Alex Leslie Launches ‘The things I heard about you’ in Vancouver!

Congratulations to Alex Leslie, who’s releasing a first book of poems, The things I heard about you, with Nightwood Editions this fall! Join Alex for a book launch celebration in Vancouver on Thursday, October 9 at Pulp Fiction (2422 Main Street). Also reading at the event are Vancouver-based authors Rita Wong and lee williams boudakian. Doors open at 7pm, admission is free and all are welcome.

Shortlisted for the 2014 Robert Kroetsch award for innovative poetry, The things I heard about you is a collection of prose poems that explore precision and the unspoken, executing a process whereby vignettes and landscapes break apart into fragments, rumours or suggestions of the original story. Intense, vivid scenes that encompass large, intangible ideas such as loss and grief are decomposed—stripped to the barest detail. Ultimately, the book is an evocative, beautifully crafted collection of tidal memories and elegies, love songs to the coast and all its inhabitants.

Alex Leslie has published a collection of stories, People Who Disappear (Freehand, 2012), which was shortlisted for a 2013 Lambda Award and a 2013 Relit Award; as well as a chapbook of microfictions, 20 Objects for the New World (Freehand, 2011). Alex’s writing has won a Gold National Magazine Award for personal journalism and a CBC Literary Award for fiction. Recent projects include editing the Queer issue of Poetry Is Dead magazine, which brought together different approaches to Queer poetics from across Canada. Alex lives in Vancouver, BC. Website:

Rita Wong lives on the unceded Coast Salish territories otherwise known as Vancouver, BC, where her work investigates the relationships between the poetics of water, social justice, ecology, and decolonization. She is the author of three books of poetry: sybil unrest (co-written with Larissa Lai, Line Books, 2008), forage (Nightwood 2007, awarded the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and Canada Reads Poetry 2011), and monkeypuzzle (Press Gang 1998). Her poems have appeared widely in anthologies such as the Winter We Danced: Voices From the Past, the Future, and the Idle No More Movement; The Enpipe Line; Regreen: New Canadian Ecological Poetry, and more. Her forthcoming book of poems is entitled undercurrent.

lee williams boudakian is a queer gender diverse mixie currently based in Vancouver, unceded Coast Salish territories. They are cultivating a practice that includes interdisciplinary art-making, writing, performing, community organizing and facilitating arts-based workshops. Their work explores intersectional identities and social justice – seeking to share un(der)represented stories of survival and make visible systemic oppressions that impact daily life, relationships, and bodies. lee is currently working on their second play entitled Dear Armen, an interactive-theatre experience integrating a blend of traditional Armenian dance, erotic performance, monologue and live music. The show will tour Vancouver, San Francisco, Oakland, & LA in the fall of 2014. For more info visit:

Doretta Lau shortlisted for the City of Vancouver Book Award

The finalists for the 2013 City of Vancouver Book Award have been announced, and How Does an Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun?, by Nightwood Editions author Doretta Lau, has been nominated.

How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun? is a compelling collection of short stories that present an updated and whimsical new take on what it means to be Canadian. Lau alludes to the personal and political histories of a number of young Asian Canadian characters to explain their unique perspectives of the world, artfully fusing pure delusion and abstract perception with heartbreaking reality. The book’s title refers to an interview with Chinese basketball star Yao Ming, who, when asked about the Shanghai Sharks, the team that shaped his formative sporting years, responded, “How does a single blade of grass thank the sun?” Lau’s stories feature the children and grandchildren of immigrants, transnational adoptees and multiracial adults who came of age in the 1990s—all struggling to find a place in the Western world and using the only language they know to express their hopes, fears and expectations.

