Man­i­toba Book Awards ac­cept­ing sub­mis­sions

Winnipeg Free Press - - BOOKS / NON-FICTION - RE­VIEWED BY MATT HEN­DER­SON BOB ARM­STRONG booknews­bob@gmail.com

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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