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Ottawa's Latest and Greatest on Books & Lit

Write On Ottawa: YA fantasy novel offers a coming-of-age gothic tale

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Page Turner

Maplewright, the small town where Kevin Johns’ young adult novel The Page Turners is set, is a sad-sack little burg, devoid of glamour or inspiration.  It has a stalled economy, few decent jobs, and run-down neighbourhoods.  It could be any one of a thousand fading rural centers across North America. The population is narrow-minded and bigoted; skeletons are gathering in closets like unfashionable coats.  The children bully each other, and the adults — parents, teachers, police — show no leadership, motivation, initiative, or concern. From this miasma of disillusionment, three nerdy and vulnerable... | Continue reading article

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Puzzling Posts: Adventures in daddy-daughter time

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puzzling-posts

It’s a problem faced by creative types everywhere: how do parents foster creativity in their children just as the world conspires to grind it out of them with regimented school systems and day-to-day drudgery? For one local parent, the answer lies in blogging his daddy-daughter creative writing exploits. Apt613 contributor Mike Reynolds is one of the minds behind Puzzling Posts, a blog full of short tales about dinosaurs, robots, magic snowmen and the like. I say one of the minds, because Mike’s four-year-old daughter, the eldest of two, plays an... | Continue reading article

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Write On Ottawa: Turning a soldier’s experience in Afghanistan into moving poetry

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Scaled photo

Ottawa author Kanina Dawson’s poetry collection Masham Means Evening, which is based on her experiences as a master corporal with the Canadian military in Afghanistan, doesn’t invite a tepid response. “Dawson grabs the reader full frontal and screams – here it is, the face of war, have a bite.”  That’s how poet Michael Dennis describes it.  Tepid?  Not so much. Published by Coteau Books, Masham Means Evening is a cycle of 67 poems based on Dawson’s 10-month tour in 2005 and 2006.  It is her first book. The poems are lyric, free verse with a... | Continue reading article

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Let zines keep you warm this winter

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Maranda Elizabeth writes zines about how to create meaningful days while experiencing mental illnesses that they want to learn how to live with, not how to get rid of.Maranda Elizabeth writes zines about how to create meaningful days while experiencing mental illnesses that they want to learn how to live with, not how to get rid of.

When the days are short and the world outdoors is frozen and inhospitable, it can be hard to get motivated to do much other than lie in bed with some insalubrious snacks and a steady stream of Netflix. Three Toronto writers who will be reading in Ottawa on December 19th want to encourage us to try some other winter survival tactics, and talk about some of the ways that we can survive difficult times by caring for ourselves and taking part in our communities.  They also want to bring to... | Continue reading article

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Write On Ottawa: Five talented young writers with bright literary futures

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Pot-Pourrie 2013

During the past year, the Write On Ottawa series has profiled some excellent writers from the National Capital Region. As we near the end of 2013, and reflect on the great wordsmiths in Ottawa-Gatineau, we decided to profile five young authors whose pen has already won them awards. This past fall the Ottawa Public Library released Pot-Pourri 2013, a collection of winning short stories and poems from their Awesome Authors contest.  (The deadline to apply for the next contest is February 9, 2014). Open to those between the ages of 9 to... | Continue reading article

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Apartment613 holiday gift list of books by local authors

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Photo by buttonpie courtesy of Flickr (creative commons)Photo by buttonpie courtesy of Flickr (creative commons)

Earlier this year, Apartment613 started the Write On Ottawa series to profile the great literary talent in our city.  With Christmas fast approaching, we are looking back at all the writers that we spoke to this year, as well as giving a sneak preview to some of the reviews coming in the weeks and months ahead. Below we have listed more than 60 writers from the National Capital Region, as well as various independent stores where you can purchase books and comics.  All listed authors have been reviewed by Apartment613,... | Continue reading article

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Write On Ottawa: Canadian-Chilean author pens stories filled with humour, love and courage

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Gabriela EtcheverryGabriela Etcheverry

The Breadfruit Tree by Chilean-born Ottawa author Gabriela Etcheverry  pictures life in all its strangeness, wickedness and comedy. Etcheverry writes from the perspective of a woman who has succeeded against all the odds, not once but twice.  First, she made her way out of extreme poverty on the outskirts of the port city of Coquimbo to become a teacher in the Chilean capital, Santiago, where she married and set up home. Second, as an exile, initially speaking little English or French, she again had to start at the bottom to... | Continue reading article

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Ottawa Pop Expo offers endless fun for lovers of comics, science fiction and fantasy

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Ottawa pop expo

If you are a fan of comic books, and love a healthy dose of science fiction and fantasy, then the Ottawa Pop Expo this weekend offers many special treats. Taking place at the Ernst and Young Centre (4899 Uplands Dr), the two-day event will feature a wide range of exhibitors, as well as numerous special guests, including such luminaries as Howard Chaykin of American Flagg! fame, and Tony Moore who co-launched the comic book series The Walking Dead. Marco Rudy, who has worked on such projects as Marvel Knights: Spider-Man, will also be present.  In 2014, Rudy is teaming up... | Continue reading article

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Write On Ottawa: Laughing at the insanity that is the federal public service

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Photo of Christian McPherson (next to zombie) taken by Judith GustafssonPhoto of Christian McPherson (next to zombie) taken by Judith Gustafsson

As federal civil servants know all too well, strange things happen inside the Canadian government. How weird?  Well, if you read The Cube People and Cube Squared, two uproariously funny novels by local writer Christian McPherson, you may never see the National Capital Region in the same way again. Published by Nightwood Editions, the two books revolve around Colin MacDonald, a government IT worker who dreams of being a published writer.  While typing away at science fiction and horror stories, he has to deal with a bizarre cast of co-workers, as well as hyper-bureaucratic managers who... | Continue reading article

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Librarian in Residence: The unofficial holiday gift list for 2013

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WorstPrincess

OPL does publish official holiday gift lists, so I thought it would be fun to look at some of the random books I have enjoyed over the past year which probably won’t feature on those lists. Even though my day job is in Children’s Services, I read all kinds of books. I have some picks for kids, teens and adults, and have tried to keep it short, but there were so many good ones… Best subversive princess picture book – The Worst Princess by Anna Kemp  I read this to... | Continue reading article

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