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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The Chat: Trevor Corkum With 2015 Giller Finalist Anakana Schofield

Hello! I'm Trevor Corkum, and I'm pleased to join the 49th Shelf team to spearhead a new interview series, The Chat, which is generously sponsored by Publishing@SFU. To find out a little more about me, you can check out my website, but in a nutshell, I'm an author who's written fiction, essays, and creative non-fiction, and I have a new book forthcoming called The Electric Boy (Doubleday). 

I'm thrilled to be kicking off the series with a spotlight on the 2015 Giller Prize finalists: each of the five finalists has been gracious enough to answer five questions about their award-nominated books (Ed: also see our interviews with André Alexis, Rachel Cusk, Heather O'Neill, and Samuel Archibald). The Giller shortlist this year (and for that matter, the longlist) is being called one of the best in the 22-year history of the prize.

 

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49th Shelf will be featuring one Giller interview per day up until October 20th, accompanied by the first few pages of each book and also a chance to win the entire shortlist (see up top). We'll start with Anakana Schofield, author of Martin Johna book described by its publisher, Biblioasis, as "a darkly comic novel circuiting through the mind, motivations and preoccupations of a character many women have experienced but few have understo …

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The Chat: Trevor Corkum With 2015 Giller Finalist André Alexis

Hello! Trevor Corkum here again with the second installment of our spotlight on the 2015 Giller Prize finalists: each of the five finalists has been gracious enough to answer five questions about their award-nominated books (Ed: also see our interviews with Anakana Schofield, Rachel Cusk, Heather O'Neill, and Samuel Archibald). 49th Shelf will be featuring one Giller interview per day up until October 20th, accompanied by the first few pages of each book and also a chance to win the entire shortlist (see up top).

Today we have André Alexis talking about his book, Fifteen Dogs (Coach House), which has also been nominated for the Writer's Trust fiction award as well as the Toronto Book Awards.

Fifteen Dogs has the most unlikely of premises: "A bet between the gods Hermes and Apollo leads them to grant human consciousness and language to a group of dogs overnighting at a Toronto vet­erinary clinic." The Globe and Mail's Mark Medley calls it "A remarkable book. Insightful, wildly original and beautiful."

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THE CHAT, WITH ANDRE ALEXIS

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What did you immedia …

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The Chat: Trevor Corkum With 2015 Giller Finalist Heather O'Neill

Last week I was thrilled to introduce readers to the new interview series I'm doing with 49th Shelf—The Chat—through a special focus on the 2015 Giller Prize finalists. The first two interviews in this series were with Anakana Schofield (Martin John) and André Alexis (Fifteen Dogs). This week I'll be interviewing Heather O'Neill (Daydreams of Angels), Samuel Archibald (Arvida), and Rachel Cusk (Outline).

From a review in the Toronto Star of Daydreams of Angels:

"O’Neill is a wondrous writer whose clean declarative sentences push the stories forward. The strength of this collection is not just the stories’ delectable absurdity but also their wisdom. O’Neill reflects on the identity of artists, who she says cannot fully live in our world, but must dwell in a place apart to nourish their imaginations."

 

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THE CHAT, WITH HEATHER O'NEILL

What did you immediately do when you found out you’d made it onto this year’s Giller shortlist?

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Immediately after, let’s see. I had to sit with my head between my knees for a bit. I had eaten a lot of birthday …

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The Chat: Trevor Corkum With 2015 Giller Prize Finalist Samuel Archibald

Fresh off great interviews with Giller finalists Anakana Schofield, André Alexis, and Heather O'Neill, I'm pleased to turn the spotlight to Samuel Archibald, author of Arvida, a book of short stories that was originally published to great acclaim in French in 2011, then translated into English by Donald Winkler and published this year by Biblioasis. Arvida is actually a town in Quebec, and Archibald is from there. The Biblioasis team describe the book as follows:

"Samuel Archibald’s portrait of his hometown is filled with innocent children and wild beasts, attempted murder and ritual mutilation, haunted houses and road trips to nowhere, bad men and mysterious women. Gothic, fantastical, and incandescent, filled with stories of everyday wonder and terror, longing and love, Arvida explores the line which separates memory from story."

 

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THE CHAT, WITH SAMUEL ARCHIBALD

What did you immediately do when you found out you’d made it onto this year’s Giller shortlist?  

Samuel-Archibald-lores

I shouted and screamed like my favorite football team had just won the Superbowl on a H …

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The Chat: Trevor Corkum With 2015 Giller Prize Finalist Rachel Cusk

Welcome to the final post of our 2015 Giller Prize spotlight. It was a pleasure interviewing Anakana Schofield, André Alexis, Heather O'Neill, and Samuel Archibald and now I'm pleased to present my chat with Rachel Cusk. Rachel is nominated for her book Outline (HarperCollins Canada), "a novel in ten conversations ... [that] follows a novelist teaching a course in creative writing during one oppressively hot summer in Athens."

From the New York Times review of Outline:

"By freeing the narrator of a body, the novel allows readers to accept a more complex portrait of a person — a self instead of a set of gender stereotypes. The result is a heartbreaking portrait of poise, sympathy, regret and rage, and with this book, Cusk suggests a powerful alternate route for the autobiographical novel."

Thank you again to Publishing@SFU for sponsoring this special Giller Prize installment of The Chat.

 

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THE CHAT, WITH RACHEL CUSK

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What did you immediately do when you found out you’d made it onto this year’s Giller shortlist?

I’m not sure I remember exactly what …

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