Manitoba writers up for plains awards
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.