Join former CBC Maritime Noon Host Costas Halavrezos as he interviews the Atlantic Canadians who create the books you love to read. From established, award-winning authors, illustrators, and photographers to the lesser known up-and-comers and other key book contributors delve into the beautiful, mysterious world of books... and discover the passion that fuels it.
Season 7, Episode 6
"Headfirst is the most delicious way to go down a tree".
That's typical of the intriguing clues in "So Imagine Me: Nature Riddles in Poetry" by Lynn Davies. The answers (and some misleading clues) are embedded in Chrissie Park-MacNeil's colourful illustrations for each poem. Lynn tells host Costas Halavrezos how everything from her love of nature to growing up in her parents' bookstore informed her latest offering for children - one which will open eyes and imaginations to natural wonders.
Nearly every coastal nation has folkloric beings who are part human, part sea creature. In "The Mermaid Handbook", Taylor Widrig brings us profiles of mermaids and other mer-people from around the world (including Minnow, the Mi'kmaq mermaid).
But she also tells host Costas Halavrezos how young people can adopt the "mermaid way of life" - everything from how to treat the environment with respect, to using dulse, kelp, and sea lettuce in our cooking.
Season 7, Episode 4
In our hyper-connected world, what could be more exotic than a hermit - a person deliberately disengaged from people and technology?
When Danny and his friend Ben discover one living in the forest near town, it sets in motion the discovery of a different way of life, family secrets, and information that leads to a dramatic turnaround in the community.
Costas Halavrezos interviews Jan Coates about why she chose the intriguing figure of a hermit to play a central role in her latest book for middle-grade readers.
Season 7, Episode 3
Eli Cooper has worked himself into a deep, middle-aged rut.
A night editor at a newspaper, he has no life partner, and lives in the family home with his father, whose dementia is worsening. Then in one day, he loses both his job and his father.
When Eli's successful sister books him on a trip to Cuba to escape these twin jolts, he becomes entranced by Mariela, a young tour guide. Given the very different cultures and the age gap, what blossoms may or may not be love. But as Stephen Kimber tells host Costas Halavrezos, it takes both characters through a series of revelations that redefine them and lead the reader to appreciate the bittersweet complexities of the human heart.
Season 7, Episode 2
Do we really need wise-cracking giraffes in skirts to grab the attention of a child?
Jeffrey Domm's story of ravens and wolves inventing "Wild Pond Hockey" in their natural habitat, along with his vivid photo-realism illustrations, combine to create a book that will become a favourite - and have kids taking a new look at creatures in the great outdoors.
Season 7, Episode 1
You can't please everyone. That's what three frog musicians discover when they pedal into the woods to play an impromptu concert for their furred and feathered friends. The grouse, though, can't stand the racket or the animals who like it! Then, a terrible storm provides an opportunity for a change of heart.
Kate Inglis's "A Great Big Night" is a delightful parable about performers and their audiences finding each other. Josée Bisaillon's joyful and witty illustrations complete a book that will be loved by readers and young listeners alike.
Season 6, Episode 9.
Would you like an insider's view of how radio, TV, and the movies evolved in the 20th century? Then follow the career of Austin Willis.
Starting with theatre and early radio in Halifax, he moved to Toronto as a staff announcer with CBC Radio (just in time to announce the start of World War II). Soon, Austin was hosting Victory Bond shows with visiting Hollywood stars. With live TV on the horizon, he moved to London and polished his acting skills in long-running West End shows. In the 1950s, Austin appeared in dozens of groundbreaking CBC Television dramas, series, and variety shows. When he moved to Hollywood to concentrate on a film career, he worked alongside everyone from Orson Welles and Bob Hope to Clint Eastwood. Back in Canada in the 70s, he became the urbane host of CTV's popular quiz show, "This Is The Law".
After retiring to Dartmouth, Austin graciously agreed to share stories from those decades. Archivist Ern Dick has transcribed the interviews - a rich and often hilarious trove of anecdotes from behind the scenes that convey the achievements (and misadventures) of an extraordinary Canadian performer.
Season 6, Episode 8 Carol Bruneau
Maud Lewis enjoys nearly mythological status in Canada. With no formal training, she created some of the most recognizable images in 20th-century Canadian art. But her gnomic appearance and few recorded words leave us with more questions than answers.
