Like many Canadians during the pandemic, I have read a TON of books (and counting!). But…how many of these books are by Canadian authors?
Why aren't Canadians reading Canadian books?
Hi! My name is crystal fletcher. This week on all about canadian books I’m hosting a special series that examines what’s going on in the Canadian book industry (and I must confess I had no idea).
To kick-off the series author Susan Swan is back. Susan Swan is a journalist, feminist, novelist, activist, teacher, gardener and is passionate about Canadian authors and Susan is here to discuss why Canadians aren’t reading Canadian books (and it's not because Canada does not have any talented authors).
Here's what Susan has to say about Canada's literary crisis.
To read Susan's article in Now magazine
To visit Susan's website
During our interview, I referred to the book industry having a bit of a silver lining at the end of 2020 because the Department of Canadian Heritage injected a one time $10 million into it. This program allowed independent Canadian book distributors to offer incentives to retail bookstores to increase their stocks of Canadian books. It worked.
Canadian-authored books accounted for almost a fifth of all book sales in 2020 in independent book stores across our country. Click here, to read the report.
Up next, Noelle Allen, owner and publisher, Wolsak and Wynn.
How does Newfoundland inspire author Damhnait Monaghan? Let's find out...
Hi! My name is crystal fletcher. Welcome to all about canadian books! This week’s guest is Damhnait Monaghan. Damhnait grew up in Ontario and Newfoundland & Labrador. She's a former teacher and lawyer and an award-winning flash fiction writer. Damhnait currently resides in the south of England with her husband, two teens and dogs.
We chatted about her debut novel New Girl in Little Cove, which was published by Harper Collins.
It’s 1985. When new teacher Rachel O’Brien arrives in a tiny fishing village, seeking a fresh start after her father dies and her relationship ends, but she soon realizes the most important lessons are the ones she learns outside the classroom.
From the anonymous notes that keep appearing on her car, telling her to GO HOME, the charm of Newfoundland’s distinctive music and culture, budding feelings for fellow teacher Doug to a clash with church and community that throws her career into jeopardy. Let’s just say…it’s quite a year for Rachel O’Brien and you’ll have to read New Girl in the Cove to find out what ‘come from away’ Rachel learns.
I love that The Globe and Mail describes this romantic comedy as "a warm hug of a book." To learn more about Damhnait
Damhnait's Perseverance Pays Off & a Reading
Many writers are familiar with rejection (I know I am). In her book's acknowledgements Damhnait mentions that "countless rejections and near misses," led to her putting her manuscript on the shelf. For fellow writers out there who are feeling a little discouraged about the query process don't miss Damhnait share her story about what led to her taking that manuscript off the shelf.
As I listened to Damhnait read, I can clearly picture Rachel O'Brien's arrival at Little Cove, Newfoundland.
How do the foothills of southern Alberta
inspire author Sophie Stocking?
Hello! My name is crystal fletcher. If you're new to all about canadian books Welcome! And, if you’re returning, Welcome Back! This week’s guest is Sophie Stocking.
Sophie has a very diverse career—social work, architecture, and motherhood. She also pursued fiction at the Alexandra Writer’s Centre and at the University of Calgary.
We chatted about Sophie’s collection of short stories Walking Leonard & Other Stories, which was published by Guernica Editions.
These stories depict unspoken pivot points in the lives of ordinary people. Themes include responsibility and violation between parent and child, nature as a protective force, and the shucking off of various selves in the process of a lifetime. The stories spring from the foothills of southern Alberta, specifically Calgary, and some even more specifically from the historic neighbourhood of Bowness.
And, there's more...
Also included in this interview is some fabulous advice for writers. Sophie says..."ignore some of the advice that's out there!" (love this :))
I hope you enjoyed our interview and Sophie's reading from Walking Leonard and Other Stories. To learn more about Sophie
One year ago, I posted the first all about canadian books author interview on YouTube! Woohoo! What a year it's been...41 interviews! I have LOVED it and am filled with gratitude.
It has been an absolute joy to speak with SO many talented authors and to hear them discuss the stories behind their books. Happy Writing to all!
