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Comic novelists to grace fest stage

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Two comic takes on family and life are among the highlights in the mainstage events at this year's Thin Air Winnipeg International Writers' Festival.

The annual event kicked off Friday night and runs through Sept. 28 at various venues.

The Tuesday evening event at Manitoba Theatre for Young People features Cassie Stocks, who won this year's Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour with her debut novel Dance, Gladys, Dance, the story of a personally and professionally frustrated young woman who befriends a ghost. The Edmonton-based Stocks is the first woman since 1996, and only the sixth in 66 years, to win the national humour award.

One of the runners-up in this year's Leacock, Ontario novelist Andrew Kaufman, will also read Tuesday evening from his recent family comedy Born Weird. Mainstage events run Monday to Friday at 8 p.m. and feature four or five writers reading and discussing their writing.

Thin Air organizers also received a boost on Monday when the Giller Prize long list was announced and included one of the festival's unknown names.

Elisabeth de Mariaffi, first-time author of the story collection How to Get Along With Women, published by Halifax boutique house Invisible Publishing, will read at the mainstage event this Thursday at MTYP.

The festival also includes a wide range of daytime programming as well as the free Sunday evening Voices from the Oodena reading by local authors at The Forks.

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In yet another social media-to-paper transition, a popular Pinterest site that skewers trendy parenting and the fashion industry will be adapted as a book next year.

My Imaginary Well-Dressed Toddler, by Australian writer Tiffany Beveridge, consists of overly art-directed photos from fashion shoots for children, with hilarious captions describing the life of the author's "daughter," Quinoa. Sample caption: "And now, Quinoa will reveal this season's hot new facial expression: the semi-sneer."

Beveridge told her site's 75,000 followers about the book deal this month, without mentioning a publisher.

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The Manitoba Writers' Guild launches the sixth season of its In Dialogue series of readings and discussions with authors from Manitoba and across Canada Sept. 30.

In Dialogue events typically take place on Mondays, once per month, at the Free Press News Caf©, starting at 7:30 p.m. This year's season has two extra events at different venues. On Oct. 17, fiction writers Patti Grayson and Dora Dueck will read and discuss their work at the New Iceland Heritage Museum in Gimli at 8:30 p.m.

In January, the series moves to the Gas Station Theatre in Osborne Village for a fundraiser featuring siblings Jian Ghomeshi, the Toronto host of CBC's culture talk show Q, and Jila Ghomeshi, a University of Manitoba linguistics professor and author of the book Grammar Matters: The Social Significance of How We Use Language.

For more details, see mbwriter.mb.ca.

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If you've ever said, "Please, please, please let me get an autobiography of Morrissey for Christmas," heaven knows you'll be miserable now.

The Guardian quotes an announcement from the "semi-official" fan club of former Smiths singer Morrissey that a last-minute disagreement about content caused the deal between the legendary vegetarian misanthropist and Penguin Books to collapse prior to a Sept. 16 publishing date.

In 2011, Morrissey said he'd completed a 600-page autobiography and wanted it to be published by Penguin Classics.

 

booknewsbob@gmail.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 21, 2013 A1

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