Off the Page

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

Latest Blog Posts
Book Cover The Fairy Tale Museum

Lost in the Woods: Fairy Tales Retold

By [Kerry Clare]

So by all means, Canadian authors: venture into the woods! There's still so much more there to be discovered.

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Book Cover Big Water

Andrea Curtis: The Weight of Water

By [Kerry Clare]

A fantastic list of books in which water features as a defining force, by the author of new novel Big Water

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The Chat with Claire Tacon

The Chat with Claire Tacon

By [Trevor Corkum]

What happens when a young woman with Williams syndrome, her doting father, and her father’s teenaged co-worker head to …

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Book Cover Gay Heritage Project

16 Books for Pride Month

By [Kerry Clare]

Time to put the spotlight on these books by LGBTQ writers and/or about LGBTQ issues, an eclectic list that includes fict …

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Book Cover the Sign for Migrant Soul

Richard Cumyn: Good Stories in Small Packages

By [Kerry Clare]

"Whenever I can, I try to shine a light on the short form in this country, to give the slim but sinewy book its due."

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Book Cover The Showrunner

All Books Are Beach Books: Get Your Summer Reads Locked In

By [Kerry Clare]

From this eclectic selection, you're sure to find a book that suits you perfectly. 

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Book Cover Pulse Point

Best Dystopian YA

By [Kerry Clare]

"My favourite part of reading dystopian books is learning the many versions of our world that authors create."

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Quick Hits: 5 Books with Awesome Reviews

Quick Hits: 5 Books with Awesome Reviews

By [Kiley Turner]

In Quick Hits, we look through our stacks to bring you books that, when they were published, elicited a lot of reaction …

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Book Cover Homes

11 Life Stories To Read This Spring

By [Kerry Clare]

This assortment of memoir, biography, and autobiography brings real life to the page, and into the minds of readers. 

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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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Great Picture Books Recommended by Author/Illustrator Patricia Storms

Book Cover A Flock of Shoes

A Flock of Shoes Written by Sarah Tsiang; illustrated by Qin Leng: I can remember getting very attached to a pair of mitts when I was a kid. Truth be told, I still cling to special items of clothing. That’s probably why I adore A Flock of Shoes. Abby loves her pink and brown sandals with the lime green trim, and ignoring her mother’s pleas, plans on wearing them forever. But Abby’s sandals have other plans, like flying away south for the winter. Abby is comforted by charming postcards from her sandal friends – “We miss you to the bottom of our soles” – and slowly learns to love her winter boots. But what will happen when spring returns? The writing in A Flock of Shoes is spare, lyrical and delightfully funny, and is a perfect match for the whimsical and warm watercolour illustrations.

Book Cover A Porcupine in a Pine Tree

A Porcupine in a Pine Tree Written by Helaine Becker; illustrated by Werner Zimmerman: What’s not to love about loons canoeing, curling squirrels or Mounties munching donuts? Author Helaine Becker has created a wonderful classic Canadian Christmas picture boo …

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In Conversation: Kate Inglis discusses her novel The Dread Crew: Pirates of the Backwoods

Kate Inglis, author of The Dread Crew

Kate Inglis is an author and photographer living along the Nova Scotian coast, where she was born. In November 2009 her first novel was published—The Dread Crew: Pirates of the Backwoods, a book January Magazine calls "a spirited tale, gorgeously rendered." The Dread Crew has been nominated for a Hackmatack Award in Nova Scotia and a Red Cedar Award in British Columbia, and is now in its third printing. The sequel is on its way. Visit Kate at www.kateinglis.com, and follow her on Twitter at @sweetsalty.

Julie Wilson: I'm a slow reader, in part because when I get caught up in structure that amuses me—in particular, something so well-crafted you can feel the author's joy—I have to sit with it for awhile. In the case of The Dread Crew: Pirates of the Backwoods, I actually got stuck on the dedication!

For my three boys—one is all energy and marvel and curiosity, one is pure, sheer joy and wanderlust, and one lives high up in a blue sky, in a roofless, skeepskin-draped room with kind minstrels and acrobats that let him stay up late and eat chocolate by starlight. All three are hooligans and inventors, and the sons of a man with the steadfastness of a thousand quilters.

How much of your family lives and breathes throughout The Dread Crew? What elements of your home …

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"Free fall beneath the carpet": David Rotenberg on setting The Placebo Effect in Toronto

Book Cover The Placebo Effect

I directed the first Canadian play in the People’s Republic of China in Shanghai (in Mandarin) when that country was in the massive transition from a profoundly oppressive socialist state to a basically free market economy – a thrilling time and my time there inspired me to write my first novel. I also lived in Manhattan for many years and it still forms the base for some of my work. New York knows what it is. It’s been written about, sung about and mythologized into a state of firm existence. People immigrate to New York from all over the world and become New Yorkers. You peel back the carpet and you find yesterday’s New York, you pry up the floorboards and you get yesteryear’s New York.

Toronto is different – sometimes there’s free fall beneath the carpet.

I was born and raised in Toronto, and retuned to the city in 1987 after living in the United States for the better part of sixteen years. Since I've been back, I've had nine novels published. But The Placebo Effect is the first time I’ve written about my hometown. And I didn’t find it all that easy. Toronto is a city where more than 50% of its citizens were not born in the country. Sometimes there’s “ just no there, there” – to quote Ms. Stein. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. …

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Celebrate Family Literacy Day

Family Reading Together

Once again, community events are scheduled across Canada to celebrate Family Literacy Day on January 27th-- you can check out the map to find events in your area. Family Literacy Day has been an initiative since 1999 by the non-profit organization ABC Life Literacy Canada to raise awareness of the importance of families reading and engaging with literacy-related activities together. Research shows that children benefit enormously from early exposure to books and reading in the home, though most families read together because it's simply one of the very best ways to be together. And it's made even better when you're reading the very best books, so we wanted to pass on our favourite expert-curated family literacy books lists.

Canadian Railroad Trilogy

Book Centre Award Nominees: The books on this list were nominated for Canada's top children's book prizes last year, and include the literary rendering of Gordon Lightfoot's Canadian Railroad Trilogy, Kyo Maclear's Spork, and the Victorian-era detective novel A Spy in the House. The Canadian Children's Book Centre is a non-profit orga …

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In Conversation With: Liz Strange on crime fiction and developing her protagonist over a series

Author Liz Strange.

Liz Strange was born and raised in Kingston, Ontario, where she still resides. She is a massive horror fan, vampire enthusiast and self-confessed sci-fi nerd. Mythology and historical mysteries have long enthralled her, and you will often find them touched upon in her works. You can find out more about Liz at www.lizstrange.com.

Liz's novel Missing Daughter, Shattered Family has just been shortlisted for an Independent Literary Award, recommended and voted on by independent literary bloggers.

Julie Wilson: Your previous novels have been in the horror/vampire genre. Why the jump to crime fiction?

Liz Strange: I have always been a big fan of mysteries and crime fiction, right back to my childhood days of reading the Three Investigators series. I enjoy the works of authors like Patricia Cornwell, Sue Grafton, Michael Slade, Karen Slaughter and many others. I had a story idea that I kept coming back to so I just decided to give it a try.

I like playing with the idea that monsters aren’t just stories, or figments of people’s imagination, but that they walk among us every day. People are capable of doing some truly terrible things to other humans, and I wanted to explore that in the novel. This also weaves its way into my protagonist's personal life as well; it was a mon …

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