Thursday, March 14, 2013

Biblioasis Receives Two Nominations for the B.C. Book Prize

Enthusiastic congratulations to C.P. Boyko and Anakana Schofield, both of whom have been nominated for the Ethel Wilson B.C. Book Prize for fiction! AK was of course nominated for Malarky, and Craig for Psychology and Other Stories. Other nominees include: Bill Gaston (The World), Ann Fleming (Gay Dwarves of America), and Yasuko Thanh (Floating Like the Dead). For more about the Ethel Wilson Prize you can consult the B.C. Book Prizes website here. (If you'll look closely you'll see that Patricia Young, whose name also graces the Biblio-backlist, is nominated for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize for her collection Night-Eater. Congratulations all round.) 

About "C.P. Boyko" and Psychology and Other Stories
C.P. Boyko ... or so we're told. When
asked if this was a self-portrait he
replied: "No, I can't draw that well."
(By a 6-year-old friend)
Perhaps Biblioasis's most elusive author, Boyko's biography reads as follows:
"Clearly Mr. Boyko has read too much; no doubt he was sickly as a child. His distrust of psychologists is also easily explained: his parents were therapists, and did not give him enough affection; or he took an undergraduate degree in psychology but failed to make any friends in the department; or he had a bad experience with an analyst."
He offers us no pictures. He frequently declines interviews. So rather than attempt to profile the man & his staggering genius, we shall instead turn to the critics, who sank their teeth with great relish into his satirical collection. 
"C. P. Boyko takes as probing a look into the world of psychology as any doctor might into the confused mind of a patient, and comes away with a similar diagnosis: narcissism, delusions of grandeur, flights of fancy, logorrhoea ... The author bucks current trends in fiction like invisible narrators and single-character focus, preferring instead to soar omnisciently above the human fray, until such time as he deems it necessary to dive-bomb, raptor-like, into the backstory and motivations of a particular character. Occasionally he addresses the reader directly to make a point, a satirical take on the industry he excoriates in this book: don’t worry, I’ll tell you what to think. The style, reminiscent of an earlier time in fiction when authors sometimes played God, takes some getting used to in these days of sparseness and minimalism, but once the reader understands where Boyko is coming from, then, unlike the subject of psychology, it all makes sense. And the explorations drill so deeply into this mysterious medical science that they make the effort worth the reader’s adjustment."—The L.A. Review of Books
 "A smart, funny book, and possibly therapeutic as well."—Toronto Star
"These six stories are all written around the single unifying theme of psychology, which—if you take the time to read these satirical and heartbreaking narratives—is itself perhaps just a story we tell ourselves about the way the human mind works ... Fans of satirical fiction will love this book; so will anyone who has reclined on a therapist’s couch, or taken a psychology course from a larger-than-life professor with obvious neuroses, or read a self-help book by an author whose biography reveals them to be a total mess. Yet the mockery here is never mean-spirited; the book is impeccably researched and unflinchingly intelligent."—The National Post

About Anakana Schofield & Malarky 
Readers of Thirsty have long been won over by Vancouver's most vacuum-friendly, weather-loving Irishwoman, but now for the first time it seems the Mrs. is winning the hearts of awards bodies as well. Nominated two weeks ago for the First Novel Award (and yes, we're still celebrating in the aftermath of the Afterword, because bloody hell is it a good book!), the Ethel Wilson will be the second major prize nod for the tale of Our Woman.  I've included a few recent blurbs from across the pond that you may not have seen yet. From Mr. Mc-What-Now? McCann? Yes indeedy. Yes yes indeed. Congrats to all.
"Anakana Schofield is part of a new wave of wonderful Irish fiction—international in scope and electrically alive."—Colum McCann 
"Malarky is a terrific read, a brilliant collision of heartbreak and hilarity written in a voice that somehow seems both feral and perfectly controlled. Anakana Schofield's Our Woman takes a cool nod at Joyce, then goes her own way in one of the most moving and lyrical debut novels I've read."—Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins
"We become comfortable saying that there's nothing new, and then something like Malarky comes along, which is new and old and different and familiar, but ultimately itself, comfortable in its own skin, wise and smart and crazy-sexy or maybe sexy-crazy—well, you just have to read it to understand. It's a novel that sets its own course, sure and steady, even when it seems like it might be about to go over the edge of the world."—Laura Lippman

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