Vertigo Voices reading has a local angle

Karen Hofmann reads from her B.C. Book Prize nominated debut novel, After Alice, which is set on an Okanagan orchard.

  • Oct. 5, 2014 9:00 a.m.
Karen Hofmann is in Vernon Thursday to read from her debut novel

Karen Hofmann is in Vernon Thursday to read from her debut novel

Two acclaimed B.C. writers come to Vertigo Voices Thursday to read from recent works.

B.C. Book Prize-nominated poet and English professor at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops,  Karen Hofmann will read from her first novel, After Alice.

Released in April, After Alice has already received glowing reviews across Canada and has made a name for Hofmann as a novelist of depth and grace.

Globe and Mail book reviewer Kerry Clare calls After Alice “one of the most interesting and exciting [novels] that I’ve encountered in ages.”

The novel will be of particular interest to locals, as it takes place in the Okanagan, with a family orchard as the backdrop.

It follows Sidonie von Täler after she leaves a life in academia to return to the small Okanagan Valley town that she had escaped in her youth for the lights of the big city.

The family orchard has since gone to seed, and even decades later Sidonie still finds herself living in the shadow of her deceased sister Alice. As she gets down to work sifting through the detritus of her family’s legacy, Sidonie is haunted by memories of trauma and triumph in equal measure, and must find a way to reconcile her past and present while reconnecting with the family members she has left.

Joining Hofmann will be poet Cornelia Hoogland, former artistic director of Poetry London and professor at the University of Western Ontario.

Now based on Hornby Island, B.C.’s West Coast is a source of inspiration in all of Hoogland’s six books of poetry, three chapbooks, and her nonfiction work and plays.

Hoogland will be reading from Woods Wolf Girl, a poetic rendering of Little Red Riding Hood. In this chilling contemporary re-telling one of the world’s most popular, and most retold, fairy tales, Hoogland allows us to see the world from various angles and perspectives, including the wolf’s.

Research for this book led Hoogland to Haida Gwaii and to Bella Bella on B.C.’s West Coast, as well as to the Rocky Mountains in Banff, Alta., to study wolves and record their voices.

Her concerns are ecological; her affections, huge and risky.

Doors to Thursday’s Vertigo Voices open at 7 p.m. Readings begin at 7:30 p.m. at Gallery Vertigo, #1-3001 31st St. (upstairs). All are welcome, by donation. For more information, call (250) 503-2297.