• Writers
  • Feb21

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    Rose Ellen Nichols in Pauline
    [Rose-Ellen Nichols starring as Pauline Johnson; City Opera Vancouver photo]

    City Opera Vancouver presents the world premiere of Pauline, a chamber opera about Canadian writer-actress Pauline Johnson, with libretto by acclaimed Canadian author Margaret Atwood and music by Tobin Stokes.
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  • Aug29

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    Yin Yeung Express

    On September 13 to 15, supper and storytelling will come together for Yin Yeung Express, a unique culinary event presented by In the House Festival, Ken Tsui (Vancouver Chinatown Night Market), and Kevin Chong (author of My Year of the Racehorse). Music will be curated by In the House Festival.

    Inspired by Hong Kong’s signature open-air eateries (dai pai dong), memorable stories of food will be paired with four fine-dining interpretations of humble Hong Kong café classics. Forget the greasy bowls of instant ramen with spam made to order and dive into a playful take on the cuisine’s most iconic dishes prepared with an innovative mix of fresh ingredients. There will be vegetarian options available.
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  • Oct16

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    Stanley Coren
    [Stanley Coren]

    Next month’s 28th Annual JCC Jewish Book Festival is prepared to take the city by storm with an exciting roster of writers from across Canada, the US, and Israel. This popular yearly event connects celebrated authors with an audience spanning the Lower Mainland.

    Shalom Auslander
    [Shalom Auslander]

    The festival week is jam-packed with innovative literary events including unique meet the author opportunities, literary readings and panel discussions, a foodie event, the annual book club event, writing and self-publishing workshops, children’s authors, film screenings, and two onsite bookstores (new and used), open throughout the week.

    Cary Fagan
    [Cary Fagan]

    This festival offers something of interest for every age group and literary taste.

    Featured 2012 Festival authors include
    - Opening Gala with New York’s Shalom Auslander, “A caustic comic tour de force.” (Hope: A Tragedy)
    - Tzeporah Berman (This Crazy Time)
    - Bestselling novelist Lilian Natel with host CBC’s Sheryl MacKay (Web of Angels)
    - An introduction to cartoon analysis and a novel insight into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with author Ilan Danjoux
    - Psychologist and dog expert Stanley Coren (Do Dogs Dream? Nearly Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know)
    - Israeli leading culinary journalist, television personality, and gay rights champion Gil Hovav, credited with changing the image of Israeli cuisine from a county of basic traditional food into a gourmet nation
    - Giller Prize longlist nominee Cary Fagan

    Gil Hovav
    [Gil Hovav]

    “The Jewish Book Festival is a wide-reaching and inclusive event that reaches out to readers from all cultures and religions,” according to Festival director, Nicole Nozick. “Jewish writers don’t write only about Jewish subjects – their themes are universal: family relationships, love, humour, history. There is something for everyone with our diverse and entertaining selection of celebrated authors and panelists.”

    Tzeporah Berman
    [Tzeporah Berman]

    Visit the Jewish Book Festival website for updates. The festival program guide is available at select locations throughout the Lower Mainland after October 15 and all events will take place at the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver.

    2012 JCC Jewish Book Festival
    Dates: November 24 to 29
    Venue: Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver, 950 West 41st Avenue at Cambie Street
    Tickets: Some events free of charge, others available for purchase online

    Special pre-festival event: Sunday, November 4, 2 pm
    A visit from David Javerbaum, author of The Last Testament – A Memoir By God, as well as former head writer and executive producer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Click here to purchase tickets.

  • Jun7


    Food Talks Volume 1
    [Richard Wolak, Vancouver Foodster]

    Earlier this week at W2 Woodwards Community Media Arts Café, food lover and writer Richard Wolak launched the first edition in his Vancouver Food Talks series. Appetizers, iced tea, and a glass of Misconduct Wine were served pre-event, courtesy of W2′s Chef Karen McAthy. Five prominent speakers each gave a short talk about what drives their passion within the food industry.

    Below is a quick recap of what each speaker offered; a Q&A session and prize raffle followed. Specially created treats from Soirette Macarons were handed out as we exited the event.

