The Cabot Trail Writers Festival is produced by the Cabot Trail Writers Festival Society, a registered Nova Scotia non-profit society. Our Joint Stock Registry number is 3253532.

Our volunteer Board of Directors comprises:

  • Olivia Ball

  • Heather Davis

  • Sarah Faber

  • Jeannette Mac Donald

  • Susan Paddon

  • Gary Walsh

  • Jennifer Williatte-Battet

The festival was inspired by an idea from Gary Walsh and Jeannette Mac Donald, who saw how their friends and neighbours were drawn to a reading they proposed to the St. Ann’s Bay Book Club, which was staged in a local community hall. For our first two years, the festival operated as a committee of the St. Ann’s Bay Development Association (SABDA), a registered non-profit community association whose goals include community and economic development. The relationship gave us the time we needed to find our way, and we appreciate the opportunity. In the years since, new members have joined our board, some former members have retired, and we have relocated the festival base to the Gaelic College to accommodate our ever-growing audience and programming—and yet, even as we grow and evolve, what remains unchanged is the warmth, intimacy and vitality of this community-based festival.


Unparalleled access to exciting authors in an intimate setting designed to inspire.


To create an event at which writers of all skill levels can learn from each other, and inspire new authors; to draw readers into a deeper appreciation of the arts and artists of the world of writing; to expose our audience to a broader selection of styles and techniques; to directly encourage and reward new works; to spend “quality time” with fellow writers and readers!


To conceive, devise, create, and present an annual celebration of writing, reading, and the literate arts, as well as adjunct events with the same aims presented throughout the year.

To further the enjoyment and practice of writing through exposure, celebration, and education, by the means of an annual festival, other events featuring writing or learning opportunities, and direct commissioning of new works.


The Cabot Trail is one of the most famous roads in the world, and deservedly so. It wends its way through forests and hills, up mountains and along the Atlantic coast, across wind-swept plains and over rushing rivers, along-side an inland sea and around calm salt-water inlets. In fall, the full glory of autumn leaves and the mild climate of Cape Breton make this place simply irresistible. And we haven’t even mentioned the welcoming people, their ancient cultures, the glorious local farm-fresh food, the soft sea air…

We couldn’t have designed a better spot to trade tales and hatch plots. We hope to share our good fortune with many of you, this year and in years to come.