Unbalanced tells about a summer that became a season of change through a toxic response to gentamicin and the author’s struggle to reclaim a life in a body disabled by this modern elixir. Anna Jean Mallinson is the author of a book of short stories, I Will Bring You Berries, a book of poems, Between Cup & Lip, and co-author, with four other poets, of Quintet: Themes & Variations. She lives in West Vancouver, BC.




The Red Wall: A Woman in the RCMP

David Watmough Ekstasis Editions, July 2007 ISBN 978-1-894800-99-0 $22.95 Geraldine celebrates the pioneering and often turbulent years of a twentieth-century woman scientist from Victoria, BC, through her life as a bio-chemist in Europe and North America. In that sense it is a tribute to feminists of an era when they had to struggle unceasingly to make their way in an implacably man’s world. Such a journey, both to seek recognition beyond gender, and to fight an obdurate patriarchy in her elected world of medical science, was to strengthen an innate feistiness and leave inevitable scars. Watmough pays tribute to a remarkable and singular woman, her role as mother and grandmother, and her anguish at senescence dimming, recognition of her achievements and the humiliation of being regarded as just a snobbish and crazy old woman. Naturalized Canadian David Watmough, 81, has been shaped and nourished by a Cornish background, several years in London, Paris, New York, and San Francisco. All his novels, short stories, plays and poems, however, have been written on Canada’s West Coast during the past 45 years. Geraldine is his eighteenth book and thirteenth of fiction.

Jane Hall General Store Publishing House, August 2007 ISBN 978-1-897113-68-4 $19.95 The first female Mounties had an unscripted role in which to demonstrate women could be as strong as the toughest men, without copying men. Female members asked for no special privileges and received none. The female footprint left on the RCMP changed more than policing. The Red Wall is a snapshot of a time of tremendous social change that brought more victories than disappointments. The author’s story is one of crime, adventure, lifelong friendships, romance, loyalty, and betrayal. Hall believes that women have not only an opportunity but a responsibility to stand together and provide a strong and clear voice to governments and multinational companies. More than redefining the role of women and men, this story is about redefining Canadian society and the national identity. Originally from Wolfe Island, Jane Hall now resides in Langley, BC. After receiving a BA and BEd from Queen’s University, she joined the RCMP in June 1977 and retired in 1998.



Never a Straight Line Bernice Lever Black Moss Press, August 2007 ISBN 978-0-88753-438-6 $15.00 Bernice Lever’s sensuous poetry bridges the gap between cities, nature and human form. Her conversational and idiomatic language is based on vivid images of the five senses, so her sensual descriptions bring to life emotions and experiences. Never A Straight Line explores the connection between natural life and urban development. Pain, cynicism and resentment paradoxically illuminate the global human experiences of pleasure, love and awe. Lever’s award-winning poetry is taken now to a higher level as humanity is depicted with simplicity and grace. “…fresh and alive, they’re genuine, and nothing less than pure pleasure.” —Russell Thornton Bernice Lever has published eight books of poetry; her prose includes a textbook, The Colour of Words. Living on Bowen Island, she writes, edits and gives workshops. After reading poems on five continents, she still gets “high” on words.


A Recollection of Moments: Riondel 1907-2007 Wendy M. E. Scott William B. Scott Publisher, June 2007 ISBN 978-0-9783897-0-3 $17.95 Riondel’s first century began when Edouard Riondel gave his money and his name to the mining camp at Bluebell Bay. The Deane family were the first to homestead— nine miles south of Riondel and granddaughter, Pauline Butling, tells of their life. Geoff Beley remembers coming to the mining town as a child in 1912. Evelyn Green, Leslie Downing, Ethel Christensen, and many other pioneers in the following decades add their own vivid recollections. The book comes full circle in the Remembrance Garden, where the woods, the pathways and the memories are timeless. Wendy Scott is a child of the BC Cariboo. Her column, “Pebbles,” appears monthly in The East Shore Mainstreet. Over the past ten years she has written many tributes to friends, neighbours and acquaintances in the East Shore communities. Wendy lives and writes in Riondel.

