Vil­lage un­veil­ing Shields plaque

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - BOOKS - By Bob Arm­strong

THEY will be words for the ages. A plaque bear­ing a pas­sage from the late Carol Shields’ 1992 novel, The Repub­lic of Love, will be un­veiled at a cer­e­mony at 11 a.m. Thurs­day at the Gas Sta­tion Arts Cen­tre in Os­borne Vil­lage. The event is the brain­child of the na­tion­ally run Project Book­mark, which puts text from sto­ries and po­ems in the ex­act phys­i­cal lo­ca­tions where literary scenes take place. “Many read­ers across Canada have been in­tro­duced to [Winnipeg] through the writ­ing of Carol Shields,” Amanda Hill, Project Book­mark’s Hamil­ton­based ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, said in a news re­lease. “In The Repub­lic of Love, Winnipeg is not just a set­ting, it’s a char­ac­ter.” Hill, by the way, is mar­ried to nov­el­ist Lawrence Hill, who worked as a reporter at the Free Press in the early 1980s.

Winnipeg young adult writer Anita Da­her launches Itty Bitty Bits, her first chil­dren’s pic­ture book — il­lus­trated by Wendy Bai­ley — with a mu­si­cal celebration Mon­day at McNally Robin­son. Fran­cis Leonard, from the fam­ily en­ter­tain­ment group the Se­cond­hand­pants, will per­form a song he’s writ­ten for the book, pub­lished lo­cally by Peanut But­ter Press, and 20 per cent of launch-night sales will be do­nated to the Lit­er­acy Part­ners of Manitoba. The event starts at 7 p.m.

For Amer­i­can literary bad-boy Bret Eas­ton El­lis, Alice Munro’s No­bel Prize for Lit­er­a­ture was an op­por­tu­nity to re­mind the world that he still ex­ists, while ex­er­cis­ing his Wildean wit through tweets such as “the No­bel is a joke” and “Alice Munro is so com­pletely over­rated.” For good mea­sure, the Less Than Zero au­thor re­marked that Al­fonso Cuaron’s much-praised film Grav­ity is “to­tally bor­ing.” Munro and Cuaron aren’t alone in win­ning El­lis’s dis­ap­proval. Last year, he de­scribed the late David Fos­ter Wal­lace as “the most te­dious, over­rated, tor­tured, pre­ten­tious writer of my gen­er­a­tion.”

A Cana­dian pub­lish­ing ex­ec­u­tive will be hon­oured at this year’s In­ter­na­tional Fes­ti­val of Au­thors in Toronto for her work bring­ing Cana­dian lit­er­a­ture to the world and world lit­er­a­ture to Canada.

Fall has been a sea­son of celebration for Winnipeg’s Great Plains Pub­li­ca­tions. In Septem­ber, Anne Ma­hon’s The Lucky Ones, a col­lec­tion of pro­files of African refugees in Manitoba, was se­lected the win­ner of the On the Same Page pro­gram of the Winnipeg Pub­lic Li­brary, which so­lic­its votes from the pub­lic on one book to rec­om­mend to every­body in Winnipeg. This month, two young adult books pub­lished by Great Plains earned hon­ours. The Silent Sum­mer of Kyle McGin­ley, by On­tario’s Jan An­drews, was named a gold medal win­ner in the an­nual Moon­beam Awards, which hon­our books for kids and teens pub­lished by Cana­dian and Amer­i­can in­de­pen­dent pub­lish­ers. An­drews’ book is the story of a boy be­ing brought up in the fos­ter sys­tem who goes silent while he works through his feel­ings about his life. Win­nipeg­ger Colleen Nel­son’s teen novel The Fall, which tells of the death of a teenager in a night-time ac­ci­dent and its con­se­quences on the sur­vivors, has been se­lected as a fi­nal­ist in the On­tario Li­brary As­so­ci­a­tion’s For­est of Read­ing pro­gram. Nom­i­nated au­thors are in­vited to Toronto in Novem­ber for a day of read­ings and work­shops with thou­sands of school chil­dren.

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