‘Outhouse book’ looks to lure new anglers
IT takes a modest writer — or one with a keen mind for book marketing — to call his book “an outhouse book.” That’s one of the ways John Toone describes Fishin’ for Dumbasses. The book, from Great Plains Publications, is an offbeat, informative and comical introduction to fishing that will keep campers and cottagers occupied in the smallest reading room. It started out, says Toone, as a book for hipsters interested in catching their own locally sourced food, but morphed into a book about the entire experience of fishing. “When your mindset is catching, a good day is measured by what ends up in the cooler. But when you are out there for the fishing, that experience includes the preparation, the journey, the sacrifices and indulgences, the time with family in the great outdoors.” Toone, who wrote a pair of comic books about fishing published by Alchemical Press (Catch that Catfish! and Hope and the Walleye), is a longtime angler who has volunteered for more than 20 years with Fish Futures. He’ll be signing copies of the book from 2 to 4 p.m. on May 31 at McNally Robinson Booksellers. Forget about the Chicago of the North or One Great City — we’re living in Electric City. That’s the title of a new special edition of the literary journal Prairie Fire that focuses on writing from Winnipeg. Electric City contains work from “a baker’s dozen of Winnipeg’s newly established and up-and-coming writers,” including Katherena Vermette, winner of the 2013 Governor General’s Award for poetry, Méira Cook, winner of the 2013 McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award, and three years’ worth of recipients of the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer: poets Jennifer Still, Kristian Enright and Jonathan Ball. The book launch is June 2 at 7 p.m. at McNally Robinson Booksellers. Dudley brings back her version of the mythological figure Pelops, who was given to the gods of Olympus as a sacrificial meal in the traditional story, and in Dudley’s hands was turned into a supernaturally gifted chef. In Kraken Bake, Pelops has to figure out how to cook kraken, the giant sea monster of Greek myth, and win an Athenian cooking competition. She launches the novel June 3 at 8 p.m. at McNally Robinson Booksellers. Words don’t just live on paper. That’s the idea behind the first Winnipeg Spoken Word Festival, running Wednesday to Sunday. Performance poets, musicians, improvisers and other spoken-word aficionados from Winnipeg, Vancouver, Toronto and Edmonton will gather at the Gas Station Theatre for a series of events, including the Winnipeg Poetry Slam Finals, the Haiku Death Match and an evening of collaboration between poets and improvisers. Two workshops are also on the agenda for the week. For full details and schedule, check winnipegspokenwordfestival.com. File this one under “Nice work if you can get it.” British novelist Ian McEwan recently sold his literary archive to the Henry Ransom Center, a humanities research library at the University of Texas in Austin, for $2 million. According to The Guardian, the archive includes early drafts of novels, abandoned stories, letters from various literary friends, and 17 years’ worth of email. Other writers whose archives have been acquired by the Ransom Center include Doris Lessing, J.M. Coetzee, Julian Barnes and Tom Stoppard. Winnipeg mystery novelist-turnedcomic fantasy writer Karen Dudley offers up a second helping of Greek mythology in her upcoming Kraken Bake: An Epicurean Epic.