Writers in CEGEPs
English-Language Writers Eligible for the 2015-2016 Writers in CEGEPs Program
Louise ABBOTT, Non-fiction, documentary screenwriting, photojournalism
Louise Abbott is a non-fiction author, photo essayist, and documentary filmmaker with a special interest in indigenous and rural communities. She has been active in teaching through the Blue Metropolis Foundation’s education programs. She would like to explore one of five themes with CEGEP students: the memoir; the profile; the travel story; breathing life into history as a writer and screenwriter; and marrying text and images. In each case, she would include readings from one of her books, photo essays, or screenplays; a lecture accompanied by stills or excerpts from videos that she has created; and a question-and-answer period.
Mark ABLEY, Poetry, non-fiction and children's literature
Mark Abley has wide experience as a poet, journalist, editor, and author of literary non-fiction. A Rhodes Scholar and a Guggenheim Fellow, he has taught non-fiction courses and workshops for the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Maritime Writers' Workshop, and the Quebec Writers' Federation, and he has given talks at Oxford, Cambridge, Ohio State, Concordia, McGill, Queen's and other universities. His new book of creative non-fiction, Conversations With a Dead Man: The Legacy of Duncan Campbell Scott, appeared in the fall of 2013 from Douglas & McIntyre. In 2015 Coteau Books will publish The Tongues of Earth: New and Selected Poems. In a classroom setting Mark is ready to use different approaches, according to a particular teacher's needs, but in general he prefers an interactive style rather than a lecture format.
Marianne ACKERMAN, Novel and playwriting
Philip AMSEL, Poetry and literature of community involvement
Philip Amsel has used the form of the chapbook since the early 90s to make poetry accessible to the common reader. Having edited publications for low-income readers, Philip is now publishing a series of his own work in chapbook form, because it is easy to create and distribute. In the classroom, he will share the concepts, techniques and problems of distribution of this literary form.
Anita ANAND, Fiction
Anita Anand is an experienced teacher and the author of Swing in the House and Other Stories (Véhicule Press, 2015). In collaboration with the class instructor, she would like to lead a workshop in which students write from prompts. She plans on sharing her trick to writing a story with emotional resonance. Emphasis will be put on the creation of a safe, fun, non-judgmental atmosphere in which writer’s block magically disappears.
Robert ASTLE, Drama and improv
Catherine AUSTEN, Children’s and young adult literature
Catherine Austen is an award-winning author of books for children and teens, including All Good Children (Orca Book Publishers), which won the 2012 Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book Award. Catherine uses dramatic readings, humourous slides, and personal anecdotes to enliven her school visits. She can tailor her CEGEP visit to the interests of the class or bring a polished presentation on “Writing and Reading Dystopian Fiction.” She also offers writing workshops, using a series of short exercises to lead students through the writing and revision of one fictional scene. catherineausten.com
Oana AVASILICHIOAEI, Poetry, translation, performance
Oana Avasilichioaei’s books include We, Beasts (2012, winner of the QWF’s A. M. Klein Prize for Poetry), Expeditions of a Chimæra (co-written with Erín Moure, 2009), and feria: a poempark (2008). She has translated Occupational Sickness (Romanian poet Nichita Stănescu, 2006), The Islands (Quebecois poet Louise Cotnoir, 2011), and most recently Wigrum (Quebecois writer Daniel Canty). Recent projects include writing a series on Canadian experimental poetry for Jacket2, “The Mapping Issue” (co-edited with Kathleen Brown for Dandelion Magazine, Calgary, 2011), and editing a feature section of Quebec poetry in translation (Aufgabe, New York, 2013). Some of her sound and collaborative work can be found on PennSound.
Michelle BARKER, Personal journalism
Michelle Barker has won a National Magazine Award for her non-fiction work. She has published mostly non-fiction and poetry, with a little bit of short fiction on the side. Michelle's classroom experience involves leading small workshops with experienced writers in the Eastern Townships area. Generally, Michelle uses creative prompts to generate new work within the workshop itself, rather than lecturing on any singular aspect of writing.
Janice BENTHIN, Documentary film and scriptwriting
Maxianne BERGER, Poetry
Maxianne Berger is a poet who writes in form as well as free verse—everything from haiku to OuLiPo "experiments" with a peppering of calque, parody and palimpsest—she uses PowerPoint to show, in particular, how poetry is constructed and revised.
Darren BIFFORD, Poetry
Darren Bifford is the author of Wedding in Fire Country (Nightwood Editions, 2012) and Wolf Hunter (Cactus Press, 2010). His poems and reviews have been published in a variety of Canadian journals and magazines. His graduate training is in philosophy, where he worked on metaphilosophy and aesthetics. He currently teaches Humanities at Champlain College. Darren's CEGEP workshops include discussions about poetics and the history of poetry as well as practical workshops in poetic composition and appreciation.
Seymour BLICKER, Fiction, playwriting, screenwriting
Seymour Blicker is the author of three acclaimed novels and a playwright whose plays have been produced in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. He has written for various television series, most notably, "The Barney Miller Show," and penned numerous screenplays including "The Kid." He has worked as a film consultant and as a script analyst for Telefilm, Sodec, the Ontario Film Development Corporation, and The Harold Greenberg Fund. From 1978 to 1990 he was a special lecturer in fiction writing at Concordia University. He can discuss key aspects of writing a novel, play, or screenplay and is open to answering questions about his development as a writer and the writing process in general.
