Dogsledding, making chili… writing
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 31/03/2012 (3956 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Lawrence Hill knows how to combine work with adventure. The award-winning author of The Book of Negroes spent the last month far from his southern Ontario home at the Berton House writers’ retreat in Dawson City, Yukon. While there he revised The Illegal (publication date not set), his new novel about an African refugee living illegally in a developed nation.
He also researched a next project, about U.S. African-American soldiers sent north from southern military bases in 1942 to build the Alaska Highway.
Busy enough? Apparently not. The former Free Press reporter went dogsledding, and took on frigid -30 C temperatures, placing third in an outdoor chili-making contest. Not bad at all, considering the winner “shot the moose that provided the meat that made it into his own homemade chili,” Hill said.
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Following its cancellation last fall, Manitoba’s Aboriginal literary festival has been moved from Brandon to Winnipeg. Katherena Vermette of Winnipeg’s Aboriginal Writers’ Collective explained Brandon festival volunteers were highly dedicated, but also exhausted.
Vermette and fellow Collective member Maeengan Linklater met with Brandon festival director Di Brandt, who suggested that along with university involvement, the biennial event should be artist-driven. “That’s when the AWC decided to dig our collective claws in and see what we could do,” Vermette said.
An organizational group made up of Collective members with faculty from the U of W and the U of M has been established. A small Winnipeg festival is in the works for October, with a larger event slated for 2014.
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In the space of a year, Winnipeg author Sierra Dean (real name Ashley MacLennan) released five novels south of the border. The Canadian launch for her first, Something Secret This Way Comes, will be Tuesday, 7 p.m. at McNally Robinson Booksellers.
The series heroine is Secret McQueen, a kick-ass half-vampire, half-werewolf bounty hunter. Dean says she began writing the series seven years ago, and after a long search was thrilled to place the first book, then the next four, with Samhain Publishing (Ohio), which has adopted a modern publishing model releasing novels as e-books first, then in print.
Dean plans to keep up her breakneck writing pace with two books per year. She said, “It’s amazing how much more productive you become when you have an editor hounding you and a looming deadline on the horizon.”
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In Dialogue, a reading series co-ordinated by the Manitoba Writers’ Guild, continues this week with 2011 Manitoba Book Award recipients Dora Dueck and Shiela McClarty. Each will read and chat at the Winnipeg Free Press News Café, Monday at 7:30 p.m.
McClarty’s debut story collection, High Speed Crow, won the 2011 Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book by a Manitoba Author. This Hidden Thing, Dueck’s first novel but third book, won the 2011 Manitoba Book of the Year Award.
Formerly held at the Yellow Dog Café, the reading series is now in its fourth season. Featured authors read for 20 minutes each, and then interview each other.