Monthly Archives: November 2009

Almost Home

I am sitting in the airport in Minneapolis, MS. (MSP) Actually, I am in the Observation Room, facing west and the sky is a brilliant bluish-pink. I stayed at the airport overnight due to a flight mix-up at source. I found a really comfy couch in a quiet area upstairs in the main terminal and slept well, but only for about four hours.

The airport was very still overnight, but by 4:40 the PAs started up again and within what seemed like a short time, the terminal came to life. I watched from above – a quiet and unseen observer. Because my phone was out of juice, I was limited to emails, all my friends in all time zones were asleep or busy doing Sunday things.

The airport is a different world. By 7am, the bars were serving beer and drinks to weary travellers whose bio clocks were upside down, (or maybe this place is the alcoholic’s dream – where nobody will judge another person based on clocks and habits).

This is a very easy to get around airport compared to Heathrow – they actually post the flight times and GATES 12 hours ahead and don’t seem to make many changes at all. The food isn’t very good though – I think I may have eaten ‘hash browns’ out of a freezer bag? Gross. But there is a starbucks and the coffee wasn’t bad. No sushi or salad bars though – Subway, Macdonalds and some cheesy Tex/Mex places.

I hope my bags are getting on the plane with me! As I look out the window, I see three planes lined up to taxi into gates while another leaps into the sky – big jets queue up facing the pink sky and wait their turn, and still more are parked and loading up. Where is everyone going? Lots of chubby people in summer clothes, so I suppose it’s off to warmer climes. It gets cold here in winter, situated as it is somewhere below Winnipeg, Canada.

The ticket agents in LHR, both Delta and KLM were amazing yesterday, helping me with my ticket screw-up and eventually putting me in the front cabin, were I slept the night away in a little pod – full out flat bed – after being wined and dined. So, I’ve forgiven Delta and I really think they have worked on Customer Service hard and it shows! Thanks all!

I think every large hub airport should have a writer in residence. There really is a lot going on and that’s before you start talking to the travellers.

Here are a few pics of my trip:

It’s 7:35am and the sun is a ball of orange hanging low on the horizon.

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Winners of 2009 Governor General’s Literary Awards Announced: Children’s Lit, YA Rules!

Montreal, November 17, 2009 – The names of winners of the 2009 Governor General’s Literary Awards were announced today by the Canada Council for the Arts. The seven English and seven French awards are given to authors, illustrators and translators and in the categories of fiction, poetry, drama, non‑fiction, children’s literature (text and illustration) and translation.

For the first time in the history of the Awards one book wins in both categories of children’s literature (text and illustration): Harvey by author Hervé Bouchard and illustrator Janice Nadeau, a three-time Award-winner. Children’s literature was also the focus in the English-language translation category, with Susan Ouriou winning for her translation of a young adult novel, Pieces of Me, a translation of La liberté? Connais pas. by Charlotte Gingras. Paule Noyart, winner in French-language translation, takes home her second Award this year for her translation of Camilla Gibb’s Sweetness in the Belly. M.G. Vassanji, a past finalist in fiction, wins this year in the non-fiction category for his account of his travel in India. This year, 12 of the 14 winners receive this award for the very first time.

Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, will present the 2009 Literary Awards on Thursday, November 26 at 6 p.m., at Rideau Hall. Media representatives wishing to cover the awards presentation should contact Julie Rocheleau at the Rideau Hall Press Office, 613-998-7280 or jrocheleau@gg.ca.

The Governor General and Mr. Jean-Daniel Lafond are pleased to invite the public to an Art Matters forum, on the eve of this year’s award ceremony, on the following theme: How is your writing Canadian? “Inspired by tomorrow’s presentation of the Governor General’s Literary Awards honouring Canadian literature, and thanks to the many Canadian and international awards presented to our authors, we began thinking about just what it is that makes our literature `Canadian.’ How do authors, illustrators, their imaginations, the work of those who craft books, and the passion of readers express who we are and convey our identity?” asked Her Excellency.

This Art Matters forum will take place on Wednesday, November 25, 2009 at 7 p.m., at Rideau Hall. Two panellists will open the discussion: Serge Bouchard, anthropologist and author as well as Noah Richler, journalist and author. Seating is limited. To reserve their seat, members of the public must register via e-mail to conference@gg.ca before Friday, November 20, 2009.

The Canada Council funds, administers and promotes the awards the Governor General’s Literary Awards, Canada’s oldest and most prestigious awards for English- and French-language Canadian literature. The value of each award is $25,000 and each will also receive a specially-bound copy of the winning book created by Montreal bookbinder Lise Dubois. The publisher of each winning book will receive $3,000 to support promotional activities. Non‑winning finalists will each receive $1,000 in recognition of their selection as finalists, bringing the total value of the awards to approximately $450,000.

Read the complete list of winners on the Canada Council’s website:

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No Time to Write? Don’t Stress It – Accept It

While I had high hopes of getting some fiction writing done while away in Suffolk visiting my aunt, I am finding I only have time for my editing work, not book writing. Of course, this is my choice. If I wanted to, I could spend all of my days at various (and fabulous) Internet cafes in Woodbridge, but then what would be the point of leaving Vancouver at all? After all, a cafe is a cafe no matter where you happen to be. With this in mind, I’ve put my writing aside, opting instead for experience.

