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Atlantic Books today

Book News Reviews Excerpts


The history issue

Gift giving made simple

reads to bring the


past to life

Colleen Jones

talks life on and off the ice

home Flavours of

Cooking East Coast comfort food with chef Craig Flinn

Win free


Winter 2015 No. 80 Publications Mail Agreement 40038836

Halifax: A Visual Legacy William Naftel

South End Boy Jim Bennet

Illuminating photographs and stories of the city’s past

The sights and sounds of Halifax in the 1930s and 40s



Hand Drawn Halifax Emma FitzGerald $24.95

A best-selling love letter to the city!

Old Enough to Fight Dan Black & John Boileau Out of New Nova Scotia Kitchens Craig Flinn $24.95 Modern twists on Maritime classics from chef Craig Flinn



Now in paperback, the tragic story of Canada’s underage First World War soldiers

Beaches of Nova Scotia Allan Billard, photography by Donna Barnett $24.95 From the beaches expert you heard on Halifax’s Information Morning all summer, this beautiful book makes a great gift!

Explosion Newsie Jacqueline Halsey, illustrated by Loretta Migani $16.95

The thrilling adventure of a newsboy on the day of the Explosion — illustrated in vivid colour

Contents Winter 2015 Joseph Muise


On the Cover 53 Chef Craig Flinn Celebrates Kitchens New and Old

New twists on classic Atlantic Canadian favourites, like this East Coast Reuben sandwich

Up front 7 Editor’s Message

Committing to the arts in our communities


Current Affairs 8 Noted

Awards & more

10 Passoniate, Crazy or Both

Rejection drove this New Brunswicker to become a publisher herself

11 Seeing the Bigger Picture

Journalist Colleen Lewis on writing Mr. Big

Author Buzz 13 Proust Questionnaire

Musings from the mind of author Bill Rowe

14 Squirrels on Set

At home with author and photographer Nancy Rose

Joseph Muise

16 Playing the Shot in Front of You


Colleen Jones on facing challenges in and out of the rink

Young Readers 18 Reviews

Atlantic Books today PRESENTS



Books for the Holidays

Look for this symbol

Books that go from sea to tree to sky

20 A Story of Survival

Diane Carmel Léger inspires kids with Acadian history


local books more &inside

Your gift-giving guide for 2015

Books with this symbol can also be found in Atlantic Books for the Holidays – available now at

Cover photo: Jen Partridge

Atlantic Books Today


2015/16 SEASON

Bernhard Gueller, Music Director

SYMPHONY NOVA SCOTIA There are still lots of great concerts to enjoy this season! Hear spectacular performances of the music you love. The Music of Queen

Sleeping Beauty

Holst’s The Planets

UPCOMING HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE: • The Nutcracker • Handel’s Messiah • Symphonic Schubert • Dan Mangan • The Music of Queen • Vivaldi’s Four Seasons • Pianist Marc-André Hamelin • The Celtic Tenors • Sleeping Beauty • Meaghan Smith • Holst’s The Planets • and so much more!




Atlantic Books today

Book News Reviews exceRpts


The history issue

gift giviNg MAde siMPle

reAds to BriNg the


PAst to life

ColleeN JoNes

tAlks life oN ANd off the iCe

home Flavours of

Win free


Cooking East Coast comfort food with chef Craig Flinn

Winter 2015 No. 80 Publications Mail Agreement 40038836

Readthe issue online NOw


Jen Partridge

Features 22 Against the Grain

Behind the scenes at Fernwood Publishing

24 The 12 Books of Christmas

Your gift giving guide for everyone on your list

27 A Milestone Anniversary for Tidewater Books

Sackville’s favourite bookseller knows what bookworms want

History 30 Folklore – Our Living Heritage 32 In His Footsteps

Len Wagg looks through the lens of a photographic legend

Len Wagg

Superstitions,‘old wives’ tales’ and ancient beliefs

32 53

34 A Life Together Claire Mowat on her time with Farley


36 Where History and Imagination Meet

Fact becomes fiction in Immortal Air

38 A Read Through Time

Get your history fix through historical fiction

40 History Book Reviews 44 History Excerpts

Reviews 48 Reviews

Joseph Muise

Short stories, poetry, fiction, memoir and more

Food 53 Feature

Chef Craig Flinn celebrates kitchens old and new

Contests and more

Book Bites

7 Book Club Bonanza

57 Excerpts

62 Readers Survey

Snow Softly Falling: Holiday Stories from Prince Edward Island; Deep Freeze: Winter 2015; The Blind Man’s Eyes

Help us improve Atlantic Books Today in 2016

62 The Great Book Giveaway

Atlantic Books Today


Atlantic Books today Atlantic Books Today is published by the

Chocolate River Publishing Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association

(, which gratefully Chocolate Publishing TellingRiver our New Brunswick Story

acknowledges the financial assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts.This project has Books Available at been made possible in part by the Government Books Available at of Canada and the Government of New local bookstores local bookstores and gift and shopsgift shops Brunswick. Opinions expressed in articles in or or Atlantic Books Today do not necessarily re­flect the views and opinions of the Board of the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association.

Telling our New Brunswick Story

Grey Eyes

A Novel by Frank Christopher Busch PUBLISHER Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association

2015 Burt Award for First Nations, Metis and Inuit Literature


Wake the Stone Man

A Novel by Carol McDougall 2013 Beacon Award for Social Justice Literature 9781552666777 I $20.95

9781552667217 I $20.95


Incoming EDITOR Lauren d’Entremont Outgoing EDITOR Kim Hart Macneill

Reading, naturally. Ron Such T. 1.902.684.0888 6

Complete Book Manufacturing

ART DIRECTOR Joseph Muise Printed in Canada. This is issue number 80 Winter 2015. Atlantic Books Today is published three times a year. All issues are numbered in sequence. Total Atlantic-wide circulation: 90,000. ISSN 1192-3652 One-year subscriptions to Atlantic Books Today are available for $16 ($18.40 including HST). Please make cheques payable to the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association and mail to address below or contact apma.admin@ for subscription inquiries. Publications Mail Agreement No. 40038836 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association Atlantic Books Today 1484 Carlton Street, Halifax, NS B3H 3B7 Phone (902) 420.0711 Fax (902) 423.4302 @abtmagazine


shook hard the political Etch A Sketch we’ve known for the last four years. The call for change was loud and clear here in Atlantic Canada, which elected a full slate of Liberal MPs. Then in November, when Prime Minster Justin Trudeau announced his cabinet, he named Mélanie Joly as Minister of Canadian Heritage. Joly has a history of supporting the arts. She’s volunteered with organizations including the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, the Laval Symphony Orchestra and the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (Montreal Contemporary Art Museum) to name just a few. Arts funding was a key component of the new government’s election platform. Alongside a pledge to increase CBC funding, which saw its budget hacked to bits by the previous government, and a commitment to double funding to

the Canada Council of the Arts, which supports Atlantic Books Today and magazine and book publishers across the country. Our art and our stories are a key component of Canadian culture, and I am cautiously optimistic that this government’s commitment to the arts will show in our local artistic communities. Speaking of change, we’re celebrating at big one here in the office, too. This will be my last issue as the editor of Atlantic Books Today. Over the last year and a half, I’ve produced 5 issues and read many stories about and from our region. I hope that you’ve enjoyed them as much as I have. Our new editor, Lauren d’Entremont is a bookworm who hails originally from Amherst, Nova Scotia. She’s back on home soil after years in Toronto editing FranchiseCanada magazine and we’re lucky to have her onboard. Happy reading in 2016!

Editor’s message

This fall Canadian voters

Kim Hart Macneill

Book Club


Calling all book clubs! Want to see your book club featured on our website and in our newsletter? Fill out this ballot (or enter online at for your chance! The winning book club will also receive these great gifts: • We’ll bring the food or send you a $100 Sobeys gift card! • AND we will come to your next meeting (either in person or via Skype) to tell you about the hottest new Atlantic Canadian books! • AND you’ll win a set of Atlantic Canadian books for the group! The information below will not be used for any purpose other than contacting the winning entry. Name: Phone (with area code): The name of your book club: Street/mailing address: City/town, province, postal code: Your favourite book from an Atlantic Canadian author: How many members in your book club?

How often do you meet?

E-mail: Yes, please send the Atlantic Books Today newsletter to my inbox. I understand that my consent may be withdrawn by contacting Atlantic Books Today at

Atlantic Books Today


Current Affairs Noted

awards & more Lesley Choyce's YA book headed to film

Toronto-based production company 9 Light Entertainment has made a short film based on Lesley Choyce’s 2011 young adult book Dumb Luck. The novel tells the story of Brandon, a misfit who wins $3 million two days before his 18th birthday. The production company is currently running an Indiegogo campaign to finish its postproduction. “This is all new to me but I believe these folks will make it happen. I’m impressed that this new way of producing creative work may be the thing of the future,” said Choyce on the Facebook page of Pottersfield Press, his Lawrencetown Beach, NS, publishing company. The campaign runs until Dec. 11 and you can find it at

Atlantic authors chosen for Children's Book Week

TD Canada Children’s Book Week selected a host of Atlanticbased and -published authors for its 2016 Book Week Tour, including Angela Misri (Fierce Ink Books), Lisa Dalrymple (Creative Book Publishing) and Vicki Grant from Halifax (Orca Books). This celebration of youth literacy happens May 7–14, when 36 authors will visit schools, libraries, bookstores and community centres in each province and territory. Visit to learn who’s reading in your city or town. Angela Misri


Current Affairs Noted

Atlantic books and writers find recognition on the awards scene

Atlantic Canadian authors and publishers excel at producing award-winning books. Here’s just a sampling of books and authors who’ve received awards attention since our last issue: Wolfville, Nova Scotia journalist and author of Empire of Deception: From Chicago to Nova Scotia – The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated a Nation, Dean Jobb won the Chicago Writer’s Association Award for Book of the Year in Traditional Nonfiction in November and was named a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, one of the country’s richest writing awards in September. Also in September, the Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist was announced, and Halifax-raised author and journalist Russell Smith received a nod for his story collection Confidence. The Writers’ Trust of Canada announced in September “Five x Five,” a one-time program made possible by the RBC Emerging Artists Project that will distribute $25,000 to Canadian writers in the developing stages of their careers. Five celebrated writers from across Canada, all past Writers’ Trust award honourees, each selected one emerging writer who they feel has displayed the potential to enter Canada’s literary canon. Megan Gail Coles was among the five winners selected to receive $5,000. Coles’ story collection, Eating Habits of the Chronically Lonesome (Killick Press), won the 2014 BMO Winterset Award and the 2014 Margaret and John Savage First Book Award. Dean Jobb

In October, Grey Eyes (Roseway Megan Gail Coles Publishing) by Frank Christopher Busch took the second place award at the 2015 Burt Award For First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature. The award celebrates the best in indigenous authorship benefitting First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth. It was created and is managed by CODE, a Canadian nonprofit organization promoting literacy and education for over 55 years. Jim McEwen took home first place in the 2015 Cuffer Prize for his short story “Held” on Nov. 3. Now in it’s 7th year, the Cuffer Prize, sponsored by Creative Book Publishing and The Telegram, showcases some of the best short fiction from new and established Newfoundland and Labrador writers. Also lauded that evening were Eva Crocker, who took home second prize for her story “Sightings,” and Grant Lovelys, who took home third prize for “Only Skin”. You can read these and other great stories in The Cuffer Anthology Volume VII, edited by Pam Frampton and published by Creative Book Publishing.

Atlantic Books Today


Current Affairs First Person

Passionate, crazy or both The rejection of her children’s book drove this New Brunswicker to become a publisher herself by Kate Merlin


he decision of the Pitch the Publisher panel at Word on the Street was unanimous: They weren’t interested in my book because they weren’t currently in the market for New Brunswick children’s books. As a writer, I was okay with someone not wanting my story, but as a New Brunswick school library worker the panel’s reasoning concerned me. New Brunswick didn’t have an English language children’s publisher. If the other Atlantic publishers weren’t going to publish our books, who would? Someone at the editor’s booth told me about the publishing program at Ryerson University. When my mother died suddenly a couple months later, I decided to make her my silent partner and used my mother’s insurance policy to pay my printer’s bills. I took the plunge and went back to school. In my first course we had interview someone in the industry. It was a great excuse to call Terrilee Bulger (publisher at The Acorn Press) from the Pitch the Publisher panel to ask her why she didn’t publish New Brunswick children’s books. Bulger’s reasons made sense—her focus was on Prince Edward Island

books, the New Brunswick market is small and our educational system is more fragmented than other provinces. From my own research, I discovered that printing costs, bookstore commissions, distribution fees and author royalties quickly add up. It would be easy to start losing money on every book you sold. Marie Cadieux (publisher at Bouton d’Or) shared her insights about running a francophone children’s publishing house in New Brunswick and warned me that it would be hard work. To succeed, you either had to be very passionate or crazy. I started to suspect you had to be both. My instructors at Ryerson were very supportive as I scrambled to learn everything I needed to know. We were learning about book acquisitions when I acquired my first book—Bay of Fundy’s Hopewell Rocks by Kevin Snair. I couldn’t have chosen a better first book or first author. I used my newly acquired substantive editing course skills to edit his manuscript and learned that I really enjoyed the collaborative process of giving birth to a book. By the time I got to my production course, we realized that we

New Brunswick didn't have an English language children's publisher. If the other Atlantic publishers weren't going to publish our books, who would?


had something very special coming together. I wanted to ensure that his amazing photos were properly reproduced so I skipped ahead to the online course about choosing a printer and picked the brains of my classmates, some of whom were already working in the industry. Kevin’s book arrived from the printers five days before its launch at the Hopewell Rocks. All of Albert County rallied behind it, and I started to get a warm fuzzy feeling when I realized many of the local gift shops would also earn an income from it. Even though I’ve finished my publishing certificate, I still have a lot to learn. For instance, Ryerson doesn’t have a warehousing 101 course so Kevin had to show me how to use a pallet jack. The support I’ve received from writers, booksellers, teachers, librarians and other Atlantic publishers this summer has been tremendous. Next year I hope to publish four more books and prove that there is indeed a market for New Brunswick children’s books. ■

Kate Merlin, a writer based in Riverview, established Chocolate River Publishing, the only New Brunswick publishing house that publishes English language children’s books.

