Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative

Goin' Down the Road

September 6, 2017

The Ormsby Review has just published my review of a new book about history, car culture and landscape in British Columbia. Check it out here.

September 1, 2017

While I was writing my biography of Louis Taylor, Vancouver’s longest-serving mayor, I was used to having him called many things. Scoundrel, socialist, corrupt, light-weight. One thing no one ever called him was visionary, yet it turns out perhaps that’s what he was.

Taylor was a big fan of the American social theorist Henry George. In 1879 George published Progress and Poverty, one of the best-selling books of the 19th...

September 1, 2017

BC book publishers have a companion website, Read Local BC, promoting local books to which I was invited to contribute a small piece on writing local history. You can read it here.

July 30, 2017

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The new issue of Geist magazine (#105) has hit the newsstands and careful readers will note that there is no books column by yours truly.

After I don't know how many years I decided to pass the torch to younger hands. And I was right to do so. The column by Lisa Bird-Wilson, in which she makes a plea for "reading Indigenously," is terrific. As is Mary...

July 24, 2017

A few years ago I was on vacation in Puglia on Italy’s Adriatic coast. At the beach one day I met a veteran Italian television journalist taking the sun. Immediately upon learning that I was Canadian he wanted to discuss Charles DeGaulle’s notorious visit to Quebec in 1967. It seemed to be the only thing he knew about the country. I would imagine that most Canadians, outside Quebec at least, have little memory of the General and his audacious “Vive Le Quebec Libre.” Yet here was this...

July 14, 2017

I was very sorry to learn about the death earlier this week of Vancouver writer Jim Wong-Chu. I knew that Jim had suffered a stroke a few months ago but not that he was so seriously ill.

Jim published his first book of poetry, Chinatown Ghosts, in 1986. He was a tireless advocate for the Asian-Canadian writing community, helping to found the Asian-...

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