Asa BOXER, Poetry
Asa Boxer’s debut book The Mechanical Bird won the Canadian Author’s Association Prize for Poetry, and his second collection Skullduggery was nominated for the QWF A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry. Boxer’s poems have appeared in literary journals and anthologies internationally. He is also founder and director of the prestigious Montreal International Poetry Prize montrealprize.com. Boxer’s poems range over many subjects, including nature, animals, the ocean, urban life, work, travel, craftsmanship, clock-making, history, war, mendacity, and love. His work is also rich in thematic content, having an especial preoccupation with the nature of authenticity. Boxer has experience teaching CEGEP. He has also led discussions and presented his poetry to numerous classes in both CEGEPs and universities. Boxer is ready to discuss both the craft of poetry and what a career in the arts entails, helping students gain a sense of how poetry works and moves in the world.
Kit BRENNAN, Playwright
Ami Sands BRODOFF, Novel, short story and memoir
Ami Sands Brodoff writes about characters on the edge. She believes extremity puts our truest, deepest selves into sharp relief. She cares a great deal about story in the classic sense, an enveloping yarn that draws readers in and won't let go. When she visits a CEGEP, Ami does a short reading, runs a writing workshop utilizing catalysts to get students' creative juices flowing, and always includes a lively Q&A and discussion period. Ami often talks about where stories come from and her life as an author today.
Roma Gelblum BROSS, Short story
Brian CAMPBELL, Poetry
Brian Campbell is a teacher, translator, musician, songwriter and poet. As a multi-disciplinary artist, he’s open to working within many classroom styles and teaching methods. His workshops introduce the musicality of poetic forms played with guitar. Rhyme and rhythm are easily detected in music, leading to how poems mean. Using poems appropriate to the CEGEP level, he leads students through a brief writing session too. His work has been published widely and he was a finalist for the 2006 CBC Literary Award for Poetry. His collections include Passenger Flight (2009) and Guatemala and Other Poems (1994).
Michael CARIN, Fiction and non-fiction
Michael Carin was Editor-in-Chief of Montreal Business Magazine for twelve years. He is the author of two novels and a non-fiction work about the Holocaust. At present he is a freelance practitioner of corporate communications and investor relations.
Ann CHARNEY, Novel, short story, essay and creative non-fiction
Ann Charney writes both fiction and non-fiction. Her work has been published in Canada, the US, France, Germany and Italy. Ann has led seminars in creative writing and journalism and has presented her work in schools, libraries, literary festivals and book clubs.
Melinda COCHRANE, Fiction, toung adult literature, memoir, non-fiction, publishing, editing, and radio programming
Melinda Cochrane is a writer, poet, editor, teacher, radio host and publisher. Her published works include, She’s An Island Poet, The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat, Desperate Freedom (best seller), and The Fired Heart. She’s published work in The Art of Poetic Inquiry, In Memory And in Ink, Life as a Human, Young Men’s Perspective Magazine, Shannon Grissom’s magazine and Quills literary poetry journal. She received The Mary Belle Campbell scholarship for poetry from the North Carolina Writer’s Network. A winner of the summer Malahat Review weekly monostich contest and a long list winner for the Fermoy International Poetry Contest, Melinda is also the editor of Perspective Poetry Magazine. There are three components in her workshop: memoir writing, writing for social justice, and experimental poetry.
Melinda can be heard on Young Men’s Perspective Radio; her recent interviews include Dr. Maya Angelou, Gina Nemo and Ester Nicholoson. She is also the owner of De Cochrane, Melinda/Melinda Cochrane International.
Judith COWAN, Short story
Judith Cowan, in class, usually reads all or part of a published story that has already been handed out by the teacher to the students, and answers their questions about it. She then gives them a general discussion of the enterprise of writing itself, with advice for those who want to write, examining how to begin and what to do with a story (or poem, or memoir) and when they're ready to publish it somewhere. Following that, Judith reads them something short of her own authoring (and funny if she has anything funny) which has not yet been published.
Colleen CURRAN, Plays and novel
Colleen Curran is a playwright, novelist, actor and teacher. Her best known play is the comedy CAKE-WALK. Colleen can help you Learn How To Write a Play or a Novel; get you 'started.' It will be funny, improvisational, and creative. If all goes well, students can build characters, write a scene, or even a very short play AND see it performed in the same workshop.
Laura DAVIS, Fiction and novel
Laura Davis has been a teacher for 8 years, teaching every level, including adults. Presently, Laura teaches three English courses at the College de Shawinigan. Also a fiction writer, Laura's latest book is 3015 in the genre of science fiction. She is also a researcher and is presently the sociological consultant for a research project in the Mauricie.
Marci DENESIUK, Fiction and short story
Marci Denesiuk's collection of short stories, The Far Away Home (NeWest Press, 2005), was named co-winner of the Quebec Writers' Federation McAuslan First Book Award in 2005, with jurors calling it "beautifully written, by understatement and indirection creating powerful moments of recognition." She has been a guest lecturer in many university and college classes. Marci has produced a claymation film that she shows to accompany the reading of her story "Two Feet in Texas." She has her M.A. in Creative Writing from Concordia University and has taught creative writing at Seneca College, composition at Concordia, and children's literature at UQAM.
Ann DIAMOND, Novel and short story
Ann Diamond is an award-winning Montreal writer of fiction and poetry, whose book A Nun's Diary became the basis for a play by Robert Lepage and the subject of an NFB documentary. Her most recent novel is My Cold War, a story of growing up in Quebec at a particularly secretive time in the history of North America.
Peter DUBÉ, Novel, short story, and essay
Peter Dubé is a writer of fiction and non-fiction, most often about people trying to live conscious and creative lives on the margins of society. He is the author/editor of three books: Hovering World, a novel, At the Bottom of the Sky, a collection of linked short stories, and Madder Love, an anthology. His workshops generally involve a short reading, followed by a question and answer period or an informal talk about the creative process and/or writing and the writing life. They may also include short writing and creativity exercises.
