Off the Page

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

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Introducing the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Crisis Teacher Diary

Introducing the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Crisis Teacher Diary

By Allison Hall

Welcome to the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Teacher Diary, a new blog series that takes a look at how teachers are coping wi …

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Book Cover A Forest in the City

Seeing the Forest AND the Trees

By Andrea Curtis

When self isolation and physical distancing has got your family cooped up, the next best thing might just be reading pic …

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The Chat with Amanda Leduc

The Chat with Amanda Leduc

By Trevor Corkum

Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space (Coach House) is a brilliant and startling book of essays by Am …

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Book Cover Dead mom Walking

Five Queer Memoirs to Keep You Going

By Rachel Matlow

When you’re done watching Tiger King and taking a break from playing Animal Crossing, here are five queer memoirs to k …

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Earth Hour: Books & Activities to Spark Discussion and Environmental Action

Earth Hour: Books & Activities to Spark Discussion and Environmental Action

By Allison Hall

On Saturday March 28th millions of people around the globe will turn off their lights and spend an hour without the use …

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Book Cover Sputnik's Children

The Books I Want to Read Again

By Kerry Clare

Rereading is comfort, and indulgence. It's a voyage back to the familiar, but one that's still rich with discovery, and …

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Neon BOOKS sign

How Do We Read When Words Fail Us?

By Kerry Clare

On the value of books and reading in a dangerous time.

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Book Cover Lost in the Backyard

Notes from a Children's Librarian: Catchy Beginnings

By Julie Booker

Great books with great starts.

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Books to Keep Young People Learning During Covid-19

Books to Keep Young People Learning During Covid-19

By Kiley Turner

There's never been a better time to highlight some great posts from our resident children's librarian, Julie Booker.

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Book Cover The Birth Yard

A Sense of Place: THE BIRTH YARD Book List

By Mallory Tater

"The Birth Yard embodies a sense of place that I, as a woman, have always felt inside."

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Enter to Win a Collection of the 2013 Trillium Award Finalists

The contenders for Ontario's 2013 Trillium Award—Ontario's leading literature award, with past winners including including Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Timothy Findley, and Anne Michaels—are formidable.

Any one of these books would demand top billing on your nightstand and an indulgent evening or two in to take them in, but the Ontario Media Development Corporation has given us permission to post a contest today in which the winner will receive the entire English-language 2013 shortlist; please see the full list here with all the details on the books. You just need to guess which finalist will win the award!

Just click on the "Pick a Winner, Be a Winner" tab in the top, right-hand corner of this page. Click on that tab to open the poll and enter to win. The contest closes at 5:00 pm ET, Tuesday, June 18.

We will draw for the winner June 19, and announce him/her shortly after that. Good luck!

NB: For those in Toronto, several of the shortlisted authors will be reading on the evening of June 17, 2013, at the Bram & Bluma Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street. There is no admission fee or RSVP required to attend—it is first come, first seated. Doors will open to the public at 6:30 pm, and the readings will commence at 7:00 pm. Please contact trillium2013@omdc.on.ca for further information.

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Catch These Authors at Canada's July Lit Fests in Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Nova Scotia

love-book

Yeehah! The festival season is beginning, so we're highlighting the final lists of authors appearing at the first four of the season: The Lakefield Literary Festival (Lakefield, ON), the Saskatchewan Festival of Words (Moosejaw, SK), Read by the Sea (River John, NS) and the Leacock Summer Festival (Orillia, ON). In a couple of weeks we'll do the same for Canada's August Lit Fests.

The Lakefield Literary Festival, running July 12–14, includes:

  • Linda Bailey
  • John Bell
  • John Boyko
  • Jean Murray Cole
  • Connie Brummel Crook
  • Lauren B. Davis
  • Michael Epp
  • Douglas Gibson
  • Thomas King
  • Lewis MacLeod
  • Enid Mallory
  • Lee Maracle
  • Esperança Melo
  • Alison Pick
  • Bill Slavin
  • Linda Spalding
  • Drew Hayden Taylor
  • Kathleen Winter

You can purchase tickets via this page.

