Read below to see who our headlining authors have been so far this year.
Past Events from 2021
April 8, 2021
World Building Panel
World building is more than just setting up where your story takes place. As a writer, you decide the place in time, and create a landscape for your characters to inhabit. Your world sets the tone of your story, its major preoccupations and themes, as well as the nature of its morality. Let our three panelists answer your questions about how they’ve successfully taken their audience out of this crazy world, and brought them into theirs.
Meeting ID: 890 6181 5837 Passcode: 204587
Gord Grisenthwaite’s stories and poems have appeared in ndncountry, Offset17, The Antigonish Review, ELQ and PRISM International, among others. Some of them have earned prizes and awards, including the 2014 John Kenneth Galbraith Literary Award and the 2007 PRISM International short story prize. His first novel, Home Waltz, is with Palimpsest Press. His short stories are in Exile’s Bawaajigan anthology and the forthcoming Food of My People.
Gord is from Lytton, B.C. is a member of the Lytton First Nation, resides in Kingsville, Ontario. He graduated from the University of Windsor with an M.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing in the spring 2020.
Karen Lee White
Karen Lee White’s work has appeared in Exile’s That Dammed Beaver: Canadian Humour; Laughs and Gaffs anthology; the collection of Indigenous writers Impact, Colonialism in Canada, and literary journals.
White holds the torch brightly as a new and powerful voice, her style and sensibility encompassing the traditional and the contemporary. In The Silence, with the Yukon as a canvas, she engages in a deep empathy for characters, emergent Indigenous identity, and discovery that employs dreams, spirits, songs, and journals as foundations for dialogue between cultures.
Brian Van Norman
With past awards for play writing and short stories, Brian Van Norman is the author of three previous novels: The Betrayal Path (Amazon) and Immortal Water (Guernica Editions) and Against the Machine: Luddites (Guernica Editions). “No book could be more timely. As concern grows daily about the impact of technology on the planet … Jane Austen meets Quentin Tarantino.” review by Alan Brooke.
He is currently at work writing a sequel to Luddites titled Against the Machine: Manifesto. That novel will launch this autumn.
Once a teacher, theatre director and adjudicator, Brian Van Norman left those worlds to travel with his wife, Susan, and take up writing as a full time pursuit. He has journeyed to every continent and sailed nearly every sea on the planet. His base is Waterloo, Ontario, Canada though he is seldom found there.
May 13, 2021
Pacing and Writing Action Scenes Panel
Pacing affects the mood of your story, helps develop ideas and themes, and allows your readers to connect to the characters and the events that surround them. How does a writer determine the speed the story needs, or how quickly to distribute the information needed to move your story along? Join our panelists with your questions to gain their insights and methodologies.
Anna Dowdall‘s first and second mysteries, After the Winter and The Au Pair, have received praise for their evocative Canadian settings and unsettling denouements. Her work has made the long list for the Crime Writers of Canada new novel and US Katherine Paterson prizes. She reads obscure fiction in English and French and thinks Quebec is an under recognized mise en scène for domestic suspense. In April on Paris Street (Guernica, October 2021) murder meets carnivalesque play, against the background of Montreal’s mean streets and the Carnaval de Paris.
Anna was born in Montreal, but has lived all over North America, including the far North. She has worked as a nurse’s aide, translator of pulp fiction, journalist, university teacher, urban shepherd, and the list goes on.
Equipoise is Katie Zdybel‘s first collection of stories, and was produced with the assistance of a Canada Council for the Arts grant. The Critics and Honey Maiden (from this collection) will appear in both Exile’s CVC9 Anthology and EXILE Quarterly, and other stories have been published in The Antigonish Review, Prairie Journal, and (forthcoming) The Malahat Review.
She has an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC, and is also a graduate of the Humber College Creative Writing by Correspondence program. Katie resides in the Blue Mountains region of Ontario.
June 10, 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 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’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.
Cammie McGovern is the author of HARD LANDINGS, a memoir about the transition her oldest son, who has autism, made into adult services. Author of three books for young adults, SAY WHAT YOU WILL, A STEP TOWARD FALLING, and JUST BREATHE, and three books for middle-grade readers, JUST MY LUCK, CHESTER AND GUS, and FRANKIE AND AMELIA, all featuring young people with a variety of disabilities at the center. She has been widely honoured for her work advocating for people with disabilities. Her books have been called “joyful, inspiring and unforgettable,” by Katherine Applegate. In addition to writing for The New York Times, Ladies Home Journal, Redbook, and other magazines, she has also written three adult novels and is one of the proud founders of Whole Children/Milestones, a resource center for children and young adults with disabilities and their families. She lives in Amherst, MA with her husband and three sons.
seeley quest is a trans disabled writer, performer, facilitator, and environmentalist, in Montreal since 2017. Sie was active with the Sins Invalid project 2007-15, and a bookseller twelve years in the San Francisco Bay Area. Hir playscript “Crooked” is in the anthology At the Intersection of Disability and Drama, hir digital game narrative debuted for Canada’s National AccessAbility Week 2020, and work featured in Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times’ Rhubarb Festival 2021. Sie inaugurated a poetry and prose workshop for disabled writers 2021 with the Quebec Writers’ Federation, has blogged for QWF on disabled writing, and has pieces forthcoming in the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, and Canadian Theatre Review. A white person with mixed class, gender, and medicalized experiences since childhood, not on social media, find hir at https://questletters.substack.com
How to Build Suspense
Building the right amount of tension in your novel or short story can be tricky. Do you show the conflict on the opening line? When do you throw in your red herrings and how many is too many? Join our experienced, award winning panelists to discover just what the stakes are for your work.
