Off the Page

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

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Book Cover Freedom's Just Another Word

Seeds of a Story: Part 2

By [Kerry Clare]

Nominees for the Canadian Children's Book Centre Awards tell us about the places from which inspiration for their storie …

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The Chat with Governor General's Award for Drama Winner Hiro Kanagawa

The Chat with Governor General's Award for Drama Winner Hiro Kanagawa

By [Trevor Corkum]

"Indian Arm is a timely and evocative manifestation of the characters’ struggle with their relationship to the land,” …

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Book Cover I am Not a Number

2017 Seeds of a Story: Part One

By [Kerry Clare]

Nominees for the Canadian Children's Book Centre Awards tell us about the places from which inspiration for their storie …

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Book Cover The Dog

Illustrator's Gallery: The Dog, by Margarita Sada

By [Kerry Clare]

The uncomplicated love and dedication of a dog can make anyone feel better. 

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The Chat with Governor General's Award for Poetry Winner Richard Harrison

The Chat with Governor General's Award for Poetry Winner Richard Harrison

By [Trevor Corkum]

We kick off our conversation with this year’s English-language Governor General’s Award winners in conversation with …

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Book Cover Tug of War

#LookItUp: Knowledge Matters

By [Kerry Clare]

"University presses offer the antidote to alternative facts and the assault on reason, and do it authoritatively and ele …

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Book Cover Dazzle Patterns

Dazzle Patterns: The Books Behind the Book

By [Kerry Clare]

"The novel is as much about art as war and the following books speak these two themes, as well as the historic Halifax e …

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Shelf Talkers for the Dark Days of November

Shelf Talkers for the Dark Days of November

By [Rob Wiersema]

The daring independent booksellers of the Shelf Talkers column have taken a peek into the darkness and come up with a gr …

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Giller Prize Special: The Chat with Michael Redhill

Giller Prize Special: The Chat with Michael Redhill

By [Trevor Corkum]

Next up in our Giller special, we’re in conversation with Michael Redhill, author of the novel Bellevue Square.

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Best Canadian Poetry: A Lyric Meditation That Leads To Awe

Best Canadian Poetry: A Lyric Meditation That Leads To Awe

By [Kerry Clare]

"Born of the electricity of thinking and reversing thoughts without fear, yet also born of the dread and wonder of conte …

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Seeds of a Story: Part 2

On November 21, the Canadian Children's Book Centre Awards will be presented in Toronto. We asked the nominees to tell us about the seeds of their stories, the places from which their inspiration grew. Here are some of their responses. Part One appeared on Monday. 

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Canada Year by Year, by Elizabeth MacLeod, illustrated by Sydney Smith

Nominated for the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction 

Canada’s 150th birthday was the inspiration for Canada Year by Year. I’m very proud to be Canadian, and I love sharing with kids how amazing our country is.

The book features an event for each year since Confederation, including the first singing of “O Canada” in 1880, the publication of Anne of Green Gables in 1908 and Terry Fox’s run in 1980. I’m especially interested in the incredible people who have changed Canada, so the book also contains more than 50 profiles.

Although I wrote most of the book’s text, some of the entries are from the “The Kids Book of” series. I’m grateful to Jane Drake, Barbara Greenwood, Carlotta Hacker, Pat Hancock, Ann Love, Briony Penn, the late Diane Silvey and Valerie Wyatt who allowed excerpts to appear in Canada Year by Year.

It was important to editor Katie Scott and me that the book consist of more than just …

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The Chat with Governor General's Award for Drama Winner Hiro Kanagawa

rsz_hiro_kanagawa

Next up on our special Governor General’s Award edition of The Chat, we speak with Hiro Kanagawa, winner of this year’s award for English-language Drama.

"Indian Arm is a timely and evocative manifestation of the characters’ struggle with their relationship to the land,” said the peer assessment committee of the work. “Hiro Kanagawa masterfully navigates the tension between Indigenous and settler identities as they work to figure out how we can live together. Mythic. Heart-breaking. Poetic."

Hiro Kanagawa is best known as an actor, but he was also a story editor on several critically-acclaimed Canadian television series: Da Vinci's Inquest, Da Vinci's City Hall, Intelligence, and Blackstone. His plays Tiger of Malaya and The Patron Saint of Stanley Park have been performed across Canada. His distinctions include an Asians on Film award and Jessie Richardson Awards for both acting and writing. Indian Arm previously received the 2015 Jessie Award for Outstanding Original Script. Hiro lives in Port Moody, BC, with his wife and two children and is a youth football coach.

TheChat-GGs-2017
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2017 Seeds of a Story: Part One

On November 21, the Canadian Children's Book Centre Awards will be presented in Toronto. We asked the nominees to tell us about the seeds of their stories, the places from which their inspiration grew. Here are some of their responses. Part Two appears on Thursday.

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Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard, by Jonathan Auxier

Nominated for the John Spray Mystery Award

Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard is the tale of a 12-year-old book-mender who discovers a magical book that launches her on an adventure beyond anything she has ever imagined. The story is a sort of love letter to dusty bookshops and libraries, which are my favorites places in the world. (I suspect I'm not alone in this feeling!)

The seeds of Sophie’s adventure were planted long before I was even born. My mother grew up on a wheat farm in the flats—a region where books were few and far between. Still, she was a voracious reader, and she read everything she could get her hands on. When I was growing up, my mother would occasionally mention how, as a teenager, she ran out of novels to read—there were literally no more stories to read in her library. Any time she mentioned this, I would think: What if she had found one last book hidden in that library...and what if that book was more than just a sto …

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Illustrator's Gallery: The Dog, by Margarita Sada

Inspired by Poppy the Therapy Dog at Canuck Place Children's Hospice in Vancouver, The Dog, by Helen Mixter and Margarita Sada, shows how the uncomplicated love and dedication of a dog can make anyone feel better—particularly a child who is small and vulnerable. Through beautiful, simple illustrations and words, The Dog shows how one animal helps a young boy who is ill. She is his comfort, his companion, and his friend; when he’s unhappy, she places her paw on his hand to show him she’s there.

The Dog is a story for young children, and for anyone who has ever owned a pet. But most of all, it shows how important animal companionship is for children. The warmth of animal friends helps make life worth living, especially when times are tough. Partial proceeds from the book will benefit Canuck Place. We're pleased for feature some beautiful illustrations from the book. 

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Illustration from The Dog, by Helen Mixter and Margarita Sada

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Illustration from The Dog, by Helen Mixter and Margarita Sada
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The Chat with Governor General's Award for Poetry Winner Richard Harrison

Harrison - PC Keeghan Rouleau small

We kick off our conversation with this year’s English-language Governor General’s Award winners in conversation with Richard Harrison. His collection On Not Losing My Father’s Ashes in the Flood (Buckrider Books/Wolsak and Wynn) is the 2017 GG's winner for English-language poetry.

Of the collection, the jury said, "In these moving poems about the father/son relationship set against the Alberta flood of 2013, Richard Harrison’s intimate yet open voice deftly explores subjects as wide-ranging as childhood, middle-age anxiety, dementia and loss with wonder, humour and resilience."

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TheChat-GGs-2017

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Trevor Corkum: How did this particular collection come to be?
 

Richard Harrison: This book arrived in stages. I started with the idea that I’d write a book of poetry with poems themselves as the launching points, in much the same way as I wrote Hero of the …

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