Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/12/2020 (320 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Manitoba’s Andrew Unger, the creator of the satirical website The Daily Bonnet, teams up with international Mennonite writers in an online event on Tuesday.
In addition to Unger, whose first novel Once Removed came out this fall, the event features American Mennonite poets Becca J.R. Lachman and Julie Swarstad Johnson and Hong Kong-based adventurer and journalist Cameron Dueck, who chronicled a motorcycle journey to Mennonite communities across the Americas in Menno Moto.
To sign up for the event, see wfp.to/mennosreading.
● ● ●
For a couple of generations, judgments of the character of the late British poet laureate Ted Hughes have focused on infidelity and accusations of abuse during his marriage to Sylvia Plath.
But things went a bit far recently, when the actions of a long-dead relative were added to the indictment.
A display by the British Library this fall placed Hughes on a list of more than 300 writers with connections to slavery or colonialism. Hughes is said to have a family link to Nicholas Ferrar, a man born in 1592 whose family was involved with the London Virginia Company, which was established to promote the colonization of North America.
The British Library later backtracked when it was pointed out that, in addition to being born 350 years before the 20th-century poet, Ferrar was childless.
● ● ●
If you read nothing but books about the Beatles, it would probably take longer to get through them all than it took for the foursome to go from their founding in 1957 to that famous rooftop performance in 1969.
So it’s no small thing to come up with a new approach to telling the band’s story.
British author Craig Brown is the winner of the £50,000 Baillie Gifford Prize for Nonfiction for his collage-style book One Two Three Four: The Story of the Beatles in Time. Brown captures the essence of the era through diaries, autobiographies, fan letters, essays and the stories of famous and overlooked people who found themselves in the band’s orbit.
● ● ●
The Writers’ Trust of Canada bestowed its career achievement awards on four Canadian authors this month, including poet Dennis Lee, co-founder of House of Anansi, author of 15 books of poetry for adults and 28 for children, including the beloved Alligator Pie.
Lee won the Matt Cohen Award in celebration of a life in writing, while the Engel-Findley Award for fiction went to novelist Kerri Sakamoto (best known for her 1999 debut The Electrical Field), the Latner Poetry Prize went to Armand Garret Rufo (Treaty # and The Thunderbird Poems) and the Vicky Metcalf Award for children’s literature went to much-translated French language author and illustrator Marianne Dubuc.
The awards are worth $25,000 each.
● ● ●
A new history of the Aztecs that relies on Indigenous sources rather than accounts by Spanish conquistadors or priests is the winner of this year’s Cundill History Prize.
Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs, by Rutgers University history professor Camilla Townsend, is based on accounts written in the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs.
The US$75,000 prize, administered by McGill University, is the richest in the world for books of history.
The other finalists also provide new examination of the age of empire from India to the Americas.
William Dalrymple’s The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company is the page-turning story of how a trading company exploited divisions and rivalries within India to become an empire of its own.
Vincent Brown’s Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War examines a 1760 slave revolt in Jamaica that has been described as the biggest shock to Britain’s empire in the Americas before the American Revolution.