Current Affairs Perspective

Left: Jennifer Hicks Right: Colleen Lewis

Seeing the bigger picture The journey of telling the story of Jennifer Hicks and her daughters by Colleen Lewis


ith my video camera on my shoulder, and a tripod tucked under my arm, I made the four-story climb to Jennifer Hicks’ apartment. I wasn’t sure what to expect. It had been five years since her ex-husband, Nelson Hart, had been sentenced in the drowning deaths of their daughters. Prior to this summer day in 2013, I had only known

her as Jennifer Hart, the wife who believed her husband’s version of the events and stood beside her mother-in-law throughout the trial. But my visit to Jennifer’s apartment that day would change my perspective entirely. Inside, there were pictures of Karen and Krista on every wall. Some were originals and others had been enhanced with hearts, angels and poems in memory.

Atlantic Books Today


Current Affairs PerSpective

For me, the final product had to be different than news, and more reader-friendly than simply presenting the evidence

As I sat with Jennifer, she nervously clutched a piece of paper in her hand. The letter explained the Supreme Court appeal could result in his release from custody and she wanted to make sure he didn’t come back to Gander. The Jennifer before The reward has been hearing from people who me was not the one I had seen in the courtroom for say they get it now. all those weeks. They understand a little more about the intricaShe was stronger. She was angry, and I knew instantly she was about to add to this already cies as to why Jennifer stayed with her husband, and complex story. they also realize why the Mr. Big confession was Jennifer began pulling several big plastic storage deemed unreliable. tubs from a spare room. Piece by piece, she showed Many of us remember where we were when we me everything she had left of her daughters. first heard the story of Karen and Krista’s drowning. And through the tears, a story of abuse and It is not only an important part of our province’s neglect emerged. She explained that she no longer history, but the children were loved by many— believed her ex-husband’s version of the events at especially the people of Gander, NL, who knew Gander Lake. She couldn’t fully explain why she them well and supported them on several occasions had stayed in her marriage, even at the cost of los- in their short lives. ing her own family, but she stayed. And now she It’s been an honour to tell Karen and Krista’s story. ■ wanted to make things right. As I sat, editing my piece for the NTV evening news that night, I knew there was no way to explain Colleen Lewis spent her early years in Rocky everything in a two-minute time slot. Harbour and grew up in Deer Lake. She But it wouldn’t be until the summer of 2014 spent several years as a print reporter, and for that I would make the decision to tell the story in the past twelve years she has been a video its entirely. journalist with NTV. I admit, however, having a co-author made me nervous in the beginning. But as we progressed, I realized it was an ideal situation. Although I cried along with G r e at w inte r Jennifer many days, she was indeed the r e ads f rom interviewee. I continued to work as a journalist, cross-referencing much of her story with the evidence obtained through social workers, the police and the testimonies of the various family members involved. phone 709-739-4477 toll-free 1-866-739-4420 While she fought for justice, I w w w. f l a n k e r p r e s s . c o m brought objectivity to the table without turning it into just another news check us out on story. For me, the final product had to be different than news, and more reader-friendly than simply presenting the evidence through the eyes of the Crown and Defense. My immediate goal was to strip the entire story down to a point where people could relate to it on a personal level. Of course, a narrative was the ultimate way to get there, and there were many occasions when including dialogue made the job tougher, but I’m so glad today that I chose this style.


Author Buzz Interview

Proust questionnaire

Bill Rowe

Bill Rowe has had many titles—Rhodes Scholar, Member of the Newfoundland House of Assembly, lawyer, public affairs commentator, and bestselling author. His latest book takes a warm and humorous look at the inner lives of a destined-for-greatness dog named Durf and his human and feline housemates. What do you consider your best quality? Skepticism, backed by a built-in, hypersensitive BS detector. What do you appreciate most about your friends? Not calling me at 10 o’clock on a Saturday morning with the invitation, “Hey, old buddy, how about giving me a hand moving some furniture?” Your worst quality: Entertaining still a remnant of tolerance for self-righteous morons. Your favourite occupation: My long-term memory is so good that I can remember when my favourite occupation was being physically active in bed. Now it’s lying quietly in bed, mentally writing my next book. This may not be everybody’s notion of progress. Your idea of misery: Being trapped too long in a social situation requiring polite restraint towards self-righteous morons. Where you would most like to live? Out here, in the middle of the North Atlantic, is good. Sometimes, though, when a St. John’s day in July produces winter temperatures, it almost seems too remarkable a coincidence that the

place where I happened to grow up also happens to be the best place on earth to live. Then I have random thoughts: the South of France would be good, too.

What is your greatest fear? That Schopenhauer’s answer was right when someone asked him where we go when we die. He replied that you go to wherever you were before you were born. Is he suggesting that our subjecFavourite Animal: Domesticated: the Labrador retriever of tive selves will be lurking somewhere just waiting for the chance to do this all The True Confessions of a Badly Misover again? Bloodcurdling. understood Dog. Wild: “Tyger tyger, burning bright…” A natural talent you’d like to possess: To perform brilliantly in the highest of Your favourite poet(s): the arts: music. Geoffrey Chaucer, Thomas Wyatt, William Blake, Thomas Hardy, Philip How you want to die: Larkin, Ted Hughes. Slowly, for the first 85 years, and then very quickly. Maybe after a nice, strong Favourite author(s): soporific during a trip to Switzerland. William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, John Updike, Cormac McCarthy. Favourite or personal motto: Innocens non timidus, which can translate Your favourite fictional heroes: to: “Innocent not fearful.” Whatever the Resourceful Odysseus, the man of hell that means. But it sounds ominous, twists and turns. And Rosalind in As You Like It: she’s so wise and funny she like the plea of someone “wrongfully” accused. I’m stuck with it, though. It’s the ranks as one of the finest. motto of my ancestral gang, one of whom claimed, on being arrested later, that he Your real life heroes: didn’t really comprehend what he was doQueen Elizabeth I, William ing when he signed the death warrant of Shakespeare, Winston Churchill, Mikhail Gorbachev. King Charles the first. ■ Favourite colour: The subtly varicoloured greens of new leaves in spring.

Atlantic Books Today


Author Buzz inside the author’s studio

Squirrels on set At home with photographer and author Nancy Rose and her furry subjects Words Kate Watson Photos Joseph Muise


ancy Rose may be well known for her photographs of squirrels, but stepping through the front door of her comfy suburban Halifax home is more like a trip down the rabbit hole. Inside, the decor is skewed towards “tiny chic”, with miniatures in every room: a Barbie-sized wooden church sitting by a hall table that holds a tiny clay bowl of even tinier clay fruit; a bite-sized birthday cake surrounded by tea cups laid out on the floor of the formal living room; a little sign on the credenza warning “Caution! Squirrel X-ing”. “My husband is a saint,” says Rose with a chuckle as she gestures towards the dining room table covered with craft supplies and toy cars. She proceeds into the kitchen/family room space that doubles as her studio. The room opens onto a small deck where a camera is set up on a tripod. The camera is


pointed at a fist-sized jack o’lantern suspended by copper wire above a table. “He thought I was crazy when I started this, but he’s totally on board now.” The “this” that Rose refers to is her passion for capturing images of wild squirrels using adorable props. It’s a passion that has resulted in the publication of The Secret Life of Squirrels and Merry Christmas, Squirrels! with Penguin Canada. It all started when Rose, a high school guidance counsellor, took an interest in photographing the wildlife that visits her back yard. Squirrels proved to be particularly photogenic, but Rose eventually found the shots repetitive. Then, a light bulb went on. Why not use her considerable skills as a crafter to create sets and props for the squirrels to interact with? Rose constructed a little mailbox, added some tiny envelopes and hid

Author Buzz inside the author’s studio peanuts inside. The resulting photo of a squirrel “mailing” letters was a huge hit on Flickr. More photos meant more Flickr fame, and soon Rose was being contacted for interviews by media outlets from around the world. Eventually, Jackie Kaiser, an agent with Westwood Creative Artists, called Rose and said, “I think I see a book here. Would you be interested?” All the while Rose is relaying this journey from amateur photographer to published author, she keeps one eye on the kitchen door. Blue jays are sparring over the peanuts she has spread on the table, but no squirrels have appeared. “The most difficult thing about taking photos from here is the light,” she explains. “There are places in the yard with better light. But I’m not willing to give up the comfort of being able to wait indoors to capture a shot.” As if on cue, a bushy-tailed squirrel appears on the deck and chases the blue jays away. He sniffs the table tentatively and stretches up towards the pumpkin in which a peanut is hidden. Rose readies herself at the camera. Her subject sticks his head up through the bottom of the jack o’lantern and dances hilariously on his toes. Rose laughs out loud as she snaps several shots. It’s clear that Rose is a woman who loves what she’s doing. She shakes her head and says, “How could anyone ever imagine this? “I tell the students at my school who are desperately trying to figure out what they want to do, ‘Just make a start. The world changes fast and what you do now probably won’t be what you do later.’ “I mean, who ever thought I’d be a squirrel photographer?” ■

A miniature barbeque, the very first piece she created for the squirrels to interact with, is now part of Nancy Rose’s extensive collection of tiny furniture and props.

Kate Watson is the theatre reviewer for The Coast, a freelance writer, and coordinator of the Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award. She has a keen interest in municipal politics, communitybuilding and twitter. Follow her @DartmouthKate.

The detailed miniature sets contain hidden treats to entice the squirrels into the scene.

Atlantic Books Today


Author Buzz Profile

Playing the shot in front of you Colleen Jones on facing challenges on and off the ice


by Sandra Phinney

Author Buzz Profile

What prompted you to write your story? I was curling at the 2013 Scotties and reporter Perry Lefko was on the media bench covering the event. He had done a newspaper article on my recovery from bacterial meningitis and brain surgery and my dream of getting back to the Scotties—the shrine of women’s curling. He told me, “You have a book in you,” [but] I was a reluctant story teller, so I said, “Nah, not really.” He kept at me and finally said, “At least let’s see if we can get a publisher on board.” Penguin Random House totally believed in the project and voilà, the book was born. What were some of the challenges you encountered in the process? I write every day in my job at CBC, but I’m writing television scripts of two minutes. In that process, every word is dissected; you adopt a minimalist style because your time for the piece is short. Also, working in TV, each story is over at the end of the night and the next morning you get up and dream of a new story to tell. Another challenge was synopsising the chapter on bacterial meningitis and brain surgery and trying to recall all the things the doctors were saying to me and keeping it in layman’s terms. The biggest challenge was the chapter on my father’s passing and my

mother-in-law’s, because it was such a raw time in my life. That chapter was probably rewritten five times. What were the biggest satisfactions/rewards? The biggest satisfaction was when the box arrived from Penguin with the completed book. It was also a thrill that Roy MacGregor—one of my writing heroes—wrote the words on the cover. Made me cry. The next big thrill was when my teammates and my family said they really enjoyed it.

Curling Canada


ollen Jones is a household name in Canada. Well-known as a star curler, wife, mom, and CBC radio and television reporter, she has appeared on the international stage as the skip of Canada’s world championship curling teams and as a commentator. But what many people don’t know is her personal struggle with a serious illness that caused her to reassess her work-life balance. Published in October, Jones’ memoir, Throwing Rocks at Houses: My life in and out of curling, is an intimate look at a woman who is driven to win and succeed the ‘game of life.’ Sandra Phinney had the pleasure of asking the author a few questions.

In the first chapter, you talk about having an epiphany due to your illness and the need to strive for balance and live in the now. Short of having a serious health scare or personal loss, what do you think it would take for people to really latch onto that way of living? You just need to take a look at the book shelves loaded with books on mindfulness or happiness to see that the market knows people are searching for what can, for many, be an elusive thing—even though they probably have everything in their life already that matters. But we are living in a world today where keeping up with the Joneses and now the Kardashians leave us feeling wanting and lacking—rather than seeing our lives are wonderfully abundant. The multi-tasking world is a recipe that leads directly to sleepwalking—because we aren’t present now, and thankful for what is. But if I can touch one person with this message then mission accomplished. At one point in the book, after a series of wins between 2000 and 2004, you write, “Was there secret to our success? Yes. We knew who we were.” Please expand on this. We played a very simple style so well. Other teams played more aggressively but that wasn’t our style. I read the book The Art of War and that was one of the ancient philosophies—know yourself and know your opponent when going into battle.

Colleen Jones, left, with teammates Kay Smith (Zinck,) Monica Jones (Moriarty) and Barb JonesGordon before their big win at the 1982 Canadian women’s curling championships.

Also we knew that we didn’t want to sacrifice our family for the sake of curling, so we knew to limit our travel schedule and work more at home with our coach, Ken Bagnell, on the mental side of our game and become mentally tougher. We also totally believed in enjoying the journey, no matter the outcome. What have you learned from curling that transfers to the “game of life?” Sports psychology is all about blocking out the negative and staying in the moment and playing the shot in front of you. So I totally take those lessons and apply them to my day-to-day life. When I was first admitted to the hospital for bacterial meningitis, I eventually was able to surrender to the process and the moment— like I had been trained to do. My curling lessons and Ken’s help guide every aspect of my life and have been the bedrock of how I navigate life. ■ Sandra Phinney freelances from her perch on the Tusket River, NS. Aside from loving books and writing reviews and author profiles, she’s always on the lookout for stories for business, lifestyle and travel magazines.

Atlantic Books Today


Young Readers Reviews

From sea to tree to sky Lisa Doucet is the co-manager of Woozles Children’s Bookstore in Halifax. She shares her passion for children’s and young adult books as our young readers editor and book reviewer.

