North Shore Writers Festival

Where readers and writers meet


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Dramatizing the Intrigue of History – Author Talk with Daniel Kalla

The fourth event of the day’s festival was Vancouverite Daniel Kalla (emergency room doctor and author of Pandemic and Resistance) speaking about writing and his latest novel The Far Side of the Sky.

Daniel Kalla began his talk by setting out the history of how Jewish people from Austria escaped to Shanghai after the Anschluss. At the time Shanghai was “the Las Vegas of Asia” because of its status as a treaty city that had been invaded by Japan (apart from the international settlement and French concession).

Kalla read an emotionally charged section of his novel from before the Adler family fled. The reading featured Adolf Eichmann blithely discussing his fear for the safety of the Jewish people after Kristallnacht, so Adler would have to leave the Reich or be sent to Dachau.

When he turned it over to questions, people asked technical writing questions about weaving in exposition, and how many times he had to submit manuscripts, but also questions about history. He talked about the era and the setting, and how the relationships between different ethnic groups worked. The key to historical fiction is to sound authentic, he said, and yes he takes a certain amount of license with facts.

Kalla stressed how his story is not a traditional Holocaust tragedy: “There were extremes of evil going on, but there were also extremes of decency.”

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Where to Check Out Festival Titles

With just under two weeks before the festival, now would be a fabulous time to brush up on our fantastic headlining authors’ books. Whether you want to power through all of them or get a group together to read one and discuss before the festival, the North Shore Writers Fest authors offer something for everyone. The following provides a list of the headlining authors’ most popular titles with links into each of the sponsoring librarys’ catalogues (where you can find descriptions and holdings info):

North Vancouver City Library:

Marina Endicott’s The Little Shadows , Good to a Fault and Open Arms

Anita Rau Badami’s Tell it to the Trees, The Hero’s Walk and Tamarind Mem

Daniel Kalla’s The Far Side of the Sky, Pandemic and Resistance

North Vancouver District Public Library:

Marina Endicott’s The Little Shadows, Good to a Fault and Open Arms

Anita Rau Badami’s Tell it to the Trees, The Hero’s Walk and Tamarind Mem

Daniel Kalla’s The Far Side of the Sky, Pandemic and Resistance

West Vancouver Memorial Library:

Marina Endicott’s The Little Shadows, Good to a Fault and Open Arms

Anita Rau Badami’s Tell it to the Trees, The Hero’s Walk and Tamarind Mem

Daniel Kalla’s The Far Side of the Sky, Pandemic and Resistance


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Kalla, Badami & Endicott at the Festival

I am so pleased to present the authors who will be giving talks at the North Shore Writers Festival this year.

First up we have Vancouverite Daniel Kalla who will speak about his latest novel The Far Side of the Sky  The story opens in 1938 with the Adlers, a prominent Austrian family seeking refuge in an embattled Shanghai ghetto.  Historical intrigue, medical drama, and romance enliven this grand, fast-paced tale of courage, hope and the importance of family amidst a world in turmoil.

From Asia we return home to a small town in northern BC, the setting of Anita Rau Badami’s Tell It to the Trees, a suspenseful saga about the secrets of the Dharma family.  It is ultimately a mystery with many layers where:  “Truth was a shifting, shy thing, like sunlight changing from moment to moment, unknowable even if you spent your life in the heart of it.”

Moving back in time to the beginning of the twentieth century, Marina Endicott’s The Little Shadows is an intricately crafted tale of three sisters in their teens who are thrust into the spotlight of Canada’s vaudeville scene after their father’s sudden death.  Endicott draws upon her past as an actress and playwright  in the construction of this Giller longlisted novel as a play complete with humour, sorrow and melodrama.

Come for one event or stay for the day on Saturday April 21st in the Welsh Hall – West Vancouver Memorial Library (1950 Marine Drive).  Daniel Kalla (4:00 – 5:00), Anita Rau Badami (6:00 – 7:00) and Marina Endicott (7:15 – 8:15).