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Underwater dogs swim to book deal

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If you've spent time on Facebook and other social networking sites, you've likely seen Los Angeles photographer Seth Casteel's underwater dog shots. The photos went viral in early February, and quick as a Lab after a Frisbee he landed a book deal.

Casteel posted on Twitter, "Excited to team up with @littlebrown to publish a book of my underwater dog photos!"

He told Australia's Sydney Morning Herald that the happy ruckus began with a volunteer gig photographing pets-in-waiting at animal shelters. A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel he was trying to photograph kept jumping in a pool, and the idea was born.

Publishers Weekly reports Underwater Dogs sold to Little, Brown and Company (New York) for a reported six figures.

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Winnipeg authors are being feted in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley this week. Dora Dueck, David Elias and Vern Thiessen will present at Mennonite/s Writing VI: Solos and Harmonies.

Dueck will read from her 2011 McNally Robinson Book of the Year award winning novel, This Hidden Thing (CMU Press); Elias will speak on the good and otherwise of being known as a Mennonite writer; Thiessen, who divides his time between Winnipeg and New York City, will perform his solo play, Back to Berlin.

The conference series is sporadic; the last took place in Winnipeg in 2009, hosted by the University of Winnipeg. This year's event takes place March 29 to April 1 at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

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Manitoba writer and publisher Derene Meyer is releasing five new books by Norway House authors this week. Her publishing house, Goldrock Press, will launch Northern Writers: Volume 3 (anthology), as well as Hauntings (poetry) by David Yerex Williamson, The Loner (YA) by Dana L. Coates, Bab's Adventures (children's) by Brenda Fontaine as well as Meyer's latest novel, Missy.

Meyer founded Goldrock Press in 2008 to support northern authors and get more of their works into schools and libraries. "There is a wealth of truly awesome writers in isolated northern communities," she says. "We need their voices to be heard."

The five-book launch will take place at McNally Robinson Booksellers Monday at 7 p.m.

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The University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections will host a second J.B. Rudnyckyj Distinguished Lecture in 2012, this time with acclaimed author and historian, Timothy Snyder (Yale University). The last lecture was just Feb. 10, but organizers wanted Snyder and were able to secure a Winnipeg stop to his busy touring schedule.

Snyder will speak on "the history of mass murders in central and eastern Europe between 1933-1955" based on research from his fifth and most recent book Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (Basic Books, New York, 2010). In his January 2011 Winnipeg Free Press review, Ken Osborne called the book an "instructive history in every sense of the word."

The lecture, free and open to the public, will take place Thursday, 7 p.m., at the U of M's Robson Hall (Moot Court) with a reception to follow. For details call 474-7866.

anitadaher1@gmail.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 24, 2012 J8

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