Call of the Sea by Amanda Labonté $16.99, paperback, 260 pp. Fierce Ink Press, November 2015

Girl on the Run by B.R. Myers $17.95, paperback, 336 pp. Nimbus Publishing, September 2015


Alex and his twin brother Ben have grown up with a shared secret. So when Alex responds to a call that only he hears and comes face to face with a mysterious redhaired girl in the water, he needs to talk to Ben. When he tries to talk to his twin they don’t see eye to eye and the discussion becomes a full-on fight. Then Ben disappears. While it is concluded that he has died at sea, Alex believes differently, and discovers that Ben’s girlfriend Meg holds the answers to his whereabouts. And Lia, the beguiling girl from the sea, and her people are the only ones who can help Alex find and save his brother. Set in a seaside Newfoundland village, this book captures the rhythms of daily life in this small town and the role of family and community. Alex’s gradual discovery of the world of the merrows and his connection to it is intriguing, but somewhat awkward in its execution: readers are left with only a vague understanding of the tribes and their relationship to our world, as well as the significance of the Sampo (an important artifact). Nevertheless, readers who succumb to the lure of mermaid lore will be drawn to this tale.

Still mourning the recent death of her father, Jesse has decided to spend her summer working at a summer camp. There she hopes that maybe she will be able to find “old Jesse” again. Having given up on running and her dreams of a scholarship, she’s not really sure who she is anymore. But when she arrives at camp and discovers that she is now the counsellor for a cabin full of high-spirited twelve year old boys, she digs in her heels and vows to prove that she can do this, both to herself and to Kirk, the head counsellor who always seems to be right there to witness her most awkward moments. Jesse’s misadventures with her summer camp charges are highly entertaining. While her initial goal is simply to prove that she can succeed in this role, her gradual insights into the characters of these boys and the bond she develops with them is touching and a fitting depiction of the overall camp experience. The romantic element of the story is also compelling and readers will appreciate how it unfolds. While her coming to terms with her father’s death happens a little too quickly and easily, it adds an extra layer of depth to the story.

Young Readers Reviews

I’m Drawing a Picture Written & Illustrated by Doretta Groenendyk $12.95, paperback, 32 pp. Acorn Press, October 2015 In her latest picture book endeavour, Doretta Groenendyk celebrates creativity and the joy of self-expression in a variety of mediums. Whether sketching or weaving, carving or making a “collage of things that I love”, the characters on each page are exploring and responding to the world around them through art. They use a diverse range of tools and techniques, but they are all actively in the process of creation. And what an uplifting experience this appears to be for each and every one of them! While written as a picture book, I’m Drawing a Picture is not a story as much as it is an exultant portrayal of the creative spirit at work, highlighting many of the different ways that people of all ages can express themselves artistically. The illustrations use a more subdued colour palette than her previous books, but the whimsy and playfulness that characterize her work are still very much in evidence. The fact that some pages feature rhyming couplets while others are free form makes it more challenging to get into the rhythm of the text, particularly when reading it aloud. But the jubilant and encouraging spirit of the book is what shines through most vividly.

Merry Christmas, Squirrels! by Nancy Rose $19.99, hardcover, 32 pp. Puffin Books Canada, October 2015

The Thundermaker Written & Illustrated by Alan Syliboy $19.95, hardcover, 32 pp. Nimbus Publishing, October 2015

Mr. Peanuts loves Christmas! So when he receives an invitation from Cousin Squirrel to go for a visit and spend Christmas with him, he readily accepts. He packs his favourite Christmas sweaters, hops into his car and makes his way to Cousin Squirrel’s house. And what fun the two cousins have together! They make lattes and enjoy cavorting in the snow. They make a delicious gingerbread train and when it starts to get cold they build a campfire and roast chestnuts. Finally the two sleepy squirrels head for home to wait for Santa. It is truly a special Christmas for Mr. Peanuts and Cousin Squirrel. As charming as The Secret Life of Squirrels, the first book about Mr. Peanuts, this delightful Christmas tale once again features photos of squirrels in action as they explore and engage with the handcrafted props and sets that Nancy Rose constructs for them. The snowy scenes and cosy Christmas backdrops that she has painstakingly created invite young readers to joyfully enter into the squirrel’s celebrations. Readers of all ages will marvel at the enchanting miniature world that she has crafted, delight in the photographs of the inquisitive creatures who star in the book and treasure this endearing addition to holiday book collections.

Deep in the forest, Little Thunder lives with Giju, his mother, and his father, Big Thunder. His mother and father teach Little Thunder many things about the fish and the animals and the great circle of life. As he learns these lessons, he looks forward to the day when he will become thundermaker. He will have the important task of trying to create Kluskap by throwing thunderbolts at a mound of clay. When the time comes for Little Thunder to go to the sacred mountain and take on his new role, will he be up to the challenge and will his aim be true? Based on Syliboy’s multimedia exhibit, this book captures the storytelling spirit of the Mi’kmaw people. The bold, beautiful illustrations are richly saturated with warmth and colour, and have the timeless feel of ancient cave drawings. The story is told simply with short sentences whose cadence is ideally suited for reading aloud. Young readers will appreciate Little Thunder’s excitement at the prospect of becoming thundermaker for his people, as well as his anxiety when Wolverine’s distractions cause him to miss his mark. They will hopefully also come to recognize, as Little Thunder does, the wisdom of both Giju and Big Thunder.

Atlantic Books Today


Young Readers FEature

A story of Survival Author Diane Carmel Léger brings Acadian history and culture to life for kids by Simon Thibault


hen Diane Carmel Léger was a child growing up in Memramcook, New Brunswick, she recalled seeing a dusty old print depicting the Expulsion of the Acadians. When she asked her teacher to explain to her what had happened, the teacher was almost as vague as the shadowy figures present in the print. “She explained it simply; that there was a war, that most people were sent away,” she says. Léger had many more questions, but her teacher couldn’t answer them. Léger wanted answers. And when she found those answers while studying history at the Université de Moncton, she wanted to share them with as many people as possible. That led to the creation of La Butte à Pétard trilogy of books, and La Patate Cadeau (Piau’s Potato Present in the English version). These books bring young readers faceto-face with Acadian history, speaking to them, rather than at them. Léger’s work has brought her many accolades throughout her career, including the 2006 Hackmatack Prize, which awards the creators of works aimed at young readers in Atlantic Canada. But she didn’t start writing books out of a selfish need for praise. “I had a baby while living in Victoria,” she says. “I thought she wouldn’t learn French, and I worried that she wouldn’t know about her ancestry.” Living in an Anglophone area—let alone one far from her geographic roots—Léger wanted her child to know that there was more to Acadian history than what


Young Readers FEature was present in melodramatic poems, or tragic moments in history. “I wanted her to know that we’re still here, that we have something to contribute to the Canadian mosaic, and I wanted my kid to know the culture I had.” Léger ended up writing La Butte à Pétard, naming the book after the area in Memramcook where she grew up, and where her Acadian ancestors had hidden during the Expulsion of the Acadians during the mid-1700s. Although many an Acadian story has dealt with the events, Léger wasn’t interested in focusing on “Le Grand Dérangement”, but rather the resiliency it brought about in the Acadians. “It’s a story of survival, and a story that offers hope,” says Léger. “I think it shows that here is a people that had something very tragic happen to them, but today they are not resentful or vengeful. If they had been resentful, they would not have survived to this day.” The proliferation of, and sense of pride found within, Acadian culture has exploded over the past few decades. At Bouton d’Or Acadie, publisher/ owner Louise Imbeault is moved by the impact that Léger’s books have had in the lives of readers, both young and old. “People always mention the books to me with great admiration, and so many people tell me that they bought them for their own children, having read them as children,” she says. “Her books give her a springboard to bring history to life. Youth appreciate them greatly, since it’s one of the rare stories that speaks to them, of them.” Léger’s work has had a lasting legacy because of the way she speaks to Acadian youth about their own history and culture. La Butte à Pétard is now on its way to becoming a major motion picture, directed by someone who had grown up with and adored her book as a child. Her 2013 book, Piau’s Potato Present is nominated for a Hackmatack. And her latest book, Mémère, is coming out soon in French through Bouton d’Or Acadie and in English via Nimbus Publishing.

When asked how she feels about the climate for Acadian writers today, Léger is enthusiastic. “It’s the best time to be an Acadian author,” she says, laughing. “When I was a kid I thought my French wasn’t good enough, and my English wasn’t good enough, and I would never admit to anyone I wanted to be an author. But when Antonine Maillet won the Prix Goncourt in the 1970s, I knew I could do it.” But for Léger, the politics of language, and the legacy of history aren’t what is important to transmit to an audience. It’s about fostering future generations. “I’m proud to be Acadian, and what I am most proud of is not our literature, our music, or our food, but that we have forgiveness in our hearts,” she says. “I think there are a lot of countries and people who stay in the past. I hope that my books will be a lesson, as the same things are happening today, with people being deported. I know I speak to kids, but they grow up, and it may inspire them.” ■

Simon Thibault is a Halifax-based journalist and food writer. His work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, Vice, East Coast Living, Saltscapes, and he is a regular contributor to CBC Radio in the Maritimes. He is currently working on his first book about Acadian food.

Atlantic Books Today



againsT the grain Behind the scenes with the literary rabble-rousers at Fernwood Publishing

Founder Errol Sharpe’s Fernwood Publishing has released over 450 books with a focus on highlighting marginalized voices and subjects.

independent publishers emphasize national authors and content. Noted as risk-takers in the publishing industry, Fernwood highlights marginalized voices and subjects, and pushes boundaries. Words Shannon Webb-Campbell Photos Joseph Muise Sharpe first launched Fernwood Books Ltd. in 1978, a national book social issues and critical analysis,” says ernwood Publishing is Atlantic sales and marketing company, and in Errol Sharpe, founder and co-publisher 1982 co-founded Grammond Press. Canada’s literary rabble-rouser. Based in Black Point, Nova Scotia of Fernwood Publishing. “It’s important “I never intended to start a publish(with a western office in Winnipeg), the to us because that’s our political goal— ing company,” says Sharpe, “but there to provide an alternative view of various were books out there that needed to be political publishers specialize in nonfiction texts that challenge, acknowledge, social and political issues. It’s not part published. An opportunity arose.” of the mainstream.” and confront oppression, exploitation Originally located in Halifax, Fernwood Founded in 1991, with first publicaand social justice issues. Publishing is now based out of Black Point “Our mandate is to publish critical tions in the spring of 1992, Fernwood in an old house converted into an office books, critical books for critical thinkPublishing has released over 450 titles. overlooking picturesque St. Margaret’s ing, and usually books dealing with Though not exclusively Canadian, the Bay. Fernwood also has an office in




Winnipeg run by co-publisher Wayne Antony, who works with Sharpe in acquisitions and manuscript development. “Of course, it is challenging. We have carved out sort of a niche for the kind of material that we do,” says Sharpe. “Seventy per cent of the books sales are used in university classes.” As an indie, critically minded publishing house, Fernwood has always gone against the grain. At its core, Fernwood wants to reach readers hungry for social change and social justice. With a focus on social science, gender and women’s studies, critical theory, Aboriginal studies, labour issues, cultural studies, social work and criminology, Fernwood publishes for a general and academic audience, though not exclusively. They launched their Roseway imprint in 2006, a small program geared towards fiction. Most recently, Fernwood has published several important Aboriginal books, including: More Will Sing Their

Way To Freedom: Indigenous Resistance and Resurgence, edited by Elaine Coburn, Nta’tugwaqanminen Our Story: Evolution of the Gespege’wa’gi Mi’gmaq by By Gespe’gewa’gi Mi’gmawei Mawiomi, Settler: Identity and Colonialism in 21st Century Canada by Emma Battell Lowman and Adam J. Barker, and Indigenous Nationhood: Empowering Grassroots Citizens by Pamela Palmater this past October. Books by and about First Nations people are currently Fernwood’s bestsellers. “I think the reason is people are looking for an alternative, they are looking for different directions,” says Sharpe. “They are looking for different

understandings of the way we live – a lot has been expressed by First Nations scholars and writers, and we are looking to the literature for some direction, or some goals. “The philosophy of a lot of the First Nations directions is something we need to listen to, need to heed.” ■ Shannon Webb-Campbell is the inaugural winner of Egale Canada’s Out in Print Award and was Canadian Women in Literary Arts 2014 critic-in-residence. Still No Word (Breakwater Books, 2015) is her first collection of poems.

Atlantic Books Today



The 12 Books of Christmas

There’s no need to stress about your holiday shopping – Atlantic Books Today has you covered. Looking for something for your sports-crazed cousin, foodie pal or mystery-loving Secret Santa? Our curated suggestions will have you wrapping up local books for friends, family and more in no time. Maybe you’ll even find a read (or two) to add to your own wish list!



For the Armchair Detective Our picks for mystery lovers both take a bit of a detour from the path of traditional whodunits. Our first pick, The Dead Letter, returns readers to PEI and its reluctant private detective Anne Brown. When she receives an 11-year-old letter addressed to her late uncle and finds out the letter’s author is also now dead, she must decide whether to delve into crimes past. For a more humorous and satiric take on murder and mayhem, we suggest One Hit Wonders. When Lila turns up dead, the motley crew of men in her life are among the prime suspects in this no-holds-barred crime caper.

The Dead Letter, By Findley Martin, $19.95, paperback, 272 pp., The Acorn Press, May 2015 One Hit Wonders, By Patrick Warner, $19.95, paperback, 240 pp., Breakwater Books, October 2015

For the Home Chef We all know someone who’s always in the kitchen whipping up something new. This selection of Atlantic Canadian cookbooks will provide more than enough inspiration for the foodie in your life. Known as a champion of the local food movement, Craig Flinn’s latest cookbook, Out of New Nova Scotia Kitchens, offers modern twists on classic and popular East Coast recipes, like donairs, lobster rolls and seafood chowder. With Rock Recipes 2, food blogger Barry C. Parsons is back with even more Newfoundland-inspired dishes. This cookbook offers real food from a real Newfoundland kitchen for home chefs everywhere, including photos of each recipe and helpful tips.

