Off the Page

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

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Giller Prize 2020 Special: The Chat with Emily St. John Mandel

Giller Prize 2020 Special: The Chat with Emily St. John Mandel

By Trevor Corkum

We continue our special 2020 Giller Prize coverage in conversation with Emily St. John Mandel. She’s a 2020 Scotiabank …

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Book Cover Why Birds Sing

Launchpad: WHY BIRDS SING, by Nina Berkhout

By Kerry Clare

"Berkhout writes with an uncommon compassion and an uncanny understanding of what it means to be human." —Amy Jones

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Book Cover The Old Woman

What Aging Looks Like: A Picture Book List, with Dogs!

By Joanne Schwartz

It’s so important for children to see positive images of aging. There are many wonderful books about children and thei …

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Giller Prize 2020 Special: The Chat with Souvankham Thammavongsa

Giller Prize 2020 Special: The Chat with Souvankham Thammavongsa

By Trevor Corkum

We continue our Giller coverage of The Chat in conversation with Souvankham Thammavongsa. She’s on this year’s short …

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Giller Prize 2020 Special: The Chat with Gil Adamson

Giller Prize 2020 Special: The Chat with Gil Adamson

By Trevor Corkum

Next on our special Giller coverage of The Chat, we speak with Gil Adamson. She’s a finalist for her second novel, Rid …

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Book Cover After Elias

Launchpad: AFTER ELIAS, by Eddy Boudel Tan

By Kerry Clare

"After Elias gifts the reader with gorgeous, economic prose and the pace of a thriller. I couldn't put it down." —Nata …

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Giller Prize 2020 Special: The Chat with David Bergen

Giller Prize 2020 Special: The Chat with David Bergen

By Trevor Corkum

We’re thrilled to begin this year’s special Scotiabank Giller Prize coverage in conversation with David Bergen. Davi …

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Book Review: The Boy Who Moved Christmas by Eric Walters & Nicole Wellwood

Book Review: The Boy Who Moved Christmas by Eric Walters & Nicole Wellwood

By Geoffrey Ruggero

The Boy Who Moved Christmas is a beautiful story of a community coming together to grant the wish of a young boy battlin …

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Book Cover Daughter of Black Lake

Be Transported with Historical Fiction

By Cathy Marie Buchanan

A recommended reading list by Cathy Marie Buchanan, whose new novel is Daughter of Black Lake.

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Book Cover How to Lose Everything

Launchpad: HOW TO LOSE EVERYTHING, by Christa Couture

By Kerry Clare

"This might be the wisest, most delightful sad story that you've ever read in your life."

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Places and Novels: Guest Post by Peter Behrens

Peter Behrens

I need to seed a book in a place. In my mind I plant the idea of the book in one very specific patch of ground and hope it will grow from there. Until I know where that patch of ground is, I'm lost and the story, the book, that I'm trying to write does not come into focus. I can’t grasp it. I have no traction on a story until I have a place.

In my novel The Law of Dreams, which is a story of the Irish Famine, I had to wrestle with the book for quite a while before I came across the place where it could be seeded. That was--guess where?--in Ireland, on a damp mountainside, in Co. Clare. A man who knew every inch of that ground as a naturalist, as a historian, and as an Irishman, was my guide that day. I’d been in Ireland many times before. I knew the country pretty well, and I wasn’t naïve about it. Ireland has always interested me as a real place, not a mystic wonderland. I feel connected there because I often see people who look like they could be my relatives; on the other hand being in Ireland always makes me very aware of being very Canadian, not Irish. So. We were tramping up and down that beautiful, quite barren piece of Connacht on a damp morning in November. I was fighting a flu which had nailed me the day after arriving in Dublin, from Los Angeles. …

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Other People's Books: Guest Post by Tamas Dobozy