Monique DYKSTRA, Photographic essays
Lorne ELLIOTT, Novel, playwriting and storytelling
Humorist, storyteller, musician, playwright and novelist Lorne Elliott creates and produces stage performances which he tours across Canada and abroad. He hosted the CBC Radio Comedy Series Madly Off In All Directions for 11 seasons. His plays have been produced by various Canadian theatres; the newest, Jamie Rowsell Lives, received the 2012 Playwrights Guild of Canada Musical Play award. His first novel, Beach Reading, was a finalist for the QWF’s 2013 Paragraphe Hugh McLennan Prize for Fiction. His latest novel, The Goat in the Tree, was featured at the 2014 Blue Metropolis Festival.
His CEGEP workshop includes readings from his novels and plays and discussion of the writing process for the page and for the stage: the challenges and what informs the two mediums. He welcomes interaction with the students and will engage them in discussion of their own reading choices: what they are looking for when they select their reading material and why. lorne-elliott.com.
Alex EPSTEIN, Fiction, screenwriting, and TV writing
Alex Epstein is a professional screenwriter (Bon Cop/Bad Cop, Naked Josh), blogger and author. His critically acclaimed Young Adult first novel, The Circle Cast: The Lost Years of Morgan le Fay, unfolds a mystery from the heart of the King Arthur legend: how Arthur's half sister, exiled and fatherless, grew up to be the most powerful sorceress of her generation — in a time when Roman civilization was being pushed out by Saxon barbarians and Christianity was spreading through a still-pagan land.
Alex is available to do a day of lectures and reading about The Circle Cast, and its place in the ever-evolving legend of King Arthur, as well as the history and culture of the end of Roman Britain. He'll talk about the King Arthur legend in movies (Excalibur, King Arthur, The Sword in the Stone), and TV shows (Camelot, The Mists of Avalon), as well as other Arthurian books, and discuss issues of memes and myths, including why a myth is a story that stays true, and why the King Arthur story still hits home after 1500 years.
Endre FARKAS, Poetry and drama
Louise FABIANI, Poetry, science writing, and fiction
Louise Fabiani writes about and teaches the environment through poetry, fiction, and nonfiction/journalism. Her poems, reviews, essays and articles have appeared in The Globe and Mail, Seed magazine, the Montreal Gazette, and the Toronto Star, among other periodicals. The Green Alembic, a book of poetry, was published by Signal Editions. Workshops consist of doing exercises to increase awareness of the natural environment, exploring representations of nature in fiction and non-fiction, and writing the personal essay as "storytelling in the service of the wild."
Bonnie FARMER, Children's literature and picture books
Bonnie Farmer has writen four children's books. Two of thsee, Isaac's Dreamcatcher (2001) and ABC Letters in the Library (2005), were Canadian Children's Book Centre's (CCBC) choice books. Her latest children's book, English Express, was released in 2010 by Guerin. In 2012, shoe coordinated CCBC's Children's Book Week Week (Quebec Region), and for three consecutive years, she judged new books for CCBC's BEST BOOKS. As well as being a children's author, she is also an elementary school teacher and a playwright. Miss Farmer's most recent play, "Gollywog", was showcased by Montreal's Black Theatre Workshop in their Discovery Series in February 2012. She is also a playwright with the current Montreal Playwright's Workshop Unit (2013) under the dramaturgy of Lois Brown.
Ian FERRIER, Poetry and performance artist
Ian Ferrier specializes in poetry and literature in performance. He presents and discusses literature as a spoken medium, often involving young writers in presenting their own work to an audience. He likes to look at how language and literature are rooted in a writer's voice.
Jon Paul FIORENTINO, Poetry
Nick FONDA, Fiction and non-fiction
Nick Fonda has tried his hand at several trades and occupations between stints in Quebec’s public schools, where he taught almost everything from Kindergarten to Grade 11 English Literature. As a journalist, he has been recognized by the Quebec Community Newspaper Association, winning a number of awards for stories in areas as diversified as sports and business. He has published both non-fiction, Roads to Richmond, portraits of the Eastern Townships (2010), and fiction, Principals and Other Schoolyard Bullies (2011). He would prefer to consult directly with CEGEP teachers to ensure that his presentation is appropriate and thought-provoking for the class in question.
Tess FRAGOULIS, Short story
Joel FISHBANE, Playwrighting, fiction
Joel Fishbane is an award winning author of fiction, theatre and non-fiction. His fiction has been published in literary journals both in Canada and the United States, while his plays have been produced in Canada, the US and the United Kingdom. He is the recipient of a Creation Grant from the Canada Council for the Arts and a Research and Creation Grant from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Quebec. His playwrighting or fiction workshops generally involve a basic discussion of the fundamentals of the genre with writing exercises designed to help students focus on a specific key area, such as dialogue or character development. A longer workshop may also involve a practical look at the business of being a writer including literary markets, crafting a query letter and the author – agent relationship. For a full list of publications or for more information, please visit joelfishbane.com.
Anna FUERSTENBERG, Drama
Anna Fuerstenberg has worked as a theatre director, playwright, dramaturg and teacher in Montreal and Toronto, in addition to producing and publishing plays and film scripts. In the classroom, Anna particularly likes to teach whatever the faculty needs, using theatre to facilitate current readings and discussion.
Susan GABORI, Creative non-fiction and essay
Veena GOKHALE, Indo-Canadian Fiction, Short Story
Veena Gokhale is an Indo-Canadian author and consultant. In the classroom, she will introduce stories from her book, Bombay Wali and other stories (Guernica Editions, Spring 2013). "Bombay Wali" means a woman from Bombay. Often featuring protagonists who are students and young professionals, female and male, the stories create a portrait of urban, contemporary India – diverse, complex, compelling. Veena would plan her presentation/discussion after talking with the teacher, and show illustrative photos as well. She is an experienced presenter. Her aim: get students to reflect on the lives of the characters, while also reflecting on their own.