It’s really good for me, as a writer, to sometimes put the creating aside and dive into life. These are the times when I listen and watch and imagine, and I know, for a fact, that by doing this, I become a better wordsmith. The trick is to put aside all guilt about not writing and live in the moment. It’s a luxury no doubt, but a life without luxury is not a life worth living 🙂

Think it’s time to pop into the pub for an ale…

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Looking for Medical Writers

A writer colleague at suite101.com asked that I post the following:

Elaine Moor (author of seven medical books) has been asked by her publisher to find several medical writers for a new series on living with various illnesses that she will be editing. Interested medical writers can contact her directly. The publisher is looking for books on MS, lupus, Down’s syndrome, and autism, but any topic would be considered.

Contact Information:

Email Elaine
elaine@elaine-moore.com

Visit her website

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Woodbridge, Suffolk: Brower’s Bookstore

Here I sit in a bookshop/Internet cafe in Woodbridge totally engrossed in working when I suddenly had a moment of situational awareness and looking up from the keyboard realized that this little bookstore is absolutely packed with people reading, chatting and buying books. It made my heart warm and gave me hope for the literary future. Looking around, I notice that many of the customers are probably retired, that they are on-foot and this is part of their daily routine. They seem very engaged in life.

The bookstore walls are plastered in notices of upcoming literary events, author talks, historian talks, and theartre/concert flyers. I think I could happily spend months, not days here. Last night we ate at a wonderful little Chinese food restaurant which I will blog about in more detail when I remember the name. I arrived here completely exhausted: I left Vancouver at noon and landed, three hours later in Minneapolis (where moose seem to be a big theme). After six long hours there, I boarded a Delta/NW flight (very successful and I have no complaints at all) bound for Heathrow – 7.5 hours. Next the Heathrow Connect (4 pounds) to Paddington (maybe an hour) and finally a train to Woodbridge (at least an hour). I was truly tired and hungry, but so excited to see my auntie.

We slept really well and I have no jet lag. I think we will take the footpath to Melton, along the riverside, to a little pub for lunch. Need I say anymore?

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I’m Going away for 2 Weeks – Carry-on!!!

I am not going to fly my favourite airline, Westjet to the UK because I can’t, although the trip to Yellowknife was smooth…

Westjet goes subarctic

Westjet plane in Yellowknife before I got on

As much as I swore I would never do it again, I am going to fly Northwest, which would be fine if it wasn’t really Delta in disguise. Followers will know all about how I feel about Delta Airlines. It’s possible I won’t sleep tonight thinking about my journey from Vancouver to Minneapolis to London, Heathrow with a flight change in Minneapolis.

However, I can and do thank my terror of lost baggage and missed planes with my decision to try to go not with checked bags, but with carry-on!!
And, I think I can do it. I will only have one pair of boots and one pair of quite hideous sneakers and hardly any amazing outfits, but still I am going to get to the UK with at least some clothes!!!

I’ll keep you posted on Sunday when I leave….

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BC BookWorld: 300 AUTHORS BECOME SUBSCRIBERS, ‘N’ WE’RE STILL COUNTING

Thus far 300 authors have become Supporter/Subscribers to B.C. BookWorld. If you’re one of those 300 authors who have thus far responded by becoming one of our Supporter/Subscribers, THANK YOU.

We need at least 300 more Supporter/Subscribers to counteract the provincial government’s sudden retraction of $31,000 in annual funding.

If you are one of the approximately 5,000 authors of British Columbia who has yet to become a Supporter/Subscriber for 2010, it’s pretty simple to join this grass roots movement. It’s not charity. As a subscriber, you get B.C. BookWorld delivered to your door, four times per year. Remarkably, lots of authors send more than $25. It’s not at all necessary to do so.

Either go to BC Bookworld and use PayPal; or send a cheque for $25 made out to Pacific BookWorld News Society, 3516 West 13th Ave., Vancouver, B.C. V6R 2S3.

Meanwhile planning goes forward for the presentation of Gordon Campbell’s $40,000 annual literary non-fiction prize for Canadian authors. Each year he presents this publicly-funded prize at a lavish, free luncheon for 250 people at the Pan Pacific. Total production costs for this event are likely twice the amount that was rescinded from Pacific BookWorld News Society. (This year, the winning author’s prize money for the premier’s book award has been lowered from $45,000 to $40,000.)

Thank you to everyone who has written letters to Premier Campbell, Culture Minister Kevin Krueger, local MLAs and their local newspapers. This week Gordon Campbell’s constituency office received copies of 100 letters, all written in October, to protest the withdrawal of all funding for B.C. BookWorld. More letters are welcome.

The Winter issue of BC BookWorld will be printed on Friday, 44 pages as usual. The Winter issue will be distributed via more than 900 outlets in B.C., as usual. With your participation, it will be ever thus.

Alan Twigg

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