Writing the Stories of Our Lives: A Memoir Writing Workshop with Marjorie Simmins

Discussions, readings, and lively writing exercises - this workshop covers how to get started, keep on, and finish your memoir, and the choices you have for structure and presentation. As well, we will focus on how to craft stories of beauty and power. Bonus: Participants are encouraged to submit one chapter sample (10 pp) of a work in progress (any genre) for a free, detailed critique. 

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Marjorie Simmins is the author of Coastal Lives, a memoir about living on Canada’s East and West Coasts (Pottersfield Press 2014), and Year of the Horse (PP, 2016). In November 2016, Simmins concluded a cross-country book tour with Year of the Horse, which details her life with horses in British Columbia and Nova Scotia. The book is the first Nova Scotia-published book to “ride the ferries” on BC Ferries fleet.

Raised in Vancouver, Marjorie Simmins now divides her time between BC and NS. She began her twenty-five year career as a freelance journalist in Vancouver, appearing regularly in the Vancouver Sun and writing for several trade magazines. While her primary “beats” focused on commercial and sport fishing, she also published numerous essays and articles in magazines and newspapers across Canada, and in the United States. She won a Gold Medal at the National Magazine Awards, for a personal essay (“Trips from There to Here,” Saturday Night magazine), and another Gold Medal for the best Atlantic Magazine Article, a profile of Shaun Majumder (“To the Manor Born”).

Simmins has written for Canadian Living, Magazines Canada, United Church Observer, Halifax Magazine, Progress, Atlantic Business, and Saltscapes. She has also published in major newspapers from coast to coast, and is a frequent reviewer for The Antigonish Review, Atlantic Books Today, and others. In 2018, she began writing regular feature interviews for The Reporter, the community newspaper in Port Hawkesbury, NS.

Simmins’ most recent anthology contributions are to: Nova Scotia Love Stories, published by Pottersfield Press, 2016; Salt Lines, published by Backalong Books, 2012; and to the bestseller, Untying the Apron: Daughters Remember Mothers of the Fifties, published by Guernica Editions, 2013. In conjunction with Telelvision Isle Madame, in NS, she recently completed audio books for her two titles. She will be writing and narrating a six-part series on memoir writing, to be presented on the community television station in 2018.

Marjorie Simmins has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of British Columbia and a Certificate in Adult Education from Dalhousie University. In 2012, she completed a Research Master of Arts in Literacy Education, focusing on memoir studies, at Mount Saint Vincent University. She teaches memoir writing on both coasts, most recently at the UBC Alumni Centre, and at Thinkers Lodge, Pugwash, NS.

Location: 
2nd floor boardroom, EMM Law Building, 409 Granville Street, Port Hawkesbury, Cape Breton
Price: 
$150.00
Member Price: 
$90.00
Date: 
Saturday, September 8, 2018 - 10:00am to 4:00pm

First Words: Fiction

The Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia is pleased to offer a third session of First Words: Fiction, a nine-week course led by Elaine McCluskey, Sarah Mian and Binnie Brennan. The third session is offered on Monday evenings beginning September 10

As a welcoming space for beginner or emerging writers, First Words: Fiction provides an overview of the craft from several professional perspectives. No prerequisites or pre-existing pieces of writing are necessary for participation in this course.

 

Sarah Mian - September 10, 17, 24

Elaine McCluskey - October 15, 22, 29

Binnie Brennan - November 5, 19, 26

 

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTORS

Binnie Brennan is the award-winning author of three books of fiction, Like Any Other Monday (Gaspereau Press), A Certain Grace: Stories, and Harbour View (Quattro Books). Her short fiction has been published in numerous literary journals. Binnie takes great pleasure in working with emerging writers through workshops and mentorship, both through First Words and the Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program at the WFNS. She lives in Halifax, where she plays the viola with Symphony Nova Scotia.

Elaine McCluskey is the author of three books of short fiction and two novels. One of her stories was a Journey Prize finalist; another placed second in the Fish short story contest in Ireland. All of her books are set in the Maritimes and they have been described as darkly humorous. Elaine’s stories have been published in Canadian literary journals including The Dalhousie Review, The Antigonish Review, Room, The Fiddlehead, Riddle Fence, QWERTY, The Puritan, and Other Voices. She has an MA from Western and now works as the non-fiction editor at Nimbus Publishing.

Sarah Mian's debut novel, When the Saints, received the Jim Connors Dartmouth Book Award, the John & Margaret Savage First Book Award, and was a finalist for the 2016 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. She lives in Queensland, Nova Scotia.

COST

$180 for WFNS members 
$240 for non-members (includes $60 membership)
(Payment plans are available)
(No refunds available after the start of the course)

LOCATION

Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia, 1113 Marginal Road, Halifax

WHEN

Monday, September 10 - Monday, November 26, 7-9 pm (*note: no class on October 1 and October 8 and November 12) 

THE COURSE IS NOW FULL. THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST.