    Food Talks Volume 1
    [Mike McDermid, Manager, Ocean Wise Program at the Vancouver Aquarium]

    Mike McDermid, Manager, Ocean Wise Program at the Vancouver Aquarium:

    1.2 billion people rely on seafood as a dietary substance. Based on current extraction rates, we’re running out of stock and soon. Started in 2005, Ocean Wise helps to empower consumers to make the right choice.

    It’s hard for chefs to know what the impact is of certain fish species caught. Vancouver Aquarium stepped in to help them decide. And the chefs were happy to have the help. At the end of the day, they wanted to know that they were doing right by our oceans.

    People all over North America started to contact Ocean Wise for information. Within six to seven years, the program has grown to 3,100 active sources: an incredible amount of buying power. The Ocean Wise network helps connect sources with the chefs, stores and markets, making it easy for consumers to identify what the right choices are. They’ve started to change the way that seafood is both sourced and its fisheries operated. Fisheries now get value for their product.

    Local, seasonal, organic, fair trade: “We’re just starting to get there with seafood.”

    Food Talks Volume 1
    [Stephanie Yuen, East Meets West author]

    Stephanie Yuen, East Meets West author and food columnist:

    Compared to 30 years ago, there are about 1,000% more Asian restaurants in Vancouver. Asian food in Vancouver does a tremendous amount of good for its food scene. Stephanie went on to talk about her latest book, East Meets West, then discussed the importance of freshly sourced products, avoiding shark fin fishing, and our local Asian food community. Her book will be launched this Saturday, June 9, from 2 to 4 pm at Shaktea, 3702 Main Street.

    Food Talks Volume 1
    [Hunter Moyes, Chef, Waldorf Hotel; founder Vancouver Tiffin Project]

    Hunter Moyes, Chef, The Waldorf Hotel:

    NGO’s have problems bringing out numbers to events, but when food is involved, that number triples. Three key issues that Hunter discussed were local vs. imported produce, waste, and food security.

    CSA (community-supported agriculture) relies on a large number of small-consumption clients. Being part of food industry, why not take that number and get a small number of large-consumption clients to make a difference?

    We’ll fall back onto small farmers as gas prices continue to rise. Moyes has launched a Vancouver version of the Tiffin Project. Originated in India in 1880, this is a meal delivery system where hundreds of thousands of meals are delivered and catered without waste.

    Moyes formerly worked at Burgoo West Point Grey. There he saw how thousands of dollars of take-out containers went out the door. This led him to think about a local campaign. He’s gathered a group of Vancouver restaurants to eliminate take-out waste. Profit margin: $4 of each reusable container goes towards researching ways of eliminating more waste. As well, proceeds will serve to educate the public. Follow his project on Twitter: @TiffinProject

    Food Talks Volume 1
    [Trevor Bird, Top Chef Canada; Fable Kitchen Restaurant Executive Chef]

    Trevor Bird, Top Chef Canada and Fable Kitchen Restaurant Executive Chef:

    Trevor’s all about bridging the gap with sourced food. Fable Kitchen wants to know about the animals they serve. What’s their life span? Where are there genetics from?

    “Just because it’s local doesn’t mean it’s sustainable”. Chef Bird then went on to colourfully describe his experience being on Top Chef Canada and how he respects Carl Heinrich for what he’s learned from him. Bird is glad that the Food Network chose Carl as the winning Top Chef Canada.

    Food Talks Volume 1
    [Roberta LaQuaglia, Vancouver Farmers Markets]

    Roberta LaQuaglia of Vancouver Farmers Markets:
    The public has taken to the farmers markets. Community is developed through the markets, creating small villages with temporary stalls. Roberta believes that the public should be educated about their food sources and options.

    Markets have a vibe. Farmer’s markets equate to laughter, good times, music, etc. People get connected with “their market”. There’s a pride associated with it. Vancouver Farmer’s Markets are grateful for their customer base.

    Growers have to feel that it’s worth their while to come in and sell their product. The average age of BC farmers is 54. Therefore, new farmers need to get introduced to the community so that the current generation can retire while passing on their knowledge.

