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PAPER CHASE: Authors union voting to open membership

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The Writers Union of Canada will hold a referendum later this year on admitting self-published authors.

Delegates to the union's recent annual general meeting unanimously approved a referendum question that laid out three conditions for self-published writers.

They must have an ISBN for their self-published book, they must demonstrate commercial intent, and it must be deemed by three union members -- selected by the organization -- to meet basic standards of professionalism.

The motion to broaden membership in the 2000-member union, which represents authors on issues like copyright and publishing contracts, came amid celebrations of the organization's 40th anniversary.

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Thriller writer Andrew Pyper has signed a U.S. publishing deal with Simon & Schuster for his next two novels, including a forthcoming ghost story to be titled Ash, about a novelist who has a glimpse of heaven following a near-death experience, according to the U.S. trade journal Publishers Weekly.

The deal follows the recent release of his supernatural bestseller The Demonologist, which has recently been optioned for film by Robert Zemeckis's company.

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George R.R. Martin, Anne Rice and Orson Scott Card won't be happy.

Amazon is preparing to launch Kindle Worlds, a new publishing portal for writers of fan fiction who want to write, publish and, theoretically, earn royalties from their creations.

So far, the range of fan fiction that can be published through Kindle Worlds is limited to work inspired by three Warner Bros. TV shows for which Amazon has secured royalties: Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars and The Vampire Diaries.

As for the three authors above, given their published views of fan fiction, you can expect a Lannister Appreciation Day parade in Winterfell before any of their work will be licensed to Kindle Worlds.

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Like your fiction in short, but intense, doses?

This year's short list for the Danuta Gleed Award, presented by the Writers' Union of Canada for the best collection of short fiction, contains five collections of challenging work from a range of large and small presses.

Shortlisted collections for the $10,000 prize are Rebecca Lee's Bobcat and Other Stories (Hamish Hamilton), Paul Marlowe's Ether Frolics (Sybertooth Inc.), Anton Piatigorsky's The Iron Bridge (Goose Lane), Yasuko Thah's Floating Like the Dead (McCelland & Stewart), and John Vigna's Bullhead (Arsenal Pulp Press).

The prize recognizes Gleed, whose short stories won several prizes prior to her death in 1996. The winner will be announced June 11.

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Manitoba literary magazine Prairie Fire has earned an armful of nominations in the Western Magazine Awards.

Writers Katherine Bitney, Jay Brown, Susan Buis, Margaret Sweatman and Richard Van Camp have been nominated in various writing categories and the magazine itself has been nominated for the best magazine -- Manitoba award. The quarterly picked up two nominations earlier this year -- for writers Susan Buis and Sue Goyette -- in the National Magazine Awards.

The WMAs are presented in Vancouver June 21.


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 8, 2013 G8

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