Manitoba Book Awards accepting submissions
CTOBER has come to an end: the leaves have fallen and grey skies are the norm.
But for those who are old enough, October is also a reminder of a tumultuous time in Canada, when a small group of revolutionary bandits set out to change the face of Quebec, Canada and Confederation.
Forty-eight years ago, the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) nearly brought the province of Quebec to its knees through a decade of violent bombings, political rhetoric and the eventual kidnapping and murder of diplomats and high-level politicians.
In these times of severe hate and violence in the United States, D’Arcy Jenish’s The Making of the October Crisis: Canada’s Long Nightmare of Terrorism at the Hands of the FLQ is a stern reminder that we are not immune to domestic terrorism flamed by nationalism.
Saskatchewan-born journalist Jenish, who has written histories on David Thompson, the Montreal Canadiens and the NHL, offers a detailed account of the FLQ’s early beginnings, grounded heavily on memoirs of those who lived the experience and secondary sources. While Jenish’s account packs less punch because of its distance from
Othe events of the 1960s, he does get to the impact of the FLQ: “The various iterations of this clandestine terrorist movement had been responsible for more than 200 criminal acts — bombings, bank robberies, armoury heists and even murders — dating back to the spring of 1963.”
And despite the book’s herky-jerky nature and strange organization, Jenish carves out the climate of Quebec at this time: a province slowly crawling out of the veil of a Maurice Duplessiscontrolled and archaic politic, coupled with a newfound revolutionary spirit — a spirit that was “advocating a revolution that would rid the province of capitalism and capitalists.”
This was a revolutionary time globally, and brothers Paul and Jacques Rose and their FLQ comrades were taking notes from Cuba, Algeria and Latin America. According to Jenish, “For the radical young Montrealers who were attempting to launch a revolution, the Latin American kidnappings seemed a spectacular success. And if it worked there, why not Quebec?”
But more than the FLQ and the kidnapping of James Cross and the murder of Pierre LaPorte, the October Crisis in 1970 also saw the prominence of René Lévesque, the proclamation of the War Measures Act and the irreverent rise of a new prime minister, Pierre Trudeau. It brought in a new nationalism that would eventually lead to the election of the Parti Québécois and a variety of Constitutional crises.
Jenish’s talent is in being able to tie all the events of this infamous decade together, creating a cause-and-consequence narrative, despite some difficulty with storytelling. In The Making of the October Crisis, we are introduced to a society that is told it is oppressed and that the only means to rid itself of this oppression is through violence. Political giants such as Lévesque and former French president Charles de Gaulle stoked these flames in 1967, ushering in the perfect conditions for the FLQ and its affiliates to thrive.
The notion of the “other” was perfectly induced, and a combination of poverty, populism and hopelessness filled the hearts of the young péquistes. Skilled political leaders would take advantage of this and create a new vision for the province, while FLQ leaders would fade out of memory in exile or prison.
With sovereignty now only a whisper in Quebec, the FLQ is a reminder that in every society, there lurk the ripe conditions for political violence, waiting for the right match to strike and to stoke the orange flames of anger. ENTRIES are open for the 2019 Manitoba Book Awards, and a new online entry form is one of the changes for this year’s celebration of Manitoba writing.
Nov. 23 is the deadline both for filling out the online entry form and for postmarking books, which this year are to be sent to the Millennium Library. The awards ceremony is scheduled for May 3 at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
Details and links to the entry form are available at wfp.to/bookawards19.
A letter discovered in 2015 by University of Manitoba Prof. Michelle Faubert sheds new light on the origins of the anti-slavery movement in Britain and on a horrific massacre in which 132 enslaved Africans were thrown off a slave ship.
Faubert writes about the significance of the newly discovered letter and of its author, Granville Sharp, who became involved in a court case over the 1781 massacre. Faubert launches her book Granville Sharp’s Uncovered Letter and the Zong Massacre on Monday at 7:30 p.m. at McNally Robinson Bookseller’s Grant Park location.
The U.S. National Book Awards finalists have been announced, with Lauren Groff’s short-fiction collection Florida and Rebecca Makkai’s bestselling AIDS-era novel The Great Believers making the list for the fiction prize.
Other books shortlisted for the fiction prize are Jamel Brinkley’s collection A Lucky Man, Brandon Hobson’s novel Where the Dead Sit Talking and Sigrid Nunez’s The Friend.
On the non-fiction side are three books of history and biography: The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans and the Birth of the Nation by Colin G. Calloway; American Eden: David Hosack, Botany and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic by Victoria Johnson; and The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke by Jeffrey C. Stewart. More current events are examined in the other two non-fiction nominees, Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth by Sarah Smarsh and We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights by Adam Winkler.
The winners of the awards, which also include categories for poetry, works in translation and children’s books, will be announced Wednesday.
Winnipeg writer Bess Hamilton will discuss how to find inspiration in primary and secondary historical sources on Saturday, when she leads a workshop titled How to Time Travel: Writing Historical Fiction.
Hamilton’s novel Remembrance ,set after the First World War’s end, was published by Sands Press in March.
Hamilton is originally from
St. Mary’s, Ont., but now lives in Winnipeg. The workshop runs from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Millennium Library; tickets are $50 and are available through Eventbrite at wfp.to/bME.
Character actor Dick Miller has performed, often with bit parts, in everything from Roger Corman B-movies in the 1960s to soap operas to 1984’s The Terminator.
Now, Winnipeg film writer Caelum Vatnsdal tells the story of the cult-movie legend and his 60-year-plus career in You Don’t Know Me, But You Love Me.
Vatnsdal, who has written books on Canadian horror films and the films of Guy Maddin, launches his book at McNally Robinson’s Grant Park location on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
The saga of Steven Galloway, the bestselling novelist and former head of the UBC’s creative writing program, isn’t coming to an end any time soon.
Galloway, who was suspended in
2015 and later fired from his position amid allegations of improper conduct, has launched a defamation lawsuit against two dozen people, including two former colleagues, several former students and the woman who accused him of sexual assault.
After the lawsuit became public, a GoFundMe campaign was launched for the defendants. In a little more than a day, the campaign reached its initial
$50,000 goal, with pledges from writers across Canada.