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BC Book Prizes On Tour

April 23, 2014

Natural Born Storytellers

It’s cold and windy and snowy, but today was wonderful despite the weather- because I was visiting schools and talking with kids. Grade 4, 5 and 6 kids. Fort St John kids and Dawson Creek kids. Curious, energetic, excited kids. Overflowing with questions and ideas kids.

SO MUCH FUN. We talked about writing and books and where ideas come from and how they turn into stories. And then the kids came up with stories of their own…

In Fort St. John, the students conjured up Jack, a six foot tall thirteen year old who wants to be an NBA star, and Sherman, his best-friend-since-forever, affectionately known as Shrimp. Sherman has been in a devastating accident and lost all his memories of their friendship. Jack is determined to help him recover- and prepared to do whatever it takes.

In Dawson Creek, the kids created Angela, a girl with purple streaks in her hair and an annoying-but-cute two year old brother who she is fiercely protective of. Angela’s family has decided that they won’t celebrate their kids’ birthday’s because they have no money… but Angela is turning eleven and she wants a big celebration. How many bottles and cans will she have to collect to pay for it? And will her parents understand how important this is to her? Stay tuned…

Posted by Robin Stevenson | Filed under: Peace River Leg 2014 | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 22, 2014

And We’re Off!

It’s 10 pm and I am sitting in my hotel room after a whirlwind of a day, which took us from Victoria to Vancouver to Dawson Creek (those were flights), and then to Taylor, Fort St John, back to Dawson Creek, and now back in Fort St John (and those were rather nice drives with good jazz playing in the car and a slow rain falling outside).

Flying into Dawson Creek was particularly cool for me because Dawson Creek was the first place in Canada I ever lived (I moved there from England with my parents when I was four). My sister was born there. We stayed a year—and that was in 1973! Today was the first time I had been there in FORTY YEARS! Wild.

Flying into Dawson Creek was also great because the airport actually has a bookshelf where you can help yourself to a book and stick a few coins in a donation box. Seriously awesome, and made me absurdly happy. I took two books, because I had only brought three with me and was worried about running out of stuff to read (I know this makes no sense, given how busy we are, but I’m slightly phobic about ever being without a book).

The afternoon at Taylor Elementary School was fabulous and a great way to kick off the tour. Eighty enthusiastic kids ranging from age seven to eleven or so… and all of them writers! Seriously. I was reading to them from my novel Record Breaker—which is about a boy who desperately wants to break a world record—but Taylor, BC is going after a record of its own. Taylor is on track to become the town with the most published writers per capita—and I will be cheering these young writers on.

And this evening we were welcomed by a lovely group of readers, writers and librarians at the Dawson Creek library. What a gorgeous space- colorful quilts hanging on the walls, cozy couches and chairs, and—of course—books everywhere. I very much enjoyed listening to Catherine Greenwood’s poetry, and talking to everyone who came out to hear us read. Thanks to all of you for laughing when I read the funny parts of my book. And a huge thanks to the library for hosting us.

Feeling very lucky to be on this book tour and grateful for the opportunity. Many thanks to BC Book Prizes and all the sponsors who make this possible. And now—off to bed. The adventures will continue tomorrow…



Posted by Robin Stevenson | Filed under: Peace River Leg 2014 | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 17, 2014


1.) In Terrace, the Welfare Office is in the same mall complex as the liquor store.

2.) The new smelter upgrade in Kitimat employs so many people, they’ve had to rent a FREAKING CRUISE SHIP to house them all.

3.) There’s a 15-year-old girl in Terrace who has already written 7 articles for the local newspaper. When asked if she’d considered charging them for her efforts, she replied: “Oh, I’m not in it for the money.”

4.) Somebody in Northern BC has a Heisenberg Air Freshener.

5.) There is a funeral parlour in Prince George named “Assman’s”. Nothing says dignity like a service at Assman’s.

6.) I have it on good authority that the Magic: the Gathering scene in Kitimat is “about fifty strong”.

7.) Fort St. James had snow TODAY. Even the locals agree that this is weird.

8.) There is a high school in Houston where students aren’t allowed to leave a presentation unless someone asks a question at the end. This can lead to awkward moments when nobody asks a question at the end.

9.) There’s a place in Kitimat called Hospital Beach. It’s a scenic picnic area which also happens to be a storage area for heavy industrial machinery.

10.) Smithers. Just Smithers. Seriously. Actually just Smithers. Honestly. Do it. Now. Seriously, honestly, actually, just Smithers. Now.

