Monday, October 24, 2011

Afternoon Tea at the Vancouver International Writers and Readers Festival

Six Canadian authors entertained us while we enjoyed tea with currant scones, clotted cream and jam, shortbread, fancy cookies and mini cupcakes at the Afternoon Tea on Sunday. Rose petals were scattered over each white tablecloth. It is not surprising that this event sells out weeks ahead of time.

Lynn Coady read a funny scene from The Antagonist in which Rank, a young and jaded hockey player, is approached in a bar by Beth, a fat lady with religious intentions. Her “wrists jangled with bangles” and “her ears drooped with hoops.” I’m looking forward to reading this book.

Author D.W. Wilson could have been dressed to play the part of Rank, wearing a plaid shirt, ripped blue jeans and a Canucks baseball cap. He read the story “Sediment” from his collection Once You Break a Knuckle. It is set in Wilson’s BC hometown, Invermere, where young men ping rocks off coal trains, drive camaros in loser laps down the main street which has only one traffic light, and build bonfires the size of mobile homes. It’s the kind of place where “Life is a series of events between shit storms, or so my dad says.”

Michael V. Smith wore a skinny black suit and bow tie, telling us, “Some boys like camaros and a few boys like bow ties.” He read a section from Progress in which a woman who has been idly watching the construction progress on a dam witnesses a terrible accident.

An awful thing also happens to one of Tessa McWatt’s characters in Vital Signs; she begins losing language due to a brain aneurysm. Read my review here.

Elizabeth Hay said, “You write a book and then you try to find ways to talk about it as if you knew what you were doing.” Alone in the Classroom is about a school teacher in 1929.
Inukshuk on English Bay

Wayne Johnston made a funny speech about always going last, then read from the same passages in A World Elsewhere as he had read at the Coast to Coast event. It was just as amusing the second time.

And that wraps up another writersfest for me; I’ll be back in Edmonton on Monday. Goodbye, Vancouver. It’s been great!

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