books on the radio

Announcing Bookcamp Vancouver 2010: Friday October 1st!

Friday, October 1st, 2010. SFU Harbour Centre. Cost = Free.

Happy to make an official announcement about Bookcamp Vancouver 2010!

The second annual installment will occur in downtown Vancouver on the classic binary date of 01.10.10.

It will be hosted again this year by the good people at SFU Harbour Centre, more specifically the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing which features the Masters of Publishing Program and the Summer Publishing Workshops – both of which feature amazing faculty and produce the leaders of tomorrow.

Our friends at BookNet Canada have once again generously sponsored the event! They rule, we love them, you should too.

The organizing team will be taking a more active curatorial role this year in an effort to bring everyone a more focused and informative day. We have decided to cut back the number of sessions, too, while including more time for conversation between sessions.

We hope that these decisions will provide a better experience for everyone.

Please check out our wiki and become a fan of our Facebook Page, too.

If you have any questions, suggestions or comments please don’t hesitate to let me or any of the organizers know.

See you in October!

SFU Symposium on the Book Contest Winners: Humour Division
July 18, 2010, 10:01 AM
Filed under: Events | Tags: , , ,

Very excited to be a part of the process for selecting and celebrating these short, funny stories as a part of the SFU Symposium on the Book.

Here they are:

Grand Prize Winner: S. H. Carlyle

To the cult I inadvertently started last night:

Good morning, group of strangers assembled on my front lawn.

I would like to start out by apologizing for the comments I made last night regarding the demise of the universe. I had been drinking quite heavily since lunchtime and was a little emotionally fragile after a serious screw-up at the office which I’m told will cost my firm its best client. I was in no condition to claim that the only way any of us would survive the Earth’s imminent explosion would be to come back to my house for inter-dimensional transport. Again, I apologize.

I am pleased, though, that so many of you—I believe you are calling yourselves “The Progeny of Orion”—have embraced this movement so readily. I see you have removed all your body hair and coated yourselves in petroleum jelly according to my instructions, which, again, I did not expect you all to follow. I don’t want to say that I was in any way “joking” because by the looks of manic determination on many of your faces I can tell that you did not find it funny. I will say, however, that I did not intend to find such a receptive audience for cult membership during happy hour at the Red Lobster by the on-ramp.

However, I personally think it’s inspiring to see so many people (and there really are an alarming number of you here) ready to give up the lives they know and join a thinly explained pseudo-spiritual group. I’m also very impressed that some of you took the time to copy down everything I said last night and carve it word-for-word into this grouping of granite monoliths. Reading these now, it seems I was very excited about the weather in the Hexalian Dimension as it would give us the opportunity to “enhance the frequency harmonics of our multi-variant communal psychokinesis and get us out jogging more.” I also seem to go on at great length about a character named Sazerac whom I believed would deliver us from the pains of our mortal form, although I suspect you might have misunderstood me as I’m pretty sure I was trying to order another cocktail. Nevertheless, I think you got the message.

I should also make a special announcement to all the women among you, hairless and difficult to pick out as you may be. Lately, my problems at work have been compounded by troubles with my girlfriend who has recently moved out, destroying my self-esteem. It really makes me feel validated to know that Karen missed out on becoming the Humanly Vessel of the Inter-Dimensional Supernova Jesus whom I claimed I would father and who so many of you were willing to carry. And when I suggested that the mother of this new deity should be determined through a topless make-out competition, you were all equally committed. For that, I thank you, but again, I apologize.

I should wrap this up as I have to get off to work. But just to recap, there will be no inter-dimensional travel happening on my lawn today or any other day, despite what I might have said last night.

Feel free to use the garden hose to wash yourselves off. There’s also some V8 juice and a half a bag of mini-bagels for anyone who’s interested. Just please, before you go, put out the oil drum fires and take the vats of feces with you. I’ll deal with the monoliths. Thanks.

Runner-up: Bill Radford

Let’s Exploit Writers Now!

The other day I was re-reading Midnight’s Children, and I thought to myself, damn, this man Rushdie can write, but wouldn’t it be something if I could hear him sing, too? Picture Salman Rushdie sitting down at a piano in a dark and smoky room. That would make a hell of an album cover. I bet you it would sell.

