Undersong is garnering rave reviews. Janet Somerville, writing in the Toronto Star, says the novel is "compelling, gracefully written, poignant and profound ... a stunning, spellbinding, poetic triumph." A starred review in Quill & Quire calls the novel "luminous" and "consistently elegant and original."
Kathleen Winter’s novel Annabel was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Governor General's Literary Award, the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, the Orange Prize, and numerous other awards. It was also a Globe and Mail "Best Book," a New York Times "Notable" book, a Quill & Quire "Book of the Year" and a #1 bestseller in Canada. It has been published and translated worldwide. Her Arctic memoir Boundless (2014) was shortlisted for Canada's Weston and Taylor non-fiction prizes, and her last novel Lost in September (2017) was longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award and was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award. Born in the UK, Winter now lives in Montreal after many years in Newfoundland.
This week we’re in conversation with Griffin Poetry Prize winner Jordan Abel, whose powerful poetry project NISHGA was released over the summer with McClelland & Stewart.
Author Billy-Ray Belcourt says “Abel sculpts a narrative of dislocation and self-examination that pressurizes received notions of “Canada” and “history” and “art” and “literature” and “belonging” and “forgiveness”… By its Afterword, NISHGA adds up to a work of personal and national reckoning that is by turns heartbreaking and scathing.”
Jordan Abel is a Nisga'a writer from Vancouver. He is the author of The Place of Scraps (winner of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize), Un/inhabited, and Injun (winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize). Abel's work has recently been anthologized in The New Concrete: Visual Poetry in the 21st Century (Hayward), The Next Wave: An Anthology of 21st Century Canadian Poetry (Anstruther), Best Canadian Poetry (Tightrope), Counter-Desecration: A Glossary for Writing Within the Anthropocene (Wesleyan), and The Land We Are: Artists and Writers Unsettle the Politics of Reconciliation (ARP). Abel's work has been published in numerous journals and magazines—including Canadian Literature, The Capilano Review, and Poetry Is Dead—and his visual poetry has been included in exhibitions at the Polygon Gallery, UNIT/PITT Gallery, and the Oslo Pilot Project Room in Oslo, Norway. Abel recently completed a PhD at Simon Fraser University, and is currently working as an A …
Storyteller and author Ivan Coyote’s latest work, the nonfiction collection Care Of (McClelland & Stewart), is a moving meditation on care and community. Penned during the early months of the pandemic, the book is a collection of notes and letters from audience members to Ivan and their deeply compassionate responses to these letters.
The Star calls the book “strong medicine, best taken in measured doses, and a vital reminder of the value not only of connection, but of every story, every voice.”
Ivan Coyote is a writer and storyteller. Born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon, they are the author of thirteen books, the creator of four films, six stage shows, and three albums that combine storytelling with music. Coyote’s books have won the ReLit Award, been named a Stonewall Honour Book, been longlisted for Canada Reads, been shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Prize for nonfiction, and awarded BC and Yukon Book Prize’s inaugural Jim Deva Prize for Writing that Provokes. In 2017 Ivan was given an honorary Doctor of Laws from Simon Fraser University for their writing and activism.
Trevor Corkum: In Care Of, you respond to letters, notes, and emails from a range of folks who’ve written deeply personal messages to you over the years. When and how did you imag …
Celebrated author Camilla Gibb has returned with The Relatives, her first novel in nearly a decade. She’s our guest this week on The Chat.
A rave review in the Toronto Star calls The Relatives a testament to Gibbs’ position as one of Canada’s great storytellers. “Gibb’s taut, suspenseful prose urges us ever forward, probing the deeper connections among her beautifully flawed family of characters. Can any of us escape our prisons, fulfill our best intentions? Taking us into the bright and the dark, worlds known and unknown, Gibb’s multi-layered tale solves these mysteries with the immense satisfaction that only the best storytellers can deliver.”
Camilla Gibb was born in London, England, and grew up in Toronto. She is the author of four internationally acclaimed novels—Mouthing the Words, The Petty Details of So-and-so's Life, Sweetness in the Belly and The Beauty of Humanity Movement—as well as the bestselling memoir This is Happy. Camilla has been the recipient of the Trillium Book Award, the City of Toronto Book Award, and the CBC Canadian Literary Award and has been shortlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize and the Scotiabank Giller Prize. She has a PhD from Oxford University and is an adjunct faculty member of the graduate creative writing program …
This week we’re in conversation with political trailblazer Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo, whose memoir, The Queer Evangelist, (Wilfrid Laurier University Press) was published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press this spring.