For the Sports Fan

The winter months are a prime time for sports in Canada and these new releases focus on two of the hottest sports on ice. Nathan MacKinnon: The NHL’s Rising Star charts the career of the Nova Scotia-born NHL first-overall draft pick. From his minor hockey days in Cole Harbour and leading his hometown Halifax Mooseheads to a Memorial Cup win to being named the NHL’s top rookie, this book has all the inside information, interviews, facts and figures to score with any hockey fan. If curling is more their game, world champion curler Colleen Jones’ new memoir, Throwing Rocks At Houses, gives an intimate look at her life in and out of the rink, including how her battle with a serious illness changed her perspective on sports, work and life. Nathan MacKinnon: The NHL’s Rising Star, By Paul Hollingsworth $17.95, paperback, 80 pp., Nimbus Publishing, October 2015 Throwing Rocks At Houses: My Life In And Out Of Curling, By Colleen Jones, $30, hardcover, 256 pp. Penguin Canada, October 2015

Out of New Nova Scotia Kitchens, By Craig Flinn, $24.95, hardcover, 160 pp., Formac Publishing Company Ltd., September 2015 Rock Recipes 2: More Great Food From My Newfoundland Kitchen, By Barry C. Parsons, $24.95, paperback, 264 pp. Breakwater Books, September 2015

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For the History Buff Though Atlantic Canada has a rich history going back centuries, our picks for those who love the true stories of our region shine the spotlight on the people and events that shaped the place we call home in the 20th century. Aftershock: The Halifax Explosion and the Persecution of Pilot Francis Mackey explores the aftermath of the blast and how Francis Mackey, the pilot of munitions ship Mont Blanc, became an unfair target of blame amongst citizens and federal officials. Celebrating 50 years as a federal port, A Beautiful Sight: Stories from the Port of St. John’s tells the story of this important cultural and economic terminal directly from those who work its waters. Aftershock: The Halifax Explosion and the Persecution of Pilot Francis Mackey, By Janet Maybee, $19.95, paperback, 130 pp. Nimbus Publishing, October 2015

For the Art & Music Lover

A Beautiful Sight: Stories from the Port of St. John’s, By Allan Byrne, St. John’s Port Authority, $19.95, paperback, 186 pp., Flanker Press, September 2015

For those who can’t get enough culture in any format, we have book picks for the visual and musical arts enthusiast. Nova Scotia-born Rich Terfry may be better know as music-maker Buck 65 and as a CBC Radio host. But it’s his talent for storytelling that’s on display in our music pick, Wicked & Weird: The Amazing Tales of Buck 65, a boisterous look at the unbelievable adventures of his tuneful alter ego. Any patron of the arts would love to receive John Greer: retroActive. This comprehensive tome contains more than 300 representations of this sculptor, conceptual artist and unconventional art maker’s moving reflections on the human environment. A must for the art collector! Wicked & Weird: The Amazing Tales of Buck 65, By Rich Terfry, $29.95, hardcover, 240 pp., Doubleday Canada, August 2015 John Greer: retroActive, By David Diviney (editor), $65, hardcover, 350 pp., Goose Lane Editions & Art Gallery of Nova Scotia

Lauren d’Entremont is the managing editor of Atlantic Books Today. Originally from Amherst, NS, she currently lives, writes, and edits in Halifax.

For the Young Reader An intriguing story is always exciting for any young reader to receive and these adventures are sure to please. Egyptian artifacts, a curious disappearance and high school combine to thrust teenager Nefertari “Terry” Hughes into the spotlight and into the heart of an ancient mystery in Asp of Ascension. In our other pick, Small Bones, Dot has a different kind of mystery to solve. Searching for the truth about her parents, she investigates the past and learns more than she bargains for about the legacy of lies and love.

Asp of Ascension: A Nefertari 26 Hughes Mystery, By BR Myers $16.99, paperback, 300 pp., Fierce Ink Books, July 2015 Small Bones, By Vicki Grant, $14.95, paperback, 256 pp. Orca Book Publishers, September 2015



A milestone anniversary for Tidewater Books

Move over e-books and Amazon, Sackville’s favourite bookseller knows what bookworms want Words and photos Margaret Patricia Eaton

Atlantic Books Today




ackville, New Brunswick-based Tidewater Books owner Ellen Pickle is known for her red-headed stubborn streak. “When I started this business the sky was falling and it’s been falling ever since, but it goes up again. Six months after I opened, the chain opened in Dieppe and people said you won’t survive. Twenty years later I’m still here. People said audio books were going to put print out of business, then it was books on CD, but they didn’t,” she says. Despite major shifts in reading mediums, Tidewater celebrated its 20th anniversary in October, and despite wet and windy weather, over 100 customers stopped into the bookstore to wish the staff well. Pickle readily admits the book business has changed substantially since 1995, and not always for the better. “We went through a period where independents were closing because they were so undercut by e-books. When I first went to the

family-owned hardware store, and later honed her skills managing two Sackville-based businesses. “I recognized a need for a bookstore here, because when I travelled I’d come back with bags and bags of books. I knew I’d be staying as my husband was a Mount A. professor. I thought if I’m going to work 60–70 hours a week managing other people’s businesses, I should do it for myself. No guts, no glory, let’s do it!” After studying with the American Booksellers Association in Boston, she purchased Samuelson’s Stationery on Bridge Street and set about defying naysayers. Creative partnerships have contributed to Tidewater’s longevity. For a time Ellen operated a kiosk at the Greater Moncton International Airport and although it was unsuccessful, it introduced her to the Frye Festival organizers who invited her to be their official bookseller. She

“When you put the right book in someone’s hand, it’s a really neat feeling to know you’ve done something good with your job.” Atlantic Independent Booksellers’ Fair there were over 40 people in attendance. Now we’re down to about 11. We’ve seen stores disappear, and yes, we did take a hit between e-books and online discounters. It hurt, but I felt it was another tempest in a teapot and I could ride it out, because people who truly appreciate books are going to want ones they can keep in their collections.” Over the last two years Canadian e-book sales have flattened while print book sales seem to be stabilizing. Pickle has always been a bookworm. “I recall my mother saying at age three I was carrying books around and wouldn’t put them down,” she says, “so books are in my DNA.” Growing up in Bath, NB, she learned about retail in the


supports local authors, teams up with Mount Allison and Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick literary events and fills library orders. Five years ago when Tidewater took a hit related to the surging popularity of e-books, Ellen embarked on another partnership, moving across the street to share space with The Crofter, a toy and gift shop, owned by Heather Gilbert Patterson, who’d once worked for Ellen. “It came full circle,” she says, “and allowed us to share costs [although the businesses remain independent] and ride out the rougher times.” Not only has Tidewater survived in Sackville, it draws customers from a wide geographic area who know Ellen or one of her long-time staff, Barbara

Tidewater Books’ Ellen Pickle celebrates 20 years of success with long-time staff members Nancy Burkhart (left) and Barb Clarke (right).

Clarke and Nancy Burkhart, will provide personal service. “When you put the right book in someone’s hand, it’s a really neat feeling to know you’ve done something good with your job,” she says. “Many business owners don’t work on Saturdays, but I do because that’s the day true book lovers shop, so I’m on the floor, interacting with people who enjoy books and love literature as much as I do.” ■ Margaret Patricia Eaton writes the weekly Art Talk column for the Times & Transcript. She’s won several awards for her poetry which has been published in three collections.

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For the

History Books

In this special collection of essays, feature articles, reviews and excerpts, history comes alive through diverse voices and views, past and present, from across our region.

Atlantic Books Today


history Feature

Superstitions, ‘old wives’ tales’ and ancient beliefs are an important part of our cultural past and present here in Atlantic Canada by Vernon Oickle


don’t recall how old I was when a bird hit the window and I heard my mother declare, “Someone is going to die.” My curiosity was piqued. How could a bird possibly know that someone was going to die? My mother’s comments resonated with me, leading to my lifelong obsession with folklore. I eventually learned that birds play a major role in many East Coast superstitions as they are often seen as harbingers of death. These beliefs could stem from earlier cultures that believed birds were sent to earth to escort the souls of dead people back to meet their maker. Such superstitions are engrained in our culture, a region


that’s a rich melting pot of history and that boasts a diverse cultural mix. I also discovered that even though many people won’t admit they are superstitious, in truth, they really are. These beliefs have evolved over time and they permeate our everyday existence, often on a subconscious level. Even those who claim not to be superstitious still think it’s bad luck to break a mirror or to walk under a ladder. It’s funny how these superstitions control our lives. I have vivid memories from my childhood of being told that I should never kill a spider because I’d cause it to rain. Even to this day when I see a spider scoot across the floor, those earlier warnings come rushing back to

me and I’m reminded that is exactly how these beliefs survive. Superstitions are part of our heritage. These traditions are hand-me-downs from our ancestors and are an important part of their legacy. Growing up in rural Atlantic Canada, I was exposed to superstitions that today may seem as though they belong to a bygone era. My grandmother held tightly to what she called the “old ways.” It was her way of seeing the world, and, in turn, she engendered in me a love and respect for and interest in folklore. And I am thankful that she did. Everyone knows that you touch wood for good luck, right? Or that if you drop the dishtowel it means a stranger is

history Feature going to visit your home, or that you must never whistle on board a ship because it will bring on a bad storm. Often times, you just don’t realize how superstitious you truly are and those who do realize it don’t really want to admit it. It is unfortunate, but our attention to such phenomena has dissipated with the advent of science and technology. Today’s generations no longer observe the skies or the subtle changes shown to us by Mother Nature, but rather depend on the observations of experts. We consume rather than participate. Ancient cultures were awake to the possibilities the world around them represented. Storms and lightning, the early arrival of animal life, the volume of rain or snow were not events to be endured so much as a natural cycle of life. While many of those beliefs have been debunked or contextualized by today’s science, we’ve lost that sense of awe and wonderment, that connection that our ancestors were fortunate to have. To observe nature is a way of being part of the world, not apart from it. The living world has had an enormous influence on superstition throughout the centuries. Newcomers to Atlantic Canada brought their beliefs with them and by doing so have enriched the mental landscape that is still with us today. They joined an already rich heritage of myth and mythology that were and continue to be part of First Nations living. When I hear these beliefs dismissed off-handedly as merely nothing more than “superstitions” or “old wives’ tales,” I am reminded how close our forebears lived with nature and just how much of that we’ve lost in the modern age. ■ Vernon Oickle is an international award winning journalist, editor and writer. He is the author of 23 books, including Ghost Stories of Nova Scotia and the bestselling series One Crow.


An Anthropological History of Southeastern Labrador

J O H N C . K E N N E DY Paperback, eBook, 472pp

“How Aboriginal politics are transforming society in southeastern Labrador, empowering local people to overcome the stigmas of history and finally acknowledge their Inuit ancestry. “… a compelling narrative and analysis …” Peter Neary, University of Western Ontario

M C G I L L - Q U E E N ’S U N I V E R S I T Y P R E S S


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Anna’s Secret by Margaret A. Westlie

“The first paragraph grabbed me, and I had to read on.” Prince Edward Island in 1859: The murder of a woman disrupts the close-knit Scottish community. Join the Community! Read the Selkirk Stories novels by Margaret A. Westlie.

Anna’s Secret is available in bookstores on PEI or order online at and use the discount code 7P89E6LU for $5.00 off for Atlantic Books Today readers. Atlantic Books Today


history Feature

In his footsteps Looking through the lens of a photographic legend by Len Wagg


history Feature


allace MacAskill. The name evokes imagery of sailing ships heeled over with waves splashing as the bow digs in, of sailors from a bygone era toiling in the open sea, of majestic tall ships coming out of the fog. In the days of captains and crew, MacAskill was master of the camera. For over fifty year he photographed the salt-water world around him and the people who made up the world. From the image on a stamp that became the basis for the image on the Canadian dime the majority of his work was centered on the sea. He also traveled the province by boat and car, capturing the province and the people. Growing up in rural Cape Breton, training in New York, then returning to Nova Scotia, his work became commonplace on walls, as wedding gifts, and as part of the Nova Scotia tourism department. It would seem with his work so widely published and a career spanning fifty years that following in his footsteps would be an easy task. It wasn’t. Gone are the Fundy traders and harbours filled with wooden masts, gone are the bustling harbours filled with trade destined for bigger ports and gone are some of the structures that were icons in the smaller communities. The Nova Scotia Archives on University Avenue in Halifax is home to the MacAskill collection that is not held in private hands. Online, I searched through thousands of digital files looking for images that would give me a glimpse into his world. With the sailing era over I was left with communities with winding dirt roads and pictures taken from vistas that may not exist anymore. From the thousands of files the edit was down to a little over 200 and I headed out with printouts in hand. Some days I would search down dirt roads and try to find the exact location and came up empty. Other days I found the exact spot and was able to quickly

Tramlines have been replaced by buses on Halifax’s Barrington Street, photographed by Wallace MacAskill in 1934 (above left) and later by Len Wagg (below left).

see the scene that his eyes saw almost 100 years ago. Patterns started to emerge. I realized that the differences between our styles caused me to search for his location in the present and not as was the past. Where I would want to scamper or move up a hill to get a better view he had huge cameras that weighed much more than my equipment. He traveled with his equipment on roads and sometimes by boat from port to port. The search took a turn as I started to see his world as it was 100 years ago and how he would have done it. Some of the roads would have changed but the locations were there. Erosion played a part as over and over again I saw the coastline changing, some subtle, others, like Cap La Ronde in Cape Breton almost gone completely, the light-

house, barns and structures erased by time. Standing on World Trade and Convention Center in Halifax near the end of the journey I looked out over the city and studied the changes, a mix of old and new. I closed my eyes. I could imagine what it was like for MacAskill a century ago: the smell of chocolate from the Moir’s chocolate factory permeating up from below him, the Schwartz spice company just over the hill and the fish drying down on Water Street. The smells are gone and when I look over again I am left with only a taste of the then and now. ■ A visual storyteller for three decades, Len Wagg’s work has been published in newspapers, magazines and books all around the world.

