On Friday September 21 at 8 p.m., our carefully chosen quartet of advocates will go to bat for the four books that were narrowed down from twelve. SCENE asked them to write us a brief pitch.
Campaigning for C.C. Benison's Twelve Drummers Drumming is the sharp-witted Mike Green, the youngest comic ever to appear at the Winnipeg Comedy Festival:
C.C. Benison's Twelve Drummers Drumming is an old fashioned mystery novel that reminds you why the classic whodunnit genre perseveres. It's a genre that has always interested me because it has age old tropes that you can always count on, yet employed as they are in Twelve Drummers Drumming, they enrich the story rather than limit it. Yes, you know from page one there will be some grisly discoveries and a couple of red herring; and those guarantees are part of the fun.
reading any mystery you can't help but analyze every tidbit as deeply as
the protagonist in a desperate attempt to "beat them to it," hoping in
those last chapters to smugly remark "I knew it.." Fortunately while
reading Twelve Drummers Drumming, I've never been happier to be proven
Campaigning for Patti Grayson's Autumn, One Spring, is the irrepressible poet and media personality, Rosanna Deerchild:
I've often imagined what it would be like to go back home. Admittedly, just thinking about being back in that small northern town makes me a little queasy. My own escape was quick, under cover of night with a vow to never return thrown over my shoulder as I drove down that one lonely highway out.
Going back would be both horrifying and oddly comforting. If only because the familiar feeling of small town never really leaves your bones. Of course my baggage is not nearly as full and complicated as Autumn Greene's. This poor girl can't open her mouth without a sarcastic barb or a deep dark secret falling out.
Awkward...But as someone who is often accused of 'saying anything that pops in her head' I am in Autumn's quirky corner as she navigates family reunions and homecomings.
Campaigning for Struan Sinclair's Automatic World, is the adventurous poet-critic and writing instructor, Jonathan Ball:
On page four of Automatic World, Struan Sinclair writes that "straight-keeping is not a virtue." So relax, readers! Settle into the bullet of the book's train-car and fire yourself gleefully towards the crash. Sinclair's not as difficult as the denseness of his prose might suggest, and half the joy of reading a book like this is in being able to let go of our ingrained habits of reading, in experiencing a childlike joy as (alongside Sinclair's protagonist) we newly learn to follow and fashion the story.
Although Sinclair's novel departs from convention, he doesn't abandon it, or us. Through passages like this, Sinclair teaches us how to read his book. Sinclair's prose orients us while allowing us to retain the exciting sense of being disoriented, of awe and wonder in the face of something new.
Campaigning for Rhea Tregebov's The Knife Sharpener's Bell, is the playwright-actor dynamo, Alix Sobler:
The Knife Sharpener's Bell by Rhea Tregebov is a poetic and haunting story of Annette and her family's ill-fated return to her parents' homeland of Russia in the late 1930s. In an unusual story of the time, the Gershons came to Winnipeg in search of a new life, but were greeted by the depression and anti-semitism. In the moments before Europe shifted into war and despair, the Gershons uproot their born-in-Canada, English speaking children and head back to Russia and Stalin's promise of a worker's paradise.
the flaws and failures of capitalism in our time, I can almost
understand the doomed choices Annette's parents make reneging on their
commitment to the new world, and returning to Russia all the while
wincing at every poor decision with the knowledge of what is to come.
But what is most affecting about the book are Annette's ultimately
heartbreaking relationships with her parents, siblings, lovers and
friends--relationships Trebegov deftly illustrates over decades, across
oceans, through a devastating history.
Join CBC host Ismaila Alfa at the Centre Cultural Franco-Manitobain Friday September 21, at 8 p.m. for a fun face-off between the above advocates. Listen to the pitches, then register your choice. We'll have voting stations in the lobby, but voting will continue until Saturday evening. The winning title will be announced on the Weekend Morning Show on Sunday, September 23.