Pick of the Day: Saskatchewan Book Awards

Faces a little bit tougher competition than usual this weekend, what with the Riders playing in the Coupe Gris against the Montreal Alouettes in Calgary tomorrow, but for seventeen years now the Saskatchewan Book Awards have been a highlight of the fall arts calendar. MC'ing tonight's gala at Conexus Arts Centre will be CBC Radio's Sheila Coles. Guest-speaker is Saskatchewan-born and Alberta-based author Rudy Wiebe (pictured). Up for grabs will be fourteen awards. Many of the nominees this year are veteran members of the Sask-Lit community. Included in that number is prairie dog dining critic Dave Margoshes who is nominated for two awards (Regina Book and Poetry) for The Horse Knows the Way. Now I know what you're wondering. You've got Dave, he's a dining critic. He's writing about horses. Is there any chance -- No! None. Nada. Zilch.

Now, if we were called chien du prairie and were based out of Paris, or perhaps even Montreal, although that would probably be stretching it, the likelihood of there being a connection between Dave's book and his monthly column would be substantially greater. But we're a Regina mag. And while more exotic type meats are creeping onto the menus of Regina restaurants, horse, at least thus far, isn't one of them.

And no, I don't know what's on the menu at the pre-awards dinner tonight. Something quite tasty, I imagine. So good luck to all the nominees. It's not easy being a writer these days. If you delve into literacy stats, an astonishing 48 per cent of adult Canadians (according to one recent study), lack adequate prose and document reading skills, while almost 40 per cent of youth under 15 are similarly handicapped. Then there are people who are functionally literate, but more or less choose not to read. Still you, and us here at prairie dog, persevere.

To celebrate our obstinance, here's a the trailer for the 2000 biopic The Quills about the 18th century French writer Marquis de Sade starring Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslett. (YouTube)

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