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Arts & Culture: Local writing couple both publish new works

Chris Nash has published a memoir, while her husband, Roger, has published his 21st book of poems
They've done it again. Roger Nash has published his 21st book. Chris Nash's memoirs is her fourth book.

Sudbury's prolific writing couple, Chris and Roger Nash, have recently published their pandemic projects.

They made the best of a bad situation and used the long days of isolation to write (and rewrite). Chris worked on her memoirs while Roger completed a collection of poetry titled The Pollen of Strange Alphabets.

It is Roger's 21st book. The retired university professor also writes on philosophy and short stories. 

Chris was a regular contributor to "Northern Life" for many years. Her new book, her fourth, was published last fall and is titled Life Happens. It is a selection of glimpses into her life, which began more than 80 years ago in war-time England.

"It is the story of my life in very small pieces. So, the reader need only read parts of it," she told

The photograph on the cover of Life Happens is of the house in Devon where Chris was born. The house was built in 1630 on Rope Walk, a neighbourhood where ropemaking for ships at the naval port at Devonport was a thriving cottage industry.

"Chris is a ropemaker herself. With her stories, she can make threads and weaves ropes," said Roger.

She writes about attending a convent school during the war. Her father, a Welsh Jew, thought this would keep her safe if the Nazis invaded England.

The reader learns about her near fatal accident, university years, meeting her husband, and her first experiences in Sudbury.

The Nashes settled in Sudbury in 1969, a place that must have seemed like another planet after their experiences in England.

Chris, a psychologist and professor, shares insights as a volunteer with numerous organizations and in leadership roles with the Sudbury Horticultural Society, The Rotary Club, and the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF).  

There are stories about professional life, her involvement in politics, travels and family. When she was a university student in 1964, she got pregnant and put her child up for adoption. She met the child, David, as a grown man in 2020. Mother and son discovered shared interests in politics and travel.

"We must have had the longest hug ever when Dave came through the door," she wrote. 

She has two sons with Roger and two grandchildren. She discovered David also has a son.

Roger's book was published in March. He has several readings planned and has recently learned a publisher is interested in another collection of poems.

"The Pollen of Strange Alphabets" comes from his poem "On the River Amazon" and his thoughts on how English is a living language which changes and evolves when there is a mixture of different cultures and dialects.

"The pollen of strange alphabets spreads on brightly feathered poems that sing each to their own kind."

A past-president of the League of Canadian Poets, Roger, who was born in England during the Blitz, has won many awards for his writings. He is a former poet laureate of Sudbury and has done much to encourage and mentor other writers.

Life Happens and The Pollen of Strange Alphabets are published by Pebbleridge Press, a publishing company started by the Nashes that specializes in senior writers.

Vicki Gilhula is a freelance writer. Arts & Culture is made possible by our Community Leaders Program.