Spooky books appear just in time
TWO Winnipeg publishers are getting readers in the mood for Halloween. Haunted Winnipeg (Great Plains Publications) is a compendium of Winnipeg’s favourite ghost stories, written by Matthew Komus, operator of Winnipeg Ghost Walks and a developer of programs and exhibits at historic sites and museums. Komus delves into ghostly legends at Seven Oaks House, the Fort Garry Hotel, the Pantages Playhouse Theatre and other historic locations. Haunted Winnipeg launches Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. at McNally Robinson. Guardian, another Great Plains title this fall, is a young adult novel by Edmonton’s Natasha Deen, about a teenage girl who must help a dead bully to make the transition to the afterlife, or face otherworldly consequences. For readers who like their frights on film, Winnipeg filmmaker Caelum Vatnsdal is launching a revised and updated version of They Came From Within: a History of Canadian Horror Cinema, originally published a decade ago by local house ARP. The launch is at McNally Robinson at 7 p.m. on Oct. 30. The legendary stories of multi-sport champion Jim Thorpe and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ Jack Jacobs are combined with those of other aboriginal athletes from hockey, football and even pro wrestling and golf in a new book by Manitoba journalist and filmmaker Don Marks. Marks launches Playing the White Man’s Game (J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing) Oct. 28 at 8 p.m. at McNally Robinson. Marks also wrote They Call Me Chief: Warriors on Ice, about the struggles and successes of aboriginal hockey players. When the Canadian-born Booker winner Eleanor Catton ( The Luminaries) won her most recent literary prize, she announced a plan to give the cash away to writers who need time to catch up on their reading. Now she’s on the seven-person shortlist for the International Dylan Thomas Prize, worth about $53,000, which goes to an English-language author aged 39 or younger (Thomas died at 39). Others on the short list include Irish first novelist and winner of this year’s Bailey’s Prize Eimer McBride ( A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing) and American Joshua Ferris ( To Rise Again at a Decent Hour). The winner will be announced in November. Interlake poet and cancer survivor Bill Martin offers a frank discussion of his experience with prostate cancer in his book Ripped Out: One Man’s Journey Surviving Prostate Cancer. He launches the book, which comes with an endorsement by Dr. Anne Katz, a clinical nurse specialist with CancerCare Manitoba, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. at McNally Robinson. A prominent B.C. literary couple hit town Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. for a joint book launch at McNally Robinson. Ann Eriksson will read from her third novel, High Clear Bell of Morning (Douglas and McIntyre), about a family struggling with schizophrenia, while Gary Geddes will read from What Does a House Want, the latest in a string of more than 40 books of poetry that he has written or edited. Thousands of budding novelists will begin 30 days of creativity, masochism and back pain next weekend as part of National Novel Writing Month. The Manitoba Writers’ Guild and Writers’ Collective team up Nov. 1 for a NaNoWriMo kickoff event featuring words to encourage and inspire, a space to write and lots of coffee. Winnipeg writers Chris Rutkowski, Samantha Beiko and Chadwick Ginther will cheer participants on between 6 and 10 p.m. at the MWG offices on the second floor of the Artspace Building.