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Ottawa's Latest and Greatest on Books & Lit

Write On Ottawa: The Novel Writer’s Blueprint is a quick guide to realizing your literary ambitions

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Once, in a university course on modern Canadian literature, a successful Canadian novelist explained how he had started writing his latest novel. “I was doing the dishes after supper one night,” he said, “and I heard the voice of the main character in my head.” After he finished washing up, he sat down and wrote what the voice had said. He also heard the voices of the other characters in the novel, speaking to each other. This, apparently, was how all his novels came about: during his daily routine, a... | Continue reading article

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Write On Ottawa: The lasting joy of the Easy-Bake Oven

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For more than 50 years,  the Easy-Bake Oven has introduced countless generations of children to the joys of cooking.  Since first coming onto the market in 1963, this plastic toy has become a cultural icon, while also serving as an interesting barometer of changing social norms. Fascinated by the decades-long popularity of this culinary rite of passage, Ottawa-based toy historian and author Todd Coopee wrote Light Bulb Baking: A History of the Easy-Bake Oven. “I find the appeal of the book lies in how it traces the 50-year history of a... | Continue reading article

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Librarian in Residence: Are E-books the death of the paper book?

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Image courtesy of The Awkward Yeti (theawkwardyeti.com).Image courtesy of The Awkward Yeti (theawkwardyeti.com).

Jessica Green is a book addict and library card holder since the age of 3. She’s a librarian at the Ottawa Public Library and currently the Apartment613 Librarian-in-Residence, sharing a compendium of literary thoughts and tips. I recall my genetics professor making the claim years ago that we would all be working in paperless offices. Fast forward to now, and paper isn’t dead. The debate between paper and digital lives on, and remains very interesting for libraries. I did discuss e-books at OPL in a previous post but I thought... | Continue reading article

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The West End Well and Ottawa Storytellers join forces

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Photo by Jared Davidson.Photo by Jared Davidson.

A good story can be a powerful thing. It can connect, it can inspire, and it can provide meaning to a community. But in the hands of a gifted teller, it can take on a kind of magical quality, rising above mere words on a page. It is a magic that Ottawa Storytellers has been creating for over 25 years. The organization promotes the art that is storytelling, and consists of over 70 experienced storytellers. This September, Ottawa Storytellers plans to bring their art to Hintonburg with Tellings at the... | Continue reading article

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Write On Ottawa: Local writer debuts new fantasy series

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Johnny EatonJohnny Eaton

Johnny Eaton has lived an interesting life.  When not writing fantasy, the Ottawa-native spends his summers working as a tree planting boss, while in the colder months you can find him acting and making music.  Although he’s on the road quite a bit, he still spends parts of each year in Ottawa, as well as across the river in Chelsea, Quebec. Apartment613 caught up with the multitalented Eaton to discuss Summons, his debut novel that is Part One of the fantasy series The Panachrest.  Below is a Q&A slightly edited for... | Continue reading article

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Librarian in Residence: Don’t be a YA hater!

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Jessica Green is a book addict and library card holder since the age of 3. She’s a librarian at the Ottawa Public Library and currently the Apartment613 Librarian-in-Residence, sharing a compendium of literary thoughts and tips. Slate published this article last month written by Ruth Graham, “Against YA: Adults should be embarrassed to read children’s books” which caused a firestorm among librarians and many others. One of the many assertions the author makes is the following, “There’s room for pleasure, escapism, juicy plots, and satisfying endings on the shelves of... | Continue reading article

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Call for Submissions: YOW! A Zine about Ottawa

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Meet Lily Pepper, a local whose passion for zines (and Apt613!) has led her to launch YOW! a zine about Ottawa in all its glory. Because yes: Ottawa deserves some praise in the form of words, illustrations, comics and other expressions of love on paper. “People living in Ottawa tend to talk this city down,” says Pepper. “What I want to do with the YOW! zine is to get people talking in different ways about Ottawa, talking about what the city means to them, recounting memories of special Ottawa times,... | Continue reading article

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Write on Ottawa: Palawan Story by Caroline Vu

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Caroline Vu. Photo from Palawan Story's Facebook Page.Caroline Vu. Photo from Palawan Story's Facebook Page.

Caroline Vu’s Palawan Story is about the young Kim Nguyen’s unwitting and traumatic escape from the 1970’s Communist Vietnam to the Palawan refugee camp in the Philippines, to her eventual arrival in the United States thanks to a case of mistaken identity. While the story of survival told from a child’s perspective and later re-dissected through Kim’s adult eyes is one that merits readers’ attention alone, it is Vu’s ability to keep her readers emotionally aligned with her narrator that really secures this novel’s literary merits. Vu displays an uncanny... | Continue reading article

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Write On Ottawa: Reimagining the cosmos

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What do you feel when you look up at the heavens?  For many people – if not most – contemplating the vastness of the cosmos is a deeply humbling experience. The universe is so large, and our planet Earth in comparison so small, we can be forgiven for thinking that humanity is mere dust on an infinite cosmic broom. But is this feeling of insignificance justified?  In his fascinating book Vanishing Stars: Unravelling the appropriation of art by science, Ottawa-based photographer Sanjeev Sivarulrasa offers a radical new way of thinking... | Continue reading article

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Write On Ottawa: Fantasy sequel by local writer is a hit

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Photo of Caroline Fréchette by TurkoizePhoto of Caroline Fréchette by Turkoize

Caroline Fréchette is one of my favourite fantasy writers in the National Capital Region. Last year, the Gatineau-based author released Blood Relations, the first book in a five-part series. Now she has published Brothers In Arms, the enjoyable sequel in her action-packed world filled with gangsters, a mysterious corporation and young people with superpowers. Published by Renaissance Press, this well written series tells the story of Alex Winters, a teenage boy who can create fire with his thoughts.  Growing up in rough circumstances and running away at the age of... | Continue reading article

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