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The Chat with Carol Bruneau

Carol Bruneau by Nicola Davison(2)

For anyone who adores the work of famed painter Maud Lewis and has wondered about her life, Carol Bruneau’s new novel Brighten the Corner Where You Are (Vagrant Press/Nimbus) is for you. In the book, she imagines Maud’s life, first as a child, and then through the tumultuous years of her marriage and her eventual discovery as a beloved and eccentric folk artist.

In a starred review, Quill & Quire calls it “a welcome addition to the Lewis legacy.”

Carol Bruneau is the acclaimed author of three short story collections, including A Bird on Every Tree, published by Vagrant Press in 2017, and five other novels. Her first novel, Purple for Sky, won the 2001 Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award and the Dartmouth Book Award. Her 2007 novel, Glass Voices, was a Globe and Mail Best Book and has become a book club favourite. Her most recent novel, A Circle on the Surface, won the Jim Connors Dartmouth Book Award. Her reviews, stories, and essays have appeared nationwide in newspapers, journals, and anthologies, and two of her novels have been published internationally. She lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with her husband and their dog and badass cat.

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Trevor Corkum: Brighten the Corner Where You Are is a fictionalized account of the life of Maud Lewis, one of Nov …

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The Chat with Sheree Fitch

Sheree Fitch NEW by Keith Minchin Photo

In the immediate aftermath of last year’s tragedy in Portapique, Nova Scotia, Sheree Fitch penned a verse that captured the heartache so many were feeling. Originally broadcast in a national vigil to honour victims of the tragedy, Sheree’s poem Because We Love, We Cry was recently released in book format by Nimbus Publishing.

Sheree Fitch’s first two books, Toes in My Nose (1987) and Sleeping Dragons All Around (1989), launched her career as a poet, rhymster, and a “kind of Canadian female Dr. Seuss.” Fitch has won almost every major award for Canadian children’s literature since then, including the 2000 Vicky Metcalf Award for a Body of Work Inspirational to Canadian Children. She has over twenty-five books to her credit, including her bestselling and critically praised adult novel, Kiss the Joy As It Flies (2008).

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Trevor Corkum: Because We Love, We Cry was written as a response to the tragedy in Portapique and surrounding areas last year. How did the poem come to life for you?

Sheree Fitch: That Sunday, as things unfolded, we were franti …

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Launchpad: Good Mothers Don't, by Laura Best

Today we're launching Good Mothers Don't, by Laura Best, which Christy Ann Conlin calls, "An unlikely page turner replete with hushed surprises, unexpected crescendos, endless love and boundless vitality."

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The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence.

It’s a literary novel set in both 1960 and 1975 Nova Scotia about one woman’s journey through mental illness and the ripple effects of her illness on those around her.

Describe your ideal reader.

Enjoys character driven stories, a glass of wine at the end of the day, walks along the beach and dark chocolate—maybe an occasional Mars bar.

What authors/books is your work in conversation with?

Alistair MacLeod, Kathleen Winter, Syr Ruus, Christy-Ann Conlin, Ami McKay, Donna Morrissey and Carol Bruneau.

What is something interesting you learned about your book/yourself/ your subject during the process of creating and publishing your book?

I was surprised by my ability to feel compassion for a character whose actions totally contradicted my preconceived ideas of what makes a good mother.

What do you hope readers will gain from reading your book?

My hope is that readers will gain a better understanding of people suffering from mental illness, that they will not just see the illness but the person behind that …

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Sparking Conversation in the Classroom: The Big Dig by Lisa Harrington

Twice a month, we invite an educator to share their perspective on essential books for your classroom. To apply to become a contributor, please send us an email!

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Reviewing The Big Dig

The Big Dig by Lisa Harrington is the perfect young adult novel to spark meaningful discussions on a variety of topics. Teachers are familiar with the difficulties that students face when they have to move and change schools. This story can help ease the transition as readers can relate to the main character, who is faced with the challenge of making new friends and adapting to a new community. Each of the three main characters is unique in their own way. Although their personalities would seem to naturally clash, they accept each other’s differences and forge a very strong friendship.

It’s 1977, and shortly after dealing with the loss of her mother, Lucy is sent by her father to live with her Great-Aunt Josie for the summer. There, she meets two friends, Colin and Kit, and they create everlasting friendships. Together, they attempt to help Lucy uncover the truth she is seeking.