The Bone Cage

Turtle Valley

Angie Abdou NeWest Press, August 2007 ISBN 978-1-897126-17-2 $22.95

Gail Anderson-Dargatz Knopf Canada, September 2007 ISBN 978-0-676-97885-8 $32.00

Digger, an 85 kilo wrestler, and Sadie, a 26year-old speed swimmer, stand on the verge of realizing every athlete’s dream—winning a gold medal at the Olympics. Both athletes are nearing the end of their athletic careers, and are forced to confront the question: what happens to athletes when their bodies are too old and injured to compete? The blossoming relationship between Digger and Sadie is tested in the all-important months leading up to the Olympics, as intense training schedules, divided loyalties, and unpredicted obstacles take their draining toll. The Olympics, as both of them are painfully aware, will be the realization or the end of a life’s dream. The Bone Cage captures the physicality, sensuality, and euphoric highs of amateur sport, and the darker, cruel side of sport programs that wear athletes down and spit them out at the end of their bloom.

Kat has returned with her disabled husband and young son to her family’s homestead in Turtle Valley, in British Columbia’s Shuswap-Thompson area. Fire is sweeping through the valley in a ruthless progression toward the farm and they have come to help her frail parents pack up their belongings. Kat’s mother, Beth, is weighed down by her ailing husband, Gus, and by generations of accumulated detritus. But there is something else weighing her down, a secret she has guarded all her life. Kat is determined to get to its source before fire eats up all that is left of the family’s memories. Turtle Valley is a novel of reconciliation and hope in the midst of terrible loss. Part ghost story, part mystery, part romance, the novel transcends these genres and carries its readers into new territories of forgiveness and acceptance of the difficult choices we all must make in finding our way through life and love.

Angela Abdou has been speed swimming since the age of four, and currently competes at the Masters level. Her first book, Anything Boys Can Do, a collection of short stories, was published in 2006. Abdou has also contributed to many magazines and periodicals, including Other Voices, the Harpweaver, The Windsor Review, Spring, and Grain Magazine. She lives in Fernie, BC, where she teaches at the College of the Rockies.


Gail Anderson-Dargatz’s first novel, The Cure For Death By Lightning, met with terrific acclaim and garnered her the UK’s Betty Trask Award and a nomination for Canada’s Giller Prize. A Recipe For Bees soon followed with nominations for the Giller and the IMPAC Dublin Award. A Rhinestone Button was a national bestseller in Canada and her first book, The Miss Hereford Stories, was shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour.



Along a Snake Fence Riding

Ride Backwards On Dragon: A poet’s journey through Liuhebafa

W. H. New Oolichan Books, September 2007 ISBN 978-088982-236-8 $17.95 Along a Snake Fence Riding is a long poem for eight voices. One of these voices is that of the narrator, who steps into the poem “from time to time” to record a life of intention and ambition, resistance and refusal, byways of discovery and decision, and continuing persistence. Other voices speak “out of time.” These are the voices of memory and experience, flooding back in fragments, recalling moments in a life (or the moments of living)—not in chronological sequence but by association, as though set in motion by the senses, or by the twisting circuits of thought. In the background, constant but often ignored, is the last of the eight voices, the voice of the clock, which carries time forward even while the mind is collapsing duration into momentariness, refusing the conventions of sequence, and revisiting the past as though it were happening even now. W. H. New is the author of a wide range of books, including several books for children, the Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada, Underwood Log (shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry), and Touching Ecuador. His writing has received wide recognition, including the Lorne Pierce Medal and the Governor General’s International Award in Canadian Studies. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2006.

Kim Goldberg Leaf Press, September 2007 ISBN 978-0-9783879-1-4 $18.95 When award-winning journalist and author Kim Goldberg began studying the ancient Taoist internal art of Liuhebafa in 1998, it had an unexpected effect on her writer’s voice: she fell silent for nearly a decade. When the words finally returned, they came as poems. Ride Backwards On Dragon is her mapping of that journey using the 66-move sequence of this little known martial art. In a series of endnotes, she decodes the Taoist metaphysical symbolism of the ancient titles, revealing them to be a blueprint for living a life. The endnotes make this book a valuable resource for practitioners of any of the Taoist internal arts (Tai Chi, Chi Gong, Bagua, Hsing-I, Liuhebafa), or for the person simply seeking a self-authored life. Kim Goldberg is the author of four nonfiction books and numerous articles on politics and current events. Her poetry has appeared in Prism International, The Dalhousie Review, Filling Station, Rampike, Front, Nimrod, The New Quarterly, On Spec, The Arabesques Review, and other literary magazines in North America and abroad. She lives in Nanaimo.



