Doretta Lau and Elaine Woo at the LiterASIAN Festival

LiterASIAN 2014: the Festival of Pacific Rim Asian Canadian Writing will take place in Vancouver, BC, from October 9 to 12, 2014. This festival is a community-building initiative put on by the Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop and Ricepaper Magazine. This year, Nightwood authors Doretta Lau and Elaine Woo will both be featured authors at the festival.


They will be presenting in the following events:


Elaine Woo hosting a workshop entitled “How Do You Know When a Poem is Ready For Publication?” – 2:00pm to 4:00pm, UBC Learning Exchange (612 Main Street). Tickets $20. Pre-registration required.

Doretta Lau reading at the “Book Launch & Readings @ Centre A” event – 7:00pm – 9:30pm, Centre A (229 E Georgia St.)


Doretta Lau hosting the workshop “Don’t Let Your Stories Languish! How to Submit to Literary Magazines” – 9:00am, UBC Learning Exchange (612 Main Street). Tickets $20. Pre-registration required.

Elaine Woo and Doretta Lau reading at the “Book Launch in Richmond, BC” event – 11:00 – 4:00pm, Richmond Public Library Book Fair at Brighouse Branch Library (100-7700 Minoru Gate, Richmond BC)

Elaine Woo reading at the “Poetry Launch & Readings @ Centre A” event – 7:00 – 9:30pm, Centre A (229 East Georgia Street)


Elaine Woo and Doretta Lau signing books at the “Book Launch & Readings @ UBC Learning Exchange” event – 10:00am to 4:00pm, UBC Learning Exchange (612 Main Street)

Doretta Lau released her debut short story collection, How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun?, with Nightwood Editions this spring. The book has been shortlisted for the 2014 CIty of Vancouver Book Award and longlisted for the 2014 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Lau is a journalist who covers arts and culture for Artforum International, South China Morning Post, The Wall Street Journal Asia, and LEAP. She completed an MFA in Writing at Columbia University. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Day One, Event, Grain Magazine, Prairie Fire, PRISM International, Ricepaper, sub-TERRAIN, and Zen Monster. She splits her time between Vancouver and Hong Kong, where she is at work on a novel and a screenplay. In 2013, she was a finalist for the Writers’ Trust of Canada / McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize.

Elaine Woo is releasing her debut poetry collection with Nightwood Editions this fall, Cycling with the Dragon. Her poems champion the virtue of “smallness”—characters marginalized for their age or status struggle to overcome the limitations imposed upon them by society. Woo is a poet, librettist, and non-fiction writer based in North Vancouver, BC. Her work appears in Arc Poetry Magazine, Shy: An Anthology (recipient of a 2014 silver medal at the Independent Publisher Book Awards), V6A: Writing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (finalist for the 2012 City of Vancouver Book Award), 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. She is also a 2014 recipient of World Poetry’s Empowered Poet award.

For more information on the LiterASIAN festival, or to register for workshops, visit

Christian McPherson Reads with Marguerite Pigeon & Rob Mclennan in Ottawa

A chance to meet Nightwood author Christian McPherson – author of the hilarious novel Cube Squared – is coming up in Ottawa on October 7.

Join Christian as he reads as a guest author at Marguerite Pigeon’s Ottawa launch for her first collection of stories, Some Extremely Boring Drives (NeWest). Also appearing is Ottawa author rob mclennan, who will read from his first book of short fiction, The Uncertainty Principle: stories (Chaudiere).

The event is on Tuesday, October 7th, at Pressed Urban Bar (750 Gladstone Ave., Ottawa). Doors open at 7:30pm, readings begin at 8pm.

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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