Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Fringe fave to launch book inspired by play

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Fans of the Winnipeg Fringe Festival may notice that the clown duo Morro and Jasp, whose shows have included Morro and Jasp do Puberty, Morro and Jasp Gone Wild and Of Mice and Men and Morro and Jasp, and the Dora-winning Go Bake Yourself, are missing at this year's festival.

But the Winnipeg-born Amy Lee, who plays Jasp, will return to the city this summer to launch Eat Your Heart Out with Morro and Jasp, a book of comics, stories, poetry, illustrations, photos and more than 130 recipes, inspired by Go Bake Yourself.

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Lee, who has performed at Manitoba Theatre for Young People, Manitoba Theatre Centre and Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, launches the book at 7 p.m. Aug. 6 at McNally Robinson Booksellers.

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Organizers of the 2014 Winnipeg International Writers Festival are following up on news of their headliner -- Canadian-born Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton -- with some other high-profile visiting writers.

In addition to Catton, who will appear at the Sept. 19 opening, the festival will include Alberta's Fred Stenson (The Trade, Lightning), reading from Who By Fire, his forthcoming book inspired by conflicts between Alberta's oil and gas sector and agricultural communities, and Arjun Basu, a Montreal-born author who became a sensation writing stories for Twitter, reading from his first non-140-character novel, Waiting for the Man.

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The 2014 FIFA World Cup has a magical echo in the fantasy world of the Harry Potter franchise.

Author J.K. Rowling has provided a glimpse into the adult life of Harry, Ginny, Hermione, Ron and others in the Hogwarts gang via her Pottermore website.

On the Pottermore blog (sign-up required) Rowling has released a gossip column by her alter ego, the poison-pen wielding Rita Skeeter, describing a 34-year-old Harry and his friends at a World Cup of Quidditch match. The site also contains an account of the World Cup final (Brazil vs Bulgaria) attributed to Ginny Weasley.

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Recent advances in neuroscience prove that writers' brains are different from those of ordinary people, and it's not just in the lobes responsible for resentment and self-loathing.

A recent New York Times story profiles the research of Dr. Martin Lotze of the University of Griefswald, Germany, who had volunteers write short stories while hooked up to an MRI. When he compared regular volunteers to those from a university master's program in creative writing, he found experienced writers relied more on the portion of the brain involved in speech, while non-writer volunteers relied on the visual parts of their brains.

The creative writing students also used an area of the brain known as the caudate nucleus, which co-ordinates brain activity when using a skill gained through practice and expertise. The regular volunteers didn't use their caudate nucleus when they wrote.

***

A recently discovered letter by the 19th-century French poet Charles Baudelaire demonstrates the author of Les Fleurs du Mal wasn't just the father of symbolism and grandfather of modernism -- he was also a jerk.

The Guardian reports that the letter, recently auctioned by Christie's along with a letter by Robert Louis Stevenson as well as Walt Whitman's personal copy of Leaves of Grass, contains a postscript referring to Victor Hugo, author of Les Misérables.

Baudelaire had been prosecuted for "offending public morals" in his famous book of poetry, and Hugo had come to his aid with letters of support. In the postscript, Baudelaire writes "Hugo continue a m'envoyer des lettres stupides."

booknewsbob@gmail.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 19, 2014 A1

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Updated on Saturday, July 19, 2014 at 7:08 AM CDT: Formatting.

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