2015 Titles

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Vancouver’s Literary Centre 1978-1984
by Trevor Carolan
Foreword by Jean Barman
October 2015

250 pages,120 images
Buy HERE $29.95

"Just as Alan Crawley and Dorothy Livesay organized Vancouver writers in the Thirties and Forties, Mona Fertig took the job seriously in the late '70s and early '80s, long before city culture bureaucrats were upbraided in 2012 for allocating less than 2% of their arts budget to literary arts. A Literary Arts Centre will finally come pass, but Fertig led the way.”–Alan Twigg
Founded by poet Mona Fertig and inspired by Shakespeare and Company in Paris, The Literary Storefront was Canada’s first non-profit literary centre and flourished in Vancouver’s colourful Gastown district from 1978-84. A pivotal time in west coast history when feminist, nationalist, and multicultural passions surged to redefine what a socially-committed literary community could be, the Storefront housed the regional offices of The Writers’ Union of Canada, The League of Canadian Poets, an editing & printing company, and was the birthplace of the Federation of B.C. Writers. Carolan’s history recounts the inspiration, origins, achievements and tribulations of this seminal and legendary B.C. literary institution. Includes interviews with many important authors and survivors from among the Storefront Society's 500 members. Dorothy Livesay, Margaret Atwood, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Jack Hodgins, Earle Birney, Brian Moore, Carol Sheilds, P.K. Page, Joy Kogawa, Stephen Spender, David Watmough, Daphne Marlatt are some of the many writers who passed through its doors.
Trevor Carolan has published 19 books of non-fiction, poetry, translation, literary journalism and anthologies. He writes frequently on environmental issues and teaches English and Creative Writing at University of the Fraser Valley. He served as first Executive Director of the Federation of B.C. Writers in the early Eighties, was Literary Coordinator for the XVth Olympic Winter Games Festival of the Arts in Calgary (1986–88), and Coordinator of Literary Arts at the Banff Centre in 2006. His publications include co-translations of the modern Taoist classics The Book of the Heart and The Supreme Way; Giving Up Poetry, a memoir of his studies with Allen Ginsberg. Called “the west coast’s literary jack-of-all-trades”(Quill & Quire), his first public reading was at The Literary Storefront.
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The Life and Art of Jack Akroyd
The Unheralded Artists of BC #8
by Peter Busby
Introduction by Paul Wolf
July 2015

156 pgs, 120 images
Buy Here $35.95

Jack Akroyd (1921-1996) was a member of a group of artists living in Vancouver in the early 60s which included sculptors Paul Huba, Elek Imredy and David Marshall, photographer Jack Dale and painters George Fertig and Frank Molnar. Akroyd’s characteristic blend of figurative detail and surreal composition found admirers in Canada as well as Japan, where he capped his career with three sell-out shows in 1987. 

Born in Halifax, Yorkshire, he became an engineering apprentice, followed by five years’ war service in the RAF. He immigrated to Canada in 1948 and spent four years at the Ontario College of Art, studying under Carl Schaefer and Jock Macdonald, alongside fellow students Graham Coughtry, Shizuye Takashima and William Kurelek. After graduating in 1953, he moved west, living in Nanaimo and then Kitsilano’s Yew Street artist enclave. He pursued his art while supporting himself first as a draftsman, then by fixing kilns for local schools and potters. Later he was an assistant to sculptors George Norris and Elek Imredy.

In 1960 Jack made the first of two long journeys through Japan, which proved life-changing. Japan profoundly affected his perspective and iconography, and he developed his signature style, a visual diary, combining images of his daily life and his inner world in witty juxtaposition. He had three sell-out exhibitions in Japan. Vancouver Art Gallery and Burnaby Art Gallery also had solo exhibitions of his work. In 1996, age 75, he died on a Vancouver bus. 

Like Jack Akroyd before him, Peter Busby was born in West Yorkshire, lived for many years in the south of England and settled in Vancouver. He studied English at Sheffield and Leeds Universities before moving to London, where he taught English for ten years before going freelance, co-writing two thrillers and the tv serial Thin Air. Between jobs as an editor, story editor and ghost writer, he wrote the children’s book First to Fly, which won the 2003 James Madison Award for American non-fiction, an unusual feat for a Canadian author. .

Paul Wolf was born in BC and studied zoology and fine arts at ubc. Upon graduation, he worked in the civil service and founded Artists West in Ottawa with his former wife, Jean Wolf. They successfully sold West Coast works by avant-garde outsider artists from Vancouver. After returning to BC, he was a board member of the Kamloops Art Gallery from 2004–2007 and completed a diploma in visual arts at Thompson Rivers University. An art collector and key contributor to The Unheralded Artists of BC series.

Exhibition at the Burnaby Art Gallery: July 3-Aug 23, 2015.  Opening night July 2 Thursday 7-9 pm.

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A novella
By Theresa Kishkan

September 2015

136 pages,
Buy Here $17.95

"Follow Patrin on her delicate trail into the heart of old Europe, where time is one with experience--and experience is a satisfying feast for the senses. With inimitable, quiet graceTheresa Kishkan will gently lead you on an intimate journey into the truest places of the human heart.”–Pauline Holdstock

Patrin- is the old word for the clues Romany Gypsies left for their travelling fellows – a handful of leaves or twigs tied to a tree.
Patrin Szkandery, a young woman living in Victoria BC in the 1970s, restores an ancient quilt and travels to Czechoslovakia to trace her Roma history over the unsettling terrain of central Europe in the years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The pieced cloth proves to be both coded map and palimpsest (patrin) of her extended family’s nomadic wandering through Moravia in the first decade of the 20th century. The elegant and beautifully attentive lyric prose of Kishkan’s earlier work in fiction and memoir is augmented here with masterful pace and plotting. Patrin is a little jewel of a novella, an exquisitely nuanced and moving glimpse into the grand themes of exile and homecoming across continents. Stitched seamlessly it is a suspenseful and historic tale.
Theresa Kishkan is the author of eleven books of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. Mnemonic: A Book of Trees was a finalist for the 2012 Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize. She won the Edna Staebler Personal Essay Prize. Her books have been nominated for many awards, including the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, the Pushcart Prize, and the Relit Award. She lives on the Sechelt Peninsula with her husband John Pass.