Welcome! I love to write, and I love sharing what I write with my readers. I vary my style as much as I can-posting events, creative non-fiction, prose and poetry and the occasional video. Enjoy!



Friday, June 24, 2016

The 7th Annual Indigenous Writer's Gathering; June 9 and 10, 2016 Honouring the Grandparents of Indigenous Literature: Lee Maracle and Thomas King

Photo By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

7th Annual Indigenous Writers Gathering
By: Christine Smith McFarlane

Toronto: On June 9 & 10, 2016, the 7th Annual Indigenous Writers Gathering took place in the heart of downtown Toronto. With topics like Cultural Preservation through Story; Fiction and Non Fiction as Tools for Survival featuring Leanne Simpson, Lee Maracle and Waubgeshig Rice, Frankenstein’s Method: Building Characters that Come Alive workshop with Joseph Boyden and Waubgeshig Rice and an open mic reading night that was open to the public on the first day at Glad Day Bookshop, attendance was out of this world.

In the Building Characters Workshop, Joseph Boyden and Waubgeshig Rice told audience members  amongst other things to “allow your characters to go where they need to go and let the story shape your character. Don’t be afraid to break the clich├ęs and most of all challenge yourself, if it feels easy, do something a little different than what you would normally do.”

On June 10, 2016, the celebration of writers continued with two workshops titled Traditional Stories: What Do They Need from Us at this time in History and Articulating Memories of the Land Through Music and Multimedia workshops featuring Leanne Simpson and Susan Blight.

The 7th Annual Indigenous Writer’s Gathering ended with Honouring the Grandparents of Indigenous Literature: Lee Maracle and Thomas King. This honouring was hosted by Joseph Boyden and featured pow wow dancers, drummers, authors and some other very special guests like the Honourable Dr. Carolyn Bennett and Minister David Zimmer. When asked how it felt to be honoured Maracle said “It can’t get any better than this.”

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Book Review: UpGhost River

Review: UpGhost River
By: Christine Smith McFarlane

Separated from his family as a young child, and placed in one of Canada’s worst residential schools-St. Anne’s in northern Ontario, Edmund Metatawabin along with Alexandra Shimo tells a heart wrenching story of survival, resilience and recovery in UpGhost River.

Metatawabin details the abuses he and his friends endured at St. Anne’s, and the atrocities of some of these abuses can be triggering at times. I found it especially hard reading it when I heard about the use of electric chairs for punishment, and the physical and sexual abuse etc.

After leaving St. Anne’s residential school, Metatawabin goes on to build a life as best as he can. He gets married, has kids, goes to school and builds a career, but it all comes to be too much for him and his alcoholism and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) tries to get the best of him.

Struggling personally and professionally, Metatawabin first tries conventional healing through AA meetings and rehab, but it confuses him more. After speaking to friends, he finds healing by reconnecting with his Cree culture and connecting to the ways of the Red Road (Sobriety). He travels across Canada to Edmonton where he participates in culturally specific teachings, ceremonies and healing circles.

Metatawabin has since worked tirelessly to expose the wrongdoings of St. Anne’s Residential School, and comes full circle in his healing, by showing in his memoir, it is possible to come through anything. His narrative is haunting, but also brave and eloquent, a must read if you need inspiration yourself.

UpGhost River is 307 pages and published by Penguin Random House. ISBN: 978-0-307-39988-5

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Event Posting- Toronto: KAIROS Mass Blanket Exercise on Monday May 30 @ Queen's Park

Friday, May 20, 2016

Press Release- Harbourfront Centre May 21-23, 2016

HarbourKIDS: Circus, May 21–23

HarbourKIDS: Circus will take over the site with all things circus-arts related, all weekend long.
Partnering with local circus artists and curators this three-day festival will leave spectators of all ages gasping in awe, doubling over with laughter and even joining in.


Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto, M5J 2G8


Saturday, May 21 from 11am to 5pm
Sunday, May 22 from 11am to 5pm
Monday, May 23 from 11am to 5pm


Sea to Sky Circus Show               
May 21: 1:30pm-2:20pm, 4:00pm-4:50pm, May 22: 1:30pm-2:20pm, 4:00pm-4:50pm,
May 23: 1:30pm-2:20pm, 4:00pm-4:50pm
Curated by Femmes du Feu, the Sea to Sky Circus Show offers something for the whole family - aerial silks, trapeze, dancing mermaids, clowns, acrobatics, break-dancing, vaudeville comedy and more.

The Animal Show
May 21: 11am-5pm, May 22: 11am-5pm, May 23: 11am-5pm
A dance theatre piece where dancers transform into animals, performing and interacting with the audience. Experience this modern day take on the animal show where the hierarchy of human to animal is broken down, and the animals lead us in quirky, exuberant and sometimes thrilling feats of the imagination.

Magic with Mike Correira
May 21: 1pm-1:45pm, May 22 1pm-1:45pm
Anything goes in Mike Correira’s entirely unique magic show. This comedy magician uses lots of audience involvement, mime and mind reading techniques, sure to entertain audiences of all ages.

For further information on HarbourKids: Circus, please visit  or call Harbourfront Centre at 416-973-4000.

Jennie Benjamins
Office: 416-973-4381