Read by the Sea Virtually, July 2-9, 2021: It’s here!


It’s a wrap – Read by the Sea (Virtually) is over for this summer – but some memorable moments are available on this website for your perusal. Explore the pages of this website for Ask the Authors, and upcoming opportunities for readers, emerging writers and book reviewers to interact with the festival in the “off-season.”

The annual summer literary festival – here since 2000 – moved to an online stage in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but retained a strong audience for the author readings and interviews as well as other events like Pitch the Publisher, Writers’ Workshop, etc. Virtual visitors hailed from as far away as Ireland, Costa Rica, China, Japan, The Netherlands, Hong Kong, UK, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, US, Italy, and as close as the festival’s home in River John, Nova Scotia.

Planning begins right away for the 2022 festival – set for June 30-July 2 – hopefully IN PERSON! If you are interested in helping with various aspects of festival organization, or if you want to be included in periodic email newsletters (3-4 times per year), please use the Contact Us feature of this website. Follow festival progress on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/readbythesea) and our Twitter feed (@RJreadbythesea).

Ask The Author - Memories of Read by the Sea 2021

Read by the Sea

Dream of a sunny day, relaxed in a lawn chair in a quiet garden, a cool drink in your hand, and Canada’s finest authors reading to YOU! That’s Read by the Sea Summer Literary Festival, established in 2000 in River John, NS. The festival has grown to include the children’s festival, WordPlay; Pitch the Publisher and Open Mic sessions for emerging authors; writers’ workshops; storytelling walks and campfires; books for sale; and meet-the-authors.

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WordPlay

WordPlay, the extraordinary literary festival for children of all ages, takes place at Mabel Murple’s Book Shoppe & Dreamery. Over the two hour event, children and their adults listen to prominent children’s authors read from their work and get to ask them questions. They can have selfies taken with them, buy their books, and get those books signed. Music and activities round out the schedule.

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Main Stage

The festival's grand finale will offer readings by four prominent Canadian authors and a spoken word poet, onstage interviews, a moderated panel discussion, audience question and answer session, raffle of the authors' books, a "swag shoppe" selling festival items, Coles mobile book store on site, all in the relaxing surroundings at the River John Legion garden. Bring your own lawn chairs, sunscreen and a picnic if you wish (rain venue for outdoor events - River John Fire Hall).

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Wordstock

WordStock covers the events between WordPlay and MainStage - this year on Thursday and Friday. Including an open mic session, family storytelling campfire, Heritage Storywalk, a writing workshop, and Pitch the Publisher. Further detals to be announced!

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"Read by the Sea is a highlight of my year.  I just love it  And I am already looking forward to this year.  I love that it is free and open to everyone.  And I love that it is outside if possible.  I always drag a gang of friends along with me. The authors are always an amazing mix and the moderators and organizers are terrific.   I have also participated in Pitch the Publisher and various writing workshops.  I highly recommend this incredible event to everyone who enjoys reading."

Joy Laking - Artist, Nova Scotia

We acknowledge that we are in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq nation. This territory is covered by a series of treaties of peace and friendship which the Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet), and other First Nations first signed with the British Crown in 1725-26. The treaties did not deal with surrender of lands and resources but, in fact, recognized Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) title and established rules for what was to be an ongoing relationship among the nations. We recognize that we are treaty people.

Writers featured at past Read by the Sea Summer Festivals

2000: Alistair MacLeod, Sheldon Currie, Maureen Hull, Sheree Fitch
2001: David Adams Richards, Donna Morrissey, George Elliott Clarke, Carol Bruneau, Deidre Kessler​
2002: Leo MacKay Jr., Lynn Coady, Anne Simpson, Herb Curtis, Anne Louise MacDonald​
2003: Margaret Atwood, Michael Crummey, Alfred Silver, Linda Little, Frances Wolfe, Mary-Jane Hampton​
2004: Ed Riche, Sue Goyette, Deborah Joy Corey, David Weale, Joanne Taylor, Janet MacNaughton​
2005: Herménégilde Chiasson, Beatrice MacNeil, Beth Powning, Michael Redhill, Lesley Choyce, Kristin Bieber Domm​
2006: Steven Heighton, Catherine Safer, Harry Thurston, Lisa Moore, Janet Lunn, Deborah Ellis​
2007: Don Hannah, Joan Clark, Freeman Patterson, Ami MacKay, Gary Blackwood, Pamela Hickman, Mark Oakley​
2008: Camilla Gibb, Cynthia Thayer, Don McKay, Daniel MacIvor, Budge Wilson, Susan Tooke, Raquel Rivera​
2009: Wayson Choy, Don Domanski, Shani Mootoo, Eleanor Wachtel, Kathleen Martin-James, Shane Peacock, Leo Yerxa​
2010: Catherine Banks, Austin Clarke, Kenneth J. Harvey, Helen Humphreys, Shauntay Grant, Kit Pearson​
2011: Shandi Mitchell, Johanna Skibsrud, Alexander MacLeod, Richard B. Wright, Jill MacLean, Frieda Wishinsky​
2012: Rawi Hage, Madeleine Thein, Julia MacCarthy, Silver Donald Cameron, Philip Roy, Don Aker, Kathy Kaulbach
2013: Marina Endicott, Phil Hall, Vincent Lam, Rebecca Silver Slayter, Jan Coates, Vicki Grant, Jacqueline Halsey
2014: Guy Vanderhaeghe, Sharon Butala, Steven Galloway, Sylvia Hamilton, Russell Wangersky, Frank Macdonald. Trudy Carey, Kathy Stinson, Sheree Fitch, Dave Gunning.
2015: Maureen Jennings, Giles Blunt, Linden MacIntyre, Isabel Huggan, Linda Little, Andy Jones, Starr Dobson
2016: Nancy Wilcox-Richards, Kate Inglis, Lisa Dalrymple, James Laxer, Susan Paddon, Jennifer Robson, Kim Thuy
2017: Marie-Louise Gay, Alan Syliboy, Dean Jobb, ChristyAnn Conlin, Lesley Crewe, Terry Fallis.
2018: Justin Gregg, Paulette Bourgeois, Wesley King, Sarah Faber, Wayne Johnston, Pauline Dakin, Lorri Neilsen Glenn.
2019: Arthur Slade, Jessica Scott Kerrin, Anna Plaskett (music), Colin Campbell, Allan Cooper, Mayann Francis, Kevin Major, Elizabeth Hay
2020: authors postponed to 2021 due to Covid-19 pandemic
2021: Joan Baxter, Wayne Curtis, Pasha Malla, Amy Spurway, Rebecca Thomas, Sydney Smith, Vikki VanSickle