Celebrate National Poetry Month with the launch of Helen Porter’s Full Circle

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Not only are we celebrating National Poetry Month, we’re also celebrating one of Newfoundland’s finest authors, Helen Fogwill Porter, as we launch her new book of poetry. “Full Circle” brings together poetry written across decades by one of the province’s best-loved writers. Join us, along with guest poet Tom Dawe, for an afternoon of poetry, conversation, and celebration! A showcase of all poetry titles by Breakwater will be on display, Helen will be available to sign books, and light refreshments will be served. Everyone is welcome!

We’re having a party! Breakwater’s Fall Launch set for November 30th.

Save the date! We have a great line-up of new books we’re launching and would love for you to join us in the celebrations. This launch has something for everyone including new non-fiction, Rock Paper Sex by Kerri Cull, a rocking new almanac, A Woman’s Almanac: Your Guide to Feminism, Activism and Change by the St. John’s Status of Women’s Council, a debut collection of short stories titled Too Unspeakable for Words by Rosalind Gill, and two fantastic novels, Most Anything You Please by Trudy Morgan-Cole and The End of Music by Jamie Fitzpatrick. This will be a great night of Newfoundland and Labrador literature at its finest – don’t miss out!

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Can you help us name these (un)known soldiers?

Just in time for Remembrance Day — Can you help us identify these soldiers?

The first photo is the cover image from Christopher Morry’s new book — When the Great Red Dawn is Shining: Howard Morry’s Memoirs of Life in the Newfoundland Regiment — 11 Platoon, C Company, RNR (photo generously provided by The Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL F-4-81).

The second photo is that same group of veterans — minus one — at the Platoon’s 39th Reunion in 1954. Can you help us match the names on the reunion photo to the faces on the original photo?

11 Platoon, C Company, RNR, 1915.  Can you help us name these soldiers?
11 Platoon, C Company, RNR, 1915.
Can you help us name these soldiers?
11 Platoon, C Company, RNR, 39th reunion in 1954.
(Back Row): Charlie Watson, Howard Morry, Bill Buckley, Wilson Loveys, and Ned Mansfield.
(Front Row): Joe McKinley, Jack Sullivan, Harold Andrews, Charles (Chick) Duder, and Jimmy Lang.

Big City, Downtown! Vicki Murphy’s MOTHERFUMBLER now available at Chapters/Indigo across Canada

File under Phenomenon:

Mommyblogger Vicki Murphy’s hilarious book of tell-it-like-it-is rants and musings, MotherFumbler, is getting so much attention in Atlantic Canada that the rest of the country wanted some of the action, too…

MotherFumbler Cover Image

The creator of the multi-award nominated MotherBlogger.ca and a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, Murphy released her first full-length book back in October — and we’re already well into our second printing!

(Hey, Canada! Want to get your hands on a copy? Check the list of store locations below.)

“I always knew I’d be the perfect mother…. So far, I’ve perfected the fetal position.”

When Vicki Murphy brought her new baby home from the hospital, she expected to be greeted by fluttering butterflies and harp-strumming cherubs. You know: the way it is in diaper commercials and the “Yay, You’re Preggers!” books.
Instead, she had a baby boy who didn’t sleep for a year and who could suck the nipples off a cyborg.
Murphy brings her inimitable voice to a book about mothering that fills in what the other how-to guides leave out – and reminds us that when it comes to parenting, we’re all motherfumblers, feeling our way along in the dark, doing the best we can, hoping to come out with our minds intact and a kid we haven’t screwed up – too badly.

Holiday Shopping Alert: Have a mother? Know a mother? Last minute shoppers across Canada can find MotherFumbler now in stock at the following Chapters/Indigo locations:

In Ottawa:



South Keys

In Montreal: 

Place Montreal Trust

Saint Catherine

Pointe Claire

In Toronto: 

Yonge & Eglinton

Bay & Bloor

Eaton Centre

In Regina: 

Southland Mall

In Calgary: 

Chinook Centre

Signal Hill


In Vancouver: 

Broadway and Granville

Robson & Howe

Marine Drive

October 23, 2013 Official Release of Janet Merlo’s No One To Tell: Breaking My Silence on Life in the RCMP

Media Release

St. John’s NL, October 23, 2013No One to Tell: Breaking My Silence on Life in the RCMP, the long-awaited memoir by former RCMP member and Newfoundlander Janet Merlo, launches officially today.

