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BC Book Prizes On Tour

April 18, 2013

Packing for the Northern Leg

Bruno and the Beach: The Beachcombers at 40Just a few short days before the Northern BC tour begins, and I’m planning my packing carefully. Two pairs of shoes, or three? Never mind, a road trip is not about the footwear, it’s about the books you bring along to read on the ride. I have my little stack all set and ready—most being authored by fellow Book Prize nominees. Or course I’m bringing along my brand new copies of Marc Strange and Jackson Davies’ Bruno and the Beach: the Beachcombers at 40. You would, too, if you were an unabashed Beachcomber’s fan and about to spend six days in an SUV with Constable Constable.

Into the Abyss: How a Deadly Plane Crash Changed the Lives of a Pilot, a Politician, a Criminal and a CopAfter that I’ll open Carol Shaben’s Into the Abyss: How a Deadly Plane Crash Changed the Lives of a Pilot, a Politician, a Criminal and a Cop. A few months ago, I tuned in to CBC Radio partway through an interview with Shaban. I had missed all the context, but there was so much wonder in the way she was speaking that I was immediately drawn in, without fully knowing what the subject was about. The book has been acclaimed for its author’s meticulous research and described as equal to, even going beyond, Jon Krakauer’s signature style. That she knew so well of whom she spoke, and still possessed such awe in describing them, is fascinating to me.

If I can get my hands on a copies of Caroline Adderson’s Middle of Nowhere; John Lekich’s The Prisoner of Snowflake Falls; Susin Nielsen’s The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen or Seraphina by Rachel Hartman those will be coming with me as well. But they asked us to pack light, which may mean foregoing a pair of shoes. Or two.

Posted by Victoria Miles | Filed under: | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 17, 2013

A Gift in Fort Nelson

A Grade Twelve student – an emerging writer – leads me to her classroom with a manuscript in her hand.  The ideas for this book have been bouncing around her head since the sixth grade, she tells me.  “I don’t know where this piece is going to fit, yet,” she says when I ask her if she’s holding the beginning or an excerpt. 
I’ll be speaking to the English and Communication classes at Fort Nelson Secondary in a moment.  Caroline Adderson, Bryan Pike, and I flew into Fort Nelson this morning from Fort St. John.  I’m excited to be here, but nervous, too.  I wonder how the exercise I’ve chosen to do with the students will go over. 
I give each student a photograph.  In groups of four, they’ll draft a relationship between the character sketches they’ve written.  Yesterday at Dawson Creek Secondary we had magic toasters and cross country chases.  A family saga beginning with a boy’s birth and ending with an old man’s death.  A tractor, a shooting. 
Today we have a guy who wants nothing more than to be a basketball player, who injures his leg, fulfilling his worst fear.  We have a 27 year-old man who’s goal is to get his high school diploma, before his son in tenth grade gets his.
I usually doubt this exercise before I start.  I don’t know why because the results are always impressive. 
Too soon, we have to head back to the airport.  Before leaving the class, though, the emerging writer hands me her manuscript, her email address scrawled in purple pen at the top. Reading for our flight back to Fort St. John

Posted by Yasuko Thanh | Filed under: | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 16, 2013

Looking For a Library

Three of us in a car trying to find the Fort St. John Public Library.  We have driven from Dawson Creek, a town an hour away.  It’s 4 pm—the afternoon light still bright this far north—and we’re running late.  The library expects us in fifteen minutes and though we’re fairly confident of where we are, we keep looking at the clock on the dash.  Fifteen minutes. 
Caroline Adderson sits in the back seat: she wears a neatly tailored red wool coat; I notice the way her eyes shine when she looks out the window at the brown landscape mottled with snow because she’s one of my literary heroes.  It’s the first time I’ve met her as well as our driver, Bryan, who looks like an I-Can-Do-Anything-Guy, and he probably can.  We left South Peace Secondary School just under an hour ago where I gave a talk and reading to Grade 10 and 11 students. 
“I think I’ll turn here,” Bryan says at 99th Street.  He says it as if he’s not sure, looking up and down the street before he turns. 
He steers the wheel to the right.  The car bumps over gravel potholes.  “Mmm, I think maybe it’s a hundredth.” Bryan has the gift of hindsight. He’s driven other writers on other tours in other years in Fort Nelson before.  “I think I turned on 100th Street last time.”
We drive not knowing exactly where we’re going.  Not exactly. 
We have a destination in mind.  But the precise road to take is not entirely clear. 
No map.  Just maybe someone’s sense of having been here before. 
And all the while, a clock marks time, reminding us that we don’t have forever. 
Reminds me of my writing process.

