Off the Page

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

Latest Blog Posts
Book Cover Salma the Syrian Chef

Notes from a Children’s Librarian: Satisfying Endings

By Julie Booker

How do you create a sense of satisfaction in a story’s finale? The following books pull it off!

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49thShelf Summer Reads

Introducing the 49th Shelf Summer Books List: Part 2

By Kerry Clare

Our summer reads extravaganza continues with PART 2 of our Summer Books List, and once again, each and every title is up …

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Inclusive Learning, Diverse Books: Introducing Top Grade 2021

Inclusive Learning, Diverse Books: Introducing Top Grade 2021

By Spencer Miller

Welcome to the Association for Canadian publisher’s Top Grade: CanLit for the Classroom, a blog and preview video seri …

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Book Cover bread and water

Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2021 Nonfiction Preview

By 49thShelf Staff

New books about everything, including food, beauty, art, travel, singing, healing, grieving, shopping, aging, and so muc …

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Book Cover Unlocking

CanLit Yearning

By Amy LeBlanc

"At the heart of my novella and in each book on this CanLit list is a sense of desire or a yearning (for belonging, iden …

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The Chat with Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo

The Chat with Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo

By Trevor Corkum

This week we’re in conversation with political trailblazer Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo, whose memoir, The Queer Evangelist, …

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Book Cover The Prairie Chicken Dance Tour

Most Anticipated: Our 2021 Fall Fiction Preview

By 49th Shelf Staff

With new books by Miriam Toews, Dawn Dumont, Douglas Coupland, Marie-Renee Lavoie, Omar El Akkad, Zoe Whittall, Trudy Mo …

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Book Cover The Quiet is Loud

Speculative Fiction: Vast and Thrilling

By Samantha Garner

"As a reader and a lightly superstitious human, I can’t deny the pull of the unusual, the not-quite-real. I love books …

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Book Cover Travels in Cuba

Writing with Four Hands

By Marie-Louise Gay and David Homel

"That’s what the Travels series is all about: sending a resourceful, observant, unafraid (well, sometimes a little afr …

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Dazzling Debuts, As Picked by Mark Medley, Jared Bland, Steven W. Beattie, and Kerry Clare

tagged : debut, fiction, 2014, novel

First novels, as a lot, are exciting phenomena because they carry so much of an author's energy and ambition. The best of them are electric, marked with a confidence and uniqueness that sets them apart from the rest.

In today's post, Mark Medley, who's just moved from the National Post to the Globe and Mail as books editor; Jared Bland, arts editor at the Globe; Steven W. Beattie, review editor at Quill & Quire and author of the blog, That Shakespearean Rag; and our own Kerry Clare, editor here and author of the popular lit blog, Pickle Me This, choose their favourite Canadian debuts so far of 2014.

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Mark Medley's Picks

troop

throughthewoods

"Reading Nick Cutter's debut horror novel, The Troop, is just about the most fun I've had this year. Okay, I know Cutter is actually Giller Prize-nominated author Craig Davidson, but this is his first novel under the pen name. A violent yet surprisingly tender portrait of boyhood—forget Richard Linklater! I was also blown away by Emily Carroll's debut collection of illustrated stories, Through the Woods. These are old-school, slow- …

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Launchpad: ALL I ASK, by Eva Crocker

49thShelf Launchpad Logo

Last spring—as launches, festivals and other events were cancelled across the country—49th Shelf helped Canadian authors launch more than 50 new books with LAUNCHPAD. And now we're back this fall, but with a twist.

LAUNCHPAD 2.0 features new releases selected by great Canadian writers who've chosen books that absolutely deserve to find their way into the hands of readers.

We're kicking off with Zoe Whittall, who is championing Eva Crocker's debut novel, All I Ask.

Whittall writes, "All I Ask is a debut novel from celebrated Newfoundland short story writer Eva Crocker. It starts out with a bang—Stacey, our 26-year-old narrator, wakes up to the cops barging into her house and confiscating all computers and phones from the premises for potential illegal material, and the book follows Stacey's life in the aftermath of that confusing violation. An often funny, beautifully written novel that often reminded me of a play, set in the arts community in St. John's as Stacey hustles for acting work, falls in love and figures out who she is.

****

49th Shelf: W …

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5 Debut Authors in Search of a Book Launch

Book Cover The Jane Austen Society

Natalie Jenner's debut novel, The Jane Austen Society, will be released on May 26.

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Seeing one’s novel on a bookstore shelf for the very first time is so often the dream and the work of a lifetime. Sadly, debut authors have been hit particularly hard by the publishing industry repercussions from the current virus outbreak. New writers lack established audiences for their work, which makes it that much harder to see their release dates, marketing initiatives and in-person events postponed or even cancelled. The necessary news focus on the pandemic gripping our world also means, unfortunately, even less opportunity for book reviews and media interviews, a key component of increasing awareness of new authors and their books.

The following five Canadian authors (Anita Kushwaha, Ava Homa, Deborah Hemming, Erin Ruddy and Eddy Boudel Tan) have seen the cancellation of most if not all of the marketing events planned for their debut books and are trying to launch their books and their careers amidst tremendous uncertainty and stress. From wondering if physical copies of books will even get made or official release dates will hold firm, to seeing the cancellation of first-time speaking appearances at such noted industry events as the LA Times Book Festival, the Ottawa …

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The Randomizer

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