books on the radio

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

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!

William Gibson: No Maps for These Territories

As the publication of William Gibson’s Zero History creeps ever closer – and the possibility of an interview with the author on BOTR arises – I’ve been performing some informal research.

Above, I’ve posted a short video excerpt from a movie made in the late nineties by Mark Neale called No Maps for These Territories.

Here’s how the movie is described on wikipedia:

On an overcast morning in 1999, William Gibson, father of cyberpunk and author of the cult-classic novel Neuromancer, stepped into a limousine and set off on a road trip around North America. The limo was rigged with digital cameras, a computer, a television, a stereo, and a cell phone. Generated entirely by this four-wheeled media machine, No Maps for These Territories is both an account of Gibson’s life and work and a commentary on the world outside the car windows. Here, the man who coined the word “cyberspace” offers a unique perspective on Western culture at the edge of the new millennium, and in the throes of convulsive, tech – driven change.

That’s just too amazing. I cannot wait to get my hands on this movie.

I think that we should host a post-geographic screening in Vancouver at W2 Storyeum some time very soon.

Thoughts on Applying to Present at #BNC11 in Toronto

Samantha Francis from BookNet Canada has posted the call for proposals for the BookNet Canada Technology Forum to be held on March 24, 2011, at the MaRS Centre in Toronto.

I attended the 2010 version of the BNC Tech Forum and it was interesting and educational. I wrote about it here.

Bob Miller and Richard Nash rocked the opening slots, Dominique Raccah delivered a great presentation, Ian Barker of SymText and Hugh McGuire of BookOven provided much-needed balance to the paranoia-inducing RFID session.

There was a party at the Pour House afterward courtesy of the awesomeness of Open Book Toronto and the Book Madam.  Guinness was consumed, I got to catch up with David Leonard, Clare Hitchens and Kimberly Walsh among many others.

All was good in with the world.


But now maybe it’s time to start thinking about taking the next step, from attending/organizing conferences to  crafting a presentation that will create discussion. Help to move the conversation forward.

I’ve been working on the above presentation for a few months now – sharing/openness/P2P/infinite digital space – and I will be presenting it at the Surrey International Writers Conference later in October.

Can this presentation be recast and improved enough to be accepted for BNC11 in March? I think that it can.

Any suggestions on what direction I should take it? Thoughts on what/where I should focus?

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.