Wordstock is a series of literary shenanigans designed to celebrate and foster writing and storytelling. Wordstock includes:

A Writing Workshop

There are two Writers’ Workshops at the 2024 event. The first is being held Friday morning, July 5, with Jane Doucet presenting "Humour Writing – Seriously!” and in the afternoon on Friday will be a workshop with Jon Tattrie on Presenting Your Writings at Pitch the Publisher and also on Interview Skills. These two workshops are being held at the River John Old School from 10 a.m. until noon and then in the afternoon from 1 to 3 p.m. Free admission.

A Heritage Story Walk

Again this year, the Heritage Story walk will also be held on Friday morning at 10 a.m., meeting at the River John Historical Society Museum and walking from there. It will be a tour of the principal shipyard sites of River John.

Family Campfire Stories & Open Mic

The family storytelling campfire and open mic on Thursday, July 4th at 6:30 p.m. takes place at the campfire pit behind the River John Old School.

Pitch the Publisher

July 6, 9-10:30 a.m., River John Legion. This fan-favourite gives emerging authors 3 minutes to pitch their works to a panel of publishers. See below for how to apply.

Writing Workshop : Pitch a pro before you pitch a publisher

Do you feel ready to pitch your book to a publisher, but something is holding you back? Join Jon Tattrie, editor of Atlantic Books Today, for a front-row seat into the minds of publishers. Jon has published eight books with three regional publishers. As the editor of ABT, he regularly works with the 40 publishers active in Atlantic Canada. He knows what they want, and how to frame your book in a way that gives it the best chance of getting out of the dreaded slush pile and onto an editor’s desk. We’ll talk elevator pitches, book proposals, agents, regional vs national, and answer all of your questions about the publishing world in 2024.

Pitch the Publisher 2024

Do you have a manuscript burning a hole in your sock drawer, aching to be published? This might be your chance. At Pitch the Publisher, selected writers each have three minutes to stand at a microphone and pitch their manuscripts to a panel of publishers, in front of an audience. Publishers have five minutes to respond with feedback. Open to writers aged 18 and up.

How To Enter:

How to enter:  Describe your manuscript in two sentences or less. This means sum up your manuscript. eg. “A boy adopts a dinosaur only to discover it wants to eat his large family… and how boy meets this challenge”,  etc.

Additionally, include these points:

– the genre

– the intended audience and why anyone would want to read it

– explain why you are the most qualified person to write it – and write it well. (This may include writing experience, awards or other recognition, writing classes or other ways you have practised the profession.)

– any other information you believe pertinent

– include your working title (publishers often change titles) at the top of each page of the entry, and your name and contact information. You may use your word processing program to insert this information in a header, or add it manually.

Keep your submission short – two letter-size pages max. This is NOT your actual pitch, but a proposal to pitch.

Send your proposal (not your manuscript) and your contact information to Read by the Sea Pitch the Publisher by May 15, 2024. You may email your proposal using the Contact Us form on the festival website www.readbythesea.ca;  by Messenger on the Read by the Sea Facebook page; or send to [email protected].

A jury will select up to 10 entries that are most likely to succeed. Selected “pitchers” will be contacted in time to prepare for their July 6 presentations at the Royal Canadian Legion Hall in River John.

The actual pitches: Those who gain a spot at Pitch the Publisher must prepare a three-minute spoken pitch to deliver to a panel of publishers’ representatives. Practise in front of a mirror or with a friend until you are happy with it – covering the points listed above. Also, prepare a package for each publisher (usually three). It should include a printed copy of the information from your spoken pitch, your contact information, and a one-two page sample of your writing.  Put each copy in a separate envelope or folder labelled with your name, contact information and the working title of your pitch/manuscript. Hand it to the Registrar upon arrival – which should be at least 15 minutes before the pitching time allotted to you. Be quiet while entering so as not to disturb the process.

When it is your turn to pitch, approach the microphone and start your pitch. You will get a warning from the timekeeper at the two-minute mark, and you must stop at the three minute notice. Stay at the microphone to answer questions from the panel.

Be prepared to go on early in case another pitcher doesn’t show up on time.

You may bring family and friends with you to sit in the audience.  You – and they – are welcome to stay for the whole event, and to participate in other Read by the Sea events that day. No admission is charged.

Open Mic

Following the Writers' Workshop at St. John's Hall, on July 2, 1-2 pm. As for the Writers' Workshop, please pre-register. Bring your writing - of any kind - and share it with an audience. Covid protocols will apply. This event will also be recorded for the website.  (If you plan to attend both the workshop and Open Mic, you may want to pack a picnic lunch. We hope for sunshine!)

