Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative


June 17, 2014

For several years a few of us have gathered each Christmas season to dine at the Kathmandu Cafe on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. A meal of goat curry and momos always seems like a nice distraction from more conventional holiday festivities. During this time we have come to know Abi Sharma, the Kathmandu's genial proprietor.

Last night a group of regular patrons convened beneath the stunning photographs of the Himalayas that decorate the walls of the cafe to bid farewell to Abi, who...

June 9, 2014

Great to see historian Jean Barman being honoured with this year's George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award (which bills itself as BC's most prestigious literary prize).

Jean has written too many books to mention here but my favourite is probably Stanley Park's Secrets (Harbour Publishing 2005). By reminding us of the different communities who used to make their homes in Stanley Park, she completely changes the way we...

June 6, 2014

The federal government appears to want to take a bad situation and make it worse.

The proposed revamp of the prostitution laws announced this week in Ottawa conforms to Stephen Harper's tough-on-crime agenda. Instead of decriminalizing activities surrounding prostitution, it proposes to criminalize even more of them. Under the new legislation it would be illegal to buy sexual services -- but not to provide them --...

June 5, 2014


Bronwyn Drainie, editor of the Literary Review of Canada, was in town yesterday and hosted some of her West Coast contributors (of which I am pleased to number myself) at a small drinks party where she spoke of her mag's struggles to survive and contribute to literary culture...

June 4, 2014

Since I'm not as plugged into Toronto media as I might be I was unaware of a series of articles the Toronto Star has been running since mid-April.

Reporter Katie Daubs and photographer Richard Lautens have been walking across western Europe tracing the front lines to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War One.

The few articles I read before I came up against the paywall were a wonderful...