Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Goin' West

Dear Friends,

I am off very soon for Vancouver's Jewish Book Festival and am very excited about participating, not to mention re-visiting this beautiful part of my adopted home country.

On Monday November 24th at 7 p.m., I'll be reading from and chatting about The White Space Between in a Writer's Share event with the Oregon-based author Rob Freedman. I expect we will complement one another very well! Then, after a wake-up-at-dawn call on Tuesday morning, I'll be talking with students and teachers from King David High School about my novel, sharing excerpts, and discussing the importance of a continuing commitment to Holocaust Remembrance. My final event is Wednesday evening at 7 p.m., a reading, panel, and Q & A with the compelling author, Edeet Ravel, "Untold Stories," moderated by poet and UBC professor Rhea Tregebov. I am looking forward to meeting Edeet, as I am a fan of her work, and I've just discovered that we have some friends in common!

Back here on home turf, I kicked off my week with a great visit as guest author at Champlain College on Monday, thanks to the hospitality of literature teacher, Maureen Newman. It was an invigorating afternoon, what with talking about the writer's life (debunking all those pesky myths about instant or eventual fame and fortune!)reading from my work, answering great questions, and jump-starting the kids on some creative writing of their own with my favorite narrative calisthenics. Though some were shy at first,virtually everyone was writing up a storm and even reading and sharing their pieces to much laughter and enthusiasm. A great time for all, not to mention a learning experience on both sides.

When I return from B.C., I am sure I will have much news to share. And if you are a local, look for me at the CSL library on December 4th at 7 for a reading, talk, and Q&A. Hope to see you there...or perhaps even in B.C.

Oh, btw, in a day or two, my new website will go live. Finalmente! So check it out. Reviews are posted, as well as appearances, and lots of inside information on my inspiration and necessary (perspiration) in creating my books.

Stay strong!
Stay well....



STOP!!! 'n the name of love said...

It is great that you're honoring the memory of the Holocaust, especially in this age of infinite connectivity but little sentiment. I believe that sensitizing youth to genocide is a worthy cause, especially if this world aims to live by the maxim of "Never Again."

And Vancouver, more than most cities, lies in the shadow of past crimes against minorities. It would be interesting to bring up the 1907 riots, when as many as 7 000 members of the Asiatic Exclusion League led a destructive rampage through Chinatown and Japantown, shouting racist slogans causing thousands of dollars in damages.
(Upon reaching about 20 000 members, the AEL dissolved in 1923 when all Chinese immigration to BC was effectively banned).

Leo said...

Indeed, Vancouver - and by extension, British Columbia - has a checkered past when dealing with minorities.

However, there was a perverse effect of not only the ban, but also the internment of Japanese-Canadians during World War II in camps in the interior of the province.

I grew up in southern BC going to school with kids of parents who were interned, then later released after wars end and who decided to stay and make a life. I had the unique experience of having Asian friends and learning their stories, and the stories of their parents, and how eerily they paralleled by own story of being of parents who fled Germany after WWII to escape the pending Communist division of the country.

Later, when going to University in Burnaby, the proportion of Asian students was staggering but I never felt uncomfortable being surrounded by Cantonese or Mandarin-speaking students. For sure there was the odd student that passed a racist comment, primarily because they never saw an Asian face until they went to University, as all Universities at that time were located in the Lower Mainland.

Today, whites and Asians generally mix, but they generally don't. Richmond has become a miniature Hong Kong, replete with Asian malls and neighbourhoods, the result of a mass migration to the province after Hong Kong was ceded to China in 1997. There is some underlying resentment of their 'invasion' and 'takeover' of the community but I think most of the majority in the province accepts this new fact of life because of the economic power this community has brought.

All to say nothing is cut and dry and societies - and attitudes - do change with time.