Book Auction

We’re auctioning off copies of books by our Main Stage authors, as a fundraiser and because they are simply fabulous books! Here’s how it works: View the list of auction items below, then use our ‘Contact Us’ form or email [email protected] (include the word “auction” in the subject line) and tell us:
1. Your name, email address and phone number
2. Which auction item you’re bidding on (you can bid on as many items as you like)
3. The amount of your bid

The auction will close at 5 p.m. July 9, at which time we will award the items to the highest bidders.
This is your chance to snag some great books and support Read by the Sea at the same time (how awesome is that?).

Auction Item #1: Kill the Mall, by Pasha Malla. $25 value. Minimum bid: $15
Auction Item #2: Kill the Mall, by Pasha Malla. $25 value. Minimum bid: $15
Auction Item #3: Crow, by Amy Spurway. $22.95 value. Minimum bid: $15
Auction Item #4: Crow, by Amy Spurway. $22.95 value. Minimum bid: $15
Auction Item #5: Fishing the High Country, by Wayne Curtis. $19.95 value. Minimum bid: $15
Auction Item #5: Fishing the High Country, by Wayne Curtis. $19.95 value. Minimum bid: $15
Auction Item #6: I’m Finding My Talk, by Rebecca Thomas plus companion book I Lost My Talk, by Rita Joe (both illustrated by Pauline Young). Value: $45.90. Minimum bid: $30
Auction Item #7: I’m Finding My Talk, by Rebecca Thomas plus companion book I Lost My Talk, by Rita Joe (both illustrated by Pauline Young). Value: $45.90. Minimum bid: $30
Auction Item #8: I’m Finding My Talk, by Rebecca Thomas plus companion book I Lost My Talk, by Rita Joe (both illustrated by Pauline Young). Value: $45.90. Minimum bid: $30

“I very much enjoyed my experience at Read by the Sea because I had the opportunity to socialize with other writers – and especially readers – for the first time, in one happy place. There’s a certain unspoken kinship with both groups of people: they “get” me and I “get” them!”

Bruce W. Bishop

Meet The Pitch Panel

Boularderie Island Press is located in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. On average, they publish between 3-5 traditional trade book publications and co-publications each year. They have published more than 50 books, including The Appendage Formerly Known as Your Left Arm by Julie Curwin, which won the Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction at this year’s Atlantic Book Awards.

Paul MacAllister, Monster House owner/author published his first book, There and Back Again: A Herman Tale in the Fall of 2015. He then began Monster House Publishing, a New Brunswick based publishing house for children’s books. Since then, Monster House Publishing has launched several works, including the recent Mi’kmaq Alphabet Book by Shyla Augustine, which was nominated for a New Brunswick Book award this year, and has a second edition on the way!

Chocolate River Publishing was established to raise the profile of New Brunswick in Anglophone children’s literature. Their main focus is on the types of books that kids from kindergarten to grade twelve want to read. They should tell a great story, have strong characters, the action should move fast, and humour doesn’t hurt! What-cha Doing by Kim Renton was nominated for a New Brunswick Book Award this year.

Moose House Publications:

Best-selling author Brenda Thompson founded Moose House in 2019 to publish fiction, non-fiction, and other materials written in or about rural Nova Scotia. The press serves folks who are writing material that excites and compels them, even though it might not have a large-enough potential market to attract larger publishers. They have published 25+ authors in their first two years. Two Crows Sorrow was shortlisted for The Miramichi Reader’s 2020 Very Best of Historical Fiction award and was on Atlantic Books’ Chapters Indigo bestsellers list in January 2020. Their goal is to build up their catalogue with entertaining, challenging, eye-opening stories, plays, essays, and book-length explorations into subjects of local interest. Moose House is proud to be a member of the Atlantic Publishers’ Marketing Association, which supports publishers across Atlantic Canada. Their publisher and staff, and many of their authors, are members of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia.

Penguin Random House

Penguin Random House Canada, the country’s largest book publisher and part of an international publishing company, was established in 2013 by merger and has a Canadian publishing history going back to 1906. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, with office locations in Mississauga, Ontario, and Vancouver, British Columbia, and more than 230 employees across the country, it is the literary home of world-renowned Canadian authors such as Margaret Atwood, Leonard Cohen, Kim Thúy, Alice Munro, Michael Ondaatje, David Chariandy, Dionne Brand, Richard Wagamese, and Chris Hadfield. It is made up of 19 diverse imprints, publishing adult and children’s fiction and non-fiction print and digital trade book publishing.

“I was totally thrilled when I got my invitation to attend Read By The Sea. It was something to look forward to, a bright spot after the long era of covid. The festival was an absolute blast from beginning to end—carried out with military precision, and lots of fun things to do. Everyone involved was so kind and welcoming, I felt like a rockstar. Not to mention I got to fan girl over the other talented writers attending. Writer or not, Read By The Sea offers a great experience. So excited to be going again, this time accompanying my daughter, Alexandra Harrington, The Last Time I saw Her. See you there! “

Lisa Harrington

Page Turners

Page Turners returns this year with 12 sets of Sunshine Nails - check with the River John Library about borrowing them!