Atlantic Books Today


history Feature

A life together

Author Claire Mowat reflects on her memories and memoir of her time and travels with Farley by Katie Ingram


history Feature St. Lawrence. While there were positives and negative aspects of living in such a small, isolated place, the islands ith its re-release, Claire eventually became a home and a source Mowat hopes Travels with inspiration for both writers. Farley: A Memoir will help While Mowat notes that due to preserve her late husband’s legacy, as Farley’s passing some phrases had to much as his own books do. be changed from “We” to “I,” the work Mowat is the widow of Canadian remains as relevant as ever. author Farley Mowat whose books “I think it stands the test of time, included Lost in the Barrens, Owls in quite frankly. What I had to say about the Family and Never Cry Wolf. Farley certain places and people is still valid,” passed away in 2014 at the age of 92. she says. “If you write something about Now, a year and a half later, Mowat is a historic period and if you tell a story reflecting on their life together and how truthfully and well, it endures.” she’d like to see her husband repreMowat also notes that there are numsented to future generations. ber of other important moments and “I like to see any mention of Farley adventures from their almost 50 year continue on,” says Mowat. ”I hope his marriage she could have written about. work will go on for a long time.” However, due to concerns of length, she This task of did have to be looking back selective about on their time what to include together not in the book. only includes “If I wrote going through down every trip some of Farley’s we ever took, possessions and the book would choosing what be 5000 pages,” will be donated she says. “So I to archives, but had to whittle it re-reading her down to certain own work now places we lived that Travels with and travelled. I Farley is being wanted to write republished about the Magby Pottersfield dalen Islands Press. because no one knows much about it, or “I think other people will have things that’s what I found.” to say about his life and work, after Overall no matter what its impact all he did write over 40 books, [but] I during the re-release, Mowat hopes think this [the memoir] just adds one that new readers enjoy Travels with more reflection of his life,” says Mowat. Farley as much as she has looking back The book, which was first published on it years later. in 2005, is a follow-up to The Outport “My reflections on my life with him People, which followed the couple’s are still interesting to me and I hope they life in Newfoundland. As with The interest other people as well,” she says. Outport People, Travels with Farley is Along with Travels with Farley and an intimate look at the people, places The Outport People, Claire Mowat’s and events that shaped the Mowats. books include Pomp and Circumstances, Instead of Newfoundland, it focuses on The Girl from Away, The French Isles and the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of Last Summer in Louisbourg. ■


As with The Outport People, Travels with Farley is an intimate look at the people, places and events that shaped the Mowats. Instead of Newfoundland, it focuses on the Magdalen Islands

Katie Ingram is a freelance journalist based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her work has been featured in a number of publications including Halifax Magazine, the South Shore Breaker and Quill and Quire..


More Than a Subtitle, A Statement Now in stores

978-1-77206-008-9, $ 24.95

Atlantic Books Today


history Feature

Where history and imagination meet In Tracy Rombough’s Immortal Air, fact becomes fiction By Laurie Glenn Norris


y intertwining history and fiction, Kingston, Ontario, writer Tracey Rombough joins the rank of authors Emma Donoghue and Hillary Mantel in contributing to the ongoing intellectual debate about the nature and efficacy of recently coined literary categories such as “historical fiction,” “fictional memoir” and “non-fiction novel,” among others. In fact her new book, Immortal Air, which tells the story of little-known Nova Scotia-born poet George Frederick Cameron is marketed as “biographical fiction.” And it all started with a ruby ring.


Rombough’s property was undergoing renovations when she found the ring, inscribed with “Ella Mae,” in her backyard. Intrigued, she began to search for its former owner. It didn’t take long. Among a number of uncatalogued photographs at the local archives, Rombough found a photo of Ella Mae Emigh, the former occupant of her home and wife of George Cameron. Rombough’s subsequent search for the couple led her on an international chase. “During the process I often sifted through the documents historians typically use: journals, letters, newspaper accounts, marriage and death records,” she commented

Ella Mae Emigh, original owner of the ring author Tracey Rombough found in her backyard.

history Feature

Author Tracey Rombough

in a recent email interview, “I compare this process to a detective who pieces together small clues that lead to other clues.” When Rombough traced Cameron’s personal journals to the University of British Columbia things started to snap into place. “The more I learned about George, the more I realized that here was a poet struggling to share his raw emotions and his spin on the world. Of course a character does not exist in a vacuum. Therefore, research into the world of the nineteenth century provides the rich period detail and compelling historical events as a backdrop for these characters to come alive.” For Rombough, who describes herself as “a storyteller by nature and a historian by curiosity,” the journey was fascinating but not without its doubts. “The blurring of biography and fiction raises the question: to what extent is the genre ‘truth’? I believe when the writer chooses events or edits life by selecting key moments to represent the character, he/she automatically fictionalizes the historical individual. For the most part all writers, historians included, edit the individual experience with their own biases; therefore, both become a form of distorted reality.” Her words focus upon the ongoing debate concerning the blurred boundaries of fact and fiction, brought so forcefully into the spotlight in 2003, along with allegations of literary forgery, with James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces, originally sold as a memoir and afterwards as a semi-fictional novel.

Canadian Emma Donoghue calls her books Frog Music and Astray “hybrid forms of historical fiction,” while Larissa MacFarquher, in a 2012 New Yorker article on Hillary Mantel, author of the wildly popular Wolf Hall, claims “historical fiction is a hybrid form, halfway between fiction and nonfiction. It is pioneer country, without fixed laws.” Rombough explains it this way: “I am drawn to the idea that biographical fiction takes its core from a historical context; then it opens characters and conflicts outwards into a world of imagination. But I am always cognizant that I have blended the facts with fiction to present a strong narrative with conflicts, character development, setting and themes. I have taken artistic licence to shine a light on specific moments, conversations and contemplations. The action therefore is historical as George moves through a timeline of events; however, his reaction to these events is garnered through his journals and poetry.” Controversy aside, Immortal Air skillfully brings to our attention the life and times of a virtually unknown Confederation poet, and adds an important piece to the puzzle that is Canadian cultural and literary history. ■ Laurie Glenn Norris, a writer and reviewer in River Hebert, NS, is currently working on her own fictionalized account of an historical event.

Find Yourself in Canada’s History

Atlantic Books Today


A Read Through Time history Feature

Historical fiction is always on hand here in Atlantic Canada. Whether you’re looking to visit Paris in the 1730’s or attend the St. John’s Regatta in 1901 – this list has something for you (plus a few highway men and angry villagers along the way). The Hunter and the Wild Girl By Pauline Holdstock $32.95, hardcover, 336 pp. Goose Lane Editions, September 2015

Crossings: A Thomas Pichon Novel By AJB Johnston $19.95, paperback, 256 pp. CBU Press, September 2015 Historian AJB Johnston’s latest is an obvious addition to this list. In this third book in the series, Thomas Pichon’s life remains complicated. His work life in 18th-century Paris is stalled, but a new love interest offers a new position that will take him overseas. As the book’s back cover says: “The crossing is a voyage neither he, nor anyone else aboard, will forget.”


1730s–1740s 1634 A Measure of Light By Beth Powning $29.95/$19.95, hardcover/ paperback, 336 pp. Knopf Canada, March 2015/2016

An elegantly dark novel chronicling the trials of Mary Dyer, who flees persecution in England only to learn that the new world presents its own dangers. In Powning’s hands, Dyer’s story comes alive as she becomes one of America’s first Quakers and stands against the brutal Puritan magistrates.


A feral girl roams the forests of 19th-century France and becomes the stuff of village legend. Peyre sequesters himself in an abandoned estate, building intricate dioramas to keep his thoughts from the day he lost everything in a horrific hunting accident. When the two meet their mutual estrangement from the society bonds them to each other. But when the wider world learns of the girl’s presence, Peyre must face not only his past, but the society he left.

1772 German Mills By John Steffler $29.95, paperback, 336 pp. Gaspereau Press, October 2015 This new work from CanLit heavyweight John Steffler is based on the life story of William Berczy, a Germanborn Canadian pioneer. The privileged and ambitious Berczy quits Germany to become a secret envoy in war-torn Poland, and then portrait painter in Italy, before landing his ultimate role: leading a group of German settlers into the wilderness of the New World and Upper Canada.

history Feature

Tides of Honour By Genevieve Graham $19.99, paperback, 448 pp. Simon and Schuster, April 2015

La Sagouine By Antonine Maillet, translated by Wayne Grady $18.99, paperback, 164 pp. Goose Lane Editions, November 2015

Wake The Stone Man By Carol McDougall $20.95, paperback, 256 pp. Roseway Publishing, April 2015

Private Daniel Baker expected the horrors of war when he joined Nova Scotia’s 25th Battalion in 1916, but he didn’t expect to discover the love of artist Audrey Poulin in the French countryside. After Daniel is wounded in battle, he and Audrey ship home to build a new life in Halifax. As the winter of 1917 settles in, the pair are about to experience the city’s most devastating moment: the Halifax Explosion.

The one-woman play that inspired theater productions aplenty and two TV adaptations is back in a new edition. The title character, a former sex worker turned cleaning woman, leans on her mop to tell her life story. She reminisces and rants about friends and neighbours, the priest and his church, and every aspect of life in her village, but careful readers will discover her story is actually that of Acadie.

Canada’s Indian Residential School system is a heavy topic to tackle in fiction, but McDougall does it justice with this tale of two girls, one Ojibwe and one white. Thought the lens of her camera, Molly bares silent witness to the daily racism Nakina faces. As Molly studies the politics of her small northern town for answers she uncovers hard truths about her friend’s past and her own silence.

1916 1901 A Stroke In Time By Gerald Doran $19.95, paperback, 226 pp. Flanker Press, July 2015 This debut novel is inspired by the true story of the record-breaking Outer Cove rowing crew. John Whelan had all but accepted that his impending 40th birthday meant the end of his rowing career. But after a fracas with the rival Torbay team, and only 10 month until the St. John’s Regatta of 1901, the former champion oarsman races to assemble a crew to capture the title once more.

1930s 1923

Our Lady of Steerage By Steven Mayoff $26.95, hardcover, 254 pp. Bunim and Bannigan, June 2015 Nineteen-year-old Mariasse flees Poland to live with her Canadian cousin. Aboard ship, she meets a young Jewish couple mourning the loss of their son. Seeing that the mother is unable to care for her infant daughter, Mariasse cares for the girl for the duration of the journey, beginning a bond that will last 40 years as their relationship weathers fierce devotion and bitter betrayal.

1960s 1943 These Good Hands By Carol Bruneau $22.95, paperback, 256 pp. Cormorant Books, May 2015 Sculptor Camille Claudel’s biographers suggest she survived her 30-year incarceration in a French asylum by writing letters. The author reimagines the artist’s life, her love affair with Rodin and the onset of her illness, through letters written by the imprisoned woman to her younger self.

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history reviews

Ahead of Her Time: Select Writings of Dora Russell Edited by Elizabeth Miller $19.95, paperback, 250 pp. Creative Book Publishing, September 2015

A Stroke in Time by Gerard Doran $19.95, paperback, 226 pp. Flanker Press, July 2015

A wonderful story told well, Gerard Doran’s novel, A Stroke in Time, was inspired by true events. Doran grew Dora Russell was a journalist in Newfoundland at a time when married women up in Outer Cove, actively rowed and coached in the Royal St. John’s Regatta, didn’t usually work outside the home. making him a perfect person to weave a From the 1940s to the 1960s, she brought story based on the legendary 1901 up five children, worked as the Women’s rowing crew of Outer Cove. Editor of The Evening Telegram, reported The book is alive with colourful on the National Convention, and wrote characters, making it hard to believe newspaper columns, radio plays and books. this is a debut novel. Each scene of Ahead of Her Time: Select Writings of Dora the story matters: from selling fish at Russell, edited by her daughter, Elizabeth the market in St. John’s and the hardMiller, is a captivating mix of politics, ships endured by many to the rowing humour and reflections on family life. regatta, each word paints a picture in Russell’s pithy remarks about the tourthis turn-of-the20 th-century tale. ism industry, drunk drivers and the need The cadence of the words brings this for women in politics address issues that story to life and you find yourself are still with us today. The juxtaposition immersed in the relationships, local of politics and homemaking is irresistculture and communities, as well as ible: in one diary entry she celebrates her the regatta itself. husband’s win in Newfoundland’s first Like all great storytellers, Doran has provincial election, and in the next she brought his characters and setting to life. is planting flower seeds in her garden. Dora Russell’s voice comes across clearly through her writing as someone you would Carmel Vivier is a journalist, author and photographer living in New Brunswick love to know better. with articles and publishing credits in Canada, United States, United Kingdom Charis Cotter is a freelance writer who lives in Newfoundland and has published and Ireland.

several books for children and grownups. Her novel, The Swallow: A Ghost Story, won the IODE Violet Downey Book Award for 2015.


