Off the Page
A blog on Canadian writing, reading, and everything in between
To mark International Women's Day, we spoke to Rosemary McCarney, President and CEO of Plan Canada and author of the new …
Five nominated titles present Ukrainian Canadian themes.
So, what happens when you write a horror novel under a pseudonym and then get shortlisted for the Giller Prize under you …
There is so much good stuff in past episodes of Top Shelf, the series where we compile great lists and posts on 49th She …
49th Shelf spoke to author and children's librarian Ken Setterington about his own experiences with censorship, and the …
The Montreal Congress of Black Writers took place over four days in 1968, and represented a landmark shift in Canadian B …
This week Ali Bryan (Roost), Steven Galloway (The Cellist of Sarajevo), Eliza Robertson ("My Sister Sang"), Jowita Bydlo …
Books by Sara Heinonen, Lynn Davies, Monica Kulling, Donald J. Savoie and André Vanasse.
Lits Fests to look forward to in the first half of 2014.
Julie Booker shares a reading list about Canadian black history.
To mark International Women's Day, we spoke to Rosemary McCarney, President and CEO of Plan Canada and author of the new book, Every Day is Malala Day, which Kirkus Reviews has called, "a brief but moving manifesto that will spark both sympathy and heightened awareness of an endemic global outrage."
49th Shelf: Every Day is Malala Day is an interesting book, a letter to Malala Yousafzai affirming sisterhood from girls all over the world. In the book, you mention the short film that inspired you to frame your message in this way. What makes this structure so effective?
Rosemary McCarney: It was with great joy that I, like much of the world, watched Malala address the United Nations on her 16th birthday, when her and 600 other youth activists—including two Canadian girls from Plan Canada’s Youth program—took over the UN in New York. She spoke with such conviction and such passion on the right of all girls and boys to gain an education. It gave me shivers.
At the time, Plan’s head office in England had produced a short film depicting girls from all over the world writing to Malala to tell her how important a symbol she was for them in their lives. We hear the voices of these girls expressing their admiration for Malala and their solidarity with her struggles …
With the terrible and tragic events unfolding in Ukraine at the moment, it seems particularly timely to consider the ties between our two countries, which are commemorated every two years with the Kobzar Literary Award. The $25,000 award recognizes outstanding contributions to Canadian literary arts by authors who develop a Ukrainian Canadian theme with literary merit in one of several genres: literary non-fiction, fiction, poetry, young readers' literature, plays, screenplays and musicals. The prize is awarded by The Canadian Ukrainian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko, which is a national, chartered philanthropic institution that provides leadership by developing permanent endowment funds for the promotion of Ukrainian Canadian cultural heritage in Canada’s diverse landscape.
The 2014 Kobzar Literary Award nominees are:
Luba, Simply Luba by Diane Flacks with Andrew Tarasiuk and Luba Goy
Luba Goy, an original member of Canada’s popular comedy troupe, Royal Canadian Air Farce, is one of this country’s most beloved comedic actors. In Luba, Simply Luba, we are invited into her colourful and astonishing life. From her Ukrainian childhood to high honours at Rideau Hall, Luba Goy’s journey has been filled with both comedy and tragedy. This one-woman show features glim …
The worst-kept secret in Canadian publishing is the identity of Nick Cutter, author of The Troop. Though Cutter won't confirm it himself (see below), his name is a pseudonym for Craig Davidson, who was nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2013 for Cataract City.
Nick Cutter was kind enough to talk to us about his latest novel, which is a fantastic read and getting a lot of buzz.
About The Troop: Once a year, scoutmaster Tim Riggs leads a troop of boys into the Canadian wilderness for a three-day camping trip—a tradition as comforting and reliable as a good ghost story and a roaring bonfire. But when an unexpected intruder—shockingly thin, disturbingly pale, and voraciously hungry—stumbles upon their campsite, Tim and the boys are exposed to something far more frightening than any tale of terror. The human carrier of a bioengineered nightmare. An inexplicable horror that spreads faster than fear. A harrowing struggle for survival that will pit the troop against the elements, the infected...and one another.
Part Lord of the Flies, part 28 Days Later—and all-consuming—this tightly written, edge-of-your-seat thriller takes you deep into the heart of darkness and close to the edge of sanity.
49th Shelf: So, what happens when you write a horror novel …
There is so much good stuff in past episodes of Top Shelf, the series where we compile great lists and posts on 49th Shelf, that this episode provides a guide. If there's not a book for you here—nay, ten!—well, we guess there isn't but it would be very, very strange. Enjoy!
Episode 1: Canadian Books You Need to Read—Okay, that's a bit presumptuous and prescriptive but ... you do. Just some (of several dozen) of the authors you'll find by following this link: Isabelle Huggan, Bronwen Wallace, Alistair MacLeod, Bill Gaston, Joan Thomas, Cassie Stocks, Miriam Toews, Trevor Cole and yes, Ondaatje, Atwood, Lawrence, and Findley.
Episode 2: Kids' Books for Any Kid You Can Think Of—We set ourselves a challenge: could we assemble a bunch of lists and blog posts that would yield a book for just about any kind of kid? The answer was a resounding YES!
Freedom to Read Week is an annual event that encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is guaranteed them under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This year is the 30th anniversary and there are more than 50 events taking place across Canada.
49th Shelf spoke to author and children's librarian Ken Setterington about his own experiences with censorship, and the broader issues behind the Freedom to Read campaign.
49th Shelf: As an author and a children’s librarian, can you explain your own connections to the issues surrounding Freedom to Read Week and why these issues are important to you?
Ken Setterington: As someone who cares about children I have long been a supporter of Freedom to Read Week. Quite simply I know the pleasures and rewards that children and youth discover through reading. Reading makes children think and imagine—and as a children’s librarian I know that is something that I want. We want children to see their own wo …