Carol Bruneau has dared to write in Maud's voice and describe a life of obstacles: the shame of having a child out of wedlock, crippling rheumatoid arthritis, a mean-spirited husband - any one of which could have made her achievements impossible. But in Bruneau's "Brighten the Corner Where You Are", we meet a canny survivor sustained by her drive to create a world of joyful images despite her impoverished rural existence.
Hear Carol Bruneau's conversation with Costas Halavrezos about how she gained the confidence to give voice to the mysteries surrounding Maud Lewis.
Season 6, Episode 7
By the end of "The Dirty Thirties", Saint John, New Brunswick was reeling from The Great Depression, and the world was inching closer to another war. But a fascinating group of painters, writers, and artisans who'd traveled and studied abroad found inspiration in this unlikely time and place to create great art.
Mark Blagrave sets his latest novel, "Lay Figures", in those anxious days, when the sparks of creation, argument, and romantic intrigue lit the artists' studios.
Mark spoke with Costas Halavrezos about the characters and his lifelong love affair with Saint John.
Season 6, Episode 6
After decades in Montreal, Brenda Jones returned to PEI to retire. She learned how important the landscape of her youth was to her well-being.
In "Medicinal Herbs of Eastern Canada: A Pictorial Manual", the award-winning illustrator of children's books turns her attention and artistic skills to wild plants - the nearly-lost knowledge about their healing properties, and the caution that some deserve.
She tells Costas Halavrezos about the science and traditional lore surrounding some of our region's most familiar plants.
Season 6, Episode 5
If you aspire to be something - say, an entrepreneur - it's good to study people who excel at it. Donald Savoie's latest book, "Thanks For The Business", introduces us to the region's most conspicuously successful entrepreneurs - K.C. Irving and his son Arthur, the driving forces behind the growth of Irving Oil.
As Atlantic Canada's most authoritative observer of economic development, Dr. Savoie talks with Costas Halavrezos about how the Irvings' relentless attention to detail, new opportunities, and customer service, as well as their refusal to recoil from the challenges of larger competitors and federal policies which favour Central Canada, can be a template for how to succeed in a region which so many label as "disadvantaged".
They also discuss the existential challenge faced by a petrochemical company in the era of dramatic evidence of climate change.
Season 6, Episode 4
No matter how much you think you know about Canada, you'll find brand new gems of knowledge in Elizabeth F. Hill's, "All 'Bout Canada: A Compendium of Canadiana" (with art by Alex MacAskill).
It's a book for all seasons that will sharpen your appreciation of Canadian characters, places, incidents, achievements, wildlife, inventions, and historical facts - not to mention quizzes, a crossword, and a verse to launch each chapter.
Elizabeth will also coach host Costas Halavrezos on ten different ways of using "eh".
Season 6, Episode 3
Real life can deliver more danger, action, courage, heroes, and villains than a thousand online games.
Award-winning author Joanne Schwartz's "Fight On!" covers a brief era in Cape Breton's history which provides all those elements for young readers. It was a 25-year period when matters of life and death mobilized men, women, and children to battle for the right to work in safe conditions and earn enough to stave off poverty.
She spoke with Costas Halavrezos about the events and the people who engaged in life and death struggles against corporate interests, government, and even the courts to reform the coal and steel industries.
Season 6, Episode 2
The dynamics between two siblings who are close in age can be wonderful.
But such natural developments as the arrival of puberty and the first steps towards independence from the family can break the bond between the elder and a younger child. A sense of betrayal of that bond can lead to issues which last for decades.
In her interview with Costas Halavrezos, novelist Andrea Gunraj, author of "The Lost Sister", explains how she put together two women of different ages (13 and 60) and backgrounds to gain insight into how betrayals had changed their lives.
Season 6, Episode 1
What's the best way to tell people the history of a place? Through the lives of prominent citizens? Battles for control? Its economic ups and downs?
Joan Dawson's approach grants us an instantly relatable point of entry. "Nova Scotia's Historic Harbours: The Seaports that Shaped the Province" leads us around a coastline brimming with stories, from the earliest Mi'kmaq activities to the often violent struggles between Europeans for those most desirable locations to build communities.
Season 5, Episode 9.
Winnie has enjoyed an idyllic childhood in the Annapolis Valley, cycling around country roads and tubing down the Gaspereau River with her three best friends, who happen to be boys. But in a pivotal summer, Caleb, a newcomer from Vancouver, inserts himself into the group and undermines every vestige of their innocence.
