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BC Book Prizes On Tour

April 23, 2010

Final Leg

The week has flown by. We leave shortly on the final leg of our tour. We’re bound for Sydney where we’ll meet up with Sylvia Olsen and Fred Wah (and Tim!) of the Southern Leg.  Fred and Ehor will give presentations at the high school while Sylvia and I visit Sidney Elementary to talk with the younger set. I’m hoping we arrive in time for me to catch some of Sylvia’s presentation, as I particularly enjoyed her book Counting on Hope and would love to hear more about her approach to writing it and how she made her interesting format choices.  It looks like another gorgeous Island weather day today.

Posted by Fiona Bayrock | Filed under: Okanagan / Vancouver Island Leg 2010 | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 22, 2010

What does it mean?

As I sit in the hotel lobby for a few minutes before heading off to our public readings at the Vancouver Island University Book Store, my mind turns to the whirlwind that makes up the last few days. For me that has included eight presentations to more than 650 students, plus two public book store/library readings, and some lovely downtime along the way—-leisurely meals at funky eateries, ammonite shopping in Courtenay, and feet-up on a piece of driftwood on the Comox spit, soaking up the sunshine and salt air in the company of a happy seagull or two. Man, we live in a beautiful province!

Wherever we go, the teachers, librarians, and book store owners all tell us the same thing, and with a genuineness and intensity that is palpable: they are so very grateful that the BC Book Prizes tour has brought an author to their community to visit with students and patrons. Time and again we’ve heard stories about how valuable an experience it is to have personal contact with a “real live author”,  how meaningful and inspiring it is to hear the stories of our writing processes and writing life, the successes, the challenges, effort and perseverance it takes to create the works we do. As Mari at the Courtenay Library said, “The impact is huge.” And yet, I was the first author many of the kids I talked to had ever seen. Hearing our hosts talk about the importance of these personal connections, I am extremely humbled and grateful to be part of the BC Book Prizes tour this year.

Posted by Fiona Bayrock | Filed under: Okanagan / Vancouver Island Leg 2010 | 1 Comments | Permalink

April 21, 2010

The odyssey begins

After a weekend staining logs of the cabin Cristina Martini and I are building at Nighthawk, our little ranch property at Basque on the Thompson River, C drove me to Kelowna and then, poor thing, had to drive the home leg to Horseshoe Bay herself (well, actually accompanied by our English Setter, Thompson S Hunter). I hooked up with Bryan and Fiona the next morning and had one of the busiest days of my recent life: four presentations beginning with criminal psychology, followed by two presentations on the book during which I tried to explain how a psychologist ended up writing a book about a poet, fishing, the philosophy of creativity, conservation and the wilderness. For me, the highlight was the poem at Pentiction SS I got 15 year old Amayla Black to read on spousal abuse. It was amazingly poignant. She demurely informed me she had already published three.

Fiona and Bryan are such great company that it made the whole first day’s itinerary flow seamlessly. The epicurean highlight was a delicious early meal of perogies with wild boar proscuitto and Nichols pinot gris at the Heritage House in Naramata where a very forthcoming host by name of Quentin Cane regaled us with stories of the halcyon days of the grand old manor in the Edwardian era of garden parties and regattas. Highly recommended if you are in the area.

Today was a challenge as I was presenting to grade eights and nines in Princeton but kept them listening by drawing parallels between Ted Hughes’s cold blooded raptors who “in sleep, rehearse perfect kills and eat” (I pointed out how that poem fragment in seven words can be a complete bio or characterization) and human predators who through sensitive disposition and early trauma and most of all isolation from positive paternal influences become obsessed with killing humans. The little ghouls loved it, many, to my surprise having seen Psycho and the Texas Chain Saw Massacre, etc, inspired by the most horrendous cases. I emphasized how important it was to reach out if someone seemed especially isolated or if they themselves, were. Then we cruised downhill and ferried to Nanaimo with no duties but to track down a pub, The Old Station, and watch Steve Nash and the Suns pummel the Blazers, and to bed to sleep, perchance to dream - not of axe murderers or even hawks who begin to eat their prey without bothering to kill them, but of idyllic rivers teeming with steelhead.   

Posted by Ehor Boyanowsky | Filed under: Okanagan / Vancouver Island Leg 2010 | 0 Comments | Permalink

April 20, 2010

And we’re off!

Two days into our tour and Ehor, Bryan, and I appear to be bloggers MIA.  But we’re not, really we aren’t. Factor in a travel day and a day of internet access issues and here we are at last!

While Ehor headed off to the high school on Monday, my first official BC Book Prizes tour day began with me visiting 100 K-3 students at Dorothea Walker Elementary School in Kelowna. What a welcome!  The classes arrived at the library with otters and frogs and whales and fish—-artwork from Bubble Homes and Fish Farts

Dorothea Walker Kelowna Apr19

Each class had made something different with illustrator Carolyn Conahan’s line drawings. The kids grinned from ear-to-ear as they showed off their masks, medallions, and two styles of animal hats. Too cool.  I grinned right back.

A quick trip along the highway—-and a few heart palpitations on Bryan’s part as we were delayed for 15 minutes at a dead stop due to construction—-found us at Penticton schools for the afternoon. A big shoutout to Wiltse Elementary! 

Since we had plenty of time before our public gig at Hooked on Books, a lovely little book store on Main Street, Penticton right next door to Fibonacci’s, home of the biggest latte cups I’d ever seen, we thought we’d stop en route for a

wine-tasting

official visit to the Red Rooster Winery, one of the adopt-a-library sponsors. 

Red Rooster Winery Tasting Apr19

After

tasting five lovely wines a very serious photo-op, we were on our way Rieslings and Syrahs in hand

.
Kudos to Hooked on Books for hosting our evening event even though they’ve been open for only a few months.  A terrific first touring day.  Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

(Thanks to Bryan for the photos!)

Posted by Fiona Bayrock | Filed under: Okanagan / Vancouver Island Leg 2010 | 2 Comments | Permalink

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