Sunday, April 20, 2008

BC Book Prizes and a Penultimate Moon

It was a gorgeous evening for the BC Book Prize Soiree, held at the Metropolitan Hotel in downtown Vancouver last night. After a day of really weird spring weather (including snow that fell and stayed put all day throughout the city and not just on my mountainside aerie) the moon came out and gave me a chance to play with my camera settings. She's a night away from full, but politely held still for just long enough to have her portrait taken.


Back to the soiree. I arrived late due to an over-scheduled day, and by the time I got there, the party was in full swing. Loads of CWILL BC members in attendance. Here's a shot of Kari-Lynn Winters in a throng of admirers, having a great time celebrating her nomination for picture book JEFFREY AND SLOTH.

Norma Charles, seen here chatting with author and blogger Julie Burtinshaw, is a member of the BC Book Prize committee, and is celebrating the recent launch of her own new book THE GIRL IN THE BACK SEAT.

Also present was nominee Meg Tilly, celebrating the evening with a crowd of well-wishers (and her husband, Don). She looked gorgeous (as usual) but for a glimpse of her earlier hair tribulations, you may want to check out her blog. Meg will be touring the Kootneys soon, on her leg of the BC Book Prize tour. If you get a chance to hear her read from her nominated book PORCUPINE, be sure to grab it. A not-to-be-missed opportunity.

Out-going CWILL BC president James McCann can be seen chatting here with in-coming CWILL vp Crystal Stranaghan. Crystal is the publisher of Gumboot Books, a new independent right here in Vancouver, specializing in kids books.

Artist, illustrator and photographer Kirsti-Anne Wakelin was also at the soiree, here pictured looking kinda the way I do at these things...

Photography is a religious experience for both of us, though she is definitely more Canonical than I (a confirmed Pentaxian).

This is what she looks like with the camera pried off her face, here chatting with blogging whiz and all-round techie guy Boris Mann. Boris is one of the incandescents behind the amazing Northern Voice blogging and social networking conference held yearly at UBC.

Also present from Northern Voice (but sadly unphotographed) was Monique Trottier, who led the rousing 'Authors Who Blog' session. Monique's been busy getting her company re-named and launched, and she designed the beautiful BC Book Prizes website.

The BC Book Prizes will be distributed at a Gala next Saturday night. Stay tuned.


And finally, I read yesterday where poet Gary Geddes was awarded the Lieutenent Governor's Award for Literary Excellence in BC. With the award comes a $5000 prize. Geddes, a giant in the Canadian literary scene, told the Vancouver Sun: "What matters to me is not the money, but is the moral support. Nothing a writer appreciates more than some assurance from peers that you're doing a good job."

Now, I don't know Gary, but I feel compelled to protest on behalf of the many poets I do know. The money does matter! The more money directed to the Canadian literary scene, particularly toward poetry, the better. I know too many published poets who never see a royalty for their work, beyond a couple of comped copies of their own books. So, three cheers for the celebration of Canadian poetry -- may there be many more lucrative prizes awarded to allow it to flourish.


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