Starters Guide to PEI Authors

Who are some of Prince Edward Island’s most popular authors? If you’re new to the region or if you’re an avid reader who wants to get a feel for what Prince Edward Island literature has to say, this is the post for you.

The writing scene in PEI is relatively small, but this isn’t necessarily a drawback. What we lack in size we make up for in flavour; as limited as the scene might be, there’s a strong independent voice to it; this is what you get when you establish a scene away from the constraints of the larger publishing houses.

The first thing you need to know that the literary scene is dominated heavily by historical and cultural books (non-fiction) and has a limited, but rich, fiction resource. It should be said that due to this strong focus on cultural history in non-fiction, it bleeds into fiction as well.

If you’re new to the world of Prince Edward Island writing, here are some popular authors to check out with some links to get you reading.

David Weale

With David Weale, the popular and the eccentric meet like the ocean meeting the land.

Dr. David Weale – author of both fiction and non-fiction – is a retired professor of Canadian and Prince Edward Island history at the University of Prince Edward Island. His work focuses primarily on the history and folk tales of Prince Edward Island.

Taking the craft of storytelling to the air, he operated an award-winning CBC Radio show titled “Them Times” in the 1980’s, and has made additional appearances on the CBC shows “Tapestry” and The Gabereau Show,” both as a storyteller and a guest.

He is a member of the Shorewalkers, which can be investigated more here ( The group – a collective of likeminded creative – summarizes its namesake as: “The shore is a ‘thin place’ where the thick veil of ordinary consciousness, that limits our vision, becomes less opaque; a place of liberation from the constraints of ego consciousness, and of deep and joyous connectedness with others, and with all that is, or ever has been. It is, in a word, an awakening to our own depth.”

Selection of Writing:

Julie V. Watson

For a taste of the mainly non-fiction, let’s talk Julie Watson. You’ve gotta have respect for the writer who takes the business side of their craft into their own hands.

A resident of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, she is the author of more than 30 books and hundreds of articles covering a wide range of topics, most notably in the world of business and PEI history. Aside from her books on shipwrecks and ghost stories, the majority of her work can be described as positive and inspirational.

She currently owns and operates Seacroft (, a small, independently-owned publishing house where she creates, markets, and distributes her own books. On top of that, she has hosted a number of writing workshops across Canada

“I have a strong belief in people taking control of their lives, being loyal and caring to family and friends, and finding  way to blend those things.  Part of the nurturing process for ourselves and those we love, comes down to savouring small pleasures such as food, travel, nature, exploring history.”

Selection of Writing:

Patti Larsen

Not all PEI authors need to focus their writing around a strong Prince Edward Island cultural examination or historical context. Sometimes you just want a good novel that dabbles in genre themes. Patti Larsen, like many successful writers in this day and age, is someone who grew up loving stories and got into it later in life with a lot of time to make up.

This Charlottetown, PEI author has racked up an impressive amount of work in a relatively short amount of time, so if you’re looking for a real mythology to sink your teeth into – clones, magic, and paranormal intrigue – this is where you need to go.

Also, if you’re interested in video workshops related to the craft, Patti hosts a series of Vlogs on her G+ account (

“When I turned twelve, I got my hands on my very first young adult novel, a Nancy Drew adventure. I read it rapidly, devoured it in a few short hours, my mind used to material far older and probably inappropriate for someone of my age and overactive imagination.”

Selection of Writing:

Deirdre Kessler

Based out of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Deirdre is an English teacher at University of Prince Edward Island and writer of children’s books that carry a strong maritime theme. She currently has roughly a dozen books published for children and youth which have been translated into multiple languages.

In this same vein, and following a theme in this post, she has hosted a show on CBC Radio titled “The Story Show,” directed mainly at children.

CBC and PEI writers go together pretty well, don’t they?

“Poetry is the first language. It’s closest to what is at the heart of language. To write poetry is to strip away all but what’s essential. It’s close to the bone, close to the heart, close to the core of what’s being human and what’s using language.”

Selection of Writing:

  • Afternoon Horses
  • Dreamtime
  • Exploring the Island


There are names that didn’t make it on this list, but rest assured we will be getting to them eventually.

Follow some of the links posted in this article and look into some of the writing selections and you’ll be well on your way to fully explore what the writing scene in Prince Edward Island has to offer.

1 thought on “Starters Guide to PEI Authors

  1. Dear Jay:

    I just came across this site, and if you don’t mind, I’d like to add to your list. You may like to direct readers to the works of Steven Mayoff, J.J. Steinfeld and David Helwig (three prominent writers in fiction, theatre and novels; and winners of various awards) as well as poets like Brent MacLaine, Hugh MacDonald, Richard Lemm and John Smith (prominent poets and fiction writers). Thought you’d appreciate the input.

    Jeff Bursey

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