BC Book Prizes Soiree: meeting authors

Saturday Night in Vancouver…. what to do

We went to the BC Book Prizes Soiree, held this year at the swanky Metropolitan Hotel, home to Diva Restaurant.  All the nominated authors for the 2008 BC Book Prizes were there, and it was announced that Gary Geddes was being awarded the 5th Annual Lt. Governorès Award for Literary Achievement.  Gary wasnèt there as he lives outside of Victoria and will be there next week for the BC Book Prizes Gala.  But attending were other award nominees such as Meg Tilly and Mike McCardle.

Upon arrival, I quickly found myself saying greetings to authors Rita Wong and Hiromi Goto.  Rita is nominated for the poetry prize for her work Forage, published by Nightwood.  Hiromi was recently the writer in resident for the Vancouver Public Library.

I quickly spotted my girlfriend Deb, and we went over to say hello to author Shaena Lambert, nominated for her novel Radiance, and George McWhirter – still the current Vancouver Poet Laureate.  It was a pleasure to see Lorna, who is Shaenaès Aunt, whom I have met at events for the PAL Vancouver.  Shaena had read at the November 10th event for Joy Kogawa House, and George will be reading a Joy Kogawa House this coming Friday on April 25th.

Jas Jhooty is the new marketing coordinator for Ricepaper Magazine, and Leanne Riding is the new co-president (with me), for Asian Canadian Writers Workshop.  I introduced them to a few people such as Ray of Vancouver Co-Op Books.  I picked up Soucouyant by David Chariandy, nominated for fiction prize. 

I introduced Jas and Leanne to Rita Wong, she pointed out David Chariandy, so I went over to say hello.  I introduced myself, as I asked if Soucouyant dealt with inter-racial relationships, and I explained how I write about intercultural topics on my blog www.gunghaggisfatchoy.com.  Both David and his wife Sophie, who both exclaimed that they were fans of Gung Haggis Fat Choy – the concept.  David is of Caribbean and South Asian descent and said that many Caribbeans are very mixed.  Sophie, who is of Scottish ancestry, said that Davidès grandmother had some Chinese ancestry.

Ann-Marie Metten came by holding up the brand new copy of Ricepaper Magazine.  Ann-Marie is on the board for BC Book Prizes, as well as ACWW and the executive director for Joy Kogawa House.  I had made a big push for Ricepaper Magazine staffers to attend.  Editor Aaron Leaf had come by with a bag of Ricepaper Magazines, giving some to Ann-Marie as an advance copy.  I opened it up, and quickly saw excerpts from Rita Wongès poetry collection.  I dragged Ann-Marie over to introduce her to Rita.   I held up the pages with Ritaès name and poetry on it to show Rita.  She was surprised to see them in Ricepaper and excited! Ann-Marie graciously offered the copies to Rita.

As always there are great silent auction items available for bidding.  I made my way over to the tables where I found author KC Dyer holding up a camera.  She said she was taking pictures for her blog.  I shared with her that I had taken pictures at last yearès BC Book Prizes for my blog, and that BC Book Prizes liked the pictures so much they used them for their website.  KC s face lit up when I told her that my blog was www.gunghaggisfatchoy.com.  We exchanged URLs and I asked her to send me some pictures because I forgot my camera.

There was another wonderful large dragon puppet donated by the BCLA.  I was looking for the bidding sheet when I became involved with a converstation with write Nan Gregory. the author of the wonderful childrenès book How Smudge Came.  Nan quickly found me the bidding sheet.  Later in the evening, I showed her the new green dragon puppet being added to my collection.  Nan sparkles with energy, and I remember meeting her many years ago while I worked at the West Point Grey Library.  Note to self – must remember to call Nan up for a chat.

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