Prairie lit mag shakes things up

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

AMAN­I­TOBA-PRO­DUCED pub­li­ca­tion that pro­motes books from the Prairie prov­inces has launched a new de­sign at the same time as it is ex­pand­ing its dis­tri­bu­tion and cut­ting back to two is­sues per year. Prairie Books Now is pro­duced by the As­so­ci­a­tion of Man­i­toba Book Pub­lish­ers, but fo­cuses on books from across the Prairies. Ex­ec­u­tive edi­tor Car­lene Rum­mery says the magazine has cut back from three edi­tions per year to two in order to ex­pand dis­tri­bu­tion to 30,000 copies per is­sue and to match the spring/fall pub­lish­ing sched­ule. The spring edi­tion was the first with the new magazine-size for­mat. As part of the over­haul and mod­ern­iza­tion of the pub­li­ca­tion, Rum­mery says read­ers will soon be able to view the magazine on elec­tronic de­vices. Nova Sco­tia will play the part of Stephen King’s scary New Eng­land this summer, when the Life­time ca­ble net­work shoots a movie ver­sion of King’s novella Big Driver. The novella, from King’s col­lec­tion Full Dark, No Stars, tells the story of a suc­cess­ful writer (played by Maria Bello) who is at­tacked and left for dead on a de­serted high­way. Ac­cord­ing to The Hol­ly­wood Reporter, the movie will also star Olympia Dukakis and Joan Jett. Nova Sco­tia was also the lo­ca­tion for the 1995 film ver­sion of King’s novel Dolores Clai­borne. In other Nova Sco­tia book-to-screen news, the six-part minis­eries of Lawrence Hill’s The Book of Ne­groes, which was shot in the province, will pre­mière this Oc­to­ber at a tele­vi­sion and entertainment fes­ti­val in Cannes, France. A book about grow­ing and mak­ing choco­late has earned Man­i­to­ban Doreen Pend­gracs fi­nal­ist po­si­tions in four award cat­e­gories in a U.S.–based writ­ing con­test. Pend­gracs’s book Cho­co­la­tour: A Quest for the World’s Best Choco­late is a fi­nal­ist in the Cook­ing and Food, Gen­eral Non-Fic­tion, Mem­oir and Travel cat­e­gories of the Read­ers’ Fa­vorites con­test, a con­test open to pub­lished and un­pub­lished works of all lengths and gen­res, Award win­ners will be an­nounced Sept. 1 and the awards them­selves, in more than 100 cat­e­gories, will be pre­sented Nov. 22 in Mi­ami. A 45-year-old, out-of-print busi­ness book has shot up the best­seller charts thanks to a cou­ple of well-heeled fans. For­mer Mi­crosoft chair­man Bill Gates re­cently launched the ebook ver­sion of Busi­ness Ad­ven­tures, a book of busi­ness sto­ries by the late New Yorker writer John Brooks, calling it the best busi­ness book he’s ever read. Gates him­self was turned on to the then-ob­scure book in 1991, when fel­low bil­lion­aire War­ren Buf­fett gave him a copy. With the ebook ver­sion reach­ing No. 5 on the Kin­dle best­seller list, a print ver­sion is due in Septem­ber. Cana­dian thriller writer An­drew Pyper found him­self in good com­pany this month. The On­tario nov­el­ist won the In­ter­na­tional Thriller Writ­ers Award for 2014, beat­ing Stephen King and Lee Child, among oth­ers, for his novel The De­mo­nolo­gist. The De­mo­nolo­gist is the story of a Columbia Univer­sity pro­fes­sor who’s an ex­pert on John Mil­ton’s Par­adise Lost and must rely on his knowl­edge of Mil­ton’s clas­sic to save his daugh­ter from the Un­der­world. Ear­lier this year, he was short­listed for the Shirley Jackson Award, a prize for sus­pense and hor­ror writ­ing named for the au­thor of The Lot­tery. Pyper’s next novel, The Damned, is due in Fe­bru­ary 2015.

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