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

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Picture Books for Black History Month

By [Kerry Clare]

A perfect opportunity to highlight these excellent books which celebrate Black heroes and Black culture. 

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Book Cover I Am Josephine

Notes From a Children's Librarian: Animal Books

By [Kerry Clare]

Great nonfiction titles to introduce "Animal Classifications," the Grade 2 science unit. 

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Book Cover Love Me True

Lesley Buxton: "Are You Still Married?"

By [Kerry Clare]

An excerpt from a new book of essays, Love Me True, which delves deep into the mysteries of long-term bonds. 

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Logo Growing Room Festival

Your 2018 Spring Literary Festival Guide

By [Kerry Clare]

Mark your calendars, everybody! Across the country, incredible festival volunteers have been conspiring to pull off amaz …

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The Chat with Canisia Lubrin

The Chat with Canisia Lubrin

By [Trevor Corkum]

Today on The Chat, a conversation with Canisia Lubrin, author of the superb debut collection of poems, Voodoo Hypothesis …

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Book Cover Happinesswise

Most Anticipated: Our 2018 Spring Poetry Preview

By [Kerry Clare]

Our Spring Preview continues with poetry, exciting debuts, new books by award-winners, and books by your favourites. 

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The Chat with Jordan Tannahill

The Chat with Jordan Tannahill

By [Trevor Corkum]

This week on The Chat, we speak to Jordan Tannahill, interdisciplinary artist and author of the much-anticipated debut n …

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Book Cover The Red Word

A #MeToo Reading List

By [Kerry Clare]

15 books to make you think more deeply about the #MeToo movement.

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The Recommend: February 2018

The Recommend: February 2018

By [Kiley Turner]

This week we're pleased to present the picks of Carrianne Leung (That Time I Loved You), Sharon Butala (Zara's Dead), Di …

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Shelf Talkers: White Magic in the 1800s, Rock in the 90s, and the World in 1979

Shelf Talkers: White Magic in the 1800s, Rock in the 90s, and the World in 1979

By [Rob Wiersema]

Think about it: curled up under a fluffy duvet, a steaming beverage close to hand, maybe some music playing, a bit of su …

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Maggie Helwig's Girls Fall Down named 2012 One Book: Toronto [author interview]

Girls Fall Down by Maggie Helwig (Coach House Books)

Maggie Helwig's Girls Fall Down—the acclaimed novel of fear and love set in a Toronto in crisis—has been named the 2012 One Book: Toronto title. The Toronto Public Library's city-wide book club runs throughout April.

The Toronto Public Library runs the One Book: Toronto program as part of April's "Keep Toronto Reading" festivities. Torontonians are encouraged to read one book together en masse and join in a city-wide conversation. Throughout April, the Toronto Public Library will host dozens of events concerning Girls Fall Down and its themes.

Past One Book: Toronto titles include Midnight at the Dragon Cafe (Judy Fong Bates), More (Austin Clarke) and Consolation (Michael Redhill).

About Girls Fall Down:

Girls Fall Down opens with a girl fainting in the Toronto subway. Her friends are taken to the hospital with unexplained rashes. Swarms of police arrive, and then the hazmat team. Panic ripples through the city, and words like poisoning and terrorism become airborne. Alex, a medical photographer who is hoping to chronicle the Toronto he knows on film before his sight fails completely, is a witness to this first episode. During the hysteria, he encounters an old girlfriend–the one who shattered his heart in the eighties, while she was fighting for social justice a …

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2012 Canadian Literary Festivals: Guide to the Pre-Season

"Literary Festival Season starts early here in Canada," we wrote last summer when we took you on a virtural journey of 2011 literary festivals from coast to coast. And indeed it does. We're only in February, but the 2012 fests are nearly upon us after a brief winter break, the busy calendar a spring-like harbinger of packed weekends to come. Which is not to say that these early festivals are a kind of warm-up, any less exciting than those held at the height of summer. A glance through the festivals' highlights makes clear that we're in the thick of things already.

The 6th Annual African Canadian Children's Literary Festival takes place on February 18 and 19 at York Woods Library in Toronto and features writing workshops, author readings, discussion panels, and storytelling by Mutamba Rainos and Sandra Whiting.

