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Alisa Smith

10 April 2017 | Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

The award-winning writer and journalist Alisa Smith discusses her debut novel, Speakeasy (Douglas & McIntyre, 2017), set in the Pacific Northwest in the Depression and through to World War II, it looks at crime, espionage, loyalty and more, with Joseph Planta.


Speakeasy by Alisa Smith (Douglas & McIntyre, 2017).

Click to buy this book from Amazon.ca: Speakeasy


Text of introduction by Joseph Planta:

I am Planta: On the Line, in Vancouver, at TheCommentary.ca.

Alisa Smith has just published her debut novel, Speakeasy. It’s set in the Pacific Northwest, and its genesis is from when Alisa was looking at old Vancouver newspapers from the Great Depression and she’d come across stories about Bill Bagley, a notorious bank robber. There wasn’t much information on Bagley or his Clockwork Gang, and that’s where Speakeasy takes off. We follow Lena Stillman, who joins the gang. We see their exploits, and then we follow her a decade later during World War II, where she tries to put her criminal past behind her. At this point she’s an elite codebreaker intercepting Japanese radio transmissions. I’ll get Ms. Smith, who joins me now, to tell us about her book, all these fascinating characters, this remarkable time, and this place that she depicts. I’ve started the book and it’s just so enjoyable. Alisa Smith is an award-winning journalist and author. The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating was published in 2009 and won numerous awards. I had her co-author J.B. MacKinnon on at the time, and the book spawned a phenomenon across the continent and elsewhere. She has contributed to numerous publications including Canadian Geographic, Explore, and the National Post. She has received several National Magazine Awards. She is working on a sequel to Speakeasy already. Like a lot of people, I can’t wait. This new book is published by Douglas & McIntyre. Incidentally, she’ll be part of an Incite event, 10 May 2017, that’s the free event that the Vancouver Writers Fest puts on downtown at the Vancouver Public Library. Visit www.writersfest.bc.ca for more information. Please welcome to the Planta: On the Line program, Alisa Smith; Ms. Smith, good morning.

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