Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Authors uncover the goods for PEN

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The answer to the question "What is Stephen Harper hanging on his wall?" is "Not this calendar featuring a naked Yann Martel."

Life of Pi author Martel, who has also published a book of his literary letters to the prime minister, entitled What Is Stephen Harper Reading?, is one of a dozen Canadian writers posing uncovered for a calendar to raise funds for PEN Canada.

The calendar, a brainchild of soon-to-be-published novelist Amanda Leduc and Concordia University communications grad Allegra Young, will feature several other well-known Canadian authors, including Dave Bidini, Miranda Hill, Angie Abdou, Terry Fallis and Vincent Lam.

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University of Manitoba English professor and former dean of arts Robert O'Kell explores the double career of one of Britain's most influential 19th-century politicians in a biography being launched Tuesday.

Disraeli: The Romance of Politics (University of Toronto Press) explores the connections between Benjamin Disraeli's career as a Conservative politician -- culminating in six years as prime minister in the 1870s -- and his earlier years as a bestselling novelist.

O'Kell draws on Disraeli's extensive letters and speeches, as well as other archival sources, to illuminate major debates of the Victorian age, including the Corn Laws (tariffs on imported grain), the role of the Anglican Church in Ireland, and British imperial policy in Asia. He also examines Disraeli's Jewish heritage and his struggles within the Conservative party.

The launch is at the Prairie Ink restaurant at McNally Robinson at 8 p.m.

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Most writers take a bit of a breather after a launching a novel.

Tell that to University of Manitoba English and film professor David Annandale, who launched his horror novel Gethsemane Hall last fall with Ontario's Dundurn Press.

Already this year he has launched two fantasy novellas (Yarrick: Chains of Golgotha and Mephiston: Lord of Death), and this week another novel (The Death of Antagonis) hits stores. The twist is that all of this year's books have been written to tie in to the science fiction/fantasy game Warhammer 40,000, and all are sold at the Games Workshop store and website.

The prolific lover of fictional carnage celebrates his latest launch at McNally Robinson Wednesday at 7 p.m.

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Winnipeg writers have the chance to work with one of the city's most accomplished authors this month in a four-evening workshop that will focus on the use of scenes in fiction.

Joan Thomas, this year's Winnipeg Public Library writer in residence, will lead the workshop, in which participants will practise bringing short scenes from their work to life using dialogue, point of view, description, pacing and other elements of fiction.

To register for the session, which runs for four Wednesdays starting this week, call 204-986-6779.

booknewsbob@gmail.com

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 2, 2013 J8

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