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Man Booker Prize 2016: Shortlist

Friday, Sep 16, 2016 at 2:34pm

The Man Booker Prize 2016 Shortlist, released on September 13, is comprised of the following six titles:

This prize, created in 1969 with the purpose of bringing about the widest possible readership of literary fiction, rewards the winning author with a sum of £50,000 and a uniquely designed bound copy of their book. The winner will be selected from this shortlist and announced on October 25, 2016.

This year, two of the six shortlisted authors happen to hail from Canadian soil: David Szalay and Madeleine Thien.

Categories: Awards, Authors, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Book Lists

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September's Author of the Month: ANN PATCHETT

Saturday, Aug 27, 2016 at 3:13pm

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

August's Author of the Month: SJN

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2016 at 10:35am

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

July's Author of the Month: MARY ROACH

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2016 at 10:18am

Death, the afterlife, sex, space travel — freelance writer and humourist turned accidental science journalist, Mary Roach asks the questions we all wonder about but are usually too polite to mention. Her books include Stiff, Spook, Bonk, Packing for Mars and Gulp.

Her latest book, Grunt, tackles the science behind some of a soldier's most challenging adversaries: panic, exhaustion, heat, flies, noise. Roach visits a movie studio where amputee actors help prepare Marine Corps medics for the shock and gore of combat wounds. At Camp Lemmonier in east Africa, she discovers that diarrhea can be a threat to national security. Fashion design ers at U.S. Army Natick Labs explain why a zipper is a problem for a sniper. Roach samples caffeinated meat, sniffs an archival sample of a World War II stink bomb, and stays up all night with a crew tending the missiles on the nuclear submarine USS Tennessee.

She answers questions not found in any other book on the military: Why is DARPA interested in ducks? Why are shrimp more dangerous to sailors than sharks? Take a tour of duty with Roach, and discover why there really is no life like it.

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

June's Author of the Month: LOUISE ERDRICH

Saturday, Apr 30, 2016 at 3:19pm

Louise Erdrich — novelist, poet and writer of books for children — was born in Little Falls, Minnesota. The daughter of a Chippewa Indian mother and a German-American father, she explores Native-American themes in her works, with major characters representing both sides of her heritage. She is the winner of numerous awards, including the 1984 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction for Love Medicine and the 2012 National Book Award for Fiction for The Round House.

In her latest novel, LaRose, Erdrich wields her narrative magic in an emotionally haunting contemporary tale of a tragic accident, a demand for justice, and a profound act of atonement with ancient roots in Native American culture.

North Dakota, late summer, 1999. Landreaux Iron stalks a deer along the edge of the property bordering his own. He shoots with easy confidence, but when the buck springs away, Landreaux realizes he’s killed his neighbour’s five-year-old son. Following an ancient means of retribution, Landreaux and his wife give their own five-year-old son, LaRose, to the grieving family. “Our son will be your son now,” they tell them in this powerful exploration of loss, justice, and the reparation of the human heart.

Categories: Authors, Saskatoon, Winnipeg
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