Off the Page

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

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Giller Prize Special: The Chat with Michelle Winters

Giller Prize Special: The Chat with Michelle Winters

By [Trevor Corkum]

To kick off our Giller Prize special edition of The Chat, we’re in conversation with Michelle Winters, author of I Am …

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Book Cover Hunting Piero

Elephants, Bears and Birds: Animals in Canadian Literature

By [Kerry Clare]

"Animals contribute immeasurably to our lives, aesthetically, emotionally and spiritually." 

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So Many Writers, All in One Place

So Many Writers, All in One Place

By [Kiley Turner]

One of the best things we ever did on 49th Shelf was asking Trevor Corkum to join our team to lead the interview series, …

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Why Recreate the Woolly Mammoth?

Why Recreate the Woolly Mammoth?

By [Kiley Turner]

Jurassic Park meets The Sixth Extinction in Rise of the Necrofauna, a provocative look at de-extinction from acclaimed d …

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Book Cover Pictographs

Pictographs, by James Simon Mishibinijima

By [Kerry Clare]

"Mishibinijima’s art reflects a lifelong search for ways in which past and present, the spiritual and human, the anima …

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Book Cover Arab Cooking on a Prairie Homestead

Arab Cooking on a Prairie Homestead

By [Kerry Clare]

"Salloum’s book helps us remember what being Canadian means, that we have always been a pluralist nation." 

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Book Cover #NotYourPrincess

#NotYourPrincess

By [Kerry Clare]

Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale's new book provides insight into the lives and experiences of Indigenous women …

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Shelf Talkers: Thanksgiving 2017 Edition

Shelf Talkers: Thanksgiving 2017 Edition

By [Rob Wiersema]

"One thing that I’m thankful for (and I’m sure I’ve said it before), is that every month I get to spend some virtu …

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Book Cover The Scarlet Forest

Reading England in Through Historical Fiction

By [Kerry Clare]

A list by the author of new book, The Scarlet Forest: A Tale of Robin Hood

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The Chat with Kevin Hardcastle

The Chat with Kevin Hardcastle

By [Trevor Corkum]

This week on The Chat we’re in conversation with Kevin Hardcastle. His debut novel In the Cage—about an ex-MMA fight …

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YOSS Guide for Novices

yoss

Even before a passionate group of writers and readers declared 2011 the Year of the Short Story (YOSS), Canadian short stories had been enjoying some time back in the spotlight. Sarah Selecky’s This Cake is for the Party and Alexander MacLeod’s Light Lifting were both much celebrated and made the Giller Prize shortlist last year, and Katrina Best’s Bird Eat Bird won Best First Book for the Canada/Caribbean Section of the Commonwealth Writers Prize. Online initiatives like Joyland and Found Press are giving short stories new life online.

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And now the YOSS itself has delivered some remarkable new short story collections, all of this an absolute boon for those readers devoted to the form, and has surely also brought about a few converts. But there remain those readers upon whom all the celebration is lost, those who’ve tried and failed to …

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In Conversation With: Trevor Cole (Practical Jean, @McClellandBooks)

Trevor Cole

Trevor Cole is the author of three novels. The most recent is Practical Jean, which was short-listed for the Rogers Writer's Trust Fiction Prize and recently won the 2011 Leacock Medal for Humour. (Read an excerpt on our shelf.)

Cole is also the creator of AuthorsAloud.com, a website dedicated to presenting short audio readings by Canadian poets and authors of literary fiction. With over 100 published writers represented on the site, those who know my penchant for podcasting will appreciate how happy I was to have the chance to chat with Trevor about performance, collecting voices and, as it happens, Pop Rocks.

Julie Wilson: AuthorsAloud gathers recordings from Canadian fiction writers and poets. The purpose is both to offer a space to writers in which to perform their work and to introduce readers to authors outside of a retail environment. It's an aural treat. As someone who's been recording poets for a number of years and has just started soliciting submissions for "Writers Reading Recipes"—enjoy Trevor's rendition of "Cranberry-Orange Relish" by John Engels—I feel you and I are intimately aligned in our appreciation for performance. To create an online presence dedicated to curating and building a library is a dedicated feat. There must have been a moment in …

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"You Will Believe..." Guest Post by Robert J. Wiersema

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Robert J. Wiersema is an independent bookseller, a reviewer who contributes regularly to several national newspapers, and the bestselling author of two novels, Before I Wake and Bedtime Story. He lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

For the last several years now, I've had a standing date with my son Xander.

I've written about this before, and I'm sure I will again1: unless I'm severely under deadline, or out of town, Xander and I spend weekend mornings hanging out. His mom, Cori, works a couple of jobs, does some freelancing, and homeschools Xander and gets him to all of his programs, week in, week out. She deserves a break. So Saturday & Sunday mornings she gets to sleep in, and I get to hang out with the boyo, who turns twelve this summer, and watch TV.

Watching TV with your child might not seem like a big deal, but those weekend mornings are among the highlights of my week. Spending one-on-one time with Xander is, of course, pleasure enough, but watching TV, and the kind of TV we watch, gives both of us a common space, a terrain in which to meet, a shared language, and the subject material for long hours of conversation2.

We don't watch just any TV, though. For Xander and I, it's the slightly harder-edged, semi-serial stuff: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel the Ser …

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English-Quebec Fiction (by Elise Moser)

With great selections and thoughtful annotations, Elise Moser offers her English-Quebec Fiction reading list. Elise Moser's novel Because I Have Loved and Hidden It was published by Cormorant Books. She is currently president of the Quebec Writers' Federation, lives in Montreal, and reads a lot of English Quebec fiction. She also notes that, of course, there are MANY more than six wonderful English Quebec books...

earth

Earth and High Heaven, Gwethalyn Graham

First published in 1944, there is nothing dated about it, in style or content. Graham creates a vivid picture of Montreal in wartime, deftly managing all manner of issues (sexism, anti-Semitism, Canadian/Quebec politics, cities versus “the regions”) without ever falling into didacticism or losing her focus on the human drama. Heroine Erika Drake (“of the Westmount Drakes”) is a riveting figure of intelligence, flair, and powerful integrity.

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The Speaking Cure, David Homel

This book is full of striking images: poets who are also war criminals, a woman who wears a bulletproof shirt during sex, asylum …

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The Personal Book Shopper: June's Picks Revealed

personal book shopper

The day has arrived! Our panelists for the June edition of The Personal Book Shopper Contest have come back with their picks for this month's winners.

Remember, we do this all again next month. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, July 19 at 10:00 a.m. and look to us on Twitter at @cdnbookshelf and on Facebook for reminders.

Let's meet the panelists again, shall we?

Shelley Macbeth is the force behind one of my favourite independent bookstores, Blue Heron Books in Uxbridge, ON.
Aaron Brown is the force behind the CanLit blog The Canadian Book Review.
Julie Forrest is the force behind—I'm sensing a theme here—the litblog Read, Play, Blog and the Founder of the This Ain't Your Mother's Book Club. (She's also a publishing professional known to just about every blogger across this great country.)
Ashley Winnington-Ball is the force behind the entire Universe. Oh, fine. She's just severely well (and widely) read and one ridiculously good jewellery designer.

Now to the picks! Each winner will receive four books as selected for them by our panelists. And you, dear Reader, will walk away with a recommended reading list of one, two, three, four . . . twelve books!

Steve Vernon, the panelists have spoken. Your words are: bearded, big-bellied, blustering blowhard of bookstores. …

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