Off the Page

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

Latest Blog Posts
Book Cover Spindrift

Spindrift: A Canadian Book of the Sea

By [Kerry Clare]

The gorgeous result of a five year quest for Canadian nautical writings. 

read more >
Book Cover Almost There

The 13 Worst Holidays in Canadian Literature

By [Kerry Clare]

Some very good reasons to stay home with a good book. 

read more >
The Chat, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, First Nations

The Chat With Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

By [Trevor Corkum]

This week on the Chat, we’re in conversation with acclaimed writer and musician Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, author of …

read more >
Book Cover Better Nature

Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2017 Poetry Preview

By [Kerry Clare]

Our Fall Preview continues with poetry, and an exploration of the incredible array of books readers will fall in love wi …

read more >
Apricot Tart from Okanagan Table

Summer Eats: Apricot Curd Tart

By [Kerry Clare]

A delectable treat from new cookbook, The Okanagan Table

read more >
Shelf Talkers: August Long Weekend, 2017

Shelf Talkers: August Long Weekend, 2017

By [Rob Wiersema]

Perhaps the first time CanLit and mohito have been aligned in the same sentence.

read more >
Book Cover Barrelling Forward

Winning Books: Spring 2017 (Part Two)

By [Kerry Clare]

Books that have been winning judge and jury hearts. 

read more >
The Chat With Anne Fleming

The Chat With Anne Fleming

By [Trevor Corkum]

This week we turn to magical YA fiction on The Chat. I’m in conversation with BC-based author Anne Fleming, author of …

read more >
Book Cover Snacks

Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2017 Non-Fiction Preview

By [Kerry Clare]

Books that will deepen your connections to the world all around you. 

read more >
Book Cover Sidewalk Flowers

Notes from a Children's Librarian: Books on Kindness and Caring

By [Kerry Clare]

Picture books featuring traits from character-based education. 

read more >

Profiling Carolyn Black: [warning: photographic evidence]

The Odious Child by Carolyn Black.

Challenge: To profile an author who is notoriously shy about being profiled in the media.

Solution: Let her suggest that she be left out of the process save for a mysterious envelope.

To know something about Carolyn Black—author of the short story collection The Odious Child (Nightwood Editions)—I should first tell you something about me personally. If all goes to plan, by the end of this piece you'll know everything yet nothing that could be tied to a PIN.

Something about me: If you let me tell your story, I'll oblige. I'm writing this from Saving Gigi at Bloor and Ossington. I don't live in this neighbourhood. I've just sent a text to a friend which reads: "Finally looking at the images Carolyn Black sent for her CSI-like author profile. Laughing too loud at toenail clippings. May have to pick me up from the precinct."

Something about Carolyn Black: Carolyn Black will palm you an envelope at a reception for the Trillium Book Awards with the express instruction not to open the envelope that contains four smaller envelopes, each housing a sample of Carolyn's body. Each sample has been photographed, albeit carefully-crafted, and stored on the flash drive Carolyn slips into your other hand. While this encounter has its beginnings—you'd anticipated the images (if …

Continue reading >

Six Books I'm Rereading: A List by Elizabeth Hay

Elizabeth hay

Elizabeth Hay’s latest novel is Alone in the Classroom. Her other works include Late Nights on Air, which won the Scotiabank Giller Prize and has been an enormous national bestseller, as well as A Student of Weather (finalist for The Giller Prize and the Ottawa Book Award), Garbo Laughs (winner of the Ottawa Book Award and a finalist for the Governor General’s Award) and Small Change (stories). In 2002, she received the prestigious Marian Engel Award. Elizabeth Hay lives in Ottawa.

Man from the Creeks

The Man from the Creeks, Robert Kroetsch, 1998: Kroetsch’s sudden death in June made me pick up his last novel once again. I came to it for the first time a few years ago, ten years after it was published (I often come late to books) and fell in love with its tender, amused and desperate tone. What underlies the novel/adventure/yarn/love story is Robert Service’s ripping poem “The Shooting of Dan McGrew.” The poem calls to the storyteller/poet in Kroetsch and the resulting 307 pages are perfect.

