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Launchpad: ALL I ASK, by Eva Crocker

49thShelf Launchpad Logo

Last spring—as launches, festivals and other events were cancelled across the country—49th Shelf helped Canadian authors launch more than 50 new books with LAUNCHPAD. And now we're back this fall, but with a twist.

LAUNCHPAD 2.0 features new releases selected by great Canadian writers who've chosen books that absolutely deserve to find their way into the hands of readers.

We're kicking off with Zoe Whittall, who is championing Eva Crocker's debut novel, All I Ask.

Whittall writes, "All I Ask is a debut novel from celebrated Newfoundland short story writer Eva Crocker. It starts out with a bang—Stacey, our 26-year-old narrator, wakes up to the cops barging into her house and confiscating all computers and phones from the premises for potential illegal material, and the book follows Stacey's life in the aftermath of that confusing violation. An often funny, beautifully written novel that often reminded me of a play, set in the arts community in St. John's as Stacey hustles for acting work, falls in love and figures out who she is.

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49th Shelf: W …

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Radical Acts: An Interview with Andrea Warner

Andrea Warner follows up her fantastic debut, We Oughta Know: How Four Women Ruled the ’90s and Changed Canadian Music, with Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Authorized Biography, and here she talks to us about the challenges of biography, chronology, and the experience of working with a music legend. 

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49th Shelf: “My God, how does one write a Biography?” wrote Virginia Woolf once, and she’s just one of many writers who’ve struggled with the genre. I imagine it’s a bit easier, however, when you’ve got the person you’re writing about telling stories down the telephone and reading over your manuscript, offering clarity and answering questions. Do you think you could have written this book without Buffy Sainte-Marie being a partner in the project? Would you have wanted to? 

Andrea Warner: I wouldn’t have done this without Buffy’s consent and support. Her voice is essential and so powerful. This is her life story and she doesn’t really need me to do tell it. She’s Buffy Sainte-Marie, she’s an amazing storyteller. But what I can do as a writer and as a feminist music critic who has spent years writing about Buffy’s music and the music business is provide a framework for her story and contextualize her journey so far. 

"

She’s Buffy Sainte-Marie, …

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One Hundred Years of Struggle: The History of Women and the Vote in Canada

One Hundred Years of Struggle: The History of Women and the Vote in Canada, by Joan Sangster, looks beyond the shiny rhetoric of anniversary celebrations and Heritage Minutes to show that the struggle for women's equality included gains and losses, inclusions and exclusions, depending on a woman’s race, class, and location in the nation. This excerpt from "Chapter 6: Feminist Countercultures," explores the roles of satirical theatre and print media in the Canadian suffrage movement. 

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Torontonians packed the pagoda pavilion at Allen Gardens in February 1896 to witness a major social and intellectual happening: a Woman’s Mock Parliament. Well-heeled attendees had secured tickets ahead of time to hear the latest arguments on this avant-garde issue. After some dignified classical music and an earnest statement of support by the Men’s Enfranchisement Association, the feature attraction unfolded: suffragists’ collectively written, dramatic rendition of a typical day in Ontario’s female-dominated legislature. No less than fifty-two amateur actresses filed onto the stage to portray members of the legislature, though in skirts not suits. 

The play began with the usual parliamentary practice of question period. Why, one legislator demanded, would the governmen …

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10 Books With Global Themes to Read This Spring

This month we're writing the world at 49th Shelf, talking books with international themes and settings, about global issues, and travel. From our amazing list of Most Anticipated Books for Spring 2015, we've culled a few that fall under this umbrella that the globally minded among you should seek out to read. 

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Chicken in the Mango Tree: Food and Life in a Thai-Khmer Village, by Jeffrey Alford

About the book: In the small village of Kravan in rural Thailand, the food is like no other in the world. The diet is finely attuned to the land, taking advantage of what is local and plentiful. Made primarily of fresh, foraged vegetables infused with the dominant Khmer flavours of bird chilies, garlic, shallots, and fish sauce, the cuisine is completely distinct from the dishes typically associated with Thailand.

Chicken in the Mango Tree follows the cycle of a year in Kravan, and the recipes associated with each season—steamed tilapia during the rainy season, mushroom soup, called tom yam het, during the cold season, rice noodles with seafood during the hot months and spicy green papaya salad as comfort food all year round. With helpful substitutes for the more exotic ingredients and cooking methods, Alford's recipes and stories blend together to bring a taste of this …

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Stuart Henderson: Why Lessons of 1960s' Counterculture Still Matter Today

Prologue Movie Poster

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.

Stuart Henderson is a documentary film producer with 90th Parallel Productions, and author of Making the Scene: Yorkville and Hip Toronto in the 1960s.

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When Canadian filmmaker Robin Spry died in a car wreck ten years ago this March, he was chiefly remembered as the man whose cameras had chronicled the infamous FLQ kidnappings of 1970. But, despite the fact that Action, his celebrated, if controversial, 1973 documentary about the October Crisis, has come to be remembered as his crowning achievement, I am actually here to discuss one of Spry’s least-revered works, the mostly forgotten 1969 gem Prologue. Because: this forgetting is a mistake. Indeed, as an historian of the period, this film stands as the one I am most inclined to watch and re-watch, looking for clues.

Despite being awarded a BAFTA for best documentary in 19 …

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