Because the land we live on is a defining element of this project, we’ll start things off by acknowledging that Grand River Country is the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg, and Haudenosaunee peoples.

Today, this watershed is home to many First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples; by acknowledging their presence, cultures, and teachings, we’re reminded of our connection and responsibility to this land where we live, work, and learn.



Episode 1:
Erin Bow

We talk with Kitchener writer Erin Bow about her award-winning middle-school novel,
Stand on the Sky, in which a young Kazakh woman trains an eagle to hunt. We also talk
about Russian folk tales and the place of science and poetry in Erin’s writing life.

Episode 2:
Janice Jo Lee

We talk with the multi-talented Janice Jo Lee about what it takes to write and star in a one-person musical, her tips for writing poetry as song, and her advocacy work with young writers.


Episode 3:
Yvonne Blomer

We meet Yvonne Blomer, the editor of the Caitlin Press volume Sweet Water: Poems for the Watersheds and speak with poets who are writing about and for their local watersheds. With Gary Barwin and Laurie D. Graham.


Episode 4:

We talk with writers and editors of Textile, a literary magazine that showcases the diversity of the Grand River region, and works to mentor emerging writers in the creation of community-engaged art.  With Yasmeen Nematt Alla, Ashley Hynd, and Fitsum Areguy.  


Episode 5:
Mike Chaulk
& Sarah Tolmie

We talk with Mike Chaulk about his book Night Lunch, in which he crews on a ferry and freight vessel up the Labrador Coast.

Also on the show, Sarah Tolmie introduces us to her book, Check, about confirmation bias, and we talk about writing speculative fiction.   


Episode 6:

We speak with Tasneem Jamal about her novel, Where The Air is Sweet, about a family who move to Kitchener following Idi Amin’s expulsion of Asian-Ugandans, about the power of fiction to fill in historical gaps, and Tasneem’s new manuscript that explores female friendship in the 1970s.  


Episode 7:
Janet Rogers
Janet Rogers

We sit down with Tuscarora writer, performer, and publisher Janet Rogers to discuss what it has meant for her to come home to Six Nations of the Grand River after decades away, her dreams as a literary Auntie, and the personal and political power of her new book
Ego of a Nation.


Episode 8:
Luke Hathaway

We talk with writer and editor Luke Hathaway about love and radical transformation, about the Waterloo Region roots and the international reach of his latest book, Years, Months, and Days, and about the importance of influences in maker culture.  


Episode 9:
Emily Urquhart
Emily Urquhart

We talk with nonfiction writer Emily Urquhart about her new book, The Age of Creativity: Art, Memory, My Father, and Me, featuring her father, abstract expressionist painter and sculptor Tony Urquhart. Emily speaks about the delicate art of writing the family memoir, myths about aging and art, and the use of folklore and science as portals to understanding. 


Episode 10:
Madhur Anand
 Madhur Anand

We talk with poet, scientist, and memoirist Madhur Anand about living by rivers, about blending art and science in writing, and about her recent Governor General’s Award for This Red Line Goes Straight To Your Heart




Episode 1:
 Mariam Pirbhai

We talk with Mariam Pirbhai about her internationally-acclaimed short story collection, Outside People, her forthcoming novel, Isolated Incident, and how living in the Grand River watershed has changed how about she writes about place. 


Episode 2:
Nic Brewer &
Amy Neufeld
Nic Brewer

We sit down with Nic Brewer to talk about writing love and trauma in her novel Suture, and welcome Amy Neufeld to our new feature, Grand River Book Reviews.


Episode 3:
Dawn C. Hill &
Yeli Cruz Roo
Dawn Cheryl Hill

Dawn Cheryl Hill joins us to talk about memory, institutional racism and the importance of family in her new book from Ojistoh Publications, Memory Keeper. In Grand River Book Reviews, Yelibert Cruz Roo searches for the language of being here in Karen Houle’s book The Grand River Watershed: A Folk Ecology.


About The Show

Watershed Writers with Tanis MacDonald features interviews in an exciting mix of local novelists, poets, authors, playwrights and essayists from a wide range of genres, serving as an outreach and showcase of a community of well-known writers as well as up-and-coming writers not readily available elsewhere.

Diversity is important to us and our first season has included LGBTQ+ writers, writers with Haudenosaunee, Anishnaabe, and Nunatsiavut backgrounds, writers with heritages from India, Pakistan, Uganda, the Caribbean, and Korea; writers with a few publications to writers with six books and counting.  

Watershed Writers with Tanis MacDonald looks to these authors to comment on our cultures and our times, and to disseminate their voices across the region, the country, and the world.   

Our Team

Tanis MacDonald


Tanis MacDonald is the author of six books, including her memoir, Out of Line: Daring to Be an Artist Outside the Big City. Her writing appears in publications in Canada, the United States, and Ireland. She’s been a featured reader at book festivals in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Windsor, Kingston and Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. She’s taught emerging writers at Wilfrid Laurier University.

“It’s a pleasure to interview writers for the show, to ask questions about what they write and how they write it. And before I interview them, I read their books. Every single one”, says Tanis.

Originally from the prairies, she’s lived since 2006 in Waterloo, where she teaches emerging writers as a Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Brendon Highmore

Former Technical Producer

Brendon is the former Technical Producer for the Watershed Writers radio documentary series and podcasts.

Brendon graduated from the Conestoga College Broadcast Television program in 2016.

Frances Roberts Reilly

Executive Producer

Frances Roberts Reilly is an Independent Producer and the creator of Watershed Writers.

She is also an internationally published poet and author.

A seasoned broadcasting professional with the BBC and CBC, she is a producer and director in radio, television, film and new media, Frances is a contributor on CBC IDEAS.

She has made award winning documentaries on human rights and women’s rights for broadcast on web and as private commissions. 

With Watershed Writers, her love of writing, books and reading has come into a lifelong fulfillment.

John Roscoe

John Roscoe is a freelance designer photographer and videographer with an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Victoria and a diploma in Graphic Design from Conestoga College.

He can often be found in Ontario parks photographing insects, flowers and wildlife.

About Us

Watershed Writers presents in-depth conversations with local writers living and writing in the Grand River watershed area.

More About Us

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