the weather from the west Sheila Peters Creekstone Press, September 2007 ISBN 978-0-9783195-0-2 $24.00 In this collection of poetry, Sheila Peters celebrates and reflects on the diverse experiences, both here and away, that have made the Bulkley Valley her home as a writer. Her poems are accompanied by paintings by Perry Rath. This synergistic collaboration reflects the depth of the physical, spiritual and emotional worlds of these two artists where their visions intersect. From the mountain ridges and aspen forests of the eastern Skeena River watershed to the ancient alleys of Kathmandu, Peters and Rath explore the interplay of absence, presence and renewal in the landscape, the heart and the mind. Sheila Peters lives in Smithers, BC, and teaches English and Creative Writing at Northwest Community College. Her work has been published in Event, Prairie, Fire, Grain, The Malahat Review and Descant. Her first book, Canyon Creek: A Script (Creekstone Press) was published in 1998, followed by a collection of short stories, Tending the Remnant Damage, published by BeachHolme in 2001.


Kendra Kandlestar and the Door to Unger Lee Edward Födi Brown Books Publishing Group, October 2007 ISBN 978-1-933285-83-2 $20.95 Everyone knows that the creatures of the outside world are forbidden by magic to enter the land of Een. That’s why young Kendra Kandlestar is so surprised when a giant Unger arrives in the middle of the night to deliver a cryptic message: If she can find the fabled Door to Unger, she will be able to unlock the truth about her longlost family. Soon, Kendra finds herself on an epic adventure in which she must tangle with Dwarves, monsters, and one strange, magic-peddling faun. Can Kendra trust this peculiar cast of characters? Will she be able to discover the secret about her family? There’s only one way to find out: Open the Door to Unger and enter a world of magic, monsters and mystery… Known as the “Wizard of Words,” Lee Edward Födi has been writing and illustrating stories about magic, monsters, and mystery for as long as he can remember. He lives in Vancouver, where he leads a program called Dream Workshop, which helps kids write and publish their own books.

Wind Tails


Anne DeGrace McArthur & Company, October 2007 978-1-55278-6635 $29.95

Donna Kane Hagios Press, September 2007 ISBN 978-0-9739727-9-5 $16.95

At a side-of-the-highway, middle-of-nowhere diner, during one extraordinary day in 1977, the paths of an odd assortment of travellers cross. Their stories circle around points of departure and involve strange twists, turns, and kinds of chance encounters that change the way we see the world. There is the old woman who, told she has just weeks to live, tells everyone exactly what she thinks of them—and then doesn’t die; the water witcher who comes to terms with his gift instead of drowning in it; the woman who never leaves her own town but travels vicariously through the tales of the hitchhikers she picks up; the proprietor of the diner, Cass, and the story that haunts her. Central to this day is Pink, travelling in whatever direction the wind takes him, and Jo, a young waitress whose own life twists have left her anchorless. For Jo, Cass’s Roadside Cafe is a waystation, where she holds her own until a series of interactions with strangers gives her permission to find her own point of departure, and embark upon her own journey.

From the vantage point of her home in northern BC, Donna Kane offers readers her gift for voicing her immersion in the natural world. For Kane, the human presence is component rather than dominant. Kane’s is a much-welcomed new voice and her poems ring with empathy and authenticity. Kane’s poems engage us because they pay as much attention to themselves as they do to their subjects: the north, living in community, living fully in the moment, and moving on from loss. Her poems move us from the ordinary into a realm of imagination and language. This is poetry that delights us and takes us deeper into our own understanding of the paradox of loss and preservation. Donna Kane’s work has appeared in journals and magazines across Canada. Her first book of poems, Somewhere, A Fire, was published in 2004 by Hagios Press.

Anne DeGrace is a librarian, journalist, writer and illustrator living in Nelson, British Columbia. Her first novel, Treading Water, was published by McArthur and Company in 2005 and she has also produced illustrations for several children’s books published by Canadian publishers. Her short stories have appeared in The New Quarterly, Room of One’s Own, and Wascana Review.




Seaweed Under Water

Dangerous Crossings!

