Row­ing fool pad­dles into town

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

SIXTY-SOME­THING au­thor Charles Wilkins prob­a­bly wished he’d cho­sen a ves­sel a few hun­dred me­tres longer at some point on his re­cent trav­els across the At­lantic Ocean. But if he had, he never would have got his new book out of the ex­pe­ri­ence. Wilkins launches Lit­tle Ship of Fools, his chron­i­cle of seven weeks as a rookie oars­man with a 15-mem­ber crew on an ex­haust­ing and dan­ger­ous row­ing ad­ven­ture, Wed­nes­day at McNally Robin­son at 7 p.m. On Mon­day he’ll share the stage with a writer known for a book about a much more re­lax­ing nau­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence, Jake MacDon­ald, au­thor of 2002’s The House­boat Chron­i­cles. Wilkins and MacDon­ald are the fea­tured writ­ers at the monthly In Di­a­logue read­ing se­ries hosted by the Manitoba Writ­ers’ Guild at the Free Press Café start­ing at 7:30. Af­ter a ca­reer teach­ing psy­chol­ogy at the Univer­sity of Manitoba, Winnipeg’s David Koulack has turned to fic­tion in his re­tire­ment. The for­mer psy­chol­ogy pro­fes­sor, whose col­umns, short fic­tion and cre­ative non-fic­tion have ap­peared in the Lon­don Sun­day Times, the Guardian, and sev­eral Cana­dian literary jour­nals, de­scribes on his blog the jour­ney he took to self-pub­lish­ing his first novel. As Koulack was writ­ing and rewrit­ing drafts of the novel — which re­ceived en­cour­ag­ing words from his col­league, the late Carol Shields — merg­ers and bank­rupt­cies in the pub­lish­ing busi­ness made the tra­di­tional pub­lish­ing route even more of a crap­shoot. He plans to launch his self-pub­lished fic­tion de­but — a bit­ter­sweet cam­pus com­edy about a man bul­lied by his par­ents, his wife and his stu­dents — Thurs­day at 7 p.m. at McNally Robin­son. Koulack is al­ready work­ing on a fol­lowup. A Heart­break­ing Work of Stag­ger­ing Ge­nius) and an in­ter­view with the film­maker Spike Jonze ( Be­ing John Malkovich). Dzama, 39, has lived in New York for at least a decade. If you’re look­ing for your own night­mare be­fore Christ­mas, ACI Manitoba and the Manitoba Writ­ers’ Guild are pre­sent­ing a panel dis­cus­sion on horror writ­ing Dec. 6 at 3 p.m. as part of the monthly First Fri­days event in the Ex­change Dis­trict. Horror writ­ers Michael Rowe, Chad­wick Ginther and David An­nan­dale will talk about “horror writ­ing that works.” The event takes place at the ACI Manitoba of­fice at 245 McDer­mott. For­mer Win­nipeg­ger Mar­cel Dzama has long since es­tab­lished him­self as a unique pres­ence in the art world, thanks to his fan­ci­ful il­lus­tra­tions of an­thro­po­mor­phic an­i­mals and whim­si­cal dream im­ages. A ca­reer ret­ro­spec­tive art book pub­lished this month will il­lus­trate his place in the hip­ster-artist pan­theon. In ad­di­tion to 500 colour im­ages, Mar­cel Dzama: Sower of Dis­cord con­tains three short sto­ries in­spired by his work, writ­ten by Dave Eg­gers ( Abo­rig­i­nal mu­sic from Manitoba gets the Ox­ford treat­ment in a schol­arly book to be re­leased Nov. 25. Mu­si­cal In­ti­ma­cies and In­dige­nous Imag­i­nar­ies, by Kleefeld-born scholar By­ron Dueck, takes an an­thro­po­log­i­cal and eth­no­mu­si­co­log­i­cal look at the role of sa­cred and sec­u­lar mu­sic and dance in abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­ni­ties. The aca­demic book, pub­lished by Ox­ford Univer­sity Press, ex­am­ines coun­try mu­sic, fid­dling, re­li­gious mu­sic and even the role of the NCI ra­dio sta­tion in the abo­rig­i­nal mu­sic world.

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