Quill & Quire says, “At a time when many people identify as spiritual but struggle to translate belief to the real world, DiNovo’s experiences and insights provide us with a divinely inspired practical purpose.”
Cheri DiNovo grew up in Toronto in a rooming house owned by her parents and spent time on the streets as a teenager, leading her to social activism. Formerly a member of the Ontario Legislative Assembly, she is host of The Radical Reverend Show, and Minister at Trinity St. Paul's Centre for Faith Justice and the Arts. Her book Qu(e)erying Evangelism: Growing a Community from the Outside In won the Lambda award in 2005. She has won numerous awards for her activism and is a Member of the Order of Canada.
Trevor Corkum: The Queer Evangelist tells the story of your rise as a young activist to your storied career in politics, w …
Anne Carson's Norma Jeane Baker of Troy (New Directions) is this year’s recipient of the Governor General’s Literature Award for Poetry.
According to the Governor General's Peer Assessment Committee, “Norma Jeane Baker of Troy leverages a millennia-old story of beauty and war to animate a history of the male gaze and the nature of power wielded by privilege. Tracing its origins from ancient and modern forms, the book inquires into the history of language and being. It exposes the uncertainty and vulnerability that underpin our desire for ‘the precision of command.’ The oceanic pull of Carson’s poetry uses irreverence to lure and wreck our concepts of time, place and subject.”
Anne Carson is a Toronto-born poet, essayist, classicist, and translator who has also taught at Canadian and American universities including McGill and Princeton. A Member of the Order of Canada with more than 20 titles to her name, she recently received a Princess of Asturias Award. Throughout her career, Carson’s work has earned her Guggenheim and MacArthur fellowships, two Griffin Poetry Prizes, the T. S. Eliot Prize, and the Lannan Literary Award, among many other honours. Anne Carson now divides her time between the US and Iceland.
Norma Jeane Baker of Troy is a performa …
Our final chat in this year’s special Governor General’s Literature Award coverage is with Eric Walters. Eric is the recipient of the 2020 GG's Award for Young People’s Literature (Text) for The King of Jam Sandwiches (Orca Books).
According to this year’s Peer Assessment Committee, "The King of Jam Sandwiches pulls us into the unforgettable friendship of hard-working Robbie and tough-as-nails Harmony in an exceptionally honest survival story that is also compulsively readable and emotionally gripping. Walters has written a heart-wrenching novel about what it is like to grow up amidst poverty and mental illness, one that speaks to contemporary young readers and offers them hope.”
Eric Walters is a Member of the Order of Canada and the author of over 115 books that have collectively won more than 100 awards, many of which have been translated into one or more of 16 different languages. A former teacher, he began writing as a way to get his fifth-grade students interested in reading and writing. Walters is a tireless presenter, speaking to over 100,000 students each year in schools across the country. He has won the Ontario Library Association’s Silver Birch Fiction Award three times and the Association’s Red Maple Award four times, a Christopher Award …
We continue our Governor General’s Literature Awards coverage in conversation with Kim Senklip Harvey, whose work Kamloopa: An Indigenous Matriarch Story (Talonbooks) won in the category of drama.
According to the Peer Assessment Committee, “The brilliance, the irreverence, the fire of Kamloopa sweeps us into the world of three Indigenous women on a mind-bending quest. The audience is seduced by the love, humour and depth of these matriarchs as they embrace and celebrate who they are in the world and with each other. A play that will encourage you to re-evaluate your relationship with Canada.”
Kim Senklip Harvey is a proud Syilx and Tsilhqot’in and an Indigenous theorist, a cultural evolutionist and an award-winning writer and director whose work focuses on igniting Indigenous power by creating comedic and joy-centred narratives that nourish her people’s spirits. She is currently working on the development of two television series: her Salish love story, On the Plateau, and the adaptation of her play, Kamloopa. She is also completing her first prose and poetry book, Interiors: A Collection of NDN Dirtbag Love Stories, and is in pre-production to film a musical feature of her next artistic ceremony, Break Horizons: A Rocking Indigenous Justice Ceremony. S …
Next up in our special 2020 GG Awards coverage is our conversation with Lazer Lederhendler, who won his third Governor General’s Award for his English translation of Pascale Quiviger’s If You Hear Me (Biblioasis), originally written in French. Scroll down to read an excerpt from the book!
