Man­i­toba writ­ers up for plains awards

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

MAN­I­TOBA writ­ers have scooped up sev­eral nom­i­na­tions for the 2014 High Plains Book Awards, which hon­our writ­ing from the Prairie prov­inces and seven Rocky Moun­tain and north­ern plains states. Bar­bara Joyce-Hawry­luk is short­listed for two awards — best first book and best book by a woman — for her self-pub­lished crime novel Wounded. The woman-writer shortlist also in­cludes two other Man­i­toba-set books: Sarah Klassen’s The Wit­ten­bergs (Turn­stone Press) and Kim McCullough’s Clear­wa­ter (Coteau). An­other Turn­stone book, Si­mone Hébert Al­lard’s Man­i­toba But­ter­flies: A Field Guide, is short­listed in the sci­ence and medicine cat­e­gory. The awards are pre­sented in the fall in Billings, Mont. The best­selling mem­oir of an Al­berta free­lance writer’s har­row­ing cap­tiv­ity by So­mali in­sur­gents ap­pears to be headed for the movie screen as an A-list pro­duc­tion. The Cana­dian Press re­ported re­cently that film rights to Amanda Lind­hout’s A House in the Sky have been sold to An­na­purna Pic­tures — which has pro­duc­tion cred­its on Zero Dark Thirty, Amer­i­can Hus­tle, Her and other re­cent pres­tige ti­tles — and Rooney Mara, who was also in Her and played the ti­tle char­ac­ter in the Amer­i­can ver­sion of The Girl With the Dragon Tat­too. A group of mostly West Coast mag­a­zine writ­ers have cre­ated a new place for long-form jour­nal­ism. Non­vella launched this spring af­ter a suc­cess­ful Kick­starter cam­paign with Far From Home, an an­thol­ogy of five non-fic­tion pieces by leading Cana­dian writ­ers, in­clud­ing Man­i­toba’s Jake MacDon­ald. This month, Non­vella will pub­lish Foodville, a study of foodie cul­ture by nov­el­ist and jour­nal­ist Ti­mothy Tay­lor, whose novel Stan­ley Park took read­ers into Van­cou­ver’s trendy restau­rant scene. The com­pany, headed by award­win­ning jour­nal­ists Tyee Bridge and Anne Cas­sel­man, will fo­cus on re­portage, ad­ven­ture writ­ing, mem­oirs and es­says rang­ing from 5,000 to 20,000 words. When B.C. writer Car­men Aguirre won the 2012 Canada Reads show­down for Some­thing Fierce: Mem­oirs of a Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Daugh­ter, her mem­oir of grow­ing up in Pinochet-era Chile, it was a good news/bad news sce­nario. Just af­ter sales took off, Aguirre’s pub­lisher, Dou­glas and McIn­tyre, went bank­rupt, ow­ing her $60,000 in un­paid roy­al­ties. Now her luck has im­proved again. Ran­dom House Canada re­leased a new edi­tion of the book in the spring and in June, friends in the lit­er­ary and Chilean ex­pat com­mu­ni­ties held a “Grand Malon” — a Chilean term for a potluck and BYOB — as a fundraiser for the au­thor. She also has a fol­lowup mem­oir com­ing out from Ran­dom House, ac­cord­ing to Quill and Quire. Best­selling thriller au­thor James Pat­ter­son has fol­lowed up on a pledge last fall to do­nate $1 mil­lion to in­de­pen­dent book­stores in the U.S. with a com­mit­ment of £250,000 ($457,000) to in­de­pen­dent book­stores in the U.K. and Ire­land. The web­site The Book­seller re­ports that do­na­tions are for projects to pro­mote read­ing and are in­tended only for in­de­pen­dent book­stores with a ded­i­cated chil­dren’s sec­tion. The U.K./ Ire­land gift was an­nounced just be­fore the start of In­de­pen­dent Book­sellers’ Week (June 28-July 5). Pat­ter­son, au­thor of the Alex Cross se­ries, has sold an es­ti­mated 300 mil­lion books world­wide for adults and chil­dren.

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