Stanley Evans Touchwood Editions, October 2007 ISBN 978-1-894898-57-7 $12.95

Antonia Banyard Annick Press, October 2007 ISBN 978-1554510863 $9.95

The mother of a young Native girl disappears in mysterious circumstances. Called to investigate, Coast Salish detective Silas Seaweed discovers a mummified corpse in an ancient forest apparently haunted by supernatural forces. A garroted woman…A mysterious underwater universe…Ghost canoes…A haunted river… Silas Seaweed pursues obsessed murderers through a chilling quest into the Unknown World.

Journey into adventure in ten amazing stories of voyages through icy waters, across hostile borders, and into unforgiving wilderness. You’ll witness record-breaking solo flights, harrowing escapes from oppression, and death-defying ocean crossings. An unwilling teenager escapes from army duty in the middle of the night before crossing war-torn Germany in a search for his family. West Virginian slave Henry Brown pines for freedom in the north and executes a risky but ingenious plan. In the 18th century, an upper-class Peruvian woman dares to travel the full width of the South American continent, but she and her companions are soon stranded on the treacherous Amazon River. The latest in an award-winning series, Dangerous Crossings! is an unforgettable trip.

“Evans makes great use of West Coast aboriginal mythology and religion, informing the complex character of Silas Seaweed....” — The Globe and Mail Stanley Evans’ first books in this crimefiction series are Seaweed on the Street (2005) and Seaweed on Ice (2006). His previous novels are Outlaw Gold and SnowComing Moon. He was born in England, immigrated to Canada in 1954, and now lives in Victoria, BC. He began his career by writing articles for newspapers and magazines. He has also written two plays that were produced at the Arts Club in Vancouver.

Antonia Banyard has written poetry, short stories, a novel, and essays. Her work has been published in Canada, the United States, England and Australia. Born in South Africa, she emigrated from Zambia when she was four. She grew up in Nelson, BC, and now lives in Vancouver.



The Glass Seed: The Fragile Beauty of Heart, Mind and Memory Eileen Delehanty Pearkes Timeless Books, November 2007 ISBN 978-1-932018-18-9 $19.95 From the heart of the mountains in British Columbia, comes this poignant narrative that delves into the nature of memory and healing. In her first full-length work of literary prose, Eileen Delehanty Pearkes investigates cultural ideas about care, compassion and loss in the face of her mother’s terminal illness. Lyrical and evocative, Pearkes’ voice resonates with the seasons as she takes us on a journey through winter to spring, from disintegration to wholeness. The reflective passages and strong imagery of The Glass Seed reveal the influence of yoga, and an intensely personal approach to the politics of womanhood, from this emerging writer in the literary tradition of women’s spiritual memoir. Eileen Delehanty Pearkes writes regularly for the award-winning magazine, ascent. Her writing reflects her interest in landscape, cultural history, spirituality and the human imagination. Eileen is the author of The Geography of Memory (2002), co-author of The Inner Green (2005), and a contributor to River of Memory (2006). She received her BA from Stanford University and her MA from the University of British Columbia. Eileen lives in southeastern British Columbia and is the mother of two teenaged sons.


Regional Reports

Central Kay McCracken, Salmon Arm

North Audrey L’Heureux, Prince George Dee Horne, CEO of Scroll Press (, is launching her fall book season on November 1 with a new title, Erratic, by BC resident Rebecca Bradley. Dawson Creek poet Donna Kane has a second poetry collection, Erratic, out with Hagios Press. Robert Budde will launch his new book, Finding Ft. George (Caitlin Press, October 2007) with readings in Vancouver and Prince George. Sheila Peters launched her third title, The Weather from the West, in September. The book includes art by Perry Rath, and was published by Creekstone Press of Smithers. Sheila’s short story, “The Long Train,” won second prize in Prairie Fire’s fiction contest this summer and three of her poems are part of Annerose Georgeson’s Beetle Art Exhibition travelling this fall. Margo Hearne’s article, “Windmills of the Mighty,” appeared in the August/September edition of Northword Magazine. She’s had a number of items in local papers and her book, Nesting Songbirds of Haida Gwaii , published in 2006 received a glowing review in Vol. 15 of BC Birds. North region Fed members met and enjoyed a July picnic and an August coffee klatch held at Books & Co. in Prince George. Organized by Audrey L’Heureux, picnic attendees included Kyla Grundstrom from Fort St. James, Anne Redpath and Ann Tiffany. Audrey, Dee Horne, Brenda Koller and Vivien Lougheed, along with guests Jack Boudreau and Mel McConaghy, talked up a storm on all things literary at the coffee klatch.

