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Collection details Idle No More movement

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A new collection of writings, interviews and artwork from Winnipeg's ARP Books brings the spirit of last year's Idle No More movement back to life.

The Winter We Danced brings together dozens of writers and Idle No More participants from across Canada to share the experience of the social media phenomenon that captured public attention in late 2012 and early 2013.

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Several contributors to the compendium, including Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs head Derek Nepinak, Nigaan Sinclair, Rosanna Deerchild, Wab Kinew, Michael Champagne, Ryan McMahon and Leah Gazan, will launch the book Thursday at 7 p.m. at Neechi Commons (865 Main St.). A portion of the proceeds from the book will go to the Native Youth Sexual Health Network.

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Winnipeg poet Ariel Gordon is making the launch of her latest book of poetry into a big, collaborative, multimedia art experiment.

Gordon launches her second collection, Stowaways (Palimpsest Press), May 21 at 7 p.m. at McNally Robinson Booksellers. Her reading will include live drawings done by Winnipeg illustrator and graphic-novel creator GMB Chomichuk, who will work on large canvases as she reads.

She's also inviting audience members to draw, knit, embroider or take photos during the reading. Stowaways is described as "half survival guide, half invasive species list" and includes poems exploring questions like, "What if knowing Morse code could save your bacon during a zombie apocalypse?"

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The Manitoba Writers' Guild has launched a writer-in-residence project featuring a poet and editor with a special interest in the intersection of writing and disability.

Kate Grisim will be available at the MWG over the summer to offer advice and critiques to other writers. A recent creative writing graduate from the University of Winnipeg, Grisim is a student in the master's program in disability studies at the University of Manitoba. She recently edited a special issue on disability for Geez magazine and writes a blog called My Little Crippled Heart.

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Canadian and international writers and academics are gathering at the University of Winnipeg this week to discuss trans literature at a conference entitled Writing Trans Genres: Emergent Literatures and Criticisms.

The conference includes a number of events open to the public, including a keynote by Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning science-fiction writer Rachel Pollack and several public readings featuring groups of local and visiting writers. Free open events include group readings at the Millennium Library Friday at 3 p.m. and at U of W's Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall next Saturday at 4:45 p.m.

The Pyramid Cabaret will also host a performance night called An Unbecoming Cabaret, Friday starting at 8:30 p.m. (tickets $10, or $15 at the door). For conference details, check the website at www.writingtransgenres.com.

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Racial diversity in the literary world hit the spotlight this month with two hot-button items spreading through social media.

First up was an essay on the New Yorker website by novelist Junot Diaz (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao), who wrote that when he attended the creative writing MFA program at Cornell University in the '90s, his professors and most of his fellow students were white, as was the atmosphere. "That s was too white," Diaz writes. (To be fair to the Ivy League institution, four of its 10 current creative-writing faculty members are black or Latino.)

Next was the launch of the We Need Diverse Books campaign on Instagram, prompted by a literary festival called Book Con announcing an all-white lineup of children's authors.

booknewsbob@gmail.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 17, 2014 G8

History

Updated on Saturday, May 17, 2014 at 8:30 AM CDT: Tweaks formatting.

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