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On Tour Blog

April 19, 2008

The April 19th In-Progress Shelf
Posted by Heather Burt


If I were an efficient person, what I’d be doing on this Saturday morning is packing for my trip to the Kootenays (about which I’m VERY excited), or practicing my tour presentations, or even figuring out what to wear to the Soirée tonight. Instead, I’ve been browsing the Guardian’s feature on writers’ rooms — kind of addictive, if you’re into that sort of thing — and experimenting with photos of my own writing space. If my Flickr capabilities are up to snuff, what you see in the attached photo (in addition to my bicycle-cog clock and my grandmother’s 1915 music diploma) is the little shelf in which I keep books that are in some way “active” in my writing/reading life. In here I’ve got books I’m currently reading, books I plan to read very soon, books I’ve recently finished but haven’t yet transferred to the regular shelves (because doing so always involves a certain amount of shuffling and — eww — dusting), books that are somehow connected to my current writing project (the still embryonic second novel), as well as one or two books that have no particular reason for being there other than that’s just where they got put. The presence on this shelf of my fellow Ethel Wilson nominees has certainly brightened up not only the shelf itself but also my recent reading life ... and I’ll soon have to make room for the works of my Kootenay tour-mates, which I plan to acquire at the Soirée tonight. It’s an honour and a pleasure to be in such impressive company!

Hope to see you tonight or on tour next week ...

Filed under: Kootenays Leg 2008 | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 19, 2008

These Are Some Good Times
Posted by Kari-Lynn Winters

Kari-Lynn Winters

Thoughout this tour, the words of Trace Adkins’ keep ringing in my ears.  His words sing out:
“These are some good times.  Take a good look around. You may not know it now, but you’re gonna miss this.”

His words remind me to live in the present—to be in the moment.

As I think about this tour, I know he’s right.
I ‘ll tell you what I am going to miss.

-Insightful children, asking sophisticated and difficult questions.
-Inspiring talks with the other authors, about writing, about fashion, about scenery, about books, about families, about stories, about life.
-Bryan’s coy sense of humour. His friendly and welcoming smile.
-Intelligent and caring teachers/principals who give us warm welcomes where ever we go.
-Librarians who adore books and make a difference in their communities.
-Incredible scenery.
-Yummy food.
-Gorgeous and well stocked book stores with dedicated and kind-hearted owners.
-Generous donations and accommodations.
-The smiling faces in the sea of audience members.
-Acting and presenting with Nan Gregory.
-Being driven to each event.
-Giving schools free books (paid for by donors).
-Spending time with new friends.
-Making a difference in the lives of hundreds of children each and every day.

Let me end with a poem written by Lee Bennett Hopkins, which I think says it all.

Good books.
Good times.
Good stories.
Good rhymes.
Good beginnings.
Good ends.
Good people.
Good friends.
Good fiction.
Good facts.
Good adventures.
Good acts.
Good stories.
Good rhymes.
GOOD books.
GOOD times.

Filed under: Northern Leg 2008 | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 19, 2008

Four Strong Winds (the last night)
Posted by Theresa Kishkan

Driving back to Terrace from Smithers, on the final stretch of the river, nearly full moon at play in the clouds above the mountains, we listened to Johnnny Cash. This was that last recording (“A Hundred Miles”?), produced by Rick Rubin. John’s ravaged ethereal voice sang right into our ears (as Nan observed), an oratorio for this last night of ours on the Northern Tour. We were returning from readings in Vanderhoof and the Smithers Public Library. Mary and I really loved our time with the students of Nechako Secondary School. Again, a dedicated group of teachers and Richard the librarian; a fine gathering of young people asking intelligent questions about research and revision. And it was great to return to Smithers, a town with such appeal. We ate at Java’s again, lured back by the wild grain pies and fresh salads. The library was welcoming, the turn-out warm and friendly. (On a personal note, I should not be surprised that the librarian, Cathy, turns out to be Ian Mackay’s sister. Ian is the source for the black cod in my essay, “Autumn Coho at Haskins Creek”, as well as an old friend. His sister asked where I lived and when I said, “Pender Harbour”, she said, “That’s my home town!” This happens all the time but somehow I wasn’t expecting it tonight and was so pleased. “Say Hi to my family,” she said as we left.)

This tour has been an extraordinary experience. Nan, Kari and Mary are wonderful writers and beautiful strong women. I haven’t tired once of hearing their work. Nan brings drama and deep poignancy to her presentation of childhood’s disappointments and moments of clarity. Kari is a force of nature—ebullient and imaginative. Mary illuminates the 17th century with her own rich elegance. I’ve begun to see the ways our work intersects, too, which is of course a result of the human desire to find connection.