Books

The thing I love about independent bookstores is how much is missing. They don’t have room for stacks and stacks of the latest iteration of The Lovely Bones. (Is there anything as disheartening as seeing the name Sebold beside the name Sebald on the shelves of a bookstore? Of course, peopled always have to get past Dobozy to get to Doctorow, so maybe I shouldn’t talk.) What they do have room for, just barely, is the distillation of a certain taste in reading, a canon of novels and poems and plays and essays peculiar to whoever runs the store, whatever he or she thinks is a worthwhile continuum of titles and authors and subjects. I’ve always loved that, in whatever city or town I am, coming upon an independent bookstore (and there are less of them than ever) and being treated to someone else’s mind, to a series of books more often based on quality and sensibility, rather than the quantity-driven ethos (by which I mean whatever deals have been made with various publishers as to how many books will be ordered, where they’ll be placed in the store, how long marketing demographics have determined they should stay on the shelves) that you get in the big chains, whose similarity from city to city, even country to country, manages to be bewildering and depressi …

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The Chat With Governor General's Award Winner Lazer Lederhendler

rsz_lazer_lederhendler_credit_monique_dykstra_hi-res_1

We continue our conversation with this year’s English-language Governor General’s award winners with our chat with Lazer Lederhendler. Lazer won his second Governor General’s Award for his translation of Catherine Leroux’s novel The Party Wall.

“In The Party Wall, his masterly translation of Catherine Leroux’s Le mur mitoyen,” writes the jury, “Lazer Lederhendler deftly captures the spirit, meaning, and emotional punch of the French text. Writing with grace and imagination, he creates a compelling work of art while serving and respecting the original.”

Lazer Lederhendler is a full-time translator based in Montreal and specializing in contemporary Québécois fiction and nonfiction. His translations have earned him many distinctions including the Governor General’s Literary Award and the Cole Prize for Translation of the Quebec Writers’ Federation. His work has helped acquaint English-language readers with a new cohort of talented, innovative writers, such as Nicholas Dickner, Alain Farah, Perrine Leblanc, and Catherine Leroux.

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THE CHAT WITH LAZER LEDERHENDLER

 

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The Chat With 2016 Governor General's Award Winners Jon-Erik Lappano and Kellen Hatanaka

JELAPPANO HEADSHOT by Robert Scarborough_1

K_HATANAKA_HEADSHOT by Kiersten Hatanaka_1

The next chat with this year’s English-language Governor General’s Award winners is a conversation with Jon-Erik Lappano and Kellen Hatanaka. Jon-Erik and Kellen won this year’s award for Young People’s Literature (Illustrated Books) for their book Tokyo Digs a Garden.

Tokyo Digs a Garden marries text and illustration in a richly ornamented dream landscape that simultaneously suggests a digital and an organic world,” states the jury. “Kellen Hatanaka’s illustrations are inventive and groundbreaking and the hypnotic text by Jon-Erik Lappano conveys its message in a darkly humourous and elegant manner. A book for any age.”

Jon-Erik Lappano is an environmental educator, storyteller, and creative producer with curiosity and love of all things wild. He lives in Guelph, Canada, with his young and growing family. This is his first book.

Kellen Hatanaka is a designer and illustrator who lives in Toronto, Canada, with his wife, Kiersten. He is also the author and illustrator of Work: An Occupational ABC and Drive: A Look at Roadside Opposites …

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The Chat With Governor General's Award Winner Martine Leavitt

M_Leavitt

As we wrap up our special coverage of the 2016 Governor General's Awards for Literature, we are pleased to be in conversation with noted young adult author Martine Leavitt. Martine is this year’s English-language Governor General’s Award winner for Young People’s Literature (Text) for her book Calvin.

“In Martine Leavitt’s Calvin,” writes the jury, “A boy newly diagnosed with schizophrenia makes a pilgrimage across a frozen Lake Erie. Told in spare, beautiful prose, this transcendent exploration of reality and truth is funny, frightening and affirming. Calvin is an astonishing achievement.”

Martine Leavitt is the author of ten novels for young readers. My Book of Life by Angel, which received five starred reviews, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and winner of the CLA Young Adult Book of the Year. Other titles include Keturah and Lord Death, finalist for the National Book Award; Tom Finder, winner of the Mr. Christie's Book Award; and Heck Superhero, finalist for the Governor General’s Award. Her novels have been published in Japan, Korea, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands. Martine teaches creative writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

  
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THE CHAT WITH MARTINE LEAVITT

How was Calvin born?

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