Marcia Rajnus GOLDBERG, Poetry
Marcia Rajnus Goldberg is a poet and was an English teacher at Vanier College, a CEGEP in Montreal (St. Laurent), who has published five chapbooks of poetry (Still in Song, Waking/Seasons (with Judith Yarnall), Hot Teas, Kill Devil. Hills and Greetings for a Golden Age) as well as a collection of poems called In Mud Season (Empyreal Press, 1999). Most recently she is working on a body of poems centered around memories of marathon and champion swimmers, especially Florence Chadwick, called The Chadwick Cycle. She is currently at work on compiling her collected works. The astonishing power of the metaphor to attract the mind and stretch it for good use has been a constant motivation in this writer's work. She has given and attended creative writing workshops, taught courses in writing short stories and poetry, hosted and presented readings across the US and eastern Canada, and recorded her work for radio.
Joanna GOSSE, Fiction and journal writing
Laurie GOUGH, Travel Writing, Creative Non-Fiction
Laurie Gough is an award-winning author of travel memoirs as well as a freelance travel writer for magazines and newspapers. A former high school teacher, she now gives travel writing workshops to teens and adults. In the workshops, students will learn how to bring their travels alive by writing about them, discovering that to be an effective travel writer, they must lead the reader into the wonder of the place they’re describing, always remembering that their experience can only be conveyed through concrete details. We’ll do lots of fun and inspiring writing exercises, discuss opportunities for travel writing as a career, and ways to get started no matter your age.
Joseph GRAHAM, Regional history and journalism
Joseph Graham loves to share and learn in both English and French, when he is not raising chickens and bees, or gardening. He has spoken many times on Laurentian history and is often consulted on the subject. He would like to share, in an environment of open discussion, how writing can help students find their own voice and place in the world.
Derek GROUT, Historical non-fiction
Katia GRUBISIC, Poetry
Katia Grubisic is a writer, editor and translator. Her work has appeared in various Canadian and international publications, and her collection of poems What if red ran out won the Gerald Lampert award for best first book. Her approaches in the classroom range depending on curriculum, theme and level, hinging on exercises to spark writing and to develop the possibilities of editing.
Alexandria HABER, Playwrighting
Alexandria Haber has written plays, radio dramas and short stories. Alex would be happy to offer either a reading/discussion visit during which she would read short excerpts from her work followed by a question and answer/ discussion period or a creative writing workshop visit focusing on how to get started writing, how to create characters and where ideas can come from. She is also happy to combine the two.
Aurian HALLER, Poetry and Songwriting
Poet and singer-songwriter, Aurian Haller has published in Canada and abroad. His book, A Dream of Sulphur, was published in 2000, and his second book, Song of The Taxidermist, was published in 2011. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing and has taught Creative Writing workshops in elementary schools, high schools, and CEGEPs in British Columbia and Quebec. He has taught for the Quebec Writers' Federation Mentorship program. With his band, The Aurian Haller Band, Haller has released two albums, Normal Town (2011) and The Dark Room (2013). He offers workshops in poetry, dub poetry (using loops stations and mics), and songwriting.
Michael HARRIS, Poetry
Michael Harris has written six books of poetry and published a number of short stories and essays. He has taught literature, poetry and Creative Writing for 30 years, and now runs Montreal Books Press and publishes poetry broadsides and chapbooks. Michael also runs montrealbooks.com, a rare and used books internet bookshop.
David HOMEL, Novel and translation
David Homel's goal is to help students understand where stories come from, in order that they may begin finding their own. He begins with the openings of two or three of his own novels, and branches out from there. David has found that this approach works, since it mixes specific and general issues about writing and the elements of narration.
Debbie HOWLETT, Short story and novel
Linda KAY, Memoir and journalism
Linda Kay's memoir, The Reading List, documents her fateful meeting with famed author Nelson Algren and accused killer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter at the beginning of her journalism career. For CEGEP students, Kay, now a professor of journalism at Concordia, would either lecture on the history, versatility and controversy surrounding the memoir format, or give a workshop on writing a piece of narrative non-fiction suitable for a newspaper or magazine.
Catherine KIDD, Spoken word performance artist
Catherine Kidd is author of the novel Missing the Ark and poetry collections Sea Peach and Bipolar Bear. Sea Peach is also a critically-acclaimed solo show, which toured to such festival venues as the Spier Arts Poetry Festival in Cape Town, South Africa, Yellowknife Storytelling Festival, Singapore's Esplanade on the Bay, and Toronto Harbourfront's World Stage. A graduate of Concordia University's MA program in Writing, Catherine has taught Prose Fiction at Concordia, as well as workshops through QWF and Métropolis Bleu. Her writing has appeared in P.E.N. International, Matrix, and The Journey Prize Anthology. Her new solo performance Hyena Subpoena was launched in Fall 2011 in Montreal.
Nancy KILPATRICK, Novel and short story, dark fantasy, urban fantasy, horror and mystery
Nancy Kilpatrick has published 18 novels (The Power of the Blood vampire series included), about 200 short stories, 6 collections of her short fiction and 1 non-fiction book, The Goth Bible. She has edited 13 anthologies, the most recent, Danse Macabre, which won the Paris Book Festival's award for Best Anthology of the year. Her anthologies always include Quebec writers as well as best-selling international authors. She writes and edits in the genres of dark fantasy, fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery and has won numerous awards for her work. She has taught writing at George Brown College for 20 years (10 on the Internet for the Distance Ed program), as well as courses for Writers on the Net; Coursebridge; and private writing and editing courses, and has lectured at various schools and conferences, including a talk at UCLA on vampires. She would be happy to provide an outline of a program for your school.
