Fringe fave to launch book in­spired by play

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

FOr­ga­niz­ers of the 2014 Win­nipeg In­ter­na­tional Writ­ers Fes­ti­val are fol­low­ing up on news of their head­liner — Cana­dian-born Booker Prize win­ner Eleanor Cat­ton — with some other high-pro­file vis­it­ing writ­ers. In ad­di­tion to Cat­ton, who will ap­pear at the Sept. 19 open­ing, the fes­ti­val will in­clude Al­berta’s Fred Sten­son ( The Trade, Light­ning), read­ing from Who By Fire, his forth­com­ing book in­spired by con­flicts be­tween Al­berta’s oil and gas sec­tor and agri­cul­tural com­mu­ni­ties, and Ar­jun Basu, a Mon­treal-born au­thor who be­came a sen­sa­tion writ­ing sto­ries for Twit­ter, read­ing from his first non-140-char­ac­ter novel, Wait­ing for the Man.

Morro and Jasp do Pu­berty, Morro and Jasp Gone Wild and Of Mice and Men and Morro and Jasp, and the Dora-win­ning Go Bake Yourself, are miss­ing at this year’s fes­ti­val. But the Win­nipeg-born Amy Lee, who plays Jasp, will re­turn to the city this sum­mer to launch Eat Your Heart Out with Morro and Jasp, a book of comics, sto­ries, po­etry, il­lus­tra­tions, pho­tos and more than 130 recipes, in­spired by Go Bake Yourself. Lee, who has per­formed at Man­i­toba Theatre for Young People, Man­i­toba Theatre Cen­tre and Win­nipeg Jewish Theatre, launches the book at 7 p.m. Aug. 6 at McNally Robin­son Book­sellers. The 2014 FIFA World Cup has a mag­i­cal echo in the fan­tasy world of the Harry Pot­ter fran­chise. Au­thor J.K. Rowl­ing has pro­vided a glimpse into the adult life of Harry, Ginny, Hermione, Ron and oth­ers in the Hog­warts gang via her Pot­ter­more web­site. On the Pot­ter­more blog (sign-up re­quired) Rowl­ing has re­leased a gos­sip col­umn by her al­ter ego, the poi­son­pen wield­ing Rita Skeeter, de­scrib­ing a 34-year-old Harry and his friends at a World Cup of Quid­ditch match. The site also con­tains an ac­count of the World Cup fi­nal (Brazil vs Bul­garia) at­trib­uted to Ginny Weasley. Re­cent ad­vances in neu­ro­science prove that writ­ers’ brains are dif­fer­ent from those of or­di­nary people, and it’s not just in the lobes re­spon­si­ble for re­sent­ment and self-loathing. A re­cent New York Times story profiles the re­search of Dr. Martin Lotze of the Univer­sity of Grief­swald, Ger­many, who had vol­un­teers write short sto­ries while hooked up to an MRI. When he com­pared reg­u­lar vol­un­teers to those from a univer­sity mas­ter’s pro­gram in cre­ative writ­ing, he found ex­pe­ri­enced writ­ers re­lied more on the por­tion of the brain in­volved in speech, while non-writer vol­un­teers re­lied on the vis­ual parts of their brains. The cre­ative writ­ing stu­dents also used an area of the brain known as the cau­date nu­cleus, which co-or­di­nates brain ac­tiv­ity when us­ing a skill gained through prac­tice and ex­per­tise. The reg­u­lar vol­un­teers didn’t use their cau­date nu­cleus when they wrote. A re­cently dis­cov­ered let­ter by the 19th-century French poet Charles Baude­laire demon­strates the au­thor of Les Fleurs du Mal wasn’t just the fa­ther of sym­bol­ism and grand­fa­ther of mod­ernism — he was also a jerk. The Guardian re­ports that the let­ter, re­cently auc­tioned by Christie’s along with a let­ter by Robert Louis Steven­son as well as Walt Whit­man’s per­sonal copy of Leaves of Grass, con­tains a postscript re­fer­ring to Vic­tor Hugo, au­thor of Les Misérables. Baude­laire had been pros­e­cuted for “of­fend­ing pub­lic morals” in his fa­mous book of po­etry, and Hugo had come to his aid with letters of sup­port. In the postscript, Baude­laire writes “Hugo con­tinue a m’en­voyer des let­tres stupi­des.” ANS of the Win­nipeg Fringe Fes­ti­val may no­tice that the clown duo Morro and Jasp, whose shows have in­cluded

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