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

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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 Special Coverage: Griffin Poetry Prize Roundtable 2021

The Chat Special Coverage: Griffin Poetry Prize Roundtable 2021

By Trevor Corkum

We’re so pleased to be partnering once again with our friends at the Griffin Poetry Prize to profile this year’s thr …

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The Chat with Christopher DiRaddo

DIRADDO, CHRISTOPHER 1, credit Vincent Fortier

Christopher DiRaddo’s sophomore novel, The Family Way (Esplanade), is a dynamic and rich exploration of queer family, parenthood, and the deep bonds of love that sustain us. He’s our guest this week on The Chat.

Writer Ann-Marie MacDonald calls The Family Way "a love letter to families, chosen and otherwise, and an engagingly bittersweet tale of the city of Montreal."

Christopher DiRaddo is the author of two novels: The Family Way and The Geography of Pluto. He lives in Montreal where he is the founder and host of the Violet Hour LGBTQ+ reading series.

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Trevor Corkum: The Family Way explores many ideas of family: families of birth, chosen families, and new family configurations. Why was it important for you to tackle this subject in your new novel?

Christopher DiRaddo: I wanted to write a book that would have been helpful for me to read as a young gay man. In my early twenties, I had no idea what the rest of my life would look like. I only knew that it would be different from those in my family and my friends from high school. But I still couldn’t picture it.

What would life be like without a traditional family? Would I be lonely? Forgotten? Bored?

In the end, the opposite happened. It may have taken me a while to find them, but my chosen family has made my life …

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Alice Zorn's Montreal Books List

Book Cover Five Roses

Alice Zorn's new novel is set in Montreal's historic Pointe St-Charles neighbourhood, and is a story about history, community, connections, and friendship. And it is, unabashedly, also a love letter to Montreal.

In this list, she suggests more fiction with which to immerse yourself in this great city. 

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In all of these books set in Montreal, weather plays a starring role. Spring is glorious. Summer is manna. Autumn is beautiful, albeit melancholy. But winter always rules. 

Book Cover Sweet Affliction

The urban wasteland along Van Horne Avenue and bordering the rail tracks is described with ironic, yet affectionate precision in Anna Leventhal’s book of short stories, Sweet Affliction. Here, you can rent a house cheaply, have a drink at an establishment that doesn’t have a bar license, bury a pet rat, meet a man who’s wearing a shirt you once owned.

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Book Cover Wonder

There ar …

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Black Power in 1960s' Montreal and the Congress of Black Writers

Book Cover Fear of a Black Nation

The Montreal Congress of Black Writers took place over four days in 1968, and represented a landmark shift in Canadian Black consciousness. In his book, Fear of a Black Nation (which has just been awarded the Casa de las Américas Literary Award for Caribbean Literature), David Austin chronicles and analyzes the Black Power movement in 1960s' Montreal, and notes the Congress as the moment at which Montreal became central to International Black radical politics. 

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In August 1968 Le Magazine Maclean published an article by Boubacar Koné, a Senegalese journalist of Malian origin, on being Black in Montreal. Its title, “Être Noir,” could just as easily have been “Être et Noir” (Being and blackness) because, in recording the experiences of Africans, former British and French Caribbean subjects, and Canadian-born Blacks of several generations, the article captured the sense of change and sameness within Montreal’s Black population of the time. A political shift had begun to take place among both native-born Black Canadians and Caribbean immigrants, and particularly among people who increasingly drew inspiration from the Black Power Movement in the United States. Members of the growing Caribbean community began to turn their attention away from their ori …

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From Taxi Driver to Shenzheners: Publishing Xue Yiwei’s First Book in English

Book Cover Shenzheners

Publisher Linda Leith on how one of the most influential recent books in China came to be translated into English as part of the CanLit canon. 

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This story starts with Yan Liang, a Canadian friend who was born in China and lives in Montreal. She’s a journalist at Radio-Canada International and a distinguished literary translator into Chinese (she has translated Kim Thuy and Esi Edugyan, among others). A couple of years ago—in February 2014—she called me up to let me know about another Montrealer born in China, a writer named Xue Yiwei whose new short story collection, Taxi Driver (2013), had recently been chosen one of the most influential books of the year in China.

XueYiwei

By the time the three of us got together at Café Pekarna on Ste-Catherine Street on a wintry afternoon, Yan had sent me more information about Yiwei. I’d learned that his novel Desertion was one of the top ten 2012 books in China. That another novel, Dr. Bethune’s Children (2012,) had been banned in China for political reasons. That he was considered “the most charismatic …

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