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Posts from the ‘News & Events’ Category

Talking Residential Schools

Two upcoming events on the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School:

Friday, Sept 18, 12:00 noon until 2:20 pm, at the University of Prince Edward Island Main Faculty Lounge in Charlottetown. Chris Benjamin will give a talk on the Shubenacadie Residential School based on his book, Indian School Road.


indian school road

Saturday, Sept 19, 1:00 pm until 2:00 pm, at the Halifax Central Library (5440 Spring Garden Road). Authors Chris Benjamin and Carol MacDougall will read from and discuss their recent books, one non-fiction and one fiction, each of which features a residential school and its lasting impacts and the concept of reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada.



Jeff Bursey & Friends & Books

Date: Wednesday, Aug 26

Time: 7:00 pm

Location: Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia offices, 1113 Marginal Road, Halifax

Perks: COFFEE and snacks

Admission: FREE

Prince Edward new-jeff-cover-216x300Island-based author Jeff Bursey will be in Halifax launching his new novel, Mirrors on which dust has fallen. 

Joining him will be poet and short story writer Carole Langille, poet Shalan Joudry, and novelist/short story/non-fiction writer Chris Benjamin, each reading recently published works and signing books, which will be available onsite from Bookmark.

Circle of Understanding

I had the great honour to present at an event honouring survivors from the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School this month at the University of New Brunswick. CBC did a piece on the event:


Becoming Fierce Author Panel

Sat Jan 31, 2:00 pm

At the new Halifax Central Library (5440 Spring Garden Road)

Authors Chris Benjamin and Jo Treggiari will talk about the peaks and valleys of writing about your own angst and woeful youth, like they each did for the Becoming Fierce anthology (one of Quill & Quire’s books of the year).



Jo wrote a powerful story called “Love You Like Suicide.” Chris wrote about a time of profound change and learning in his life, when he was privileged to live briefly in St. Lucia. His story is called “Cuisve.”

Alistair MacLeod Tribute

Join us for a reading by Nova Scotia writers from the works of one of Canada’s most beloved authors, Alistair MacLeod, on Fri Jan 30, 2015, 7:00 pm, at the St. Mary’s Atrium (5940 Inglis St.), Room 101 in Halifax.

Alistair MacLeod readingReaders include Brian Bartlett, Chris Benjamin, Carol Bruneau, Alice Burdick, Ian Colford, Valerie Compton, Deirdre Dwyer, Sheree Fitch, Lorri Nelson Glenn, Cory Lavender, Linda Little, Leo McKay, Marjorie Simmins, Silver Donald Cameron, and Carole Langille.


Weather Seals

“Seals Dive Deep for Ocean Data” is a quirky but important story by environment writer Chris Benjamin, commissioned by Science Friday, with major impact on our understanding of climate change. For that we should all be thanking seals, especially elephant seals, for their recent contributions to oceanographic science. They are providing the best available data from extreme ocean latitudes.

Wait, seals?! Why? How!?

Here’s an excerpt from the story:

“Trying to pass a tape measure under a two-ton giant sausage is not entirely straightforward,” says Fedak, who’s based at the Sea Mammal Research Unit at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
The seals are members of a growing pinniped squadron, numbering in the hundreds, that researchers have flagged over the past 10 years with tags designed by the Seal Mammal Research Unit and tailored to gather details on ocean conductivity, temperature, and depth, collectively called “CTD profiles.”
You can read the whole story, and see some fabulous images provided by marine biologist Mike Fedak, over at the Science Friday blog.

‘Building Character and Theme’

‘Building Character and Theme’ Workshop – Westville Public Library

2042 Queen Street

Tuesday, December 2, 6:00pm – 7:30pm

Reserve your spot by calling 902-396-5022

Can great literature be political? Actually, it always is because great literature always has an impact beyond the specific story it reveals. It universalizes itself into a potent theme. The key to making your story memorable is the development of unforgettable characters.

Join Pictou-Antigonish Writer-in-Residence Chris Benjamin for a 90-minute workshop on how to develop characters who advance whatever theme you want to work with.

Theme (be it spiritual, philosophical, political, introspective) = Character, because the political is personal. Your characters – the things they believe, say and do (and the ways these things are inconsistent) – will determine your theme, the message or central idea readers take from your work.

canada reads top 40

Author Chris Benjamin’s first novel, Drive-by Saviours, won the H.R. Percy Prize, was longlisted for a ReLit Prize and made the Canada Reads Top Essential Books List.

Chris has also published more than a dozen short stories in literary journals, magazines and anthologies (published by the likes of Descant, The Dalhousie Review, Nashwaak Review, Galleon, Roseway, Pottersfield Press, Voiceprint Canada, The Society, Rattling Books, Third Person Press, and Fierce Ink).


Multimedia Storytelling Workshop

New Glasgow Public Library (902-752-8233).

Tuesday, November 25, 6:00pm – 7:30pm.

As writers we love reading, but print is only one way to share story. This session will explore how stories can transcend media, but also how each medium shapes story, and how as storytellers we can adapt our tales for maximum impact and reach.

Kevin & Chris

Facilitated by Writer-in-Residence and author Chris Benjamin, with special guest filmmaker Kevin Moynihan. Chris and Kevin worked together on a series of short video’s based on Chris’ award-winning book, Eco Innovators: Sustainability in Atlantic Canada.



The Art of Short Story Writing

Tuesday, November 18, 6:15pm – 7:30pm

‘The Art of Short Story Writing’ Workshop

River John Public Library (902-351-2599)

Hosted by Writer-in-Residence Chris Benjamin, this workshop will explore the challenging art of short fiction and how to pack a novel’s punch, not to mention a beginning, middle and end, into just a few thousand words. Bring your pens and pencils, your papers and pads. Writing activities will abound.

water computer

Chris is perhaps best-known as a journalist but he has also published about a dozen short stories in literary journals, magazines and anthologies (published by the likes of the Dalhousie Review, Descant, Nashwaak Review, Galleon, Roseway Publishing, Pottersfield Press, Voiceprint Canada, The Society, Rattling Books, Third Person Press, The Coast, and Fierce Ink).


Letter From a Former Residential School Teacher

A few weeks ago, former residential school teacher Bernice Logan sent a letter to the editor of the Chronicle Herald, cc’ing a long list of organizations and individuals including among others my publisher, Peter Mansbridge, Lloyd Robertson, and me. The letter concerned my new book, Indian School Road: Legacies of the Shubenacadie Residential School. Logan read a two-page excerpt from the book’s introduction, which ran as an advertorial in the Herald. From the letter it sounds as though she hasn’t read the book itself.

You can read the entirety of her 3-page letter by clicking on the images below. Logan is an ardent defender of the residential schools, one of few still around and willing to speak out on their behalf, publicly at least. I won’t bother addressing the factual inaccuracies in her letter, but will simply state the obvious: everything in my book is ascertained from archival records from Indian Affairs or from the many many survivors who have gone on record at inquiries or in court or to the media or public in their own accounts, at great personal cost.

I publish her letter here because I believe it shows quite clearly that the racist assumptions underlying the residential school system survive still. And also that these attitudes are expressed relatively benignly, under the guise of good intentions. You be the judge:

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