Posted by Jesse Donaldson | Filed under: Northern Leg 2014 | 2 Comments | Permalink

April 14, 2014


Hospital Beach Picnic Area and Industrial Equipment Repository. Kitimat, BC

Posted by Jesse Donaldson | Filed under: Northern Leg 2014 | 0 Comments | Permalink

March 27, 2014

Tour Schedule 2014

From April 13–May 2, a selection of finalist authors hit the road On Tour, with FREE readings at schools and public venues throughout BC. We visited communities in Northern BC, the Peace River region, and the Kootenays.

Be sure to check out the On Tour Blog for author blog posts, photos, and more from the Tour.

Northern BC Leg

April 13-17, 2014
Jesse Donaldson | Ashley Little
View the full Northern BC tour schedule here

  • Burns Lake
  • Fort St. James
  • Houston
  • Kitimat
  • Prince George
  • Quesnel
  • Smithers
  • Terrace

Peace River Leg

April 22-25, 2014
Catherine Greenwood | Robin Stevenson
View the full Peace River tour schedule here

  • Chetwynd
  • Dawson Creek
  • Fort Nelson
  • Fort St. John
  • Hudson’s Hope
  • Taylor

Kootenays Leg

April 28-May 2, 2014
Ari Goelman | Kathryn Para
View the full Kootenays tour schedule here

  • Chilliwack
  • Cranbrook
  • Creston
  • Erickson
  • Fernie
  • Nelson
  • Princeton
  • Sparwood

*Schedules subject to change

Posted by Kristie Cropley | Filed under: Tour Schedule | 0 Comments | Permalink

May 03, 2013


I can’t believe the BC Book Prizes tour is now over! This past week has simply flown by and was an experience I will always treasure.

I am thankful for the wonderful kids at Courtenay Elementary and their exceptional staff. In fact, I am thankful for all the kids I met on this tour. Each and every one of them gave me hope for a better world ahead.

Alan Woo with kindergarten and grade 1s at lass at Courtenay Elementary

Thank you to my friends who came over to the island to show their support, as well as to all the people who attended our events throughout the week, especially the folks at last night’s public reading at Courtenay Library. There were a few people who wanted to go out afterwards to continue the festivities, so we had an impromptu after party with our new friends!

Flying Canoe after party in Courtenay

Flying Canoe after party in Courtenay

Thank you to all the sponsors, Coho Books, Laughing Oyster Books, and Mulberry Bush Books. Thanks to Kids Can Press for not only publishing my book, but also for supplying me with bookmarks to give out at all the events - the kids loved them! Thank you to Monica for taking such good care of us.  Thank you to Anne for being an amazing road trip buddy - I can’t imagine having gone with anybody else!

Anne Fleming & Alan Woo at Mulberry Bush Books, Parksville

Finally, thank you so much to BC Book Prizes for short listing Maggie’s Chopsticks and for taking me on this magical tour! All the best to each and every one of the other finalists! You are all superstars!

Mini Starfish in Parksville

Posted by Alan Woo | Filed under: Vancouver Island Leg 2013 | 0 Comments | Permalink

May 03, 2013

BC Book Prizes On Tour Wraps Up

Today is the final day of this year’s BC Book Prizes On Tour, and what a tour it has been! I’ve been on the road with Evelyn Lau and Stefan Czernecki visiting communities throughout the BC interior for the last week. Here are some photos from our adventures so far:

Stefan Czernecki with students at Glenmerry Elementary in Trail

Stefan with students at Glenmerry Elementary in Trail

Evelyn with students at Sparwood Secondary

Evelyn with students at Sparwood Secondary

Fernie Heritage Library reading

During Stefan’s presentation at the Fernie Heritage Library

Evelyn at Fernie Secondary

Evelyn at Fernie Secondary

After visiting schools in Princeton this morning, we will head back home to Vancouver. Thank you to everyone who has made this year’s tour such a success!  I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow at the 29th Annual Lieutenant Governor’s BC Book Prizes Gala in Victoria!

Posted by Bryan Pike | Filed under: Interior Leg 2013 | 0 Comments | Permalink

May 02, 2013

Rita Hayworth and a Diffident Donkey

Should I make it public knowledge I stayed in the Rita Hayworth Suite at the fabulous Crown Mansion in Qualicum Beach, where Hayworth was once a guest? It has a giant claw-foot tub (with bubble jets) right smack in the middle of the big bay window and no one to look in at you as you bubble in the tubble. In my case, discretion prevailed and I drew the curtains anyway. Earlier in the evening, Alan Woo cottoned me on to Rita Hayworth is Staying Alive on youtube — worth a watch — while we snacked on apples and brie from Little Qualicum Cheeseworks.