A BIG thanks to all the dedicated people who work at At Bay Press, Breakwater Books, Cormorant Editions, Guernica Editions, Inanna Publications, NON, Penguin Canada, Simon and Schuster Canada, Wolsak and Wynn and Wintertickle Press. It's been a pleasure to collaborate. Thanks for all the INCREDIBLE (my favourite word today) books.
And, a HUGE thanks to the viewers. I thank you for watching and for your support. Happy Reading! And, PLEASE click this link to subscribe to my channel. I look forward to reading and speaking with more Canadian authors in season 2!
Thanks for supporting your local bookstore. Not sure where to find one
Many thanks. Merci. Namaste. Wela'lin. 🙏
How does Italy inspire author
Bernardine Ann Teràz Stapleton?
Hi! My name is crystal fletcher. If you are new to all about canadian books Welcome! and, if you’re returning Welcome Back! This week’s guest is Bernardine Ann Teràz Stapleton.
Bernardine is an award-winning playwright, whose plays are produced nationally and internationally. She has also written four books, short fiction and is performer of unique distinction. She has served as writer in residence at Memorial University, as playwright in residence with several national companies, and as artistic director of theatre festivals.
We discussed love, life which was published by Breakwater Books.
Do you love life? In this hilarious frolic through the hills of Italy, our heroine discovers the past is never really gone: it runs beside us our entire lives, just waiting to bite us in the arse. love, life is a made-up true fable about coming out, going back in, getting fat, Italian food, and stalking the Piazzo Bernardini.
It’s a haunting love story, transcending decades, countries, and heartbreak. A Newfoundlander in Italy offers the humour, optimism, and romantic yearning the world needs now.
I know I needed it!
Hope you enjoyed our discussion and book reading as much as I did.
Thank you, Bernardine for the great writing tip. Fellow writers, find what works best for you and for Bernardine it is...to show up and greet her day with writing whether she feels like it or not. If you would like to learn more about Bernardine
Today, on all about canadian books we find out
how Mi'kmaq guide Sylvester Joe’s identity is reclaimed almost 200 years later...
Hi! My name is crystal fletcher. If you are new to the program Welcome! And, if you’re returning Welcome Back! This week, I have two very special guests Chief Mi’sel Joe and Sheila O’Neill.
Saqamaw Mi’sel Joe is an author. He has been the District Traditional Chief of Miawpukek First Nation since 1983 and is considered the Spiritual Chief of the Mi’kmaq Newfoundland and Labrador.
Sheila O'Neill is an author, Drum Carrier and carries many teachings passed down by respected Elders and a member of Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation. She is a founding member and past president of the Newfoundland Aboriginal Women's Network and, has been part of a grassroots movement of empowerment of Indigenous women within the island portion of Newfoundland and Labrador.
We discussed My Indian which was published by Breakwater Books. In 1822, William Epps Cormack sought the expertise of a guide who could lead him across Newfoundland in search of the last remaining Beothuk camps on the island. In his journals, Cormack refers to his guide only as “My Indian.”
Now, almost two hundred years later, Saqamaw Mi’sel Joe and Sheila O’Neill reclaim the story of Sylvester Joe, the Mi’kmaq guide engaged by Cormack. In a remarkable feat of historical fiction, My Indian follows Sylvester Joe from his birth to his journey across the island with Cormack. But will Sylvester Joe lead Cormack to the Beothuk, or will he protect the Beothuk and lead his colonial explorer away?
For the stories behind the book you can watch our interview below. Also featured is Shelia reading an excerpt from My Indian. And, determination, patience, if you have a story you need to tell--tell it...is the advice these authors have for writers.
Wela'lioq, Saqamaw Mi’sel Joe and Sheila O’Neill.
My Indian touched me. It filled me with an array of emotions and appreciation for the beautiful friendship Indigenous peoples have with the land and all her creatures.
Today, June 21st is National Indigenous Peoples Day. In celebration and recognition of First Nations, Inuit and Métis unique heritages, diverse cultures and achievements my special guest is Sheila O’Neill.
Sheila O'Neill is an author, drum carrier, founding member and past president of Newfoundland Aboriginal Women's Network. She is also part of a grassroots movement of empowerment of Indigenous women within Newfoundland and Labrador.