Canada Under Attack – Irish-American veterans of the Civil War and their Fenian campaign to conquer Canada By Cheryl MacDonald $16.95, paperback, 128 pp. James Lorimer & Company Ltd., Publishers, August 2015 One footnote in Canadian history marks its 150th anniversary in April 2016 – the Fenian invasions on Canadian soil, in New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba. Cheryl MacDonald gives us a rare glimpse into the reasoning behind these attacks, in her book Canada Under Attack. MacDonald’s book provides details on five Fenian invasions, on the formation of Fenians in North America, and the trials of Fenian prisoners captured during the raids. Many Fenians were battle-hardened American Civil War veterans and it took the Canadian militia along with British soldiers stationed in Canada to bring an end to the threat. Painting the tales with colourful characters, including Canada’s Gilbert McMicken and his network of spies and Thomas D’Arcy McGee, an Irish Catholic and former Fenian who helped in bringing about Confederation and was assassinated by Fenian supporters in 1868, MacDonald chronicles this important time in Canadian history, combining important historical facts with an engaging story. Carmel Vivier is a journalist, author and photographer living in New Brunswick with articles and publishing credits in Canada, United States, United Kingdom and Ireland.

history reviews

New books for Christmas Treasury of Newfoundland Stories: True Crime & Adventure Vol. I Jack Fitzgerald $18.95

Down to Bowrings: A Memoir by Derrick Bowring, edited by Amy Bowring $19.95, paperback, 141 pp. Creative Book Publishing, April 2015 Derek Bowring came to Newfoundland from England in 1935 to take his place in the family business, and spent the rest of his working life turning an old-fashioned St. John’s mercantile into a national retail powerhouse. Now his granddaughter, Amy Bowring, has edited his dictated reminiscences into Down To Bowring’s: A Memoir. This book is as much about the history of Newfoundland as it is about one store, focusing on the social life as much as the business practices of a time now gone. It paints a vivid picture of life among the more fortunate inhabitants of the colony cum province. Bowring comes across as the opposite of a stereotypical Water Street merchant, instead showing himself as a man who did his best to be fair to everyone under frequently trying circumstances. Illustrations are well-reproduced and add to a very readable and historically interesting memoir. Denise Flint is a freelance journalist who lives just outside St. John’s. She currently serves as President of WANL, the Writers’ Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Gower Street: A memoir by Marjorie Simmins $19.95, paperback, 232 pp. Flanker Press, September 2015 This memoir, by journalist, editor and civil servant Nix Wadden, is a gentle recollection about St. John’s, Newfoundland, primarily during the years of the Great Depression and the Second World War. Some life stories act as photo albums of particular times and places. Gower Street is written as much for the writer who draws pleasure from thinking back on his life, as it is for readers who wish to remember when children walked to school on their own and played outside in any weather. Gower Street is not a literary memoir with each word finely honed, and a story, setting and characters as complicated and nuanced as a novel. Nor does it need to be. Primarily, it records the highlights of one successful man’s life. The author also gives a tender nod to his home community, and and its current and former residents.

Wild Pieces Catherine Hogan Safer $19.95

Ahead of her Time: Select Writings of Dora Russell Edited by Elizabeth Miller $19.95

Marjorie Simmins works as a journalist, memoir writing teacher and author. Her memoir, Coastal Lives, was by Pottersfield Press. TUCKAMORE BOOKS • KILLICK PRESS • CREATIVE PUBLISHERS

36 Austn St, St. John’s, NL A1B 3T7 Tel. 709.748.0813 • Fax 709.579.6511

Atlantic Books Today


history reviews

Rails to the Atlantic: Exploring the Railway Heritage of Quebec and The Atlantic Provinces by Ron Brown $29.95, paperback, 144 pp. Dundurn Press, August 2015 This gem of a book is a workhorse that covers railway and local histories, economics, heritage and tourism. Rails to the Atlantic is organized into nine quick, easy-to-read chapters that can be read chronologically or zeroed in on for local references. Each chapter lays out the background then digs into specific places and topics from the construction of bridges, tunnels and trestles, to the function and style of stations, profiles of railway towns, the history of iconic railway hotels from Charlottetown to Quebec, and myriad other elements required to operate the dozens of successful railways that served the five Eastern provinces. Additional information about train tours, and stations that have been converted into museums, restaurants and cafes, expands this into guidebook territory. Rails to the Atlantic should be of interest to rail and history buffs, cyclists, hikers, and even those interested in economic development. Allan Lynch’s publishing career has gone from hot lead to the cloud. He’s been a reporter, sales director, managing editor, publisher, freelance writer, public speaker, blogger and author. He is based in the Annapolis Valley.


The Lost Wilderness: Rediscovering W.F. Ganong’s New Brunswick By Nicholas Guitard $24.95, paperback, 232 pp. Goose Lane Editions, October 2015 The Lost Wilderness is an interesting but quite complex book since it is part photographic “now and then” and part historical travelogue, as well as a present-day commentary on wilderness in the 21st first century. Perhaps New Brunswick’s most important historian, as well as a noted botanist and cartographer, William Ganong traveled the rivers, valleys, and hills for over forty years in order to document the province’s geography. By consulting Ganong’s notes, correspondence, and publications, the author was able to reconstruct many of Ganong’s historic field trips throughout the interior of New Brunswick and then retrace the journeys, rediscovering the lost wilderness from a century earlier. He has certainly allowed all New Brunswickers—indeed, all readers—to discover a time and place that is no more but still vital to our appreciation of the natural landscape that is New Brunswick. For this, Guitard is to be applauded. Dan Soucoup has worked as a bookseller and publisher for many years. He is the author of numerous books including Failures and Fiascos and A Short History of Halifax. He lives in Dartmouth.

Till the Boys Come Home By Curtis Mainville $17.95, paperback, 176 pp Goose Lane Editions, September 2015 We are told Till the Boys Come Home is a tale of a county torn between clinging to life as it had always been known and moving forward to support a war that would invade its borders whether folks wanted it to or not. Regrettably, the tale is mired in detail that overpowers the spirit and inspiration underlying the reality. Curtis Mainville has dug deep into archives, records, and newspaper accounts and shares his findings about life, politics, and the military machinery in Queens County, N.B. There is no questioning the accuracy of his information or its breadth. Indeed, no fact is left unturned. We are told, for example, a fundraising event in one community, which included a piano solo by Miss Mary Macdonald, raised $33.50 for the Red Cross Fund. How Miss Macdonald might have felt about the contribution she made to the First World War, though, we will never know. Donalee Moulton has been writing professionally for over 25 years. Her byline has appeared in more than 100 magazines and newspapers throughout North America – and beyond.

history reviews

Explosion Newsie Written by Jacqueline Halsey, Illustrated by Loretta Migani $16.95, hardcover, 32 pp. Formac Publishing, October 2015

Mayann’s Train Ride Written by Mayann Francis, Illustrated by Tamara Thiébaux Heikalo $19.95, hardcover, 32 pp. Nimbus Publishing, September 2015

Oak Island and the Search for Buried Treasure by Joann Hamilton-Barry $15.95, paperback, 88 pp. Nimbus Publishing, September 2015

Nine-year-old Macky has taken his brother Rob’s place as a newsboy in the bustling city of Halifax. Sadly, Macky is not very good at selling or delivering newspapers. When Rob accuses him of being the “worst newsboy ever”, Macky retorts that Rob is the “worst brother ever”. Then a horrific collision of ships in the harbour results in a devastating explosion. Macky knows that he must rise to the occasion: now more than ever the people of Halifax need the newspaper with its lists of the dead and injured. And when Rob fails to come home, it is the “worst newsboy ever” who finds his wounded brother. Halsey’s latest accessible and instructive narrative brings this period in Halifax history to life for a young audience. The story and illustrations together create a compelling portrait of the time period: what life was like for a boy whose father was overseas and whose older brother had to work in a factory. And both text and images provide a dramatic account of the Halifax Explosion and the resulting devastation. Grim without being too graphic for its intended audience, the tender reunion at the end helps it to remain a heartwarming historical tale that is based on true events.

When school lets out for the summer, Mayann eagerly prepares for her family’s trip to New York City. She and her mother and father and sister are taking the train from their home in Cape Breton all the way to the big city where they are visiting family in Brooklyn. After a brief stop in Montreal, they arrive in New York where so many exciting adventures await. However, when Mayann leaves her beautiful new purse on the subway, she is heartbroken. A thoughtful gift from a family friend eventually restores Mayann’s dampened spirits but also helps her come to a very important realization. This sweet, nostalgic tale reads like a fond reminiscence. It genuinely portrays the wonder and excitement that this grand adventure held for young Mayann while also managing to capture what it meant to her to lose her treasured green purse. Tamara Thiébaux Heikalo’s beautiful watercolour illustrations with their bold, dark outlines and retro feel help transport readers to this earlier time, and vividly depict each stage of the family’s journey. A simple and lovely story with a satisfying resolution.

Since 1795, when a boy found a small clearing on a tiny island off Nova Scotia’s south shore and immediately became convinced that he had found the spot where Captain Kidd had buried his treasure, Oak Island has held an irresistible allure for countless treasure seekers. Through the years, numerous groups and individuals have tried, to no avail, to unlock Oak Island’s secrets. There are many different theories about who may have hidden treasure there, what exactly that treasure might be, and why they never returned to claim it. This book also shares some of the stories surrounding the legendary Oak Island Curse and looks at the tunnels and booby traps that were designed to protect this everelusive treasure. It is a fascinating introduction to this modern-day mystery. The author’s passion for this topic is evident in this clearly laid-out, informative and entertaining overview of Oak Island’s colourful history. In simple, straightforward language she provides a wealth of information about the most commonly-held beliefs about the Oak Island treasure while also outlining the efforts that have been made to locate the treasure once and for all. The timeline at the back of the book and the recommended reading list are also valuable additions for young readers.

Lisa Doucet is the co-manager of Woozles Children’s Bookstore in Halifax.

Lisa Doucet is the co-manager of Woozles Children’s Bookstore in Halifax.

Lisa Doucet is the co-manager of Woozles Children’s Bookstore in Halifax.

Atlantic Books Today


history excerpts

Halifax: A Visual Legacy

Photo credit: Notman Stud ios

by William D. Naftel

it: Unknow Photo cred


For enterprises such as this, the internet has become a valuable resource as more and more institutions have put valuable and obscure collections on line. Most of the photographs in this book and many more besides can be found there by a diligent and inquisitive individual willing to put in the time. In the process of researching these photographs, time became meaningless. The whole span of a community’s history over a century and a half was spread beneath my gaze. In the final collection, time travel is a reality as the photographs transport you back and forth through the decades at will.



Sometimes the visible changes from then and now are dramatic. Lower Water Street is totally unrecognizable today, as it is now a sleek, upscale Bishop’s Landing. The happy coexistence of freighters, schooners and casual fishermen in the Ocean Terminals remains a memory of the 1950s, as the area today is a fortified enclave after 9/11 security concerns. Sometimes, however, a scene remains surprisingly recognizable today, like Barrington at Spring Garden (1), or the community of Bedford. With the arrival of public transportation (2), recreational opportunities for families expanded outside of their neighbourhoods, like Horseshoe Island

(3), while public education opened doors for boys and girls (4). Progress and industrialization arrived with fanfare, like the opening of the Graving Dock in 1889 (5). But under the pressure of the 1917 explosion, two World Wars and lingering economic depression, thing began to deteriorate (6). Not before the 1950s did we see the 20th-century begin to arrive, such as with the inauguration of Angus L. Macdonald Bridge in 1955. And as the changes continued, we watched the old city disappear. But if you don’t like what you see, why not just turn the pages back to a better time and place.

Photo credit: Unknown


$39.95, paperback, 168 pp. Formac Publishing Company, 2015

6 Photo credit: Robert Norwood

history excerpts


Photo credit:




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Photo credit: Notman Studios


history excerpts

An Extraordinary “Edgar, you’re a chemist, why Ordinary Man: The Life don’t you make some wine?” Story of Edgar House by Doug House and Adrian House

$26.95, paperback, 252 pp. ISER Books, 2015

Subscribned to all 3 a % s ave 2 5

In 1933, I went to [Bishop] Feild [School] as a chemistry teacher. I came home one day and I had a lot of blueberries there. Mother said, “Edgar, you’re a chemist, why don’t you make some wine?” So I went down to an old Feildian, Glen Stafford. He had wholesale drugs, pharmaceuticals, and he let me have this lovely oak keg. I paid for it and took it home, spotless. I got four gallons of blueberries and sugar, a couple of pounds of raisins, a couple of bananas. At the end, I got a bottle of Newfoundland rum, potent stuff in those days, and added that to it (I didn’t tell my mother of course, or father). I put it all in and let it work. When the time came, around the end of November, I bottled it off. Shortly after I had it bottled, Mother said, “Edgar, I’d like to give Miss Cherrington [Headmistress of Bishop Spencer College] something for Christmas. How about a bottle of your lovely blueberry wine?” We had used a couple of bottles for a party that Edith and

I threw together at our house one night. I had seven in and Edith had seven, 16 of us all together, and we drank blueberry wine until it came out of our ears. Everybody got gagged and we had a great party. “A bottle of that for Miss Cherrington for Christmas would be lovely,” she said, so I very carefully got a bottle ready. She wrapped it up with Christmas paper and ribbon, and a couple of days before Christmas I delivered it at Spencer Lodge, the residence for the outport girls. A maid came to the door, took my bottle, and that was it as far as I was concerned. She didn’t know what it was, really, and put it on top of the warm oven in the kitchen. A quarter of an hour later it exploded, all over the wall, the ceiling, all over the place! The poor girl sat down and cried. When Miss Cherrington came in, she told Miss Cherrington and Miss Cherrington sat down and laughed. She said, “Thank goodness!” She said, “I’ve been after the Board of Directors to get that kitchen remodelled, repainted, redone and now they’ve jolly well got to do it!” She wasn’t at all put out by it. No, she was quite a woman.

