Writ­ers hand out diplo­mas at U of T

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

CThey may buy their books from Ama­zon and then get their as­sis­tants to read them, but movie producers sure love book­stores. They Came To­gether, a new rom­com fea­tur­ing Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd, pre­miered at the Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val. It par­o­dies the trend of us­ing book­stores as a meet­ing place for cou­ples des­tined to fall in love (see also: Not­ting Hill and You’ve Got Mail). ANA­DIAN writ­ers turned the ta­bles on the coun­try’s largest univer­sity Fri­day by giv­ing away free diplo­mas to stu­dents and passersby at the Univer­sity of Toronto. The diploma give­away, car­ried out by mem­bers of the Writ­ers’ Union of Canada, called at­ten­tion to the de­ci­sion by U of T and many other uni­ver­si­ties to opt out of the Ac­cess Copy­right agree­ment, through which uni­ver­si­ties pay for copies of copy­right ma­te­ri­als they use in class. The writ­ers’ union main­tains that uni­ver­si­ties are us­ing a def­i­ni­tion of “fair use” that is not sup­ported in law in or­der to copy much larger por­tions of printed works than has tra­di­tion­ally been al­lowed, and in the process de­prive creators of in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty of the right to earn an in­come. The au­thor of a widely cir­cu­lated per­sonal es­say on poverty is in talks with Pen­guin to pub­lish a full-length ex­am­i­na­tion of the ex­pe­ri­ence of poverty in Amer­ica. Linda Ti­rado, whose es­say Why I Make Ter­ri­ble De­ci­sions, or Poverty Thoughts, dis­cussed the chal­lenges of stay­ing healthy and feed­ing her kids while at­tend­ing univer­sity and work­ing at two part-time jobs, has been signed with the agency Foundry Literary and Me­dia to pub­lish her book, ac­cord­ing to the pub­lish­ing web­site Gal­l­ey­cat. The es­say was cir­cu­lated mil­lions of times af­ter hit­ting the front pages of both the Huff­in­g­ton Post and Jezebel. Time-Life Books — an il­lus­trated se­ries of non-fic­tion ti­tles on a va­ri­ety of his­tor­i­cal and sci­en­tific topics — will rise from dis­con­tin­ued limbo this May with ti­tles on the Sec­ond World War and the Bi­ble, ac­cord­ing to Pub­lish­ers’ Weekly. Known to baby boomers as the feed­stock for count­less grade-school class projects, the books orig­i­nally sold in the mil­lions through di­rect mail. Time Mag­a­zine sub­sidiary Time Home En­ter­tain­ment has re­cently bought back the brand, and now plans to sell new books un­der the Time-Life ban­ner in the re­tail mar­ket. A New York book­store that has bucked trends by open­ing a sec­ond lo­ca­tion this month seems to have drawn on a sim­i­lar mar­ket­ing strat­egy to Winnipeg’s McNally Robin­son Book­sellers. Travel book­seller Idlewild Books opened a sec­ond lo­ca­tion, this one in trendy Wil­liams­burg, Brook­lyn, by adding class­room space and mar­ket­ing lan­guage classes to its cus­tomers. McNally Robin­son, of course, of­fers a wide ar­ray of cour­ses of its own in its com­mu­nity class­room. Next time you’re in Toronto, you can toast Cana­dian lit­er­a­ture with a CanLit cock­tail. The Li­brary Bar at the Royal York has launched a line of Cana­dian lit­er­a­ture cock­tails salut­ing writ­ers in­clud­ing Morde­cai Rich­ler, Alice Munro, Yann Mar­tel and Joseph Boy­den. De­scribed in the Toronto Star by critic and nov­el­ist Nathan Whit­lock, the new tip­ples in­clude Boy­den’s grape­fruit vodka and tonic, Mar­tel’s James Bond­style mar­tini and Munro’s rose­mary mar­tini. Sur­pris­ingly, Rich­ler’s drink isn’t three fin­gers of Laphroaig, but a spiced Man­hat­tan.

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