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Maureen Egan’s poem, “A Wake for Spring,” appeared in The Pine Beetle Review, Issue 4, Spring 2007. Her short story, “Lookie Loo,” came in third in the One Minute Short Story Contest in July at the Sorrento Festival of the Arts. Marilyn McAllister received second prize for her story “Obsessed” in the One Minute Short Story Contest held in Sorrento as part of the Festival of the Arts. Dorothy Rolin received an honourable mention for her short story “Overkill” in the same contest. Anne Walsh read from her historical novels, a trilogy set in Barkerville, on July 22 at Beck’s Pottery in Wells, BC. Heidi Garnett won third in the Great Blue Heron Poetry Contest sponsored by Antigonish Review. Harold Rhenisch was awarded The George Ryga Award For Social Awareness in Literature in August for The Wolves at Evelyn: Journeys Through a Dark Century (Brindle & Glass). On July 7 he read at Forest Fest in Port Alberni. He taught a memoir workshop at the Victoria School of Writing and his review of Three Danish Poets was accepted for publication in Vallum. “The Boneyard,” Harold’s Malahat Long Poem Prize winner, appeared in the summer edition of the magazine. Gail Anderson-Dargatz’s fourth novel, Turtle Valley, is on bookstore shelves. In August Gail and her family attended the national launch for her book in Newfoundland. She and her husband Mitch Krupp will combine his photography talents with her novels (as they do in Turtle Valley) in an exhibition at SAGA Public Art Gallery, Salmon Arm, in October. Kay McCracken’s poem “Rain” appeared in The Pine Beetle Review, Issue 4, Spring 2007. She and Deanna Kawalski traveled to Vancouver in mid-September to attend Alan Twigg’s Reckoning conference in Vancouver. Garry Gottfriedson was globetrotting again, specifically in Italy, for five weeks this past summer. He gave a reading in Mantova, travelled with a team of professors from there and gave talks about First Nations writers and the movements happening here. Garry did a reading at Deep Cove at the end of August. In July, Alex Forbes went to Fort Nelson for the opening of an exhibition at the Phoenix Theatre Centre, where his



poem “boppin’ with Mr. Mynah” was mounted on vinyl sheets, and accompanied by the paintings of Tricia Sellmer, based on scenes in the poem. At the opening, a single (“boppin’ with Mr. Mynah”) from one of Alex’s two forthcoming albums with Henry Small and Tina Moore was also launched. On September 8 Alex opened another joint exhibition of his poems, with paintings by Tricia Sellmer, at the Maple Ridge Art Gallery/Art Centre Theatre. Wishbone Theatre celebrated its fifth season of producing original work in the BC interior with a new play, Heebie Jeebies, written by Sharon Stearns. Critically acclaimed by the press and audiences for fabulous music and fine performances, the show ran through August at the Enderby Drill Hall. Sterling Haynes and Patricia Donahue of the Okanagan Writers League organized the Literary Arts participation at Lake County’s annual ArtWalk. Thirteen authors, including several award winners who have published internationally, took part in the successful event. Barbara Shave and other OWL members assisted with the event. Federation members Bonnie Jackson, Karen Bissenden, Miranda McLaws, Sarah Weaver, and Kay McCracken attended a special pre-launch reading by Sheila Peters (the weather from the west) at the home of Elizabeth Hazlette and Philip Tidd in Silver Creek on August 21.

South East Anne Strachan, Nakusp Lorraine Gordon writes a monthly book review for the Boundary Communicator, a bimonthly publication in Grand Forks. She recently reviewed The Secret and Happiness is a Choice. Sandra Hartline is writing an article about historic costuming at Fort Steele for the fall and winter issue of ARTiculate Magazine. Her short story, “Gourmet di Bella,” will be published in the Fall 2007 issue of New Orphic Review. Margrith Schraner and Ernest Hekkanen published the fall issue of The New Orphic Review before heading down to Vancouver’s SFU campus to attend Reckoning 07. Hekkanen was interviewed by the editor of VOX, a literary magazine out of Oxford, Mississippi, about his forays into existentialism and surrealism, as well as about his experiences as the publisher of a literary magazine.


