This week we talk to Jane Kelly. Jane grew up in Ottawa and graduated from Carleton University with a degree in Psychology before leaving for Toronto where she met her husband, John. They moved to Northumberland over 30 years ago where she and her husband still live on the 100-acre farm where she raised her two children. Since then, she’s had her fingers in a lot of pies but is always happiest when she’s building something—whether it’s a magazine or a log cabin on her property. In 2001, she started Watershed Magazine, now celebrating its 20th anniversary with the current Summer edition.
Erin Silver has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her work has appeared in everything from The Washington Post and The Globe and Mail to Harper’s Bazaar and Good Housekeeping, among many other North American magazines, newspapers and blogs. Her first book, Just Watch Me, is a middle grade novel about social media, video games and divorce. It won the bronze medal in the Uncommon Quest Writing Competition and a publishing contract with Common Deer Press. Her picture book, What Kids Did: Stories of Kindness and Invention in the Time of COVID-19 is about the ways kids around the world helped others during the pandemic. The book was highly recommended on two separate book lists from Mabel’s Fables bookstore. Erin has several other children’s books being published through 2023. She has a postgraduate journalism degree from Ryerson University and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from King’s College.
Today we talk with Mandy Robinson, Cobourg’s Town Crier since 2015. A published photographer, poet, and author, she plays piano and has acted with the Northumberland Players and sometimes sung opera. She is the mother of three daughters and has an eleven year old grandson. Mandy has been a professional public speaker for many years and is the recipient of the Provincial Award for Leading Women Building Communities for her work empowering women to find their voice and step into their power of freedom. Mandy has increased her writing and performing of poetry recently and is currently working on her own book about her life, Freedom My Final Frontier. She is also slated to launch her first book of Poetry called Catalyst shortly.
Jennifer Bogart is a writer, with three adult novels and a number of mid-grade and YA books to her credit. She has also been a publisher and editor at Morning Rain Publications and is now the owner of Let’s Talk Books, Cobourg’s wonderful independent book store, recently featured in a Globe and Mail article and now celebrating its fifth year in business. She frequently hosts writers, whose books she admires and arranges very successful readings for them, as well as organizing a number of book clubs at the store for readers of different genres. She tells us about running a bookstore in pandemic times and what her customers have been reading.
Today we talk with Paddy Scott. Paddy was born and raised in Trenton, Ontario, the fictionalized version of which provides the setting for his novel, The Union of Smokers. His fiction has appeared in magazines across Canada, has been nominated for Canadian Magazine Awards and The Journey Prize as well as being a finalist for an Alberta Magazine Award, and long-listed several times for the CBC fiction and poetry prizes. The Union of Smokers, published by Invisible Publishing, was one of 49th Shelf’s books of the year for 2020 and long-listed for the Stephen Leacock Medal.
This week we talk to Ronald Mackay. Since Ron put aside technical and academic writing in favour of more personal and creative writing, in 2011, he has published four memoirs, written a dozen plays only a very few of which have been produced, and written lots of short stories of which some 20 have appeared in anthologies. While Ronald was surprised at losing some friends during this career switch, he was compensated by new friendships from unexpected quarters. Ronald has been forced to revise the commercial aims that propelled him towards creative writing a decade ago and to come to terms with the concrete realities of the nature of publishing in the 21st Century.
Meet J.D. Carpenter. David grew up in Toronto, earned degrees at York and Queen’s, taught high school English for 25 years and ran a Special Education program for 14 of those years. He publishes under the name J D Carpenter and began his writing career as a poet, later switching to fiction, primarily murder mysteries: The Devil in Me (McClelland & Stewart, 2001); Bright’s Kill (Dundurn Press, 2005); 74 Miles Away (Dundurn Press, 2006); Twelve Trees (Dundurn Press, 2008) and The County Murders (Cressy Lakeside Books, 2016). A second Joe Horn mystery, The Lake Pirates was published by Cressy Lakeside Books in 2020. Now David has returned to writing poetry as well as planning a major revision to a Campbell Young mystery which he put aside several years ago. So, though he told us that his biography hadn’t altered except in that he had grown two years older since he was last our guest, it seems there’s plenty to add to it. Today he tells us about his recent work and current projects
This week we are rebroadcasting an episode we made last year with Marie Prins. Marie had just published her mid grade novel The Girl from the Attic with Common Deer Press and had begun a determined marketing campaign in the difficult conditions of the pandemic. She garnered many positive reviews for her book and recently the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators announced that The Girl From the Attic was one of five finalists for the Crystal Kite awards. In the past few months she has been writing several picture story drafts and a number of new poems.
Heidi Croot received her first literary award at her Grade 8 graduation and was heart-broken because her father couldn’t be there to see her. She took an Honours BA in English from Western University, which taught her all about writing essays. This led her to a 35 year award winning career as a business writer, in the fields of technology, long-term-care, municipal government, and health and safety before she decided to hang out her free-lance shingle. Her creative writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Brevity, Writescape, Linea magazine, and a WCDR anthology. Presently she is working on a memoir, which she has recently sent to a professional editor.
This week Port Hope celebrates Farley Mowat Week. Word on the Hills is delighted to hear about it from Claire Mowat. Claire was born and educated in Toronto and is a graduate of Ontario College of Art. Originally a graphic designer, she switched to writing during the 1960s when she lived in Newfoundland. This led to her first book, The Outport People. Her second memoir Pomp and Circumstances about her experiences working at Rideau Hall was followed by, Travels with Farley a memoir of the Mowats’ time living on the Magdalen Islands. She also wrote a novel for younger readers, The Girl From Away, that was so successful that she developed it into a trilogy, by writing The French Islands and A Summer in Louisburg. For many years, Claire and Farley, her husband, divided their time living partly on a farm in Nova Scotia and partly at their home in Port Hope where she still lives. Today she is visiting us to talk with us about Farley Mowat Week 2021 in Port Hope, to honour his many achievements and celebrate Farley’s 100th birthday on Wednesday May 12th. Farley Mowat published over 40 books and sold 17 million copies during his lifetime and his stories, memoirs, books about the arctic and other travels are still bestsellers today.