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Book awards gala pits Dave vs. Dave

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Manitoba's annual celebration of literary excellence reaches a milestone Sunday when the 25th annual Manitoba Book Awards gala takes place at the West End Cultural Centre.

Among the evening's themes will be the Battle of the Daves, in which founding Manitoba Writers' Guild member Dave Williamson goes head to head with Giller winner David Bergen for both the McNally Robinson Book of the Year and Carol Shields Winnipeg Book awards. The Daves are up against University of Manitoba historian Esyllt Jones, poet and first-time novelist Méira Cook, poet Sarah Klassen and Alberta-based novelist Annette Lapointe for the book of the year award.

Other talking points for the evening may be the rising critical respect for the fantasy genre, as seen by nominations for Chadwick Ginther's Norse romp Thunder Road and Karen Dudley's Greek mythology-themed Food For the Gods, and Jones's chance to walk away with an armful of awards after being nominated in four categories for Imagining Winnipeg: History Through the Photographs of L B. Foote.

Doors open at 7:15 and the gala, hosted by the CBC's Ismaila Alfa, begins at 8 p.m.

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A series of presentations at the Millennium Library May 4 will offer a look behind the curtain at the publishing world.

The library and the Writers' Collective of Manitoba are teaming up to present Inside Publishing, a series of presentations by the authors, editors or publishers of four different books: Spaghetti Is Not a Finger Food, by Jodi Carmichael; Thunder Road, by Chadwick Ginther; The House on Sugarbush Road, by Méira Cook; and Out of Grief, Singing, by Charlene Diehl.

The free event runs from 10 am to 3 p.m. and is hosted by Joanne Kelly.

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Food for thought and food come together at the annual Books & Brunch Winnipeg Public Library fundraiser May 5 at The Gates.

This year, author and linguistics professor Jila Ghomeshi will join Winnipeg Free Press humour columnist Doug Speirs in discussing "Books I have known and loved."

The event kicks off at 10:30 a.m. Tickets are $55 and partially tax-deductible and are available from the Friends of the WPL (947-0110 or

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Two students from St. John's Ravenscourt are among the finalists in a national poetry recitation competition founded by Scott Griffin, patron of the Griffin Prize for poetry.

Poetry in Voice was established to encourage young Canadians "to develop a personal relationship with poetry by learning their favourite poems by heart." The project provides an anthology of English and French-language poems, plus teaching materials, and encourages schools to hold their own competitions. Semi-finals are held online and this year were judged by 22 poets from across Canada, including Winnipeg's Ariel Gordon.

The two Winnipeg finalists are Peirce Dickson and Stephanie Fennell. The national finals will be held May 14 and 15 in Toronto.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 27, 2013 J8

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