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history excerpts

Samuel Holland: His Work and Legacy on Prince Edward Island


by Earle Lockerby and Douglas Sobey

scientific disciplines. His surveys and maps were cuttingedge at the time and, because of their accuracy, retained their utility for many decades. Holland’s place in history is assured through having so well accomplished what was then “by far the largest survey ever conducted by the British.” Nowhere else has his work had such a pervasive and lasting impact, or his name been so well remembered, as they have on this Island. Samuel Holland: His Work and Legacy in Prince Edward Island tells the story of how this has come about. For more, see: samuelholland250 Frye ABT 3.pdf

$37.95, paperback, 300 pp. Island Studies Press, 2015



3:01 PM








Photo: Louis-Philippe Chiasson

It took place 250 years ago: an event that would directly and indirectly shape Prince Edward Island and its settlement, its land, its people and its politics. It would etch itself upon the landscape of the Island, determining the boundaries of counties, townships, farms and fence lines, as well as the locations and orientations of the roads. It would play a role in the development of the colony and Province, and of the life of its people to this very day, and will continue to do so for the indefinite future. What happened 250 years ago would kick off a decade of work and achievement that affected not only the Island itself, but also a vast part of the North American continent. This monumental event was the completion of Samuel Holland’s survey and map of Prince Edward Island in 1765. In 2015 Prince Edward Islanders have good reason to celebrate and commemorate the 250th anniversary of Holland’s achievement. And people everywhere can rightly recognize Prince Edward Island as not just the cradle of Canadian confederation, but also the cradle of the most extensive and accurate survey and mapping program that had ever been conducted in the British Empire, if not the world. The accolades that have been bestowed upon Samuel Holland as a surveyor and cartographer are legion. One historian has termed him “one of the two greatest surveyors of the age” (the other being Captain James Cook, who had his initial training from Holland), and “one of the leading astronomers” in North America. Even before Holland began his General Survey of 1764 to 1775, which would bring him singular recognition in the annals of surveying, he was “arguably the most qualified surveyor in the British army, certainly among those in North America.” On his large map Holland named more than 200 bays, rivers, points, capes and coves on St. John’s Island [Prince Edward Island]. Almost half of these names are still used. They may be only vaguely aware of it, but contemporary Islanders’ sense of community and place links to the names that Holland applied to a map 250 years ago. There was nothing haphazard about Holland’s place naming. The patterns and purposefulness inherent in his choices become apparent in Samuel Holland: His Work and Legacy in Prince Edward Island. A competent soldier and military officer, Samuel Holland excelled as an astronomer, surveyor and cartographer and was at the forefront of these

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Book reviews Discover more book reviews, excerpts and interviews with your favourite Atlantic Canadian authors on

Fiction Split is a compelling and intense novel with incredible depth. Libby Creelman spins a magnificent story of April and Pilgrim, twins who share a very special connection, yet are split forever by the decisions they made as young women. Set in the 1960s, the girls’ lives are forever changed when their progressive father recruits a young doctor from the Bahamas to work in their small Massachusetts town. The twins fall under his spell, but the rest of the town certainly does not. Creelman writes with keen observation and creates deep, complicated characters that makes it difficult to pick sides. The story is continuously unpredictable, and keeps the reader uncertain of what will happen next as it spans through decades. When the book ended, I was still unsettled by the realization that once we make a decision, we can never go back.

Split by Libby Creelman $22.95, paperback, 370 pp. Goose Lane Editions, September 2015

Limerence by Jon Tattrie $21.95, paperback, 270 pp Pottersfield Press, August 2015


Laurie Burns is an English as additional language teacher to immigrants, literacy volunteer and voracious reader living in Halifax.

In his latest novel, Limerence, author Jon Tattrie raises the question: “Can a man have it all? The warmth of a solid family and the challenges of a fruitful career?” In a world of ‘new men’ (who, for example, take time off to raise children), what does it mean to be a man? In the process of seeking the answers to these questions, Tattrie teases out the textbook meaning of limerence: an addictive feeling of being carried away by irrational passion or love. Simultaneously, a bizarre and suspenseful tale unfolds. In the process, readers will discover a few zany characters and join them for a rollicking good ride. Much like a sorcerer, Tattrie manages to weave fantastical past and present scenarios (some gory, some funny, some pathetic—yet all believable) in a singularly fluid manner. Each motley character provides enough insights into what it means to be human as to make them loveable—warts and all. Sandra Phinney freelances from her perch on the Tusket River, NS. Aside from loving books and writing reviews and author prof iles, she’s always on the lookout for stories for business, lifestyle and travel magazines.

Short Fiction


What Kills Good Men by David Hood $21.95, paperback, 296 pp. Nimbus Publishing, September 2015 The year is 1899. A local politician is discovered dead in Halifax Harbour. Assigned to find those responsible are Chief Inspector Culligan Baxter, a straight-arrow, and Kenny Squire, a new police recruit brought in by circumstance. Hood wields his Haligonian knowledge proudly by crafting a setting immediately recognizable by Atlantic readers. The choice of his timeline is striking: Halifax is a city still finding its identity, crime is rife, and police work relies on the prowess of the men who fill the force’s ranks. Hood holds true to the detective formula while crafting a story entirely his own. Through the protagonists, readers quickly learn the demands of late-Victorian-era detective work. Hood skillfully builds a layered, complex mystery novel, teeming with a gallery of memorable characters. His writing is vivid and absorbing, and his style well-suited to the time period. What Kills Good Men builds upon momentum and it’s well worth the wait. Carey Bray is an award-winning Halifax poet and author. He is currently exploring freelance writing, having done both interviews and reviews for The Coast and Hello Dartmouth. He also enjoys painting, Canadian fiction, and acting in local theatre.

Wild Pieces by Catherine Hogan Safer $19.95, paperback, 150 pp. Creative Book Publishing, September 2015

Racket: New Writing Made in Newfoundland Edited by Lisa Moore $19.95, paperback, 240 pp. Breakwater Books, September 2015

This collection of short stories wields the power to knock you down. Hailing from Newfoundland, Hogan Safer is a magician, crafting so much in so few words, in small moments you can feel, and in characters who will haunt you. These characters include a widower named Joe, who is forced to care for his dead son’s stepchildren, and Martha, who paints the entire inside of her house blue, to name but a few. They are hilarious, touching glimpses into pieces of someone else’s life. While reading you can expect to laugh out loud, cry and gasp. If you want a taste of the human experience, a peek into what your neighbours are up to in tiny, heartbreaking snapshots, this book is for you. Sometimes the endings are happy but mostly they just feel real. And we all know real can tear you to pieces.

Short story collections are a literary buffet. A sampling of this; a bite of that; an author you wouldn’t mind gorging on… if only there were more. Racket brings us new voices that shape themselves into a range of styles. “Cross Beams” is riotous. The story’s language races along the track of a simple plot as quickly as the rollercoaster it depicts, shooting up and down on verbs, nouns and adjectives. “Twenty-three Things I Hate” takes a more Spartan approach, in the form of a numbered list, but each entry is thick with grief, anger and longing for how life should have turned out. Oddly, this story, about a man beaten down by death and land-use bylaws, is the most uplifting of the bunch. Be warned, reader, these stories aren’t a fun jaunt into short fiction. They will challenge and tease you, and the characters will stick with you long past the last page.

Laurie Burns is an English as additional language teacher to immigrants, literacy volunteer and voracious reader living in Halifax.

Kim Hart Macneill is a Halifax-based journalist and operations director at Fierce Ink Books. She is a die-hard bookworm and the former managing editor of Atlantic Books Today.

Atlantic Books Today


Do you believe in ghosts? This latest collection from master folklorist Vernon Oickle might sway even the skeptics. The stories include firsthand accounts from current owners and residents of supposedly haunted buildings, eyewitness reports from those who have come across eerie sights and sounds, and lots of wellresearched background information on the history of these places and the people and events that shaped them. This approach makes for an interesting read for both believer and doubter alike, providing ample insight into the possibilities of supernatural and more mundane forces behind the phenomena. Told in a straightforward manner, these stories are more folklore than foreboding—many of the ghosts are deemed ‘harmless’ by their living counterparts—and contain more history than histrionics. While maybe not the kind of ghost stories you’d tell around a campfire with a flashlight pressed to your chin, this collection provides creepy context to flesh out some of our local spirits. Lauren d’Entremont is the managing editor of Atlantic Books Today. Originally from Amherst, NS, she currently lives, writes, and edits in Halifax.


Graphic Novel

Ghost Stories of Nova Scotia by Vernon Oickle $19.95, paperback, 200 pp. MacIntyre Purcell Publishing, July 2015



You Might Be From Newfoundland and Labrador If… by Michael De Adder $19.95, paperback, 120 pp. MacIntyre Purcell Publishing Inc., September 2015

Long Red Hair: A Graphic Memoir by Meags Fitzgerald $17, paperback, 88 pp. Conundrum Press, September 2015

The 2015 Doug Wright Spotlight Award-winner is back to share her You might be from Newfoundland and experiences growing up female and biLabrador if you casually pick up this sexual in the 1990 s and 2000s. book only to find that you can’t put This book holds much for graphic it down because it’s funny, smart and novel fans. Fitzgerald’s panels rarely sweet. You might find yourself laughing follow the conventional square model, in a wonderful ah ha moment of recogallowing her creativity to literally flow nition, then with the turn of a page find outside the box. Her drawing style yourself inexplicably moved to tears. is easy to read, but tiny details, like You might wonder how such a slender perfectly rendered “Buffy the Vampire volume can carry so much weight of meaning while disguising itself as light Slayer” actors on TV in her family home, add authenticity to the memoir wondrous entertainment. If you might not be from Newfound- and draw-in the reader. The storyline is aimed at YA readland and Labrador you will love it all ers and may seem trite to those firmly the more because it’s drawn and written in adulthood. Speaking as a former in a captivating manner. It should be teenage girl, I could have used its required reading for all Canadians. So message that we’re all just muddling should his other two books about Nova along trying to figure out life and love Scotia and New Brunswick. The biggest for much of our early years. The book hope we have for national unity is if he focuses largely on Fitzgerald’s attempts does one for each province and territo understand and embrace her fluid tory. And then the world. Thank you, sexuality, but there are many lessons Michael De Adder. about friendship and self-reliance for any young woman. Berni Stapleton is a well-known Newfoundland and Labrador performer, playwright and author. Her newest book Kim Hart Macneill is a Halifax-based journalist and operations director at Fierce from Creative Publishing, This is the Cat, is a funny, poignant, magical romp. Ink Books. She is a die-hard bookworm and the former managing editor of Berni lives and works in St. John’s. Atlantic Books Today.



Diversion by George Murray $18.95, paperback, 120 pp. ECW Press, September 2015

Now Comes The Lightning by Sara Bernstein $20, paperback, 90 pp. Pedlar Press, November 2015

Diversion is the seventh volume of poetry from the poet laureate of St. John’s. As usual, he’s pushing the envelope: The idea is to reposition poetic inspiration from the tranquil channel of quiet musings to the infusion of multi-media platforms. Thus, a cacophony of sources is distilled into a disciplined voice with a tight, juxtaposed, tumbling Jacob’s ladder configuration. The collection’s title itself indicates deflection and bypass. The wordplay starts with the titles, all hashtag inversions of some colloquial saying: “#DaydreamBereaver,” “#HookLineAndSinkHer.” Each line of poetry is as separate as an egg around its yolk of terse observation. Taken together they form, not an omelet exactly, but a Newton’s cradle of propelling themes: Sex, games, textual linguistics, the Muppets, outer space exploration, international strife. Each has its own intention and restriction; aphorism, pun, an incomplete thought; and each piece is configured to be more than the sum of its parts.

If eroticism is an antidote to life, poet Sara Bernstein explores the pheromones of Fréhel (Marguerite Boulc’h), a Parisian singer born into poverty, as she grapples with depression, addiction. Now Comes The Lightning chronicles her career, which spanned both World Wars and the arrival of cinema, and questions celebrity and performance. With elements of sensuality, tragedy and the erotic, Bernstein’s poetics sing from the page. Whether Fréhel falls asleep to “the hiss of champagne,” or “imagines being free to go somewhere herself,” it is in within self-reflection, and even self-sabotage, readers become aware of the undercurrents swirling around her. Depicted through a repertoire of songs, the poet exposes the essence of the singer’s struggle, how performance is a state of contrasts, a question of existence. Bernstein writes: “She needs the stage, to be looked at, but they look at each part and do not see the whole.”

Joan Sullivan lives and writes in St. John’s where she is the editor of the Newfoundland Quarterly. Her book In the Field won the Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award for non-fiction in 2013. Breakwater Books published her new book, The Long Run, in fall 2015.

Shannon Webb-Campbell is an awardwinning poet, writer and journalist of Indigenous ancestry. Still No Word (Breakwater Books, 2015) is her first collection of poems. She teaches literature at Memorial University of Newfoundland and lives in St. John’s.

New from

Vicki Grant “In a witty and believable 1964 Ontario, a foundling teen investigates the circumstances of her own birth...Just the right pace.” —Kirkus

Part of the Secrets series

read the Secrets in any order.

Atlantic Books Today






Angel Lady of the Maritimes by Karen Forrest $19.95, paperback, 176 pp. Pottersfield Press, September 2015

The Places I Go by Christopher Pratt, Mireille Eagan & Larry Dohey $40, hardcover, 103 pp. Goose Lane Editions, June 2015

Sir John’s Table:The Culinary Life and Times of Canada’s First Prime Minister by Lindy Mechefske $19.95, paperback, 232 pp. Goose Lane Editions, September 2015

With the publication of this elegant volume Goose Lane Editions maintains its position as a leader in fine art publishing through its partnerships with galleries across Canada. This volume is not a retrospective, but rather 30 full-colour reproductions of oil paintings created between 2001 and 2015, accompanied by brief but insightful essays. As well there are fascinating black and white photographic glimpses into the artist’s studio and excerpts from the meticulous journals and ‘car books’ Pratt has maintained since 1954. There’s a spaciousness to the book’s horizontal format and sophisticated design, free from distracting elements, that compliments Pratt’s controlled and measured realism and makes viewing his work on its pages as close to a gallery experience as possible. Through minimalist techniques and an exploration of space, time and memory, Pratt transforms the Newfoundland landscape into something that’s almost otherworldly.

A good biography allows the reader to enter the life of its subject. But rarely does it allow the reader to access the palate of its subject in such a detailed manner as in Sir John’s Table, by Lindy Mechefske. What at first glance could easily be a dry, academic tome detailing daily minutiae and musings, is in fact a sumptuous glimpse into the life of Sir John A. Macdonald. The recipes contained therein not only highlight what people were eating, but give glimpses into how social and economic status impact a person’s larder. But more importantly, they tempt the reader into making them, bringing the past into the present—instead of a Proustian madeleine, one may try the wedding cake, studded with currants.

