Off the Page
A blog on Canadian writing, reading, and everything in between
The author of new novel Every Happy Family with a special guest-post for Mother's Day.
"Past and present—images and memories of people and places—the trees and water and a light wind—each one coming ou …
Tell us about the Canadian poem that has done something powerful to the way you experience the world.
"Most of my favourite poetry books are written by Canadian women. Narrowing the list down to a reasonable number was dif …
Sandra Djwa talks about her Charles Taylor Prize shortlisted biography of poet P.K. Page.
Our coast-to-coast guide of literary festivals to look forward to this spring.
All the best books for teens and young readers in Spring 2013.
A selection of exciting new books on the horizon. Which ones are you looking forward to?
"It’s about having the right guys to watch your back. In no particular order, these writers and their books might just …
Our new Children's Librarian columnist Julie Booker shares the magic of the oral tale.
If you’re reading this on April 4, you’ve still got time to download a free e-copy of “Large Garbage” by Buffy Cram (on Kindle, Kobo, Goodreads) from her recently-released short story collection Radio Belly. The story, which already has received praise from critics including The LA Times, has been available for free since March 21, and on April 5 will go up to the very reasonable price of $0.99. “The key for us was to try a few strategies with pricing,” explains Alison Cairns, Online Manager at D&M Publishers. “The full ebook will be available for $19.95 on April 21. But also, free is appealing and we want people reading Buffy's work.”
Similarly at Coach House Books, the short story “Frogs” from Heather Birrell’s second collection Mad Hope is now available for free download at Kobo. Coach House’s Evan Munday, while acknowledging that short stories are generally healthier than street drugs, likens the deal to traditional pushing methods: ‘First hit's for free. After that, you gotta' pay.' In terms of the promotion’s expected response, he says, “Ideally, readers will love "Frogs" as much as I do and buy thousands of ebooks (and thousands of copies of the physical book, as well). But in our mind, anything that draws more attention to Birrell's work and th …
Authors have always been expected to self-promote to some degree, but occasionally an author — or, in this case, two authors — comes along who seems almost born for the task at hand.
Vivek Shraya has just finished a road tour with Farzana Doctor — interviewed here this past summer. The "God Loves Pavement" tour, a mash up of the titles of the books they were promoting, Vivek's God Loves Hair and Doctor's Six Degrees of Pavement, spanned seven cities in Canada and the U.S.
Shraya and Doctor also started an entertaining tour Tumblr where they posted regular updates, images, event details and a series of delightful short videos called "Brown Moments." (More on that below.) On one level, the blog functions as it should, to keep readers informed of their whereabouts and as a charming memoir of their time together. But it's also a helpful tutorial for other authors seeking a case study on what it means to report from the road, engage an audience and which tools work best.
Julie Wilson: How did you and Farzana decide that it would be feasible (and survivable) to road tour together?
Vivek Shraya: Farzana and I were both invited to do a reading at London Pride last summer that involved a five hour drive. Farzana offered to do the driving on one condition: I was to entertain her with my entire life story. I clearly wasn’t able to satiate her desire, as shortly after that reading, she approached me with the idea for the tour.
Touring together was a bit of a no-brainer because we ar …
The Great Canadian eBooks from Great Canadian Publishers list is now up and running, the first-of-its-kind all-Canadian e-book collection. You can browse the entire list to search for your favourite writers or seek out new reads, and you can also search by region from coast to coast. And until April 20, you have the chance to win a Kobo Vox eBook reader by posting a 49thShelf review for one of the books in the collection. See the list for more details.
Indigenous Peoples and the Military: From the War of 1812 to the First World War by Dr. Timothy C. Winegard
I recently released two books exploring the involvement of Indigenous peoples of the British Empire during the First World War. For King and Kanata: Canadian Indians and the First World War was published by University of Manitoba Press, and Indigenous Peoples of the British Dominions and the First World War by Cambridge University Press.
Since the 1990s, greater attention has been afforded by authors and academics to the military role, and importance, played by Canada’s Indigenous peoples during the colonial wars of North America, to the War of 1812, to the world wars of the twentieth century. As such, this literary genre has undergone a much needed reinterpretation. The following reading list, comprised of seven diverse selections, is not itemized in order of merit or preference; rather, it is loosely chronological in context and scope. I have tried, as much as possible, to select works from across the historical timeframe, to provide for a variety of situational periods and important historical occurrences.
I’m a literary voyeur. Like the wanderer who steps off the predictable path, I set out most days in the hope that I’ll encounter a new way of seeing the spaces in which I live. I’m also a collector. Years ago, I began to collect sightings of readers, because I thought I might gain awareness of how our urban lives are mapped out in the books we choose to read in public, particularly on transit. Many people, for instance, read on transit to place a wall between themselves and fellow passengers; others don’t know how to be alone in a crowd. For the rest of us, that commute is the only time we get to retreat into an extended private conversation with ourselves as we dive into another’s world.
A question began to persist: If I’m a voyeur, are you, the reader, an exhibitionist? How do readers perform the private act of reading within the public realm, their preference for the written word on full display. The book becomes an invitation to look closer. And, just think, you have no idea what emotions may floor you from one sentence to the next, and when they do, I’m there, watching. I began to imagine who each reader might be, and how the text they read would ultimately impact the spaces in which they live.
The reader sighting that started it all was at The Old Nick on Danfort …