snowy mountain

Reading with Esmeralda Cabral – Nov 21st Calgary

Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of Portugal with Portuguese-Canadian authors paulo da costa and Esmeralda Cabral. Dream of travel to Portugal as you listen to stories of family, ‘home,’ adventure, and food. Fish may figure prominently!

This is a free event and all are welcome!

Instagram Live link :… for the reading at Shelf Life on Nov 21st at 7 PM.


How to Clean a Fish describes an extended family stay in Portugal, full of food, adventure, and the search for home. Offered the opportunity to live in Costa da Caparica for an extended period, Esmeralda Cabral jumped at the chance to return to the country of her birth. Together with her Canadian-born husband, children, and Portuguese Water Dog, Maggie, Cabral makes new and nostalgic discoveries—a labyrinth of cobblestone alleys and beautiful painted tiles, a delicious bica and pastel de nata, a classic fado concert, the gentle ribbing of local fishmongers, a damaging high tide—translating words and emotions for her family along the way. Packed with local cuisine and customs, tales of language barriers and bureaucracy, and threaded with that irresistible need to connect with the culture of our birth, How to Clean a Fish is for readers curious about life in Portugal and for anyone who has moved from one place to another and is seeking their own version of home.


Award-winning author paulo da costa meditates on fatherhood, place, and memory during a trip to his childhood home in Vale de Cambra, Portugal.

During an extended stay in his childhood home in Portugal, author paulo da costa distills the wide-eyed innocence, joy, and curiosity of his four-year-old son as he meets his aging grandparents and explores an unfamiliar country and culture into a beautiful, tender, and poetic portrait of father-son relationships.

Evocative and heartwarming, Trust the Bluer Skies is a literary time capsule—a father’s vivid account of his son’s early years, a sensory-rich journey through rural Portugal, and a poignant exploration of masculinities that is positive, compassionate, and nurturing. 


Esmeralda Cabral’s travel memoir, How to Clean a Fish and Other Adventures in Portugal was published in Spring 2023 and short listed for the Sunshine Coast Writers and Editors Association Nonfiction Prize for BC authors. Her writing has been published in anthologies, literary magazines, and The Globe and Mail, and two of her stories have aired on CBC Radio.

Esmeralda was born in the Azores, Portugal, grew up in Alberta, and now lives and writes in Vancouver.


Born in Angola, and raised in Portugal, paulo da costa is a writer, editor and translator living in Canada. He is twice the recipient of the James H. Gray Award for Short Nonfiction (2023 and 2020), the 2003 Commonwealth First Book Prize for the Canada-Caribbean Region, the W. O. Mitchell City of Calgary Book Prize and the Canongate Prize for short-fiction. His poetry, fiction and non-fiction have been published widely in literary magazines around the world and translated into Italian, Spanish, Serbian, Slovenian and Portuguese. The Midwife of Torment is his latest book of fiction.

Trust the Bluer Skies: Meditations on Fatherhood, a book of creative non-fiction, is forthcoming in 2024 with University of Regina Press.

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