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February's Author of the Month: HEATHER O'NEILL

Saturday, Dec 31, 2016 at 3:20pm

Heather O’Neill is a Canadian novelist, poet, short-story writer, screenwriter and essayist. Lullabies for Little Criminals, her debut novel, was published in 2006 to international critical acclaim and won Canada Reads. It was shortlisted for both the Governor General’s Award for Fiction and the Orange Prize for Fiction. She has since published the novel The Girl Who Was Saturday Night and the short story collection Daydreams of Angels, both of which were shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in consecutive years.

In her new novel,  The Lonely Hearts Hotel, two babies are abandoned in a Montreal orphanage in the winter of 1910. Before long, their true talents emerge: Pierrot is a piano prodigy; Rose lights up even the dreariest room with her dancing and comedy. As they travel around the city performing for the rich, the children fall in love with each other and dream up a plan for the most extraordinary and seductive circus show the world has ever seen.

The Lonely Hearts Hotel is a tale of charismatic pianos, invisible dance partners, radicalized chorus girls, drug-addicted musicians, brooding clowns, and an underworld whose fortune hinges on the price of a kiss. (Hardcover. $29.99. HarperCollins. February)

 E  Winnipeg Event Feb. 13 & Saskatoon Event Feb. 14

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

January's Author of the Month: ARAVIND ADIGA

Saturday, Dec 31, 2016 at 1:40pm

Aravind Adiga, who wanted to be a novelist since he was a boy, was born in Madras and now lives in Mumbai. His debut, The White Tiger, which has been described as a "compelling, angry and darkly humorous" novel about a man's journey from Indian village life to entrepreneurial success, won the 2008 Man Booker Prize when he was thirty-three.

In his new novel, Selection Day, Manjunath Kumar is fourteen and living in a slum in Mumbai. He knows he is good at cricket, if not as good as his older brother, Radha. He knows that he fears and resents his domineering and cricket-obsessed father, admires his brilliantly talented sibling, and is fascinated by curious scientific facts and the world of CSI. But there are many things, about himself and about the world, that he doesn’t know.

Filled with characters from across India’s social strata — the old scout everyone calls Tommy Sir; Anand Mehta, the big-dreaming investor; Sofia, a wealthy, beautiful girl and the boys’ biggest fan — Selection Day is a moving story of adolescence and ambition, fathers, sons, and two brothers whose coming of age threatens their relationship, future, and sense of themselves. (Hardcover. $32.00. Simon & Schuster. January)

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

November's Author of the Month: AMI McKAY

Tuesday, Oct 25, 2016 at 5:40pm

Ami McKay is the author of two critically acclaimed novels, The Virgin Cure and The Birth House, which was a #1 bestseller in Canada, winner of three CBA Libris Awards, and nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Born and raised in Indiana, Ami now lives in Nova Scotia.

Her newest novel is The Witches of New York, which takes place in 1880 New York while the city is fast becoming the “city of wonders.” Telegraph lines crisscross Manhattan, elevated trains race above the streets, the Brooklyn Bridge is nearing completion, and work is underway to fit Broadway with electric lights. As enterprising men chase after their ambitions, the ladies of Manhattan’s high society pursue their dreams by enlisting the help of two women who run a teashop near Madison Square. Two hundred years after the trials in Salem, the pair dares to declare themselves witches.

Enter Adelaide Thom and Eleanor St. Clair. At their humble teashop, Tea and Sympathy, they provide a place for whispered confessions, secret cures, and spiritual assignations for a select society of ladies, who speak the right words and ask the right questions. But the profile of Tea and Sympathy is about to change with the fortuitous arrival of Beatrice Dunn.

When seventeen-year-old Beatrice leaves the safety of her village to answer an ad that reads “Respectable Lady Seeks Dependable Shop Girl. Those averse to magic need not apply,” she has little inclination of what the job will demand of her. Beatrice doesn’t know it yet, but she is no ordinary small-town girl; she has astounding spiritual gifts—ones that will serve as her greatest asset and also place her in grave danger. Under the tutelage of Adelaide and Eleanor, Beatrice comes to harness many of her powers, but not even they can prepare her for the evils lurking in the darkest corners of the city or the courage it will take to face them. In a time when women were corseted, confined and committed for merely speaking their minds, were any of them safe?

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

Governor General's Award Winners 2016 Announced

Friday, Oct 28, 2016 at 3:31pm

The 2016 Governor General's Awards released its list of winners on October 25. Each individual author will take home a prize of $25,000, as well as invaluable literary exposure on both a national and international scale.

The winners in each category are as follows:

For the official list of 2016 winners and finalists, click here.

Categories: Awards, Authors, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Publishing News, Book Lists, Literature

2016 Man Booker Prize Awarded to Paul Beatty

Friday, Oct 28, 2016 at 2:35pm

After much deliberation, Paul Beatty has been chosen as the winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize for his novel, The Sellout. The £50,000 ($87,000 CAN) prize is awarded annually to the best novel written in English and published in the United Kingdom. Previously restricted to authors hailing from the UK and the Commonwealth, the prize opened its doors to all English-language authors in 2014. This is the first time that the prize has been given to an American writer.

The Sellout is a darkly comical novel about race relations in America. It follows the story of the young narrator, Bonbon, who stirs up controversy in his Californian town by setting out to reintroduce slavery and segregation to his high school. The book, which has been described as a "blistering satire" by the New York Times, uses Beatty's unique flavour of humour to take an unflinchingly honest look at racial prejudices and stereotypes.

54-year-old Beatty is the author of three other novels: Slumberland, Tuff, and The Whiteboy Shuffle. He has also published two books of poetry, and is the editor of Hokum: An Anthology of African-American Humor. He currently lives in New York City.

Categories: Awards, Authors, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Publishing News, Literature
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