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Three W.O. Mitchell Book Prize finalists announced

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Three authors have emerged as finalists from 56 submissions for this year's W.O. Mitchell Book Prize.

Established in 1996, the prize honours Calgary storyteller W.O. Mitchell, well known for plays, short stories and books, including Who Has Seen the Wind, which sold close to a million copies.

In choosing finalists, the City of Calgary explains jury members considered many factors including themes that resonate with the audience, visual style, storyline structure, and ability to engage the reader.

Not sure if you are craving a mystery, a fairy-tale or a coming-of-age story? The Bittlemores by Jann Arden should fulfill them all.

"This marvel of a first novel digs into how people come to be so cruel, but it also glories in the miracle of human kindness," said the City of Calgary in a news release.

Meantime, two plays by Clem Martini, Cantata and The Extinction Therapist, delve into the struggles associated with elder care, mental illness, and a unique form of group therapy.

"Dr. Marshall's therapeutic practice offers group support to those threatened with extinction, including a woolly mammoth, a testy short-eared shrew, the uncompromising smallpox virus, an insecure Tyrannosaurus rex," said the City of Calgary.

If a love letter is more your speed, It Begins in Salt, a book of poems by Natalie Meisner, urges us to love harder.

"(It) wanders the halls of an ocean blue-collar life while rummaging the heart spaces of growing up, and evolves into mothering, labours, and loves," said the City of Calgary.

"The poems explore the ways the heart grows, and the tentacles of complexity grow and evolve."

The finalists will provide a public reading on April 10 at 7 p.m. at Shelf Life Books, 1302 Fourth St. S.W.

The W.O. Mitchell Book Prize presentation is happening during the Calgary Awards on June 12.

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