Off the Page

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

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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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The Chat with Patrick DeWitt

TREVOR CORKUM cropped

deWitt_Patrick_new

This week we’re in conversation with Patrick DeWitt. His latest novel, French Exit, tells the story of Frances Price, widower and “Upper East Side force of nature,” her layabout son Malcolm, and their ageing cat Small Frank, who Frances believes houses the spirit of her late husband.

Quill & Quire says “DeWitt’s absolute mastery over this approach is a thing of beauty: every nuance, scene, character, and snippet of dialogue is pitch perfect.” The New Yorker, meanwhile, calls DeWitt “a stealth absurdist, with a flair for dressing up rhyme as reason.” 

Patrick DeWitt was born on Vancouver Island in 1975. He is the author of three critically acclaimed novelsUndermajordomo Minor, Ablutions, and The Sisters Brothers, which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and the Stephen Leacock Medal. It was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Scotiabank Giller Prize. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

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THE CHAT WITH PATRICK DEWITT

Trevor Corkum: French Exit is called a “tragedy …

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The Buzz: 5 New Books with Great Reviews

Part of the excitement of a new literary season is watching certain books build momentum because of great reviews and blurbs. Here are five of those very books.

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NIGHT OF POWER, BY ANAR ALI

The Buzz:

"An especially important and accomplished story...elegant, complex, but propulsive and strongly cinematic."
—David Chariandy, author of Brother

“Anar Ali’s Night of Power is a searing and beautiful novel. With perfect pitch, the story glides between the perspectives of father, mother, and son. It is an honest and utterly engaging meditation about love and loss, tenderness and violence, adaptability and delusion, dislocation and rebirth.” 
—Lawrence Hill, author of The Book of Negroes and The Illegal

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THE RED CHESTERFIELD, BY WAYNE ARTHURSON

The Buzz:

"The mark of any great story is when the reader never wants it to end. Wayne Arthurson's The Red Chesterfield pulled me into an alluring world of magic and mystery, a slow tease of crisp, compelling writing. A ten!
" —Award-winning mystery writer Peggy Blair (who pens the Inspector Ramirez serie …

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The Chat with Michael Crummey

6123_Crummey_Michael_Photo Credit Arielle Hogan 2019

Michael Crummey was recently longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize for his novel The Innocents, a haunting story of two siblings orphaned in a remote cove in Newfoundland.

Kirkus Reviews calls The Innocents “An unusual, gripping period novel from a much-honored Canadian writer.” The Toronto Star says, “its beauty is restrained, weighted and often heartbreaking.”

Michael Crummey is the author of a memoir, Newfoundland: Journey into a Lost Nation; three books of poetry including Arguments with Gravity, winner of the Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award for Poetry; and a book of short stories, Flesh & Blood. His first novel, River Thieves was a finalist for the 2001 Scotiabank Giller Prize; and his second novel, The Wreckage, was a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. His third novel, Galore, won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize (Canada and the Caribbean) and was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award. His most recent novel, Sweetland, was also a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award. He lives in St. John's, Newfoundland.

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THE CHAT WITH MICHAEL CRUMMEY

Trevor Corkum: The Innocents is a dark and richly imagined story of a brother and sister living alone in a secluded cove in historical Newfoun …

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The Chat with Governor General's Literary Award Winner Gwen Benaway

Gwen Benaway_Author Photo_Credit

Next up in our special 2019 Governor General’s Award edition of The Chat is our conversation with Gwen Benaway. Her collection Holy Wild won this year’s Governor General’s Award for Poetry.

Ed note: This post has been updated in light of an investigation into Gwen Benaway's claims of Indigenous identity. Benaway has not, at the time of this writing, responded to evidence that she has misrepresented her status. We have removed all references to that claimed identity so that it does not continue to occupy space in Indigenous literature.

Gwen Benaway is the author of previous poetry collections Ceremonies for the Dead and Passage. Holy Wild was also named a finalist for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry, the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Poetry, and the Publishing Triangle Award for Trans and Gender-Variant Literature, and longlisted for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award. Benaway is also the editor of an anthology of fantasy short stories titled Maiden Mother and Crone: Fantastical Trans Femmes. She has been a finalist for the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ writers from the Writers' Trust of Canada, and her personal essay, "A Body Like A Home," was the Gold Prize Winner for the National Magazine Awards in Personal Journalism. day/break, her fourth book of …

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The Chat with Governor General's Literary Award Winner Don Gillmor

gillmor_don © Ryan Szulc

The winner of the 2019 Governor General’s Award for Nonfiction is Don Gillmor for his memoir To The River: Losing My Brother.

The jury says, “In clear, crisp prose, Gillmor has written a book that is searingly honest and heartbreakingly sad. From the story of his brother’s life and death to a larger exploration of white, middle-aged masculinity, Gillmor impresses us with his quiet insights. At one point, he asks, 'What are we anchored by?' His hard-earned wisdom holds us, here and beyond.”

Don Gillmor is one of Canada's most accomplished writers. He is the author of the bestselling, award-winning, two-volume Canada: A People’s History, and his journalism on suicide has earned him both a National Newspaper Award and a National Magazine Award. Gillmor’s other books include the novels Kanata, Mount Pleasant, and Long Change, all of which were published to critical acclaim, and nine children’s books, two of which were finalists for a Governor General’s Literary Award. He lives in Toronto, Ontario, with his wife and two children.

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THE CHAT WITH DON GILLMOR

totheriver

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