Literary trail honours Miramichi authors

A Miramichi writing group, Words on Water, is paying homage to Miramichi authors by creating a literary trail in the city. 

Member Sandra Bunting said she suggested the idea after taking part in a literary festival when she lived in Galway, Ireland. The festival had developed a literary trail to honour local and visiting authors.

"I thought it was a great idea because it was a visual sort of mark on showing the talent of the local writers," she said.

Four well-known writers — Sen. David Adams Richards, Ray Fraser, Doug Underhill and Wayne Curtis — were selected.

After the group decided to move forward with the idea, it applied to the city and received approval to install the plaques once completed.

But before any of that could be done, Bunting said they had to fill out funding applications as they looked for money for the project. 

"That almost took a year, and while we waited we sort of played around with ideas on how we would do it."

Many decisions

Decisions had to be made on whether they would put it all together in one place or locate them in different parts of the city. Then they had to decide what material to use in making the plaques. 

Words on Water/Facebook

"We finally decided on sandstone that would be etched with the writer's words on it," Bunting said. "We worked with the writers and we tried to select quotes that would try to reflect life on the Miramichi, or their connection with the Miramichi,"

Victor Arbeau, a local landscape architect, found the sandstone, quarried it himself and did the etching. 

"He had never done etching before but he was willing to try and he did a very good job."

Words on Water/Facebook

The sandstone plaques have been installed in four locations around the city.

The plaque for Curtis is at French Fort Cove. The plaque for Richards is at Ritchie Wharf, the Underhill plaque at the Newcastle Library and the Fraser plaque at the Chatham library in his former hometown. 

The official launch of the literary trail will be held this spring.