 

Location: 
Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, 1113 Marginal Road, Halifax
Date: 
Monday, September 10, 2018 - 7:00pm to Monday, November 19, 2018 - 7:00pm

Navigating Income Streams for Writers

Independent and hybrid authors face muddy waters when it comes to distribution choices, crowdfunding possibilities, and how best to establish various income streams from our work. How does the money flow in, and then how do we wisely re-invest in marketing and promotion to find our readers? This professional development session, led by experienced author Sherry D. Ramsey, will help you understand and navigate the various income stream possibilities as you dip your oar into independent publishing.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Sherry D. Ramsey is a speculative fiction writer, editor, publisher, creativity addict and self-confessed internet geek. When she's not writing, she makes jewelry, gardens, hones her creative procrastination skills on social media, and consumes far more coffee and chocolate than is likely good for her. Sherry writes for both adults and younger readers, and two of her books have been Amazon category bestsellers. She is a member of the WFNS Writer’s Council, and is also a past Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer of SF Canada, Canada's national association for Speculative Fiction Professionals. She keeps a website at www.sherrydramsey.com

Location: 
The Arts House, 145 Church St., Antigonish
Price: 
$30.00
Member Price: 
$20.00
Date: 
Saturday, October 6, 2018 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm

Bringing Your Literary Non-Fiction Work to Life

What distinguishes a dry collection of facts from a compellingly readable work of narrative non-fiction? Join author and journalism professor Pauline Dakin for a hands-on workshop exploring the use of literary tools and techniques including scene, character, dialogue and telling details to elevate your non-fiction prose. Pauline will draw from her own work as well as her MFA in creative non-fiction.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Pauline Dakin is the bestselling author of Run, Hide, Repeat: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood (Viking/Penguin Random House Canada - 2017) which was named one of the best 100 books of 2017 by The Globe and Mail, and was shortlisted for the BC Book Prize, the Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award, the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award – Non-Fiction.

For many years Pauline was a trusted voice on health and medical issues as the national health reporter for CBC News. Her reporting and documentary work has been recognized with many regional, national and international awards. She is a three-time recipient of fellowships from the National Press Foundation in Washington and is a fellow of the MIT/Knight Science Journalism program on medical evidence in Cambridge, Mass.

She currently teaches journalism at the University of King’s College in Halifax, N.S., Canada.

Pauline is a member of the Writers’ Council of the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia and a member of the board of directors for the Canadian Mental Health Association Halifax-Dartmouth Branch.

Location: 
Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia, 1113 Marginal Road, Halifax
Price: 
$90.00
Member Price: 
$59.00
Date: 
Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - 6:00pm to 9:00pm

Discovering Strangeness: An Exploration of Wild Poetry

“Discovering Strangeness” is an exploration of wild poetry, the unfamiliar and the enticing, the odd and the erratic, the dark, the tangled, the gnarled, and the knotted. We can get lost there, or find a way out. We will use strategies of mapping to think about what we’re writing, and invent forms that suit the dynamics of new work. Through de-familiarizing ourselves with a way of writing we’ve grown comfortable with, splicing other writing into it, and cutting and shaping our work in ways we might not have considered, we can find what we didn’t know we wanted to say.

This course will take place as four two-hour sessions on Saturdays October 13, 20, 27, and November 10 (no course November 3). 

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

(author photo: Kate Waters)

Anne Simpson writes poetry, fiction, and essays. She has published seven books, four of which were Globe and Mail Best 100 Books. Her second book of poetry, Loop (McClelland & Stewart, 2003) won the Griffin Poetry Prize; her fifth collection, Strange Attractor, will be published in 2019. Her third novel, Speechless, will be published the following year. She has been a writer-in-residence in libraries and universities across Canada, most recently at Green College at the University of British Columbia. 

Location: 
St. James United Church, 197 Main St., Antigonish, NS
Price: 
$150.00
Member Price: 
$90.00
Date: 
Repeats every 5 weeks every Saturday until Sat Nov 10 2018 except Sat Nov 03 2018.
Saturday, October 13, 2018 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm

Sweet, Bitter, Sour, Salty: An Introduction to Food Writing

The Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia is pleased to offer an introductory session on the art of food writing with Simon Thibault, author of the cookbook Pantry and Palate: Remembering and Rediscovering Acadian Food

This class will take a look at varoius forms of food writing, from memoirs to cookbooks to journalism. Food writing is more than an exercise in nostalgia; it is a window into places, ideas, context, and stories. 

This introductory session will give members the chance to submit a 250-word sample of their work (due one week before the workshop), which can be presented to the class. (The writing sample component of the class is not mandatory.)

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Simon Thibault is a Halifax-based food writer, journalist, and producer. His work has been featured in The Globe and Mail, Vice, CBC Radio, and the Southern Foodways Alliance. His first book, Pantry and Palate: Remembering and Rediscovering Acadian Food (Nimbus Publishing, 2017), was nominated for the 2018 Regional/Cultural Cookbook of the Year Award by Taste Canada. 


Location: 
Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia, 1113 Marginal Road, Halifax, NS
Price: 
$90.00
Member Price: 
$59.00
Date: 
Saturday, October 13, 2018 - 1:00pm to 4:00pm

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