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Ann Lambert: Watershed Books

The Birds That Stay is Ann Lambert's first novel, a murder mystery set in a small village in the Laurentians, north of Montreal. And Lambert brings to her first book more than two decades of experience as a theatre direction, playwright, and English teacher, all of which inform her novel, and in this recommended reading list she shares works that have similarly served as a foundation for her, both as a reader and as a writer.

Although narrowing the list down wasn't easy...

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How do I isolate ten books to recommend from the range and depth of Canadian literature? How do I not include Barometer Rising, The Tin Flute, The Wars, Le Matou, Unless, A Complicated Kindness, A Fine Balance, The Life of Pi, The Book of Negroes, Lullabies for Little Criminals, The Tiger, The Break and so many other terrific books? I decided to select books by Canadian writers whose work prompted a watershed moment for me, over a lifetime of reading.

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The Diviners, by Margaret Laurence 

This was the complete novel for me. It told the story of a woman, Morag Gunn, who migrated fr …

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Giller Prize 2018 Special Series: The Chat with Éric Dupont

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Our next instalment of this year’s Giller special features our chat with Éric Dupont, author of Songs for the Cold of Heart (QC Fiction/Baraka Books), which was translated by Peter McCambridge.

The 2018 Giller Prize Jury says:

“Once upon a time in Quebec there was a girl named Madeleine. A tiny red headed waif with only a suitcase in her possession steps off a train in a frozen village, and a strapping Quebec man falls head over heels in love with her strangeness. A baby is born from this union that is so big, it manages to kill both its parents in childbirth. As magnificent a work of irony and magic as the boldest works of Gabriel García Márquez, but with a wholly original sensibility that captures the marvellous obsessions of the Quebecois zeitgeist of the twentieth century. It is without any doubt, a tour de force. And the translation is as exquisite as a snowflake.”

Born in 1970, Éric Dupont lives and works in Montreal. He has published four novels with Marchand de feuilles and in France with Éditions du Toucan and Éditions J’ai lu (Flammarion). He is a past winner of Radio-Canada’s “Combat des livres” (the equivalent of the CBC’s Canada Reads contest), a finalist for the Prix littéraire France—Québec and the Prix des cinq continents, …

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The Chat with 2017 Governor General's Award Winner (for Translation) Oana Avasilichioaei

Oana Avasilichioaei_Author Photo_Credit Pam Dick

Today we’re in conversation with Oana Avasilichioaei, translator of Bertrand Laverdure’s novel Lectodôme. Her English translation, Readopolis (BookThug) is the winner of this year’s Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation (French to English).

The jury citation reads: "In Readopolis, Oana Avasilichioaei has risen to and matched the stylistic acrobatics of Bertrand Laverdure’s Lectodôme. The many voices of Quebecois writing sing through in this intelligent translation – a vertiginous ode to the pure, if rarely rewarded, pursuit of literature."

Montreal-based writer, translator, and editor Oana Avasilichioaei has published five poetry collections, including Expeditions of a Chimæra (with Erín Moure; 2009), We, Beasts (2012; winner of the A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry from the Quebec Writers’ Federation) and Limbinal (2015). Previous translations include Bertrand Laverdure’s Universal Bureau of Copyrights (2014; shortlisted for the 2015 ReLit Awards), Suzanne Leblanc’s The Thought House of Philippa (co-translated with Ingrid Pam Dick; 2015), and Daniel Canty’s Wigrum (2013).

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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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English-Quebec Fiction (by Elise Moser)

With great selections and thoughtful annotations, Elise Moser offers her English-Quebec Fiction reading list. Elise Moser's novel Because I Have Loved and Hidden It was published by Cormorant Books. She is currently president of the Quebec Writers' Federation, lives in Montreal, and reads a lot of English Quebec fiction. She also notes that, of course, there are MANY more than six wonderful English Quebec books...

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Earth and High Heaven, Gwethalyn Graham

First published in 1944, there is nothing dated about it, in style or content. Graham creates a vivid picture of Montreal in wartime, deftly managing all manner of issues (sexism, anti-Semitism, Canadian/Quebec politics, cities versus “the regions”) without ever falling into didacticism or losing her focus on the human drama. Heroine Erika Drake (“of the Westmount Drakes”) is a riveting figure of intelligence, flair, and powerful integrity.

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The Speaking Cure, David Homel

This book is full of striking images: poets who are also war criminals, a woman who wears a bulletproof shirt during sex, asy …

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