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Hilary Mantel Wins Man Booker Prize for 2012

Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012 at 1:57pm

Congratulations to Hilary Mantel, who has been selected to win the 2012 Man Booker Prize for her novel Bring Up the Bodies. Mantel, who won in 2009 for her previous novel Wolf Hall, is one of only three people to win twice. She is the first author to win the Man Booker Prize twice in fewer than ten years, and Bring Up the Bodies is the first sequel to be selected for the prize.

We still have one more book to look forward to, completing the trilogy that began with Wolf Hall. If history continues to repeat itself, we can look forward to seeing Hilary Mantel in the running for another Man Booker Prize in a few years time.

Categories: Awards, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Literature

Scotiabank Giller Prize Shortlist Announced

Tuesday, Oct 02, 2012 at 9:20am

The 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize jury yesterday announced its shortlist of books in the running for this year's award. The jury selected 5 titles out of the 13 on the longlist, which was itself selected from 142 books, put forward by 51 publishers, from every region of Canada.

This year's jury is made up of Irish author and screen writer Roddy Doyle (Dublin, Ireland); Canadian publisher, writer and essayist Anna Porter (Toronto, Canada); and American author and satirist Gary Shteyngart (New York City, USA).

The following titles are on this year's shortlist:

Will Ferguson for his novel 419, published by Viking Canada
Alix Ohlin for her novel Inside, published by House of Anansi Press
Nancy Richler for her novel The Imposter Bride, published by HarperCollins Canada
Kim Thy for her novel Ru, translated by Sheila Fischman, published by Random House Canada
Russell Wangersky for his short story collection Whirl Away, published by Thomas Allen Publishers

The Scotiabank Giller Prize Gala will air on CBC Television at 9:00 p.m./9:30 NT on Tuesday, October 30. For the second year in a row, Jian Ghomeshi will host the Gala evening.

Categories: Awards, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Literature

Book of the Day: Godless but Loyal to Heaven by Richard Van Camp

Sunday, Sep 23, 2012 at 10:59am

A new book by internationally renowned storyteller Richard Van Camp is always a cause for rejoicing.

Here's a brief description of Van Camp's latest, Godless but Loyal to Heaven: In Richard Van Camp's fictionalized north anything can happen and yet each story is rooted in a vivid contemporary reality. The male teenage narrator of "Born a Girl" struggles violently yet sensitively with his own sexual identity. Other stories offer a potent mix tape of tropes from science fiction, horror, Western and Aboriginal traditions. The title story pits Torchy against the Smith Squad, fighting for love and family in a bloody, cathartic, and ultimately hopeful narrative. Van Camp's characters repeatedly confront the bleakness of sexual assault, substance addiction and violence with the joy and humour of inspired storytelling.

I've had the pleasure of hearing Richard read his work aloud several times, and it's not a treat to be missed. See him at THIN AIR, The Winnipeg International Writers Festival September 24th as a part of the Mainstage event: Life Lessons.

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Literature, Book of the Day

Book of the Day: The Age of Hope by David Bergen

Monday, Sep 17, 2012 at 12:06pm

It's always an exciting time around here when a new David Bergen novel hits the shelves and so The Age of Hope has us buzzing again. In fact, we got so excited this time around that we made Bergen our Author of the Month for September. With a past Giller Prize win for The Time in Between and Giller Prize nomination for The Matter with Morris, Bergen more than qualifies for that honour.

Written with Bergen's spare style and subtle touch, the new novel has thrown a few reviewers who seem to want car chases and gunplay in the novels they read. Well, the truth is that most of our lives are missing that kind of drama (thankfully) and so if reading about believable people leading believable lives is more your style, then you'll enjoy The Age of Hope as you will any of Bergen's books.

The Age of Hope tells the story of Hope Koop, born in 1930 in a small town outside Winnipeg and presumed destined to have a conventional life. Church, marriage to a steady young man, children - her fortunes are already laid out for her, as are the shiny modern appliances in her new home. All she has to do is stay with Roy, who loves her. But as the decades unfold, what seems to be a safe, predictable existence overwhelms Hope. Where - among the demands of her children, the expectations of her husband and the challenges of her best friend, Emily, who has just read The Feminine Mystique - is there room for her? And just who is she anyway? A wife, a mother, a woman whose life is somehow unrealized?

You can catch David Bergen, along with Richard Ford, in Winnipeg at the Thin Air Mainstage event next Tuesday Sept 25. I'm looking forward to both authors reading from their newest novels as well as talking about Canada and the Prairies.

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, New Releases, Literature, Book of the Day

Book of the Day: Carnival by Rawi Hage

Wednesday, Sep 12, 2012 at 9:12am

$29.95 Add to Cart

Rawi Hage first came on my radar when I heard him read at Thin Air, the Winnipeg International Writers Festival, for his first novel De Niro's Game. Several months later that novel won the Impac Dublin Award and Rawi Hage became a household name. His second novel, Cockroach, was well received also and now we have a third novel hot off the presses. Hage will be reading from Carnival, the new novel, again at Thin Air Mainstage on Sept 26 as well as at Thin Air's Nooner event the same day. Based on what I heard last time I expect powerful readings worth seeking out.

In Carnival there are two types of taxi drivers -- the spiders and the flies. The spiders patiently sit in their cars and wait for the calls to come. But the flies are wanderers -- they roam the streets, looking for the raised hands of passengers among life's perpetual flux. Fly is a wanderer and a knower. Raised in the circus, the son of a golden-haired trapeze artist and a flying carpet pilot from the East, he is destined to drift and observe. From his taxi we see the world in all its carnivalesque beauty and ugliness. We meet criminals, prostitutes, madmen, magicians, and clowns of many kinds. We meet ordinary people going to extraordinary places, and revolutionaries trying to live ordinary lives. Hunger and injustice claw at the city, and books provide the only true shelter. And when the Carnival starts, all limits dissolve, and a gunshot goes off . . . With all of the beauty, truth, rage, and peripatetic storytelling that have made Cockroach and De Niro's Game international publishing sensations, Carnival gives us Rawi Hage at his searing best. Alternately laughing at absurdity and crying out at oppression, by turns outrageous, hilarious, sorrowful, and stirring, Carnival is a tour de force that will make all of life's passengers squirm in their comfortable, complacent backseats.

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, New Releases, Literature, Book of the Day
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