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History General

The Literary Storefront: The Glory Years

Vancouver's Literary Centre 1978-1985

by (author) Trevor Carolan

foreword by Jean Barman

Mother Tongue Publishing
Initial publish date
Oct 2015
General, Social History
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2015
    List Price

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Founded by poet Mona Fertig and inspired by Shakespeare and Company in Paris, The Literary Storefront was Canada’s first non-profit literary centre and flourished in Vancouver’s colourful Gastown district from 1978-85. A pivotal time in west coast history when feminist, nationalist, and multicultural passions surged to redefine what a socially-committed literary community could be, The Storefront housed the regional offices of The Writers' Union of Canada, The League of Canadian Poets, an editing & printing company, and was the birthplace of the Federation of B.C. Writers. Carolan’s history recounts the inspiration, origins, achievements and tribulations of this seminal and legendary B.C. literary institution. Includes interviews with many important authors and survivors from among the Storefront Society's 500 members. 75 b & w photographs.

About the authors

Trevor Carolan was born in Yorkshire. His family emigrated in l957 and he grew up in New Westminster, British Columbia. He has travelled extensively and lived in California, Alberta, and Britain. He began writing professionally at 17, filing dispatches from San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury music scene. Widely published as journalist, literary critic, anthologist, poet, and translator specializing in East-West arts and letters, his work has appeared in five languages.

Dr. Carolan has worked as media advocate on behalf of international human rights, North Korean famine relief, Bosnian refugees, Canadian Aboriginal land claims, and Pacific Coast watershed issues. He served as literary coordinator for the XV Olympic Winter Games in Calgary; and has been Coordinator of writing programs at the Banff Arts Centre. He holds an interdisciplinary Ph.D. from Bond University, Queensland. For more than 20 years he has lived in North Vancouver where he served for three years as an elected municipal councillor and later wrote as political columnist for the North Shore News. He now teaches English at University of the Fraser Valley near Vancouver.

His current works are Another Kind of Paradise: Short Stories from the New Asia-Pacific (Cheng & Tsui), and Against the Shore: The Best of Pacific Rim Review of Books, which he co-edited with Richard Olafson. The Pillow Book of Dr. Jazz, an autobiographical novel, and Celtic Highway, a collection of poetry, are published by Ekstasis Editions. Giving up Poetry, a memoir of his acquaintance with the late poet Allen Ginsberg is published by Banff Centre Press. In 2003 he received a Spirituality & Health Best Books of the Year citation for his Return to Stillness: Twenty Years With a Tai Chi Master (Marlowe), an account of his lengthy studies with Master Ng Ching-Por in Vancouver’s Chinatown.

Trevor Carolan's profile page

Jean Barman, professor emeritus, has published more than twenty books, including On the Cusp of Contact: Gender, Space and Race in the Colonization of British Columbia (Harbour Publishing, 2020) and the winner of the 2006 City of Vancouver Book Award, Stanley Park’s Secret (Harbour Publishing, 2005). Her lifelong pursuit to enrich the history of BC has earned her such honours as a Governor General’s Award, a George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award, a Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing and a position as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. She lives in Vancouver, BC.

Jean Barman's profile page

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