Luanne Armstrong’s memoir, Blue Valley, An Ecological Memoir, was published by Maa Press in September. The launch will be held October 5 at Oxygen Art Centre in Nelson. Her YA book, Pete’s Gold, is in production at Ronsdale Press. Kuya Minogue will open her ZenWords Zen Centre ( in Creston in late October. Wendy M. E. Scott launched A Recollection of Moments: Riondel 19072007 August 5 at Riondel Daze. Memories of Riondel’s first century are gathered into this collection of stories gleaned from kitchen tables, park benches, and parking lots. The Writers’ Show, hosted by Holley Rubinsky, is an hour long this season and will include an upcoming guest interview with Fed member Angie Abdou. Angie is busy promoting her second book, The Bone Cage, published by NeWest Press. Eileen Delehanty Pearkes will launch her memoir, The Glass Seed, with readings in Castlegar, Nelson and Vancouver’s Banyen Books in November. Crazy About Canada: Amazing Things Kids Want to Know written by Nelson author Vivien Bowers has won the 2006 Canadian Science Writers’ Association’s “Science In Society Journalism Award” in the Children’s Book category. Maddy Harlamovs received honourable mention in the Fed competition Literary Writes for her piece “Snapshots of the First Gulf War.” This is an extract from a memoir Maddy is writing about the 1991 adoption of her son from Romania. Anne DeGrace’s second novel, Wind Tails (McArthur & Co.), is out in hardcover in early October. Anne’s tour includes readings at Word on the Street in Vancouver, Nicholas Hoare Books High Tea in Toronto, and a reading at Frog Hollow Books in Halifax. Wind Tails will be launched in Anne’s home town of Nelson on October 19 at the Nelson Municipal Library.

Fraser Valley Sylvia Taylor, Langley Sylvia Taylor facilitated (fifth year running) at the Willamette Writers Conference in Portland in August. She is teaching Lifestory writing at several seniors’ centres and is enjoying an expanded roster of business and literary clients in her writing/editing/coaching/consulting work.



The Evergreen Country, a memoir on Vietnam by Thuong Vuong-Riddick, will be published in September by Hagios Press. Naomi Olsen has written and filmed a local sitcom pilot titled The Handi/Capable Detective Agency. Robert (Max Tell) Stelmach’s children’s story, “Fiezo, the Book Burro” was a runner-up for The Writers’ Union of Canada 2007 Writing for Children competition. He also taught two week-long workshops, “The Creative Writer’s Tool Kit” and “Fractured Fairytales,” in July at Southridge Elementary School Summer Camp and is looking forward to the release of his fourth CD, Little Johnny Small and Other Stories. Margo Bates will present a workshop, “Emotional Healing Through Writing and Publishing,” in October at the World Burn Congress. She will present workshops on writing humour and story narrative at the October meeting of the Romance Writers of America Greater Vancouver Chapter. New writer Heather Campbell won second prize in the Flash Fiction category for “Big Shoes” soon to be published in the Borderline edition of Ascent Aspirations Anthology. New Fed member Carla Braun earned an honourable mention and publication for her fiction piece, “Sushi on Fourth.” Darren Groth signed with Australian publisher, C&C International Media Group, for the re-print of his YA novel Most Valuable Potential and the publication of his third novel The Umbilical Word in May 2008. Susan McCaslin has a new volume of poetry entitled Lifting the Stone forthcoming in October through Seraphim Editions which will be launched at the Toronto Arts and Letters Club in October. She will be touring with the book this fall in Toronto, Hamilton, and London, Ontario. She will give readings at The Fort Gallery in Fort Langley, Canadian Memorial Centre for Peace, Douglas College, UBC Books at the Robson Square Centre, and Victoria. Anthony Dalton was elected National co-Vice-President of the Canadian Authors Association. In September he moderated a panel on the effects of climate change at the Explorers Club Symposium on Salt Spring Island and presented a workshop and motivational talk in Edmonton. In October, he launches his fifth book, Alone Against the Arctic (Heritage House), at the Edmonton International Literary Festival. Doris Riedweg presented awards to the five winners of Canadian Stories magazine’s nation-wide literary competition at their August conference at Trinity Western University in Langley. Loreena M. Lee won second place in fiction with “Ingredients” in the Canadian Stories Short Story & Poetry


competition. She will also be featured in the September issue of Surrey Arts Council’s Spotlight On the Arts. As the first place fiction winner in the Surrey Arts Centre/Kwantlen University Surrey Stories contest, Lois Peterson read from her work at the Arts Council of Surrey’s 40th Anniversary gala in September. She is also spearheading a public awareness and fundraising campaign to create a 25tree Library Grove in a Surrey park in recognition of Surrey Public Library’s 25th Anniversary in 2008. Her article, “May I Put You on Hold - Dealing with Interruptions,” appeared in the August issue of The Writer Magazine, and she is currently working on assignment for an article about characterization for the January issue.