The City of Vancouver Book Award is given to a book that reflects the city’s rich history and culture. The 26th annual City of Vancouver Book Award will be presented at the Mayor’s Arts Awards ceremony at the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre on October 7, 2014. The other shortlisted authors include: Bruce Grierson for What makes Olga Run? (Random House), Ashley Little for Anatomy of a Girl Gang (Arsenal Pulp Press), Billeh Nickerson for Artificial Cherry (Arsenal Pulp Press) and David Stouk for Arthur Erickson: An Architect’s Life (Douglas & McIntyre). The five shortlisted titles were chosen by an independent jury that included: Elee Kraljii Gardener, an award-winning poet and director of the Thursdays Writing Collective; Anna Ling Kaye, editor of Ricepaper magazine; and Jordan Abel, editor for Poetry Is Dead magazine and the former poetry editor for PRISM international. Alma Lee, founder and former artistic director of the Vancouver International Writers and Readers Festival, served as chair.

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Nightwood authors at Word Vancouver this year

Word Vancouver is coming to soon! The festival runs from Wednesday, September 24 to Sunday, September 28. Don’t miss the opportunity to see events, readings, and discussion from the vast array of authors and publishers in attendance. Let’s hope the weather holds out! If not, you can always find cover on the poetry bus.

Below are the reading times for some Nightwood Editions authors:


Sunday, September 28

Poetry On The Bus

11:00 am The World Poetry Reading Series presents A Taste of China
Hosts Elaine Woo, Yilin Wang. Featured poets Laifong Leung, Synn Kune Loh. The World Poetry Woven Word Tapestry multilingual segments introduced by Tommy Tao and presented by Ariadne Sawyer (English), Anita Aguirre Nieveras (Tagalog), Jaz Gill (Punjabi), and Bong Ja Ahn (Korean).

11:30 am Elaine Woo
Cycling with the Dragon

2:15 pm andrea bennett

3:45 pm Renée Sarojini Saklikar
Children of Air India: un/authorized exhibits and interjections

Canada Writes

11:00 am Doretta Lau
How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun?


See the Word Vancouver website for a full schedule of events.

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Elaine Woo Selected for World Poetry’s Empowered Poet Award!

Congratulations to North Vancouver-based poet Elaine Woo, who’s releasing her debut poetry collection with Nightwood Editions in September 2014. Elaine has been selected as one of the recipients of World Poetry’s Empowered Poet award! The awards, given to poets with a book or body of work who embody the World Poetry focus on multicultural empowerment, will be given out at Grand Opening of the Fourth World Poetry Canada International Peace Festival. This year’s opening will be held at Simon Fraser University’s Harbour Centre campus in Vancouver in mid-October 2014.

Elaine Woo is a poet, librettist, and non-fiction writer. Her work appears in Arc Poetry Magazine, Shy: An Anthology (recipient of a 2014 silver medal at the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY), in the anthology category), V6A: Writing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (a finalist for the City of Vancouver Award in 2012), The Enpipe Line, Ricepaper, and more. Her art song collaboration with Daniel Marshall, Night-time Symphony, won a Boston Metro Opera festival prize in 2013. For more information on Elaine, visit her website at

Her upcoming poetry collection, Cycling with the Dragon, is a personal investigation of family, love, culture and self. Woo’s poems champion the virtue of “smallness”—characters marginalized by society for their age or status (be they women, children, ethnic minorities) struggle to overcome the limitations imposed upon them. Like tenacious seeds breaking through to reach the sun, they ultimately find survival and inspiration in treasured authors and their words, the wilderness, and sometimes dreams and imagination.

World Poetry is a volunteer-based organization created by Ariadne Sawyer and Alejandro Mujica-Olea in 1997 in order to give recognition to multicultural and multilin­gual poets and writers, who have written in more than 100 languages spoken in Canada. It now encompasses the World Poetry Reading Series at the Vancouver Public Library; The World Poetry Café Radio Show, which airs every Tuesday from 9-10 pm on CFRO (PST); the World Poetry Canada International Peace Festival, which will run from October 6 to 26, 2014;  and more. For more information, go to

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