In 1991, Janet Merlo realized her dream of becoming a member of Canada’s national police force. Twenty years later, a pervasive culture of sexual harassment had led her to disillusionment and severe stress, and made her job as a police officer untenable. Today, she is representative plaintiff in a proposed class action lawsuit against the RCMP involving almost 300 women. No One to Tell is the story of that journey.

When we associate the words RCMP and bravery, we shape a picture of honorable law enforcement officers fighting the good fight and taking extraordinary risks to uphold the law and protect the people they signed up to serve. This memoir is about a different kind of bravery. It is about the attempts of one person to uphold the oath she took despite systemic gender harassment and discrimination within the very same organization. Faced with the ambiguity of her circumstances and the overarching need to make peace with her conscience, Janet Merlo spoke out about the need for change. Over a 20-year period she paid the price for that and saw her dream of a fulfilling career in one of Canada’s most respected institutions end painfully. To quote journalist and author Linden MacIntyre, “No One to Tell is a sad account of history and human nature, a story of idealism dying slowly, and of the anger and the gaps left behind by lost ideals . . .”

“Is it brave to speak out and suffer the consequences of systemic discrimination? You bet. But showing the strength and leadership to face the public scrutiny that comes with telling all, staying true to your ideals, and doing what’s right to fix what’s broken is taking bravery to the highest level,” says Rebecca Rose, President and Publisher at Breakwater Books.

Despite her experiences, Janet sees past the few who have abused their power and acknowledges the integrity of the majority of her colleagues. This is a brave account because it is grounded in the notion of doing right and protecting the interests of other women. To come to this place, still committed to the ideal that we should never allow a few to compromise the integrity of institutions that many have worked hard to build, is something from which we can all take a lesson.

Please direct media inquiries to:
June Perry
Pilot Communications
(709) 753-0794 or (709) 682 -2682

No One To Tell: Breaking My Silence on Life in the RCMP


Join us as we celebrate the launch of a stunning new memoir by former RCMP member Janet Merlo

No One To Tell: Breaking My Silence on Life in the RCMP


Wednesday, October 23rd at 7pm
The Masonic Temple
6 Cathedral St. in St. John’s

All Are Welcome! 
Free admission.  Refreshments will be served.

“The impunity of RCMP officers who use obscenity and sex and power as tools in their trade is spreading like a stain on a national icon. Will disclosure force change? No One to Tell is a test case for an organization that was once the pride of the nation.”

— Sally Armstrong, author of Ascent of Women

In 2012, Janet Merlo was among the first female RCMP officers to publicly allege she had experienced sexual harassment and gender discrimination while serving in Canada`s national police force. The women kept silent for so long, she says, because there was no one to tell. In this courageous memoir, Janet recalls how her love of policing was soured by covert and overt sexism within the ranks and by an institutional culture that valued toughness and silence over ethics and accountability.   Tracing her twenty years in uniform, Merlo’s story details the highs and lows of her career in the RCMP – while her mental health and personal life disintegrated. Eventually, the cost of keeping quiet was simply too high, and her story emerges as a lone, brave voice seeking change.    With an introduction by Linden MacIntyre. Edited by Leslie Vryenhoek.

For more information or media inquiries, please contact:  Elisabeth de Mariaffi
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
709.722.6680 x226

New this summer! The Festival at Ochre Pit Cove

Layout 1It’s almost summer! Breakwater Books and House of Anansi are pairing up to celebrate June in high-style. Presenting The Festival at Ochre Pit Cove, A Weekend of Newfoundland Music, Books, and ArtSituated in the beautiful North Shore community and featuring some of Newfoundland’s best-known authors, this may just be the most easterly literary festival in the western hemisphere.

Music, readings, and a pop-up gallery featuring local artists’ work — all events take place at The Church at Ochre Pit Cove.

With readings by Michael Crummey, Lisa Moore, Chad Pelley, and Claire Wilkshire. Music by What Odds and The Blue Drop (Holly Hogan & Allan Byrne).

All events $10/each; Weekend Pass $15. Advance Tickets available in St. John’s at The Travel Bug on Water Street, and in Smallpoint at the Smallpoint General Store.

Full details available at thefestivalatochrepitcove.com.

