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BC Book Prizes On Tour

April 19, 2008

These Are Some Good Times

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.

Posted by Kari-Lynn Winters | Filed under: Northern Leg 2008 | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 19, 2008

Four Strong Winds (the last night)

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.

Posted by Theresa Kishkan | Filed under: | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 18, 2008

The View From My Window

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

Posted by David Jones | Filed under: | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 17, 2008

Gladstone Secondary & Grandview Elementary, Vancouver

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.

Posted by Jaimie Tait | Filed under: Greater Vancouver Leg 2008 | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 17, 2008

Mission Public Library

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

Posted by Jaimie Tait | Filed under: Greater Vancouver Leg 2008 | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 17, 2008

The cab driver said snow

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.

Posted by Theresa Kishkan | Filed under: Northern Leg 2008 | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 17, 2008

Mary with Teresa Monkman at Smithers Secondary

Mary withTeresa Monkman at Smithers Secondary

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

Posted by Bryan Pike | Filed under: Northern Leg 2008 | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 17, 2008

Heather Larson of Integris with donation to Beaverley Elementary

Heather larson of Integris with donation to Beaverley Elementary

Posted by Bryan Pike | Filed under: Northern Leg 2008 | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 17, 2008

Thanks x Five for Adopt-a-Library Sponsors

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!

Posted by Liesl Jauk | Filed under: Greater Vancouver Leg 2008 | 1 Comments | Permalink

April 16, 2008

the Yellowhead

How to describe the changing beauty of the Yellowhead Highway? The dense forests from Terrace to Smithers, river below rimed with snow? And Smithers itself, a gem of a community…We had lunch at Java’s—delicious wild grain pies, bright salad, casual and funky ambience. Our presentations in Smithers went very well. The class I met with, a History 11 class, was a delight. An eager and erudite teacher, good kids who asked interesting questions, a librarian who was keenly interested in books and writing. The eastward journey—now, doesn’t that sound like a travel book by Basho?—was long and a few of us slept but Bryan kept the tunes playing, the gas tank filled (courtesy of one of our sponsors, PetroCanada), and brought us safely into Prince George, through the chilly grassy fields fringed with birch near Vanderhoof, with an hour to spare! This evening’s reading was a highlight. Books and Company is a lovely store and the audience was enthusiastic.

I want to say that this is a nifty group of women—Nan, Kari-Lynn and Mary. There is such camaraderie among us. We laugh, tell stories, jokes, share apples, sandwiches, oranges, chocolate, licorice toffee. And Bryan is a perfect Honourary Boyfriend, opening doors for us, keeping us on time, on schedule in a gentle thoughtful way.

And the more I encounter teachers, librarians, and book-sellers on this Northern Tour, the more I am grateful that such people exist. They make us welcome, make us at home in their classrooms, libraries, bookstores, feed us, celebrate us, share their students and friends with us.

Posted by Theresa Kishkan | Filed under: Northern Leg 2008 | 0 Comments | Permalink

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