WINNIPEG writer Maureen Fergus is set for a banner year.
She will launch two books on Feb. 28 -- an adventure aimed at teens and a picture book for children -- then follow up in October with the sequel to the adventure novel. The double launch takes place at 7 p.m. at McNally Robinson.
The Gypsy King (Razorbill/Penguin) is the first of a trilogy about a runaway slave whose life is changed by a chance encounter with a thief. The Day My Mom Came to Kindergarten (Kids Can Press) depicts the misadventures that follow when a girl invites her mother to join her in kindergarten class.
Book 2 of The Gypsy King, A Fool's Errand, is already written and the third instalment is slated for release next year.
In addition to being a mother of three and managing director of a financial services firm, Fergus has published three previous young adult novels.
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The founding publisher of Groundwood Books -- a politically oriented youth imprint owned by Toronto's House of Anansi -- is this year's recipient of The Writers' Union of Canada's Freedom to Read Award.
Patsy Aldana will receive her award later this month as part of Freedom to Read Week, which runs Feb. 24 to March 2.
Aldana, who stepped down from Groundwood in 2010, is described by the writers' union as "a tireless promoter and defender of literature that digs into and examines challenges and often uncomfortable realities."
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Speaking of Freedom to Read Week, the Manitoba Writers' Guild and the Winnipeg Public Library will join forces for the annual Freedom to Read Marathon next Saturday at the Millennium Library.
Form 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., participants will read from books that have been banned or challenged. To reserve a slot to read from the threatened book of your choice, call 986-6779.
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Winnipeg art filmmaker Cecilia Araneda returns to her birthplace in a self-published novel being launched tomorrow at 2 p.m. at McNally Robinson.
Araneda, who moved to Canada from Chile as a child after the 1973 coup that brought Augusto Pinochet to power, tells a story of political turmoil, personal struggle and exile. The Ocean is available online in multiple electronic and hard copy formats from FriesenPress, as well as at McNally Robinson.
This is the first novel for the filmmaker and director, whose nine short films -- beginning with the documentary Chile: A History in Exile -- have been screened at film festivals and art houses around the world.
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A recent Paperchase item missed a digit in the date for the launch of Dude, Where's My Stethoscope?, by Winnipeg ER physician Dr. Donovan Gray.
The launch is being held Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. at McNally Robinson. Also, the book is available from the U of M Brodie Centre (medical) bookstore, as well as from McNally Robinson and www.dudewheresmystethoscope.com.