When this idea first came to me, I was a little worried that Salman Rushdie might not be a very good singer. But isn’t that what computers are for? I mean, certainly in this day and age the question of whether he can sing or not is no longer relevant. I don’t think T-Pain can sing. It’s hard to tell.

What I do know is that before Simon Cowell became famous for American Idol, he made a lot of money by giving recording contracts to professional wrestlers. He observed that hundreds of thousands of people went crazy whenever Macho Man Randy Savage grabbed a microphone in order to yell at Hulk Hogan, and then Simon Cowell thought, let’s put Macho Man in a recording studio.

These days, everyone knows that singers who can’t sing can be singers. Steven Segal has two albums. But nobody seems to have made the connection that writers (just like actors, wrestlers, models, hotel heiresses, and athletes) are artists with musical potential. I have a feeling that Tom Robbins would love to be auto-tuned. He likes attention.

Why stop here?

I would love to see a buddy cop movie starring Stephen King and Samuel L. Jackson. Don’t you think that Stephen King and Samuel L. Jackson would have chemistry?

Sam Jackson: Yo, man, don’t be playin’ with my radio!

Stephen King: Blood is coming out of it…

Cult status; DVD sales forever.

For this, there is already some precedent. Writers have had cameos in several movies, and not just in the ones they’ve written themselves. Salman Rushdie had a part in Bridget Jones’s Diary and Kurt Vonnegut appeared in a Rodney Dangerfield movie. But I think it’s time to give a writer a starring role. If Robert Downey, Jr. can be a singer and Madonna can be a writer, then Annie Dillard deserves a chance to be suspended from a helicopter while fiery explosions bloom all around her.

There are several artists who have had great crossovers: William Shatner made a very memorable CD, Will Smith is one of the most popular actors in the world, and John Lithgow writes fun children’s books. Shouldn’t writers be given a chance at this glory? I mean, if there’s one thing that’s clear at this point it’s that talent doesn’t matter. People who are famous at one thing can easily become famous at something else. That’s all.

I guess I should admit that my motivations are selfish, since I have what it takes to be a quintuple-threat artist. My mom’s a music teacher, so I started singing when I was very young, and around the same time I started lying, which is like acting. I have a third degree black belt in taekwondo, which means I can kick people in the head very quickly. And just the other day I taught myself how to moonwalk from a video on the internet, so I can dance now. Lastly, I can write. Maybe not as well as Salman Rushdie, but I’d like to hereby challenge him to a dancing-acting-writing-singing-karate pentathlon, because I think I’m more well-rounded than he is.

Unfortunately, I started at the wrong end of the progression. I chose ‘writer’ as my dominant class, and now I’m watching celebrities jump from movies to music to theatre to book deals while I’m stuck in a coffee bar with my laptop. I could sit here and whine, but instead I’m offering a solution that will make at least one person (me) happy: attach computers to my voice box, back me up with green-screens, and give me a chance to become your biggest, brightest, most shining star.

“There’s Nothing Precious About [Poetry]”: Heather Haley

Heather Haley & the 45s Back in the Day. Photo: Bev Davies.

I recently sat down with the semi-reformed punk rock vocalist, trailblazing poet, self-proclaimed anarchist and creative technophile, Heather Haley to discuss her new book, Three Blocks West of Wonderland.

It was a blazing afternoon in June and we sought relative relief in a Thai restaurant on Commercial Drive.

Click here to listen to our informal chat.

It’s kind of like a studio demo. Loose and meandering and rough around the edges.

We start off riffing about the possibilities for poetry on the iPad and then move into Heather’s influential work in video poetry, her years rocking Cascadia in punk rock bands and a million other things.

Heather was a part of the ‘Night of the Poets & Other Writers‘ at W2 Real Vancouver Writers’ Series during the Olympics this year at the W2 Culture and Media House.

She’s launching her most recent book of poetry, Three Blocks West of Wonderland, at the new W2 Storyeum space on Saturday June 17th at 7PM.

We’ll be there and will probably record the show for future BOTR episodes.

Here’s the launch details:

Emcee Kedrick James: featuring Shannon Rayne, Peter Trower, Videopoem Screening-“Bushwhack”, Jenn Farrell.


Music by Chris Coon, Videopoem screening-“How To Remain”, Heather Haley.

