Transit rides land author book prize


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Six months of commuting by public transit in the car-centric city of Dallas inspired Canadian freelancer Samuel Forster to write the manuscript that won the inaugural $10,000 Sutherland House prize for non-fiction book projects.

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Six months of commuting by public transit in the car-centric city of Dallas inspired Canadian freelancer Samuel Forster to write the manuscript that won the inaugural $10,000 Sutherland House prize for non-fiction book projects.

Forster summed up his proposed book, titled Americosis, by arguing that a “pathological attachment to the automobile, a horrifying apathy toward the obesity epidemic, and a deeply engrained fetishization of employment” are at the heart of “virtually every problem with the modern American mode of living.”

His observations made while travelling by public transit in Dallas, “arguably the nation’s most regrettable example of urban dysfunction,” reminded Sutherland House publisher Ken Whyte of Jacob Riis’s exposition of New York’s 19th-century slums in How the Other Half Lives and Jack London’s writings on London’s working poor in The People of the Abyss.

As the winner of the competition, Forster will receive a publishing contract as well as the cash prize.

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A publishing mystery came to a resolution this month when a London-based employee of Simon & Schuster pleaded guilty in New York to wire fraud in connection with a scam that allowed him to steal more than 1,000 unpublished manuscripts.

Filippo Bernardini created email addresses and domain names to impersonate editors and agents and solicited authors — including Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan and Sally Rooney — to send him their unpublished manuscripts. One of his tricks was to replace the “m” in simonandschuster” with an “rn” so his victims would think they were sending manuscripts to the publisher, but would in fact be sending them to his fake account.

The scam lasted from August 2016 until his arrest last January. For details see

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After six of her books ended up in Publishers’ Weekly’s top 10 bestsellers of 2022, the world has finally found a Colleen Hoover book that won’t be a hit.

The mega-selling author, who rose from anonymity to ubiquity through devoted support from social media fans, had planned to release an adult colouring book based on her biggest seller, the 2016 novel It Ends With Us.

Fans were not impressed by the idea of a colouring book based on a novel about domestic violence. Following an outcry on social media, Hoover’s publisher shelved plans for the book.

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With more and more authors investigating the option of self-publishing, the Manitoba Writers’ Guild and science fiction and fantasy author Den Valdron are offering a seven-week workshop this winter exploring the challenges of bringing your own book to the world.

The seven-week course, starting Feb. 5, will cover working with printers and designers, getting an ISBN (that long number on the publisher page of a book), cover design, tax implications, tracking sales and other aspects of the business,

For further details, or to sign up, see

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Two years after abandoning the use of fines for overdue books, the Winnipeg Public Library is taking steps to encourage borrowers to return books on time.

Starting Wednesday, users with 10 overdue items or more will have their memberships suspended until the overdue items are returned.

The library joined the North American trend of ending overdue fines Jan. 1, 2021, a step that was meant to make the system more accessible.

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The Manitoba Reading Association wants students in the coming month to see that “stories connect us.”

That’s the theme of this year’s I Love to Read Month, which will feature reading suggestions, guest readers in schools and other activities to inspire kids — and adults — to crack a book in February.

The Manitoba Reading Association has a list of book suggestions, including picture books, middle years books, young adult and adult books, and graphic novels, available at

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