Sheila is a member of Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation and we discussed the importance of the drum to the Mi'kmaq and her role as a drum carrier.
Tomorrow on all about canadian books Sheila O’Neill is back with Chief Mi'sel Joe to discuss their historical fiction My Indian. My Indian is an important book that reclaims Mi'kmaq guide Sylvester Joe’s identity almost 200 years later...you'll have to watch tomorrow to find out more!
Wela'lin, Sheila. Happy National Indigenous Peoples Day!
Honest. Brave. Vulnerable.
Hollay Ghadery discusses her memoir Fuse
which explores the documented prevalence of mental health issues in bi-racial women.
Hi! My name is crystal fletcher. If you are new to the program Welcome! And if you’re returning Welcome Back! This week’s guest is Hollay Ghadery. Hollay is a writer, editor, creative consultant. A mother of four. When she’s not parenting and when the gyms are open, Hollay enjoys lifting heavy things. Fuse was published by Guernica Editions.
Drawing on her own experiences as a woman of Iranian and British Isle descent, writer Hollay Ghadery dives into conflicts and uncertainty surrounding the bi-racial female body and identity, especially as it butts up against the disparate expectations of each culture. Painfully and at times, reluctantly, Fuse probes and explores the documented prevalence of mental health issues in bi-racial women.
Hollay writes about her eating disorder, substance abuse, self-mutilation, self-hatred, and an anxiety disorder. I am in awe of Hollay's honesty and vulnerability.
To learn more about Hollay Ghadery
Hollay's Author Advice & A Reading
Listen to Hollay Ghadery as she reads from her memoir Fuse. Hollay's advice for authors is to read A LOT. Read widely. Read EVERYTHING and to take notes about what you loved about them.
How does Iqaluit inspire author Felicia Mihali?
Let's find out...
Hi! My name is crystal fletcher and welcome to this week’s episode of all about canadian books. I'm delighted to have Felicia Mihali as a guest. Felicia is a journalist, novelist and publisher who lives in Montréal. She has written 12 novels and we discussed Felicia’s latest Pineapple Kisses in Iqaluit which was published by Guernica Editions.
Ten years after her picture on a magazine cover made her nationally famous as The Darling of Kandahar, Irina moves up North hoping that new experiences would allow old wounds to finally heal. Yet, in the land of darkness and polar bears, she learns that there really is no place to hide from herself. When she meets Constable Liam O'Connor, her past comes out to challenge her once again.
Felicia also discusses writing in English (her 5th language). I am in AWE of this. To learn more about Felicia and her other novels
Felicia Mihali Reads from Pineapple Kisses In Iqaluit
I LOVE an accent and I could listen to Felicia read all day. Felicia's advice for writers is to write about things you know well. Be Sincere. Be honest--with yourself and your readers.
What inspires bestselling author Catherine McKenzie?
Let's find out…
Hi! My name is crystal fletcher and welcome to all about canadian books. This week's guest is Catherine McKenzie. Catherine was born and raised in Montreal, practiced law for twenty years and now writes full time. When Catherine is not writing she’s an avid runner, skier and tennis player. We discussed her eleventh novel Six Weeks to Live which was published by Simon & Schuster.
What would you do if you had to solve your own murder?
Jennifer Barnes never expected the shocking news she received at a routine doctor’s appointment: she has a terminal brain tumor—and only six weeks left to live.
While stunned by the diagnosis, the forty-eight-year-old mother decides to spend what little time she has left with her family—her adult triplets and twin grandsons—close by her side. But when she realizes she was possibly poisoned a year earlier, she’s determined to discover who might have tried to get rid of her before she’s gone for good...
And can I just say...Wow! what an ending!
To learn more about Catherine McKenzie and to check out her other books
Author Advice & Reading
According to Catherine if you want to be a better writer you need to read more. As an avid reader I love this advice. No problem Catherine, I will up my book intake.
Catherine also reads from the first chapter of her novel and she puts me right in the doctor's office with her character Jennifer Barnes when she receives the shocking news she is dying.
Story Teller. Content Writer. Traveller. YouTuber.