Trevor Ferguson is the author of sixteen novels and four plays. The latter have been produced in both Montreal and New York. The film of his novel, The Timekeeper, was released in 2009. His thrillers, under the name John Farrow, have received extraordinary acclaim around the world, and are published in twenty-four countries. His most recent novel is Lady Jail (John Farrow, 2021, Severn House/ Canongate, U.K.) He lives in Victoria, BC.
Jessica Hamilton was born in Australia but grew up in Canada. She has lived and worked in the Czech Republic, Taiwan, India and Japan. She studied writing at the Humber School for Writers as well as George Brown College. She lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband, son and daughter. What You Never Knew is her first novel.
Judy Penz Sheluk
A former journalist and magazine editor, Judy Penz Sheluk is the author of two mystery series: the Glass Dolphin Mysteries and the Marketville Mysteries. Her short crime fiction appears in several collections, including The Best Laid Plans and Heartbreaks & Half-truths, which she also edited.
She splits her time between Alliston and Goulais River, Ontario, with her husband, Mike, and their golden retriever, Gibbs.
Creating a Romantic Element: Keeping the Sexual Tension Heated
Writing romance not your thing, but you have to write a scene for your story or book? Join three experienced romance writers for tips on how to make your writing more steamy.
As a teenager, Rosanna Battigelli loved reading historical, suspense, and romance novels, and dreamed of writing for Harlequin one day. She is thrilled that her early dream has come true, with two Harlequin Romances published in 2018 and one in 2020, and two more that will be released in March and July of 2021. Rosanna’s first romance, Swept Away by the Enigmatic Tycoon, is set Parry Sound and Georgian Bay, places she loves to visit. Captivated by Her Italian Boss takes place in Calabria, Italy, where Rosanna was born. Her third book, Caribbean Escape with the Tycoon, is set in the Caribbean and was written after going on a cruise. Rescued by the Guarded Tycoon features the hero’s cousin from the first book and takes place again in Parry Sound with scenes in Toronto. Rescued . . . will be released in March 2021. Rosanna’s fifth book, Falling for the Sardinian Tycoon, is set on a private island off the coast of Sardinia. It will be released in July 2021. The books are available at amazon and Chapters
MJ Moores is a hybrid author who has traditionally e-published 2 non-fiction industry guides and 1 marketing guide. She has completed her self-published Sci-Fi/Fantasy series The Chronicles of Xannia, and now plays in the sandboxs of Romantic Suspense, Steampunk Superheros, and lite Urban Fantasy. Her writing articles have appeared in Authors Publish Magazine, Indyfest Magazine, Easy Writer, and in the Writers Guide: The Writing Spiral published by Sunshine in a Jar Press. MJ taught high school English, was a genre writing coach, freelance writer, and is currently an acquisitions editor for DAOwen Publications. She loves nothing more than helping writers through this crazy journey.
Learn more about here here: http://mjmoores.com
Tracey Richardson is an Essex County girl and University of Windsor graduate who has called Owen Sound, Ont., home for the last 30 years. A now-retired daily newspaper journalist, Tracey is the author of 13 romance novels published by Bella Books. She is a two-time Lambda Literary Awards finalist as well as a first-place Rainbow Romance winner (Romance Writers of America) for contemporary romance. She is also a Word By Word (short story) second-place recipient and a finalist numerous times for the Golden Crown Literary Society. Tracey is a founding member of the Ascribe Writers group in Grey-Bruce. In her spare time, Tracey enjoys spending time with her wife and dogs as well as activities such as hockey, golf and other outdoor pursuits. And reading. Always reading!
Visit her website at www.traceyrichardson.net
January 14, 2021
Ready to give 2020 a hard kick? Start the New Year off with a solid plan to write that book or develop your writing skills. Word Up is changing things up this year. Join us on Zoom for a Panel with three skilled writing instructors and mentors who offer methods to stay motivated and techniques for better writing.
Sherry Coman is a writer, educator and story editor with more than thirty years experience in theatre and film as the author of her own plays, screenplays and fiction and as the consultant on story editing and film production for clients ranging from young new filmmakers, to emerging playwrights and established international film producers. As a playwright, she has been produced in Canada, the US and Great Britain and in 1991 was nominated for the prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn prize.
James Dewar teaches fiction and poetry workshops in Canada and internationally. His short fiction and poetry have been published in several anthologies and literary journals. He edits poetry and prose in a mentorship capacity and enjoys his role as the publisher of Piquant Press. He is currently working on a novel and a new collection of poetry.
James has performed his work live on CBC Radio, on several university radio stations, particularly the HOWL Radio show on CIUT 89.5 FM in Toronto.
He has been producing and hosting the Hot-Sauced Words Poetry Performance Series in Toronto since 2006.
Susan (Deepam) Wadds
Winner of The Writers’ Union of Canada’s 2016 short prose contest, Susan Wadds’ short fiction and poetry have been featured in literary journals and anthologies, including Room and carte blanche magazines. The first two chapters of her novel, “What the Living Do,” won Lazuli Literary Group’s writing contest, and was published in Azure’s winter 2017 issue.
A graduate of the Humber School for Writers, Susan is certified in the Amherst Writers and Artists (AWA) method of writing workshop facilitation. She leads writing workshops and retreats virtually, in Canada, and internationally.