As Winnie comes to understand his amoral manipulations, a battle for hearts and minds escalates into events that shatter lives and livelihoods in Nova Scotia's wine country.
Season 5, Episode 8
After 15 years in a psychiatric hospital, Elizabeth has been pronounced "well" and released to a group home.
With no memory of what led to her institutionalisation, she sets out to find the significance of names and words in her notebook.
Through first-person accounts by Elizabeth and her family, Laura Best has crafted a gripping novel describing the disintegration and eventual healing of a mind and relationships - before and after events in the early 1960s.
Costas Halavrezos interviews Laura about the challenge of creating Elizabeth's changing mental landscapes.
Season 5, Episode 7
An idyllic childhood with her mum and grandparents in Yarmouth.
A sudden, one-way relocation to Halifax with her mother. For Annaka, the 10-year gap fills her with longing and questions. But an equally sudden return for her grandfather's funeral provides a chance to seek answers - with the help of two friends: her old pal Tia and an imaginary person named Clay.
In "Annaka", Andre Fenton has written what might be the first African-Nova Scotian fantasy book, filled with empathy, wisdom, and adventure.
Season 5, Episode 5
The word "legendary" is applied loosely to too many bands.
But "The Lincolns" of Truro have earned it.
From their start in the early 1960s through reunions from the late 70s onward, their explosive brand of R&B and soul moved Maritimers onto the dancefloor and set a new standard for live shows.
AJB (Jay) Johnston's "Kings of Friday Night" reveals the musicians' stories - both personal and from road trips on the Maritime circuit - with warmth and the appreciation of a fan reflecting on the lasting effect the band has had on a generation.
Season 5, Episode 4
Untold stories of inspirational inventions.
Great inventions are usually associated with a single person. But the inspiration and know-how of key collaborators are often lost to history. Author John Langley's biography of Casey Baldwin, entitled Casey - The Remarkable, Untold Story of Frederick Walker "Casey" Baldwin: Gentleman, Genius, and Alexander Graham Bell's Protégéa, Langley captures the extraordinary life of Casey, a close associate of Alexander Graham Bell and the first Canadian to fly a plane, in a story that deserves to be known by all Canadians.
Season 5, Episode 3.
Engaging and reflective.
GEORGE ELLIOTT CLARKE'S writing is always a reflection of his personality: charged with energy and imagination that can't help but engage you. In Portia White: A Portrait in Words, his subject's international successes and near-crushing personal reversals fuel poems that illuminate the life of the great Nova Scotia-born contralto.
Season 5, Episode 2.
How Loyal Are You?
World War 1 put many Lunenburgers in a bind. If you were a fisherman or farmer, you needed to produce food for home and abroad. But since you were able-bodied, why weren't you enlisting to fight? And even if your ancestors arrived more than 150 years ago, could your Germanic name suggest you were an enemy sympathizer?
Gerald Hallowell's book As British As The King, gives us a fascinating look at the way national and international issues played out in every household in a single Canadian county.
Season 5, Episode 5
A Beginners Guide to Goodbye
The sudden death of a child of tender years changes everything in a family. The shock and grief strike parents in ways that are hard to fathom and it is impossible to compare their experiences because each family feels hurt differently.
Melanie Mosher has written a book of fiction for young readers entitled “A Beginners Guide to Goodbye” about the journey of a ten-year-old named Laney following the accidental death of her little sister.
Season 5, Episode 1.
Forced isolation and financial opportunities.
Financial Advisor Christine Ibbotson has written an e-book to provide answers.
Fear. Anxiety. Boredom. Exhaustion. The feelings provoked by the coronavirus pandemic cover a broad spectrum for Canadians of all ages, households, and socio-economic situations. But the forced isolation due to COVID-19 has also presented everyone from Millennials to retirees with an opportunity to reflect on things we perhaps tended to ignore...back when the world was what we now wistfully refer to as “normal”. These things include our personal financial security, both immediately ("Can I pay the rent next month?") and in the longer-term ("How will I ever be able to afford retirement?").
Season 4, Episode 10
Made or born? Celebrating the Heroism of Atlantic Canadian Youth
Author John Boileau discusses why he chose to explore and expose the extraordinary and everyday heroism, ingenuity and courage of young people across Atlantic Canada through a few notable role models in his most recent book, Amazing Atlantic Canadian Kids: Awesome Stories of Bravery & Adventure.
Season 4, Episode 9
A Coming of Age Story.