I have the Johnny Cash recording at home but I wonder if it will ever sound as beautiful as it did tonight as we drove that dark highway, one of the hundred he sang about, his guitar as intimate as anything I’ve ever heard, while Bryan guided us safely back to the Coast Hotel in Terrace. God speed us all.

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April 18, 2008

The View From My Window
Posted by David Jones

Less than 48 hours before I strap myself into a minivan with our driver, Bryan Pike, and three other lucky writers nominated for B.C. Book Prizes in various categories–Heather Burt, Meg Tilly, and Rita Wong—for our upcoming tour of the Kootenays.

I’m looking forward to returning to my old stomping grounds, where for many years I worked in the bush, filling small paper bags with dirt to be assayed for gold, although we would be happy to find metal of any kind. Or diamonds. Or, after a few months in the bush, any small, shiny object. But even more, I look forward to escaping the din of construction from across the street–if only for a week. Yes, THIS is what I see when my gaze drifts from the computer screen to my office window (as it so often does). Hard to believe that it will one day be a practice rink for the 2010 Winter Olympics. 

Because I prefer quiet when I write–especially when it gets hot and I have to open the windows—I’m hoping they finish before I get back.

They’ll have to work really, really fast.

See you on the road,

David Jones

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April 17, 2008

Gladstone Secondary & Grandview Elementary, Vancouver
Posted by Jaimie Tait

Today was the last day of the Lower Mainland portion of the BC Book Prizes Tour.  We all had a fantastic week together visiting all the schools and Libraries. Today we visited Gladstone Secondary and Grandview Elementary.
Ruth at Grandview elementary

This is Ruth Campbell, illustrator of Elf the Eagle

Lisa signing a copy of her book at Grandview ElementaryGillian and Shaena at Gladstone Secondary Lisa signing a copy of her book for the Grandview Elementary Library. Gillian and Shaena answering questions about their books at Gladstone Secondary.

Filed under: Greater Vancouver Leg 2008 | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 17, 2008

Mission Public Library
Posted by Jaimie Tait

Ruth at Mission Public Library
Ruth Campbell, illustrator of Elf the Eagle and Lisa Cinar author/illustrator of The Day It All Blew Away and I all climbed into the van and made the trip to Mission Public Library on Wednesday night, where we received a very warm welcome!
Lisa reading Elf the Eagle Lisa at Mission Public Library

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April 17, 2008

The cab driver said snow
Posted by Theresa Kishkan

After a delicious dinner of Penang curry at Mai Tai in Prince George, we took a cab back to our hotel (we walked there, though!) and the cab driver said that it’s supposed to snow tonight. This reminds me that we are far from home. You can still see big chunks of ice on the Nechako and the wind is very cold. But the schools we visited today—Kelly Road Secondary and Heather Park Middle School—were warmly welcoming. 100 kids at the former and 200 at the latter. Mary and I have learned to anticipate the important questions: “How old are you?” and “How much do you make from writing?” But seriously, they also ask the thoughtful questions: “When did you begin to write?” and “How long does it take to write a book?” And the teachers are so enthusiastic, even giving us little gifts as we leave.

Tomorrow we head back to Terrace with stops in Vanderhoof and Smithers. It’s hard to believe that our week is nearly over. I feel as though I’m part of a secret travelling society, complete with jokes and songs.

Filed under: Northern Leg 2008 | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 17, 2008

Mary with Teresa Monkman at Smithers Secondary
Posted by Bryan Pike

Bryan Pike

Mary withTeresa Monkman at Smithers Secondary

It’s alway nice to stop in beautiful Smithers. We even managed a sunny blue sky.

Filed under: Northern Leg 2008 | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 17, 2008

Heather Larson of Integris with donation to Beaverley Elementary
Posted by Bryan Pike

Bryan Pike

Heather larson of Integris with donation to Beaverley Elementary

Filed under: Northern Leg 2008 | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 17, 2008

Thanks x Five for Adopt-a-Library Sponsors
Posted by Liesl Jauk

Van Tech cheque presentationVanPublicLibraryGrandview

Liesl Jauk, Executive Director of West Coast Book Prize Society, did a lot of posing on Monday night. First, with Byron Sheardown of Quills Poetry Magazine presenting a cheque to Margaret O’Brien of Vancouver Technical Secondary School. Then, with the folks from Grandview Secondary School, whose library is being sponsored by CCEC Credit Union.


Rogers’ Chocolates is sponsoring two Vancouver area schools this year: Gladstone Secondary and Charles Dickens Elementary schools.

VanPublicLibrary Hastings

Adopted school libraries will receive their choice of 2008 BC Book Prize books up to a value of $500 for their libraries.

With one exception: Here’s Christine Bourassa of Hewitt Associates presenting Hastings Elementary with a cheque. The staff of Hewitt Associates actually managed to raise $580 for this school!

Filed under: Greater Vancouver Leg 2008 | 1 Comments | Permalink

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