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First van Rooy award to be announced

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When the Manitoba Book Awards are announced tonight, the celebratory mood will turn bittersweet when the first-ever Michael van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction is announced.

Named for the larger-than-life author of the popular crime-novel series featuring good-guy criminal Monty Haaviko, the award honours contributions in genres that are often overlooked at awards time, including horror, mystery, thriller and graphic novels.

Nominees this year are Alison Preston (The Girl in the Wall), David Annandale (The Valedictorians), John Toone and GMB Chomichuk (The Imagination Manifesto: Book Three) and Susie Moloney (The Thirteen). The awards ceremony begins with a reception at 7 p.m. at the Centre culturel franco-manitobain.

Van Rooy, a Winnipegger, died of a heart attack at age 42 in January 2011.

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It's not uncommon for a first novel to be drawn from the author's own life story, so it's not surprising that the first novel by Arley McNeney, a member of Canada's national wheelchair basketball team, is about a wheelchair basketball player.

Her critically acclaimed second novel, on the other hand, is a complete departure from the autobiographical template. The Time We All Went Marching is a historical novel about the On to Ottawa trek by unemployed Canadian workers in the 1930s.

McNeney is travelling across Canada this spring as part of the Fictionistas reading series, which focuses on women writers from independent publishers. She will be at McNally Robinson, May 5, at 2 p.m., along with Preston, Charlene Diehl (director of Winnipeg's Thin Air writers festival and author of the memoir Out of Grief Singing), Sarah Kathryn York (The Anatomy of Edouard Beaupré) and Margaret McPherson (Body Trade).

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Food for the belly and the brain is on the menu May 6 at the annual Books and Brunch fundraiser for the Winnipeg Public Library.

The brunch starts at The Gates on Roblin Boulevard at 10:30 a.m. The guest speakers are St. Boniface writer and broadcaster J.R. Leveillé, whose book The Setting Lake Sun was selected as Manitoba's On the Same Page title this year, and journalism instructor and book-club host Joanne Kelly. Free Press books editor Morley Walker is the MC.

Tickets are $50 and are available at the Best of Friends Gift Shop in the downtown Millennium Library.

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Prime Minister Stephen Harper isn't the only person in Canada excited about the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.

Winnipeg comic book artist Lovern Kindzierski, winner of industry awards for his work with Marvel (Dark Horse) and other comic publishers, has created a graphic novel about one Upper Canada family caught in the conflict between the British Empire and the U.S.

His graphic novel The Loxleys and the War of 1812 includes a text on the war and its significance written by popular Canadian military historian Mark Zuehlke, author of numerous books on the First and Second World Wars.

The graphic novel will be launched May 1 at 7 p.m. at McNally Robinson.

booknewsbob@gmail.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 28, 2012 J8

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