Get to know an exciting mix of novelists, poets, authors, playwrights and essayists from a wide range of genres from the Grand River Watershed.

Podcasts available on Spotify, Apple and Google.

Tune in below!

Episode One:


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.

Watershed Writers – ERIN BOW

Episode Two:


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.

Watershed Writers – JANICE JO LEE

Episode Three:

Sweet Water

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

Watershed Writers – Yvonne Blomer, Gary Barwin and Laurie D. Graham

Episode Four:


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.

Watershed Writers – Yasmeen Nematt Alla, Ashley Hynd and Fitsum Areguy

Episode Five:

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.

Watershed Writers – Mike Chaulk and Sarah Tolmie

Episode Six:

Tasneem Jamal

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.

Watershed Writers – Tasneem Jamal

Episode Seven:

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

Watershed Writers – Janet Rogers

Episode Eight:

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.

Watershed Writers – Luke Hathaway

Episode Nine:

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.

Watershed Writers – Emily Urquhart

Episode Ten:

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

Watershed Writers – Madhur Anand


Episode One:

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 she writes about place. 

Watershed Writers – Mariam Pirbhai

Episode Two:

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. 

Watershed Writers – Nic Brewer

Episode Three:

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. 

Watershed Writers – Dawn C. Hill & Yelibert Cruz Roo

Episode Four:

E.K. Johnston

We talk with the #1 NYT Bestselling Author E.K. Johnston about dragonslaying in southern Ontario, about her best-selling Padme Amidala trilogy for the Star Wars franchise, and about writing female friendships in YA novels. 

Watershed Writers – E.K. Johnston

Episode Five:

Sonnet L’Abbé

We talk with poet and professor Sonnet L’Abbé about where poetry lives in the body in their latest book, Sonnet’s Shakespeare, breaking open the sonnet and inventing an entirely new poetic form. 

Watershed Writers – Sonnet L’Abbé

Episode Six:

Heather Smith

It’s an hour of laughs and learning with the award-winning YA author of “Barry Squires, Full Tilt” and “Chicken Girl” as we touch on body positivity, finding your peeps, writing for teens, and the benefits of being “half-cracked.”

Watershed Writers – Heather Smith

Episode Seven:

Lamees Al Ethari

We sit down with Lamees Al Ethari to talk about her latest book, “Waiting for the Rain: an Iraqi Memoir,” about living through the invasion of Iraq, writing a family memoir, and using poetry to express what prose cannot.

Watershed Writers – Lamees Al Ethari

Episode Eight:

Tanis MacDonald

The Switcheroo Episode! Emily Urquhart returns to Watershed Writers, but this time she’s guest hosting to interview Tanis MacDonald for her new book, Straggle: Adventures in Walking While Female, which is about walking as a way of relating to the world, to each other and to memory.

Watershed Writers – Tanis MacDonald


Episode One:

Pamela Mulloy

We spoke with novelist Pamela Mulloy about the challenges of writing historical fiction about uncertain times, and also in this episode Tanis MacDonald and Frances Roberts Reilly discussing the summer in book tours.

Watershed Writers – Pamela Mulloy

Episode Two:

Pamela Mordecai

This episode features Jamaican-Canadian poet, novelist, and children’s writer Pamela Mordecai talking with Tanis MacDonald about her long career in writing, and about being bold and irreverent on the page and in performance.

Watershed Writers — Pamela Mordecai

Episode Three:

Kimia Eslah

This episode features Iranian-Canadian novelist Kimia Eslah talking with interviewer Tanis MacDonald about her aims in writing fiction to serve social justice and combat gendered violence and about feminism, diversity, and friendship in her second novel Sister Seen, Sister Heard.

Watershed Writers — Kimia Eslah

Episode Four:

Benjamin Lefebvre

This week on Watershed Writers, novelist Benjamin Lefebvre sits down with interviewer Tanis MacDonald to discuss writing Young Adult Fiction and subverting the usual coming-out narrative in his first novel, In the Key of Dale.

Watershed Writers — Benjamin Lefebvre

Episode Five:

Donna Morrissey

Tanis sits down with celebrated Canadian novelist Donna Morrissey, discussing her tenure as this year’s Writer In Residence at Wilfrid Laurier University. Find out how ‘fiction informs memoir’ at the intersection of life and the stories we tell about it.

Watershed Writers — Donna Morrissey

About Us

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

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