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

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Book Cover the Queer Evangelist

On Telling the Truth in Politics

By Cheri Divnovo

An excerpt from new memoir The Queer Evangelist, Cheri DiNovo's story of her life as a queer minister, politician and st …

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 The Chat with GG's Literature Award Winners The Fan Brothers

The Chat with GG's Literature Award Winners The Fan Brothers

By Trevor Corkum

We continue our special coverage of this year’s Governor General's Literature Award winners in conversation with the a …

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Book Cover Oy Feh So

Notes from a Children's Librarian: Books on Jewish Heritage

By Julie Booker

Compelling stories showcasing Jewish Heritage to be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

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The Chat with GG's Literature Award Winner Madhur Anand

The Chat with GG's Literature Award Winner Madhur Anand

By Trevor Corkum

Check out our conversation with Madhur Anand, whose brilliant experimental memoir This Red Line Goes Straight to Your He …

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Me and Bridget Jones (20 Years Later)

Me and Bridget Jones (20 Years Later)

By Erika Thorkelson

Erika Thorkelson's "Me and Bridget Jones (20 Years Later)" is one of the essays in Midlife, a new essay collection explo …

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The Chat with GG's Literature Award Winner Michelle Good

The Chat with GG's Literature Award Winner Michelle Good

By Trevor Corkum

Today we are pleased to kick off our special coverage of the 2020 Governor General's Award winners (English-language) wi …

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Book Cover Cattail Skyline

The World Up Close

By Joanne Epp

A recommended reading list by author of new book CATTAIL SKYLINE on paying close attention to the small and particular.

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Book Cover What's In It For Me

The Keepers on My Bookshelf

By LS Stone

Depth and humour are themes in this great recommended reading list by the author of the new middle grade novel What's in …

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Book Cover the Girl from Dream City

How Does a Woman Become a Writer?

By Linda Leith

"The writers who interest me most, always, are women who write about themselves in ways that a male writer never could." …

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Book Cover Big Reader

11 Essay Collections to Revisit Now

By Susan Olding

"The bestselling novel of a decade ago will sometimes seem stale or irrelevant today, but that’s rarely true of an ess …

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The Chat: Trevor Corkum Interviews 2015 GGs Winner Robyn Sarah

Following on the heels of our special Giller edition of The Chat, I’m pleased to announce that over the next few weeks we’ll be interviewing the English-language winners of this year’s Governor General’s Literary Awards.

First up, I’m pleased to talk to Robyn Sarah, winner of the 2015 Governor General’s Award for Poetry for her collection My Shoes Are Killing Me. Robyn Sarah is the author of ten poetry collections, two short story collections, and a book of essays on poetry. She was born in New York City to Canadian parents, and grew up in Montréal, where she still lives.

In My Shoes Are Killing Me, according to publisher Biblioasis, Sarah “reflects on the passing of time, the fleetingness of dreams, and the bittersweet pleasure of thinking on the 'hazardous … treasurehouse' that is the past."

From the Montreal Gazette:

"Simply put, we can place ourselves in Sarah’s work with ease. Yes, her details are personal, but they are so well chosen, so real, that they make the leap into the universal with a smoothness that can only be the result of much hidden craft."

Thank you again to Publishing@SFU for sponsoring this special Governor General's Literary Awards installment of The Chat.

TheChat-GGs

 

*****

THE CHAT WITH ROBYN SARAH

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The Chat: Trevor Corkum Interviews 2015 GGs Winner Mark L. Winston

Today on The Chat, we continue our special interview series with this year’s English-language Governor General’s award winners. I’m pleased to speak to Mark L. Winston, winner of the 2015 Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction for his book Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive, published by Harvard University Press.

Recognized as one of the world’s leading expert on bees and pollination, Mark L. Winston has had an illustrious career researching, teaching, writing and commenting on bees and agriculture, environmental issues and science policy. A widely respected educator, he directed Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue for 12 years and has shared his expertise in columns in the Vancouver Sun, New York Times, The Sciences, Orion, and in radio and TV for the CBC and the U.S. National Public Radio. He’s the author of six books on subjects related to bees.

In Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive, said the jury, “Mark L. Winston distills a life’s devotion to the study of bees into a powerful and lyrical meditation on humanity. This compelling book inspires us to reevaluate our own relationships both with each other and the natural world. Vital reading for our time.”

TheChat-GGs

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THE CHAT WITH MARK L. WINSTON

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The Chat, With GGs Fiction Award Winner Guy Vanderhaeghe

Today on The Chat, we continue our conversation with this year’s English-language Governor General’s Award winners. I’m pleased to speak to Guy Vanderhaeghe, winner of the 2015 Governor General’s Award for Fiction for his collection Daddy Lenin and Other Stories (McClelland & Stewart).

Guy Vanderhaeghe has published five novels, four short story collections and two plays, including The Last Crossing (winner, 2004 CBC Canada Reads), The Englishman’s Boy (GG Award, shortlisted for both the Giller Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award1996), and Man Descending (GG Award, 1982). He is a recipient of the Order of Canada.

Dory Cerny, writing in Quill and Quire, had this so say about Daddy Lenin and Other Stories:

“These are stories about boys becoming men, about screwing up and starting over, about looking back and moving forward, and – above all – about what it means to be a man. There are no sensitive, metrosexual, kowtowing guys in these stories, though they all have crosses to bear and, often, painful histories. These are complex characters who embody a particular literary strain of working-class, straight-talking, hard-drinking male, even when only the last qualifier applies.”

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The Chat, With GGs Drama Award Winner David Yee

Next up on our special Governor General’s special edition of The Chat, I speak to David Yee, winner of the 2015 English-language Governor General’s Award for Drama for carried away on the crest of a wave.

David Yee is a Dora Mavor Moore Award-nominated actor and playwright, former playwright-in-residence at the Tarragon Theatre and Factory Theatre and currently serves as Artistic Director of fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Company. His other plays include lady in the red dress and paper SERIES, and his work has been published in the Asian Canadian drama anthology Love & Relasianships (edited by Nina Lee Aquino) and the monologue book Refractions: Solo (edited by Yvette Nolan & Donna Michelle St. Bernard). David Yee, who proudly identifies himself as a Hapa of Scottish and Chinese descent, was born and raised in Toronto.

Writing for Now magazine, Jon Kaplan said of carried away on the crest of a wave: “The script is rich with poignancy, tragedy and humour…Yee’s clever, insightful writing rarely fails to draw a response, whether he’s using his trademark off-centre laughs or a solemn moment to make a point.”

TheChat-GGs

 

THE CHAT WITH DAVID YEE

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The Chat, With 2015 GGs Winner Caroline Pignat (Children's Text)

Next up in our series of interviews with the winners of this year’s English-language Governor General’s Award is Caroline Pignat, winner of the 2015 Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature.

Caroline Pignat wins her second Governor General’s Literary Award with The Gospel Truth (2015), the young adult novel that also won her the Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book of the Year Honour Book. Other award-winning books include Egghead (Red Maple Book Award, 2009) and Greener Grass (GG Award, 2009).

This year’s jury called The Gospel Truth “the powerful and poignant story of 16-year-old Phoebe, a slave girl in 1858 Virginia. Written in lyrical and elegant free verse, it is an unflinching look at the brutality of slavery and Phoebe’s struggle for freedom and truth. Ultimately, this is a story of hope.”

TheChat-GGs

 

THE CHAT WITH CAROLINE PIGNAT

Sometimes when we think back to the nineteenth century and slave ownership, we tend to lump the experiences of slaves together and contain them in one thought bubble: “They suffered, they sang songs to keep them going, they hatched plans to escape.” The Gospel Truth veers away from this simplification. Why was this important to you in writing the book?

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