Sunday, April 22, 2007

BC Book Prizes Soirée

Rachel and I went to the BC Book Prizes soirée hier soir. A pretty fun event, thanks to the presence of a handful of folks I actually knew. It was held in the "observation deck" of Vancouver's Harbour Centre, with awesome panoramic views of the city.

A necessary function of such events is the rollcall thanking of sponsors. Unfortunately, after the assembled crowd had been bored to tears by this catalogue of gratitude, the MC said, seemingly as an afterthought, that we were also to toast Patrick Lane for a lifetime achievement award and George McWhirter for his appointment as the first poet laureate of Vancouver. These things should have pride of place, it seems to me, but the way it was done highlighted that these awards are far more about commerce than art. George then read a poem written for the occasion, which could hardly be heard above the hubbub of people relieved finally not to have to listen anymore. I thought it was a pretty lousy way to choreograph things. Also, the nominees were thanked, but not by name as the sponsors were (we were also told at length about how we could and should buy a Petro Can gas card), just a perfunctory thanks-to-all.

Another dissatisfying aspect of the event was a poorly stocked book table. Rachel's book sold out, which is good news in a way, but shouldn't be allowed to happen at this sort of event. Presumably, it's for the writers, so why can't they order an overstock of the writers' books? Some of the nominees' books didn't appear to be there at all. Shoddy.

Nevertheless, a good time. We're off to the prize gala next weekend in Victoria. Rachel's publisher was gracious enough to pay for our tickets. Yep, that's right, the nominees don't get in free. Classy, eh?

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