Off the Page

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

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Book Cover Best Canadian Poetry 2020

A Record of Literary History: Best Canadian Poetry 2020

By Marilyn Dumont

An excerpt from Marilyn Dumont's introduction to BEST CANADIAN POETRY 2020.

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Book Cover Book of Donair

The Donair: Canada's Official Food?

By Lindsay Wickstrom

Excerpt from BOOK OF DONAIR explores how a bitter rivalry between Halifax and Edmonton helped propel the donair to be de …

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Book Cover My Ocean is Blue

Notes From a Children's Librarian: Questions, Questions

By Julie Booker

Great picture books that engage with questions and encourage readers to think about answers.

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Book Cover Gutter Child

Most Anticipated: Our 2021 Spring Fiction Preview

By 49thShelf Staff

Exciting debuts, and new releases by Christy Ann Conlin, Pasha Malla, Eva Stachniak, Jael Richardson, and more.

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Book Cover Better Luck Next Time

Patriarchy Lies: Women Are Funny

By Kate Hilton

A funny woman reading list by the author of new novel Better Luck Next Time.

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 The Chat with Eve Lazarus

The Chat with Eve Lazarus

By Trevor Corkum

Eve Lazarus has drawn back the curtain on some of Vancouver’s secret places. Vancouver Exposed: Searching for the City …

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Canadian Books of the Year: Chosen by Educators and Librarians

Canadian Books of the Year: Chosen by Educators and Librarians

By 49th Teachers

We asked educators and librarians to share their favourite Canadian books of 2020.

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Photo of two books tucked into a  knitted cozy against a backdrop of a minimalist tree bedecked with white lights.

Happy Holidays!

By Kerry Clare

This year, books were the one thing we could count on.

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The Chat with David Bateman

The Chat with David Bateman

By Trevor Corkum

Acclaimed writer David Bateman has just released his fabulous debut novel, DR SAD (University of Calgary Press). It foll …

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Christmas Tree Ornament of a Pile of Books

Have you Entered Our Books of the Year Giveaway Yet?

By Kerry Clare

All the titles on our 2020 Fiction: Books of the Year list are up for giveaway! Don't miss your chance to win.

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The Chat With Erin Frances Fisher

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TREVOR CORKUM cropped

It’s not every day you come across a collection of short stories with settings as diverse as revolutionary Paris, the moons of Saturn, and the ice roads of the Northwest Territories. But that’s exactly what Erin Frances Fisher offers up in her stellar debut, That Tiny Life.

Canadian Living says, “the stories offer honest and stripped-down snapshots of the human condition.” Author Eliza Robertson calls it “a bold, impressive collection.” This week Erin is our guest on The Chat.

Erin Frances Fisher’s stories have been published internationally in literary journals such as Granta, PRISM International, the Malahat Review, and Little Fiction. She was the winner of the RBC Writers’ Trust of Canada Bronwen Wallace Emerging Writers Award, The Malahat Review’s Open Season Award for Fiction, and PRISM International’s Short Fiction Grand Prize. Erin holds an MFA in Writing from the University of Victoria and teaches piano at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. She is working on her first novel. She lives in Victoria, B.C.

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THE CHAT WITH ERIN F …

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Erin Frances Fisher: The Pleasure of Details

That Tiny Life is the debut from Erin Frances Fisher, winner of the 2014 Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers, and was published earlier this year to rave reviews. In this reading list, she recommends books by authors who love good historical details just as much as she does. 

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Writing the stories in That Tiny Life took a lot of research—more research than I was used to—and this process surprised me by being incredibly fun. 

Some of that research was easier to access: my sister is a falconer and let me tag along when she went rabbit hunting with her hawk, and as a young kid I lived in Inuvik, NWT. Astronauts on the International Space Station livestream videos from space, and I found everything I needed about Civil War amputation via era-enthusiasts’ blogs and articles. 

The story that took the most time was “Da Capo al Fine,” set in Revolutionary Paris. I spent a lot of time virtually wandering Versailles and Paris using online maps’ street-view functions. Palaces that are now museums have displays on newspapers, parties and gambling, clothing, and the river baths. I also went to the library at the local university and took out a pile of books on harpsichord and pianoforte builders knowing that I was going to write about the switch of prominen …

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