Paula Dunning


Paula Dunning lives in Echo Bay, Ontario with her husband Jack and two cats and spends her winters in Guanajuato, Mexico, with the other founding members of Embajadoras Press.

After her early years as a back-to-the-land wife and mother during the 1970s and 1980s, Paula embarked on a career as a freelance writer and editor, writing articles and speeches for both the private and the public sector. For twelve years, she was Editor of Education Canada, the flagship publication of the Canadian Education Association. She is the author of Education in Canada: An Overview (CEA, 1997).

Since retirement, she has turned her hand to memoir, essays, and short fiction. Her essays have been aired on CBC radio’s The Sunday Edition and her short story, “The Red Kite”, was submitted for the 2016 Journey Prize by Agnes and True, a Canadian Literary Magazine.

Her recently published book-length memoir focuses on two decades of farming in northern Ontario. But it is more than a story about going back to the land. With rural northern Ontario in the 1970s and 1980s as a backdrop, it delves into the personal conflicts and social pressures afflicting the generation of the 1960s as they moved into middle adulthood. In the harsh climate of northern Ontario, fantasies of pastoral serenity clashed with reality, traditional middle-class measures of success battled counter-culture and feminist alternatives, and the arrogance of book-knowledge butted heads with traditional, hands-on competence.


Listen to Paula Dunning reading from Shifting Currents:
Part One: Flowing Backwards
art Two: Not Really a Christmas Card
Part Three: Farming by the Book
Part Four: What’s in a Name?
Part Five: Questions



Shifting Currents: A Memoir is now available on Amazon

Amazon USA
Amazon Canada
Amazon Mexico


Shifting Currents, Paula Dunning’s richly detailed and honest account of going back to the land, makes me by turns admiring and envious. As a young married couple she and her husband came to an old farm in a new country and made the often rocky transition to rural life with all its physical, emotional and social demands. I identify with Dunning’s struggle to remain true to her principles while getting along with her neighbours, and I both laughed and sighed throughout this memoir. If you’ve ever entertained for one minute the fantasy of making your own maple syrup and milking your own cow, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this wry and loving look at living the rural life.

Elizabeth Creith, author of Shepherd in Residence

Shifting Currents is the story of a woman becoming, a family prevailing, of shifting mores in a world of upheaval, an era of experiment.  But most of all it’s a portrait of a time and a place. Paula Dunning brings to vivid life the relationships that would test the often crazy communal theories of the sixties and seventies, find what was best, and forge lives of community and spirit.  Beautifully written, by turns wry and poignant, Shifting Currents turns a landscape into a heartscape you will never forget.

Bill Roorbach, author of Temple Stream, Writing Life Stories, Life Among Giants and The Remedy for Love


Contact Paula Dunning by e-mail

Paula dunning’s Blog:


CBC Essays:

Cuban Missile Crisis

Confessions of a Snowbird

Becoming Invisible


Short Stories:

The Red Kite