Continue reading >

On the Insidious Absence of Stories, and Bridging Ethnic Solitudes: Guest Post by Eva Stachniak

Eva Stachniak

Eva Stachniak's debut novel, Necessary Lies, won the Amazon.com/Books in Canada First Novel Award in 2000. The Winter Palace, a novel of Catherine the Great will be published in January of 2012 in Canada, U.S., U.K., Holland, and Poland. She lives in Toronto where she is at work on her next novel about Catherine the Great.

I’m Canadian and I’m Polish. I have two internal voices in two languages that have become indelible parts of myself. I’m a North American and a European, for both cultural traditions have shaped me and both demand that I listen to their arguments. To complicate it further, I was born in Eastern or New Europe, as the lands from behind the former Iron Curtain are often called, in what Timothy Snyder, the Princeton historian of 20th century atrocities, calls the bloodlands.

I am also a writer.

Two decades ago I started writing about Polish immigrants to Canada who, like me, arrived here in the aftermath of the Solidarity crisis in search of a home. I wrote in English, not only because I was a graduate student of English at McGill, but also because English allowed me to tell these Polish stories to readers who did not share my ethnic background.

The characters of these early stories are forced to re-examine their heritage. Having left their homel …

Continue reading >

Sneak Peek: Brian Francis Reads from Natural Order (Doubleday Canada)

Brian Francis (Photo credit: Paula Wilson)

June 9, 2010, four intrepid writers took to the stage at The Gladstone Hotel to participate in Literary Death Match, an international touring event created by Todd Zuniga. It's good fun and not nearly as cutthroat as it sounds, just four writers reading from new or published works, then judged onstage by a panel of peers, the winner decided by a random task such as a cupcake toss or dance-off. (And, somehow, it's one of the more literary gatherings you'll hope to attend.) I had the pleasure of judging last winter's Toronto event and produced and co-hosted June's. (Look for us again this November with a special Giller des Refuses edition!)

That night, a fresh-faced, pleasantly-groomed fellow approached me to ask if it was going to fly with the audience if he read a sad passage from his upcoming novel. It was Brian Francis and this is what you need to know. The same guy who will make you cry this fall when Natural Order publishes with Doubleday Canada is the same guy who wrote the hilarious 2009 Canada Reads contender, Fruit about a boy with talking nipples and the same guy who maintains one of the most earnest blogs I've encountered in a good, long time, Caker Cooking—"from casseroles to canned corn, this is the best of the worst of mangiacake cuisine."

But, rememb …

Continue reading >

Imperfect People: A Book List by Caroline Adderson

Caroline Adderson's headshot

Caroline Adderson is the author of two internationally published novels (A History of Forgetting, Sitting Practice), two collections of short stories (Bad Imaginings, Pleased To Meet You), and three books for young readers (Very Serious Children, I, Bruno, Bruno For Real).Her work has received numerous prize nominations including the Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist, the Governor General's Literary Award, the Rogers' Trust Fiction Prize, and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. A two-time Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and three-time CBC Literary Award winner, Caroline was also the recipient of the 2006 Marian Engel Award for mid-career achievement. Her latest novel is The Sky is Falling.

I am partial to imperfect characters, the kind of people we sidestep in real life because they make us uncomfortable, because we are afraid of them, because we are afraid of being them. How much easier to turn and face them when they are between the covers of a book! This embracing of the imperfect exemplifies, I think, what the act of reading (and for that matter writing) actually is -- an act of compassion: com + pati = to suffer with. Through literature we gain privileged access to the private thoughts and feelings of a character and so become them and suffer with them. Oddly, only as I …

Continue reading >

The Randomizer

Load New Book >
X
Contacting facebook
Please wait...