Small, Broke, and Kind of Dirty: Affirmations for the Real World by Hana Shafi

I can’t say enough about Hana Shafi’s latest book, Small, Broke, and Kind of Dirty. It is a treasure of a book; the balm for a tumultuous year.

The subtitle of the book is Affirmations for the Real World, but in the introduction, Shafi assures us that this is no book of advice. Rather, she offers affirmations and reflections as a means of reminding us that we are not alone, even when we feel unloved, awkward, or unable to sleep because we’re busy remembering every embarrassing thing we did when we were 11 years old.…

The Painted Province by Joy Laking

The first time I ever saw a Joy Laking painting was many years back when scrolling through the internet.   There before me was her image of – Joan’s Chairs.  I immediately looked up the artist and found her website.  I have been a fan of hers ever since. This painting is included in her book The Painted Province and it was wonderful to see it again here.…

Brighten the Corner Where You Are, a Novel Inspired by the Life of Maud Lewis by Carol Bruneau

Nova Scotia artist Maud Lewis, a character perhaps as folkloric as her paintings, comes to life in Carol Bruneau’s reimagining of her in Brighten the Corner Where You Are.

Lewis has been depicted in books, films and plays. Certain facts are known–her struggle with disabilities including crippling rheumatoid arthritis, her marriage to the meanspirited, miserly alcoholic Everett Lewis, the gaily decorated one-room house where they lived in abject poverty, and the colourful scenes she painted of bucolic country life and sold for a few dollars each.…

Crafting Arts

Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem.

A Meta-Textual Hive: Double Self-Portrait By James Lindsay

In his poem “Survivors” from the collection Double Self-Portrait out in August with Wolsak &Wynn, the poet James Lindsay writes,  “It’s suspect to trust any type of identification that isn’t self-applied.” Thus in his book, aliens resemble humans, computers are likened to the human brain, children are and are not their parents in miniature; and memories have more to do with a nostalgic self negotiating a present moment than the brute fact of vanished days.…

The Art of the Fall, a Play Translated by Danielle Le Saux-Farmer

Fiction could never be labelled as predictable. It has published divergent kinds of contemporary French fiction titles which it carefully translates into English to gain a wider audience. Witness what happened recently with Eric Dupont’s Songs for the Cold of Heart: a prestigious Giller nomination that made the publishing world take notice that there is a virtually untapped market for translations.…

The Group of Seven Reimagined, Edited by Karen Schauber

a very good reason that as I write this, The Group of Seven Reimagined, Contemporary Stories Inspired by Historic Canadian Paintings is sitting at, or near the top of bestseller lists in Canada (as of this writing, it is currently #3 on the Canadian Art bestseller list at Amazon.ca).  The result is a most attractive book that any lover of art and literature would enjoy, even if they already have more than a passing familiarity with the iconic Group of Seven.…

The Philistine by Leila Marshy

Montrealer Leila Marshy is of Palestinian-Newfoundland heritage and The Philistine (2018, Linda Leith Publishing) is her first novel. The Philistine is the story of Nadia Eid, the daughter of a Palestinian father and a Scottish-Canadian woman. Her father, Bishara, lives mostly in Egypt where he works for British Petroleum, so Nadia has seen very little of him over the years. She lives with her boyfriend Daniel, in Montreal the city of her birth.…

The Art and Passion of Guido Nincheri by Mélanie Grondin

The beauty of many old churches (particularly cathedrals, basilicas, etc.) is in their architecture as well as in their religious art, whether it is the many large frescoes or the exquisite stained glass windows that adorn them. The late (1885-1973) Italian-Canadian artist and stained glass master Guido Nincheri has enjoyed a recent resurgence of interest, thanks to his grandson Roger Bocchini Nincheri who has been tirelessly photographing and cataloging his grandfather’s hundreds of existing works.…

Terra Magna: Labrador by Jean Claude Roy

2012, Jean Claude Roy and Breakwater Books of Newfoundland and Labrador published Fluctuat Nec Mergitur, a book that included a painting of every community on the island of Newfoundland, the culmination of an extraordinary forty-five years of painting the island’s landscape. From the beginning of that project, Jean Claude realized that he had neither the knowledge of Labrador nor space in the book to include paintings from there, and so the idea of this second volume was born.…

The Illustrated Ode to Labrador by Dr. Harry Paddon with additional text by Robin McGrath

The Illustrated Ode to Labrador is a new treatment of Dr. Harry Paddon’s beloved anthem. Artist Geoff Butler has produced twenty-five vibrant original paintings that feature the various people and regions of The Big Land, executed in oil paint. The introduction by author Robin McGrath outlines the history of the Ode and the life of Dr. Paddon, and in a series of thumbnail vignettes, she puts Butler’s paintings into a cultural and geographic context that amounts to a mini-tour of the Eastern Ungava.…

Art Love Forgery by Carolyn Morgan

Newfoundlander Carolyn Morgan has published her first novel, Art Love Forgery (2016, Flanker Press) and fans of historical fiction and romance will certainly appreciate this fine book. It is based on a singular incident in nineteenth-century colonial Newfoundland history when Polish artist (and convicted forger) Alexander Pindikowsky was tasked with beautifying some of St. John’s most important buildings, including Government House, home to the colony’s Lieutenant Governor.…