Prairie lit mag shakes things up
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General Non-Fiction, Memoir and Travel categories of the Readers’ Favorites contest, a contest open to published and unpublished works of all lengths and genres, Award winners will be announced Sept. 1 and the awards themselves, in more than 100 categories, will be presented Nov. 22 in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.