Come Read by the Sea in River John, NS July 4-6 2024

Read by the Sea is a summer literary festival featuring readings by outstanding Canadian authors. The three-day festival includes WordPlay, a fun-filled mini festival for children of all ages; OnWords, an event for middle-grade and young adult readers; Wordstock, a series of literary and storytelling shenanigans; and Main Stage, a day of author readings and Q&A.

Pitch the Publisher submission deadline: Do you want to pitch your manuscript to a panel of publishers at Read by the Sea 2024? Let us know by May 15, 2024. Details here

Ask The Author - Memories of Read by the Sea 2021

“When I was first asked to participate in Read by the Sea, I was excited and humbled to be sharing such a prestigious stage with many great Canadian authors and those that had graced the stage before us. I attended the weekend festivities with my mother, aunty, sister, cousin, and dear friend and what an incredible experience we all had. The hosts and event coordinators ensured we were all well taken care of — from the welcome reception to the end of the festivities and it felt like we were home in a community new to us that openly embraced us. The festival was well attended, and the audience engagement was more than I was expecting. You often wonder what your readers may take away from your works, and I was gifted an opportunity to hear many listeners’ feedback; it was overwhelming and I left with a sense of connection having openly discussed some large topics that my poetry covers. It was a remarkable experience in my journey; One I will treasure for a lifetime.”

Angela Bowden

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, the extraordinary literary festival for children of all ages, takes place at the River John Royal Canadian Legion (rain venue is inside the legion). 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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Middle-graders and teens, this is something just for you! You’re invited to an afternoon of stories, sharing and selfies with two amazing Canadian authors: Michael Hutchinson and Alexandra Harrington. This is your chance to hear them read from their latest books and ask them about how they write, how they got published, what inspires them, and their tips for young writers. Where: outside in the Remembrance Gardens at the River John Legion. When: In the morning on Saturday, July 6, 2024. Watch this space for more details!

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Main Stage

The festival's grand finale will offer readings by four prominent Canadian authors, 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 covers the events between WordPlay and MainStage - this year on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Including an open mic session, family storytelling campfire, Heritage Storywalk, a writing workshop, and Pitch the Publisher.

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“When I got the invitation to attend RBTS as an author, my first thought was – they must have gotten me mixed up with a real author! It was all so new and surreal that I had a book published! What I quickly learned was RBTS was the ABSOLUTE BEST festival for a first time author to attend because the team there are the ABSOLUTE BEST at being welcoming and caring and helpful. I was enveloped in the RBTS family feeling and the entire weekend felt like a “down home celebration” of good old Maritime hospitality.
The organization and attention to details made the RBTS exceptional for authors and festival attendees alike.
What I took away from that RBTS experience was a lifetime of memories, friendships and bookish delight. I never hesitate to recommend everyone attend RBTS. I tell them they will never regret it.”

Lana Shupe

“Read by the Sea was for me: A glorious sunny day, the company of Donna Morrissey, David Adams Richards and Margaret Atwood, a fabulous community of readers—what more could a writer ask? My dream-case scenario.”

Carol Bruneau Author of Brighten the Corner Where You Are, A Circle on the Surface, A Bird on Every Tree, These Good Hands & other titles

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
2022: Lawrence Hill, Morgan Murray, Jon Tattrie, Dr. Afua Cooper, Lisa Harrington, Gail Francis, Lana Shupe
2023: Whit Fraser, Nancy Regan, Bruce Bishop, Angela Bowden, Olga Manzoni, Michelle Robinson, Lana Button, Andre Fenton, Lynette Richards,
2024: Michael Hutchinson, Karl Subban, Robert J. Sawyer, Mai Nguyen, Alexandra Hartington, Mary Dalton, Lorna Schultz Nicholson.