I believe that good writing needs heart, consciousness, and super-practiced skills. I love short fiction – writing it, reading it, and teaching it. For part of the year, I work on my own writing. For the other part of the year, I work closely with writers to bring insight and innovation to their work. I help people write the kinds of sentences and stories that they want to read.
I’ve been teaching people how to write mindfully since 2001, when I ran my first creative writing workshop out of my living room in Victoria, BC. I started teaching because I wanted to talk about writing as a contemplative craft, and I couldn’t find a writing workshop anywhere that taught me everything that I wanted to learn.
Now I live in Toronto, and I teach locally and abroad. My classes are a unique hybrid of craft and process: not soulful journalling, not pointy criticism. Because I believe that good writing needs much more than that.
I’ve studied with exceptional teachers, including Natalie Goldberg, Lynda Barry and Zsuzsi Gartner, and I work under their influence. I am an alumna of the Humber School for Writers, the Banff Wired Writing Program, and I graduated from the University of British Columbia’s Optional-Residency program with an MFA in Creative Writing.
I wrote a book of stories called This Cake Is for the Party. The book was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Commonwealth Prize for Best First Book in Canada and the Carribean, and it was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor Prize. You can find my stories in The Walrus, Elle Canada, Geist, and The Journey Prize Anthology.
What I do:
1. I help writers who resist writing and then beat themselves up about it. Writers who aren’t writing aren’t happy and healthy. I bring inspiration, calm, excitement and success to writers who need supportive, honest, smart advice about their work.
2. I reinforce the short fiction renaissance: may the form continue to be adored for its elegance and intelligence, and no longer viewed as an unmarketable warm up to novel writing.
3. I make writers work hard. I kick them out of their patterns and grooves, get them to take risks with style and content, help them recognize and eradicate their own clichés, boilerplate story lines, and other less-than-excellent habits. I want to read stories and voices that I’ve never read before.
4. I write. I take time off regularly, go where nobody will find me, and focus on the one thing I need to do the most. And I advise you to do the same. (See #1.)
Contact and other info:
I am represented by Samantha Haywood of Transatlantic Literary Agency.
I’m a Virgo.
I love receiving handwritten letters in the mail. Please send here:
P.O. Box #5 Station C
Toronto ON, M6J 3M7
Email: it’s true, I often feel overwhelmed by it. But if you have something important to ask or share with me, please do use the form below.
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