Breakwater turned 50 on March 23 and now it's time to kick back in an armchair with some poetry and work on the old wisdom muscles. Read on for news about Breakwater's accomplishments in March and for some April / National Poetry Month recommendations and links. 

In this issue:


Winterset Gold for Shelly Kawaja and The Raw Light of Morning! 

Huge congratulations to Shelly Kawaja who's first novel, The Raw Light of Morning, won the BMO Winterset Award! We also want to congratulate to the shortlist, including our anthology editor Lisa Moore, and our own Meghan Greeley, who's play Hunger was a contender!

Check out some of the coverage below: 


Breakwater on the cover of the Quill & Quire

It's not every day you turn 50, and the good people at the Quill decided to take this opportunity to profile Breakwater and our president Rebecca Rose. How have things changed over 50 years of publishing here on the East Coast? Read on to find out. 

50 years would be exceptional in any field, but the fact that this little publisher that could has gone half a century, through recessions, downturns, the vagaries of shipping to and from an island, the rise of internet sales, a building being burned to the ground, the coming of ebooks, the global pandemic, the rise and fall of various governmental investment models, and frankly, 50 Newfoundland springtimes, is remarkable.

Congratulations, Rebecca and team! Here's to 50 more. 

Our Authors in the News

Oh What a Night! 

We celebrated our 50th anniversary in style with the first of many events scheduled this year. World Theatre Day inspired this one, so we partnered with RCA theatre company and LSPU Hall (who were also celebrating 50 years) to bring a retrospective of Breakwater's drama titles to the stage. Des Walsh and Ruth Lawrence, Agnes Walsh, Bernadine Stapleton and Willow Kean, Fionn Shea, Paul David Power, and the launch of Leah Lewis's The Dialysis Project. Oh what a night it was. (See below for details on our April poetry bash!)


Celebrating the Book We Made Together

We spent the day of our 50th, March 23, in Conne River celebrating the return of Towards an Encyclopedia of Local Knowledge with community and local knowledge keepers. Pam Hall and Jerry Evans met with Chief Mi'sel Joe and community leaders to debut the book in the land on which the wisdom was gathered. 



Breakwater at the Markets

On the Nose: Books Perfect for April

It's National Poetry Month! And flower time! And bunny time, for some. What could you be reading? We dug into the backlist to bring you some books suitable for April's springy mornings:

Chores, Maggie Burton
A sizzling debut of of quasi-autobiographical verse from Maggie Burton that examines the tradition of "women's work" through a feminist lens.

Where Genesis Begins, Tom Dawe and Gerald Squires
An incredible art and poetry book by two of the biggest names in NL culture. A must-have for any lover of Newfoundland words.

The Artificial Newfoundlander, Larry Mathews
Get that rain slicker ready, b'ys. This hilarious tale of contemporary St. John's has it all, and received rave reviews on publication. A perfect springtime read. 

Spring into Action! 

Shield those eyes from the sun and peer into the middle distance. What's that you see? More exciting books coming from Breakwater, just in time for your hectic summer reading schedule. 

If We Caught Fire
Beth Ryan 
(Fiction - April)

Set in St. John’s, If We Caught Fire explores the complexities of life in a blended family.

When her mother decides to remarry, Edie’s calm and orderly life is knocked off kilter. The groom’s son, Harlow, is a joyful adventurer who shows up for the wedding and quickly recruits Edie as his sidekick. Just when she thinks she’s figured him out, Harlow reveals a depth and darkness she didn’t see coming. Edie and Harlow—and their new unwieldy family—do an elaborate dance all summer, trying to discover what they are to one another. By Labour Day, they’ve created connections, tested boundaries, and found they’ve come together and apart in unexpected ways.

Edie and Harlow, the main characters in If We Caught Fire, navigate the world in disguise, creating personas that they believe hide their pain and vulnerability. The characters struggle to define themselves and others, to make sense of how they feel and act, to understand what they value and need. As they try to form connections with one another, they realize that labels can both create clarity and impose limits. Their families have been shaken by death, trauma, addiction, secrecy, and infidelity, which leaves them all feeling unsteady as they try to form a new blended family.  

The Gull Workshop
Larry Mathews
(Coming this May)

The Gull Workshop is a collection of stories that features a unique combination of thematic seriousness and comic style.

The characters in The Gull Workshop are often in search of something—call it authenticity, a basis for living a meaningful life, or leave it unnamed. However it’s defined, these characters are unlikely to find it. This is a book about the comically fruitless quest for meaning and authenticity; the thirteen stories are set in locations across Canada.  

Eyes in Front When Running
Willow Kean
(Coming this June)

This defiant and unapologetically sardonic debut novel explores the collision between fear and longing.

When Cleo Best moves back in with her parents after the collapse of her relationship, a series of bad decisions turn her life upside down, but somehow set it right at the same time.

Eyes in Front When Running is a quick-witted family drama that uses humour to tackle heavy topics; the crumbling of a relationship, miscarriage, abortion, infertility, postpartum depression.

Let It All Fall: Underground Music and the Culture of Rebellion in Newfoundland, 1977 - 95
Mike Heffernan
(Coming this June)

Incorporating elements of creative non-fiction and oral history, Let It All Fall: Underground Music and the Culture of Rebellion in Newfoundland, 1977-95 is a collection of interview-based first-person monologues that describe the experiences of a generation of independent musi... 

Beginning in the late 1970s, a new raw sound began to emerge from the basements and garages of St. John’s which, by the mid-90s, had grown into a vibrant community. With few resources, dozens of bands produced a staggering amount of music. As an important part of our recent cultural history, they would lay the foundation for what is now an expansive industry. Let It All Fall offers considerable insight into the largely undocumented underground social and cultural life of St. John’s.