Off the Page
A blog on Canadian writing, reading, and everything in between
Give AND Get! $500 in books for you and your favourite library if you win!
In our final interview of the Governor General’s special edition of The Chat, we speak to JonArno Lawson and Sydney Sm …
Strong female characters dominate these dystopian tales for teens, with common themes of environmental decay, orphanhood …
I speak to Rhonda Mullins, winner of the 2015 Governor General’s Award for Translation for Twenty-One Cardinals (Les h …
Dawn Baker's art gives us a view onto Newfoundland...all year round!
Today, I chat with Governor General’s Award is Caroline Pignat, winner of the 2015 Governor General’s Award for Chil …
These are stories that can empower readers to "stand up to bullying" once and for all.
Today, I speak to David Yee, winner of the 2015 English-language Governor General’s Award for Drama for carried away o …
Tell us about your favourite Canadian library and you could win a $250 book-shopping spree on 49th Shelf! Plus, 49th Shelf will also give the local or school library you love a $250 book-shopping spree of its own. There are over 80,000 books on 49th Shelf—so that's a lot of good shopping!
You can enter HERE. Sign in or become a member—it only takes a minute!—to enter the contest. Once you are in, you’ll see additional ways to enter for more chances to win.
The Give & Get Contest closes December 11, 2015. Thank you for your entries and good luck!
In our final interview of the Governor General’s special edition of The Chat, we speak to JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith, joint winners of the 2015 English-language Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature (Illustrated), for Sidewalk Flowers.
JonArno Lawson is the author of several award-winning books of poetry for children and adults, and is a four-time winner of the Lion and the Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Poetry. He has been most inspired in his work by his own children, and received a Chalmers Fellowship Award in 2007 to research children’s lap and bouncing rhymes cross-culturally in different communities across Toronto. Born in Hamilton, Ontario and raised nearby in Dundas, JonArno Lawson now lives in Toronto.
Sydney Smith discovered his love of children’s illustration while studying drawing and printmaking at NSCAD University in Halifax. Some of his first experiences illustrating children’s books were for the new editions of Sheree Fitch’s older books (Mabel Murple, There Were Monkeys in My Kitchen, and Toe …
Our children's librarian columnist, Julie Booker, brings us a new view from the stacks every month.
Strong female characters dominate these dystopian tales for teens, with common themes of environmental decay, orphanhood, and the question of knowing who to trust.
In the award-winning Blood Red Road, by Moira Young, 16-year-old Saba lives in the middle of nowhere with her twin brother Lugh, her little sister Emmi and her Pa. But when her father is killed and her brother kidnapped, Saba must head out into the world to find him. She's captured by peddlers and taken to a “Big Wrecker” city where plague, hunger and war have felled skyscrapers and reduced society to chaos. She becomes enslaved as a cage-fighter who earns the title of '”Angel of Death,” because her opponents die and Saba never loses. A group of rebels help her escape so she can continue her quest to find her brother. This story is told with a distinctive voice, using clipped language, great dialogue and over-the-top characters, such as Lewis Ex Eye Vee, a crazed villain who has adopted the original Louis XIV, the Sun King's persona. The never-dull storyline includes a strong romantic plot thread that continues in the sequel. Grade 6+
At 49th Shelf, list-making is an all-year-round concern, and a task we take very seriously. Which means that this Books of the Year list is one of the best you're going to find anywhere, expert-compiled with a mind to critically acclaimed titles that readers have loved.
We have added annotations springing from chats and posts we've enjoyed featuring the authors of these 13 books over the past year—please follow the links to learn more.
As ever, we remind you that a books list is only the beginning. Make sure to explore the whole site to discover more great books from this year, and all the years before it.
Undermajordomo Minor, by Patrick de Witt
Utterly original, hilarious, and beautiful, Undermajordomo Minor is both a black comedy of manners and an otherworldly love story. It's deWitt's follow-up to his hugely successful The Sisters Brothers, and it does not disappoint. We completely agree with this caution from The Independent: "The challenge for the reader is to resist the temptation to devour a novel which should be savoured."
In our continuing conversation with this year’s English-language Governor General’s Award winners, today I speak to Rhonda Mullins, winner of the 2015 Governor General’s Award for Translation for Twenty-One Cardinals (Les héritiers de la mine) by Jocelyne Saucier.
Rhonda Mullins is a translator whose work has been shortlisted for previous Governor General’s Awards, including her translations of Élise Turcotte’s Guyana (2014), Hervé Fischer’s The Decline of the Hollywood Empire (2007), and Saucier’s And the Birds Rained Down (2013), which was also a CBC Canada Reads selection in 2015. Rhonda Mullins studied and has taught translation at McGill University in Montréal, where she currently lives.
Of Twenty-One Cardinals, Publishers Weekly said: “This slim, tightly written novel masterfully tells a big story, flush in dark secrets, social commentary and an army of memorable characters.”
THE CHAT WITH RHONDA MULLINS
You’ve been a previous finalist for the Governor General’s Award. What was your first reaction to finding out you’d won t …