Marie Wadden

Occupation: Network Producer for CBC radio, author, and investigative writing instructor at MUN. She’s also chair of the board of directors of the Suzuki Talent Education Program.

Bio: Marie Wadden has a masters’ degree in Journalism and has been working as a broadcast journalist since 1977, first in TV and then in radio. She won the 2005 Atkinson fellowship in Public Policy and wrote about addiction in aboriginal communities across Canada in a series of articles for the Toronto Star. This research also generated a book—her second about aboriginal issues—that was recently released in paperback.

How did you get into journalism?: “I worked at the campus radio station at MUN in the 1970s. But I always wanted to write. From a very early age I dreamed of myself as a writer. I had this vision of myself in a room with a view composing stories and telling stories. But I also was always a very practical person, so I thought, ‘well I better get a practical skill,’ so journalism was the one that was going to enable me to write.”

What inspires you to write about aboriginal issues?: “The relationships that I’ve developed with aboriginal people, and again, they’ve kind of happened by accident. I was traveling with a friend to Labrador in 1978 and seeing Sheshatshiu for the first time and never having learned anything about the Innu in school. And by that time I had already worked for a year at CBC and I had never seen them on television so it was like they weren’t in the public life of the province, and they weren’t in the social life of the province. It was like they didn’t exist.”

Tell me a little about how your latest book, Where the Pavement Ends, came about?: “It came about from my long dismay with the prevalence of addiction in the communities I love so much, particularly now Natuashish and Sheshatshiu and amongst the people I know really well.”

“I had some of the most enriching experiences in my life in those communities… and yet all I could see was the spiral of addiction getting worse rather than getting becoming lesser.”

­— Kerri Breen