Books that make you proud to be from Atlantic Canada

Like the sea air, the people and the traditions we hold dear our stories make us who we are. Here are some books we think explain our bond with this place


Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home

Atlantic Canadians know that this region is a special one. Once you are born here, either as a baby or as a Come From Away turned local, there’s no place else you’ll ever call home. Like the sea air, the people and the traditions we hold dear, our stories make us who we are. Here are some books we think explain our bond with this place well.

Language-of-the-LandThe Language of This Land, Mi’kma’ki
by Trudy Sable and Bernie Francis
$19.95, paperback, 132 pp.
Cape Breton University Press, March 2012

The Mi’kmaw language is as ancient as the land of Eastern Canada. With a foreword by Leroy Little Bear, chair of Native American studies at Lethbridge University, The Language of This Land, Mi’kma’ki, explores the ancestral lineage of the elders who lives, danced, and speak from this eastern landscape. The rhythmic cadence of the Mi’kmaq language is interwoven in the terrain, the seasons, animals, and elements that make up Mi’kma’ki.


Strangers and Others - Stand Dragland Pedlar Press

Strangers and Others: Newfoundland Essays
by Stan Dragland
$23.00, paperback, 420 pp.
Pedlar Press, September 2015

Newfoundland is known for its majestic beauty, a far-flung island in the North Atlantic. Edited by Don McKay, Strangers and Others: Newfoundland Essays is a critical collection from Stan Dragland, who deems himself as an outsider/insider of Newfoundland and its subjects, literary and otherwise. Both isolated, and rugged, the place has a hold on its own, and those who find themselves there. Dragland critically explores why he couldn’t imagine living elsewhere.


The Deadly Sea Jim WellmanThe Deadly Sea: Life and Death on the Atlantic
by Jim Wellman
$19.95, paperback, 224 pp.
Flanker Press, May 2015

The Atlantic Ocean calls the shots. While it is the livelihood for many, it’s a deathbed for thousands and thousands of fishermen. Jim Wellman’s The Deadly Sea: Life and Death on the Atlantic navigates 25 stories about the people who work on the Atlantic, those who risk their lives for the fishing industry. Despite the changing industry, still an average of one person is lost per month at sea. Part biographical, part professional tragedy,The Deadly Sea: Life and Death on the Atlantic documents the ferocity of Atlantic.


The Bologna CookbookThe Bologna Cookbook
by Kevin Phillips
$19.95, paperback, 149 pp.
Flanker Press, August 2014

Newfoundlanders aren’t the only ones who love their bologna – the processed meat celebrated all over the world. Some eat it ‘raw;’ others fry to crisp up the edges. Kevin Phillips has culled together over 200 easy-to-make bologna recipes. Whether its cheesy bologna calzones, or balsamic peppercorn bologna steak, even bologna Caesar wraps, The Bologna Cookbook offers unique recipes for a downhome tradition.


The Breakwater Book of short FictionThe Breakwater Book of Contemporary Newfoundland Short Fiction
Edited by Larry Matthews
$19.95, paperback, 182 pp.
Breakwater Books, June 2015

Newfoundland’s literary scene is a who’s who of celebrated Canadian short fiction writers. Editor Larry Matthews has assembled a collection of the island’s most established fiction writers, including works by Lisa Moore, Michael Crummey, Michael Winter, and Jessica Grant. Consider this collection short fiction at its finest.


The People's Poet Milton AcornMilton Acorn The People’s Poet
by Ken Martin and Errol Sharpe
$24.95, paperback,
Fernwood Publishing, March 2015

Charlottetown’s own Milton Acorn, a prolific poet and playwright, is a Canadian icon. Affectionately known as the People’s Poet, Acorn is now honoured in this multi-media book: Milton Acorn The People’s Poet, edited by Ken Martin and Errol Sharpe, complete with a DVD, CD and handwritten notes on the text by Acorn himself.


Ancestral ImagesNiniskamijinaqik / Ancestral Images: The Mi’kmaq in Art and Photography
by Ruth Holmes Whitehead
$29.95, hardcover, 128 pp.
Nimbus Publishing, May 2015

Thousands of years before the arrival of the Europeans, the Mi’kmaq of Atlantic Canada called this land home. Niniskamijinaqik / Ancestral Images: The Mi’kmaq in Art and Photography gathers reflections of Mi’kmaq, the people of the dawn. This photography book presents stunning portraits of Mi’kmaw ancestors – “humanity frozen in the stillness of a photograph,” along with 94 pieces of traditional Mi’kmaw artwork and craft depicting the Aboriginal tribe’s unique culture and way of life.


Ocean Sue GoyetteOCEAN
By Sue Goyette
$19.95, paperback, 80 pp.
Gaspereau Press, April 2013

Sue Goyette’s Griffin Poetry Prize nominated book OCEAN is a crafted letterpress relic from the ocean floor. Part ocean biography, part creation myth, all oceanic. Goyette writes from and within Halifax, where residents get “oceanated,” and wander the port town drinking, eating, going to the market, and tending to the rituals of life.

In 56 poems, all titled numerically, Goyette calls upon the fishermen, poets, bankers and real estate agents. With powerful metaphoric punches, and playful poetics, she even conjures Halifax’s mythical medieval fog trade. In these deeply metaphysical poems, Goyette suggests: we are all ocean.


Live from the Afrikan Resistance El JonesLive from the Afrikan Resistance!
By El Jones
$18.95, paperback, 136 pp.
Fernwood, September 2014

El Jones, Halifax’s poet laureate and artistic director of Word Iz Bond Spoken Word Artist Collective, is ferocious on and off the page. Her first collection of spoken word poetry Live from the Afrikan Resistance! roots in poverty, violence, racism, and environmental issues. Jones captures the politics of African Nova Scotia. Her writing is community oriented, and aims to influence, educate, and confront issues head on.


The Town that DrownedThe Town That Drowned
by Riel Nason
$19.95, paperback,
Goose Lane Editions, September 2011

New Brunswick’s Riel Nason’s coming of age novel, The Town That Drowned is a multiple awarding book, including Commonwealth Book Prize 2012, a finalist in CLA Young Adult Book Award in 2012, and made the top five contender for CBC’s Canada Reads. The Town That Drowned is set in the 1960s and based on true events.


Written By

Shannon Webb-Campbell is a mixed Indigenous (Mi’kmaq) settler poet, writer, and critic. Her books include: Still No Word (Breakwater 2015), the recipient of Eagle Canada’s Out in Print Award, and I Am A Body of Land (Book*hug 2018). Shannon holds a MFA in Creative Writing from University of British Columbia, and is currently completing a MA in English Literature at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. She is the editor of Visual Arts News Magazine, and currently lives in Montreal.

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