Book Scene: April is Poetry Month

Though the weather can't decide if it's spring, the book scene is warming up, recovering from the post-Xmas lull.

Read on for more about Water, Finding Lily, No Margins, the Trillium Book Award nominees, and the Coach House Books Spring Launch.

New Books:

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This week, Bapsi Sidhwa held a reading of her new book Water (based on the film by Deepa Mehta) at Nicholas Hoare.

(nb: Deepa Mehta's film Earth was based on Sidhwa's Cracking India).

At the event, she commented on the difference between writing a novelization and writing her earlier books. Because it was already a story, she had to find a way "to make it mine" - which she does through a prologue that establishes Chuiya's (the lead character) background and gave Sidhwa a voice from which to write.

Her reading also gave her the opportunity to discuss briefly the ongoing injustice of the treatment of widows in ashrams in India. Widows are "considered to be a jinx" and the inhumane treatment they still receive is evidence of a significant social stigma. Sidhwa hopes that the film and book will create an awareness among activists in India and result in a change in situation.

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Richard Clewes, author of Finding Lily, also held his book launch at Nicholas Hoare - for good reason: the store manager Ben McNally was instrumental in helping Clewes write his memoir.

Clewes is known as a local ad-man here in TO, so it's no real surprise that he's got a website for the book (with excellent design and content, I might add). He also spared no expense during the process of writing and publishing his book - printing elegant promotional material and (as his publisher said during the event) giving latte's to everyone at Key Porter on a daily basis.

He also wandered into a Chapters and managed to hand-sell a couple copies to some unsuspecting browsers who had picked up the book.

The local Insomniac Press has just released No Margins, an anthology of contemporary Canadian lesbian fiction.

Bookish Events:

If you feel like getting down with literary types who know April is Poetry month - on the 12th, Coach House holds it's Spring Launch. It starts at 8pm at Revival. Free.

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The Trillium Book Award has announced their nominee shortlist - the prize recognizes "excellence in Ontario Literature". The French and English winner receive $20,000 (remind me to finish my novel) and their publisher receives $2,500 to further promote the titles.

The poetry winner gets $10,000 and the publisher get $2,000 for promo.

The lucky short-listers get a new bonus this year - a $500 honorarium. (Don't spend in all in one place, guys).

The envelope, please:

English Finalists for the Book Award:

F.T. Flahiff, Always Someone to Kill the Doves
Camilla Gibb, Sweetness in The Belly
Governor General Award Winner David Gilmour, A Perfect Night to Go to China
Sheila Heti, Ticknor
Stephen Lewis, Race Against Time
Alayna Munce, When I Was Young & In My Prime

French Finalists for the Book Award:

Gilles Dubois, L'homme aux yeux de loup
Jean Mohsen Fahmy, L'Agonie des dieux
Robert Marinier, Épinal
Pierre Raphaël Pelletier, Pour ce qui reste de la beauté du monde
Colette St-Denis, Un temps pour se souvenir

English Finalists for Poetry are:

Kevin Connolly, drift
Patria Rivera, Puti/White
Karen Solie, Modern and Normal

French Finalists for Poetry are:

Joël Beddows, des planches à la palette (Prise de parole)
Éric Charlebois, Centrifuge

The awards ceremony takes place April 25, at the St. Lawrence Hall, hosted by Minister Meilleur.


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