books on the radio

The Sentimentalists’ Win is a Victory for Everyone at the #GillerPrize Ceremonies (via @seancranbury)
November 9, 2010, 11:45 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized

An Open Letter to Andrew Steeves, publisher of Johanna Skibsrud’s The Sentimentalists, Gaspereau Press.

Good morning, Mr Steeves!

Congratulations to you, Gaspereau Press and Johanna Skibsbrud for the deserving win at the Giller Prize ceremonies last night in glorious downtown Toronto.

Few of us can imagine what you must be feeling right now. Some mixture of dread and elation, perhaps.

I honestly hope that it’s neither because you didn’t just win Canada’s ‘most prestigious literary prize’ last night – while simultaneously throwing the entire book distribution chain into apoplexy – you actually won and shared the win with some very deserving books and writers.

No matter how insistent the cries become from the manifold voices in the book publishing ether to ‘get these books onto the display tables of big box bookstores from coast to coast (and maybe a few of the remaining independents while you’re at it) regardless of what it does to the quality of the book object’ – please ignore them.

While the voices of those imbued with the patience enough to wait, and a sufficient list of books to read in the meantime, may not be quite as loud as some of the others, we are here.

Go back to work today like any other day and embrace the process that you have built for your books and your writers.

Gaspereau Press has a reputation for creating beautifully designed and crafted books full of great writing. The Giller Prize does not change that.

The craft that your shop brings to bookstores, reader’s bookshelves and to the legacy of reading in Canada cannot be replicated.

The readers will be here when the books are ready. I will be very excited to open the package from Gaspereau that contains my copy of the Sentimentalists. Whenever that is.

In fact, I think that we can look at this as a victory for all the books in this year’s Giller Prize list because now we can enjoy all the books that made the short list as we await the arrival of their own handmade copy of the winner.  Crafted by none other than Gaspereau Press.

That actually sounds like a win for everybody involved.

So take your time with the reprints, but not too much time. Get them to us when they’re ready.

Until then we’ve got a few other books to read.


Fans of the Book.


ABE the Advent Book Elf: An interview with Open Book Toronto (via @seancrnabury)
November 1, 2010, 12:24 PM
Filed under: Enthusiasms, Imagination, Industry Change | Tags: , ,

Last December our friends at Open Book Toronto interviewed Julie, ABE and myself about the Advent Book Blog. It was a fun interview and it gave us a chance to explain ourselves and our project but ABE’s part of the Q&A is the most memorable. I’ve posted it below.

For the full interview check out Open Book Toronto.

I’m looking forward to unleashing more of ABE’s crazy story later this year!

Continue reading

Advent Book Blog (@AdventBooks) Will Return on December 1st! (via @seancranbury)
November 1, 2010, 11:07 AM
Filed under: Enthusiasms, Events, Imagination | Tags: ,

Remember the Advent Book Blog? Remember how much fun it was?

Remember the look on your mother’s face when she opened her gift on Christmas morning and saw that you’d followed the advice of Dan Wagstaff and got her a copy of Asterios Polyp? That, my friend, is the magic of giving books as gifts.

And so, in hopes of creating even more looks bemused perplexion if not surprise and joy, we’re planning to launch a renewed version of the ABB in one month from now.

If you didn’t participate in the project last year or were sleeping under a rock or perhaps lost in a Stephanie Meyer Coma here’s a breakdown of what the Advent Book Blog is all about:

Continue reading

VIWF #23: Hal Wakes Talks Gibb, Selecky, Wiersema & More
VIWF #23: Bringing 100 Writers from all over the World to Vancouver this week!

Click here to listen to the Hal Wake Interview for VIWF #23.

Here’s the official word on the festival from the people on the inside:

Festival bringing 100 international and Canadian authors to Vancouver tomorrow

(October 18, 2010, Vancouver, BC)—The Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival opens tomorrow (Tuesday, October 19), and brings to Vancouver some of the biggest names in writing in the world. Over six days, from October 19 to 24, 100 authors from Canada, the US, the UK, Italy, France, Ireland, Israel, Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines will join thousands of readers at the annual festival on Granville Island in Vancouver.

Among the featured authors are four who have been nominated for this year’s Governor-General’s award – Sandra Birdsell, Emma Donoghue, Drew Hayden Taylor and Kathleen Winter – and two who have been shortlisted for this year’s Giller Prize – Sarah Selecky and Kathleen Winter.

Also attending are this year’s Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Harding, the most read French author in the world, Marc Levy, and past nominees for the Booker Prize Ali Smith, Andrea Levy, David Mitchell, Andrew O’Hagan and Yann Martel, who won the Booker Prize in 2002.

The Festival concludes after six days and 67 events with a tribute to Penguin on its 75th anniversary, publisher of pocketbook classics that brought the world’s best literature affordably to readers. In addition, the first four days of the Festival feature 34 events especially for grades K – 12 students in both French and English that will bring more than 7,000 young readers to Granville Island.

Following the Festival week, Sara Gruen, whose novel Water for Elephants was an international best-seller, will appear on Nov. 4, and on Nov. 21, the Festival presents Gary Shteyngart, a The New Yorker magazine’s pick for the best 20 under 40 luminary fiction writers.