The 17th Saskatchewan Festival of Words (Moosejaw) running July 18–21, includes:

  • Angie Abdou
  • Annabel Lyon
  • Candace Savage
  • Carmen Aguirre
  • CS Richardson
  • Catherine Banks
  • CJ Katz
  • Dave Bidini
  • Ken Babstock
  • Dawn Dumont
  • Greg Johnson
  • Linda Spalding
  • Melanie Schnell
  • Marie Louise Gay
  • Mary Balogh
  • Miranda Hill
  • Rosemary Griebel
  • Rabindranath Maharaj
  • Robert Currie
  • Ross King
  • Sheri-D Wilson
  • Shana Stock
  • Tom Wayman
  • Zoe Whittall
  • Wayne Arthurson

For the schedule, click here and to purchase tickets click here …

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The Chat with Kevin Hardcastle

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TREVOR CORKUM cropped

This week on The Chat we’re in conversation with Kevin Hardcastle. His debut novel In the Cage—about an ex-MMA fighter named Daniel trying to do right—is receiving rave reviews across the country.

The Globe and Mail called it a “fierce and beautiful novel." The Toronto Star says that “Hardcastle has a talent for sketching believable but noir-tinged criminal types with a few quick details and gestures.

Kevin Hardcastle is a fiction writer from Simcoe County, Ontario. He studied writing at the University of Toronto and Cardiff University. He was a finalist for the 2012 Journey Prize, and his stories have been published widely in Canada and anthologized internationally. Hardcastle’s debut short story collection, Debris, won the Trillium Book Award and the ReLit Award for Short Fiction.

**

THE CHAT WITH KEVIN HARDCASTLE

inthecage

Trevor Cor …

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The Chat with Derek Mascarenhas

Coconut Dreams - Author Photo - Credit Khadeja Reid

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Derek Mascarenhas' debut collection of short fiction, Coconut Dreams (Book*hug), explores the lives of Aiden and Ally Pinto and their family, and connects their world in suburban Ontario with the family’s ancestral village in Goa.

In a starred review, Quill and Quire says “Mascarenhas is brilliant in capturing the first-generation immigrant experience, with attention given to the particularities of being a South Asian kid growing up in a mostly white suburban town. The innocence of childhood is mired in the depths of something unseen but deeply felt.”

Derek Mascarenhas is a graduate of the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies Creative Writing Program, a finalist and runner-up for the Penguin Random House of Canada Student Award for Fiction, and a nominee for the Marina Nemat Award. His fiction has been published in places such as Joyland, The Dalhousie Review, Switchback, Maple Tree Literary Supplement, Cosmonauts Avenue, and The Antigonish Review. Derek is one of four children born to parents who emigrated from Goa, India, and set …

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Shameless: Marilyn Churley on Finding her Son and Reforming Adoption Disclosure

In the late 1960s, at the age of 19 and living far from home amid the thriving counterculture of Ottawa, Marilyn Churley got pregnant. Like thousands of other women of the time she kept the event a secret. Faced with few options, she gave the baby up for adoption.

Over 20 years later, as the Ontario NDP government's minister responsible for all birth, death, and adoption records, including those of her own child, Churley found herself in a surprising and powerful position—fully engaged in the long and difficult battle to reform adoption disclosure laws and find her son.

Both a personal and political story, her memoir, Shameless, is a powerful book about a mother's struggle with loss, love, secrets, andlies—and an adoption system shrouded in shame.

*****

49th Shelf: Shameless makes clear that issues around adoption are feminist issues. What has changed since your experiences in the 1960s in terms of stigma around unplanned or unwanted pregnancies? What has stayed the same?

Marilyn Churley: Adoption is a feminist issue for many reasons. As I said in the introduction to Shameless, history shows that women have always been coerced into living their lives as society deems appropriate, and tormented, punished and shamed when they didn’t comply. The double standard aro …

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