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

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Book Cover Out of Old Ontario Kitchens

Books for the Holidays

By [Kerry Clare]

Cookbooks, art books, books on gardening, and flowers: gorgeous books make great gifts. 

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The Chat with Alex Leslie

The Chat with Alex Leslie

By [Trevor Corkum]

We All Need to Eat is a spectacular collection, full of powerful stories that centre around Soma, a queer woman on the W …

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The Chat with Governor General's Award Winner Jillian Tamaki

The Chat with Governor General's Award Winner Jillian Tamaki

By [Trevor Corkum]

Jillian Tamaki is the winner of this year’s English-language Governor General’s Award for Literature for Young Peopl …

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Book Cover Homes

2018 Books of the Year: Nonfiction

By [Kerry Clare]

Stories from home and abroad, books about the past, the present, and the future, and something for every kind of reader …

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Book Cover Owls are Good at Keeping Secrets

From A to Zed: Sara O'Leary on Canadian Alphabet Books

By [Kerry Clare]

A recommended reading list by author of new book, Owls are Good At Keeping Secrets

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Book Cover In Search of the Perfect Singing Flamingo

2018 Books of the Year: Fiction

By [Kerry Clare]

"It is no exaggeration to state that 2018 was an outstanding year in Canadian books..." 

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The Chat with Phyllis Aronoff and Howard Scott

The Chat with Phyllis Aronoff and Howard Scott

By [Trevor Corkum]

The 2018 Governor General’s Award for Translation was awarded to the team of Phyllis Aronoff and Howard Scott for Desc …

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The Chat with Governor General's Award Winner Darrel J. McLeod

The Chat with Governor General's Award Winner Darrel J. McLeod

By [Trevor Corkum]

Today we're pleased to share this interview with Darrel J. McLeod, who won this year’s Governor General’s Award for …

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The Chat with Governor General's Award Winner Jonathan Auxier

The Chat with Governor General's Award Winner Jonathan Auxier

By [Trevor Corkum]

Ever wonder about the life of a young Victorian chimney sweep? Jonathan Auxier is winner of this year’s Governor Gener …

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The Chat with Governor General's Award Winner Jordan Tannahill

The Chat with Governor General's Award Winner Jordan Tannahill

By [Trevor Corkum]

Jordan Tannahill is no stranger to the Governor General’s Awards. Botticelli in the Fire & Sunday in Sodom marks his s …

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Books for the Holidays

The holidays are coming, and we've got recommendations for gorgeous books that make great gifts. 

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Out of Old Ontario Kitchens, by Lindy Mechefske

About the book: Out of Old Ontario Kitchens is a window into the past, exploring the stories of the First Peoples and settlers. It pays homage to all those who trapped and fished and hunted; to those who cleared the land and planted crops; and most importantly to all those women — our mothers and aunts, our grandmothers and great-grandmothers and great-great grandmothers — who got up and lit the fire; who toiled and stirred and cooked and baked and who kept families alive through long hard winters, through plagues and depressions, famines and wars. Work every bit as important as agriculture, commerce, mining, politics, and the development of infrastructure.

With over a hundred historically sourced recipes as well as scores of old photographs, early artworks, botanical prints, and illustrations, Out of Old Ontario Kitchens is both a visual and virtual feast. If you want to know what life was really like in early Ontario, come to the table with us. Food stories are, after all, the real stories of our lives.

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The Chat with Alex Leslie

Alex Leslie_Author Photo_Credit Alex Leslie
TREVOR-CORKUM-cropped_small

Alex Leslie’s fantastic second short story collection, We All Need to Eat (Book*hug), covers the shifting emotional and physical landscapes of a young woman from Vancouver named Soma. The collection moves back and forth through time, tracing Soma’s relationship with lovers, family members, and her own historical ghosts.

The Toronto Star calls the collection “a thematically rich and sophisticated portrait of an individual and her entwined networks” while Kirkus Reviews calls the book “A magnetic collection that must be read over and over.”

Alex Leslie was born and lives in Vancouver. She is the author of the short story collection People Who Disappear (2012) which was nominated for the 2013 Lambda Literary Award for Debut Fiction and a 2013 ReLit Award, as well as a collection of prose poems, The things I heard about you (2014), which was shortlisted for the 2014 Robert Kroestch Award for Innovative Poetry. Her latest book is We All Need to Eat (2018). Winner of the 2015 Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers, Alex’s short fiction has …

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The Chat with Governor General's Award Winner Jillian Tamaki

JT Photo Credit Emma McIntyre_1

Jillian Tamaki is the winner of this year’s English-language Governor General’s Award for Literature for Young People (Illustration) for her gorgeous book They Say Blue.

The peer assessment committee says "They Say Blue is a wonderful blend of words and art, a sweeping, joyous book from cover to cover. Its lively and dynamic compositions are sure to captivate both children and those who love to read to children. Wonderfully uplifting and imaginative, it spans an entire range of emotions and colours and makes one’s heart sing."

Jillian Tamaki is a cartoonist and illustrator from Calgary, Alberta, who now lives in Toronto, Ontario. She co-created the highly acclaimed graphic novels Skim and This One Summer with Mariko Tamaki, and is the creator of the teen drama webcomic SuperMutant Magic Academy and Boundless, a collection of short comics for adults. She has won many awards for her work, including a previous Governor General’s Literary Award (in 2014), a Caldecott Honor, a Printz Honor, the Eisner Award, and an appearance on the New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books list. A working illustrator since 2003, she has also taught students of all levels at Parsons and the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

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THE CHAT WITH JILLIAN TAMAKI

Trevor Corku …

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2018 Books of the Year: Nonfiction

Our celebration of 2018 books continues with this nonfiction spotlight, which includes stories from home and abroad, books about the past, the present, and the future, and something for every kind of reader going. We're so pleased to have featured these titles on 49th Shelf this year. 

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Homes: A Refugee Story, by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah and Winnie Yeung

Homes is the remarkable true story of how a young boy emerged from a war zone—and found safety in Canada—with a passion for sharing his story and telling the world what is truly happening in Syria. As told to her by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah, writer Winnie Yeung has crafted a heartbreaking, hopeful, and urgently necessary book that provides a window into understanding Syria.” 

Read 11 Life Stories to Read This Spring

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Midnight Light, by Dave Bidini

“This is an absolute joy to read as his writing just flows, inspired, unencumbered, passionate, his joy at being there, his thrill of living loud, leaps off the page. He consumes it all, the edge of the world and the caravan of characters who populate it.“

Read …

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From A to Zed: Sara O'Leary on Canadian Alphabet Books

Owls Are Good at Keeping Secrets is the latest release by Sara O'Leary, illustrated by Jacob Grant, and it's going to find its way into many households this holiday season, because it's just purely delightful. A window onto the secret inner lives of our animal friends, secrets you always suspected, and which make perfect sense—of course dragons cry at happy endings, and meerkats love a parade. In this list, O'Leary shares some of her other favourite Canadian abecedaries in all their amazing varieties. 

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I’ve always loved alphabet books and now I seem to have accidentally written one. My initial reason for writing Owls Are Good at Keeping Secrets is contained in its title, which was a line cut from the final draft of my book This is Sadie. I was so determined to find a place for my secretive owls that I built a whole compendium of animals around the idea, from homebody iguanas to foxes who love the camera as much as it loves them. And as I thought of more and more animals, it made sense at a certain point for my little fanciful bestiary to also become an abecedary. 

When my firstborn was small, we were careful to teach him a Canadian alphabet. We stuck to the tried-and-true tune, but the song’s closing refrain was our own: “Now you know your A to Zed. Keep …

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