Mark LAVORATO, Novel, short story, and poetry
Mark Lavorato's short fiction and poetry is widely published. In addition, he has published two novels (Veracity, and Believing Cedric), and a poetry collection (Wayworn Wooden Floors). Mark has spent many years as an ESL teacher and can adapt easily into any classroom setting. He gives dynamic workshops on writing poetry; writing fiction (short and book-length); and on the hurdles of the writing process and industry, as well as ways to get beyond them. He is particularly open to collaborating with teachers to ensure readings and themes will produce the highest impact for the students.
Day's LEE, Children's literature and short story
Day’s Lee is a freelance journalist as well as the author of short stories and the children’s picture book The Fragrant Garden (2005) which was named "Our Choice" by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre in 2007. Using an audio-visual presentation, Day’s delves into Canada’s head tax period and her parents’ immigration experience to discuss where she get ideas for stories, and shows the process of how a picture book is edited after it is accepted for publication.
Linda LEITH, Novel
Linda Leith is a novelist and writer of literary non-fiction with extensive classroom experience teaching English. Her most recent books are The Desert Lake (2007), a novel set in China, and Marrying Hungary (2008), a memoir. Linda is also president of Blue Metropolis Foundation and founder and artistic director of the annual Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival. In the classroom she combines a reading of short excerpts from her work with a discussion of how she became a writer.
Elizabeth LENIHAN, Detective fiction and mystery
Angela LEUCK, Poetry and haiku
Angela Leuck is Canada's leading authority on English-language haiku and tanka. Through her numerous workshops and readings, she has inspired many to explore their creativity through these unique short poetry forms. An award-winning poet, she has edited numerous anthologies and is the author of Flower Heart (Blue Ginkgo Press, 2006).
Anna LEVENTHAL, Fiction
Anna Leventhal is an award-winning writer of short fiction. Her first collection, Sweet Affliction, was published in 2014 and has been called "a joy to read" by The Globe and Mail. Her stories revolve around characters with strong, unique narrative voices, and use humour and tone to convey a fresh perspective. She believes everyone has a distinct voice and style, and she works with students to help develop and express theirs. Her workshops are based around character development and working with the student’s own unique set of experiences to build a strong narrative voice. In the classroom, she aims to generate a comfortable, exciting atmosphere where students can feel free to ask questions, express themselves, and enjoy the process of writing. She is also available for readings and lectures on writing and the creative process.
Sarah LOLLEY, Personal essays, travel writing, medical and health features
Sarah Lolley has travelled through 34 countries on five continents, and spent time living in France, Jamaica, Scotland, and Australia, but calls Montreal home. She specializes in three kinds of professional writing. Her witty and insightful personal essays (which are mostly about relationships and self-discovery) have appeared in The Globe and Mail, ELLE Canada, and the Toronto Star. Her travel writing (features and essays) has appeared in The Globe and Mail, Reader’s Digest, up! magazine, and Doctor’s Review, and Sarah serves as the Montreal City Specialist for up! magazine on-line. Sarah has also put her education in biology and biopsychology (Queen’s University) and Biomedical Ethics (McGill University) to good use as a medical writer, reporting on international medical conferences and writing continuing medical education programs for health care professionals.
Neale MCDEVITT, Fiction
Neale McDevitt's 2002 collection of short stories won the QWF McAuslan First Book Prize—a far cry from his days as a lunk on the Canadian Weightlifting Team. Neale has taught composition at Concordia and has led short story workshops at the QWF.
Carmelita MCGRATH, Poetry, fiction, non-fiction
Carmelita McGrath is the author of 10 books, including the award-winning collections Escape Velocity (poetry) and Stranger Things Have Happened (short story). She also works as a freelance writer, researcher and editor for everything from anthologies to film scripts to websites. Carmelita can tailor a workshop to the specific interests of any group. Her primary focus is on demystifying the writing process through modelling techniques and hands-on exercises that allow students to explore what happens from concept to completion, with emphasis on revision as a creative process. Her workshops can be structured to fit a variety of time frames. Students are invited to bring their ideas, drafts and source materials. Carmelita has years of experience as a classroom teacher, visiting artist and workshop leader.
Donald McGRATH, Poetry
Donald McGrath has published two books of poetry: At First Light (Wolsak & Wynn, 1995) and The Port Inventory (Cormorant Books, 2012). In addition, his work has appeared in journals and periodicals throughout Canada and abroad. His poem Biarritz was selected for the Longlist Anthology of the first Montreal International Poetry Prize competition, available online at: montrealprize.com/anthologies/longlist-anthology. Donald has translated work by Mallarmé and Verlaine, as well as critical essays on visual art. He has worked at a variety of blue- and white-collar jobs, ranging from longshoreman, waiter and factory worker to translator at Québec’s Ministère de l’Éducation, where he has acquired a thorough understanding of the secondary school curriculum that prepares students for CEGEP. He prefers to develop workshop ideas in conjunction with teachers, but sample themes could include poetry’s relevance in a world of hypermedia, the visions embodied in literary treatments of rural and urban life, etc.
Neil MCKENTY, Biography and memoir
Elise MOSER, Fiction, young adult literature
Elise Moser has published short stories in several genres, an adult novel and a YA novel. She’s edited anthologies and led writing workshops. She can read from her work and discuss various themes and content depending on the needs of the class, discuss becoming a writer, or work with the teacher to design activities around a subject of interest, class-related or other. For example, her YA novel Lily and Taylor discusses dating violence; the story “Sand Hill” is about a girl who becomes a crane. Issues to be considered could include genre, appropriation of voice, originality, the urban environment as setting, or how different points of view can help us think critically and compassionately about ideas such as gender, sexuality, animal-human relations, family life. She can lead exercises to get kids writing, workshop students’ writing with them in a group, or discuss their writing with them in individual meetings.
