Off the Page

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

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The Chat: 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize Roundtable

The Chat: 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize Roundtable

By [Trevor Corkum]

In honour of all things Griffin, this week’s Chat is a conversation with the three 2018 Canadian Griffin Prize finalis …

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Book Cover The Third Person

Emily Anglin: "I like compartments in my writing"

By [Kerry Clare]

A recommended reading list from the author of The Third Person

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Book Cover Bird Bent Grass

Memoirists' Roundtable

By [Kerry Clare]

Seven authors on the challenges and pleasures of turning real life into story. 

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Book Cover Radiant Shimmering Light

Sarah Selecky: Permission to Write Beyond

By [Kerry Clare]

"...a writer perfectly attuned to the music of the present moment.”

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Book Cover Mary Anning's Curiosity

Notes from a Children's Librarian: Rocks and Minerals

By [Kerry Clare]

Nonfiction, picture books, and novels that support the Grade 4 curriculum. 

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Shelf Talkers: Slap On the Sunscreen and Dive Into a Book

Shelf Talkers: Slap On the Sunscreen and Dive Into a Book

By [Rob Wiersema]

Slather up with sunscreen (don’t miss the back of your neck—if you’re bent over a book, you will burn there, and i …

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Book Cover the Whole Beautiful World

From Here to There: Melissa Kuipers, Sue Bedford, and Shekhar Paleja

By [Kerry Clare]

A conversation about home and travel, genre—and almost getting killed by a stingray. 

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Book Cover Paper Teeth

On Our Radar

By [Kerry Clare]

Books with buzz worth sharing. 

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The Chat With Chelene Knight

The Chat With Chelene Knight

By [Trevor Corkum]

Chelene Knight’s debut memoir Dear Current Occupant (Bookt*ug) takes a closer look at childhood trauma and the uncerta …

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Book Cover The Very Marrow

Christine Higdon: Books That Take You on a Journey

By [Kerry Clare]

The author of The Very Marrow Of Our Bones offers a spectacular list of recommended reads. 

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More of the best book trailers we've seen lately

The trailer for Ben Stephenson's first novel A Matter of Life & Death or Something is fabulous, one that leaves you with that very rare thought, "If the writing is half as good as the trailer, this is probably a book worth checking out."


Graham Romieau's illustrations in this trailer introduce the bizarre characters ("The Incredibly Hostile Juice Box") in his new book with Douglas Coupland, Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People.


And while I know that you've already read Patrick DeWitt's The Sisters Brothers (who hasn't?), have you seen the trailer yet? It's pretty cool.

Kyo Maclear used vintage television footage for this trailer for her novel Stray Love.


Director Adam Vollick was behind this amazing trailer for Brad Smith's new novel Red Means Run.


And for more in atmospheric trailers, check out this one for Eva Stachniak's bestselling The Winter Palace.


Picture book authors have a definite advantage when it comes to book trailers, their books' visual elements usually working as effectively in film as they do on the page.

The trailer for Kyo Maclear and Isabelle Arsenault's Virginia Wolf is absolutely stunning, and the book itself doesn't disappoint either.

Fred Rix's illustrations are animated and amusing in this trailer for the award-winning How to Build Your Own Country, written by Valerie Wyatt.

In this gorgeous trailer, author illustrator Barbara Reid presents her latest book, Picture a Tree, which has just been nominated for a Canadian Library Association 2012 …

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Littler boxes: Rohan Quinby on printing the city, & the impact of new technologies on urban planning & design

Book Cover Time and the Suburbs

You know what it's like.

You've finished the arduous work of researching and writing a book. After months of solitary effort you send the manuscript to the publisher and suddenly, the hectic process of editing begins. Facts are checked, grammar is corrected, and entire passages are queried, scrutinized, and rewritten. Finally, the manuscript is ready and the work is sent to the printer. A few weeks later, a small box arrives in the mail with your finished book. It's done, and it cannot be changed.