Harrington does a fantastic job of bringing the reader into Lucy’s head. As the reader follows fourteen year-old Lucy to Nova Scotia for summer break, the author makes you feel as if you are with her, every step of the way. Each page contains elements that are described in such detail that you feel as though you can smell, hear, and taste (even Josie’s poor …

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Carol Bruneau: Change Your Take on Nova Scotia Lit

A Bird on Every Tree is Carol Bruneau's latest book, a short story collection whose starred review in Quill & Quire concludes as follows: "This is no mere exercise in voice: this is a reflection of a writer utterly in touch with her stories—not only what they are, but how they are, overlooking nothing in her craft. Bruneau is a master."

Here, Bruneau shares a list of books by other Nova Scotia authors that serve to complicate common perceptions of that province. 

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Exploring Nova Scotian identity, the stories in my new collection, A Bird on Every Tree, reflect the wanderer’s spirit in most of us, regardless of where we originate. Maritime literature often gets cast as tales of insular, hard-done-by characters living the life down some dirt road, at best, salt-of-the-earth timid folk who don’t stray from home, or, at worst, mean-spirited hicks with a hate-on for things “from away.” Both stereotypes bear a smidge of truth.

But the bigger, truer flipside is that Nova Scotia is and always has been a province of adventurers, people who like living on the edge. From the Mi’kmaq who first navigated Mi’kmaqi’s rivers and coastal waters, the exiled and returning Acadians, the Black Loyalists fleeing slavery in the US, the waves of European settlers who ca …

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Negotiating a Black Vernacular in Children’s Literature

Book Cover Up Home

Talking History focuses on a wide range of topics in Canadian history, and it consists of articles by Canada's foremost historians and history experts. Our contributors use the power of narrative to bring the past to life and to show how it is not just relevant, but essential to our understanding of Canada and the world today. "Talking History" is a series made possible through a special funding grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Shauntay Grant is a writer and storyteller from Nova Scotia, and served as Halifax's Poet Laureate from 2009-2011. 

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nanny made blueburry duff
today afta’ schoo’

had a bigole bag a burry’s
leftova from las summa
frozen cole

she ga’e me two great big dumplin’s
an’ enough sauce to cova’ de bowl

she didn’ haf none doe 

say she need to watch ha sugah’s
e’er since christmas
when she caught diabetics
offa mum's lemin loaf

About a dozen grade 6 students at Nelson Whynder Elementary School in North Preston sit in small clusters: working groups of three or four, huddled around square tables, dissecting a sample from my newest collection of poems.

"You wouldn’ say last, we would say las—without pronouncing T," a girl tells me. She sounds each letter with clear certainty.

"L-A-S."

"I don’ sink so," a boy pipes up in …

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Catch These Authors at Canada's July Lit Fests in Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Nova Scotia

love-book

Yeehah! The festival season is beginning, so we're highlighting the final lists of authors appearing at the first four of the season: The Lakefield Literary Festival (Lakefield, ON), the Saskatchewan Festival of Words (Moosejaw, SK), Read by the Sea (River John, NS) and the Leacock Summer Festival (Orillia, ON). In a couple of weeks we'll do the same for Canada's August Lit Fests.

The Lakefield Literary Festival, running July 12–14, includes:

  • Linda Bailey
  • John Bell
  • John Boyko
  • Jean Murray Cole
  • Connie Brummel Crook
  • Lauren B. Davis
  • Michael Epp
  • Douglas Gibson
  • Thomas King
  • Lewis MacLeod
  • Enid Mallory
  • Lee Maracle
  • Esperança Melo
  • Alison Pick
  • Bill Slavin
  • Linda Spalding
  • Drew Hayden Taylor
  • Kathleen Winter

You can purchase tickets via this page.

The 17th Saskatchewan Festival of Words (Moosejaw) running July 18–21, includes:

  • Angie Abdou
  • Annabel Lyon
  • Candace Savage
  • Carmen Aguirre
  • CS Richardson
  • Catherine Banks
  • CJ Katz
  • Dave Bidini
  • Ken Babstock
  • Dawn Dumont
  • Greg Johnson
  • Linda Spalding
  • Melanie Schnell
  • Marie Louise Gay
  • Mary Balogh
  • Miranda Hill
  • Rosemary Griebel
  • Rabindranath Maharaj
  • Robert Currie
  • Ross King
  • Sheri-D Wilson
  • Shana Stock
  • Tom Wayman
  • Zoe Whittall
  • Wayne Arthurson

For the schedule, click here and to purchase tickets click here …

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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 ho …

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