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

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2020 Poetry Delights

By Pearl Pirie

A list by the author of new collection footlights. These books turn and explore, question and listen.

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The Chat with Zsuzsi Gartner

The Chat with Zsuzsi Gartner

By Trevor Corkum

Zsuzsi Gartner’s debut novel, The Beguiling (Hamish Hamilton), is a stunner. It was a finalist for this year’s Write …

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Book Cover Loss Lake

Launchpad: LOSS LAKE, by Amber Cowie

By Kerry Clare

"Sentence by gorgeous sentence, Cowie reveals an intricately woven, powerful plot, unveiling the depths of the character …

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Hope Matters

25 Reasons to be Hopeful

By Kerry Clare

The following books are infused with hope—that what we do and who we are really matters, that second chances are possi …

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Book Cover Spend It

Notes From a Children's Librarian: Money Money Money

By Julie Booker

Financial literacy is part of the new math curriculum for grades 4-6. But why not start even sooner, as young as kinderg …

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Book Cover You Are Eating an Orange. You Are Naked.


By Kerry Clare

"This novel the cold shoulder to the dominant gaze and its demands to control the Asian body, carving out a thr …

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Book Cover The Way Home

Books for University Press Week

By Clare Hitchens

“Raise UP” is a particularly apt theme in a time when information moves at faster speeds than ever before across a m …

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Shelf Talkers: Indie Booksellers Get Us Through the End of the Year

Shelf Talkers: Indie Booksellers Get Us Through the End of the Year

By Robert J. Wiersema

To mark the passing of the year, we’ve gathered the independent booksellers of the Shelf Talkers fellowship – the st …

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Book Cover Four Umbrellas

Launchpad: FOUR UMBRELLAS, by June Hutton and Tony Wanless

By Kerry Clare

"Our goal from the outset was to write a book in which the person with Alzheimer’s has a place on the page, too."

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Book Cover The Crooked Thing

Stories that Excavate the Underworld

By Mary MacDonald

A recommended reading list by the author of new story collection The Crooked Thing.

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Giller Prize-longlisted author Robert Hough (Dr. Brinkley's Tower) appears at Word on the Street Toronto

The Word On the Street is that you like books and reading!

The Word On The Street is coming up, and we're partnering with Toronto WOTS to bring you author interviews, contests, and lots of snaps on the day!

When: Sunday, September 23, 2012—11:00 a.m.
Where: Queens Park Circle
, Toronto, ON 
M5R 2E8

As part of 49th Shelf's #Fest2Fest, Julie Wilson is speaking with authors across the country (and abroad) who are appearing at literary festivals to promote their latest books.

For all our #Fest2Fest updates, bookmark

Robert Hough will appear at Word on the Street Toronto 2012 in the Great Books Marquee at 12:00 p.m.

In March 2012, 49th Shelf talked with Robert Hough about his novel Dr. Brinkley's Tower (House of Anansi Press), now a 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize longlisted title.

When writing a novel, there's always that moment in which you understand why you've been toiling away. My first novel, for example, was a circus book called The Final Confession of Mabel Stark. Somewhere in the middle of the second draft, I finally realized I was writing a book about a woman who couldn’t tolerate happiness. Prior to that moment, the work was a stranger, and all I could do was wonder why in the world I was investing all that effort in a book about some whacked-out female tiger trainer. Then comes that mo …

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The Chat With 2016 Giller Finalist Emma Donoghue


Next up in this year’s Giller Prize special, generously sponsored by Publishing@SFU, is Emma Donoghue, author of the haunting novel The Wonder. Donoghue’s book centres around the story of a young girl in the middle of nineteenth-century Ireland who refuses to eat, believing she is sustained by God’s will alone.

Emma Donoghue was born in Dublin in 1969 and lived in England for many years before moving to Canada. She writes in many genres, including theatre, radio drama, and literary history, but is best known for her fiction, both historical (Slammerkin, The Sealed Letter, Astray, Frog Music) and contemporary (Stir-fry, Hood, Landing, Touchy Subjects). Her seventh novel, Room, won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Canada and Caribbean region) and was shortlisted for the Man Booker and Orange Prizes. It sold over two million copies. Donoghue scripted the film adaptation by Lenny Abrahamson, starring Brie Larson, which won the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival Grolsch People’s Choice Award.


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The Chat With 2016 Giller Finalist Zoe Whittall


Our next interview in this year’s Giller Prize special, generously sponsored by Publishing@SFU, is with Zoe Whittall, author of the shortlisted title The Best Kind of People. Her spellbinding novel bravely and lucidly explores the lives of the family members of a popular small-town teacher accused of sexual assault. 

Zoe Whittall's debut novel, Bottle Rocket Hearts, made the Globe and Mail Top 100 Books of the Year and CBC Canada Reads’ Top Ten Essential Novels of the Decade. Her second novel Holding Still for as Long as Possible won a Lambda Literary Award and was an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book. She was awarded the K.M. Hunter Artist Award for Literature in 2016.

Author photo credit: Vivek Shraya




How was The Best Kind of People born?

I was trying to write another book and was having a hard time of it, and I was listening to The Current. It was around the time of the Russell Williams case. There was a lot of talk about his wife and how could she not have known. They were interviewing a therapist who …

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The Chat With 2016 Giller Finalist Gary Barwin



For our final interview in this special Giller Prize edition of The Chat, I’m in conversation with Hamilton-based writer Gary Barwin. Set in the years around 1492, Barwin’s whimsical novel Yiddish for Pirates recounts the compelling story of Moishe, a Bar Mitzvah boy who leaves home to join a ship's crew, where he meets Aaron, the polyglot parrot who becomes his near-constant companion.

Gary Barwin is a writer, composer, and multimedia artist, and the author of 20 books of poetry, fiction and books for children. His recent books include the short fiction collection I, Dr Greenblatt, Orthodontist, 251–1457 and the poetry collections Moon Baboon Canoe and The Wild and Unfathomable Always. A PhD in music composition, Barwin has been Writer-in-Residence at Western University and Young Voices eWriter-in-residence at the Toronto Public Library and has taught creative writing at a number of colleges and universities. Born in Northern Ireland to South African parents of Ashkenazi descent, Barwin moved to Canada as a child. He is married with three adult children, and lives in Hamilton, Ontario.

Once you've enjoyed my chat with Gary, don't miss the rest of our 2016 Giller Prize special, featuring interviews with Madeleine Thien, Zoe Whittall, Emma Donoghue, Catherin …

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Giller Prize Special: The Chat With Eden Robinson



2017 Giller Prize finalist Eden Robinson is the author of the much-heralded new novel Son of a Trickster, the first in her Trickster trilogy.

Writing in The National Post, Robert Wiersema calls Son of a Trickster “a unique, genuinely surprising novel from one of Canada’s finest writers, a blend of hardscrabble coming-of-age story with mythic fiction at its most powerfully subversive.”
Eden Robinson is a novelist and short fiction writer from the Haisla First Nation. Her novel Monkey Beach, which combines contemporary realism with Haisla mysticism, was shortlisted for the Giller Prize and a Governor General’s Literary Award, and received the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. She gave the 2010 Henry Kreisel Memorial Lecture, which was published as the memoir The Sasquatch at Home: Traditional Protocols & Modern Storytelling. She lives in Kitamaat, BC.



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