Read by the Sea has a mission: to promote and foster appreciation for outstanding Canadian writing and literature among residents and visitors of Nova Scotia’s North Shore Communities.

This July, Read by the Sea will celebrate another chapter in their success. The literary festival continues to grow and attract more visitors year after year. For the last 18 years, Read by the Sea attendees have been opening their lawn chairs and sipping their lemonade in the pastoral setting of the village of River John. The storybook setting invites book lovers of all ages to mix and mingle with some of their favourite authors.

“I’m very excited to be among such fine writers at this year’s festival. I’ve heard such wonderful things about Read by the Sea and can’t wait to explore River John!” says author Lesley Crewe who will be presenting at the Festival in July.

Lynne Davey, manager of Coles, is passionate about the annual local festival as she gladly shares the event details and visiting authors to anyone who will listen. Lynne ensures visiting authors are featured front and centre in her store at the Highland Square Mall.

Carolyn Guy of the Atlantic Publishers’ Marketing Association supplied staggering numbers from 2014-2015. She says that it is interesting to know that the Nova Scotia book market is worth $36.3 million but provincial funding in Ontario receives eight times more funding than our own province. “With that said, 58 books were published by authors in other Canadian provinces while 111 were published during that year from right here in Nova Scotia,” says Carolyn.

With more than 100 titles published in the last year it is no wonder that the Read by the Sea festival continues to blossom. Hundreds of people will venture to River John on the weekend of July 8th and 9th. They will be buying snacks, visiting other local sights, and invigorating the small businesses that contribute to their tiny community.

“We always get a few visitors drop by our shop and farm on the Read by the Sea weekend,” says Jillian Crawford of Lismore Sheep Farm. “The comments are always that it is such a beautiful part of the province and so much to see and do. The sheep and the lambs in the barn and the wool and sheep skin products are always a big hit.”

A lot of effort goes into such a festival and the pride shows throughout the community. Sourcing local whenever possible any revenue from the festival remains in the community and is invested in future projects. With free events, this festival offers something for everyone. The festival has become an attraction and a journey for book clubs from as far away as Ontario and organizers say that they have had participants come from as far away as Europe.

Read by the Sea starts on Saturday, July 8 this year with the well-liked event Pitch the Publisher where aspiring authors are invited to read a story to a panel of Atlantic Publishers. There are also days dedicated to children with word play and activities to inspire new readers.

Volunteers from Pugwash to Pictou with a passion for books have turned a new page on
the tourism industry in Nova Scotia.

For more on the success story and event schedule please visit

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Sarah Butland has been embracing change and local talents while staying at home and will continue to celebrate the brilliance and wonder of Pictou County throughout the summer months. With books by local authors, beaches and trails in our own backyards, and the people who bring joy and laughter virtually, there really is no place like home.