In Angel Lady of the Maritimes, Karen Forrest delivers a chatty, down-to-earth account of how she went from a career as a military nurse to that of an angel medium. With first-hand reports of how she communicates with angels and dead people, amusing and touching anecdotes about messages from loved ones, and practical exercises for feeling the presence and power of angels in your life, Forrest brings spirituality into day-to-day living. Her universe is populated by divine spirits and talkative dead relatives, all taking a concerned interest in the living. Forrest makes talking to God and spirits as accessible as talking to your next-door neighbour over the back fence, and many readers will take comfort in her easygoing approach to divine inspiration and making peace with the dead. This is her fourth book about her angel experiences, and fans of this type of homespun spirituality will not be disappointed. Charis Cotter is a Newfoundland-based freelance writer and has published several books for children and grownups. Her novel, The Swallow: A Ghost Story, won the IODE Violet Downey Book Award for 2015.


Margaret Patricia Eaton writes the weekly Art Talk column for the Times & Transcript. She’s won several awards for her poetry, which has been published in three collections, including her latest, Vision & Voice with painter Angelica de Benedetti.

Simon Thibault is a Halifax-based journalist and food writer. His work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, Vice, East Coast Living, Saltscapes and is a regular contributor to CBC Radio in the Maritimes. He is currently working on his first book about Acadian food.


Chef Craig Flinn

celebrates kitchens new and old

Joseph Muise

by Valerie Mansour

Atlantic Books Today


Jen Partridge


Craig Flinn, one of Atlantic Canada’s most respected chefs, is owner of two Halifax restaurants – Chives Canadian Bistro and 2 Doors Down – and the newly-opened Temple Bar. Flinn has written four cookbooks: Fresh & Frugal, Fresh & Local, Fresh Canadian Bistro, and now,

Out of New Nova Scotia Kitchens: Best-loved East Coast dishes for today.


linn recently joined Atlantic Books Today’s Food Editor, Valerie Mansour, for coffee and conversation. Why did you use this title? It was very much a nod to the original Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens, by Marie Nightingale, truly an important collection of historical recipes. I’m standing on her shoulders, so to speak. What would she think of this book? She’d be very happy with it. I speak


How do you like the writing process? I can truly say I have a love/hate relationship with writing books, mostly love. You get excited with the process and knowing you’re going to hold the book in your hands. But there are timeconsuming hours at the computer and testing recipes. You think you’re done and it comes back for more editing.

How does this book compare to your others? about why the recipes are important The first is your ego cookbook—you to me and why they’re important use your restaurant recipes and show historically. One recipe is more people what you can do. But I took modern—Thai Chicken Curry—far five years off until this book. It is not from anything in the 1970 book, but an authoritative guide; this is simply a she had so much respect for cooks snapshot in time. I am one chef, along and talented chefs and the grand cul- with others, introducing flavours to ture of cooking. She liked all food. Nova Scotia. I find that exciting. What are your favourites? I’m thrilled to print my mother’s butter tart recipe. I love them but from a bakeshop they always disappoint when they use corn syrup. The turkey potpie is a favourite too.

How do you like the promotion aspect? People come up to me and give me feedback from my recipe writing, mostly positive. I have learned in all interactions an understanding of the importance of how the recipe reads to

Food them, what entices them, great photography, simplicity of the language. I love the idea of people creating memories with my recipes.

Jen Partridge

At left: Chef Flinn puts a new spin on traditional bruschetta with grilled pear and blue cheese, tomatoes and aged Gouda, and chanterelles with sage. Above: Adding roasted artichokes and fiddleheads updates classic Maritime hodgepodge.

and source locally. It’s wonderful to go to the market for your vegetables.

What would make you consider your book a success? Any surprises in this book? I really was immensely happy and proud There is definitely a street-food compo- about the cover photo of my family. This nent; it’s fun and lighthearted. Poutine is about family recipes, sharing good and burger crazes, food trucks and recipes. This is our best collaboration of street markets—that’s what people are recipes, so it already feels like a sucgetting excited about. People will also cess. But if in five years I wander into a find interesting the ingredient base and bookstore in Yarmouth or Wolfville and international flavours. Our farmers are my book is still on the shelf, I’ll know it growing everything. And I am a donair did what I wanted it to do. Just like Out fanatic—it’s an extremely important of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens—people have cultural food. Yes it’s a 1,500-year-old tattered, coffee-stained copies that they dish in many regards, but there is some- still go to for certain things over and over. I can only hope I get a small piece thing unique about it here. of that success. ■ Where did your belief in local start? In the ‘70s my mother would buy carrots and not look at the label, but in those days the produce in your grocery Valerie Mansour combines her store was more likely to be local than love of food and books as our food now. We had fish caught in Cape Breton in summer, or venison my uncle section editor. Based in Halifax, shot in winter. My career started in she works as a writer, editor and 1996 at the Inn at Bay Fortune in PEI documentary film researcher. and I would harvest from our garden


Out of New Nova Scotia Kitchens Best-loved East Coast dishes for today By Craig Flinn $24.95, hardcover, 159 pp. Formac Publishing Co. Ltd., September 2015

In 1970 Marie Nightingale authored Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens, a recipe collection destined to be a classic. Fast-forward 45 years and Craig Flinn brings us Out of New Nova Scotia Kitchens. As the title promises, we find today’s favourites, reflective of the province and its people. The book is presented, not by courses or ingredients, but by season, plus year-round recipes – an effective way to encourage us to buy locally and seasonally. Flinn offers typical dishes and ingredients, but presented in his own, fresh way. Seafood Chowder has a puréed soup base, Lobster Rolls have a flavourful sauce, and Strawberry Shortcake has a wine glaze. Flinn’s Mac and Cheese features a combo of artisanal cheeses plus good ol’ Velveeta. The photos are beautiful, although many have a recipe over top. This is a fun, inspirational, accessible cookbook compelling the reader to immediately head for the kitchen.

Atlantic Books Today



Mussels Normandy There’s a good reason that mussels are a standard appetizer in Nova Scotia. Simply steamed and dipped in butter or topped with one of the many sauces that show up on creative menus, sweet and briny mussels stand the test of time. This recipe also showcases local fall apples, along with shallots, butter, rosemary and full cream. 2 lb (1 kg) fresh mussels 1 tart apple, such as Honeycrisp 2 tbsp (30 mL) butter 1 clove garlic, minced 2 tbsp (30 mL) finely chopped shallots 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) dry sparkling apple cider Pinch each salt and pepper 3⁄4 cup (175 mL) heavy cream (35% mf) 1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh rosemary 1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped parsley 2 green onions (green parts only), sliced

Make it tonight

1 Under cold running water, scrub and de-beard mussels, discarding any that are damaged or don’t close when lightly tapped; set aside. Julienne apple; set aside. 2 In saucepan large enough to accommodate mussels, melt butter; sauté garlic and shallots until translucent. Add cider, salt, pepper and reserved mussels; cover and let steam until mussels have opened, 5 to 7 minutes. With slotted spoon and discarding any unopened mussels, transfer mussels to warmed individual serving bowls; cover and keep warm. 3 Stir cream, rosemary and parsley into cooking liquid in pan; bring to a rapid boil and cook until liquid is reduced by half. Stir in apple and green onions; cook for 1 minute. Spoon over mussels. Jen Partridge


Makes 4 appetizer portions or 2 entrée portions

Book bites excerpts

Snow Softly Falling: Holiday Stories from Prince Edward Island Edited by Richard Lemm

It is March 9, 2014. I am standing in front of the window with a warm cup of tea in my hand. It is still snowing outside, nineteen degrees Celsius, colder with the wind-chill. In this part of the world, the earth still has its clean, beautiful white dress on. Tomorrow is the first day of spring. The day all Persians celebrate Eid Nowruz, known as the Persian New year. Just like any other Persians, my family and I celebrate Eid. I started getting ready for this New Year weeks ago. It is exciting that Mother allowed me to decorate this year’s Haft sin table the way I want. – Mersedeh Sayafi: “Persian New Year in Charlottetown”

$19.95, paperback, 160 pp.

Acorn Press, October 2015

Ever since Marina lost her father to his duties last spring, their Jewish culture has become something she clings to; but now she feels as if she’s losing grip, her fingernails digging deep into her faith—the talons of a hawk clutching to its food for survival. Her father had been stationed in Afghanistan for the past seven months, and they’ve asked him to stay another twelve. He’d always made Hanukkah a special event in their household, as his mother did for him growing up. Marina strokes the Menorah on the table of the hallway across from her parents’ room and remembers her father’s dimples framing his face—his gentle laugh threading through her memories of past Hanukkahs. She is twirling an imaginary dreidel with him, really Blue’s tail, again, when her mother enters the hallway, suitcase in hand. “Ready, Marnie?” – T.N. MacCallum: “In the Temple of Jerusalem”

We have some strange ways of talking about Christmas. We say Christmas is coming. Christmas will soon be here. As if it’s an event that arrives with its own suitcase to unpack. But Christmas doesn’t just come. Christmas is made. By people. Often by moms. In my household, my husband and son and I are aware of making Christmas for ourselves and each other. We choose a series of experiences: the tree, the guests, the food, the gifts. I like to acknowledge this “making” in small ways. This year, we hosted a small party at our home on Christmas Eve, and when all our preparations were ready, when our house was clean and our party table set, we took a moment, the three of us before the guests arrived, to raise our glasses and toast each other. “Merry Christmas,” we said. It was a gesture of good will and celebration, a way to say: we are a family making Christmas together. – Kathleen Hamilton: “I Keep Looking”

It was four in the afternoon, the end of November, early dusk lurking behind a curtain of snowflakes as I pulled up in the parking lot at Sobeys. Just a few little items left on my list. With my head turned away from the wind, I almost ran into him. A Japanese guy with a backpack and a city map, toque pulled low, hands shaking slightly, a lone straggler frozen in the wrong season. – Ruth Mischler: “Peppered Hearts”

I have been involved in a love-hate affair with New Year’s Eve (Hogmanay) since I left my native Scotland to make my life in Canada more than four decades ago. On the last day of the year, just three or four notes of Auld Lang Syne will bring tears to my eyes and start my lower lip trembling. The song has the power to pull me back to a time long past and a homeland long ago abandoned. Add one glass of Glenfiddich too many, and my New Year’s Eve celebrations might well descend into a morass of nostalgia. For me, the countdown starts on the stroke of eight in Prince Edward Island—midnight in Scotland. At five minutes past the hour my phone rings and I answer to boisterous New Year’s greetings from one of my many siblings, or the happy voices of my parents as they beam their good wishes to me across the Atlantic Ocean. Their words of affection, and mine, are expressed in the lowland Scots dialect that we grew up speaking in my hometown of Dumfries. – Anne McCallum: “For Auld Lang Syne”

Atlantic Books Today


Book bites excerpts

Deep Freeze Winter 2015: A Photographic Memory of Storm, Survival and Triumph by John MacIntyre

Mike Bayer Photography

$19.95, paperback, 96 pp. MacIntyre Purcell Publishing Inc., Sept. 2015


There were anxiety levels and stresses that collectively we hadn’t experienced before. There were the elderly who couldn’t get out of their houses. There were people whose air vents were in danger of being blocked. The list goes on, of course. The winter extended itself into April, but it did end. We limped through. Together. It was one to tell the grandchildren about. We have stories to tell.

” Richard McLeod

Stephen DesRoches

The winter in some way, shape or form impacted us all. School children on Prince Edward Island spent more time out of school than in it in the month of March. Falls on the ice sent more people to hospitals. Waged workers struggled to get their shifts in. Businesses struggled for customers. Snow removal contracts put people in money, but also put those who bid the job by the season out of money.

Courtesy of Marcel Landry

John Morris

John Woolaver

MJ’s Photography by Melissa Saucier

Image created by Daniel MacDonald

Book bites excerpts

Atlantic Books Today


Book bites excerpts

The Blind Man’s Eyes By Rita Joe

When I Was Small When I was small I used to help my father Make axe handles. Coming home from the wood with a bundle Of maskwi, snawey, aqmoq, My father would chip away, Carving with a crooked knife, Until a well-made handle appeared, Ready to be sandpapered By my brother. $17.95, paperback, 140 pp. Breton Books, October 2015

I Lost My Talk I lost my talk The talk you took away. When I was a little girl At Shubenacadie school.

When it was finished We started another, Sometimes working through the night With me holding a lighted shaving To light their way When our kerosene lamp ran dry. Then in the morning My mother would be happy That there would be food today When my father sold our work.

You snatched it away: I speak like you I think like you I create like you The scrambled ballad, about my word. Two ways I talk Both ways I say, Your way is more powerful. So gently I offer my hand and ask, Let me find my talk So I can teach you about me.


Fragment A light from a kerosene lamp, The warmth from a wood stove Very much like shadows from my childhood The days long past.

Learning the Language Look at the busy rivers Where water runs over the pebbles As if to say, “Hello, how are you? I am gone.” Or a leaf on a maple tree, “Touch me but don’t hurt.” You look but move on. Lay on the grass Mold your body to it, relaxing, The spiritual in effect And look at the sky, The lazy roll of a cloud passing by With pictures of dreams your mind wills The reward of nature, Gives you high high.

Website o n ly c on t e s t s How your favourite authors became writers A new monthly column from Chris Benjamin highlights the region’s top new authors Mark Callanan

Gloria Ann Wesley

EXCLUsive Content

Readings, book signings, literary festivals and more

Beth Powning


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Who knew science could be so much fun ? Baillie’s new novel is entirely original. . .alive and visionary.

Cayley’s prose flashes with insight – transparent, and true.

—madeleine thien

—lisa moore

East meets West as Nova Scotia illustrator Lil Crump and British Columbia author Tanya Lloyd Kyi combine their talents to create a kid-friendly, lively, and entertaining book about DNA. Learn all about the science of genes, then use your knowledge of DNA to help solve a mystery. Sample chapter at Ages 11–14 / 978-1-55451-773-2 $14.95 pb

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An energetic tale that is part caper and part murder mystery – relentlessly satiric, brutally funny, and obsessively readable.


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Atlantic Books Today Issue 80 - Winter 2015  

In this issue: Chef Craig Flinn, Colleen Jones, 12 Books of Christmas gift guide, special history section, plus reviews, excerpts and contes...

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