Read by the Sea

Dream of a sunny day, relaxing in a lawn chair, a cool drink in your hand, listening to Canada’s finest authors reading to YOU!  That’s Read by the Sea Summer Literary Festival in River John.

In 2000, a small group of women from Nova Scotia’s North Shore established Read by the Sea as a means of bringing some of Canada’s best authors to the region each summer.  Initially a one-day event with four authors reading to a small crowd, the festival grew to include up to 12 authors in varying roles, with an annual audience that almost doubles the population of the village of River John.

More than 20 years later, Read by the Sea has evolved to include:

WordPlay, a literary festival dedicated to children of all ages.

OnWords, a ‘meet the author’ experience for middle grade/young adult readers.

Wordstock, a grab bag of unique literary shenanigans designed to encourage emerging writers and recognize the value of the regional’s written and oral storytelling tradition

Main Stage, the marquee event featuring five author readings, with interviews and a Q&A session.

Read by the Sea aims to promote Canadian literature by celebrating good books, the people who write them and the people who read them; and by encouraging new or non-readers to discover the joy of reading. The festival fosters diversity and accessibility to both the authors and the audience, regardless of cultural, racial, gender, age, ability, socioeconomic or other circumstances.

In order to encourage everyone to participate, there are no admission fees to Read by the Sea events – although the festival does accept donations to support its mandate.  Remember to bring your lawn chair, sunscreen, sun hat, and a picnic lunch (if you wish). The authors’ books will be for sale at the sites where they read. The authors will also sign books for audience members upon request.

Read by the Sea Main Stage

Enjoy author readings and interviews by some of Canada’s finest in the beautiful River John Legion gardens (rain location: River John Fire Hall). Picnics welcome!

Pitch the Publisher

Writers, sharpen your pencil for this literary Dragon’s Den. See the Pitch the Publisher section for full participation details and deadlines.

Reader Participation

We want to hear from you! Send us your short reviews of this year’s authors’ books, and send the burning questions you want answered by the authors.

OnWords

An opportunity for middle grade/young adult readers to interact with authors Lawrence Hill and Lisa Harrington.

WordPlay

Dedicated children's literary festival featuring Lana Shupe and Gail Francis

Featured Authors

Dr. Afua Cooper, Lawrence Hill, Morgan Murray and Jon Tattrie.

Wordstock

Including a writing workshop lead by Stephen Kimber, a heritage story walk, and a family storytelling campfire.

Pitch the Publisher starts early Saturday morning, to offer writers a chance to pitch new manuscripts to a panel of publishers. It ends in time for the grand finale, Read by the Sea Main Stage: an extravaganza of diverse Canadian literary stars reading, being interviewed, and answering audience questions – all to end the festival with a satisfying bang.

Throughout the year, Read by the Sea also offers PageTurners Book Club: a selection of works by featured authors that are available for loan to regional book clubs. Club members are encouraged to attend Read by the Sea to meet the authors in person.

Read by the Sea aims to promote Canadian literature by celebrating good books, the people who write them and the people who read them; and by encouraging new or non-readers to discover the joy of reading. The festival fosters diversity and provides equal access to both the authors and the audience, regardless of cultural, racial, gender, age, ability, socioeconomic or other circumstances.

In order to encourage everyone to participate, there are no admission fees to Read by the Sea events – although the festival does accept donations to support its mandate.  Remember to bring your lawn chair, sunscreen, sun hat, and a picnic lunch (if you wish). The authors’ books will be for sale at the sites where they read. The authors will also sign books for audience members upon request.

“What do you get when you put together a dedicated group of book-loving volunteers brimming with rural Nova Scotia hospitality, a beautiful riverside location, a collection of amazing people who write books for all ages with a desire to share a weekend promoting the love of reading?  You get the summer festival know as READ BY THE SEA!  I have had the great good fortune to attend the festival in years past and I shall forever be grateful to READ BY THE SEA for the part its gracious people played in my author journey. “ – Lana Shupe, WordPlay author 2022