A few days later, you read an article that changes everything.


The little book I've written is called Time and the Suburbs and it's a political and philosophical critique of the kind of suburban environments that we are constructing across North America. My thesis is that our cities are disappearing as a result of vast, new postmetropolitan environments that are extending across the landscape.These new regions are changing the way we live and interact with each other, not just on the new suburban fringes, but deep within our traditional cities.

Coincidentally, the …

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Larissa Andrusyshn on "Discovery Channel" poetry and her Kobzar Literary Award-nominated Mammoth.

Larissa Andrusyshn, author of Mammoth (DC Books).

The $25,000 Kobzar Literary Award, announced last week, recognizes “outstanding contributions to Canadian literary arts through an author’s presentation of a Canadian Ukrainian theme,” and is open to fiction, non-fiction, poetry and YA literature. Larissa Andrusyshn was a finalist for her poetry collection Mammoth (DC Books), described as "Discover Channel" poetry.

From the publisher: Witness to the process and fact of her father’s death, Andrusyshyn proceeds to find him again through a series of innovative poems that move seamlessly from the Museum to the Petri dish, the fairground to the cloning lab. Mammoth approaches the incomprehensibility of death from the perspective of Blake’s "Auguries of Innocence" and consequently develops its own mode of post-Darwinian elegy, wherein death is examined without bathos, through the paleontologist’s magnifying glass and the geneticist’s microscope.

About the author: Larissa Andrusyshyn recently completed a Master’s degree in creative writing at Concordia University where she represented the Stingers on the women’s rugby team. She was shortlisted for Arc magazine’s poem of the year in 2009 and 2011. Her work has appeared in Versal, Headlight, CV2 and Rogue Stimulus (Mansfield Press). Larissa coordinates cre …

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History Across the Genres: List by Charlotte Gray

Five Great Political Biographies:

Book Cover John A

John A, The Man Who Made Us by Richard Gwyn

This is the first volume of a vivid, multi-dimensional portrait of a fascinating character and his times, by one of Canada’s finest political pundits. Gwyn combines contemporary insights, anecdotes, and impeccable research for this biography of our Founding Father, who created a country that is, in Gwyn’s view, a miracle of peacefulness, diversity, and determined un-Americanness. Volume 2 coming this fall.

The Madman and the Butcher: The Sensational Wars of Sam Hughes and General Arthur Currie by Tim Cook

Book Cover The Madman and the Butcher

A powerful double biography of Sam Hughes, Canada’s war minister, and Arthur Currie, who commanded Canadian troops during World War One. I am not usually drawn to military history, but Cook uses the hatred between these two men as a brilliant framework within which to explore questions of Canada's role in the war, the need to place blame for the terrible blood loss, and our discomfort with heroes.

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“This is so Mom can get her book done": Carrie Snyder on being a mother who is also a writer

Book Cover The Juliet Stories

When my first book, Hair Hat, was published, I had two children, ages two and fourteen months. Immersed in a stay-at-home world of diapers and chapped hands, of broken nights and snowed-in sleepy days, I found it damn near impossible to identify myself with any confidence as a real writer. In the months leading up to the book’s publication date, I hid out in an upstairs bedroom to go over cover art and proofs while my mother babysat the children downstairs. There was a lunch meeting at a nearby restaurant with two publicists (my mother called in again to babysit). This was all very exciting, but it also felt utterly removed from the daily, nightly, milky, moment-by-moment mundanity of young motherhood.

Somehow I couldn’t imagine the existence of my book as a book.

Then one snowy January morning a package arrived, addressed to me. It was small. It was from my publisher. I carried it into the living-room and knelt down on the floor, because the floor was where I spent half my life helping the children with puzzles, or block towers, or simple crafts. I opened the package. Out slid a bound book. My book. It was such a moment. I experienced it happening while it was happening, thinking to myself: I will always remember this. My eyes filled with tears. The children cla …

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