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September's Author of the Month: ANN PATCHETT

by Tyler Vitt - Thursday, Sep 01, 2016 at 2:42pm

Convinced from childhood that she wanted to write fiction, Ann Patchett studied creative writing first at Sarah Lawrence college in New York and then at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She hit her stride with her fourth novel, Bel Canto, a stylish kidnapping fantasy set in an unnamed South American capital. It became a bestseller and went on to win Britain's Orange Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Prize. Since then her work has been translated into more than thirty languages.

Her seventh novel, Commonwealth, tells the story of how an unexpected romantic encounter irrevocably changes the lives of two families. One Sunday afternoon, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families. Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. Spending summers together in Virginia, the Keating and Cousins children forge a lasting bond that is based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows up between them.

Categories: Authors, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Author of the Month

The September & October Bookseller is now online

by Tyler Vitt - Wednesday, Aug 31, 2016 at 4:42pm

An abundance of new fiction from some of Canada's greatest authors, books reflecting on what it means to be Canadian, fresh seasonal specials at Prairie Ink, and more in the autumn 2016 edition of our newsletter, The Bookseller.

Read it online.

You can also subscribe to The Bookseller emailing list and have the next issue sent directly to your inbox.

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Newsletter

Harry Potter Parties 2016

by Tyler Vitt - Thursday, Aug 04, 2016 at 2:34pm

On July 30th, 2016, McNally Robinson hosted midnight release parties for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two in both Winnipeg and Saskatoon. The parties were held to celebrate not only the release of Cursed Child but the fun and magic of the Harry Potter series as a whole. Many of our booksellers are fans of the series, and from past experiences we know there are many Potterheads in the Prairies — and at this year's parties, those fans came out in force.

Our Winnipeg celebration took place at the Lyric Theatre field in Assiniboine Park, and it's a good thing we had all of that open space. Based on previous parties and the response we had on social media, we anticipated around ten thousand guests at this year's party — but ended up with closer to 15,000. With so many Potterheads, many of whom were dressed up in their finest witch and wizard garb, the park was abuzz as guests took in the live entertainment and perused the activities and tents around the party grounds. Among the attractions were Quidditch lessons and scrimmages, a Tri-Wizard tournament, live animals in the Care of Magical Creatures station, a Diagon Alley shop tent, snacks and drinks from The Three Broomsticks, plus much more. All the while there were live performances by JP Hoe and The Mariachi Ghost from the Lyric Theatre stage. To see some photos of the party, explore #PotterPartyWPG on Twitter and Instagram.

Meanwhile, our Saskatoon location hosted a party at the bookstore and surrounding parking lot, which drew in a crowd of over 2000 fans of all ages. The event kept attendees on their toes with everything from high-spirited games of Quidditch to Dementors handing out demerits. A handful of furry (and not so furry) guests made an appearance, including live rats, snakes, and cats. Fans enjoyed frothy mugs of Butterbeer and sweet nibbles of Pumpkin Pasties in Prairie Ink, which was done up in Great Hall chic for the occasion with stars and Hogwarts letters strung from the ceiling. The more daring of the attendees tried their hand at competing in tasks such as the Tri-Wizard Tournament, complete with a series of nail-biting trivia questions. All guests were also invited to sit beneath the Sorting Hat and tremble in anticipation as it deliberated over which House they would be sorted into.

And of course at the stroke of midnight we began handing out copies of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Line-ups at both parties, as well as at our Grant Park bookstore, were filled with hundreds of eager fans, most of whom were beaming and some of whom were teary-eyed with joy, and all were on their way home with their new book in record time.

We thank all of the volunteers and organizations who helped us put our parties together, and a big thank you to all of the Potterheads who joined us for the evening. We had record turnouts at both parties, and — if we're fortunate enough to get another Harry Potter book someday — we hope to see you all at the next celebration.

Categories: Fun, Store News, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Event News

August's Author of the Month: SJN

by Tyler Vitt - Tuesday, Aug 02, 2016 at 3:03pm

Born on the 27th of August, 1962, in Reykjavik, Iceland, Sjón (Sigurjón B. Sigurðsson) began his literary career at the age of 15 when his first poetry collection was published. He went on to become a founding member of the neo-surrealist group Medúsa and acquired a high profile on the Reykjavík cultural scene. He has published numerous poetry collections and several novels, as well as written plays, librettos and picture books for children.

The mind-bending miniature historical epic is Sjón's specialty, and his new novel Moonstone is no exception. But it is also his most realistic and accessible work yet. Máni Steinn is gay in a society in which the idea of homosexuality is unthinkable. His city, Reykjavik in 1918, is homogeneous, isolated, and seems entirely defenseless against the Spanish flu, which is now lapping at Iceland's shores. But the outside world has also brought Icelanders cinema, and there is nothing like watching a film from Europe to escape the overwhelming threats and make you feel like everything is going to be all right. For Máni Steinn, the question is whether, at Reykjavik's darkest hour, he should retreat all the way into this imaginary world, or if he should engage with the society that has so soundly rejected him.

Categories: Authors, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Author of the Month

Man Booker Prize 2016: Longlist

by Madison Taylor - Thursday, Jul 28, 2016 at 1:18pm

The longlist for the £50,000 Man Booker Prize for Fiction was released on July 27. This prize, awarded for excellence in literary writing, was first introduced in 1969 and is open to authors on an international scale whose work is written originally in English and published in the United Kingdom.

This year's list of 13 outstanding books was chosen from 155 submissions published in the UK between October 1, 2015, and September 30, 2016.

The longlist, or 'Man Booker Dozen', includes the following 13 works:

A shortlist of 6 books will be chosen from this selection and announced on September 13, 2016. The winner will then be declared on October 25th at a formal gala in London.

Categories: Awards, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Literature
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