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PAPER CHASE: Grant helps Bergen write new novel

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Need, poverty, greed, love and grace come together in a new novel-in-progress by Winnipeg's David Bergen.

Bergen has received a major arts grant worth $20,000 from the Manitoba Arts Council this spring to work on City of S., a new novel about an itinerant, a prostitute and a detective in a mid-sized Canadian city, known as the city of S.

After taking inspiration from Saul Bellow for his 2010 novel, The Matter with Morris, Bergen appears to be reading another heavy hitter of American letters these days. One of the characters is compared to Cornelius Suttree, from Cormac McCarthy's early novel Suttree.

Besides Bergen, MAC has announced that its 2013 major arts grants have gone to performance artist Grant Guy, artist-curator J.J. Kegan McFadden and folk singers Keri Latimer and Nicky Mehta.

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This year's Winnipeg Pride festival will include a local children's author among the festivities.

Rikki Marie-Jos©e Dubois will read from her book at a coffee house event next Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Exchange Community Building, 75 Albert St.

Dubois's self-published title, Muffy Was Fluffy, is the story of a cat who realizes she needs to be a dog to be happy. The author wrote the book to help transgender parents explain to their children what's going on as they go through their transitions.

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Don't expect the fight between Canadian universities and copyright holders to end any time soon.

Weeks after launching a lawsuit against York University for its interpretation of what amounts to payment-exempt fair dealing, Access Copyright, the agency representing Canadian content creators and copyright holders, reaffirmed its commitment to "defending copyright, remuneration for copyright and the original mission of Access Copyright" at its recent annual general meeting.

In early April, Access launched a lawsuit against York University, claiming that York's copying of materials goes beyond what the law considers fair dealing for educational purposes.

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The legal and technological battle for control of publishing took another turn this month when the U.S. Department of Justice filed court documents showing that Apple and the major publishers had increased the price of ebooks by switching the pricing model from one that favours Amazon to one that favours publishers.

A story on the publishing site GalleyCat includes a chart released by the DOJ that shows how prices jumped immediately after the publishers switched to what's known as the agency pricing model, in which the publisher sets a retail price and the seller (Amazon) gets a fixed commission.

The DOJ's filing is likely a sign that the U.S. government will take on the publishing industry for anti-competitive business practices. That's good news for Amazon, which, of course, has never behaved like a market-dominating monopoly.

booknewsbob@gmail.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 25, 2013 J8

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