Author Lisa Harrington shares how she manages to capture the world view of teenagers while also tackling the tender subjects of grief and family secrets in her latest publication The Big Dig.
Season 4, Episode 8
Her Right to Play
Inspired by a true story, author Natalie Corbett Sampson explores the factors that brought ten-year-old Tina Marie Forbes fight to play hockey all the way to the Human Rights Commission in 1977.
Season 4, Episode 7
"Even the best writers need editors".
From freelance writing to producing the youth consumer show “Street Cents”, author and editor Angela Mombourquette talks to us about her book 25 Years of 22 Minutes: An Unauthorized Oral History of This Hour Has 22 Minutes and how she became the non-fiction editor at Nimbus Publishing.
Season 4, Episode 6
Wrestling with internal angels.
Author Ian Colford gives us insight into how his book A Dark House & Other Stories will draw us into situations and characters we recognise within ourselves.
Season 4, Episode 5
Stories of an orphanage: as told by children who lived there.
Author and journalist Lois Legge recounts some of the real life stories that inspired her to write Wounded Hearts: Memories of the Halifax Protestant Orphans Home.
Season 4, Episode 4
Where once gushed joy: Writing from the Wound.
Following the sudden death of her adult son, celebrated and beloved children’s author Sheree Fitch departs from her traditionally playful prose to wrestle down her own agonizing tower of grief. The result is a patchwork of poems that lights the darkness for others on a similar path.
Season 4, Episode 3
Welcoming children into the Great Village of Elizabeth Bishop.
As author of the children’s book A Pocket of Time: The Poetic Childhood of Elizabeth Bishop, poet and teacher Rita Wilson invites young people to relate to the childhood of Elizabeth Bishop--a Pulitzer prize-winning poet who grew up in Great Village, NS.
Season 4, Episode 2
The Legacy of Residential Schools.
Reflecting on her personal history, I’m Finding My Talk, award-winning spoken-word artist, Mi’kmaw activist and former Halifax poet laureate Rebecca Thomas discusses the importance of reclaiming cultural language and how she strives to broaden perspectives of indigeneity.
A response poem to Rita Joe’s I Lost My Talk, both I’m Finding My Talk and I Lost My Talk are available through Nimbus Publishing as companion children’s books.
Season 4, Episode 1
A Community of Communities.
Before the Parade author Rebecca Rose shines a light on how 1970s & 80s gay, lesbian and bisexual activists led Halifax out of the closet and into the second millennium.
Season 3, Episode 9
The Poetry of Art
Illustrator Emma Fitzgerald on how her early studies in architecture, a fated bike ride on a Bass River chair and a chance meeting brought her to Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry to eventually become the artist of A Pocket of Time-- a children’s book in honour of the lauded Nova Scotian poet.
Season 3, Episode 8:
The Soul of Cuisine.
Author, broadcaster and developmental editor-at-large Simon Thibault explains how his maternal lineage helped him explore Acadian cuisine and the timing of baking donuts, and how he now helps cultivate book seeds in the minds of future authors.
Season 3, Episode 6:
Sidney Crosby and the Whirlpool clothes dryer.
Author, creative writing professor and publisher Lesley Choyce on how he was inspired to write a spirited and fun children’s story about the clothes dryer in the basement of Sidney Crosby’s family home.
Season 3, Episode 5:
Unravelling the fabric of self.
Author and barkeeper Kris Bertin openly reflects on the wide range of human experience and our universal search for identity in writing his latest book of short stories Use Your Imagination.
Season 3, Episode 4:
One page at a time.
Author Daphne Greer on how she stitched together the inspiration of a Belgian convent’s boarding school with themes of abandonment, family, friendships and secrets and lies in her novel Finding Grace.
Season 3, Episode 3:
Explore Nova Scotia on Two Wheels.
Join author and cyclist Adam Barnett as he shares the many vistas, routes and checklists for any two-wheeled explorer hoping to peddle Nova Scotia's trails.
Season 3, Episode 2:
Because crocuses hatch in snow.
In her debut novel, author and lawyer Jaime Burnet explains how gentrification, obsession, racism and history forces come together to shape two queer love stories in the heart of Halifax’s North End.
Season 3, Episode 1:
Canada Day, 1992: the story behind the largest mass layoff in our nation’s history.
Author Jennifer Thornhill Verma discusses how the cod fishery’s unbridled success over five centuries would culminate in the Cod Moratorium of 1992, vanquishing the identity of thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in a single day.