The Friends of the Oliver Library hosted Silvia Olsen, children’s author (pictured at left) and poet Fred Wah during the Lieutenenat Governor’s BC Book Prize Tour on April 21. Both authors shared their experiences writing their nominated works, read excerpts , and answered questions.
Here’s a little more about Olsen’s book, Counting on Hope :
“Set against the backdrop of the confusing events surrounding the English colonization of British Columbia, and an 1863 naval assault on Kuper Island, Counting on Hope tells the story of two girls whose lives are profoundly changed when their two cultures collide. Alternating between free verse and prose, Sylvia Olsen follows the girl’s individual storylines before, during and after their meeting. She captures the wonder and joy with which Hope and Letia develop their friendship and describes the tragic events, suspicion, fear and confusion that characterize so many early encounters between Europeans and the First Peoples. This sensitively drawn depiction of innocence lost and wisdom hard won follows Hope and Letia out of childhood, off their island paradise and into the complex realities of an adult world. Married into the Tsartlip First Nation at seventeen, Sylvia Olsen is a historian specializing in Native/White relations in Canada, and the author of twelve books. She lives in Victoria.”
Fred Wah won in the poetry category, for his collection is a door :
“Including poetry projects, a chapbook and incidental poems, is a door makes use of the poem’s ability for “suddenness” to subvert closure: the sudden question, the sudden turn, the sudden opening — writing that is generated from linguistic mindfulness, improvisation, compositional problem-solving, collaborative events, travel, investigation and documentary — in short, poetry as practice. Much of this poetry is framed by Fred Wah’s acute sense of the marginalized non-urban local “place” and coloured by his attempt to articulate senses of otherness and resistance. Fred Wah was one of the founding editors of the poetry newsletter TISH and a pioneer of on-line publishing. He is the author of seventeen books of poetry including Waiting For Saskatchewan which received the Governor General’s Award in 1985. Diamond Grill, a biofiction about hybridity and growing up in a small-town Chinese-Canadian café won the Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Fiction in 1996. He lives in Vancouver.”
Visit http://www.bcbookprizes.ca/tour/category/southern-tour-2010/ for more information about the southern BC potion of the tour, or http://www.bcbookprizes.ca/winners/2010 for a list of the finalists’ books and the various winners. A great source for your summer reading picks!