Off the Page

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

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Books to Inspire Storytelling (With Tech Tools to Capture the Tales)

Books to Inspire Storytelling (With Tech Tools to Capture the Tales)

By Allison Hall

At the beginning of each summer, as school is winding its way to the end, I inevitably pull out my books of ghost storie …

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Book Cover The Chai Factor

Reading Resilient Women

By Farah Heron

Stories of strong, resilient women finding ways to thrive.

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The Chat with Anthony De Sa

The Chat with Anthony De Sa

By Trevor Corkum

We continue our summer edition of The Chat in conversation with Toronto writer Anthony De Sa. His new novel, Children of …

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Book Cover The Work

Most Anticipated: 2019 Fall Fiction Preview

By 49th Shelf Staff

The novels, story collections, and drama that readers will be loving in the second half of 2019. 

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Shelf Talkers: Marilyn Monroe, YA Romance, Magic Basketball, and More

Shelf Talkers: Marilyn Monroe, YA Romance, Magic Basketball, and More

By Rob Wiersema

In a lot of ways, reading is the perfect summer reading project: you get to accomplish something AND you don’t have to …

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Book Cover Seaside Treasures

Books Beat Boredom: 8 Things for Your Kids to Do this Summer

By Kerry Clare

Engaging titles that also suggest amazing ways to engage with and have fun in the natural world. 

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Book Cover Simon and Louise

Super Summer Reading Guide

By Kerry Clare

20 titles that are sure to delight you. 

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Logo Read By the Sea Festival

Your 2019 Guide to Summer Literary Festivals

By Kerry Clare

Good things are happening across the country! 

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Leading Students on a Path of Self-Discovery: Sadia by Colleen Nelson

Leading Students on a Path of Self-Discovery: Sadia by Colleen Nelson

By Geoffrey Ruggero

As a fifteen-year-old adjusting to life in high school, Sadia begins to realize that growing up in Winnipeg brings many …

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The Chat with Kris Bertin

tagged : Short stories
Kris Bertin by Nathan Boone3

Kris Bertin is back. The Halifax-based writer’s highly anticipated second collection of short fiction, Use Your Imagination! is out now with Nimbus Publishing.

In a starred review in Quill & Quire, Robert Wiersema says the dark and often devastating stories in the collection demonstrate that the “contemporary short story is in solid, skilled hands.” Kris has kindly agreed to answer a few questions about his latest work.

Kris Bertin is a Halifax-based writer of novels, short stories, graphic novels, and screenplays. His first collection of short stories, Bad Things Happen, won the 2016 Writer's Trust of Canada's Danuta Gleed Award. He is a two-time winner of the Jack Hodgins ‘Founders’ Award for Short Fiction and his stories have been published in The Walrus, TNQ, The Malahat Review, PRISM International, and many others. Kris Bertin's graphic novel, a surreal mystery story set in a remote east coast village (co-created with artist Alexander Forbes), The Case of The Missing Men, was nominated for a Doug Wright Award. He and his screenwriting partner, Naben Ruthnum, have projects in development at Oddfellows Entertainment.

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THE CHAT WITH KRIS BERTIN

Trevor Corkum: Use Your Imagination! is your second collection of short fiction. What do you love most about the …

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Notes from a Children's Librarian: Text to Text

Our Children's Librarian columnist, Julie Booker, brings us a new view from the stacks every month.

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As part of the Language curriculum, primary readers are asked to make connections between books, identifying similarities. The following titles are paired through like-minded themes.

In Jack the Bear, by Christina Leist, prime ministers, philosophers, and scientists try to make the world a better place, while Jack the Bear sits with his honey pot, doing the simplest, yet arguably the most important job of all—smiling.

Similarly, in The Little Hummingbird, by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, Hummingbird tries to put out a forest fire with single drops of water from his beak. Both texts highlight the following messages: you can only do what you can do, and simple acts can bring about change.

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Two nonfiction tales by Monica Kulling share the big idea …

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Fiercely Feminist Fiction

In her third novel, The Last Resort, Marissa Stapley channels her feminist rage into a gripping thriller that reaches for justice, and in this recommended reading list, she finds solidarity with authors of other excellent recent books. 

*****

Last year, a distant cousin sent me an email about my novel Things to Do When It’s Raining. “It was lovely and heartwarming,” she wrote. “But . . . where’s your rage?” 

But I had just finished my novel, The Last Resort. In writing that book, I had poured all the rage I was feeling onto the page—about politics, about human rights violations, about the simple concept of love between two humans that's so often being complicated by small-minded bigots, about the #MeToo movement, and about my fear that the kind of future I had always imagined for my children was not going to be possible unless I did something about it myself. The result was a dark thriller unlike anything I had written before. The result was a furious book. 

I’ve noticed that many other authors are feeling just as furious as I was, and still am. Here’s a list of my favourite recent fiction reads. All of them have fierce female leads and a bone to pick with the patriarchy. I can’t get enough

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How to Die Like a Roman Emperor

Book Cover how to Think Like a Roman Emperor

Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius was the last famous Stoic philosopher of the ancient world. The Meditations, his personal journal, survives to this day as one of the most loved self-help and spiritual classics of all time. In How to Think Like a Roman Emperor, cognitive psychotherapist Donald Robertson weaves the life and philosophy of Marcus Aurelius together seamlessly to provide a compelling modern-day guide to the Stoic wisdom followed by countless individuals throughout the centuries as a path to achieving greater fulfillment and emotional resilience.

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The year is 180 AD. As another long and difficult winter draws to a close on the northern frontier, the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius lies dying in bed at his military camp in Vindobona (modern-day Vienna). Six days ago he was stricken with a fever, and the symptoms have been worsening rapidly. It’s clear to his physicians that he is finally about to succumb to the great Antonine Plague (probably a strain of smallpox) that has been ravaging the empire for the past fourteen years. Marcus is nearly sixty, physically frail, and all the signs show he’s unlikely to recover. However, to the physicians and courtiers present he seems strangely calm, almost indifferent. He has been preparing for this moment most of h …

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The Chat with Nancy Jo Cullen

Nancy Jo Cullen - PC Kristen Ritchie
TREVOR-CORKUM-cropped_small

We celebrate Pride month in conversation with Nancy Jo Cullen, author of the fabulous debut novel The Western Alienation Merit Badge (Buckrider/Wolsak & Wynn).  

2019 Amazon Canada First Novel Award winner Casey Plett calls the book, "A queer prairie novel of my dreams—electric, funny, hot, heartbreaking, scathing, like a mix of Sarah Schulman and Chandra Mayor. The Western Alienation Merit Badge flashes effortlessly back and forth between four decades of sisterhood, poverty, estrangement, grief, queerness and, well, alienation. And the ache, the ache of queer people and family."

Nancy Jo Cullen is the fourth recipient of the Writers’ Trust Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBT Emerging Writers. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph-Humber and her short story collection, Canary, was the winner of the 2012 Metcalf-Rooke Award. Her poetry has been shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Award, the Writers’ Guild of Alberta’s Stephan G. Stephansson Award and the City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize. She lived in Calgary for over tw …

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