Drew Monkman is a naturalist and writer whose nature column, “Our Changing Seasons,” appears regularly in the Peterborough Examiner. He is the author of three books. Two of these explore what is happening in the natural world each month of the year. They are Nature’s Year in the Kawarthas (2002) and Nature’s Year: Changing seasons in Central and Eastern Ontario (2012) Drew also co-authored The Big Book of Nature Activities: A year-round guide to outdoor learning (2016) with Jacob Rodenburg, executive director of Camp Kawartha . The book is the winner of four awards, including the Nautilus Book Award, which is a major American award for environmental writing.
Carolyn Helfenstein was only seventeen when she was hired to teach in a one-room rural schoolhouse near Toronto. After finishing Teachers College she taught another four years. Then she and her husband, Harry, ran a dairy farm for twenty-five years’ while bringing up their three children. By then Carolyn had become a journalist and she and Harry bought and published the Teeswater News for twelve years. However, those were difficult days for small community newspapers and they were obliged to close it down. To fill the void in her life, Carolyn found writing books the perfect challenge, producing the memoir WHY NOT? A MEMOIR IN BLACK AND WHITE about her years in the newspaper business. After this. she decided to research her family’s history in Newfoundland while studying at Waterloo University. This inspired her to write her novel, ROCK SOLID, which was was published recently
This week we are marking the fifth anniversary of this show. Little did we think at the time of our first broadcast, that our plans to record a 12 week series would stretch out so long that we are now beginning our sixth year on air. Through the years of making the show, we have met some wonderful writers, editors, teachers, play-wrights singer-song writers, film makers and publishers and we’ve learnt a lot! Today we hope to tell you about of some of the highlights of our journey from ignorance to experience and to indulge ourselves by reading some of our own poems for you.
Cassie Jeans is a best selling author, a dedicated leader of women who want to fully embrace all aspects of their soul and take full ownership of their lives. She is an advocate for the transformational power self-worth has in a woman’s life, and has a gift for eradicating self-doubt and limiting beliefs, using the power of words, practical step-by-step solutions and the wisdom of intuition. Cassie is active on social media and hosts a weekly podcast called, In the Bedroom with Cassie Jeans – words that awaken the soul. Miranda Sophia is a fierce believer in the sacredness of being human and all the experiences that come with it, she is devoted to getting to know herself in the deepest and most expansive ways in every experience, relationship and moment that life offers her. Through her courage and willingness to dance with her shadows, walk through the fire, and celebrate in her light, she stands as a beacon, a guide, a facilitator, a space holder and a sister for others to do the same. She does this through her writing, women’s circles and retreats, yoga and meditation practices, workshops and the creation of gemstone jewellery.
Andrea Torrey Balsara is a children’s author and illustrator. She always dreamed of being an illustrator, but her first published book was one that she wrote herself. She published many books for the educational market, including the novels The Present, for young adults, and Parker Shanahan: Survivor: Against All Odds for middle-grade readers. After several years of writing, the opportunity finally arose to illustrate her own book, GREENBEARD THE PIRATE PIG and the sequels which followed. Andrea is also the illustrator for the picture book series, HAPPY THE POCKET MOUSE, written by Philip Roy. Recently, her YA novel, THE GREAT AND THE SMALL was chosen for the list of the Best Books for Kids 2018 put out by the CCBC. The book has now also won a Moonbeam Award.
Ronald Mackay is the author of two memoirs and a number of plays. Last week on our show, Ronald read, “My Father invites Angels” , a Christmas story from his time as a young man working in the Canary Islands. This week we are re-playing the show he made with us about his memoir, of those formative years, FORTUNATE ISLE, A MEMOIR OF TENERIFE, as he releases the Spanish edition of this book.
This week we wish you a Happy New Year with seasonal stories and poems. Maureen Mullally reads a poem, written by her late husband, Brian, about a childhood mystery of her own, called TWO OLD GENTS. Then, Felicity tells a story based on the exploits of a donkey that she and her siblings were given as children, titled STAGESTRUCK. In the second half of the show, listen to Ron Mackay read about his experience of Christmas as a young man in Buena del Norte on Tenerife. And finally Gwynn shares her story of Christmas in Africa, MUSHROOMS AND MISTLETOE
Janet Stobie is a writer, family counselor, storyteller, and ordained minister, During her nineteen years in parish ministry, Janet was particularly appreciated for her work with young people and children and she has written a number of books for children both ones which are biblically based and some which deal with current social issues. Her young adult novel FIREWEED now has a sequel, TO BEGIN AGAIN, published this past year.
Wally Keeler, who was born and raised in Cobourg, talks about his work. He now describes his occupation as Poetentate, and his location as People’s Republic of Poetry. His poems have been published in a number of literary arts journals, including Prism, Impulse, the Fiddlehead, Descant, West Coast Review and others. His poetry collection Walking on the Greenhouse Roof was published by Delta Canada, Montreal, to excellent reviews. Wally’s primary life interest is poetry and he has spent his life promoting it. Today he talks about some of his recent projects.