Mar­itime fortress gets Prairie treat­ment

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

IT took a writer from land-locked south­ern Man­i­toba to create the first fic­tion­al­ized treat­ment of the siege of Louis­bourg, the great fog­bound fortress on the shore of Cape Bre­ton. Chuck Lo­vatt

vis­ited the re­con­structed 18th-cen­tury fortress and en­listed the aid of an arche­ol­o­gist and his­to­rian to help him re-imagine the early days of St. John’s, N.L. when he was re­search­ing his new novel Josiah Stubb. The book will be pub­lished by Bri­tain’s Wild Wolf Pub­lish­ing, first as an e-book and shortly af­ter in pa­per. Lo­vatt, a fan of Ge­orge MacDon­ald Fraser’s Flash­man books, spins a story of se­crets, vice and colo­nial mil­i­tary ac­tion in his new novel. His first book, also pub­lished by Wild Wolf, was a comic ad­ven­ture set in colo­nial Africa called The Ad­ven­tures of Char­lie Smithers. He will dis­cuss his book and his ideas for im­prov­ing both sys­tems Tues­day at Prairie Ink Restau­rant at 8 p.m., in a con­ver­sa­tion with Terry Ma­cLeod of CBC’s Week­end Morn­ing Show. Cana­dian writ­ers are con­cerned about mass sur­veil­lance of the kind re­vealed by Amer­i­can whistle­blower Ed­ward Snow­den, but so far few be­lieve they have been ha­rassed or spied on by govern­ment. In a re­cent sur­vey of its 2,000 mem­bers, the Writ­ers’ Union of Canada found that 60 per cent of re­spon­dents were con­cerned sur­veil­lance could in­flu­ence their work or the work of other writ­ers in the fu­ture. When asked about their per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence, only seven per cent be­lieved they had been ha­rassed by govern­ment and five per cent be­lieved they had been spied upon. The TWUC sur­vey re­sults fol­low the cre­ation last fall of an on­line pe­ti­tion signed by 562 authors from more than 80 coun­tries — in­clud­ing Mar­garet At­wood, Yann Mar­tel and Michael On­daatje — op­pos­ing mass sur­veil­lance. A new prize funded by a pop­u­lar kids’ au­thor is a For­tu­nate Event for li­brar­i­ans. Daniel Han­dler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket), au­thor of the Se­ries of Un­for­tu­nate Events books, has es­tab­lished The Lemony Snicket Prize for No­ble Li­brar­i­ans Faced with Ad­ver­sity, which will hon­our li­brar­i­ans fac­ing free­dom to read or other chal­lenges. Han­dler ex­plains on the Amer­i­can Li­brary As­so­ci­a­tion web­site that es­tab­lish­ing the prize “seems like a bet­ter way to chan­nel money to li­brar­i­ans than my pre­vi­ous strategy, which was in­cur­ring late fees.” A physi­cian with ex­pe­ri­ence on both sides of the Canada-U.S. bor­der launches a study of the chal­lenges faced by both coun­tries’ health-care sys­tems this week at McNally Robin­son Book­sellers. Henry P. Krahn prac­tised as a urol­o­gist for 38 years in Win­nipeg and eight at Min­nesota’s Mayo Clinic. He brings both per­spec­tives to bear in his self­pub­lished book Dam­aged Care: A Sur­geon Dis­sects the Vaunted Cana­dian and U.S. Health Care Sys­tems. San An­to­nio, Texas is now home to the only book-free li­brary in the U.S. The Bexar County Dig­i­tal Li­brary opened in the south Texas city last month, of­fer­ing pa­trons an ar­ray of com­put­ers, lap­tops, e-read­ers and other de­vices for pe­rus­ing li­brary cat­a­logues and or­der­ing e-books. The L.A. Times notes the new li­brary isn’t the first that’s tried to go pa­per-free — an all-dig­i­tal li­brary in Tuc­son, Ariz. had to add “ana­logue” books a few years af­ter open­ing due to pub­lic de­mand.

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