Awards! Awards! Awards!

ippy_goldmedalHow exciting is this time of year? I couldn’t be more pleased to announce that Breakwater has taken Gold in both the Fiction and Non-Fiction categories for Canada East at the IPPY Awards. The IPPYs are otherwise known as the Independent Publisher Awards. Some 2500 indie publishers from all over the US, Canada, and overseas submitted more than 5200 total entries to this year’s competition, the 17th annual installment of the IPPY Awards.

Check out the full list of winners here.

I’ve always loved one of my girls more than the other. I don’t think it makes me awful, just human. Floss was always mine—as sweet, airy, and transparent as her candy namesake. Floss was always eager to please, never once cursed at me or told me I had a face on me like a dog. How could she not be my favourite?

Lolly was never mine. She was hard like her own candy namesake, tough and unyielding with an impenetrable shell. I tried to uncover the sweetness in her but she left me before I could find it. Eventually they all left me—first Ray, then Lolly, and then Floss, in such quick succession I could have blinked and they’d all have gone away.

                                                                                                                                (from Jill Sooley’s Baggage)



Winner, GOLD — Canada East: Baggage, by Mount Pearl girl and Long Island, NY, resident Jill Sooley

In Baggage, Jill Sooley blends multiple narratives in a heart wrenching and uplifting story of three women drawn by the gravitational pull of fathers and lovers to a place where they’ll ultimately find each other.

Following the death of her husband, Marie Sullivan struggles to repair the bonds that unite her with Floss, her daughter, and Lolly, the stepdaughter she never understood.

After a chance encounter in a cancer ward with her estranged biological father, Floss returns home seeking self-renewal. Instead, she finds a relationship with a recently divorced man whose loyalty to his young daughter threatens his ability to find happiness.

And Lolly, the stepdaughter who never fit in, now shares custody of her own son with her childhood sweetheart, Gabe. How long can she hide the stepfamily she’s taken for granted as she rushes headlong into a romance with a man who has secrets of his own?

An honest and revealing portrayal of modern relationships and blended families, Baggage reminds us that love runs thicker than bloodlines.

JCROY-Fluctuat nec Mergitur-CVR72dpi

Painter Jean Claude Roy first came to Newfoundland in 1966. Travelling to every inhabited corner of the island, he has recorded his personal vision. Painted almost entirely on-site, each image is the story of one day in his life — and one day in the life of a community.


Winner, GOLD – Canada East: Fluctuat Nec Mergitur by Jean Claude Roy

I have drawn and painted the Newfoundland landscape since I first set foot on the island in 1966 at the age of 17, as a novice seaman on a French cable ship. I was too young to be allowed to leave the ship unescorted, but one beautiful spring day I escaped with my sketch pad and climbed Signal Hill, and that was the beginning of my attachment to the province… While chatting with another inpatriate Newfoundlander in 2001, I heard the fateful words: “I’ve been to every community on the island of Newfoundland.” At that moment I decided that I would paint every community on the island, and thus began a journey that has ended with the publication of this book. I set out shortly after with my government-issued tourism map, marking off places as I painted them, and adding a few as I went along.

With very few exceptions, these images were painted on site, sometimes in the cold, frequently in high winds. I have had to hang a rock from my easel to keep it steady, tie it to a fence, or, on occasion, put the canvas flat on the ground and paint lying down. The wind dictates the movement on the canvas, the passing clouds alter the light: Being there, for me, is essential to capturing the feeling of the day. Every painting is a page in my diary, and in the diary of the community.

This is neither an art book nor travel book, nor is it a retrospective of my work as an artist. It is not meant to be an accurate depiction of every community. It is a unique story – a love story, really – of a foreigner who thinks he is a Newfoundlander. I have driven and walked all over the island and I have done what I do best in this life – I painted what I saw: the physical and the human landscape. It’s my story, and I’m sticking with it, and I’d be pleased if you would come with me on a trip around the island.  — JC Roy

Shoulder to Shoulder at the Ship! Breakwater’s Spring Lit Party packs ’em in….

Here’s a quick photo gallery from our Spring Literary Party, last Thursday (April 11, 2013) at the Ship in St. John’s. We rang in the new season with new books by Claire Wilkshire and Chad Pelley, music by Pilot to Bombardier and Katie Baggs,  book-cookie loot bags, and the finest crowd you ever did see…

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