    On a humorous side note, Trevor Bird proposed starting a celebrity farmer movement.

    Tickets for Food Talks Volume 2 are now on sale via Vancouver Foodster. Visit the event link for information and to purchase tickets.

  • Apr13

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    Reading a book

    [Photo credit: Federica.Giordano on Flickr]

    If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all. – Oscar Wilde

    The 24th annual City of Vancouver Book Award is back. Authors and publishers of books that contribute to the appreciation and understanding of Vancouver’s history, its unique character, or its residents’ achievements are encouraged to submit entries.

    The book can be of any genre and should demonstrate excellence in content, illustration, design, and/or format. To be eligible, books must be published in 2011 or 2012 and meet the application criteria. The eligibility and evaluation criteria for the award reflect the importance of diversity in both literary genres and subject matter.

    All entries must include:
    - Four copies of the book
    - A $20 submission fee
    - A completed entry form

    Entry forms and guidelines are available from the Cultural Services Department at the Woodward’s Heritage Building, 111 West Hastings Street, Suite 501, or on via the City’s website. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, May 23.

    An independent panel of judges will choose the winner of the $2,000 prize. The short list of finalists will be announced in September, and the award will be presented in October by Mayor Gregor Robertson.

    Recent past winners include Michael Christie for The Beggar’s Garden; Bruce Grenville and Scott Steedman for Visions of British Columbia; Lee Henderson for The Man Game; and Brad Cran and Gillian Jerome for Hope in Shadows.

  • Feb13

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    Awards banner

    This year, I was invited to judge the Canadian Weblog Awards. I went through 15 Canadian sites, judging for usability, accessibility, functionality, interactivity, aesthetics, originality, clarity, currency (timely content), authenticity as well as grammar control.

    I wasn’t able to divulge any information regarding my status as a CWA juror, nor was I able to let any of my readers know about my findings. The nominations were processed at the end of last year, with the top five finalists in each category announced on January 15.

    I was out of the country when the prizes in each category were announced and had to wait until my return to post this on my site.

    First off: a link to the 2011 Canadian Weblog Award winners.

    Going through a website and cutting it down to the indicators mentioned above gave me a great education in the world of blogs. I found gorgeous photography on the same site that was lacking a way to order their product. I read another blog that contained not one single image. Others were poorly worded or contained misspelled words. And a few were hard to comment on a particular post.

    Out of the 15, I was hoping to find at least a few gems to report back on, in addition to the winners.

    Breathe Dream Go banner

    I found one, a real standout. Mariellen Ward’s Breathe Dream Go is right on the mark for a niche travel blog. Her blog was also one of the few that included social media links, a photo right up front along with her bio, and a lot of interesting sidebar content. Her work has been featured in Canadian Living, Weekly Voice, Indo-Asia News service, and others.

    She’s even written a book chronicling her experience in her ‘second home’ country: Song of India. Her advertising page is completely transparent, as well as is her disclosure regarding media trips.

    And I’m happy to learn that she won 2nd place in the Best Weblog About Travel category (while Vancouver’s own Gourmet Fury took 1st)!

    If you’re seriously considering spending any amount of time in India, I’m certain that Breathe Dream Go is one of the best online resources to check out. I’m lucky to have discovered Mariellen’s site and hope to find more bloggers reaching out with a similar passion. I hope to meet her at a future TBEX blogging conference or perhaps even a media trip, though I’d most likely be on a plane to India!

    Congrats to all the winners!

  • Nov21

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    One of a Kind Show images

    Now in its fourth year, the One of a Kind Show returns to Vancouver from December 8 to 11. Over 300 of North America’s finest artisans and designers will have their unique goods for sale, just in time for the holidays.

    Dam Good Soap selection
    [Paula Morimoto's Dam Good Soap]
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  • Nov15

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    Natalie MacLean seminar

    I really enjoyed attending wine writer Natalie MacLean’s seminar at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler.
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  • Mar31

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    Open Book
    [Photo Credit: melanieburger on Flickr]

    The City of Vancouver invites publishers and authors to submit entries for the 23rd annual City of Vancouver Book Award.
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