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Home | Season One | Season Two | Season Three | Season Four

Season Four: First aired August - December 2007
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Don Gayton: "To me it's like sex, drugs and rock & roll, to take a piece of technical and scientific information and make it real for people."
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Show #33: Don Gayton, Dick Cannings

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Don Gayton is a grasslands ecologist and the author of many books, including Landscapes of the Interior: A Re-exploration of Nature and the Human Spirit and The Wheatgrass Mechanism.

He reads from Interwoven Wild: An Ecologist Loose in the Garden, Thistledown Press. The music is Tom Waits.

Topics: from journal to prose, book covers, narrative arc in nature writing, discussion of the term "nature writing" as a genre and classification, his editor at Thistledown, Sean Virgo, with whom he had "a wonderful, extended conversation...a rich, rewarding editorial experience."

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Dick Cannings is a biologist and bird advocate. In this brief segment that starts at the 30-minute mark, we talk about the Brown Pelican that came to Kootenay Lake, the first sighting in the interior of B.C. He also explains eBird, the Cornell University online database for birds, a resource for birders, beginner or proficient, across North America.

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cannings book

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Eileen Delehanty Pearkes: " In women's spiritual memoir, the voice is less linear, more inclusive, more relational."
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Show #32: Eileen Delehanty Pearkes, Bill Schermbrucker, Alan Twigg

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Eileen Delehanty Pearkes is the author of The Geography of Memory: Recovering Stories of a Landscape's First People, Sono Nis Press, and The Glass Seed: The Fragile Beauty of Heart, Mind and Memory, about her mother's Alzheimer's,Timeless Books, 2007. She writes regularly for ascent, a magazine described as "yoga for an inspired life." About the motivation behind The Glass Seed : "I sat down in an act of defiance to write something that I hadn't found anywhere else."

Topics: Cleya McDougall, editor at Timeless Books; Kootenay Bay Ashram; poet, thinker and activist Gary Snyder; Scar Tissue, by Michael Ignatieff; The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, by Barbara G. Walker. Eileen Delehanty Pearkes can be seen on YouTube.

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Bill Schermbrucker is most recently a producer for The Writers' Show and instructor in the memoir, as well as fiction writer, jurist and book reviewer. Show #24. He discusses the fine line between fiction and memoir and the question of fiction and non-fiction.

Topics: Creative Nonfiction magazine, edited by Lee Gutkind; "A lie that tells the truth: Memoir and the art of memory," by Joel Agee, in the November 2007 Harper's Magazine, also available online if you're a member (about $20 a year).

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BC BookWorld founder and publisher Alan Twigg talks to Bill Schermbrucker about his brain tumour and the book he wrote about it, Intensive Care: A Memoir, Anvil Press, 2002. He said, "I've always used writing as a way to think my way through things, and so it's as natural as breathing. My natural inclination, as soon as I could move my hands, was to ask for a piece of paper." Friend and publisher, Julian Ross.

Alan Twigg is the author of numerous books about Canadian writers, publishers, and BC literary history, including Thompson's Highway: The Literary Origins of British Columbia, Ronsdale Press. Full Time: A Canadian Soccer Adventure is forthcoming, Spring, 2008, from McClelland & Stewart.

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twigg book

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Patrick Lane: " Certain memories live in a startling fashion in our minds."
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Show #31: Patrick Lane, Katherine Gordon, Terry Glavin

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Patrick Lane was awarded The Lieutenant Governor's Award for Literary Excellence at the 2007 BC Book Prizes. In his continuing series on the memoir, Bill Schermbrucker (Show #24) interviews Patrick Lane at his home in B.C. about his book There is a Season, McClelland & Stewart. "I sat down one August," Patrick Lane says, "and chopped out 400 pages." Others mentioned include his editor -- if you're a writer, follow this link -- Dinah Forbes; poet Brian Brett; poet P.K. Page.

Lane's books include Go Leaving Strange, Syllable of Stone and Addicted: Notes from the Belly of the Beast, edited with his wife, award-winning poet Lorna Crozier.

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The Garden That You Are, Katherine Gordon's latest book, explores the culture of gardeners through the lives and stories of eight gardeners who live within a square mile of each other in B.C.'s Slocan Valley. Freelancer Gordon is the winner of the 2007 non-fiction B.C. Book Prize for Made to Measure: A History of Land Surveying in British Columbia, also published by Sono Nis Press. Author photo credit: Carolyn Davey Photography.

the garden that you are

Terry Glavin

Terry Glavin

In this portion of his interview with Eileen Delahanty Pearkes, Terry Glavin said, "We are also a species that has been naturally selected to desire the abundance and diversity of other forms of life. The great affection humanity has for things that grow up out of the ground, the enormous capacity that humanity has to extend the embrace of its empathy to include other forms of life is something very, very old and it persists, and it's one of the reasons why I end up so optimistic."

Terry Glavin is the author of eight non-fiction books, including This Ragged Place - Travels Across the Landscape and The Last Great Sea. He reads from Waiting for the Macaws.Take a look at Terry Glavin's blog.

Eileen Delehanty Pearkes is the author of The Glass Seed.

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macaws

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Kristjana Gunnars: "The idea of the prowler is a kind of metaphor - you prowl around in your own autobiography in order to find some meaning."
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Show #30: Kristjana Gunnars, John Gould, Dick Cannings

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Bill Schermbrucker (Show #24) interviews Kristjana Gunnars at her home in B.C. About her five books of prose, he says: "all ... are short, intense, meditative. They are passionate fictional memoirs based on events in her own life." Gunnars, who describes her work as "cross-genre fiction, poetry, essays," said in this interview, "Every year we have difficult times, and some writing helps us get through them."

