Off the Page

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

Latest Blog Posts
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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On Our Radar

"On Our Radar" is a monthly 49th Shelf series featuring books with buzz worth sharing. We bring you links to features and reviews about great new books in a multitude of genres from all around the Internet.

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Red Jacket, by Pamela Mordecai

Reviewed by Dana Hansen in Quill & Quire: 

"The first novel from Jamaican-born poet, short-story writer, and scholar Pamela Mordecai is a deliberately paced, trenchant story of one woman’s coming of age on the fictional Caribbean island of St. Chris, and her difficult journey away from the security and familiarity of her loving home to find a place for herself in the wider world...

Despite being thematically heavy, Red Jacket is an accomplished, intelligent novel. It is to be savoured for its multiple layers of meaning and—especially—its richness of language."

Read the whole review

And don't miss Pamela Mordecai's "Novels of the Caribbean" list from last month.

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Born to Walk, by Dan Rubinstein

Reviewed by Zsuzsi Gartner in The Globe and Mail

"From a group walk in Glasgow meant to boost mental health, and a pilgri …

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On Our Radar

"On Our Radar" is a monthly 49th Shelf series featuring books with buzz worth sharing. We bring you links to features and reviews about great new books in a multitude of genres from all around the Internet. 

*****

Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall, by Suzette Mayr

Featured on CBC Book's Magic 8 Q&A series

"...it was definitely a surprise when I figured out I'd internalized and then reproduced names from the television show Downton Abbey in my new novel without realizing it. I'd deliberately chosen the name "Crawley Hall" as the name of the main building, but only because I liked the sound of "crawl." But then only very late in the writing process I realized I'd also used the names Edith and Carson, and I'm pretty sure there are other Downton Abbey influences in there that I haven't recognized yet. That show irritates me so much: I hate it, but I love it. I can't believe it infiltrated my brain like that. I also accidentally copped from Alice in Wonderland without realizing it too: I have a character in my new book who wears a Cheshire Cat watch, and somehow two characters both named Alice, and jackrabbits and an obsession with time. Clearly I don't have a single original thought in my head."

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The Chat, with GGs Winners Sydney Smith and JonArno Lawson

In our final interview of the Governor General’s special edition of The Chat, we speak to JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith, joint winners of the 2015 English-language Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature (Illustrated), for Sidewalk Flowers.

JonArno2015-sm(1)

JonArno Lawson is the author of several award-winning books of poetry for children and adults, and is a four-time winner of the Lion and the Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Poetry. He has been most inspired in his work by his own children, and received a Chalmers Fellowship Award in 2007 to research children’s lap and bouncing rhymes cross-culturally in different communities across Toronto. Born in Hamilton, Ontario and raised nearby in Dundas, JonArno Lawson now lives in Toronto.

Sydney Smith. Photo Credit- D. Edwards

Sydney Smith discovered his love of children’s illustration while studying drawing and printmaking at NSCAD University in Halifax. Some of his first experiences illustrating children’s books were for the new editions of Sheree Fitch’s older books (Mabel Murple, There Were Monkeys in My Kitchen, and …

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On Our Radar

"On Our Radar" is a monthly 49th Shelf series featuring books with buzz worth sharing. We bring you links to features and reviews about great new books in a multitude of genres from all around the Internet.

*****

Book Cover Wild Rose

Wild Rose, by Sharon Butala 

Reviewed by Catherine Ford in the The Calgary Herald: "There is only one word appropriate for Sharon Butala’s latest book: Beautiful. Wild Rose is simply beautiful.

No words of mine can do it justice because reading Wild Rose is a lock on your heart, a catch in your throat and best of all, a glimpse into the lives of our great-grandparents and every other immigrant to a wild and unforgiving land. The CPR may have “opened” the West, but it was those people who came to the end of the line, or close to it, who took the promise of a new life and land and left everything and everybody they knew to be pioneers."

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Do You Think This is Strange?, by Aaron Drake Cully

Starred Review in Publisher's Weekly: "In Cully Drake's outstanding debut, it takes punching the quarterback, getting expelled and being reunited with a lon …

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