New Star Blogs

Another gonfalon for Bowering


George Bow­er­ing is gonna have to move to a place with an even big­ger mantle­piece. One of the biggest sto­ries of March — how could any­one have missed this — was Bowering’s selec­tion as this year’s recip­i­ent of the George Wood­cock Life­time Achieve­ment Award for an out­stand­ing lit­er­ary career in British Colum­bia.

Imag­ine, if you will, a din­ner and awards cer­e­mo­ny, where George receives the impres­sive-look­ing tro­phy.  Imag­ine him mak­ing a gag of how heavy this tro­phy is.  Imag­ine this all tak­ing place at the Van­cou­ver Pub­lic Library one ear­ly sum­mer evening in 2020, say June 25.

Pre­vi­ous win­ners of the award, named after George Wood­cock, one of the few writ­ers in this province whose list of pub­li­ca­tions rivals George’s 100+ books, include Alice Munro, Phyl­lis Webb, Daphne Mar­latt, bill bis­sett, Rolf Knight, and Jean­nette Arm­strong.   The Woodock Award is spon­sored by Yosef Wosk, The Writ­ers Trust of Cana­da, Van­cou­ver Pub­lic Library, and Pacif­ic Book­World News Soci­ety.

In 2002, Bow­er­ing was appoint­ed the first ever Cana­di­an Par­lia­men­tary Poet Lau­re­ate. That same year, he was made an Offi­cer of the Order of Cana­da. He was award­ed the Order of British Colum­bia in 2004.  His nov­el Burn­ing Water won the 1980 Governor-General’s Award for Fic­tion.

New Star Books is the pub­lish­er of approx­i­mate­ly 8.2 per­cent of Bowering’s books, includ­ing re-issues of his tril­o­gy of BC his­tor­i­cal nov­els, and more recent­ly, Writ­ing and Read­ing, and half of the poet­ry col­lec­tion Some End / West Broad­way.

Hei­di Gre­co’s review of Writ­ing and Read­ing appears at the end of this sto­ry on BC Book­look’s site announc­ing the award. “.. . it’s not sim­ply a book about writ­ing. He offers what could be called instruc­tion on what read­ing means — remind­ing us that it’s more than deci­pher­ing let­ters on a page, that it requires a cer­tain involve­ment from us as par­tic­i­pants in the thought process­es there­in con­tained. .. . He ram­bles now and then (but then, who of us doesn’t), yet over­all grants us some remark­able insights into what poet­ry is (and isn’t). In an essay about one of his own poems, he man­ages to come up sur­prised over mak­ing a new dis­cov­ery in it. And it’s exact­ly this sort of wide-eyed fresh­ness that makes it easy to keep com­ing back to this book,” Gre­co writes.

We’ve pre­vi­ous­ly told you about Nicholas Bradley’s review-essay about Writ­ing and Read­ing and Tak­ing Mea­sures, along­side Bowering’s 2015 short sto­ry col­lec­tion 10 Women, in a recent issue of the Orms­by Review.

You can catch up with Tom Sand­born’s review of Writ­ing and Read­ing in the Van­cou­ver Sun, reprint­ed in numer­ous sis­ter news­pa­pers in the ven­er­a­ble Southam news­pa­per chain, right about here. “These essays deserve atten­tion from any­one who cares about how lit­er­a­ture is made and works,” quoth the maven.