Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative

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The Ormsby Review On Its Own

November 29, 2019

I have been remiss in not mentioning that The Ormsby Review has grown up and left home, setting off on an independent path.

The Review is an online book site, publishing reviews of most every book published about British Columbia. (Full disclosure: I am a member of the board.) As well, editor Richard Mackie serves up the odd literary essay, by himself and by other contributors.

The Review began life under the protective wing of Alan Twigg and his BC Bookworld "empire". As of this month we are on our own with our own website, ormsbyreview.com. No question, this is the best place online to keep up with BC books.

November 27, 2019

The day's news includes the deaths of two British cultural icons.

You might say that Clive James, poet and all-round man of letters, has been dying for a decade. It has been that long since he received a terminal cancer diagnosis and announced it to the world. His lovely 2014 poem "Japanese Maple" contains the final lines:

Filling the double doors to bathe my...

November 9, 2019

On today's CBC website there is an item about a reunion of survivors of the Athenia, a passenger ship torpedoed by the Germans right at the beginning of World War Two.

Loyal readers may recall that my mother-in-law, Dorothy Dean Brealey, was a passenger on the doomed vessel. She was returning to Canada with her mother after visiting relatives in England.

In 2006 I wrote an...

November 3, 2019

Is the City of Vancouver Book Award the most ineptly publicized book prize in the country? It feels like it.

The annual award was handed out last month in a ceremony at the Vancouver Public Library. My pal Rob Watt had a book in the running -- his gorgeous volume on the indigenous artist Susan Point -- and I was interested in knowing if he had won.

But just try to find out.

Neither of the local daily papers reported the event, at least not so far as I could discover on...

October 9, 2019

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer believes that the purpose of history is to "celebrate" the past. To this end he has announced that if elected his government will remove admission fees from Canada's national museums.

I'm all in favour of free museums, but Mr. Scheer is dead wrong. His views would lead to the destruction, not the strengthening, of our...

August 28, 2019

The Blue Cabin project launched last weekend in False Creek so I went along to have a look.

I've written before about the project but now it is up and running, welcoming its first artist-in-residence this autumn. In the photo above, the rebuilt squatter's cabin is on the right, the modern living quarters on the left.

The...

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