Off the Page

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

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The Chat with Richard Van Camp

The Chat with Richard Van Camp

By Trevor Corkum

Author Richard Van Camp is a celebrated and beloved storyteller who has worked across many genres. His latest offering, …

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Book Cover In Praise of Retreat

Why We All Need Breathing Space

By Kirsteen MacLeod

"Retreat is an adventure, and it involves uncertainty. Whether we go to the quiet woods to rest or make art, walk a pilg …

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Book Cover What the Kite Saw

What the Kite Saw: Stories of Children and Crisis

By Anne Laurel Carter

"Children have their own unique ways of facing a crisis. Yes, they need protecting, but they are also resilient. They ha …

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Shelf Talkers: Spring 2021

Shelf Talkers: Spring 2021

By Robert J. Wiersema

One of the best pieces of news in an otherwise dark year was the word that, despite the growth of online giants during t …

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Book Cover The Shadow Life

My Drifter Reading List

By Jen Sookfong Lee

A poetry list by the author of new book The Shadow List.

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Book Cover Fuse

Persian-Canadian Writers You've Got to Read

By Hollay Ghadery

So, where were all the Persian Canadian writers? It turns out, here all along, but not as represented as one might hope; …

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Tough Like Mum: An Essential Picture Book for Kids *and* Adults

Tough Like Mum: An Essential Picture Book for Kids *and* Adults

By Geoffrey Ruggero

Picture books are often written with young children as their intended audience. In Tough Like Mum, Lana Button provides …

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Book Cover We Jane

Aimee Wall on The Great Canadian Abortion Novel

By Kerry Clare

"I didn’t want the plot to turn on an abortion or the decision to have one. Any conflict or tension is rooted elsewher …

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Book Cover Because the Sun

Poetry That's Going to Grab You

By 49thShelf Staff

Great books to read before for National Poetry Month is out.

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The Chat with Christopher DiRaddo

The Chat with Christopher DiRaddo

By Trevor Corkum

Christopher DiRaddo’s sophomore novel, The Family Way, is a dynamic and rich exploration of queer family, parenthood, …

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Spring Break: Explore Canadian-Caribbean Writing

The good news is that we're all going to get an escape from winter sooner or later, because we're nearly midway through March and spring is just around the corner. But in some parts of this fine country, mid-March is also officially the point at which we-just-cannot-take-this-damn-winter-anymore and some are even fortunate enough to fly away to sunnier climes. For the rest who must opt for armchair travelling, here are some perfect Spring Break reads for tropical literary immersion.

 Also check out Pamela Mordecai's wonderful list of novels from the Caribbean. 

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Book Cover the Beggar's Opera

Visit Cuba with...

The Begger's Opera, by Peggy Blair

In beautiful, crumbling Old Havana, Canadian detective Mike Ellis hopes the sun and sand will help save his troubled marriage. He doesn’t yet know that it’s dead in the water—much like the little Cuban boy last seen begging the Canadian couple for a few pesos on the world famous Malecon. For Inspector Ricardo Ramirez, head of the Major Crimes Unit of the Cuban National Revolutionary Police, finding his prime suspect isn’t a problem—Cuban law is. He has only 72 hours to secure an indictment and prevent a vicious killer from leaving the island. But Ramirez also has his own troubles to worry about. He’s dying of the same dementia that killed his …

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The Chat: Trevor Corkum Interviews Pamela Mordecai

TREVOR CORKUM cropped

PCM for 49th Shelf

This week on The Chat, I’m pleased to be in conversation with Pamela Mordecai, whose ambitious, spellbinding first novel, Red Jacket, was a finalist for the 2015 Rogers Writers’ Trust Award for Fiction.

Governor General’s Award winner Rachel Manley called the novel “a rich and compelling tale about the agony of being made to feel different and the elusiveness of belonging.” Quill & Quire says "Red Jacket is an accomplished, intelligent novel ... to be savoured for its multiple layers of meaning and—especially—its richness of language.”

Pamela Mordecai was born and raised in Jamaica. She has published six collections of poetry, most recently de book of Mary: a performance poem, which appeared from Mawenzi House in 2015. In 2006, Insomniac Press published Pink Icing to excellent reviews. Pamela has also published numerous textbooks, five children’s books, and a reference work on Jamaica (with her husband, Martin). Her play, El Numero Uno, premiered at Toronto’s Young People’s Theatre in 2010. In spring, 2014, she was a fellow at Yad …

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Pamela Mordecai: Novels of the Caribbean

Book Cover Red Jacket

The award-winning Pamela Mordecai's new novel is Red Jacket, which is about a girl growing up on the Caribbean island of St. Chris who never feels like she really belongs. Although her large, extended family is black, she is a redibo. Her skin is copper-coloured, her hair is red, and her eyes are grey. A neighbour taunts her, calling her “a little red jacket,” but the reason for the insult is never explained. Only much later does Grace learn the story of her birth mother and decipher the mystery surrounding her true identity. 

In keeping with our theme of "Writing the World" this month, Mordecai shares with us this fantastic list of novels of the Caribbean. 

*****

I had three criteria for this list of nine books: that the writers be Canadian-Caribbean women; that the setting be entirely or in large part, the Caribbean; and that the books be published in (roughly) the last 15 years. That I claim most of these women as friends is a huge privilege. Give thanks.

At the Full and Change of the Moon, by Dionne Brand

As my daughter says, this is an amazing bo …

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Pamela Mordecai: Novels of the Caribbean

Book Cover Red Jacket

The award-winning Pamela Mordecai's new novel is Red Jacket, which is about a girl growing up on the Caribbean island of St. Chris who never feels like she really belongs. Although her large, extended family is black, she is a redibo. Her skin is copper-coloured, her hair is red, and her eyes are grey. A neighbour taunts her, calling her “a little red jacket,” but the reason for the insult is never explained. Only much later does Grace learn the story of her birth mother and decipher the mystery surrounding her true identity. 

In keeping with our theme of "Writing the World" this month, Mordecai shares with us this fantastic list of novels of the Caribbean. 

*****

I had three criteria for this list of nine books: that the writers be Canadian-Caribbean women; that the setting be entirely or in large part, the Caribbean; and that the books be published in (roughly) the last 15 years. That I claim most of these women as friends is a huge privilege. Give thanks.

At the Full and Change of the Moon, by Dionne Brand

As my daughter says, this is an amazing bo …

Continue reading >

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