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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Summer Contest: Tell Us How It Was!



Want to win some great prizes from 49th Shelf this summer, including a gorgeous e-reader or limited editions of Canadian classics? Write a thoughtful review or comment of a book you’ve read and you’ll have the chance to do just that.

Our job here on 49th Shelf is to make it easy for you to find your next great Canadian read. We do that via expertly curated book lists, guest posts and author interviews, and more. In addition, 49th Shelf members help each other out with recommendations and reviews—and we want even more of these!

You'll see the "Community Reviews and Comments" panel just under the cover image on every title listing page on the site. It looks just like this and it's really easy to add your review or note:


Until August 31, every review or comment you contribute for any book on the site enters you to win some swell prizes.


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Tell Us How It Was: Post-Holiday Edition


If you're like us, you're fighting your way into 2014, trying to get a grip on work and life, inching away from holiday excesses, and hoping that if you tell the New Year enough times that it will be bright and brilliant, it simply will be. A little contest to the rescue: Tell Us How It Was, where your review of a Canadian book you read this holiday (or in 2013 in general) gets you a chance to win five books of your choosing from our Most Anticipated Spring Fiction list.

Until January 31, 2014, every review you post on the site—from a few sentences to a few paragraphs—gets you one chance to win the five-book prize pack. A random draw will determine the winner.

Everyone who's anyone is agreeing that 2014 stands to be one of the most stellar Canadian fiction years this country has ever seen, so this is a great chance to bite right into it! Good luck.

PS: To fuel your cold-weather reading, check out our Lit Wish List page for ideas.

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49th Summer Contest

With excitement building about what promises to be another stellar fall for CanLit, we're launching a contest today that will run till August 31, 2014, and which will see winners receive a bounty of the year's best new fiction.

All you need to do is:

  • Tweet us a pic of you in the company of your Canadian-authored summer read, and tag it with #49thSummer;

OR (for those who are camera-shy)

  • Tweet us a pic of that same read in a heavenly summer setting (looking glorious on a patio table? nestled in white sand? sidling up to a chilled glass of wine?), tagged again with #49thSummer.

This will automatically enter you into our draw to win five books from our 2014 Fall Fiction Preview. The five books will be the winners' choice.

There will be three winners, and we'll announce them in the first week of September.

Snap away!

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Shining Light on School Libraries With a $500 Holiday Contest


Every year at we run a holiday contest that ends up with one lucky member winning a lot of books. This year is no different and our holiday contest is on until December 12th, so don’t miss your chance to win big!

This year we are using our contest to shed light on an important issue that is very close to our hearts (and we guess many of yours as well): school libraries.

Year after year, studies tell us that teachers and teacher-librarians spend hundreds of their own dollars to buy books and learning materials to help stock their classrooms and libraries’ shelves. Without teachers’ own contributions and school fundraising events, school libraries can turn into barren rooms that aren’t fun for children, diminishing the likelihood that these children will grow up with a love of—or even a capacity for—reading. This is especially true in low-income areas.

The Ontario Library Association confirms that, “Students who are in schools without a staffed and resourced library program are not receiving the same education as students who have school libraries.”

“Students who are in schools without a staffed and resourced library program are not receiving the same education as students who have school libraries.”

To support teacher-librarians an …

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Project Bookmark Canada's Carol Shields Celebration and Contest


Miranda Hill, author of the acclaimed short story collection Sleeping Funny and the founder of Project Bookmark Canada, announces the newest Bookmark going up this Thursday in Winnipeg, and offers you a chance to win a thrilling prize pack of Carol Shields titles.


At Project Bookmark Canada, we’re turning the library inside out, bringing text from stories and poems to the exact physical locations where literary scenes take place. With the help of readers across the country, we’re building a national network of sites and stories so that we can all read our way across Canada.

the republic of love

On October 24, it’s lucky Bookmark 13: The Republic of Love by Carol Shields, in Winnipeg’s Osborne Village. Carol Shields’ work has introduced many readers across the country and around the world to Winnipeg, so it seems fitting that this Bookmark is introducing Project Bookmark Canada to the city. And does the city ever shine in The Republic of Love, a story about the people and places that steal our hearts. Winnipeg is so much a part of the novel that it’s almost …

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