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CMU Press Author Dora Dueck Nominated for Two Manitoba Book Awards

CMU Press is pleased to announce that Dora Dueck’s novel, This Hidden Thing, has been nominated for two Manitoba Book Awards: the McNally Robinson Book of the Year award and the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction. Published in 2010 as Dueck’s second novel, This Hidden Thing explores the story of Maria, a Russian Mennonite woman adjusting to life in Winnipeg from the 1920s up to the 1970s.

Sue Sorensen of CMU Press and the CMU Department of English served as the editor for Dueck’s novel, and she had this to say about the news: “I wish I could say I’m surprised by the news of Dora’s nominations. But I knew as soon as I started reading the manuscript for This Hidden Thing that this was a really fine story and that readers would love it. It’s obvious to me that she is a strong contender for these awards.”

Beginning in 1988, the Manitoba Book Awards mark the achievements of Manitoba writers and book publishers in Manitoba. Judging each award is a panel of three professionals in the writing and publishing industry. This year, there are thirteen different award categories offered.

“It’s an honour to be on a shortlist with these other writers,” Dora Dueck comments, “and also wonderful to be associated with both these awards. McNally’s Robinson’s is not just a bookstore but a place that’s so amazingly hospitable to both writers and readers. And, back when writing fiction myself was still just a dream, I was reading and being inspired by Margaret Laurence’s strong female characters, her passion, her use of Manitoba settings. What a pathfinder she was for so many of us!”
The McNally Robinson Book of the Year award is sponsored by McNally Robinson Booksellers and is awarded to a Manitoba author of an adult book written in English that is judged the best written. The prize for this award is $5,000.

The Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction, sponsored by the Manitoba Department of Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, is presented to a Manitoba writer whose book is published in 2010, written in English, and determined the best in adult fiction. The winning author will receive a cash prize of $3,500.

On discussing her inspiration for This Hidden Thing, Dueck says: “I was interested in the idea of secrets—their power both positively and negatively. Somehow this character—Maria—came to me, and her life became an exploration of that theme.

“I think secrets in all their complexity, the quest for integrity between private and public, failure and grace, are ultimately simply aspects of the human story. So for me, being on these shortlists represents an affirmation of that, and a hope that the book continues to find its readers also beyond the Mennonite community.”

The award recipients will be announced on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at the Manitoba Book Awards gala, which is organized by the Manitoba Writers’ Guild.

CMU PRESS is an academic publisher of scholarly, reference, and general interest books at Canadian Mennonite University. Books from CMU Press address and inform interests and issues vital to the university, its constituency, and society. Areas of specialization include Mennonite studies and works that are church-oriented or theologically engaged.