Off the Page

A blog on Canadian writing, reading, and everything in between

Latest Blog Posts
Book Cover This Is All a Lie

Tacit Permissions: Literary Goals Beyond One's Grasp

By [Kerry Clare]

A list by Thomas Trofimuk, whose This Is All a Lie has been called "a powerful, dazzling accomplishment.” 

read more >
Book Cover Nice Try, Jane Sinner

Lianne Oelke on Strong YA Narrators

By [Kerry Clare]

Leanne Oelke, author of Nice Try, Jane Sinner, recommends amazing YA novels that are unabashedly Canadian. 

read more >
The Chat with Carleigh Baker

The Chat with Carleigh Baker

By [Trevor Corkum]

Next up on The Chat, we speak to Carleigh Baker, author of the sensational short story collection Bad Endings, a finalis …

read more >
The Chat with Ahmad Danny Ramadan

The Chat with Ahmad Danny Ramadan

By [Trevor Corkum]

We begin The Chat in 2018 with a conversation with Ahmad Danny Ramadan, author of the stirring debut novel The Clothesli …

read more >
Book Cover The Figgs

Most Anticipated: Our 2018 Spring Fiction Preview

By [Kerry Clare]

Here are the books that will be rocking CanLit in the first half of 2018. 

read more >
Book Cover We All Love the Beautiful Girls

Our Holiday Reads

By [Kerry Clare]

Happy Holidays! Here are the books the 49thShelf.com team will be reading during the break. 

read more >
Book Cover On Island

Books for the Holidays Part Three

By [Kerry Clare]

Book recommendations for all the special someones on your holiday shopping list. 

read more >
Shelf Talkers: 2017's Must-Reads

Shelf Talkers: 2017's Must-Reads

By [Rob Wiersema]

For this year-end column, we’ve combed through the dozens of recommendations, a year of reading, to create a double-ha …

read more >
Book Cover Whispers of Mermaids

Picture Books For the Holidays

By [Kerry Clare]

Some of our favourite books this year, titles that would make great gifts for readers of all ages.

read more >
Book Cover Glorious and Free

Books for the Holidays

By [Kerry Clare]

Still haven't finished your shopping? Here are a few suggestions to help you cross out a couple more items on your list. …

read more >

Tacit Permissions: Literary Goals Beyond One's Grasp

This Is All Lie is Thomas Trofimuk's latest novel, one of the National Post's top books of 2017, called "a powerful, dazzling accomplishment” in its Quill & Quire starred review.

In this list, he shares some of his favourite books, including some that inspired his new novel.

*****

It appears, from the contents of this list of favourites, that I am drawn to poetic prose—books that lean hard toward poetry. And I love books that defy convention or that might be seen as iconoclastic. I really am drawn to books about books. As for the two Japanese-themed novels on this list, one is an inward-facing Canadian book that jarred my sense of what it is to be Canadian, and the other is an outward-facing tale that reminded me that being a Canadian writer is not just prairies, farming, lakes, moose and bears—it can be viewing the world through a Canadian lens.

All these books affected me as a writer. They all fed my sense of what writing can be and perhaps ought to be. Books like In the Skin of a Lion, The Double Hook, The Book of Mary and The Logogryph were tacit permissions for me—they were invitations to be playful, to experiment, and to reach for literary goals beyond my grasp.

*

Continue reading >

Lianne Oelke on Strong YA Narrators

Leanne Oelke, author of Nice Try, Jane Sinner, recommends amazing YA novels that are unabashedly Canadian. 

*****

Like so many teens growing up in Canada, I was desperate to see myself in Young Adult fiction. Sure, I found plenty of novels about American teens, and while I could relate to those characters well enough, where were all the books about Canadians? We’re not quite exotic enough to be exciting, but with our toques, loonies, legal drinking ages, and all those pesky ‘u’s in words like colour, we’re just different enough to be confusing. As I continued to grow and read, I discovered that not only do Canadian books exist, they’re also pretty awesome. In the words of fellow author Anna Priemaza, “As a reader, discovering our beautiful country featured in a book is such a rare and magical moment of 'Oh, hi, it's us!' and it thrills me to now be able to create that moment for other Canadian readers.”

While these YA novels stretch from Vancouver’s Main Street to the small town of Palermo, Ontario, what brings them together are the unforgettable voices of each honest, unique, and unabashedly Canadian character.

*

Continue reading >

The Chat with Carleigh Baker

Carleigh Baker - cr Callan Field
TREVOR CORKUM cropped

Next up on The Chat, we speak to Carleigh Baker, author of the sensational short story collection Bad Endings, a finalist for the 2017 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize.

Of the collection, the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize jury said, “In Bad Endings, Carleigh Baker has created a skillfully woven tapestry of stories, centred on strong, contemporary female characters battling for agency over their own lives .… These stories are not about happy endings—they are about powerful endings, and we found them nothing short of electrifying.”

Carleigh Baker is a Cree-Métis/Icelandic writer. She was born and raised on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Stó:lō people. Her first collection of stories, Bad Endings, won the City of Vancouver Book Award in 2017 and is a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. She won the Lush Triumphant award for short fiction in 2012, and her work has also appeared in Best Canadian Essays, and The Journey Prize Anthology. She writes book reviews for The Globe and Mail, The Literary Review o …

Continue reading >

The Chat with Ahmad Danny Ramadan

20645318_10159189838470578_5965751932202959320_o
TREVOR CORKUM cropped

We begin The Chat in 2018 with a conversation with Ahmad Danny Ramadan, author of the stirring debut novel The Clothesline Swing (Nightwood Editions). A journey through the aftermath of the Arab Spring, The Clothesline Swing is “an enthralling tale of courage that weaves through the mountains of Syria, the valleys of Lebanon, the encircling seas of Turkey, the heat of Egypt and finally, the hope of a new home in Canada.”

Writing in Quill & Quire, Kamal Al-Solaylee says, “This debut novel from the Vancouver-based Syrian writer reads as many things—a coming-out memoir, a history lesson, a critique of authoritarianism, a narrative about sharing narratives—but above all, it’s a requiem for a dying country and people.”


Ahmad Danny Ramadan is a Syrian-born author, storyteller, and LGBTQ-refugees activist who calls Canada home. His debut novel is The Clothesline Swing. He also translated Rafi Badawi's 1000 Lashes: Because I Say What I Think, and published two collections of short stories in Arabic. His work in activism has supported the arrival …

Continue reading >

Most Anticipated: Our 2018 Spring Fiction Preview

It's here, it's here! Our preview of the forthcoming books we can't wait to be reading, starting with fiction. Here are the books that will be rocking CanLit in the first half of 2018. 

*****

In Rona Altrows’ At This Juncture (April), a woman plots to save Canada Post by inspiring people to start writing and mailing letters again. Bestselling nonfiction writer Katherine Ashenburg turns her hand to fiction with Sofie and Cecilia (March), a story of women’s friendship. Inspired by a true story, award-winner Sharon Bala’s first novel is The Boat People (January), which explores what it means to leave behind everything you have ever known to seek out a better life in a strange land. In Jackie Bateman’s Straight Circles (March), the final chapter of The Lizzy Trilogy, domestic satire meets gripping suspense. Andrew Batterhill’s debut, Pillow, was nominated for numerous prizes, the Scotiabank Giller among them, and he follows it up with Marry, Bang, Kill (March), a revisionist crime thriller hybrid of literary and genre fiction for fans of Elmore Leonard and Patrick deWitt. 

Book Cover Document 1
Continue reading >

The Randomizer

Load New Book >
X
Contacting facebook
Please wait...