The Prowler (1989), Zero Hour (1991), The Substance of Forgetting (1992), The Rose Garden: Reading Marcel Proust (1996), and Night Train to Nykobing (1998), the books discussed in this interview, are all published by Red Deer Press.

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John Gould is the author of two collections of very short stories. Kilter, published by Turnstone Press, was nominated for the 2003 Giller Prize. A member of the fiction editorial board at The Malahat Review he talks about how stories are screened and chosen for publication. Ninety-eight per cent of submissions have to be returned to the writer.

"Writers wallpaper their offices with rejection slips," he says. "We not uncommonly are sending back material to writers that we really admire." The Malahat Review is celebrating its fortieth anniversary. We here at The Writers' Show have our own memories and send our congratulations.

Kilter

Dick Cannings

Dick Cannings

Dick Cannings, who writes as Richard J. Cannings, is a biologist and bird advocate. Two of his previous titles are The Rockies: A Natural History, and The Birds of the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia along with R.A. Cannings and S.G. Cannings. He reads the first chapter, Western Meadowlark, from his new book An Enchantment of Birds.

Quotes: "There are only half the number of meadowlarks than there were thirty years ago." And, "But it is agriculture, not urban development, that is the biggest threat to grasslands."

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Rhea Tregebov: "To hear the voices of these mostly long-dead authors rising out of the dust - that was thrilling."
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Show #29 - Rhea Tregebov: poet, translator, anthologist

Rhea Tregebov's latest project is an anthology of translations from the Yiddish, Arguing with the Storm: Stories by Yiddish Women Writers, published by Sumach Press. She reads poems from her most recent book of selected and new poems, alive. She teaches in the UBC Creative Writing Program.

Topics: tandem translating (working with the original translator); literate vs. literal translation; freelancing as a writer; how she approached writing her first novel, The Knife Sharpener's Bell, coming from Coteau Books in 2009. Discussion of pivotal scenes, connective tissue in a novel, compressing narration, the definition of substantive editing, the role of the editor; Michael Harris, retired poetry editor at Signal Editions.

The music is "Father's Nigun" by the Winnipeg group Finjan from their CD Dancing on Water and "Gracias a la Vida," Mercedes Sosa, from the album of the same name.

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arguing
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Angie Abdou: "That brush with death made me think that I wasn't going to miss out on the thing I wanted most in life because I was too
chicken. In April, 1999, I was in a head-on collision and broke my back. I started writing fiction in May."
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Show #28 - Angie Abdou: fiction writer

Having written everything from academic articles to operational manuals for General Motors, Angie Abdou set herself the task of learning to write fiction. Her first book was Anything Boys Can Do, a collection of stories. About her recent novel, published by NeWest Press, Quill & Quire wrote, "The Bone Cage is well paced and readable, memorable for its fresh perspective on the lives of athletes and the obstacles they must overcome." Thanks to Janet Mayfield for helping with the show.

Angie Abdou taped students in her creative writing workshop at the Sage Hill Teen experience in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

Music, "Fictional World", from the CD Way Past Midnight by Porkbelly Futures, guitar and vocals by writer Paul Quarrington. Info about books you've loved by Paul Quarrington is a click away.

Topics: oral story tellers; fleshing out background characters, first drafts, turning off the censor, the rigorous edit; books helpful to writers: Natalie Goldberg; the book bird by bird by Anne Lamott; the importance of submitting polished manuscripts to publishers; Humber College Mentorship Program; Booming Ground, online mentorship, UBC; Fernie Writers Conference; The Sage Hill Writing Experience; the literary magazine in Edmonton called Other Voices, writer and mentor Elizabeth Harvor; writer Lynn Coady; scroll down the page to Suzette Mayr, Abdou's editor. Hear Angie Abdou's reading on the Voices of Canadian literature, Authors Aloud.

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bone cage
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Pearl Luke: "I knew I had something and I had a very short time, a little window, to make something of it."
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Show #27 - Pearl Luke

Pearl Luke's two novels are Burning Ground and Madame Zee, based on the life of a BC cult leader's wife, published by HarperCollins Canada. "There comes a point where you have to organize what you write." A thank-you to Randy Morse, The Writers' Show resource, for entertaining information on foreign rights and literary contests.

Topics: Luke's publishing story; literary agent Denise Bukowski ; the difference a book's title makes; a book's ancillary rights (foreign rights); on entering literary contests; the role of the editor in the formation of the final book; three tips for writers; online mentoring.

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madame zee
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Lucas Myers: "That's the human condition...something humourous turns tragic. It starts out -- oh, this is a bit funny, then it gets touching,
and it's the tightrope I try to walk."
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Show #26 - Lucas Myers

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Lucas Meyers

Lucas Myers is an actor, director, writer and composer. His one-man shows are "Dress", EAST, and THE AMAZING AND IMPERMEABLE CROMOLI BROTHERS. His newest show is "Work", in which he portrays an entire sensitivity training workshop. "The audience has a fantastic faculty for imagination...[I've learned] that all I have to do is shift how I'm sitting, change my voice a bit...and people will go there with me." Irene Mock is the author of Inappropriate Behaviour, a collection of stories. Thanks to David Planedin for technical support.

Topics: inhabiting your characters, Asperger Syndrome, use of songs in theatre. The opening of "Work," recorded live at the play's premiere at the Oxygen Art Centre in Nelson, B.C. ... and, as well, Lucas Myers sings two songs.

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