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Young Writers Register for the 2014 VPL Writing and Book Camp!

I am excited to be invited back this year as a teen mentor at the 2014 Writing and Book Camp. Last year I had an emergency appendectomy on Day One, so I missed all of the fun and learning and writing and creating. This year will be a lot better! This is a great environment for young creators, at every level and every genre. Hope to see you there. Follow the link below to register.

Calling all aspiring writers and book lovers! Sharpen your skills and spark your imagination at the Library’s Writing & Book Camp!

This unique day camp lets youth with a passion for reading and writing connect with well-known authors and illustrators. Each day features a new keynote speaker from the Canadian literary world. Campers also experience a variety of creative workshops that will help them to strengthen their writing skills and .

Our inclusive program welcomes youth who want to try creative writing for the first time, aspiring authors with mountains of manuscripts and everyone in between!

Writing and Book Camp – Let your imagination run wild!

Writing and Book Camp – Let your imagination run wild!

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Curator of the Morris Belkin Gallery Writes to Harper

Here is the letter to Prime Minister Harper from Scott Watson, Director and Curator of the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at the University of British Columbia. Remember on Tuesday, vote for the arts — and that means anything but conservative.

7 October 2008

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

I was impressed that so much time was given over to the arts on last Thursday’s debate. But from your remarks you seem not to know which programs you cut or what those programs did. One of these was the PromArt Program run by the Department of External Affairs and International Trade, where it was once thought that promoting Canadian art abroad advanced international trade. Let me give you an example of why they thought that.

Last year, I attended the opening of a retrospective by Stan Douglas in Stuttgart, Germany. The exhibition was in two institutions and occupied over thirty separate gallery rooms. In terms of space and financial resources (the show had a budget of 750,000 Euros) this was a huge exhibition of a Canadian artist, larger in fact than any Canadian institution has the resources to mount.

Why should PromArt have given $40,000 towards this project? Stuttgart is one of the wealthiest cities in the world and the corporate headquarters of Siemens, Porsche, Daimler, Bosch, Celesio, et al. The opening ceremony was attended by more than 500 people who represented Stuttgart’s business and cultural interests. They were addressed by the Foreign Minister of Germany and the Canadian Ambassador, as well as the museum curators and the artist.

This is the program your people tried to discredit ideologically for supporting punk bands or sending writers to Cuba. Canada will now be the only G8 country without a program to promote its arts and culture abroad. I do not think withdrawing from the deep connection between business, the arts and national prestige is what we ought to be doing in a time of economic crisis – or, indeed, at any time.


Scott Watson
UBC Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery

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Check Out My Friend’s Blog

New blogger online — if you are interested in building a commuter bike, kayaking on the Pacific Ocean or fixing your water system, check out 49north — he’s new and incognito but will be posting lots…
He will talk about:

  • cats (he doesn’t like them, but they love him)
  • boats and things that float
  • bikes and how to build them

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    Grad 2008 Kitsilano High School

    This morning I attended my son’s grad ceremony from Kitsilano High School, French Immersion Program. Just over a hundred students — many of whom we have known since kindergarten, received their diplomas. I am so proud of myself for not crying — saving that for the main ceremony next week!

    The ceremony was conducted entirely in French and I felt so proud of my bilingual son and his classmates — not only because they have been successful in their school careers, but because they have managed to do this in a language other than their own. We could all feel the exuberance in the auditorium as one by one they crossed the stage to receive their diplomas — all so full of hope and excitement for what lies ahead.
    Funny thing is that while they all look forward, all of us (the parents) couldn’t help but to look back to their first days of school and wonder where all of that time went! We have an amazing group of teens and for that I am thankful.

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    Three Days at Indian Rock

    Four to six hours from Vancouver (depending on how fast one drives and how willing one is to get a speeding ticket) is a very special place I have been going to every summer for nearly 15 years. It’s called Indian Rock and lies twenty minutes outside of Penticton, just beyond Naramata in the Okanogan. Wine lovers and sun-worshippers will know be familiar with this area — often referred to as the Napa Valley of BC.

    On Monday, I decided to get there as quickly as possible and hopped a Westjet flight to Kelowna — in under 40 minutes I was embraced by the hot, dry air so foreign to those of us who dwell in the rain forest and an hour later I was sipping Red Rooster’s finest on the shores of the Lake Okanogan. This is what Paradise Looks Like

    I’d intended to do some serious work on my next book, but instead spent my time reading (finished two books — Timothy Taylor’s Stanley Park; thumbs down, and Joan Clark’s An Audience of Chairs — big thumbs up).

    As can be seen in the photos, the gardens were more beautiful than can be imagined and the pics do not do them justice. I’ve created another web album for those of you who might like to see more images. My friend and I opted to drive back to Vancouver — a slow and easy road trip that involved lots of junk food, music, leisurely stops and conversation. It’s calving season in ranch country and we saw so many sweet baby cows that we are not sure we can ever eat a burger again.

    That said, I’m off to the dude ranch in Ashcroft in the morning and I’m pretty sure Angus beef will be on the menu. I’ll be posting the pics from my weekend on the ranch next week.

    In the meantime, as someone who thinks like me once said: “Ain’t nothin’ like ridin’ a fine horse in new country.”

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