Word Up Online, June 2021

LGBTQ In Writing

We humans categorize each other as a way to describe and assign differences, including differences of race, ethnicity, social class, disability, gender, and sexual orientation. With regard to LGBTQ, we’ll discuss these categories respectfully in terms of who our writers are and how to create well developed characters to avoid perpetuating stereotypes? Join us for an enlightening panel and come with your questions.

Kate Heartfield

Kate Heartfield writes science fiction and fantasy, including the Aurora-winning novel Armed in Her Fashion and the Nebula-shortlisted novella Alice Payne Arrives, along with dozens of stories. She is the author of The Road to Canterbury and The Magician’s Workshop, both of which were shortlisted for the Nebula in game writing. Her next novel is The Embroidered Book, a historical fantasy coming in 2022. A former journalist, Kate lives in Ottawa, Canada.

H. Nigel Thomas

Recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award (2020), H[ubert] Nigel Thomas grew up in St Vincent and the Grenadines but moved to Montreal in 1968. He is the author of 11 books and dozens of essays. His novels Spirits in the Dark and No Safeguards were shortlisted for the Quebec Writers Federation Hugh MacLennan Fiction Prize. Des vies Cassées (the translation of Lives: Whole and Otherwise) was shortlisted for le Prix Carbet des Lycéens. He holds the 2000 Professional of the Year Jackie Robinson Award, the 2013 Université Laval’s Hommage aux créateurs, and the 2020 Black Theatre Workshop’s Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award. The Canadian High Commission to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean States deems him to be one of Canada’s outstanding immigrants from St Vincent and the Grenadines. His books Behind the Face of Winter and Lives: Whole and Otherwise have been translated into French.

In 1988 he began a career as assistant professor of U.S. literature at Université Laval and held the rank of Professeur titulaire when I retired in 2006 to devote himself to writing full-time.


July 8, 2021

Characters with Disabilities in Fiction

If we want our stories to be well-rounded, it’s important to include disability along with other types of diverse characters. Since some of our greatest real life heroes are not able-bodied, like Rick Hanson and Terry Fox, we can aim to develop thoughtful stories that acknowledge and include them. Join our panel to discuss how to best do this with our insightful, award winning authors.

Emma Pivato

Emma Pivato’s mystery novels in the Claire Burke series is an extension of her advocacy work promoting the inclusion of people with severe disabilities into normal society. In this series, the man character, an interior decorator discovers a dead body, and that her severely disabled, wheelchair-bound daughter Jessie forms a bond with the victim’s husband Jimmy, the main suspect.

Shortly before she retired from her professional work as an academic and psychologist (a B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology, an M.A, in Philosophy, and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology) in 2015, she published her first mystery novel and has been writing ever since.

And Along Came Alexis is available in October. Click here to pre-order.

along came alexis, book cover, by emma pivato
Click here to learn more about the author!

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