Off the Page
A blog on Canadian writing, reading, and everything in between
The author of new novel The Winter Family with a list of novels that take us back—often to the Old West and a wild fro …
This week's Quick Hits looks at books that delve into magic, otherness, and the extraordinary.
May 2, authors across the country will be volunteering in indie bookstores across the nation—mark your calendars! Here …
Andrea Routley asks questions about inspiration, queerness, and politics, and what they're looking forward to about work …
The future holds new and exciting ways to present and package history to Canadians.
Kate Cayley: "Sometimes a poem becomes a way of living..."
Today Sean Cranbury talks with Kristi Charish, author of the new urban fantasy, Owl and the Japanese Circus.
Because ten was not a number large enough to contain all the new and noteworthy Canadian poetry titles coming out this s …
For the 17th annual National Poetry Month, the League of Canadian Poets has selected a theme that explores the ways in w …
Success is never a permanent state. Things go wrong, fall apart, mess up irrevocably. And then the central question beco …
"Tracing a gang of ruthless outlaws from its birth during the American Civil War to a final bloody showdown in the Territory of Oklahoma, The Winter Family is a hyperkinetic Western noir and a full-on assault to the senses." Intrigued yet? Craig Davidson reports that this novel "lit my synapses up like a pinball machine."
We're pleased that today we've got Clifford Jackman with a list of Canadian works of historical fiction. It's a good one.
Some years back, I was writing a novel set in Victorian London and I wanted to do a little research—this was before Wikipedia. So, deciding to read some stories set in that time period, I picked up my copy of The Complete Sherlock Holmes. You can imagine my surprise when I found no descriptions of hansom cabs or gaslights or anything like that. Then it struck me: Doyle had no need to describe any of that stuff, because his audience had already known all about it. He would no more provide a detailed description of a hansom cab than a modern writer would describe a Honda Civic.
There are many great challenges in writing a historical novel. You'll never get it all right, anachronisms will always creep in, but you're writing for a modern audience anyway, and what you're searching for is not authenticity but to create a partic …
In Quick Hits, we look through our stacks to bring you books that, when they were published, elicited a lot of reaction and praise. Our selections will include books published this year, last year, or any year. They will be from any genre. The best books are timeless, and they deserve to find readers whenever and wherever.
The Fionavar Tapestry Omnibus, by Guy Gavriel Kay
In the three novels that make up the Fionavar Tapestry trilogy (The Summer Tree, The Wandering Fire, and The Darkest Road), five University of Toronto students find themselves transported to a magical land to do battle with the forces of evil. At a Celtic conference, Kimberley, Kevin, Jennifer, Dave, and Paul meet wizard Loren Silvercloak. Returning with him to the magical kingdom of Fionavar to attend a festival, they soon discover that they are being drawn into the conflict between the dark and the light as Unraveller Rakoth Maugrim breaks free of his mountain prison and threatens the continued existence of Fionavar. They join mages, elves, dwarves, and the forces of the High King of Brennin to do battle with Maugrim, where Kay's imaginative powers as a world-builder come to the fore. He stunningly weaves Arthurian legends into the fluid mix of Celtic, No …
Oh, my, what a month! April marks the first anniversary of this column, which offers monthly recommendations from independent booksellers across the country—the books you need to read, from people who know reading best.
(Waiting a moment, looking around ... Where’s the balloon drop?)
To celebrate, we have something even better than a balloon drop. We have an entire national movement! This month we have an extra-special, jumbo-sized edition of Shelf Talkers, wherein some of Canada’s finest authors weigh in with their recommendations. We’re not only celebrating the anniversary of this column, we’re pitching in and helping out with the Authors for Indies program.
On May 2, under the auspices of the Authors for Indies program, writers from across the country will be serving as volunteer booksellers at their local independent bookstore, helping out customers with their picks, throwing their support behind Canada’s independent booksellers.
In this month’s column, we’ve asked some of those volunteer, one-day booksellers for their picks, a sneak preview of what you can expect next month.
May 2: Mark that date on your calendar, and make a point of visiting your favourite authors at your favourite indie.
Until then, enjoy these picks, and thank you for reading this year. We’re just getting started.
Amber Dawn, Vivek Shraya, and Leah Horlick are joining forces for the "Where the Mountains End" tour on the US west coast during the month of April. Amber Dawn will be reading from her new poetry book, Where the words end and my body begins, Vivek Shraya will read from his recent novel, She of the Mountains, and Leah Horlick reads from her new poetry book, For Your Own Good. Find tour dates here.
Andrea Routley (managing editor of Plenitude Magazine, Canada’s queer literary magazine, and the author of Jane and the Whales) gives us a preview of what to expect from the tour with the following interview about where their works come from, queerness and politics, and what they're looking forward to about working together.
Andrea Routley: You all draw on a cultural legacy in exploring your subjects—from Jewish mysticism (Leah) and Hindu mythology (Vivek) to the work of lesbian poets such as Gertrude Stein and Adrienne Rich (Amber Dawn). How does the exploration of these legacies inform the way you write about contemporary experiences?
Amber Dawn: My poetry collection is very much about how and where to locate myself within past, present, and future queer and survivor communities. The poets who I cite in my book, like Lucille Clifton, Adrienne Rich, Anne-Marie Al …
Talking History focuses on a wide range of topics in Canadian history, and it consists of articles by Canada's foremost historians and history experts. Our contributors use the power of narrative to bring the past to life and to show how it is not just relevant, but essential to our understanding of Canada and the world today. "Talking History" is a series made possible through a special funding grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage.
Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail is an award-winning writer, speaker, and historian, and occasional CBC radio columnist. She is the author of For the Love of Flying and Polar Winds: A Century of Flying the North, and is currently at work on a serialized online history project, www.ghostsofcamsell.ca; an anthology tentatively called Unsettled (Brindle & Glass, 2016); and a WWII-era novel, Chasing Skies. She was writer-in-residence at Berton House in Dawson City, Yukon; Chatelaine’s Maverick of the Year in 2011; and is currently serving as Edmonton’s Historian Laureate.
Though most of us historians still have a 50 Shades-level fetish for published books, that is changing, and that’s a good thing.
Don’t get me wrong—I love books. I’ve read a gazillion, have published two, and am in the process of writing several more. …