The Islands David Fraser, Nanoose Bay Kim Bannerman’s short story, “The Hired Man,” was published in the summer issue of Thereby Hangs A Tale, an Oregon-based magazine, and her short story, “September,” was published in White Chimney, a new UK magazine. Her poem “Western Red Cedar” was published in the July 2007 issue of Perspectives Magazine. Margaret Cadwaladr had an article published in the summer edition of Zoom Airlines’ in-flight magazine. She also edited Speed’s War: A Canadian Soldier’s Memoir of World War II (Madrona Books) by George A. Reid (July 2007). Ann Graham Walker had a poem, “Another Uneasy Spring,” published in the chapbook, All that Uneasy Spring, edited by Patrick Lane and published by Ursula Vaira’s Leaf Press. Laura Fee of Duncan, BC, won second prize ($250) for her essay “The Old Woman of Corniglia” in the second annual Accenti Magazine Awards held in April at the Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival. The essay will be published in forthcoming issues of Accenti Magazine and Accenti Online. Kim Goldberg’s latest book, Ride Backwards On Dragon: a poet’s journey through Liuhebafa, was launched in Nanaimo in September. On International Literacy Day



she took part in a writer’s panel at the Coaltown Music Festival in Lantzville. In August she co-hosted an Urban Poetry Cafe on Radio CHLY in Nanaimo featuring poems from Guantanamo detainees and other poetry of incarceration. Her own poetry has recently appeared in The Dalhousie Review, Front and The Arabesques Review in Algeria. Mary Ann Moore received an Honourable Mention for “Lily Does the Laundry”, a short piece of fiction accompanied by a watercolour, posted on the Ascent Magazine (Montreal) website under the contest heading: “What Here Looks Like.” Mary Ann continues to offer one-on-one mentoring and monthly creativity workshops in Nanaimo. Lyn Hancock presented her books at the Lantzville Festival on Saturday, September 8, along with other Nanaimo Arts Council artists. Adrienne Mason assisted David Suzuki with a revised edition of The Sacred Balance, which will be released this fall. Elizabeth Woods launched her new book, 1970: A Novel Poem, published by Ekstasis Editions, at the Solstice Cafe in Victoria on September 23. Yvonne Blomer participated in the Poettree Project in Victoria along with Wendy Morton, Barbara Pelman, Isa Milman, Dvora Levin, Susan Stenson, Carla Funk and Arleen Pare from August 27 to October 7 in the afternoons at the tree outside Munro’s Books. The tree was decorated with poems and the poets busked poetry and gave away poems. The event was sponsored by the City of Victoria. Five Vancouver Island writers, Carol Windley, Kim Goldberg, Ursula Vaira, John Wilson, and Dawn Tyndale took the stage on September 8 for a literary panel discussion that was part of the Coaltown Music Festival in Lantzville. Joy Huebert won second place in the Vancouver Slam Story competition August 8, and received an Honourable Mention in a writing contest by Canadian Stories. Shannon Cowan has published a new YA novel, Tin Angel, with Lobster Press (2007). Three Federation of BC Writers, Elizabeth Bartel, Lyn Hancock and Kim Goldberg, were featured readers at Nanaimo’s monthly spoken word open mike event, WordStorm (, for the September opening of a new season. On October 20, Pauline Holdstock, Rachel Wyatt , and M.A.C. Farrant will read at the launch of Apples under the Bed: Recollections and Recipes from B.C. Writers and Artists at the Winchester Gallery. The anthology, published by Hedgerow Press, also includes pieces by Dede Crane, P.K. Page, Don McKay, Linda Rogers and Bill Gaston among others.


