Off the Page

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

Latest Blog Posts
Book Cover The Birds That Stay

Ann Lambert: Watershed Books

By [Kerry Clare]

The challenge: "How do I isolate ten books to recommend from the range and depth of Canadian literature?"

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The Recommend: Masterpieces, Celebrities, Survival, and Magic

The Recommend: Masterpieces, Celebrities, Survival, and Magic

By [Kiley Turner]

This week we're pleased to present the picks of book blogger Laura Frey (reading-in-bed.com), Melanie Fishbane (whose de …

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Book Cover The Girl and the Wolf

Most Anticipated: Our 2019 Books for Young Readers Spring Preview

By [Kerry Clare]

Last but certainly not least in our 2019 Spring Preview is our Books for Young Readers list: books that will delight rea …

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Book Cover Whale Music

Celebrating Short Books

By [Kerry Clare]

An excellent chance to meet your reading goals , or to score a Book Club pick that everyone stands a chance of actually …

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Book Cover Black Women Who Dared

New Books on Black History

By [Kerry Clare]

About Black artists, writers, civil rights activists, athletes, heroes, and more. 

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Book Cover Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club

Megan Gail Coles: Writing Through Risk

By [Kerry Clare]

Books that challenge  literary expectations and community norms while demanding artistic honesty and human compassion

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The Chat with Shauntay Grant and Eva Campbell

The Chat with Shauntay Grant and Eva Campbell

By [Trevor Corkum]

This week we’re in conversation with the creators of Africville, a picture book nominated last year for the Governor G …

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Book Cover There Are Not Enough Sad Songs

Most Anticipated: Our 2019 Spring Poetry Preview

By [Kerry Clare]

Post-Groundhog Day, we're looking forward to spring with our Poetry Preview, featuring new books by established poets an …

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Book Cover Sugar and Snails

On Our Radar

By [Kerry Clare]

Books with buzz worth sharing. 

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Shelf Talkers: Books to Get You Through February

Shelf Talkers: Books to Get You Through February

By [Rob Wiersema]

Think baggy sweaters and hand-knit slippers, think warm baths and hot drinks, think, of course, of books. (And if your s …

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Megan Gail Coles: Writing Through Risk

Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club, by Megan Gail Coles, begins with a warning: "This might hurt a little. Be Brave." But oh, the rewards for the reader who dares to venture forth: Coles' fresh and vibrant storytelling is stirring and unforgettable, and this novel that's set over the course of a single day proves to be so much more expansive in terms of time and place. It's a literary tour de force, and one of the most powerful books you'll read this season.

We're pleased to feature Coles' recommended reading list, "Writing Through Risk."

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The books on this list challenge literary expectations and community norms while demanding artistic honesty and human compassion. This is fiction, nonfiction, poetry and drama from the whole of our country written by individuals taking creative risks. Some of these are small linguistic risks, forcing the structure of a sentence into a new shape. Others are grand demonstrative risks, urging the industry to move beyond traditional gatekeeping. Still others are risking more, risking everything, even safety and wellbeing, to speak their truth rather than sit silent and unseen. These books, to varying degrees, have given me courage to write as I do about things I feel are important to the place and people I love. I am ve …

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The Chat with Shauntay Grant and Eva Campbell

eva 3 photo credit Brian Geary

The vibrant picture book Africville was a finalist for the 2018 Governor General’s Award for Literature for Young People. It tells the story of Africville through the eyes of a young girl. This week we’re in conversation with the book’s creators, author Shauntay Grant and illustrator Eva Campbell.

In a starred review, Quill & Quire says, "Shauntay Grant’s writing is graceful ... She reaches out to young readers and invites them in ... Visually, Africville is gorgeous. Eva Campbell’s illustrations are arresting; the colours are warm and inviting, and her painterly style enhances the dreamlike quality of the story." 

Eva Campbell is an artist and illustrator who teaches visual art at Lester B. Pearson College UWC. She has exhibited her work in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Barbados, and Ghana. Eva won the Children’s Africana Book Award for her illustrations in The Matatuby by Eric Walters. She lives in Victoria.

Shauntay Grant_photo credit Shyronn Smardon

Shauntay Grant is a descendant of Black Loyalists, Jamaican Maroons and Black Refugees who migrated to Canada some two h …

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Most Anticipated: Our 2019 Spring Poetry Preview

Post-Groundhog Day, we're looking forward to spring with our Poetry Preview, featuring new books by established poets and exciting debuts. 

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Set against a backdrop of political turmoil in the United States, James Arthur’s The Suicide's Son (April) is about the complicated personal histories that parents inherit, add to, and pass on to their children. Gathering narratives that feel both ancient and modern, John Wall Barger forges an apocalyptic vision without sacrificing poetry's underlying sense of joy, humour, and revelation in The Mean Game (April). Mike Barnes' Braille Rainbow (April) is about perception across the sensory spectrum and the arc of learning about the world and about oneself. And breth (April) presents both new and selected poems from legendary Canadian sound, visual, and performance poet bill bissett. 

Cass Blanchard’s Fresh Pack of Smokes (April) is a collection of direct and honest first-person narrative poems about the author’s experiences living homeless in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Award-winner Ali Blythe’s second co …

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On Our Radar

tagged : on our radar

"On Our Radar" is a 49th Shelf series featuring books with buzz worth sharing. We bring you links to features and reviews about great new books in a multitude of genres from all around the Internet and elsewhere. 

*****

Hummingbird, by Devin Krukoff

Reviewed at Consumed By Ink

Hummingbird reminded me of Bellevue Square by Michael Redhill. I thought I knew what was going on until I realized I didn’t. And from that point on, I questioned everything I read (I was as confounded as Felix). If you don’t like being confused or not knowing how things stand in your fiction, you might want to avoid this book. But, for me, it was a pleasure.

Read the whole review here

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Claws of the Panda, by Jonathan Manthorpe

Opinion piece at The Toronto Star: 

So it was not until two years ago that I saw I had the full picture, and felt confident enough to sit down and write the outline for what has become my book, Claws of the Panda: Beijing’s Campaign of Influence and Intimidation in Canada.

What is astonishing is that just as the book was completed, the story of Meng Wanzhou an …

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Shelf Talkers: Books to Get You Through February

tagged : Shelf Talkers

For many Canadians, February is the doldrums of the year. The holiday season, and the promise of a new year, is but a distant memory, and winter seems to have taken hold with a cold fury that seems like it may never end. Of course we know that spring will come eventually, but in the meantime, it's a perfect time for self-care. Not the much-ballyhooed, often impetuous self-improvement of resolutions for the new year, but genuine self-care. Think baggy sweaters and hand-knit slippers, think warm baths and hot drinks, think, of course, of books. (And if your self-care includes chocolates, well, no one here will judge you.)

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The Bookseller: Stella Kingscote, Galiano Island Books (Galiano Island, BC)

The Pick: A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozecki

Ruth Ozeki threads her words into a precise combination of magic and realism to create what is A Tale for the Time Being. Young Nao’s journal guides the reader into the story of her life, and how she faced the bared teeth of a bullying society, dealt with family dysfunction, and found peace in her grandmother's comfort. Ozeki tugs your heartstrings with this beautiful novel. Sometimes you may want to look away from the words on the page, just as Nao would have done if she were able to; but the story keeps you. This novel …

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