plan to be inspired

We joined you OUTDOORS wherever YOU were as we broadcast throughout the day on ZOOM.

While we could not come physically together next to the magnificent Mattawa River, we did:

· hear about the work of authors and how nature affects their writing · get taken to their ‘sit spot’ · come together from all parts of the world · acquire a new lens on nature · participate in a Storytelling Workshop · and connected our community with stories.

This was our 5th annual Book Talk fundraiser for the Canadian Ecology Centre

Please donate generously to the CEC Education Foundation.

10 am Eastern Time (US and Canada) George Couchie began our Earth Day with a spark, smudging, drumming with his granddaughter Faith and a story about Turtle Island because Culture is Healing. VIDEO

11:30 am Eastern Time (US and Canada) Waubgeshig Rice author of Moon of the Crusted Snow published by ECW Press Waub shared the inspiration for his novel. Additionally, we discussed life imitating art as there are parallels to today’s current events. VIDEO

1 pm Eastern Time (US and Canada) Terry A. Campbell facilitated a workshop called Storytelling as Medicine. There is a storytelling proverb … tell me a fact and I’ll learn, tell me a truth and I’ll believe but tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever. VIDEO not available

2:30 pm Eastern Time (US and Canada) Andrew Forbes author of Lands and Forests published by Invisible Publishing His stories manage to be gritty and elegant at the same time, rendered with Munro-esque mastery and restraint. We discussed his breath-taking collection of short stories. VIDEO

6:30 pm Eastern Time (US and Canada) Gary Barwin author of For it is a Pleasure and a Surprise to Breath: New and Selected Poems published by Wolsak and Wynn April is National Poetry Month and it was poetic to listen to Gary’s poems on his porch. VIDEO

8 pm Eastern Time (US and Canada) Christine Fischer Guy author of The Umbrella Mender published by Wolsak and Wynn The sun was setting as we joined Christine in her backyard for an evening reading. Her first novel transported us to 1950s Moose Factory, where a beleaguered staff of the local hospital are fighting to stem the tide of tuberculosis among the indigenous peoples of the North. VIDEO

9 pm Eastern Time (US and Canada) Back Roads Bill fired up a virtual campfire for our Earth Day reflections. VIDEO

Please shop at your local bookstore as your purchase supports Canadian independent publishers!

With you, we are …

creating connections with our natural world through the arts,

créer des liens avec notre monde naturel à travers les arts,

ji-kendaagwag gda-kiimnaan aabjichgaadeg mzinbiigewin.


“I had the pleasure of attending two online Mattawa River Writers Festival 2020 events that very much brightened my Earth Day: In the afternoon, Andrew Forbes talked warmly and thoughtfully about his love of nature and his awe of how his kids have embraced the wonders of their backyard, and read from his short-story collection Lands and Forests. And in the evening, Christine Fischer-Guy’s discussion about and reading from her novel The Umbrella Mender was filled with grace and tenderness. As we watched and listened from our homes, Christine stood in her backyard with the sun going down behind her, and the whole thing was such a gentle and heart-lifting communal experience that I felt quite emotional afterwards. During both virtual events, Janet Joy Wilson’s very real warmth and enthusiasm as host shone through and united us in our love of literature and curiosity about the world, providing a welcome respite during these strange, anxious, and isolating pandemic times.” - Jessica Westhead, author of Worry

“Though the strange circumstances of 2020 meant that we couldn’t gather in person, the Mattawa River Writers Festival’s organizers quickly re-imagined and re-engineered the whole festival, and the result was a genuine and rewarding connection with readers and writers. I’ve done a few in-person festivals, and many of them weren’t half as enjoyable as my remote Mattawa appearance. I’d recommend any writer jump at the chance to be involved in this lovely event, and suggest all readers find a way to attend in the future.” - Andrew Forbes, author of Lands and Forests

“Wonderful work on yesterday’s MRWF, virtual edition! There are a great many entertainments online these days, and your festival pulled in a solid viewership. More than that, you supported CanLit and the CEC and helped us all remember Mother Earth. Brava, lady! Take a bow and a well-deserved rest.” - Christine Fischer Guy, author of The Umbrella Mender

Gary Barwin said “It was really great to be able to connect and talk to people outside the radius of my current limited world. And to get to talk about issues around ecology.” author of For it is a Pleasure and a Surprise to Breath: New and Selected Poems

Meet Our Authors

Christine Fischer Guy

The Umbrella Mender

Andrew Forbes

Lands and Forests

Gary Barwin

For It Is a Pleasure and a Surprise to Breathe New and Selected Poems

Waubgeshig Rice

Moon of the Crusted Snow

George Couchie

Raised on an Eagle Feather

Terry A. Campbell

Storytelling Workshop Facilitator