Lower Mainland Compiled in-house


David Watmough isn’t slowing down any time soon. The seasoned author will launch his seventeenth book, Geraldine (Ekstasis Editions), this fall. The book marks David’s thirteenth work of fiction. Andrew Boden saw a number of his pieces published in Wend Magazine, Open Minds Quarterly, The Puritan and The Writer’s Post Journal in recent months. Larry G. Jacobsen has been commissioned to write a book on the history of the Emerald Mine which will be sponsored by the Salmo Historical Society and Sultan Minerals Inc. Lee Edward Fodi’s children’s book, Kendra Kandlestar and the Box of Whispers, has been named a finalist in the Mom’s Choice Awards, with the winner to be announced in New York on October 13. Fodi’s new book Kendra Kandlestar and the Door to Unger, the next installment in the Chronicles of Kendra Kandlestar, will be launched in October 2007. Allan Brown of Powell River gave a talk on “Point of View in Haiku” at the annual summer meeting of the pacifikana haiku group on Gabriola Island. He has published three reviews in the summer issue of Jones Av. (Toronto) and a review article on the subject “the poetical is the political” in the spring issue of Poemata (Canadian Poetry Association). His poems have come out in Island Catholic News (Victoria), Mariposa (San Francisco), and as part of the multi-media show “Dimensions” at Studio 22 in Kingston, Ontario. Mark Leiren-Young’s first feature film, The Green Chain (which he wrote and directed), received its World Premiere at the 2007 Montreal World Film Festival and was recently featured at the Vancouver International Film Festival. Mark is also hosting a new podcast series for The Tyee entitled “Trees and Us” where he interviews people about forestry and environmental issues. His first guests were BC authors Severn Cullis-Suzuki (Notes From Canada’s Young Activists: A Generation Stands Up for Change) and John Vaillant (The Golden Spuce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed). Antonia Banyard’s new book, Dangerous Crossings!, a title in the True Stories From the Edge series with Annick Press, will be launched this fall. Golf enthusiast Liz Clark will be visiting New Zealand again later this fall to meet the contributors to her new book, Birdies, Bogeys and Kiwis: Golfing Around New Zealand.



Jacqueline Pearce has a new YA novel, Manga Touch, out this fall with Orca. The launch will take place on October 20 at Nikkei Place in Burnaby and will coincide with an exhibit of shojo manga art at the adjoining Japanese Canadian National Museum. She’ll be reading from a previous novel for kids, The Truth About Rats (and Dogs), at Word on the Street, September 30. Trevor Carolan has returned to teaching at the University College of the Fraser Valley and is pleased that UCFV is hosting an exciting line-up of fall readings and public workshops featuring writer-in-residence Richard Van Camp. One of Eileen Kernaghan’s fantasy novels is being reissued after 18 years. The Sarsen Witch, shortlisted for a 1990 Aurora Award, will be published in a new edition by the Juno Books imprint of Wildside Press. Troy Anderson garnered a first place win in this year’s Antigonish Review’s Sheldon Currie Fiction contest for her short fiction piece, “Right Before Your Eyes.” Trisha Cull will give a reading at the Winnipeg International Writers Festival (Sept. 28 – 30) and receive the Bliss

Carman award for her poem, “Loose,” from Prairie Fire magazine. Then she’s off to the Banff Wire Writing Studio! Ruth Kozak had several travel articles published over the summer and did a workshop on Writing Travel Memoirs for the Summer Dreams Festival. Bernice Lever will launch her eighth poetry collection, Never a Straight Line (Black Moss Press) in October at The Gallery on Bowen Island. In July, she read in Hamilton, Richmond Hill and Ottawa; then for World Poetry on Coop Radio and AfrikaDey. Poet, singer, author and media artist Heather Haley’s poem “Habitat” from her new book, Window Seat, was selected by About.Com/Poetry. Heather facilitated a “See The Voice” Visible Verse workshop on creating videopoems at the Edmonton Poetry Festival. Joanne Arnott will present readings from her new book, Mother Time (Ronsdale), at the Fourth Annual Anskohk Aboriginal Literature Festival taking place October 16 to 20 in Saskatoon before heading over to Winnipeg for the Aboriginal Literary Festival. Š

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Wordworks Fall 2007 Gail Anderson-Dargatz  
Wordworks Fall 2007 Gail Anderson-Dargatz  

Wordworks Fall 2007 Gail Anderson-Dargatz Edition. Wordworks is the literary magazine produced by the Federaton of BC .