Off the Record

In their own voices: Six Canadian woman writers on the stories that shaped them. Edited by John Metcalf, Biblioasis

240 pages

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Editor John Metcalf has inspired, challenged, and championed countless writers over his long career. In Off the Record, he encourages six to reveal what one rarely discusses in polite society: how they became writers instead of radio announcers or cabinet makers. The essays collected here, each accompanied by a short story, offer fascinating insight into the relationships between writers, their editors, and their fiction.

Off the Record brings together work by six noted Canadian writers, among them the winners of the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Butler Book Prize, and the Marian Engel Award: Caroline Adderson, Kristyn Dunnion, Cynthia Flood, Shaena Lambert, Elise Levine, and Kathy Page. Their essays are candid, moving, and surprisingly relatable-providing plenty of inspiration for those among us who want to write. 

“Carefully wrought, tonally diverse, artful, thoughtful, revelatory, and nothing short of enticing, the essays showcase authors with an assigned goal that they’ve taken seriously and polished to a gleam.” Brett Josef Grubisic reviews Off the Record

“It’s powerful, thought-provoking material, each essay underscored with an accompanying short story.” Robert J. Wiersema for the Toronto Star

“Keep your pencil handy, for this is an underlining, notes (and hearts) in the margins kind of book, with highlights like this from Kristyn Dunnion: “Good writing often embodies a numinous quality, sifting through echoes of other lives lived, connecting clues in an attempt to find meaning: ghost hunting.” Kerry Clare, Pickle Me This