Tumblehome made the Top 23 of 2023 top-seller list at LaHave River Books! Thank you so much to Andra and all the team for your support. If you haven’t yet visited this gorgeous indie bookstore on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, you simply must go.




Tumblehome has been chosen as the featured book from April to June, 2024, in the Northern Credit Union’s inaugural Read Local program. For more details, click here.



Click here for upcoming events and readings – including my presentation to the Barrie Canoe and Kayak Club on March 11.

I also love to come (either actually or virtually) to book clubs. 


In the wake of a broken engagement to her One True Paddling Partner, Canadian writer Brenda Missen ventures into Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park on a series of solo canoe trips that blow all her perceptions of romance, relationships, God, and her own self (gently) out of the water. Part travel adventure, part spiritual memoir and great part ode to the Earth, Tumblehome: One Woman’s Canoeing Adventures in the Divine Near Wilderness (Inanna Publications, 2022) is a timely reminder of our intrinsic connection with the natural world.


If you’d like more detail, here’s the dust jacket summary:

On a warm evening in August 1998, Brenda Missen, a 37-year-old single, unattached writer, pitches her tent beside a lake in Canada’s 7,600 square-kilometre Algonquin Provincial Park. She’s on a four-night “reconnaissance mission,” an hour’s paddle from the parking lot, to find out if she has the capability—and nerve—to one day go on a real canoe trip in the park interior by herself. Paddling and portaging from her campsite by day and surviving imaginary bear attacks by night, she decides she’s ready. Then a ranger arrives to check her permit, and an inexplicable, powerful intuition tells her this is the person she’s meant to marry. Going solo may not be necessary after all. But the fairy tale unravels. In the wake of a broken engagement to her One True Paddling Partner, Brenda ventures into the near wilderness on a series of solo canoe trips that blow all her perceptions of romance, relationships, God, and her own self (gently) out of the water. Each encounter with weather, wildlife, and other trippers brings her to a place of growing acceptance, forgiveness, and compassion, for herself and others. And each venture into the park interior surprises her with an ever-deepening experience of the divinity at the core of our being and in all of creation (even bears). In our high-tech, urban age, when so many people are disconnected from the natural world, Tumblehome—part spiritual memoir, part travel adventure, and great part ode to the Earth—is a timely and important exploration of where our real roots lie.

To read an excerpt from Tumblehome, click here.

To hear the author reading an excerpt, click here.


For media coverage and reviews, click here.

Click here to hear a podcast interview with Karin Campbell of Calgary-based travel adventure company 10Adventures. (Scroll through the interviews.)


Click here to read or listen to an interview with Lucy Black in the December 2022 edition of The Artisanal Writer.

Praise for Tumblehome

Almost allegorical in scope, Tumblehome sparkles with humanity.

—Joseph Kertes, award-winning author of Gratitude and The Afterlife of Stars

Brenda Missen, a self-described “keen canoeist,” has been a pilgrim of solitude. She has entered a world in which language has not yet been born and offers us the gift of her memoir, Tumblehome.

—Diana Beresford-Kroeger, author of To Speak for the Trees: My Life’s Journey from Ancient Celtic Wisdom to a Healing Vision of the Forest

Tumblehome, Brenda Missen’s compelling memoir, is the story of one woman’s canoeing adventures in the Canadian wilderness. Yet it is simultaneously a profound meditation on the complexities of human relationships, our common interface with the natural world, and a journey of spiritual transformation. In its pages, it is as if Annie Dillard meets the Taoist sage Lao Tzu. In Brenda, explorer, writer, and spiritual seeker converge in the telling. From the first line— “My paddle mines for diamonds that sparkle on the wind-riffled lake”—to the last, Missen cups us in the palm of her hands. As Brenda comes to trust her spiritual mentor Asante, to whom the book is dedicated, so readers can trust Brenda to gently open their hearts and minds to their own interior depths where “joy is [our] birthright and we are the diamonds we seek.”

—Susan McCaslin, author of Into the Open: Poems New and Selected

Tumblehome takes us on an intimate journey into an emotional, spiritual, and physical wilderness where fears are overcome, relationships scrutinized, and enlightenment sought. A canoe trip with many twists and challenges, by the end I truly felt that I had been forest-bathing with Missen.

—Becky Mason, canoe instructor, filmmaker, writer and artist

Click here for more praise for Tumblehome and here for Reader Comments.

What the heck is “tumblehome”?

Besides being a great word, tumblehome is a design term that refers to the inward curve of the sides of a boat (boats can also have straight sides or sides that flare out). In a boat with good tumblehome, a solo canoeist can kneel close one side and lean the boat over without tipping it, which puts the paddle closer to the water and makes the canoe easier to control. (A boat with too much tumblehome will tip if leaned over too far—hence the name.) As a title, it captures the spirit of this work not only because of its associations with solo paddling but also because it evokes a sense of “tumbling home” on different levels—to one’s literal home, to being at home in one’s self … and to something that might be considered Grace.

The gorgeous cover

Huge thanks to local (to me) artist Linda Sorensen for allowing me to use her beautiful painting Autumn Sojourn for the cover. To see more of Linda’s art, visit https://lindasorensen.com


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