Off the Page

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

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The Chat with Governor General's Literary Award Winner Amanda Parris

The Chat with Governor General's Literary Award Winner Amanda Parris

By Trevor Corkum

Renowned CBC radio host Amanda Parris is this year’s Governor General’s Award winner for Drama for Other Side of the …

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The Chat with Governor General's Literary Award Winner Joan Thomas

The Chat with Governor General's Literary Award Winner Joan Thomas

By Trevor Corkum

Joan Thomas has won this year’s Governor General’s Award for Fiction for her novel Five Wives, an exploration of the …

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Book Cover Radiant Voices

Radiant Voices

By carla bergman

Storytelling that is about displacement and finding belonging, and of course, some Radiant Voices.

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The Chat with Governor General's Literary Award Winner Don Gillmor

The Chat with Governor General's Literary Award Winner Don Gillmor

By Trevor Corkum

The winner of the 2019 Governor General’s Award for Nonfiction is Don Gillmor for his memoir To The River: Losing My B …

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Book Cover Little Fortress

Journeys to Exile

By Laisha Rosnau

In Little Fortress, Rosnau bases her fiction on real-life figures, Italian nobility escaping fascism in the 1930s and fi …

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The Chat with Governor General's Literary Award Winner Gwen Benaway

The Chat with Governor General's Literary Award Winner Gwen Benaway

By Trevor Corkum

Next up in our special 2019 Governor General’s Award edition of The Chat is our conversation with Gwen Benaway. Her co …

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Book Cover for Home and Empire

Books for Remembrance Day

By Kerry Clare

On the occasion of Remembrance Day, we're sharing these 14 recent books approaching war and remembrance from a variety o …

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The Chat with Governor General's Literary Award Winner Linda Gaboriau

The Chat with Governor General's Literary Award Winner Linda Gaboriau

By Trevor Corkum

Over the next month, we’ll be interviewing all seven English-language winners of this year’s Governor General’s Li …

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The Power of One Story: Using Picture Books to Teach the Lessons of the Holocaust

The Power of One Story: Using Picture Books to Teach the Lessons of the Holocaust

By Jennifer Byrne

Six million is a number most adults cannot comprehend. Yet, when we reduce that number to one, to one single story, we m …

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Book Cover Claremont

From the Page to the Screen

By Wiebke von Carolsfeld

A recommended reading list by award-winning filmmaker and author of the novel Claremont

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The Chat with Governor General's Literary Award Winner Amanda Parris

Amanda Parris cbc

Renowned CBC radio host Amanda Parris is this year’s Governor General’s Award winner for Drama for Other Side of the Game (Playwrights Canada Press).

The jury praised the work, saying, “Other Side of the Game courageously examines the struggles of young Black women and their loved ones as they navigate an unjust system. Parris crafts a portrait of the early years of Black activism, and parallels it with the present day. Enraging and engaging, this gripping and passionate play challenges dominant narratives to reveal the painful truths of life for marginalized Canadians in our society.”

By day, Amanda Parris is a television and radio host and writes a weekly column. By night, she writes stories for the stage and screen. Other Side of the Game is her first published play. In Amanda’s past lives she was an educator who wrote arts-based curricula, attended numerous acting auditions and dreamed of opening a school that Blue Ivy Carter would attend. Over the course of her career, Amanda has worn a variety of hats, working as an educator, a researcher, an actor and a community organizer.

She is the co-founder of the award-winning alternative education organization Lost Lyrics and worked with the Remix Project and the Manifesto Festival. She has spoken about her …

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The Chat with Governor General's Literary Award Winner Joan Thomas

Thomas_Joan

Joan Thomas has won this year’s Governor General’s Award for Fiction for her novel Five Wives.

According to the jury, “In Five Wives, Thomas delivers a compelling and powerful story about an encounter that alters the lives of those involved for generations. Set in a world where Indigenous peoples, missionaries, and the forces of global capitalism collide, Thomas’s tale provides a nuanced examination of Operation Auca—a historical event that took place in Ecuador in 1956. This book raises important questions about religious fervour, autonomy and legacies of violence. Ambitiously conceived and beautifully written, this book is a masterful achievement.” 

Joan Thomas is the author of four novels: Five Wives, The Opening Sky, Curiosity, and Reading by Lightning. Her work has won the Amazon First Novel Award, a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the McNally Robinson Prize. Additionally, it has been nominated for the Giller Prize, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and a previous Governor General’s Literary Award. In 2014, Thomas was the recipient of the Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Prize for a writer in mid-career. She lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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THE CHAT WITH JOAN THOMAS

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Radiant Voices

My curation style weaves three threads: radical social change, amplifying voices at the edges, and connecting emerging artists and writers with well-seasoned ones. There is a fourth, though it is less a thread and more a penchant: I genuinely gravitate to the subtle stories that entwine the everyday thriving amid the realities of suffering, struggle, and hardship. As well, for this list I thought about work that captures other ways of being in relationship with ourselves, with each other, and with the more-than-human kin, including the land. Stories and works that support us to feel more connected. This spirit of connection was behind the curation of Radiant Voices. Lastly, I always begin with my friends, and then it radiates out to friends of friends.

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Birdsong, by Julie Flett

Birdsong, by the incomparable Cree-Metis writer and artist Julie Flett, is pure magic. The connecting and thoughtful poetry alongside the stunning illustrations take you on a subtle but profound journey of witnessing a special relationship between an elder, Agnes, and a kid, Kathere …

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The Chat with Governor General's Literary Award Winner Don Gillmor

gillmor_don © Ryan Szulc

The winner of the 2019 Governor General’s Award for Nonfiction is Don Gillmor for his memoir To The River: Losing My Brother.

The jury says, “In clear, crisp prose, Gillmor has written a book that is searingly honest and heartbreakingly sad. From the story of his brother’s life and death to a larger exploration of white, middle-aged masculinity, Gillmor impresses us with his quiet insights. At one point, he asks, 'What are we anchored by?' His hard-earned wisdom holds us, here and beyond.”

Don Gillmor is one of Canada's most accomplished writers. He is the author of the bestselling, award-winning, two-volume Canada: A People’s History, and his journalism on suicide has earned him both a National Newspaper Award and a National Magazine Award. Gillmor’s other books include the novels Kanata, Mount Pleasant, and Long Change, all of which were published to critical acclaim, and nine children’s books, two of which were finalists for a Governor General’s Literary Award. He lives in Toronto, Ontario, with his wife and two children.

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THE CHAT WITH DON GILLMOR

totheriver
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Journeys to Exile

Little Fortress is Laisha Rosnau's long-awaited second novel, following on acclaimed and award-winning poetry collections. In Little Fortress, Rosnau bases her fiction on real-life figures, Italian nobility escaping fascism in the 1930s and finding exile in Vernon, BC. With this recommended reading list, she suggests books that have informed and/or are akin to her own work. 

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Book Cover Caetani

Recapitulation: A Journey, by Sveva Caetani, edited by Heidi Thompson, Angela Gibbs Peart, and Dennis Butler

This is a beautiful, hardcover coffee table-sized book with gorgeous full-colour reproductions of Sveva Caetani’s 56 large, luminous watercolour paintings—“Recapitulation”—the series in which she portrayed her own life’s geographical, artistic, and spiritual journey. Based loosely on Dante’s Divine Comedy, the paintings are completely unique and utterly arresting. As well as reproductions of the paintings, the book contains original poetry of Caetani’s, notes and translations, and a short biography. Recapitulation is the way I was introduced to the strange, …

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