Munro film set in U.S. earns early praise

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

EVEN when a Cana­dian wins the No­bel Prize for Lit­er­a­ture, this coun­try is still too for­eign for Amer­i­can art-house film­go­ers. That’s one con­clu­sion to be drawn from the re­cently re­leased film Hate­ship, Love­ship, adapted from Alice Munro’s story Hate­ship, Friend­ship, Love­ship, Courtship, Mar­riage. The set­ting for the film, di­rected by Ohioan Liza John­son, was moved from Munro’s usual ru­ral On­tario to an un­spec­i­fied U.S. Mid­west­ern ru­ral com­mu­nity, which is kind of like mov­ing a Wil­liam Faulkner story out of Mis­sis­sippi. On the plus side, the film is draw­ing raves, with a re­cent piece in Slate prais­ing the cast­ing of exSNL- star Kris­ten Wiig in the lead role as a love-starved do­mes­tic ser­vant. David Ber­gen will give fans a taste of his forth­com­ing novel, I Am Telling You This, Fri­day at the launch of the lat­est is­sue of the Men­non­ite lit­er­ary jour­nal Rhubarb. He will be joined by poet Patrick Friesen, whose work is also fea­tured in the spring is­sue of the jour­nal, en­ti­tled Break­ing Men­non­ite: Liv­ing in the City. The launch be­gins at 7:30 p.m. at the Men­non­ite Her­itage Cen­tre Gallery, at the Cana­dian Men­non­ite Univer­sity on Shaftes­bury Boule­vard. Toronto el­e­men­tary school teacher Lind­say Cochrane de­serves an A for au­dac­ity for her de­but as a play­wright. Cochrane’s first play, run­ning un­til May 12 at Toronto’s Fac­tory Theatre, is an adap­ta­tion of nov­el­ist Yann Mar­tel’s fol­lowup to his mas­sive hit Life of Pi, the coolly re­ceived Beatrice and Vir­gil. It isn’t ex­actly an ob­vi­ous choice for the stage, con­tain­ing a talk­ing-an­i­mal Holo­caust al­le­gory, post­mod­ern texts within texts, ref­er­ences to Dante’s Divine Com­edy and a pas­tiche of Sa­muel Beck­ett’s Wait­ing for Godot. In an in­ter­view with Quill & Quire, Cochrane says she was seized by the idea to turn the novel into a play, and emailed Mar­tel early drafts of a few scenes. Though skep­ti­cal at first, Mar­tel gave her per­mis­sion to write the play and even­tu­ally went to Toronto to at­tend a work­shop of the script. Stein­bach poet Luann Hiebert launches her first po­etry collection April 23 at McNally Robin­son Book­sellers. Hiebert, an ad­junct pro­fes­sor at Prov­i­dence Univer­sity Col­lege and PhD stu­dent at the Univer­sity of Man­i­toba, ex­am­ines fam­ily and re­la­tion­ships and the fa­cades we put up in our ev­ery­day lives in her collection What Lies Be­hind (Turn­stone Press). The book launch kicks off at 7 p.m. Win­nipeg au­thor Dora Dueck is the win­ner of a na­tional novella-writ­ing con­test held by the B.C.-based lit­er­ary mag­a­zine The Mala­hat Re­view. In ad­di­tion to win­ning a $1,500 prize, Dueck will have her story Mask pub­lished in this sum­mer’s is­sue of the mag­a­zine. The story was judged the win­ner out of 221 en­tries by a panel of judges, who de­scribed it as a “deftly writ­ten, deeply af­fect­ing ac­count of the phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal ram­i­fi­ca­tions within one fam­ily strug­gling to live with the wounds in­flicted by war.” Dueck’s on a bit of a roll, hav­ing won the 2013 High Plains Book Award in the short fic­tion cat­e­gory for her collection What You Get at Home. A new pro­gram funded by the Canada Coun­cil and the Saskatchewan Arts Board is in­tended to give abo­rig­i­nal lit­er­a­ture a shot in the arm. The Abo­rig­i­nal Ed­i­tors’ Cir­cle is a pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment pro­gram in which eight abo­rig­i­nal ed­i­tors and pub­lish­ers from across Canada will be selected to take part in men­tor­ship and dis­cus­sions to help them ad­vance in their ca­reers and ad­vance the state of abo­rig­i­nal lit­er­a­ture. The cir­cle will meet in June in Saskatoon for an in­ten­sive ses­sion.

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