According to the Peer Assessment Committee, "Lazer Lederhendler has presented challenging subject matter with sensitivity, nuance, and elegance. His language is powerful yet limpid, understated yet heartbreaking, and lightly humorous. He delicately navigates complex layers of trauma in the immigrant and the patient, lingering between life and death, dream and reality. The finely drawn characters in this novel wait, as we all do, for release."
Lazer Lederhendler is a full-time literary translator specializing in Québécois fiction and non-fiction. He holds a Master of Arts degree in creative writing from Concordia University. His translations have earned awards and distinctions in Canada, the UK, and the US, including three Quebec Writer’s Federation Awards (The Immaculate Conception, Nikolski, Apocalypse for Beginners) and two previous Governor Ge …
We continue our special coverage of this year’s Governor General's Literature Award winners in conversation with the acclaimed Fan Brothers (Terry Fan, Eric Fan, Devin Fan), co-winners of the 2020 GG's Award for Young People’s Literature (Illustration) for The Barnabus Project (Tundra). The 2020 GG Award Peer Assessment Committee says The Barnabus Project is,
“A twisty-turny adventure story that travels from the deep underground to the starry skies, featuring a gang of friends, aka ‘Failed Projects,’ who show the power of solidarity and non-conformity. This sweet and surreal ode to sticking together radically breaks from typical storylines to deliver a manifesto for mass escape from any system that demands perfection, sameness and compliance. Stunningly and intricately illustrated, this book pays cinematic attention to pacing and detail. Like Barnabus, the Fan Brothers have broken the mold.”
Terry, Eric, and Devin grew up in Toronto, where they continue to live and work. Recipients of the prestigious Sendak Fellowship, Kate Greenaway Medal nominees, and Governor General’s Literary Award nominees, Terry and Eric are the author/illustrators of the critically acclaimed books The Night Gardener and Ocean Meets Sky, and the illustrators of the best …
We’re so pleased to be partnering once again with our friends at the Griffin Poetry Prize to profile this year’s three Canadian finalists in a special roundtable edition of The Chat. Don’t forget to enter our Griffin Prize contest giveaway for a chance to win a prize pack of all three of this year’s titles!
This 2021 shortlisted Canadian titles are:
The East Side of It All, by Joseph Dandurand (Nightwood Editions)
Joseph Dandurand is a storyteller, poet, playwright and member of Kwantlen First Nation located on the Fraser River about twenty minutes east of Vancouver. He resides there with his three children. Dandurand is the director of the Kwantlen Cultural Centre, artistic director of the Vancouver Poetry House, and author of three other books of poetry, I Want (2015), Hear and Foretell (2015), and SH:LAM (The Doctor) (2015). Dandurand was Vancouver Public Library’s 2019 Indigenous storyteller in residence.
The Dyzgraphxst, by Canisia Lubrin (McClelland & Stewart)
Canisia Lubrin is a writer, editor, and teacher published and anthologised int …
Author Richard Van Camp is a celebrated and beloved storyteller who has worked across many genres. His latest offering, Gather: On the Joy of Storytelling (University of Regina Press), shares what he knows about the power of storytelling—and offers some of his own favourite stories from Elders, friends, and family.
Richard Van Camp is a proud Tlicho Dene from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories and is the author of over twenty books, including the Eisner-nominated graphic novel, A Blanket of Butterflies. His bestselling novel The Lesser Blessed has been made into a movie that has also received critical acclaim. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta. You can visit Richard on Facebook, Twitter and at www.richardvancamp.com.
Trevor Corkum: Gather explores the power of storytelling and in particular, the power and gifts of storytellers in creating and maintaining community. Why was this book important to write?
Richard Van Camp: It has been one of the sweetest joys throughout my life to record, transcribe, upload and share stories from my Elders and Knowledge Ke …