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Books

Playwright Rick Chafe honoured by U of W

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/12/2015 (531 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Winnipeg playwright Rick Chafe has been selected as the 2016 Carol Shields Writer in Residence at the University of Winnipeg.

Chafe's plays include The Secret Mask, Shakespeare's Dog and the forthcoming Marriage: a Demolition in Two Acts, to be produced by Prairie Theatre Exchange in March 2016. As writer-in-residence, he will consult with writers on campus and emerging writers in the community.

He begins with a reading Jan. 14 at 1 p.m. in room 2M70 at the U of W.

***

In a piece of news that may cause bad humour among the under-five set, Health Canada has recalled two children's Christmas "touchy feely" board books due to concerns they may be contaminated with mould.

British manufacturer Usborne Publishing says it received a report of mould found in cartons of That's Not My Reindeer and That's Not My Santa.

Consumers who purchased these books should to take them away from young children and return them to booksellers, says Health Canada.

***

Why are Americans so immune to the charms of the most popular books in the history of French literature?

British journalist Peter Hoskin ponders that question in a piece in the Daily Beast on the comic-book series Asterix, which has sold an estimated 350 million copies since 1959.

The series of illustrated stories about the inhabitants of a village of Gauls at the time of the Roman Empire recently saw release of its 36th volume, Asterix and the Missing Scroll, which immediately shot to the top spot on Amazon's French site. In the U.K., the English-language version was the 356th most popular title, while on the American version of Amazon it barely cracked the top 5,000.

Hoskin suggests the adoption in the U.S. of the Comics Code in 1954 caused illustrated stories there to focus almost completely on superheroes, leaving little room for a satirical series about the tribesmen resisting the Roman Empire.

***

Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species is the most influential academic book in history according to readers of the Guardian.

To mark Academic Book Week, the British newspaper asked a panel of booksellers, librarians and publishers to create a short list for a public vote.

Oddly enough, the list contained a number of influential titles that weren't actually published as academic books, including George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and Rachel Carson's Silent Spring.

***

Another coup for indie publishing: in the biggest poetry book deal in years, nonprofit poetry publisher Copper Canyon Press has signed two volumes of poems by 1971 Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda.

Then Come Back: The Lost Neruda includes unpublished poems discovered by the Pablo Neruda Foundation. Crepusculario is Neruda's first collection, self-published when the late Chilean poet was 19. Both books will be published in English for the first time.

According to Copper Canyon Press, the two-book deal is in the mid-five figures, but the books also require higher-than-average production, printing and promotion costs. To raise money, Copper Canyon started a Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $100,000 -- more than doubling its initial goal of $50,000.

Then Come Back will be published in spring 2016, with Crepusculario to follow in 2017.

julienne.isaacs@gmail.com

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History

Updated on Saturday, December 12, 2015 at 9:00 AM CST: Formatting.

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