Galiano-Island-Literary-Festival

The Galiano Island Literary Festival runs from February 24 to 26 in Galiano Island BC with a focus this year on "Books: Windows to the Past, Present and Future." Events include readings by Kit Pearson, Zsuzsi Gartner, Susan Juby, Gary Geddes, Grant Lawrence, Timothy Taylor. Also scheduled are panel discussions, writing workshops, and a Bruce Springsteen celebration on the festival's closing day featuring a reading by Robert J. Wiersema.

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Gerry Fostaty on reliving a youthful trauma in his memoir As You Were: The Tragedy at Valcartier

Julie Wilson: The tragedy of which you speak in your book, As You Were: The Tragedy at Valcartier occurred in 1974 on a Canadian Forces Base in Valcartier, Quebec. During a routine lecture on explosives safety, the pin was pulled on a grenade thought to be a dud. Six teenaged boys died and fifty-four were injured. One hundred and forty boys survived, but were left traumatized. You've noted surprise that so many people remained silent in the aftermath, some who have since come forward to talk more openly after having read your book. Can you share some anecdotes?

Gerry Fostaty: I initially thought I was the only one to remain tight lipped. I was wrong. Only a few of the boys, who are all now in their fifties, have broken the silence, and even then, only to those they feel they could trust. Most didn’t even speak to their families about the explosion for years: not their parents, siblings, nor even their spouses later in life. It was just too painful to focus on the memory, much less to recount it to someone else. So much energy was spent avoiding the memory of the trauma that it seemed counterproductive to revisit that which we would have gladly escaped.

We would all like to position ourselves as strong, and a first response is to “man up, brave it out, suck it up and walk it off.” Not many men are immune to the cultural conditioning and the media influence that promotes the image of the strong silent male. There are men with visible scars on their bodies, who still refuse …

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Five Canadian speculative fiction titles for literary readers/ Five Canadian literary titles for speculative fiction readers (by Leah Bobet)

Five Canadian speculative fiction titles for literary readers

Book Cover Someone Comes to Town Someone Leaves town

Cory Doctorow, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town: Alan’s father was a mountain and his mother a washing machine, and he lives in Kensington Market, blanketing the neighbourhood with free pirate WiFi, trying to protect Mimi, the winged girl next door, from her abusive boyfriend, and defending his youngest brother, who is a set of nesting dolls, from their dead, wicked sibling—who’s been resurrected and is coming for him.

And all this, which should feel chaotic and undisciplined and wild, fits seamlessly into one of the most sobering, moving, beautifully crafted books I’ve ever read, rawly, complicatedly emotional and luminous, with a million true and contradictory and conflicted things to say about protection, acceptance, and the past.

Book cover The New Moon's Arms

Nalo Hopkinson, The New Moon’s Arms: Hopkinson’s most recent adult novel — she’s branched into young adult for her latest — is kind of note-perfect. Calamity, who is almost the modern Caribbean equivalent of Hagar Shipley, is going through …

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No Solitudes: Leah Bobet on CanLit's genre-bilingualism

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Dateline, 2008: I'm in my pajamas on a Wednesday night, wrestling with the first draft of the weirdest little novel I've ever tried to write. I tab over to the AOL chatroom where some of my best friends and workshop buddies hang out so we can write together, despite living in entirely different cities, and announce: "358 words of unsaleable book, 358 words of the boooook!"

Austin-based novelist Amanda Downum, then working on the first of a trilogy of second-world fantasy mysteries set in a world that's more Micronesia than medieval Europe, promptly chimes in with "I bet mine's more unsaleable than yours."

--and then we set up a poll on my blog and made them fight (the only rational response!), and got a hell of a laugh out of the whole thing, but that's not really the point. Both those books are now our debut novels: Amanda's The Drowning City made an award shortlist, and the sequel made a few more. My Above is coming out from Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic in March. The point is why we were so convinced, no matter that we loved them and were going to finish them anyway, that those books wouldn't sell. We were both taking some serious leaps with the genres we wrote in, and in my case, you couldn't even say what genre I was writing in. It was a novel that was since …

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