Vancouver’s Literary Centre 1978-1985
By Trevor Carolan
Foreword by Jean Barman
252 pages, 130 photos, $29.95
“A remarkable document of how one young woman with a dream developed Vancouver’s Literary Storefront in the 1970s into an active community significantly open to its diverse writers of the ‘80s. Lively, full of anecdotes, Carolan’s commen-tary clarifies that the Storefront was a forerunner for so much that followed. It fills a memory gap in Vancouver’s literary history.” -Daphne Marlatt
"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 1978-85. 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, Elizabeth Smart, Phyllis Webb, Christie Harris, Edward Albee, Carol Shields, P.K. Page, Joy Kogawa, Audrey Thomas, Stephen Spender, W.P. Kinsella, Czelaw Milosz, George Faludy, Betty Lambert, David Watmough, Daphne Marlatt are some of the many writers who passed through its doors.
Trevor Carolan emigrated from Yorkshire to British Columbia in 1957 and was raised in the family building trade. He began writing as an arts reporter at 17, filing dispatches from San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury music scene for The Columbian newspaper. He has published many books of fiction, memoir, poetry, translation, anthologies, and extensively as a literary journalist. The international editor of Pacific Rim Review of Books since 2004, he served for three years as an elected municipal councillor in North Vancouver, and has worked as media advocate for Pacific Coast watershed conservation issues and First Nations treaty claims. He holds a PhD from Bond University in Queensland, and since 2001 has taught English and Creative Writing at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, B.C. His first public reading in Canada was at the Literary Storefront.
A Portrayal of Emily Carr
Introduction by Susan Crean
Back in Print: the Classic Personal Portrait of Emily Carr
128 pgs, $18.95
M.E. A Portrayal of Emily Carr is a rare and moving study of an artist’s struggle against despair and loneliness and an intimate portrayal of the close friendship between Edythe and Emily. The two artists were good friends and met not long after Edythe had returned from Paris where she had studied art. Written as a friendly appreciation of the character of Emily Carr, rather than her life, Edythe Hembroff-Schleicher’s rendering was described in reviews of the time as “a fond memoir, well-written, a modest
and excellent little book, throws new light on her methods of painting and describes
the humourous adventures of camping with Emily Carr.” It also contains edited versions of 20 letters written by Carr to her friend, and the cover features a rare painting of Carr recently discovered. M.E. was first published in 1969 and has been out of print for years.
Edythe Hembroff-Schleicher (1906–1994) was a painter and writer from Victoria. She studied art in Paris,
travelled widely and became a good friend of Emily’s (and her only sketching partner). Edythe authored
Emily Carr: The Untold Story and was the Provincial Consultant on Emily Carr. The Life and Art of Edythe Hembroff-Schleicher, by Christina Johnson-Dean, was published by MTP in 2013.
FINALIST for the City of Vancouver Book Award
Foreword by David Beers
Introduction by Greg Lang.
288 pgs, 40 b&w photos
This book tells the story of a man and a city. Curt Lang was a legend in Vancouver. An intellectual and a catalyst, Lang’s interests spanned many worlds. As a teenager, he met Malcolm Lowry and became friends with Al Purdy. Excerpts of previously unpublished correspondence between Al Purdy and Curt Lang reveals much about both their characters. In his twenties, Curt Lang was a beat, who published poetry and painted. He was friends with many in Vancouver’s creative community―poets, Peter Trower, John Newlove, and Jamie Reid; artists Fred Douglas, David Marshall, and Roy Kiyooka; and musician Al Neil. He became a street photographer in the early 1970s and was a member of the Leonard Frank Memorial Society of Documentary Photographers, along with Nina Raginsky, Fred Douglas, Tod Greenaway and Rod Gillingham. (The National Gallery of Canada’s Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography purchased some of his prints.) Then in his thirties, he built boats and fished when the money in that industry was so good, the scene in Prince Rupert was like a Gold Rush. In his forties, he became involved in the high-tech industry, where he was awarded two patents, and started several companies. He also developed hardware and software for the railroad industry that today is used all over North America. Curt Lang’s life energetically parallels the evolving history of Vancouver from the hip subculture years to the electronic postmodern 1990s.
At the World’s Edge includes many of Curt Lang’s previously unpublished poetry, drawings and photography; as well as a portfolio of forty rare 1972 Vancouver photographs. 12,000 of his photographs are in the Vancouver Public Library special collections.
