Book & Tour: Cod Collapse

Cod Collapse: The Rise and Fall of Newfoundland’s Saltwater Cowboys

Details now available for Cod Collapse: fall book tour. Dates in November 2019 in St. John’s and Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador as well as Halifax, Nova Scotia and in December 2019 in Ottawa, Ontario. Come out and meet the author. More dates coming. See below for words of praise and where to buy Cod Collapse.

*Now Available* by Nimbus Publishing, Cod Collapse is the first book by Jenn Thornhill Verma.
The cover art is also painted by the author.

Pop returned then, as I do now, to this porch in Little Bay East…. I take a deep breath of fresh, salty air—the smell of fish, noticeably absent.

– excerpt, Cod Collapse

A riveting account of the lingering effects of the 1992 cod moratorium on descendants of Newfoundland and Labrador’s fishers, and their communities

In 1992, the cod moratorium put some thirty thousand fishers across Newfoundland and Labrador out of work. These were journalist Jenn Thornhill Verma’s people. Encompassing memoir and history, Cod Collapse traces a lost way of life, digging into the stories of the author’s own family, including her Pop, one of the province’s original “saltwater cowboys,” a fisher on the southeastern shores of Newfoundland.

This thoughtfully researched and captivating account reveals how Newfoundlanders from many walks of life, and from distinct regions across the island portion of the province, have coped in the aftermath of the largest mass layoff in Canadian history. Integrating the varied and compelling stories of a whale-watcher, a singer-songwriter, a fisher, and a photographer, this moving narrative deftly takes readers from the present back to the early days of the fishery, and forward to consider what lies ahead.


“Verma’s thoughtful and thought-provoking book combines personal, familial, and societal experiences with historical and contemporary accounts of the fishery. She has produced a remarkably engaging blend of memoir, history, science, and humanism…. Verma aptly and emotionally describes the collapse as one of the greatest collective traumas in the history of Newfoundland.” —Atlantic Books Today, review by Dr. Jeffrey A. Hutchings, a professor at Dalhousie known internationally for his work on the ecology of fish

“We usually read about the collapse of the northern cod fishery in the language of statistics. Catch levels and quotas tell the broad story of ecological catastrophe. How remarkable, then, to have this perspective reversed. In Cod Collapse, Jennifer Thornhill Verma examines the impact that both cod and cod’s absence have had on a single family – her own.” —David Macfarlane, Author of The Danger Tree and Summer Gone.

“I was born and raised in the heyday of the inshore cod fishery in a small outport in Newfoundland and witnessed first-hand the wreckage caused by the stroke of a pen and the cod moratorium. Cod Collapse is a walk down memory lane for me and shines an illuminating light on the greatest disaster our province has ever endured.” —Alan Doyle, former lead singer of Great Big Sea and author of A Newfoundlander in Canada

“A fascinating story of historical survival, resilience, and—for a younger generation of the province—successful pushback against stereotypes. The interviews with members of several generations create a deeply textured portrait of Newfoundland and Labrador which I wish all Canadians could read.” —Costas Halavrezos, former CBC Maritime Noon host and host of Book Me Podcast

“Why did it happen, how did it hurt the province, and what has developed across Newfoundland and Labrador since? In exploring these questions, Jenn Thornhill Verma has sculpted a family memoir embedded in broader socio-cultural perspectives that range from a capsule history of 15th-century exploration to the practices of present-day fishers where women captain their own enterprises, juggling the requirements of licences and certificates from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Transport Canada and Industry Canada.”—Joan Sullivan for The Telegram, Saltwire Network

“Thornhill Verma’s spectacularly thoughtful and insightful tome on the collapse of the cod industry has just been published to rave reviews. Her first solo exhibition of landscapes depicting the coastlines of NL is taking the art world by storm.” —[EDIT] Magazine

“When you’re descended from fishers, It’s likely you got a mighty tale to tell. Jenn Thornhill Verma—a native of Newfoundland certainly does. . . “Cod Collapse: The Rise and Fall of Newfoundland’s Saltwater Cowboys” is part personal memoir, journalistic inquiry and exploratory narrative. It is evident that, while Verma lives up along in Ottawa, her heart is still embroidered right here in NL . . . Verma is multi-talented—her book cover photo features her own work of art. Cod bless NL’s latest book author—and notwithstanding our ups and downs with this foundation industry, it is still our defining narrative.”—COD “Fish-Proud”

Read the full Atlantic Books Today review (p.24-25)—and check out the cover art and review feature art—also by Jenn Thornhill Verma. Coincidentally, as a graduate of the University of King’s College MFA program in Creative Nonfiction, Jenn Thornhill Verma is profiled in Kim Hick’s feature, So you want to write a book, also in this issue of ABT.)

Read the full review in The Telegram.

Read an excerpt of Cod Collapse in Canadian Geographic.

Read an excerpt of Cod Collapse in The Independent (NL).

Listen to Book Me Podcast (Season 3, Episode 1).

Listen to an interview on CBC NL’s The Broadcast.

Read an interview with the author online with Newfoundland Quarterly.

Cod Collapse made The Hill Times List of 100 Best Canadian Non-fiction Books of 2019 (article is behind a paywall).

Read some tips from the author for longform writing in Great Canadian Longform.


Jenn Thornhill Verma is a journalist and landscape painter from Newfoundland. She holds a Master of Science in Medicine (Memorial University of Newfoundland) and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction (University of King’s College). Her writing has appeared in such publications as Downhome, [EDIT], Explore, Maisonneuve, Newfoundland Quarterly, Reader’s Digest, Saltscapes, The Telegram, and The Independent (NL). In 2019, she was a nominee for Best New Magazine Writer (National Magazine Awards) and Best Profile Article (Atlantic Journalism Awards). Jenn is also a landscape and nature painter, with her works having been featured in galleries in Ontario and Newfoundland as well as in magazines (including as cover art), online and in her book (cover and insert). She is currently represented at Santini Gallery in Ottawa. Jenn has also worked as a non-profit healthcare executive in Ottawa for over a decade. Read more in Jenn’s full bio.



To purchase this book, order through your local bookstore (such as Broken Books in St. John’s, NL; Bookmark Books in Halifax, NS; or Octopus Books in Ottawa, ON). Cod Collapse is also available throughout Atlantic Canada in Chapters/Indigo, Coles, Costco and other places books are sold.

You may also purchase online at Indigo and Amazon (Canada).

*NEW* Cod Collapse will be available in the United States as of April 2020 and is currently available for pre-order at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target, and other places books are sold.

Cod Collapse is also featured in the “On the Ocean” section of Atlantic Books Holiday Gift Guide 2019 along with other fine Atlantic Books for everyone on your holiday gift list.

Bookstores may also order directly from the publisher—Nimbus Publishing’s Fall 2019 Catalogue (and check out the cover art—also by Jenn Thornhill Verma)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s