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Rowing fool paddles into town

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Sixty-something author Charles Wilkins probably wished he'd chosen a vessel a few hundred metres longer at some point on his recent travels across the Atlantic Ocean.

But if he had, he never would have got his new book out of the experience. Wilkins launches Little Ship of Fools, his chronicle of seven weeks as a rookie oarsman with a 15-member crew on an exhausting and dangerous rowing adventure, Wednesday at McNally Robinson at 7 p.m.

On Monday he'll share the stage with a writer known for a book about a much more relaxing nautical experience, Jake MacDonald, author of 2002's The Houseboat Chronicles. Wilkins and MacDonald are the featured writers at the monthly In Dialogue reading series hosted by the Manitoba Writers' Guild at the Free Press Café starting at 7:30.

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After a career teaching psychology at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg's David Koulack has turned to fiction in his retirement.

The former psychology professor, whose columns, short fiction and creative non-fiction have appeared in the London Sunday Times, the Guardian, and several Canadian literary journals, describes on his blog the journey he took to self-publishing his first novel.

As Koulack was writing and rewriting drafts of the novel -- which received encouraging words from his colleague, the late Carol Shields -- mergers and bankruptcies in the publishing business made the traditional publishing route even more of a crapshoot.

He plans to launch his self-published fiction debut -- a bittersweet campus comedy about a man bullied by his parents, his wife and his students -- Thursday at 7 p.m. at McNally Robinson. Koulack is already working on a followup.

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If you're looking for your own nightmare before Christmas, ACI Manitoba and the Manitoba Writers' Guild are presenting a panel discussion on horror writing Dec. 6 at 3 p.m. as part of the monthly First Fridays event in the Exchange District.

Horror writers Michael Rowe, Chadwick Ginther and David Annandale will talk about "horror writing that works." The event takes place at the ACI Manitoba office at 245 McDermott.

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Former Winnipegger Marcel Dzama has long since established himself as a unique presence in the art world, thanks to his fanciful illustrations of anthropomorphic animals and whimsical dream images.

A career retrospective art book published this month will illustrate his place in the hipster-artist pantheon.

In addition to 500 colour images, Marcel Dzama: Sower of Discord contains three short stories inspired by his work, written by Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius) and an interview with the filmmaker Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich).

Dzama, 39, has lived in New York for at least a decade.

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Aboriginal music from Manitoba gets the Oxford treatment in a scholarly book to be released Nov. 25.

Musical Intimacies and Indigenous Imaginaries, by Kleefeld-born scholar Byron Dueck, takes an anthropological and ethnomusicological look at the role of sacred and secular music and dance in aboriginal communities. The academic book, published by Oxford University Press, examines country music, fiddling, religious music and even the role of the NCI radio station in the aboriginal music world.

booknewsbob@gmail.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 23, 2013 A1

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