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PAPER CHASE: Doc makers seek Harlequin tales Paper Chase

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Two Winnipeg documentary makers are looking for people with a story to tell about the city's biggest international cultural export. And we're not talking about the Guess Who.

Ryan Simmons and Aaron Zeghers have been interviewing authors and academics about Harlequin Enterprises, the romance book behemoth that was founded in Winnipeg in 1949, for a documentary for MTS's Stories From Home on-demand service.

If you have a story about Harlequin -- whether positive or negative -- contact wpgromance@gmail.com.

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A Northwest Territories author most recently published by Enfield and Wizenty, the literary fiction arm of Winnipeg's Great Plains Publications, has been named the newsmaker of the year by The Northern Journal, a newspaper serving the N.W.T. and northern Alberta.

Richard van Camp's story collection Godless but Loyal to Heaven was published by Enfield and Wizenty in 2011.

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Random House Canada has high hopes for the publication this month of what the company calls Canada's answer to the Fifty Shades books. S.E.C.R.E.T., by Toronto writer L. Marie Adeline, begins in New Orleans, but gets its Canadian content through a scene set in Whistler.

Is a ski resort a good fit for a book filled with what Random House calls "wild, rapturous fantasies?"

Well, skiers do wear uncomfortable, expensive footwear, use high-tech devices called bindings, and ache afterwards in a lot of unexpected places.

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The announcement last week that longtime Globe and Mail books editor Martin Levin and assistant editor Jack Kirchhoff are leaving their literary posts at the newspaper prompted The Writers' Union of Canada to issue a plea to the national daily to keep its book coverage alive -- or even bring back its stand-alone book section.

The writers' union, which represents 2,000 professional writers across Canada, issued its statement Tuesday, a day after Toronto's Now magazine broke the story, in which Levin and Kirchhoff bemoaned the lack of emphasis on book criticism in the paper.

The controversy quickly prompted Globe editor-in-chief John Stackhouse to issue a statement promising to maintain book coverage.

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Reports of the death of literacy have been greatly exaggerated, judging by recent stats from the Association of American Publishers.

Details of the association's September 2012 Statshot report indicate that growth in children's and young hardcover books and ebooks for adults and kids led to substantial increases in sales for the industry.

While the youth and kids' market showed the biggest gains, sales were up overall for adult books as well, with a 1.5 per cent drop in hardcover sales made up by a 7.8 per cent increase in trade paperbacks, and a 16 per cent drop in mass market paperbacks dwarfed by a 36 per cent increase in ebooks.

Details are available at the website mediabistro.com/galleycat.

booknewsbob@gmail.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 2, 2013 J8

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