Sea­soned au­thor’s de­but novel a win­ner

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

WIN­NING a first novel award is of­ten the lit­er­ary world’s equiv­a­lent of be­ing rookie of the year. This year’s win­ner of the Ama­zon.ca First Novel Award, how­ever, is no rookie. Wayne Grady, hon­oured last week for his novel Eman­ci­pa­tion Day, has pre­vi­ously pub­lished 14 books of non­fic­tion, edited sev­eral an­tholo­gies and won the Gover­nor Gen­eral’s Award as a trans­la­tor. His first work of full-length fic­tion, Eman­ci­pa­tion Day was in­spired by Grady’s dis­cov­ery 20 years ago that his fa­ther was a light-skinned black man who had passed for white. Con­tro­ver­sial Amer­i­can his­to­rian Daniel Jonah Gold­ha­gen will ar­gue Mon­day that anti-Semitism is stronger to­day than at any time since the Sec­ond World War. Gold­ha­gen, whose Holo­caust study Hitler’s Will­ing Ex­e­cu­tion­ers drew both praise and sharp schol­arly crit­i­cism in the 1990s, is speak­ing at the Fort Garry Ho­tel at 7:30 p.m. in an event spon­sored by the Cana­dian In­sti­tute for the Study of Anti-Semitism. He fol­lowed that book with a study of the role of the Catholic Church in the Holo­caust. In his lat­est book, The Devil That Never Dies, Gold­ha­gen ar­gues that much cur­rent crit­i­cism of Is­rael is “in­con­tro­vert­ibly anti-Semitic.” A novel about an eight-year-old girl sent to a Nazi labour camp has won this year’s Man­i­toba Young Read­ers’ Choice Award. Mak­ing Bombs for Hitler, by Mar­sha Forchuk Skry­puch, was voted the top choice in this year’s run­ning of the an­nual pro­mo­tion, in which young read­ers vote on se­lec­tions from a shortlist. When the award was an­nounced last week, next year’s short list of 18 books was also un­veiled on the award’s web­site (myrca.ca). Hon­ourable men­tions this year went to Ungifted, by Gor­don Kor­man, and Small Medium at Large, by Joanne Levy. The Man­i­toba School Li­brary As­so­ci­a­tion launched the awards in 1990 to pro­mote in­ter­est in read­ing. The Spring Lit­er­ary Se­ries — a part­ner­ship of the Win­nipeg In­ter­na­tional Writ­ers’ Fes­ti­val and McNally Robin­son Book­sellers — is bring­ing three evenings of read­ings to the city this week. First up is Kenneth Oppel, the best­selling au­thor of kids’ and YA books, in­clud­ing the Sil­ver­wing se­ries, read­ing from his new novel The Bound­less, on Mon­day at 7 p.m. Bri­tish Columbia’s Steven Galloway will read from his fol­lowup to the ac­claimed The Cel­list of Sara­jevo on Thurs­day at 7 p.m., as part of his tour to pro­mote The Con­fab­u­list, a novel in­spired by the life and sud­den death of Harry Hou­dini. Two Mon­treal writ­ers — one of them for­mer Win­nipeg­ger Jon Paul Fiorentino — take the stage on Fri­day at 7 p.m. Fiorentino will read from his book of comedic short sto­ries, I’m Not Scared of You or Any­thing. David Homel will read from his novel The Fledglings, set in Pro­hi­bi­tion-era Chicago, and will dis­cuss his work as trans­la­tor for Québé­cois nov­el­ist Nelly Ar­can. All the read­ings take place at McNally Robin­son Book­sellers. Two books with abo­rig­i­nal themes cleaned up at this year’s Saskatchewan Book Awards last week. Clear­ing the Plains: Dis­ease, Pol­i­tics of Star­va­tion and Loss of Abo­rig­i­nal Life, by Univer­sity of Regina his­to­rian James Daschuk, won four awards for the au­thor and an­other for his pub­lisher, Univer­sity of Regina Press. On the fic­tion side, Lisa Bird Wil­son’s short story collection Just Pre­tend­ing won three awards, in ad­di­tion to an award for her pub­lisher, Coteau Books.

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