Author Archives: Sheelagh Russell-Brown

Sheelagh Russell-Brown

About Sheelagh Russell-Brown

After teaching in the Czech Republic for seven years, Sheelagh Russell-Brown returned to her native Maritimes. She is now a part-time instructor in the English Department and a tutor at the Writing Centre at Saint Mary's University in Halifax. Her interests are in nineteenth- and twentieth-century British and European literature and in marginalized female figures in such work. As well as contributing to Backstory e-magazine and to the Historical Honey website, she has had poetry published by The Fem magazine and a short story in Tales from the Forest, has won second prize in the inaugural Irish Imbas Celtic Mythology Short Story Contest and is shortlisted for the second competition, and was shortlisted for the 2016 Fish Publishing Short Memoir Competition.

Field Notes by Sara Jewell

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Ever since I met my “Upper Canadian” husband in my hometown of Fredericton at age twenty and moved to southern Ontario at twenty-one, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with the Maritimes, as well as with rural and small-town life in general. At times, I have resented what I saw as its narrowness and stubborn attachment to the past. I can credit Sara Jewell and her Field Notes: A City Girl’s Search for Heart and Home in Rural Nova Scotia (Nimbus, 2016) with adding more weight to the “love” side of the equation. Now back east, living in Halifax after seven years abroad, I’ve come to appreciate anew the warmth and hardiness of my birthplace. Field Notes reminds me of what I had lost and now regained. Continue reading

Writing Hard Stories by Melanie Brooks

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When I received my copy of Writing Hard Stories by Melanie Brooks (forthcoming from Beacon Press, February 2017), I envisioned myself curled up in my comfortable armchair with coffee, settling in for a good long read. That was not to be—partly due to demands of a busy holiday season and introducing a new kitten to our family but mainly due the nature of Brooks’ book itself. It is not the sort of work that one can rush through, so I found myself reading one of her eighteen “interviews” per day, savouring the insights I gleaned and pondering how I could apply their lessons to my own writing

Although she grew up in New Brunswick, Brooks now lives in New England. It was while she was working on her MFA in creative nonfiction and planning the writing of a memoir based on her father’s death from AIDS contracted from tainted blood that she began to look into the works of memoirists who inspired her. She then got in touch with the writers directly to ask the questions that she was asking herself: What does it take to write an honest memoir? How can memoirists present the details of a painful past honestly and at the same time respect the privacy of friends and family? Those conversations became Writing Hard Stories. Continue reading