Posted by Yasuko Thanh | Filed under: Peace Country Leg 2013 | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 16, 2013

Day One from the Peace River Leg

Breathtaking flight up north.

Flying to the Peace

Followed immediately by lunch in the Runway Cafe in the Dawson Creek airport.  Co-passengers confirmed it was THE place to eat in Dawson Creek.  Bryan Pike and Yasuko Thanh agree!

Bryan Pike

Suko Thanh

The tour is perfectly timed.  Much of the snow is gone and the legendary mosquitoes have yet to hatch.  I keep straining to think of the exactly colour of this landscape.

Peace River Valley

Oh, and we did visit a couple of schools to read!

Caroline Adderson at Crescent Park Elementary in Dawson Creek

Posted by Caroline Adderson | Filed under: Peace Country Leg 2013 | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 15, 2013

2013 Tour Begins Tomorrow

It’s our 10th year going On Tour, and it all begins tomorrow in Peace Country! After visiting the Peace region for the first time last year, I am very excited to return to the communities of Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, Fort Nelson, Fort St. John, and Hudson’s Hope again this year. We will be in the Peace region from April 16-19 before continuing on to other regions of BC, including Northern BC (April 22-27), Interior BC (April 29 - May 3), and Vancouver Island (April 29 - May 3). Check out the full tour schedule for more details. Our touring authors and I will keep you up-to-date on all the latest news from the tour, so stay tuned to our On Tour blog!

Posted by Bryan Pike | Filed under: Peace Country Leg 2013, Northern Leg 2013, Interior Leg 2013, Vancouver Island Leg 2013 | 0 Comments | Permalink

March 11, 2013

Tour Schedule 2013

From April 16–May 3, a selection of finalist authors will hit the road On Tour, with FREE readings at bookstores, libraries, and schools throughout BC. We will be visiting communities in Peace Country, Northern BC, the Interior (including the Kootenays), and Vancouver Island.

Stay tuned for more information on the confirmed communities. Once the tour is underway, we’ll be posting blog updates, photos and more as the Tour visits a town near you, so make sure to Follow the On Tour Blog.

Peace Country Leg

April 16-19, 2013
Caroline Adderson | Yasuko Thanh
View the full Peace Country tour schedule here

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

Northern BC Leg

April 22-26, 2013
Jackson Davies | Victoria Miles
View the full Northern BC tour schedule here

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

BC Interior Leg

April 29-May 3, 2013
Stefan Czernecki | Evelyn Lau
View the full BC Interior tour schedule here

  • Castlegar
  • Creston
  • Elkford
  • Fernie
  • Hosmer
  • Nelson
  • Princeton
  • Sparwood
  • Trail

Vancouver Island Leg

April 29-May 3, 2013
Anne Fleming | Alan Woo
View the full Vancouver Island tour schedule here

  • Campbell River
  • Comox
  • Courtenay
  • Ladysmith
  • Nanaimo
  • Parksville
  • Port Alberni

*Schedules subject to change

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

May 10, 2012

Welcome to The Southern Tour

What a long, arduous, exhilarating, inspiring first two days of the Southern Leg Tour of the BC Book Prizes!  I couldn’t blog last night due to “technical difficulties” so I will try and catch you up on what has been going on with us up here in Kamloops.

