Travel Blog

28 Jan

Vancouver author joins with Victoria illusionist for an evening of words and magic


Vancouver author Steven Galloway.


Steven Galloway‘s fourth novel, The Confabulist, is about the life of famed 20th century illusionist Harry Houdini.  So it’s only fitting that, for his upcoming entry in the Chan Centre’s popular Beyond Words series, the B.C. author is teaming up with a modern-day practitioner of the illusory arts.

For the Feb 26 event at the Telus Studio Theatre, Galloway will read from his book. The reading will be interspersed with illusions from David Gifford.

However, Gifford will not just be entertaining with parlour tricks and shopworn illusions. Instead, he’ll be bringing to the stage wonders that illustrate the themes of novel. These themes are described by Chan Centre Director of Programming Wendy Atkinson as “the limitations of memory, reality versus imagination, and the scam of spiritualism in the early 20th century.”

The Confabulist received positive reviews upon its release last year. Houdini is a character in the novel, but so is an otherwise-unextraordinary man named Martin Strauss. His fate is inextricably linked to that of Houdini to such an extent that he “kills” the famed trickster, not just once but twice. Other characters include the soon-to-be-assassinated Romanov family, the heads of Scotland Yard, and various scam artists.

The book is the follow-up to Galloway’s celebrated The Cellist of Sarajevo. Galloway is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Borders Original Voice Award, the Ontario Library Association Evergreen Award, and the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature. He has been nominated for the international IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, and the Canadian Bestseller Association Fiction Award. He is also Associate Professor and Acting Chair of the UBC Creative Writing Program.

David Gifford is known for his musically-accompanied magic performances that
appeal to audiences ranging from the enthusiastic and curious to the sceptical. A visual arts educator at the University of Victoria, Gifford is also a Canada Council for the
Arts award recipient and co-founder of the Ministry of Casual Living artist-run centre.



Beyond Words: Steven Galloway and David Gifford
Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m./Telus Studio Theatre at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at UBC (6265 Crescent Road)
Tickets: $15/22/27 at 604-822-2697 or

Article source: