Off the Page
A blog on Canadian writing, reading, and everything in between
Books that bring the past to life and illuminate the present.
It’s an honour to be in conversation this week with Canadian literary legend Joy Kogawa.
Selections from three great picture books with vivid East Coast settings.
For our first Chat of 2017, we turn to poetry and consider the themes of witnessing and reconciliation, with Gregory Sco …
The fiction titles that will be rocking your world during the first half of 2017.
We look forward to sharing all kinds of incredible books with you in 2017.
With just days to go before Christmas, we want to get these recommendations on your radar.
Great picks chosen by Yaskuko Thanh, Mark Leiren-Young, Danila Botha, Melanie Martin, and Mia Herrera
We've got books under the tree for all the types on your list this season.
An excellent crop of historical fiction is being published by Canadian authors this spring, and we recommend these titles not just because of how they exemplify the best of the genre, but also for how they play with it, and with our notions of both history and fiction—making the past come to life and illuminating the present.
About the book: The Widow's Fire explores the shadow side of Jane Austen's final novel Persuasion, disrupting its happy ending and throwing moral certainties off balance. We join the action close to the moment when Austen draws away for the last time and discretely gives an overview of the oncoming marriage between heroine Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth. This, it transpires in The Widow's Fire, is merely the beginning of a journey. Soon dark undercurrents disturb the order and symmetry of Austen's world. The gothic flavor of the period, usually satirized by Austen, begins to assert itself. Characters far below the notice of Anne, a baronet's daughter, have agendas of their own. Before long, we enter into the realm of scandal and blackmail. Anne Elliot must come to recognize the subversive power of those who have been hitherto invisible to her—servants, maids and attendants—before she can def …
It’s an honour to be in conversation this week with Joy Kogawa, Canadian literary legend and a determined and passionate voice for peace and reconciliation. We speak about her new memoir, Gently to Nagasaki.
Douglas Todd, writing in the Vancouver Sun, says “Gently to Nagasaki is a mature work of history and spirituality; bravely detailing the intersection between mass global evils and those perpetrated intimately by members of one’s own family. Kogawa’s memoir deeply explores how denial works in regards to racism, pedophilia, nuclear power, Canadian internment camps and Japanese war atrocities. It reveals how, in the midst of betrayal, there is still a place for trust.”
Joy Kogawa is the award-winning author of three novels, seven collections of poetry and two books for children. Obasan, which the New York Times called “a tour de force ... brilliantly poetic in its sensibility,” continues to be taught across North America, and the opera based on her children’s book Naomi’s Road has toured in Canada and the United States. Kogawa has wor …
Illustrator Thérèse Cilia's third picture book came out this fall, Keeper of the Light, written by Janet Barkhouse, a story based on the true experiences of boys and girls who worked at lighthouses on the East Coast during the 1900s. We're pleased to feature a spread from that book, as well as a few from her previous works, both written by Dwayne LaFitte. Bullet the New Steam Engine takes readers on a journey along the route of the pre-Confederation Newfoundland Railway, and Over By the Harbour is inspired by the classic counting rhyme "Over in the Meadow," but set in outport Newfoundland and Labrador.
From Keeper of the Light, written by Janet Barkhouse
From Over By the Harbour, written by Dwayne LaFitte
For our first Chat of 2017, we turn to poetry and consider the themes of witnessing and reconciliation. I’m in conversation with 2016 Writers’ Trust of Canada Latner Poetry Prize winner Gregory Scofield, whose most recent collection, Witness, I Am, explores the lives and stories of some of Canada’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
The Latner jury wrote, in part, “For seven collections of poetry, Gregory Scofield has impressed us with his memorable lyrics and keen eye for the finer details. His forms embrace the musical, the documentary, and the experimental in a vision of risk and generosity ... He has courage to let us in, and the patience to help us understand.”
Gregory Scofield is Red River Métis of Cree, Scottish and European descent whose ancestry can be traced to the fur trade and to the Métis community of Kinesota, Manitoba. He has taught First Nations and Métis Literature and Creative Writing at Brandon University, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, and the Alberta College of Art + Design. He currently holds the position of …
New year, new books: so many of them! Here are some of the fiction titles that will be rocking your world during the first half of 2017.
Kelley Armstrong follows up City of the Lost with A Darkness Absolute (February) and more page-turning suspense. With her debut story collection, Bad Endings (March), Metis/Icelandic writer Carleigh Baker makes light of the dark and takes readers out of Vancouver into the wilds of BC. Anais Barbeau-Lavalette's Suzanne, translated by Rhonda Mullins, is 85 years of art and history through the eyes of a woman who fled her family—as re-imagined by her granddaughter; it was a winner of the Prix des libraires du Québec and a bestseller in French. Wilful Desire (April) is the fifth book in the successful Heart’s Ease Newfoundland romance series by bestselling author Victoria Barbour. Paul Butler’s The Widow’s Fire (June) explores the shadow side of Jane Austen’s final novel Persuasion, disrupting its happy ending and throwing moral certainties off balance. Celebrated Saskatchewan writer Bryna Barclay edits an anthology of travel fiction, Wanderlust (April). And Donna Alward's Somebody Like You (February) is the first title in her brand-new romance series.