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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:


Chris Benjamin on Indian School Road

Here’s a video of a talk by Chris Benjamin on the long road from getting bad advice from a guidance counsellor, through the St. Lucian rainforest, around Ghana and to becoming a journalist and author, most recently researching and writing Indian School Road:

Colette Urban: Jan 29, 1952 – June 16, 2013

Last week I saw on my Facebook wall that it was Colette Urban’s birthday. I wrote about Colette’s work, mostly in Newfoundland, as an inspiring, environmentally conscious artist, teacher, small-scale farmer and host of eco-tourists for my book, Eco-Innovators. But she wasn’t much of a Facebook user, so I was surprised, and very saddened, to find she’d died of cancer over a year ago. A great spirit, who had a profound impact on so many, was lost.

There’s a lovely Globe and Mail memorial piece about her, which is well worth a read. But I wanted to also share what I wrote about her in my book, about what pulled her to Newfoundland, perhaps the only province as wild as her. Here it is, with fond memories of hearing her tell the tale:

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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.


Fish farming into the future

This article originally appeared in Saltscapes Magazine‘s Summer 2014 issue.

by Chris Benjamin

I reach Red Bank Road in Hants County, NS after a blue-sky drive through sparkling frozen mudflats in high-tide country. I see a sign that says “Sustainable Fish Farming Canada.” Sustainable Blue is the company’s brand name.

The operation is 500 metres from the Bay of Fundy, near Centre Burlington. This June, its operators had hoped to sell the first Read more

Chris Benjamin’s Favourite 2014 Reads

As has become an annual tradition, here are the books I most enjoyed reading in 2014 [Click on the image to visit the book’s goodreads page]:


Driven: How the Bathurst Tragedy Ignited a Crusade for Change by Richard Foot – A magazine assigned me this book to review. I’d never have read it otherwise. To my surprise it was really well written, touching and informative. It had many insights about the nature of social change and how different people respond to tragedy. If I weren’t a parent I might not have found it so powerful.

river thieves
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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.