B.C.’s best writers are currently on tour. Those nominated for this year’s B.C. Book Prizes in categories such as fiction, poetry, nonfiction, children’s writing and illustration are currently criss-crossing the province.
Two of these authors will be stopping in Penticton this Sunday.
JJ Lee will be reading from his memoir, The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son and a Suit.
Lee, a fashion columnist, begins this heartbreaking yet beautiful book with a decision to alter his father’s last surviving suit. As Lee cuts into the jacket, he begins to piece together the story of his troubled relationship with his father.
Along with this latest nomination, The Measure of a Man was a finalist for this year’s Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction and a Governor General’s Literary Award.
Touring with Lee is Gary Kent, who was shortlisted in 2011 for his book Fishing with Gubby.
In this delightful children’s graphic novel, a salmon fisherman, along with his cat Puss, head off to the far-flung spring fishing grounds. Fishing with Gubby has subsequently gone on to be nominated for several more awards including a recent Governor General’s Award for illustration.
While Kent may not show up decked out in a bright yellow sou’wester and clinging to a ginger tabby as he is in his jacket photo, his reading is sure to entertain.
“I’ll talk about the book’s genesis and my collaboration with Kim Lafave,” explains Kent. “Of course there will be a story or two of how I ended up as a commercial fisherman for a number of years.”
Although not reading on this stretch of the tour, Penticton’s own Frances Greenslade was also nominated for a B.C. Book Prize for her book, Shelter.
“I was very honoured to be nominated and especially glad to be recognized as a B.C. writer,” she says.
Greenslade’s portion of the B.C. tour took her to the Peace River country.
“Book Awards organizers try to not just introduce the nominees to a region of their province, but also introduce the region to the writers,” said Greenslade.
If you’re interested in giving Lee and Kent a warm welcome to the Okanagan, the B.C. Book Prizes tour reading will be on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Hooked on Books.
Heather Allen is a writer and reader who lives in Penticton.