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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Seeking Certainty in Uncertain Worlds

**Win a copy of Night Watch, one of the great books of fiction we've got up for giveaway this week! Don't miss  your chance to get a free copy of this book!**

Somewhere along the way I got the impression that the fundamental property of a novella isn’t its brevity, or that it’s stuck somewhere between a story and a novel, but that it’s this: a novella wrestles with the worst day of a protagonist’s life. I like the German tradition in novellen that the story comes to a surprising but logical end, which for me as a writer means I need to convince the reader there is no other possible outcome than the ending we arrive at together.

You’ll read a lot of different definitions of novellas, mainly about word length (10,000 to 50,000 words by some accounts, shorter or longer by others), but for me, the novella, like a poem, loves a turn, tastes its words as it delivers them, and lasts in the mind long after the book is closed.

This selection of Canadian works is short on novellas but each one is novella-ish in its love of language, its unforgettable characters, or its inarguable nature—some of these read like ur-texts, like they’ve always existed and we were lucky enough to find them washed up intact onshore.

One aspect or another of each of these books echoes a …

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Dennis Lee's Groundbreaking Alligator Pie is Reborn

Book Cover Alligator Pie

Poet Dennis Lee's children's classics Alligator Pie and Garbage Delight are brought back to life this month in sparkling new "classic editions" published by HarperCollins Canada. Though the popularity of Lee's work for children hasn't waned since the 1974 publication of Alligator Pie—which went on to sell hundreds of thousands of copies around the world—the book has been out of print since publisher Key Porter folded in early 2011. Thankfully, HarperCollins Canada's gain is all of ours, as they've bought up Lee's entire Key Porter backlist and will be reissuing his children's collections season by season.

Alligator Pie was a groundbreaking book. The world of Canadian publishing was very a different place in 1974, and there was very little regard for children's literature within the industry. In his memoir Stories About Storytellers, editor Douglas Gibson recalls that there were no children's bookstores and only one children's publisher, Tundra. He writes of his arrival at Macmillan Canada when “...the corridors... were alive with gossip of how [publisher Hugh Kane] was championing a crazy project, a couple of children’s books by a poem named Dennis Lee, illustrated by Hugh’s old friend Frank Newfield, that would need to sell ten times the usual number of …

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Keavy Martin on Inuit & Indigenous Cultures, and the history of Western Canada

Book Cover Stories in a New Skin

Keavy Martin is author of the new book Stories in a New Skin: Approaches to Inuit Literature. Here, she recommends some of her favourite reads on Inuit culture, Indigenous culture, and the history of Western Canada.

If This Is Your Land, Where Are Your Stories?: Finding Common Ground by J. Edward Chamberlin: This is one of the first books that really got me thinking about Indigenous rights—and about the stories through which we all lay claim to land. But the thing that still inspires me to this day is the way that Ted Chamberlin navigates these tricky issues. Weaving in and out of tales from his own, extensive experience in Indigenous territories around the world, Ted models for me what a good and responsible scholar should do: honour the expertise that exists outside of the Ivory Tower—and the readers out there too.

The Curse of the S …

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