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Munro film set in U.S. earns early praise

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Even when a Canadian wins the Nobel Prize for Literature, this country is still too foreign for American art-house filmgoers.

That's one conclusion to be drawn from the recently released film Hateship, Loveship, adapted from Alice Munro's story Hateship, Friendship, Loveship, Courtship, Marriage.

The setting for the film, directed by Ohioan Liza Johnson, was moved from Munro's usual rural Ontario to an unspecified U.S. Midwestern rural community, which is kind of like moving a William Faulkner story out of Mississippi. On the plus side, the film is drawing raves, with a recent piece in Slate praising the casting of ex-SNL-star Kristen Wiig in the lead role as a love-starved domestic servant.

***

David Bergen will give fans a taste of his forthcoming novel, I Am Telling You This, Friday at the launch of the latest issue of the Mennonite literary journal Rhubarb.

He will be joined by poet Patrick Friesen, whose work is also featured in the spring issue of the journal, entitled Breaking Mennonite: Living in the City.

The launch begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery, at the Canadian Mennonite University on Shaftesbury Boulevard.

***

Toronto elementary school teacher Lindsay Cochrane deserves an A for audacity for her debut as a playwright.

Cochrane's first play, running until May 12 at Toronto's Factory Theatre, is an adaptation of novelist Yann Martel's followup to his massive hit Life of Pi, the coolly received Beatrice and Virgil. It isn't exactly an obvious choice for the stage, containing a talking-animal Holocaust allegory, postmodern texts within texts, references to Dante's Divine Comedy and a pastiche of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot.

In an interview with Quill & Quire, Cochrane says she was seized by the idea to turn the novel into a play, and emailed Martel early drafts of a few scenes. Though skeptical at first, Martel gave her permission to write the play and eventually went to Toronto to attend a workshop of the script.

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Steinbach poet Luann Hiebert launches her first poetry collection April 23 at McNally Robinson Booksellers.

Hiebert, an adjunct professor at Providence University College and PhD student at the University of Manitoba, examines family and relationships and the facades we put up in our everyday lives in her collection What Lies Behind (Turnstone Press).

The book launch kicks off at 7 p.m.

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Winnipeg author Dora Dueck is the winner of a national novella-writing contest held by the B.C.-based literary magazine The Malahat Review.

In addition to winning a $1,500 prize, Dueck will have her story Mask published in this summer's issue of the magazine. The story was judged the winner out of 221 entries by a panel of judges, who described it as a "deftly written, deeply affecting account of the physical and psychological ramifications within one family struggling to live with the wounds inflicted by war."

Dueck's on a bit of a roll, having won the 2013 High Plains Book Award in the short fiction category for her collection What You Get at Home.

***

A new program funded by the Canada Council and the Saskatchewan Arts Board is intended to give aboriginal literature a shot in the arm.

The Aboriginal Editors' Circle is a professional development program in which eight aboriginal editors and publishers from across Canada will be selected to take part in mentorship and discussions to help them advance in their careers and advance the state of aboriginal literature.

The circle will meet in June in Saskatoon for an intensive session.

booknewsbob@gmail.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 19, 2014 G7

History

Updated on Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 8:04 AM CDT: Adjusts formatting.

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