Rita Hayworth room at the Crown Mansion in Qualicum Beach

Campbell River treated us grandly, as noted by Alan in the previous post. Grade twelve English and Psychology students sitting in the back row at Timberline Secondary tipped their chairs back on cue at the same time as the character in the story I was reading tipped his back. No one was hurt. I continue to be inspired by the teachers and students I’m getting to meet. At Timberline, we talked about revision and collaboration with a poet, a screenwriter/filmmaker, and a rapper, amongst other students who didn’t declare their writerly tendencies, along with musing on boredom, creativity, agents and ten percent royalties.

Anne chats with Grade 11 & 12 students about writing

Today brought us to Courtenay and Comox, where western grebes mad-scooted away from a swooping bald eagle in between the two towns, and a mule deer held us up en route to Highland Secondary. I got to visit a Creative Writing class and loved that in the confusion ensuing from trying to pass papers from one person to the next in a round of Exquisite Corpse (the Surrealist game wherein you write an article and adjective, fold the paper and pass, then a noun, fold and pass, then a verb, fold and pass, another article and adjective, fold and pass to the last person, who writes another noun, and then you read sentences like “The freaky shark buffed the diffident donkey”), teacher Jill Peacocke interrupted to say, “We can have these desks in a circle in no time flat.” So we did, and there we were in that beautiful creative writing circle, passing words around. So great.

Tonight it’s a reading at the Courtenay Public Library, 6.30 pm, with book sales by the superlative Laughing Oyster Books, where we poked our noses in to say hello this afternoon to a warm welcome.

Courtenay Public Library

Posted by Anne Fleming | Filed under: | 3 Comments | Permalink

May 02, 2013

Amazing Kids on Vancouver Island!

Day 3 was a busy day! I first visited Winchelsea Elementary in Parksville, where I was greeted at the front door by two of their student leaders. They led me down the hall to the classroom where I would be presenting, offered me water, and were super helpful with getting me all settled in! The reading went well with tons of great questions from the kids! I even got some random hugs out of nowhere! So adorable!

Alan Woo taking questions at Winchelsea Elementary in Parksville

Then it was time to make the trek down to Campbell River. It took about an hour but luckily we had some fine entertainment in the car! Anne Fleming on her ukulele! This helped the journey fly by as she strummed those strings and led us all in a road trip sing-a-long!

Anne Fleming playing ukulele in the car!

My next stop was at Penfield Elementary in Campbell River, where I had the good fortune to meet more awesome kids, like the ones in Mr Jarvis’ class, also known as The GummyBears! They had studied up on Chinese culture, made special welcoming signs for me, practiced their chopstick moves, and were enthusiastic and prepared with intelligent questions. Then they made me prove my chopstick skills by making me eat gummy bears with them! It was such a great experience and I can’t thank them enough for their hospitality, kind words, and genuineness.

Alan Woo reading to grade 1 & 2 students at Penfield Elementary in Campbell River

Alan Woo showing off his chopstick skills

The day still wasn’t over as we had a public reading to do at Coho Books! One student from Mr Jarvis’ class made her dad bring her down for it, even though she just saw me earlier that day! That’s super sweet! We talked about her own aspirations of one day writing a story of her own.  Even Mr Jarvis showed up for the event. What an awesome teacher and you can tell that by his amazing students as well!

Alan Woo with Hallie and her sister, and her teacher Mr. Jarvis

Thank you everybody for making this day such a terrific one! I will remember it for always! smile

Posted by Alan Woo | Filed under: Vancouver Island Leg 2013 | 0 Comments | Permalink

May 01, 2013

Vancouver Island Tour

The Vancouver island leg of the BC book tour has been amazing. I get to visit communities I’ve never been to before like Nanaimo and Port Alberni.

The people here have been so nice and the scenery has been beautiful. Check out some shots below!

Bastion in Nanaimo

(Bastion in Nanaimo)

Sunset in Qualicum

(Sunset in Qualicum)

On Day One I read to about 40 kids at Park Avenue Community School who were delightful and full of rambunctious energy.

Park avenue community school

Day Two had me in front of a gym full of just over 100 kids who were simply thrilled to have an author visit them at their school, Alberni Elementary.  One little girl asked me for a hug on the way out - it was super cute!

Alan at Alberni Elementary in Port Alberni

I’m looking forward to the rest of the week. Traveling with fellow author Anne Fleming has been inspiring and I love attending her presentations as I am always learning something new! A huge shout out to Monica Miller for driving us around everywhere and being such the organizer. And after two days, I think we finally figured out how to use the GPS, whom we have named Jackie, obviously.

Jackie the GPS

For now, I’m heading to bed with the sound of frogs outside my window, their evening symphony lulling me to sleep.

Posted by Alan Woo | Filed under: Vancouver Island Leg 2013 | 0 Comments | Permalink

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