We left Vancouver Wednesday morning with bright blue sunny skies and the highway laid out in front of us beckoning us forward.  It was the perfect day for a road trip.  I was so excited to have Dan Bar-el and Susan McCaslin in my car, I had a million questions to ask of them about their novels and writing, but I thought I would wait, at least until we got beyond Hope…

Did I mention it was a bright and beautiful day?  We took our first pit stop in Merritt.  It was very windy… Dan and Susan in Merritt

Posted by Carey Erickson | Filed under: | 1 Comments | Permalink

May 10, 2012

Only one school left

Six days on the road and 7 elementary schools. And everyone darn one of them as different as can be. An A/V presentation adds an additional level of complication as not every teacher is conversant with the technology and I’m a hopeless klutz. So most presentations come down to the wire. Is there a disaster about to happen and up pops a 9 yr old and takes over?. Whew. Back at the ranch my contact with 9 yr olds is rare and mostly distant but for the past week I have been the focus of attention of up to 60 at a time and everyone one of them touched just a wee bit by the ‘cult of celebrity.’ Once the stampede for autographs begins there is not stopping it and just about every one of them is insistent upon having at least one signature.
The Koonenays afford some spectacular scenery but more interesting to me is, for want of a better expression, the culture. The eastern Kootenays have several communities totally dependent on the coal industry and massive operations in the Elk Valley (Sparwood, Elkwood)) afford a close up view of an industry that many folks, including myself, would rather be somewhere else, say Kazakhstan or Patagonia. But there is a fairly large population of people in the valley who have lived and breathed the financial, and community, benefits of this somewhat unholy operation. The ‘operations’ as they call them are a sight to behold and Bryan has posted some amazing photos of two of the mine sites. An ugliness that very slowly shifts into a certain beauty perhaps. And fairly close to these open pit mines we witnessed an array of wildlife: large herds of elk and deer and a small group of mountain goats that were close enough to us that I was tempted to hop on one and go for a ride. In fact the valley is so abundant in wild life that I was almost yearning for a few more glimpses of domestic herds.
A library event this evening in Fernie, a school tomorrow in Creston and then home. Sure hope I can do this again next year.


Posted by Gary Kent | Filed under: Kootenay Leg 2012 | 0 Comments | Permalink

May 10, 2012

Okanagan and Kootenays - no dromedaries but close

Today, BC Book Prizes CEO and official driver Bryan Pike, children’s author Gary Kent, and I saw on the roadside deer, elk, and big horn sheep. A trifecta. As I bought a copy of The Travels of Marco Polo in Nelson’s Booksmyth, it would have been apropos to see a dromedary - but no such luck.

It made for a fine reward for a long trip road trip through the Okanagan and Kootenays.

Better yet, these last few days, I have met incredible students, teachers, librarians, booksellers and readers.

The work with students at schools such as LV Rogers Secondary in Nelson, Sparwood Secondary in Sparwood, and many more has been gratifying. I can’t thank the students and teachers enough for their hospitality and enthusiasm.

And I’ve found great road/car mates in Bryan and Gary. Gary’s stories of giving up a life as an ethnologist and becoming a fisherman have delighted. And his short graphic novel, Fishing with Gubby, is a beautiful graphic novel.

Plus, did I mention we saw the world’s largest truck. Monster. Note: the mileage is not so good.

Posted by JJ Lee | Filed under: | 0 Comments | Permalink

May 07, 2012

Gubby and JJ take wine country by storm

I had the great pleasure of being with Bryan on the northern leg last year and it was an experience I’m not likely to forget, thanks to my wonderful companions Gina McMurchy-Barber and Stephen Collis. The opportunity to travel with Bryan again, this time in the Okanagan was something I could not pass up and the brilliant, funny and indefatigable JJ Lee is my author companion. For goodness sakes I get to travel with someone who ties his own bow ties each morning and will no doubt alter forever my miserable take on things sartorial!  I plan to visit a tailor as soon as I get home.
The gigs, especially the elementary schools are always full of surprises. Cawston, tiny little farm community Cawston, was a wonderful surprise nestled in the stunning Similkameen Valley a stone’s throw from Keromeos. Morning class so had their full attention unlike the lovely little darlings at the Osoyoos Elementary in the afternoon who itched and yawned much of their way through my brilliant offering. A ‘nice’ little touch was the laptop falling from its perch on the desk and knocking over a large container of marbles that spewed forth in every direction. All quite normal and acceptable of course.
And on to Nelson tomorrow morning. Three hours or so through more lovely country and expectations of good music, laughs and fashion tips.
More later,
Gary Kent

Posted by Gary Kent | Filed under: Okanagan Leg 2012 | 0 Comments | Permalink

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