Jan. 19-20, 2015

January 2015

January e-poster 2015


Back to the Source: Cape Breton

December 2014

You get to be a certain age and you cannot help but look back at your life and ask “what if?” A Robert Frost moment, I guess, with a choice of life paths on a snowy eve. What if I’d done this instead of that, lived here instead of there, taken this job rather than the one I did, and on and on. There really is no end because we all make a countless number of decisions each and every day. Some choices, however, loom larger than others.

In my particular case, one of the big life-shaping decisions was to relocate from Halifax to Cape Breton in 1977. Had I stayed where I was … well, that’s the thing, I cannot know. Our lives are not laboratory experiments where you can change the variables and do it over again. You get only one shot at each moment as it comes. As things turned out, my time on the Island, living in Sydney and working at the Fortress of Louisbourg, determined much of the rest of my life. Cape Breton and the Fortress became — and remain — the source for much of what I write, one way or another. Would I have written other books and articles, or any at all, had I not come to Cape Breton in 1977. I’ll never know for sure. Funny to think of all the time and effort spent on writing about Louisbourg would have been directed somewhere else.

All this preamble is to say that I am eagerly looking forward to returning to Cape Breton Island in the days ahead. It’s where I learned my various crafts, and it’s where not just my history publications but also my fictional series of Thomas Pichon Novels were born, nurtured and first sprang to life.

On Jan. 19, I’ll take part in a class of Communications Prof. Erna MacLeod at Cape Breton University. Later that same day, at 4 pm, I’ll be offering a public presentation on History & Fiction in the Library at CBU.

On Jan. 20, I’m doing a reading that night at the Book Pub at Governors. I’ll be sharing the mic that night with Dave Mahalik, author of Ten Nights without Sleep (Breton Books). It’ll be my second time at the Book Pub and I think it’ll be fun. I’m wondering if I should read something from The Maze and offer a short peek at how the third novel (tentatively called “Crossings”) opens up.

On Jan. 21, en route back to Halifax, I’ll be at the Library in Port Hawkesbury for a 1 pm presentation similar to the History & Fiction talk at CBU. A portion of each presentation is on my time spent at the Fortress of Louisbourg and how those experiences tie in with my unfolding series of Thomas Pichon Novels.

Bye-Bye 2014

December 2014

A partial visual review of the year from my personal perspective can be found at my Facebook site, A J B Johnston, Writer.

Here’s a link:


Rochefort et La Rochelle

November 2014

Dans une semaine, le 28 novmbre, je serai à Rochefort, ville des bégonias, au Centre international de la Mer. Je serai un participant dans une journée dédiée à explorer l’histoire et la mémoire de Louisbourg. Ma présentation porte le titre : “Qu’est-ce que c’est, ce Louisbourg?” Le 30 novembre à la belle La Rochelle, je participerai dans une discussion après la présentation du film documentaire tourné l’an dernier à Louisbourg. C’est l’excellent film de Françoise Mamolar et Marc Jouanny. Je suis bien content d’avoir Anne Marie Lane Jonah, historienne de Louisbourg, à côté de moi pour tous ces événements.

Next week sees me in France. On Nov. 28 it’s an all-day conference on Louisbourg being held at the Centre international de la Mer in fascinating Rochefort, a city renowned for its begonias. My talk is entitled, “Qu’est-ce que c’est, ce Louisbourg?” Then on Nov. 30, there’s a screening of Marc Jouanny’s and Françoise Mamolar’s excellent documentary film shot in France and at the Fortress in 2013 and released in 2014. I’m extremely pleased to have fellow Louisbourg historian Anne Marie Lane Jonah taking part in all the same events.

Thanks to the Accord Canada France for making the trip possible, and to the Old Sydney Society for being the Canadian organization to handle the paperwork as the Canadian sponsor. Et un grand merci à Annick Notter et Pauline Arsenault en France pour tout ce qu’elles ont fait pour Anne Marie et moi dans ce beau projet.

Nov. 18

November 2014

Nov 18 Talk(1)

Nov. 4, Maritime Museum

October 2014


2012-09-26 11.30.08

For details on my upcoming presentation entitled “Louisbourg and the Twists of Time”, please follow the link below.