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You've got five pages, juror warns

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After her second term as a juror for one of Canada's big three literary prizes, Nova Sociatian-turned-Edmontonian novelist Lynn Coady has some advice for would-be award winners.

"Something very interesting has to happen within the first five pages," she writes on the Open Book Ontario website. "Within the first three if at all possible. You can't imagine how many authors begin with someone washing the dishes, or going for a walk while remembering stuff from the past."

After reading 116 new Canadian books as a member of the jury that awarded the Rogers Writers Trust to Tomas Dobozy for his story collection Siege 13, Coady also has some observations about reading. It's better, she says, when it's done for pleasure rather than out of a sense of obligation.

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The Tarbut Festival of Jewish Culture is bringing a literary triple threat to the Rady Centre Sunday for a reading and onstage discussion.

Toronto's David Bezmozgis has been deluged with praise and awards in Canada, the U.S. and elsewhere for his short stories, collected in Natasha and Other Stories, and his novel, The Free World. He's also a filmmaker, whose first film, Victoria Day, won distinction at the 2010 Sundance Festival.

He will speak with Charlene Diehl of the Thin Air literary festival, starting at 2 p.m. Admission is $12/$15.

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Plenty of people have tried to write novels in Starbucks. Not so many have written one in a South Korean fried chicken joint.

According to her Vancouver-based publisher, Anvil Press, Prairie novelist Annette Lapointe wrote most of the first draft of her second novel, Whitetail Shooting Gallery, in just such a location in Jinju, South Korea.

Lapointe, who taught literature and gender studies at the universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba and has recently taken up a teaching position in Grande Prairie, Alta., has set both her novels in a gritty, and occasionally violent, contemporary Saskatchewan. Her first, Stolen, was longlisted for the Giller Prize.

She will launch Whitetail Shooting Gallery at McNally Robinson Booksellers on Nov. 24 at 2 p.m.

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Two Second World War incidents -- one famous, one mostly forgotten -- are the subjects of books being launched this month at McNally Robinson.

Mark Zeuhlke's Tragedy at Dieppe draws on rare archival documents and personal interviews to explore the often-told story of the disastrous 1942 raid by Canadian forces on a well-defended port in Occupied France. The Victoria-based Zuehlke will talk about the book, the latest in his multi-volume Canadian Battle Series, Monday at 8 p.m.

Athenia Torpedoed: The U-Boat Attack that Ignited the Battle of the Atlantic, by University of Manitoba professor emeritus Francis M. Carroll, describes the sinking of a British ship in the opening hours of the war. Carroll shows how the sinking, and loss of 112 lives, influenced British, Canadian and American approaches to the war. Carroll will launch the book Thursday at 7 p.m.


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 17, 2012 J8

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