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PAPERCHASE: Cameron Dueck riding high, far

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Former Manitoban Cameron Dueck doesn't let dust settle on his rambling shoes.

The author and filmmaker's documentary The New Northwest Passage, based on a sailboat journey through the Canadian Arctic in 2009, premièred at Winnipeg's Real to Reel Film Festival in February. The film is based on a journey that he described in his book of the same title published last year by Great Plains Publications.

Just a few weeks before flying to Winnipeg for the première, Dueck was riding his motorcycle to Terra del Fuego, at the southern tip of South America. According to his website, the Hong Kong-based Dueck rode from Canada to Argentina to research a book on Mennonite culture in the Americas, due for publication this fall.

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A Calgary author has received an Alberta Readers' Choice Award for a collection of short stories published last fall by Winnipeg's Enfield & Wizenty.

Naomi K. Lewis's collection I Know Who You Remind Me Of won last year's Colophon Prize, awarded by the Winnipeg publisher for a manuscript that combines literary merit and commercial appeal.

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Moving to a condo on the original site of one of the city's earliest houses, Ross House, set Winnipeg Free Press journalist David Connors on the road to writing his first novel, a story that tells parallel narratives in present-day Winnipeg and the 19th-century Red River colony.

Connors published his novel, The Girl in the Boots, this winter through his company Goodegg e-books (available through Amazon, or in paperback from his website,, or McNally Robinson). Researching the history of Ross House and the Red River colony -- as well as a few serendipitous encounters downtown -- led Connors to his story.

The novel is inspired by the true story of Sarah Ballenden, the Métis daughter of a Hudson's Bay Company trader. Sarah was sent to the Red River colony for an education, later married a man who became a company bigwig, and endured a campaign of slander from people who could not accept a mixed-race woman in the colony's high society.

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Former Winnipegger Alissa York is the 2013 writer in residence at Ontario's Wilfrid Laurier University.

York published her first book, Any Given Power, with Winnipeg's Arbeiter Ring Publishing during her time in Manitoba. She's gone on to publish the novels Effigy, Mercy and Fauna with major national publishers.

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A Canadian author's book on writing went viral on social media recently, leading to thousands of would-be fiction writers searching their manuscripts for "Copula Spiders."

Douglas Glover's book Attack of the Copula Spiders (Biblioasis) coins the term to refer to the multi-appendaged mess created by circling and linking all of the variations of the verb "to be" in a paragraph. (Copula is a term for the link between subject and predicate of a verb.) Excessive use of sentence constructions like "he was happy" or "the building was unassuming" lead to "flaccid and uninteresting prose," he writes.

Joe Ponepinto, book review editor of the Los Angeles Review, brought Glover's ideas to the literary world in a much-circulated blog post subtitled "Why I'll never write (or read) the same way again."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 9, 2013 J8

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