Off the Page

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

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Book Cover Instructor

9 Canadian Writers Who Run with the Night

By Beth Follett

A recommended reading list by the founder and publisher of Pedlar Press, whose new novel is Instructor.

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Book Cover Trip of the Dead

Apocalypses, Quests, and Survival

By Angela Misri

A great list of books for middle-grade readers by author of new novel Trip of the Dead.

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The Chat with Eva Crocker

The Chat with Eva Crocker

By Trevor Corkum

This week we’re in conversation with author Eva Crocker. Her debut novel, All I Ask, (House of Anansi Press) was publi …

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Book Cover A Town Called Solace

Mary Lawson: A Sense of Place

By Mary Lawson

"I don’t know if it’s a Canadian thing, or if people the world over are similarly drawn to the landscape they know w …

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Book Cover: Elvis Me and the Lemonade Summer

Most Anticipated: Our Books for Young Readers Preview

By 49thShelf Staff

Looking forward to some of the books for young readers (and readers of all ages) that we're going to be falling in love …

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I Read Canadian Day is back!

I Read Canadian Day is back!

By Geoffrey Ruggero

It’s back! After a very successful first year where authors, students, educators, librarians, parents and many other C …

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Book Cover The Adventures of Miss Petitfour

Notes From a Children's Librarian: Scrumptious Stories

By Julie Booker

DELICIOUS books about food and eating.

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Book Cover Firefly

The Kids: Are They Alright?

By Philippa Dowding

What is it like for a child who lives with a parent or who knows an adult struggling with a crisis of mental health, add …

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Where It All Happened: A List of Propulsive Settings

Where It All Happened: A List of Propulsive Settings

By Kiley Turner

Anyone who's read Emma Donoghue's The Pull of the Stars knows just how much the confines of that understaffed maternity …

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Book Cover Night Watch

Seeking Certainty in Uncertain Worlds

By Gillian Wigmore

A fascinating recommended reading list by the author of new book Night Watch.

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Megan Gail Coles: Writing Through Risk

Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club, by Megan Gail Coles, begins with a warning: "This might hurt a little. Be Brave." But oh, the rewards for the reader who dares to venture forth: Coles' fresh and vibrant storytelling is stirring and unforgettable, and this novel that's set over the course of a single day proves to be so much more expansive in terms of time and place. It's a literary tour de force, and one of the most powerful books you'll read this season.

We're pleased to feature Coles' recommended reading list, "Writing Through Risk."

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The books on this list challenge literary expectations and community norms while demanding artistic honesty and human compassion. This is fiction, nonfiction, poetry and drama from the whole of our country written by individuals taking creative risks. Some of these are small linguistic risks, forcing the structure of a sentence into a new shape. Others are grand demonstrative risks, urging the industry to move beyond traditional gatekeeping. Still others are risking more, risking everything, even safety and wellbeing, to speak their truth rather than sit silent and unseen. These books, to varying degrees, have given me courage to write as I do about things I feel are important to the place and people I love. I am …

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The Chat with Sheree Fitch

Sheree Fitch NEW by Keith Minchin Photo

In the immediate aftermath of last year’s tragedy in Portapique, Nova Scotia, Sheree Fitch penned a verse that captured the heartache so many were feeling. Originally broadcast in a national vigil to honour victims of the tragedy, Sheree’s poem Because We Love, We Cry was recently released in book format by Nimbus Publishing.

Sheree Fitch’s first two books, Toes in My Nose (1987) and Sleeping Dragons All Around (1989), launched her career as a poet, rhymster, and a “kind of Canadian female Dr. Seuss.” Fitch has won almost every major award for Canadian children’s literature since then, including the 2000 Vicky Metcalf Award for a Body of Work Inspirational to Canadian Children. She has over twenty-five books to her credit, including her bestselling and critically praised adult novel, Kiss the Joy As It Flies (2008).

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Trevor Corkum: Because We Love, We Cry was written as a response to the tragedy in Portapique and surrounding areas last year. How did the poem come to life for you?

Sheree Fitch: That Sunday, as things unfolded, we were franti …

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The Chat With 2016 Governor General's Award Winner Colleen Murphy

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Next up in our special coverage of this year’s Governor General’s Awards is our chat with Colleen Murphy, winner of this year’s GG Award for Drama (English) for her play Pig Girl.

This year’s jury states, “Colleen Murphy weaves a masterfully structured examination of humanity within our most inhumane moments. Pig Girl forces us to relentlessly bear witness to a single night of horror that echoes the silenced ongoing violence against women. Difficult and harrowing, it asks us to acknowledge our collective responsibility. Arresting. Undeniable. Unforgettable.”

Colleen Murphy was born in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, and now divides her time between Toronto and Edmonton. Some of her other plays include The December Man (L’homme de décembre), which won the 2007 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama, the Carol Bolt Award, and the Alberta Theatre Projects Enbridge playRites Award; Armstrong’s War; and The Goodnight Bird. She is also librettist of Oksana G., which gets its world premiere at Tapestry Opera in May 2017, and an award-winning filmmaker whose distinct films have played in festivals around the world.

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THE CHAT WITH COLLEEN MURPHY

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The Chat With Gregory Scofield

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TREVOR CORKUM cropped

For our first Chat of 2017, we turn to poetry and consider the themes of witnessing and reconciliation. I’m in conversation with 2016 Writers’ Trust of Canada Latner Poetry Prize winner Gregory Scofield, whose most recent collection, Witness, I Am, explores the lives and stories of some of Canada’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

The Latner jury wrote, in part, “For seven collections of poetry, Gregory Scofield has impressed us with his memorable lyrics and keen eye for the finer details. His forms embrace the musical, the documentary, and the experimental in a vision of risk and generosity ... He has courage to let us in, and the patience to help us understand.”

Gregory Scofield is Red River Métis of Cree, Scottish and European descent whose ancestry can be traced to the fur trade and to the Métis community of Kinesota, Manitoba. He has taught First Nations and Métis Literature and Creative Writing at Brandon University, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, and the Alberta College of Art + Design. He currently holds the position …

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