The Odette Barr Interview

The Canadian North: I’ve always been entranced by stories about the early explorers, ships trapped in the ice, men forced to survive through a harsh winter (and they often didn’t), as well as learning about the peoples who did live there year-round and did survive, for centuries until our present day. Odette Barr’s Teaching at the Top of The World (2020, Pottersfield Press) is a memoir of her time living and teaching in Canada’s Far North, specifically Grise Fiord, Nunavut, which, despite its low population, it is the largest community and only public community on Ellesmere Island.…

Northern Survival by Diane McGyver

Northern Survival by Nova Scotia author, Diane McGyver, is an action-packed story of adventure as a result of a plane crash where there are only two survivors in the Canadian wilderness.

One of the main characters, Olive Tweed is on vacation, doing research for a new novel. The other is a famous American actor, Jonathan Stone. Ending up on the same plane, it goes down when disaster strikes.…

The Court of Better Fiction: Three Trials, Two Executions, and Arctic Sovereignty by Debra Komar

What better place to write and research a historic event that took place in Canada’s far north than while living in Canada’s north? Debra Komar was writer-in-residence at Berton House in Dawson City for one year and considered her time there one of the “greatest experiences” of her life.

The result is a concise, scathing, and at the same time, sympathetic account of a travesty of justice committed against the Indigenous peoples living above the Arctic Circle. …

The Wintermen & The Wintermen II: Into the Deep Dark by Brit Griffin

Summertime is a good time to read about a country in permanent winter, right? Or would the story go better if one were warm and dry inside during a blizzard? It likely wouldn’t matter for The Wintermen books penned by Brit Griffin are so good, you’ll forget about the weather for a while.

The concept is that a permanent winter has descended far enough south that people need to be relocated because the government cannot afford to maintain any type of services such as electricity and such for those that want to stay.…

Nirliit by Juliana Léveillé-Trudel

On the back cover of Nirliit (2018, Véhicule Press) there is a quote by Dorothée Berryman of La Presse that perfectly sums up how I felt about reading this small, but transcendent novel: “I’m about to reread this book because its powerful beauty haunts me.” I did reread the book, but only after I was almost finished it and I felt I needed to go back to recapture the mood of the book; I felt I was reading it too fast and not absorbing the acute perceptions of the author regarding her time spent in the northern Quebec Inuit village of Salluit.…