September 06, 2016

by Jen St. Denis, Metro News

Explore the city with Vancouver Book Award finalists

Three provocative books by local authors are encouraging Vancouverites to see their city through someone else's eyes

When was the last time you saw your city through someone else’s eyes?

Three provocative books shortlisted for the City of Vancouver Book Award encourage readers to do just that. This year’s finalists include The Revolving City: 51 Poems and the Stories Behind Them, an anthology of poetry edited by Wayde Compton and Renee Sarojini Saklikar; That Lonely Section of Hell, a memoir of Vancouver’s Missing and Murdered Women Investigation by Lorimer Shenher; and Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun: Unceded Territories, the catalogue for an art exhibition currently on display at the Museum of Anthropology, by Karen Duffek and Tania Willard.

All three books are published by local Vancouver publishers.

“We all know the city from different points of view,” said Mary Shendlinger, an editor and co-founder of Geist Magazine who was one of three jury members. “But which are the books that we think are particularly outstanding in saying something to us about this place where we live? Its history, its vibe, its place in the universe, and there are very different things in all of those books.”

Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun is a First Nations artist who over the past 40 years has made vibrant paintings that also make pointed political statements about pollution, corporate greed, government hypocrisy, racism and the land claims process in B.C. For instance, a recent painting titled Christy Clark and the Kinder Morgan Go-Go Girlsshows three masked women in business suits, one with a forked tongue. The catalogue is published by Figure 1 and the Museum of Anthropology.

That Lonely Section of Hell: The Botched Investigation of a Serial Killer Who Almost Got Away, published by Greystone Books, is Shenher’s first book, and it’s been shortlisted for several awards. The moving first-person account of the Vancouver police investigation into missing women in the Downtown Eastside in the 2000s is also a call for change in what he calls a “toxic” police culture.

“I have felt like, while this issue has been an important issue, I’ve felt that to some degree it’s been ignored,” Shenher said. “So I’m thrilled that the City of Vancouver, the people there have read it, and I hope that the Vancouver Police will take their lead and read the book.”

The anthology edited by authors Wayde Compton and Renee Sarojini Saklikar includes an incredibly diverse collection of poets who call Vancouver home, Shendlinger said.

“They’ve chosen poems about the city…and the mix is excellent: the diversity of Vancouver really comes out in the collection,” she said. The book is published by Anvil Press and SFU Public Square. “There are so many people from so many places, so many points of view, ages, everything.”

The City of Vancouver Book Award winner will be announced on October 3 at a ceremony at the Roundhouse Community Centre. The prize includes a $3,000 award.


This article was published originally on Metro News on September 6, 2016.