Jill MURRAY, Young adult fiction
Highly recommended by the Canadian Review of Materials, hailed by the Montreal Review of Books as a "YA novel with substance and style," and welcomed by Quill & Quire as a "hugely refreshing" urban tale, Jill Murray's Break On Through chronicles the struggles of b-girl Nadine "Lady 6Sky" Durant to make a name for herself and break dancing in the soulless suburb her parents choose as their new home. Jill's audio-visual presentations explore the writing process and the cultural history of hip hop, and can include a breakdance demo where appropriate.
Akhtar NARAGHI, Short story
Akhtar Naraghi's stories present a picture of the struggle for personal identity against obstacles of national, politics and cultural prejudice. Her work tackles complex issues with simple language. With a Ph.D. in English and expertise in literary theories, Akhtar tries to read the stories, analyze their issues, and the concepts behind them in simple and understandable language.
Dimitri NASRALLAH, Fiction
Dimitri Nasrallah is the author of Blackbodying (DC Books, 2005), the debut novel that garnered international acclaim and co-won the 2005 Quebec Writers' Federation McAuslan First Book Award. Nasrallah's writings have been noted for their insightful and original outlooks, in both content and style, on the migrant narrative. His subject, an exiled Lebanese citizenry who experiences the world while awaiting a resolution to conflicts that may never end, is especially potent in the context of contemporary emigration, and is no doubt relevant to the lives of Montreal's multicultural student body.
Elaine Kalman NAVES, Essay and creative non-fiction
Elaine Kalman Naves is an award-winning literary journalist and author of five books. She has covered the Montreal literary scene (both French and English) over the course of many years. Her experience in the classroom includes lecturing and readings from her books (the two most popular ones are memoirs that touch on the Holocaust). Elaine also gives inspirational talks about the life of the writer which help students realize that it is possible to pursue a career in the arts.
Norman NAWROCKI, Documentary/realist fiction, poetry, spoken word, short stories, theatre, song
Norman Nawrocki is an author of seven books of poetry and short stories in English, French and Italian. He is also a veteran multi-disciplinary cabaret artist/actor/musician/producer and educator who tours the world. He has visited almost every post-secondary institution in Canada performing or giving workshops. His specialty: exploring the boundaries of reality around social issues. He will research real life events, places and characters and transform them into ‘art’ using different genres. In class, he performs examples of his work and discusses his creative process. He teaches part-time at Concordia.
Sharon NELSON, Poetry
Heather PATERSON, Playwright
Susan PINKER, Non-fiction
Susan Pinker is a clinical psychologist and national newspaper columnist whose recent book, The Sexual Paradox, combines science writing with memoir. The book won the 2009 William James Book Award for providing "coherence to the diverse subject matter of psychology" and has been translated into 16 languages. In the classroom Susan intends to combine a short reading with writing exercises and discussion. You can read more about Susan and her work at susanpinker.com.
Shelagh PLUNKETT, Memoir, literary non-fiction, travel writing
Shelagh Plunkett’s first book will be launched by Penguin Canada in August 2013. A work of literary non-fiction, it tells of her adolescence spent living in Guyana, South America soon after that country gained independence and includes an account of her time in Timor, Indonesia during the Indonesian invasion. Shelagh has won the CBC Literary Award for creative non-fiction and been shortlisted for the award twice. Her work has been published in a number of national journals including The Walrus, enRoute, and Geist.
Bringing the personal to her creative non-fiction work is one of Shelagh’s strengths. Her work utilizes the tools of fiction (character development, dialogue, narrative arc, plot and theme) to tell stories that happen to be factual and that illuminate universal human truths. Insight into these skills, how to access them within oneself and how to put them to effective use in one’s writing, are some of the things that Shelagh would bring to any workshops, discussions or lectures she might present to CEGEP students. shelaghplunkett.wordpress.com
Monique POLAK, Children's and young adult literature
Monique Polak is the author of four novels for young adults, as well as an active freelance journalist and longtime CEGEP teacher. She uses her own work as a springboard to encourage students to pursue their writing dreams. Monique's classroom activities include reading from her work, as well as exercises to develop character, plot, dialogue and setting.
Lewis J. POTEET, Origins of words, structure of English, dialect
Lewis J. Poteet's expertise is mainly in slang, vernacular language, and graffiti. In addition to writing fifteen books, he was the Canadian contributor to the forthcoming Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional Language. His classroom presentation may be tailored to English or French CEGEP students (though it is in English, he includes some Quebecois references), and involves principles of slang formation and usage, examples, etc. He can also do a storytelling session with tales from Nova Scotia and Quebec.
Byron REMPEL, Novel
Byron Rempel has published a novel and autobiography, and edited or contributed to school textbooks concerning the history, geography and environment of Belize. His last book was a finalist for the Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-Fiction, and was also named among the Globe and Mail's "Books of the Year" for 2006. His specialty is in using humour in any kind of writing, while still mining for soul and poignancy. He has experience as a guest lecturer at universities and workshops, and has frequently "appeared" as a guest on radio.
Peter RICHARDSON, Poetry
Howard RICHLER, Essay and word history
Howard Richler tries to communicate to students of all ages that language is a fun-filled activity. He starts of all his lectures by presenting some word puzzles. Depending on the level, his subjects include topics such as how words are created, the French nature of English and how people try to manipulate language.
