Off the Page

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

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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 Special Coverage: Griffin Poetry Prize Roundtable 2021

The Chat Special Coverage: Griffin Poetry Prize Roundtable 2021

By Trevor Corkum

We’re so pleased to be partnering once again with our friends at the Griffin Poetry Prize to profile this year’s thr …

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Filling the Gaps, Minding the Gaps: the Unconventional (Mostly) Small Town Girls of CanLit

My latest poetry collection, Gaptoothed, is about my own bashful, lusty Wife of Bath smile. Yet it is also about gaps in identity, memory, history—flaws, holes, spaces and absences, that when looked at from a certain angle, become powerful instruments of poetic expression. The collection, released by Gaspereau Press this past spring, is also about gender, girlhood, and the unconventional and vulnerable girls who too often fall through the cracks—or gaps—in a system that was never built to help the likes of them. The collection is dedicated to my late grandmother; she was supposed to be one of forgotten, cast-aside girls, but her tremendous wit, her razor-sharp tongue, her vitality made her unforgettable. The book is about the beauty of the one-of-a-kind that tells you off for not noticing sooner.

The books listed below have filled in the gaps for me over the years on a literary landscape that so often seemed full of holes—that still seems to be short so many vibrant and vital stories and poems and voices.

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Monkey Beach, by Eden Robinson

This is …

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Tanya Lloyd Kyi's Small-Town Tales

Book Cover Anywhere But Here

Tanya Lloyd Kyi is the author of the YA novel Anywhere But Here, the story of young man whose small town is a trap he's desperate to escape. But there is often more to small-town life than it seems, as Lloyd Kyi had to figure out for herself and as she portrays in her novel. As she explains here, however, her small-town parents didn't think her message was clear...

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My parents were offended when they read the first draft of my novel. And my sister suggested I change the name of our town. 

 “It’s a little harsh,” she said, of my portrayal.

 “Didn’t you read the last chapter?” I asked. “It’s redemptive.”

I admit it: I love small town jokes. You know you’re from a small town when you don’t use your turn signal, because everyone knows where you’re going. You know you’re from a small town when you schedule a party according to the police schedule, because you know which officers will bust you. You know you’re from a small town when you dial a wrong number and talk for 15 minutes anyway.

Those of you who grew up in the big city will think these are exaggerations. And you will be wrong.

I spent every teenage day plotting my escape from the truth of these jokes. I wanted out of my small town more badly than I wanted my backcombed hair to last th …

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Valgardson’s Reading List

In Valhalla’s Shadows is a thrilling crime novel with an extraordinary cast of characters set on the shores of Lake Winnipeg. In it, W.D. Valgardson shapes a portrait of small-town living while masterfully weaving in threads of Icelandic mythology as well as discussions of contemporary issues such as systemic racism within the justice system and the lasting effects of PTSD on first responders.

In this recommended reading list, he shares other titles that explores these themes and ideas. 

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Ten Years in Winnipeg, 1870-79, by Alexander Begg and Walter R. Nursey

This journal written during the turbulent years of Winnipeg’s birth gives a raw chronology of the events that would determine the city’s future, presents characters determined to wrest fortunes from the land, and provides insights into the machinations that made some people fortunes. There is nothing polished about the narrative and that is what makes it valuable. It is available online.

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