Tickets are available through VancouverTix by calling 604-629-VTIX (604-629-8849), or at the Writers Festival box office, 1398 Cartwright Street. Complete program details are available at

Vancouver Book Renaissance: Update from a Literary Outpost (@seancranbury)
October 13, 2010, 11:43 AM
Filed under: Uncategorized

Monique Trottier with iPad.


If the joy of literature lies in the new ideas it offers readers, the interactive, curatorial nature of the web makes it a perfect place for books to flourish.

For all of the BookMadam readers who don’t get the free Vancouver weekly arts magazine, the Georgia Straight, here’s an update on what’s happening out here in Lotusland books-wise.

The ongoing death spiral is being beaten back. Books, readers, publishers and writers are finding new veins of opportunity and enthusiasm in our city.

From the arrival of Amazon and Chindigo in the mid-90’s to mass closing of local independent bookstores in the past 10 years to the closure of Raincoast’s publishing arm just after the boy prince finished with his magic in 2008 to the last Duthie store and Sophia Books shuttering earlier this year, it’s been about 15 years of bad news.

But no longer… there’s new optimism in Vancouver as a result of hard work, persistence and… what’s this?… building online communities via social media and activating them with gatherings and events IRL!

Shocking, I know.

The article is written by Jackie Wong. I met Jackie during the W2 Real Vancouver Writers’ Series that was curated during the Winter Olympics this year and we met again during the Joyland Vancouver Summit later in the spring.

Both times she was excited by the great crowds attending both events and the enthusiasm with which the audience supported the writers. It was something new to her in her experience of literary events in Vancouver.

This piece is very satisfying on many levels and I hope that people will continue to see Vancouver as a place that produces and supports some of the best creative literary talents in the world.

To read the whole piece go here: Vancouver Book Scene Reshaped by Online Communities.

Literary Death Match Vancouver: Conversation w Todd Zuniga


Literary Death Match Vancouver: W2 Storyeum. Friday Oct 8th @ 8PM.


Click here to listen to me and Todd Zuniga discuss Literary Death Match.

It’s happening!

The Canadian debut of the international performance/literary/comedic sensation Literary Death Match happens this Friday!

Hosted by Opium Magazine founder and LDM creator, Todd Zuniga, at the W2 Storyeum151 West Cordova between Cambie and Abbott – space and featuring the talents of writers Nikki Reimer, Charlie Demers, Steve Burgess and Sara Bynoe, it should be a hilarious good time.

Those 4 writers will be reading some of their original work to a rapt audience and will be ruthlessly scrutinized by the judges: Talent Time’s Paul Anthony, Vancouver is Awesome‘s Bob Kronbauer and Diana Frances from various CBC incarnations.

Tickets are $10 in advance AND $10 at the door and you should totally come out because it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Drinks will be served, books and magazines will be sold, good times will be had.

You should check out this excellent piece from our friends at Granville Magazine about Charlie’s book and the amazingness of Vancouver.

If you want some more info about the glory of Literary Death Match you can check out this piece published today in the Courier Newspaper and this cool little interview with Todd in the SFist.

Holler at me 778-987-8774 if you have any questions or seanATbooksontheradioDOTca.


Literary Death Match: Vancouver. Friday, October 8th @ W2 Storyeum
September 24, 2010, 1:56 PM
Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , ,

Literary Death Match: Vancouver. Friday, October 8th. 8PM SHARP!

Official announcement, poster and social media campaign launch designed to drive awareness of the literary bloodsport competition happening in Vancouver in October.

Vancouver’s W2 Storyeum location – also host to the W2 Real Vancouver Writers’ Series during the 2010 Winter Olympics – will host the event as part of the worldwide literary/performance/comedy phenomenon that is Literary Death Match.

Here’s the verbatim from the LDM website:

We’ve been eyeballing our northern neighbor for Literary Death Match purposes since this whole shindig began — but now, finally, we are beyond eager to (finally) make our LDM debut in Canada, with LDM100: Vancouver!

Boasting a kneecap-tingling assortment of literary and humorous dextrousness, the flair-fueied evening will feature eclectic judges like Talent Time host Paul Anthony, the dazzling comedian/actor Diana Frances, and street artist/Vancouver is Awesome creator Bob Kronbauer. Amazing!

But wait, there’s more! They’ll preside over four bring-down-the-house scribes including the hilarious Sara Bynoe, journalist and Tyee wordsmith Steve Burgess, master of comedy and writer, Charles Demers (Vancouver Special), and the amazing Nikki Reimer (author of [sic]). Plus! A full bar; awesome public art installations; worldclass DJs; and, of course, literary bloodsport!

Hosted by LDM creator Todd Zuniga. Produced by Sean Cranbury.

Where: W2 Storyeum, 151 West Cordova Street, Vancouver (map)
When: Doors open at 7 pm, show starts at 8:05 (sharp) — after party after 9:40
Cost: $10 pre-order, $15 at the door.

All guests get free entry to the DJ event at W2 after LDM!