Laura RIETVELD, Documentary film writer and director
Laura Rietveld is an award-winning emerging documentary film writer and director. In 2015, her first documentary, Okpik’s Dream, aired on CBC, was bestowed Grand Prix, Rigoberta Menchú Award at the Montreal First Peoples Festival, Honourable Mention at the Innsbruck Nature Film Festival in Austria, and will be included in Québec Cinéma's school program.
In 2010, Laura made the most difficult decision of her professional life: to resign from her corporate career to become a writer. Completing a QWF workshop, "The Art of Documentary Writing," helped to turn a dream into reality. By sharing her life experiences, particularly the decision to make dramatic change and learn a craft with little formal education, Laura hopes to encourage students to believe in themselves. Through written and documentary screening exercises, students learn to translate their own personal narratives into film, hone their storytelling skills, and build a solid understanding of documentary writing.
Jay Winston RITCHIE, Poetry
Jay Winston Ritchie is a poet. His debut chapbook How to Appear Perfectly Indifferent While Crying on the Inside (Metatron, 2014) was a bestseller at Montreal’s Drawn & Quarterly, which called it “A collection that will be enjoyed by everyone, fans of poetry or not.” He uses pop culture, emotional intensity, humour, and personal experience to construct relatable contemporary poems. His workshop introduces the essential tools for writing poetry through a step-by-step participatory exercise. This exercise teaches techniques like voice, enjambment, multivalence, form, rhythm, cadence, meter, metaphor, and how to edit. He believes that by breaking poetry down into its component parts, writers will be able to express themselves more effectively. He is also available for readings.
Raquel RIVERA, Children's and young adult literature, fiction and non-fiction
Raquel Rivera is a writer, editor, and children’s book author who uses children’s literature as a lens for looking at creative writing. Workshops analyze current and classic stories, and use samples of her own work to discuss process and share experiences as a working writer. Raquel offers two workshops for CEGEP students and is also always pleased to develop a new workshop for a particular group. All workshops emphasize class participation.
In The Dark: Fear and Hurt in Children’s Literature
Examines primal fears and dark events in children’s literature, and how this might be applied to all kinds of creative writing.
Read, See, Touch, Taste: Why Everyone Should Read Picture Books
The best work in picture books offers illuminating lessons for aspiring writers of any genre. This workshop is appropriate for creative writing, art/design, and communications courses.
Gina ROITMAN, Writing, editing; fiction, non-fiction
Gina Roitman is an author, poet, and book reviewer, whose work explores the search for identity and place. Her objective is to inspire students to explore their roots to give them context and perspective. Her book of nine linked short stories follows a young immigrant girl in Montreal from childhood to maturity. In her documentary film, Gina chases down a story she thought her mother recounted to frighten her as a child but that turns out to be true. Employing a mixture of documentary film and fiction writing, she will explore how each life is a story and each story may be a key that unlocks the past and opens doors to the future. Visit: ginaroitman.com and nazimidwife.com.
Claire Holden ROTHMAN, Short story
Claire Holden Rothman's genres are short story and novel. She offers a reading and discussion format for a visit, or creative writing workshops, or a combination of the two. One of Claire's specialties is short in-class fiction exercises to jumpstart the creative process in students.
Talya RUBIN, Poetry
Talya Rubin is a poet, playwright, performer and creator of new work for live performance. She won the National Canadian Bronwen Wallace award for poetry for the most promising writer under the age of 35 and was short-listed for the Winston Collins/Descant prize for Best Canadian poem of 2011 and The Montreal International Poetry Prize. She completed an MFA in Creative Writing at UBC, and her first collection of poetry, Leaving The Island, was published by Véhicule Press in 2015. Talya has taught at the Australian Film Radio and Television School (AFTRS), the National Institute for Dramatic Arts (NIDA) and McGill University. She also runs a theatre company called Too Close to the Sun and has toured across Australia and internationally with original performance works. With students she would explore writer’s notebooks, how poems get made and exercises to deepen writing and find an authentic voice. tooclosetothesuntheatre.com, talyarubin.weebly.com
Denis SAMPSON, Short story, biography and autobiography
Denis Sampson taught English at CEGEP Level for many years before becoming a full-time writer. In particular he liked to teach the short story, and in the Liberal Arts programme a course on biography, autobiography and fiction. This course reflected his own published work as a literary biographer and critic. In addition to this earlier work, a memoir, A Migrant Heart, will be published this year in Montreal, and next year in Oxford, UK, a book called The Found Voice: Writer’s Beginnings. Much of his writing has been focused on the discovery of a personal voice in writing, and any workshops or talks English teachers may wish to organize will be built around this approach. The first part of A Migrant Heart is on growing up and will be useful as a source for short readings on matters close to the students’ own experience.
Robyn SARAH, Poetry and short story
Robyn Sarah has 20 years' experience as a CEGEP English teacher, and has served as a facilitator for creative writing groups and workshops for participants of all ages. Her approach depends on the class she is visiting, so she prefers to confer with the teacher to select material that will be thematically or otherwise appropriate. Robyn usually reads from her own and others' work, talks about the selections she has read, and answers students' questions about the presentation or writing in general; on request she can also prepare a presentation on the writer's perspective and how it can enhance the teaching of literature.
Jaspreet SINGH, Fiction and short story
L. MacKay SMITH, Essay, travel writing
MacKay Smith has written and self-published six books and has overseen their distribution with help from his web site, infinitebooks.ca.
His book on Montreal's Sherbrooke Street sold out its 3000 English and 1000 French copies and has been reprinted. His latest, Memories and Profiles of McGill University, had sold 2248 copies as of mid-May 2011. Both books are 9"x12" hardcovers with 30,000 words and many historical and present-day photographs. Smith will describe the process of finding a theme, doing the research and selling books to corporations and Montreal bookstores.
