Listening for the Dead Bells
Highland Magic on Prince Edward Island 

by Marian Bruce

Sunday, September 22, 2019, 2-4 p.m.
Sir Andrew Macphail Homestead, Orwell

PEI author Marian Bruce will launch her new book, Listening for the Dead Bells, on Sunday September 22, from 2 to 4 pm at the Sir Andrew Macphail Homestead in Orwell. This collection of folklore about ghosts, witches, seers, and forerunners aims to nurture the storytelling tradition on PEI and inspire others to collect more tales before they are forgotten. Bruce will be joined by fiddler Amy Swenson. Listening for the Dead Bells is published by Island Studies Press at the University of Prince Edward Island.

Listening for the Dead Bells, by Marian Bruce (published by Island Studies Press)

Mysterious lights, howling dogs, ringing sounds in the ear: these omens of death are part of a treasury of supernatural beliefs transmitted through centuries and across the Atlantic Ocean. Part memoir, part oral history, Listening for the Dead Bells reflects on stories about bad fairies, witch control, bòcans, second sight, divination, healing incantations, attitudes toward death, and other links between Prince Edward Island and the Highlands and islands of Scotland.

Marian Bruce, a former journalist, is the author of six books. Her book on farm horses, Remembering Old Dan, won the PEI Book of the Year Award for non-fiction in 2012. A descendant of 19th-century immigrants from the Isle of Skye, she grew up in a community influenced by Highland customs, beliefs, music, and supernatural tales. After decades of working in cities across Canada, she now lives in High Bank in the farmhouse where she was born and raised.

Please join Island Studies Press and Marian Bruce in celebrating this new book. For more information about the book or the launch, please contact Bren at ispstaff@upei.ca or 902-566-0386.

IIS hosts Charlottetown Forum at UPEI’s Duffy Amphitheatre

Around the world, we are seeing dramatic shifts in technology and people’s behaviour to help address environmental problems. Here on Prince Edward Island, we are playing our part by banning single-use plastic shopping bags, installing heat pumps in our homes, retrofitting buildings to make them more efficient, growing/buying local food, and separating our compost and recyclables as part of our province-wide WasteWatch system – to name just a few.

But while individual action can make an important contribution to addressing problems like climate change, complex environmental challenges can’t be solved without government leadership. That’s why on Thursday, October 3, 2019, several organizations from across the Island* are organizing all-candidates’ forums in all four of the Island’s federal ridings – part of the 100 Debates on the Environment, a non-partisan all-candidates’ debate on the environment. This is a national effort across 100 Canadian ridings, in which citizens ask candidates representing major political parties to put their best policy ideas forward. The Institute of Island Studies will host the Charlottetown Forum at the Duffy Amphitheatre, with Dr. Jim Randall serving as Moderator.

The environment is a top issue for Canadians. Nationally, 57% of voters indicate that they are at least “very concerned” by climate change and 31% say it will be a priority issue for them when they go to the polls. Our organizations and many members of the community hope that you will attend this debate so we can better understand your position on critical environmental issues.

Each of the 100 debates happening nationwide will include four common questions that focus on climate change, wilderness conservation, water, and pollution; and additional questions of local relevance will also be asked.

Public polling consistently shows support for environmental leadership has never been higher, but this kind of support doesn’t always translate into action from our elected leaders. The debate on October 3, two weeks before the federal election, will put candidates face-to-face with voters who want bold, urgent action on the environment.

Be sure to mark your calendars – October 3, 7-9 p.m. – for these all-candidates’ debates. Here’s where they’ll be:
Malpeque – Hunter River Community Centre
Charlottetown – Duffy Amphitheatre, University of Prince Edward Island
Cardigan – Kaylee Hall, Pooles Corner
Egmont – Linkletter Community Centre

Stay tuned for more details as we get closer to the date!

For more information, please contact:
Egmont: Barbara Graham (Barbara.bubbles.graham@gmail.com)
Malpeque: Ann Wheatley, Environmental Coalition of PEI (ann.wheatley@bellaliant.net)
Charlottetown: Laurie Brinklow, Institute of Island Studies, UPEI (brinklow@upei.ca)
Cardigan: Maureen Kerr (kerr.maureen@gmail.com)

*Participating organizations include the Environmental Coalition of PEI, the Institute of Island Studies, Pesticide Free PEI, PEI Environmental Health Cooperative, Cooper Institute, Save our Seas and Shores PEI, PEI Chapter of the Council of Canadians, Atlantic Canada Chapter of the Sierra Club, Blue Dot PEI, Citizens’ Alliance of PEI, Don’t Frack PEI, Nature PEI, Latin American Mission Program,  Happy Ocean PEI, UPEI Environmental Society, Friends of Covehead & Brackley Bay, Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water, Green Economy Network, Trade Justice PEI, Green Economy Network, PEI Watershed Alliance.

PEI-Tasmania Writers’ Exchange hosts Tasmanian writer, Dr. Terry Whitebeach

Dr. Terry Whitebeach is an esteemed Australian young adult novelist, biographer and historian, poet, creative writing mentor, community developer, and social activist from Tasmania. She will be the UPEI Writer in Residence this fall semester. Her residency is sponsored by the UPEI Dean of Arts, Institute of Island Studies, and English Department.

During her residency, Dr. Whitebeach will give a public reading in The Carriage House at Beaconsfield in Charlottetown on Thursday, September 26 at 7:00 p.m. She will also lead a creative writing workshop on Saturday, October 5, 9:30-4:00 at UPEI.

In 2017, she received the Tasmanian Human Rights Award for “her writing, teaching, facilitation and collaborative work with other writers.” Among her recent contributions are Voices of Strength, an anthology of Indigenous women’s writing; oral histories of migrant women for a Tasmanian Museum exhibition; Steps and Stories, an anthology of accounts by adult literacy students; and When I Was a Boy in Sudan and When I Was a Girl in Sudan, bilingual picture books for Sudanese refugee children.

Her publications range from All the Shamans Work in Safeway, a poetry collection for young adults, and The Versatile Man: The Life and Times of Alexander Donald Pwerle Ross, a life history of an Aboriginal stockman, to radio plays Antarctic Journey and Mill Ends, about women textile workers, and young adult novels Watersky and Bantam.

Her workshop at UPEI is called “Creating a Little Book of Dreams,” and will be a “cheerful, interactive workshop on the poetics, grammar, and materiality of dreams – suitable for both prose writers and poets.” Participants will explore the value and use of “dream, reverie, and vision” for their writing, and draft short fiction, poems, or factual narratives of dreams. The workshop is limited to fifteen participants.

For further information about and to register for the workshop, contact Prof. Lee Ellen Pottie: lpottie@upei.ca. Admission is free for Dr. Whitebeach’s public reading.



Our vision:

  • to be the leading centre of excellence on issues related to island studies scholarship, public policy, and engagement.

Our mandate:

  • To encourage a deep knowledge, understanding, and expression of Prince Edward Island;
  • To serve as a bridge between the University and Island communities;
  • To contribute to the formulation of public policy in Prince Edward Island;
  • To undertake and facilitate island studies research and education at local, national, and global scales.



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