OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 28, 2011) - It is with great sadness that I learned of the death of Michael Neelak Van Rooy.

Mr.Van Rooy was an acclaimed author from Winnipeg, who, in 2009, received the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer. His first book, An Ordinary Decent Criminal, won the Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book by a Manitoba Author in 2006. He was also shortlisted for both the Margaret Lawrence for Fiction and the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel. In addition to writing, Mr. Van Rooy contributed to the literary world in many other capacities: as Program Coordinator for the Writers' Collective for Professional and Developing Writers, Publicist for the THIN AIR Winnipeg International Writers Festival, Administrator for the Canadian Mennonite University School of Writing, and Vice-President of the Board of Directors of Prairie Fire Press.

On behalf of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Government of Canada, I offer my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Michael Neelak Van Rooy.

Contact Information: Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
and Official Languages
Codie Taylor - Press Secretary