Mary SODERSTROM, Fiction, novel, short story and non-fiction
Mary Soderstrom is a writer of fiction and non-fiction. The author of eleven published books, her most recent non-fiction work is The Walkable City: From Haussmann's Boulevards to Jane Jacobs' Streets and Beyond (Véhicule Press, 2008), while her most recent fiction is The Violets of Usambara (Cormorant Books, 2008.) She can give presentations on writing either fiction or non-fiction as well as engage students in discussion about what the differences between them are. She also has a blog – Recreating Eden, marysoderstrom.blogspot.com – which is an eclectic collection of short essays on politics, books, writing, cities, gardens and nature. It can serve as the starting point for workshops on writing short texts.
Carolyn Marie SOUAID, Poetry
Carolyn Souaid is the author of four books of poetry. She is also co-producer with Endre Farkas of the multilingual cabaret event Circus of Words / Cirque des mots, and the 2004 poetry-on-the-buses project in Montreal. She has toured and read all across Canada and, most recently, in France. As a licensed teacher, Carolyn is qualified to give lectures, readings and poetry-writing workshops to CEGEP students, having visited over 50 educational institutions across the country in the past ten years to enthusiastic feedback.
Laird STEVENS, Comparative children's literature, fairytales
Carole TENBRINK, Poetry, performance and storytelling
Formerly a published literary poet and CEGEP teacher, Carole now specializes in Spoken Word. She is an enthusiastic teacher who has discovered that Spoken Word can be a powerful tool for promoting students’ self-esteem, self-expression and empowerment. She easily builds students’ trust so that they feel inspired to produce quality work quickly.
Besides these workshops, Carole loves to offer performance of her own work, or to offer lecture/discussions about the primal roots of Spoken Word, its history and relation to other forms of literature. Caroletenbrink.wordpress.com
Nigel THOMAS, Novel and short story
Melissa A. THOMPSON, Fiction
Melissa A. Thompson is a Montreal based writer and artist. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Fine Arts and Creative Writing from Concordia University in Montreal and a Master of Visual Arts degree from Goldsmiths College, University of London. Melissa’s first novel, Dreadful Paris, was shortlisted for the QWF's McAuslan First Book Prize in 2006 and she is currently working on a second novel, Possum. Melissa also works as a visual research consultant / cultural trends specialist for Cirque du Soleil. With a strong background and interest in the visual arts, Melissa’s approach to writing fiction is an interdisciplinary one which draws heavily upon visual inspiration and aspects of art history. She would be interested in giving a lecture/workshop about writing while under the influence of images.
Carolyn VAN DER MEER, Journal writing, poetry, short story, journalism and interview techniques
Carolyne Van Der Meer is a journalist, PR professional and university lecturer. Her writing portfolio is extensive, and includes articles from more than 90 publications, among them dailies, business publications, consumer magazines, industry publications, and cultural, book review and academic journals. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in English Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing from the Humber School for Writers in Toronto. She is the author of Motherlode: A Mosaic of Dutch Wartime Experience, published in 2014 by Wilfrid Laurier University Press. Carolyne teaches in McGill University’s Public Relations and Communications Management program, where her focus is on PR tools. She has also facilitated workshops on corporate communications, including for the QWF. She is interested in giving writing workshops to CEGEP students that would explore multi-genre expression, including journal writing, poetry and short story writing, all as elements of life writing, as exemplified by Motherlode.
L. E. VOLLICK, Fiction and short story
L. E. Vollick is well practised in large and small lectures, workshop teaching, and readings. Subjects she is capable of weaving into sessions include contemporary literature, with an emphasis on Canadian, American, and postcolonial literatures, urban fiction, political fiction, postmodernism and modernism, and small press publishing. She is most often called upon for readings and discussions regarding her first novel, The Originals.
Nalini WARRIAR, Short story and novel
Nalini Warriar writes short and long fiction. Her first book, Blues from the Malabar Coast, won the 2002 QWF McAuslan First Book Prize. Her most recent book, The Enemy Within, was published in 2005. She is a molecular biologist who has conducted seminars for young adults at the school (secondary 4 and 5) and CEGEP level.
Lori WEBER, Young adult fiction
Lori Weber writes young adult novels, appropriate for teens 13—18. She can give readings and answer questions on writing for young people. Lori also has a creative writing workshop called "Show Not Tell" which she deliver to young writers and which focuses on using concrete imagery in fiction and poetry.
Barry WEBSTER Short fiction, novel, creative non-fiction
Barry Webster has written for publications including The Washington Post, The Globe and Mail, the Montreal Gazette, and Fiddlehead. His fiction has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award, the CBC-Quebec Prize and the QWF's Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction. His first book won the ReLit Award in 2006. He conducts classes in short fiction, the novel, and creative non-fiction. The content of his class visits varies depending on the demands of students and teachers. He can lead students through guided exercises designed to stimulate creativity, conduct a more traditional writing workshop, or do a reading plus question/answer session. He currently teaches at Marianopolis College. barrywebster.ca
Merrily WEISBORD, Non-fiction
Merrily Weisbord is the author of 5 literary non-fiction books. Her work has been acclaimed as beautifully written, unique, fascinating, startling, evocative, moving, gripping, stunning. Her latest book, The Love Queen of Malabar was a finalist for the 2010 Writer’s Trust NonFiction Prize and the 2011 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary non-fiction.
Merrily has taught at McGill University, Concordia, Vanier College, State University of New York, and was a mentor for the Quebec Writerss Federation. She was Concordia University’s first non-fiction Writer-in-Residence and she enjoys tailoring her teaching, guiding, and encouraging to suit the occasion. She would welcome background to the students’ needs and interests.