Fred Booker, 1939-2008

It is with great sadness that we at Commodore Books mourn the loss of Fred Booker, who died at Burnaby General Hospital of pneumonia on June 4, 2008. Booker was our first author, and we are proud to have begun our publishing mission with his Adventures in Debt Collection. Booker’s fiction has been reviewed in multiple periodicals, including The Vancouver Sun and The Georgia Straight; his work has and will continue to be taught in colleges and universities; and Booker was writing new material right up to the very end. He was a versatile artist who published poems in a variety of literary journals across Canada in the 1970s, as well as releasing a series of folk-blues albums as a singer-writer into the 1980s. Later, he turned to short fiction, publishing stories in literary journals throughout the 1990s, eventually coming to our attention through Wayde Compton’s research for the anthology Bluesprint: Black British Columbian Literature and Orature. A highlight of Booker’s career was hearing two of his stories dramatized on the CBC Radio One show Between the Covers in 2007, and knowing that his words were being heard across the nation. Booker is survived by his life partner, Monique, and all of us, his readers and friends.