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?