Sunday, April 27, 2008

The End of Manitoba Book Week

Well, it was a blast. The launch of Prairie Fire's Home Place 2 (non-fiction) issue on Thursday, April 24, was a gala affair. About 150 people showed up for the hour and half of readings (and cake afterwards).

Unfortunately, the readings did go over a bit, and I was forced to miss Kerry Ryan's launch of her new (and first!) poetry book The Sleeping Life. I missed her reading, but I did get to buy a copy of the book and get her to sign it. Unlike a certain A.G. who feels autographs are so "fanboyish" I quite like getting my book personalized by the author. I like to think the writer themself enjoys doing it!

Last night was the 20th Annual Manitoba Book Awards, put on by the AMBP (Association of Manitoba Book Publishers) and the MWG (Manitoba Writers Guild). A really good time for shmoozing with the local literary crowd, including writers and publishers. The award ceremony itself went off with nary a hitch, and most of the acceptance speeches were really quite good (the greetings from the province were actually quite nice).

Speaking of "foot in mouth" disease, Morley Walker wrote a horrible article in Saturday's Freep which basically debased the whole awards show. His big rant was why the book HE thinks was the bestest and greatest Manitoba book since sliced bread (the Manitoba Encyclopedia by Great Plains Publishing) wasn't among the nominees or winners.

Hey Morley, here's a heads up: That's YOUR opinion that the book was the best.
And here's another heads up: Just because a book is submitted does NOT mean it will win or even get nominated! There is a jury that selects these things outside of your realm of influence (shocking, I know)

It's really sad to see Winnipeg's literary journalist giant constantly and consistently bad-mouth Manitoba publishing and writers.

One treat during the awards was when Kelly Hughs, owner of Aqua Books and generous donor to the Landsdowne poetry prize, lambasted Walker during his presenting speech. The crowd went wild! Funny thing then that Walker was no where to be seen after the awards...

Today's article in the Freep about the Manitoba Book Awards is surprisingly neutral. It mentions all the winners, and there are even a few choice quotes from winners about the importance of Manitoba publishers.

Huh. Change of heart Morley? Or trying to save face?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mystery Crime at MB Book Week and Aqua Books

Tonight was a reading and panel discussion about crime/mystery/true crime writing, and featured three writers (one of whom was Michael Van Rooy...I can't remember the names of the others and I'm too lazy and tired to check right now - wait! One was Mike Macintyre (sp?) from the Freep).

It was pretty interesting.

Plus the event took place at the new Aqua Books location. Even though the bookstore was not nearly ready for business, the cafe in the back looks quite swank, and the upstairs events room worked beautifully. I also took a sneak peak at the writer studios, and they look pretty awesome!

Can't wait until the bookstore is up and running. Here's wishing Kelly all the luck and stamina in the world to get it ready for March 26!

Next up for my Manitoba Book Week flurry of events: PrairieFire's Home Place 2 launch, Kerry Ryan's poetry book launch (the same night at McNally Robinson Grant Park) on Thursday, and the Manitoba Book Awards on Saturday night. Can't wait!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Another great YA book launch

As part of Manitoba Book Week, Rae Bridgeman was launching her new book "Fish and Sphinx" at McNally Robinson Booksellers tonight (Polo Park location).

A great launch, and well attended by young and old! Full house! Complete with town crier at the beginning, a power point slide show of some of her drawings from the book (sliding along as she read), and a great reading with great questions.

A great night!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Getting out to meet the Writers

Carol Matas and Perry Nodelman (what a swell name) launched their new collaborative book today: Ghosthunters 1: The Proof that Ghosts Exist.

Very nice launch with lots of people (young and old). It was a virtual who's who of YA writers! Anita Daher! Rae Bridgeman! Margaret Buffie! ME! (well, not quite yet - heh!)

The launch was at the new McNally Robinson Booksellers at Polo Park (nice and close to me wittle house now!). A beautiful store. I had the privilege of getting an invitation to the gala opening night (la-dee-da!) two weeks ago. Very cool.
Tanya and I had dinner in the new Prairie Ink restaurant tonight, and the food as usual (for MRB standards) was very delicious. Tanya was drooling all over her cherry pie - quite disgusting, really ;-)

All in all, a nice night.

What happened to March?

Well, March was a blur.
I was fine until March 5. Then, I got sick. Then, I got food poisoning. Then, I was lingering and lingering ill for four weeks. Then I woke up and WTF? What month is it? APRIL??

So, that's why no blog.

And yes, no submission letters yet. Ugh.
I'm planning on working on them this weekend and next week FOR SURE!