Adrianne Carr, Green Party politician, came by the Historic Joy Kogawa House booth, and told me that her daughter had shared with her Joy's children's book “Naomi's Tree.” “It's a great book” said Carr, as we chatted about the importance of saving historically significant landmarks (such as Kogawa House), and conserving sensitive and important environments – okay, I told her I was a director for The Land Conservancy of BC.
Susan Crean and Hal Wake (Vancouver International Writers Festival) chat in front of the Historic Joy Kogawa House booth – photo T.Wong
Also great to see my friends at the booths such as Historic Joy Kogawa House, Ricepaper Magazine, Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC, CUPE BC, Tradewind Books, Harbour Publishing, Vancouver Review, BC Book Prizes, VPL Foundation + more!
It was a busy busy Sunday, starting at 10am, because we had moved the dragon boat practice for Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team one hour early to encourage paddlers to attend events at WOTS.
Deb & I arrived shortly around 1pm to see that the tents for Poetry and Childrens events were flat on the ground. We later learned that the wind tunnel on Hamilton St had threatened to lift the tents into the air. After past years of rain, road closures, and a library strike, this will be forever known as the Year of the Wind.
Storyteller Mary Gavan wrote on FB that:
time in 25 years that anyone can recall the wipe out of part of Word on
the Street (ed. note: tents were taken down for safety and programs moved to other locations). Library staff outstanding in ensuring safety and rehousing
organisations inside with tables to replace their booths. Will write
as a story shortly.
George McWhirters steps off the “Poetry In Transit” bus, where Poetry Tent events were moved to after the tents were “put down” for safety. George told me that he had arrived at the Poetry Tent 10 minutes before his scheduled event to find the tents flat on the ground!
Rob Taylor read his poems on the “Poetry In Transit” bus, which didn't have any lights because of a dead battery. Transit attendants had to herkily-jerkily back up the bus while previously reading poets and host Evelyn Lau were still on the bus chatting with audience.
Christine Lowther reads her poems – not on the bus, but in the outdoors – from her collection “My Nature” at another location instead of the Poetry Tent.
Despite the early morning rain, and the sudden windstorm, this year was lots of fun. Great programming at WOTS this year. I was able to help out at the booth for Historic Joy Kogawa House, check in at Ricepaper Magazine, drop in at lots of author readings, chat with friends at the publisher tents, and buy lots of books, as well as scoop up some deals at the silent auction prizes.
I was able to see Jen Sookfong Lee, Wayde Compton, Susan Crean, and many other authors.
The elegant Jen Sookfong Lee read from her new book “The Better Mother” and also suggested to aspiring writers to never give in to Writers Block, nor interrupt their writing time. She admitted that she doesn't answer the phone even when she knows her mother is calling.
Wayde Compton is the current writer-in-residence at Vancouver Public Library. He spun a particularly captivating story about mixed races.
My friend Tetsuro Shigematsu was especially affected by JJ Lee's reading today. Tetsuro wrote on this FB that