Saturday July 17 at 7PM – W2 @ Storyeum 151 W. Cordova Vancouver, BC

After the interview Heather and I walked down Commercial Drive toward her car and talked about our mutual history of self-directed reading and some of the authors and books that we came across by fluke or reco over the years and how that process of seemingly random discovery has influenced us creatively.

Here’s a great list of writers that Heather sent me that was inspired by our conversation:

Andre Breton, Gustave Flaubert, Jean Cocteau, George Bernard Shaw, Thomas Pynchon, Rimbaud, Oscar Wilde, John Steinbeck, Octavio Paz, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sarte, ee cummings, Kenneth Patchen, Dostoyevsky, Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, J.D. Salinger, Hemmingway, Melville, bp nichol, Earle Birney, bill bisset, Susan Musgrave, Alice Munro, George Bowering, Nathanial Hawthorne, Germaine Greer, DH Lawrence, William Burroughs, William Faulkner, Kafka, Doris Lessing, Barry Lopez, James Dickey, William Carlos Williams, Walt Whitman, Kafka, Robertson Davies, Philip K Dick, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Marshall McLuhan, Anais Nin, Robert Stone, Darcey Steinke, Anne Sexton, Martin Amis, Wanda Coleman and the two Margarets, Lawrence and Atwood. Sylvia Plath, Lorna Crozier, Germaine Greer, Richard Brautigan, Emily Dickinson, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Other creative influences: Art Bergmann and the Young Canadians, John Waters, Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, the Dishrags, DOA, the Clash, Luis Buñuel, Lincoln Clarkes, Lenny Bruce, , Lydia Lunch, Frida Kahlo, Diane Arbus

In LA, Merilene M. Murphy, the Electronic Café, Beyond Baroque’s poetry workshop, Wanda Coleman, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Los Lobos, Run DMC, Harvey Kubernick, Excene Cervenka and X, the Woman’s Building, performance artists Cheri Gaulke, Joanna Whent, John Fleck, Rachel Rosenthal, painter Jeff Isaak, video artists Yonemotos, Mose Allison, Johnette Neapolitano of Concrete Blonde, Keith Levene, Chet Baker, Victor Noel, High Performance magazine, Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh, Laura London, Diane Gamboa, Daniel J. Martinez, Black Flag, Zero One Gallery, neo-surrealists Malocchio, L7, Pam Ward, Penelope Spheeris.

Post Edgewise and Internet… Kurt Heintz, Western Front, Alexandra Oliver, Sheri-D Wilson, Michael Turner, Raquel Alvaro, Ian Ferrier, Catherine Kidd, Jill Battson, Geoff Inverarity, Adeena Karasick, Jim Andrews, Andrea Thompson, Kedrick James, Miranda Pearson, Bob Holman, Neil Campbell, Hank Bull. Montrealers Catherine Kidd, Victoria Stanton, Corey Frost, Ian Ferrier…etc etc

Symposium on the Book Humour Writing Contest Deadline is Monday July 5, 2010

Books on the Radio is co-sponsoring the SFU Symposium on the Book Humour Writing Contest!

Along with the Walrus Magazine, the Vancouver International Writers’ Festival, The Globe and Mail, CBC Radio One and Delta Vancouver Suites, BOTR will has donated prizes to the contest for a best short humour piece.

It’s a pretty sweet contest with some great prizes. Check them out:

Amazing Prizes for Best Humour Writing

• Two tickets to the Symposium on the Book (humour) on July 18th
• Two complete sets of books from each of the authors at the symposium
• Two nights at the Delta Suites Vancouver
• Passes for two to an event during the Vancouver International Writers Festival

• A year’s subscription to The Walrus magazine
• A year’s subscription to The Globe and Mail
• The latest book from esteemed designer Robert Bringhurst (CCSP Press)
• Dinner with the authors and panelists in the symposium

The story will be printed, recorded and broadcast on BOTR, the CBC and the SFU Summer Publishing website.

All we want is a 500-700 word essay of your best humour writing. Three judges will make the final selection and we will announce the winner on July 14th. Be prepared to have your piece read on air by North by Northwest and published on Books on the Radio and the SFU Summer Publishing website.

Deadline for entries is: Monday, July 5 at 5:00 p.m.

Send your submission to one of three places by mail, email or in person. Be sure to clearly label it SYMPOSIUM CONTEST.