Bringing Canada's best authors and poets to Nova Scotia's beautiful North Shore and beyond


Read by the Sea is a summer literary festival featuring readings by outstanding Canadian writers and poets. It includes WordPlay, an extraordinary literary festival for children of all ages; Page Turners, which supports local book clubs and encourages members to attend the festival; Wordstock, a series of literary shenanigans; and Main Stage, spotlighting the works of several renowned authors.

Read by the Sea 2021 (July 2-9)

Dream of a sunny day, relaxed in a lawn chair, 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 for emerging authors; writers; workshops; storytelling walks and campfires; and Q&As with the authors. For 2021, most of the activities will be virtual.

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WordPlay 2021 (July 2-9)

WordPlay, the extraordinary literary festival for children of all ages, will take place virtually this year because of ongoing COVID-19 Public Health protocols. Children and their adults can listen to prominent children’s authors read from their works. They can have their questions answered by the authors and even share their own reviews of the authors’ books. There will be a special interactive activity, too.

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Main Stage 2021 (July 2-9)

The festival’s marquee event will take place virtually this year because of ongoing COVID-19 Public Health protocols. The wonders of modern technology will bring readings by five prominent Canadian authors directly to you wherever you are. Watch interviews with the authors and get answers to your burning questions. Spread the word about these skilled storytellers by sharing your reviews of the authors’ works.

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Wordstock 2021 (July 2-9)

Wordstock is an exciting grab bag of fun activities to complement WordPlay and Main Stage. It includes Pitch the Publisher, Heritage Storywalk, a writing workshop and a family storytelling campfire. This year’s Wordstock will be a mix of virtual and live activities in accordance with Public Health protocols.

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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