Claudia Cornwall was a friend of Curt Lang and in this part biography, part memoir she draws on conversations during her (and her husband’s) twelve-year friendship with Curt. A freelance writer for more than twenty years, Her book, Letter from Vienna: A Daughter Uncovers Her Family’s Jewish Past (Douglas & McIntyre), won the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize in British Columbia for 1996. She has been published in many Canadian magazines and newspapers, including the Globe and Mail, Reader’s Digest, BC Business, and the Tyee. In 2009, she received a $20,000 journalism award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to support medical journalism and reporting. Claudia grew up in Vancouver and studied philosophy at the University of British Columbia and the University of Calgary. She and her husband live in North Vancouver.
Photographs by Barry Peterson and Blaise Enright
Text by BC authors
Introduction by Alan Twigg
264 pgs, $48
“When it comes to West Coast writing and publishing, we have gone from famine to feast in less than a lifetime. This unprecedented array of portraits celebrates the feast. Barry Peterson’s approach is consistently non-pretentious, attempting to serve both the public and subject, in an honest fashion.”–Alan Twigg
111 West Coast Literary Portraits features rare portraits of emerging, midcareer and well-known writers who have lived in B.C., accompanied by excerpts of their writing. In 1997 Barry Peterson and Blaise Enright became obsessively curious about the characters behind the novels and poetry written by British Columbian authors and began photographing them. They travelled the Coast and Gulf Islands for 6 years seeking the famous and infamous. They shot over 50 portraits in black and white to contrast the colourful nature of each writer and to minimize visual distraction from the “character” of each. They took pictures of writers in their personal space, where they were less inhibited, resulting in intimate portraits of B.C.’s best, most honoured, as well as emerging, literary talent.
The photographs became part of Lit Happens, a travelling show that supported literacy and was exhibited in many public spaces in Vancouver and on the Coast, with B.C. Hydro and B.C. Gas as major sponsors. Between 1999 and 2008, it was exhibited at the Vancouver International Writers Festival, the Pendulum Gallery, Word on the Street, the B.C. Book Prizes Gala, the SFU Reckoning Conference, the Comox Valley Art Gallery, B.C. Hydro and the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts.
Although Barry Peterson and Blaise Enright ended their collaboration, Barry continued to seek out and photograph B.C. writers, resulting in the sum of 111 portraits in this extraordinary book of unique individuals who define the literary landscape of British Columbia. Peterson used a Hasselblad camera with Carl Zeiss lenses, considered to be the best in the world.
Authors in the book–
Caroline Adderson, Taiaiake Alfred, Colin Angus, Julie Angus, Chris Arnett, Joanne Arnott, Jean Barman, Gurjinder Basran, Joanne Bealy, Thomas R. Berger, Bill Bissett, Arthur Black, Robin Blaser, George Bowering, Marilyn Bowering, Kate Braid, Brian Brett, Barry Broadfoot, Anne Cameron, Trevor Carolan, Norma Charles, Jim Christy, Marie Clements, Wayde Compton, Claudia Cornwall, Lorna Crozier, William Deverell, Hadani Ditmars, Phinder Dulai, Marilyn Dumont, Daniela Elza, M.A.C. Farrant, Mona Fertig, George Fetherling, Patrick Friesen, Maxine Gadd, Charlotte Gill, Terry Glavin, Kim Goldberg, Katherine Palmer Gordon, Shirley Graham, R. W. Gray, Amanda Hale, Keith Harrison, Diana Hayes, Robert Hilles, Jack Hodgins, Pauline Holdstock, Irene Howard, Edith Iglauer, Rick James, Sandi Johnson, Eve Joseph, Des Kennedy, W.P. Kinsella, Theresa Kishkan, Joy Kogawa, Larissa Lai, Tim Lander, Patrick Lane, Evelyn Lau, Peter Levitt, Pearl Luke, Derek Lundy, Vera Manuel, Daphne Marlatt, George McWhirter, Roy Miki, Alice Munro, Sheila Munro, Susan Musgrave, Peter C. Newman, Eric Nicol, Bud Osborn, Kathy Page, P.K. Page, Morris Panych, John Pass, Stan Persky, Al Purdy, Meredith Quartermain, Jamie Reid, Stephen Reid, Bill Richardson, Lisa Robertson, Ajmer Rode, Linda Rogers, Joe Rosenblatt, Jane Rule, Mairuth Sarsfield, Andreas Schroeder, Gregory Scofield, Goh Poh Seng, Doris Shadbolt, George Stanley, Robert Strandquist, Peter Such, George Szanto, Timothy Taylor, Sharon Thesen, Peter Trower, Alan Twigg, Fred Wah, Betsy Warland, David Watmough, Phyllis Webb, Evelyn C. White, Howard White, Paula Wild, Rita Wong, Caroline Woodward, Ronald Wright, Rachel Wyatt, Max Wyman, Patricia Young.