Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Maritime fortress gets Prairie treatment

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It took a writer from land-locked southern Manitoba to create the first fictionalized treatment of the siege of Louisbourg, the great fog-bound fortress on the shore of Cape Breton.

Chuck Lovatt visited the reconstructed 18th-century fortress and enlisted the aid of an archeologist and historian to help him re-imagine the early days of St. John's, N.L. when he was researching his new novel Josiah Stubb. The book will be published by Britain's Wild Wolf Publishing, first as an e-book and shortly after in paper.

PAPER CHASE

Lovatt, a fan of George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman books, spins a story of secrets, vice and colonial military action in his new novel. His first book, also published by Wild Wolf, was a comic adventure set in colonial Africa called The Adventures of Charlie Smithers.

***

Canadian writers are concerned about mass surveillance of the kind revealed by American whistleblower Edward Snowden, but so far few believe they have been harassed or spied on by government.

In a recent survey of its 2,000 members, the Writers' Union of Canada found that 60 per cent of respondents were concerned surveillance could influence their work or the work of other writers in the future. When asked about their personal experience, only seven per cent believed they had been harassed by government and five per cent believed they had been spied upon.

The TWUC survey results follow the creation last fall of an online petition signed by 562 authors from more than 80 countries -- including Margaret Atwood, Yann Martel and Michael Ondaatje -- opposing mass surveillance.

***

A new prize funded by a popular kids' author is a Fortunate Event for librarians.

Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket), author of the Series of Unfortunate Events books, has established The Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity, which will honour librarians facing freedom to read or other challenges.

Handler explains on the American Library Association website that establishing the prize "seems like a better way to channel money to librarians than my previous strategy, which was incurring late fees."

***

A physician with experience on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border launches a study of the challenges faced by both countries' health-care systems this week at McNally Robinson Booksellers.

Henry P. Krahn practised as a urologist for 38 years in Winnipeg and eight at Minnesota's Mayo Clinic. He brings both perspectives to bear in his self-published book Damaged Care: A Surgeon Dissects the Vaunted Canadian and U.S. Health Care Systems.

He will discuss his book and his ideas for improving both systems Tuesday at Prairie Ink Restaurant at 8 p.m., in a conversation with Terry MacLeod of CBC's Weekend Morning Show.

***

San Antonio, Texas is now home to the only book-free library in the U.S.

The Bexar County Digital Library opened in the south Texas city last month, offering patrons an array of computers, laptops, e-readers and other devices for perusing library catalogues and ordering e-books.

The L.A. Times notes the new library isn't the first that's tried to go paper-free -- an all-digital library in Tucson, Ariz. had to add "analogue" books a few years after opening due to public demand.

booknewsbob@gmail.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 8, 2014 G7

History

Updated on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 8:57 AM CST: Tweaks formatting.

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