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Humber at Word on the Street

A series of Free talks on writing and publishing will happen again this year at Word on the Street in Toronto on Sunday, September 22, from 11 AM to six PM on the hour. See the schedule pasted in below or go to the web site of Word on The Street (see the link below).

Humber School for Writers WOTS  Schedule 2013



Come have a sample of informative lectures for aspiring and experienced writers, hosted by Toronto Humber School for Writers, whose alumni have gone on to publish over 950 books in the last twenty years.


Hosted By Kim Moritsugu and Antanas Sileika



 Kim Moritsugu is the author of five novels, her most recent being a mystery novelette called And Everything Nice. She also leads a walking tour for Heritage Toronto, teaches creative writing at The Humber School for Writers, and writes The Hungry Novelist food blog.


Antanas Sileika is the Director of the Humber School for Writers. He is a freelance writer and novelist. His most recent novel, Underground, was chosen as one of the Globe 100 and was optioned for a film.



 11- 11:45 The Insider's Guide To Getting Published


If it was always hard to get published, and it’s getting harder still in the brave new world of bloggers, self-publishers, e-books and dwindling sales. This session provides an expert to help pilot you through those perilous waters.


A former president and publisher of Penguin Books, Cynthia Good, Director, Creative Book Publishing Program, Humber has been in the publishing industry for over twenty-five years.  Under her leadership the roster included such writers as John Ralston Saul, Michael Ignatieff, Michael Adams, Alice Munro, Mordecai Richler, Timothy Findley, Stuart McLean, Peter Robinson, Guy Gavriel Kay and many others.  After twenty years with Penguin, Ms. Good resigned in 2000 and went on to create The Creative Book Publishing Program at Humber College. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.



12:00 – 12:45  Not Again!


What ideas, tricks, and strategies have editors grown tired of seeing? Do they hate being accosted in elevators and having a stranger turn to them with a book pitch? Does one more faulty comma on a manuscript drive them around the bend? Or does none of this matter? Find out what doesn’t work in you idea for a book or in a manuscript pitch, and by corollary, find out want does work from these two leading industry professionals.



Patrick Crean  of Patrick Crean Editions has worked in publishing for more than four decades, having begun his career in 1971 at McClelland & Stewart. As founding publisher of Thomas Allen Publishers, where he worked for a dozen years, he cemented his reputation as a discerning literary editor. Under Crean, Thomas Allen became the only wholly Canadian-owned company to publish two Scotiabank Giller Prize–winning novels Esi Edugyan’s Half-Blood Blues and Austin Clarke’s The Polished Hoe.


Craig Pyette is a senior editor in the Knopf Random Canada Publishing Group, where he has worked for the past decade. Books he has edited for Random House Canada have won the Writers' Trust of Canada Rogers Fiction Prize and several regional awards, and have been nominated most notably for the  the Commonwealth Writers Prize, the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing, the Trillium Award, the Toronto Book Award, the National Business Book Award, the Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist, and, for three consecutive years, the Governor General's Literary Award for Nonfiction.



1:00 – 1:45  Skeletons in the Closet:


What’s fair in writing about family? Does fair even matter? Can you go after Dad for his shortcomings? And what if a fictionalized character arouses the anger of a person who claims the character is based on him? Today’s panelists have had to deal with intensely personal matters in their work. How much did they believe they could reveal? Or is everything material for the writer?


Helen Humphreys is the author of four books of poetry, six novels, and two works of creative non-fiction. She was born in Kingston-on-Thames, England, and now lives in Kingston, Ontario. Her first novel, Leaving Earth (1997), won the City of Toronto Book Award and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Her second novel won the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, and her other works won great critical acclaim. Her most recent work of non-fiction is Nocturne, a memoir about the life and death of her brother, Martin.


Priscila Uppal’s  memoir, Projection: Encounters with My Runaway Mother,  has to do with her parents, in particular her mother, whom she did not see for many years. Uppal is a poet, fiction writer, academic, and professor of Humanities and English at the undergraduate and graduate levels at York University. She is the author of nine books of poetry, and two of fiction, among other literary and academic works. 




2:00 – 2:45 Just for Laughs - Writing Humour


Is humour a viable genre of writing or are humorists always relegated, as Woody Allen says, to the children’s table? Do people laugh at when you speak and then tell you that you should write a book? And is it even possible to talk about humour, let alone write about when it all seems so intuitive? Come and find out from two masters of the genre.


Trevor Cole’s first novel, Norman Bray in the Performance of His Life, appeared on the Maclean’s bestseller list, was adapted for radio and audio book, was short-listed for a Governor General's Literary award and the Commonwealth Writer's Prize for Best First Book (Can-Carib region) and was long-listed for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His second novel, The Fearsome Particles, won his second Governor General's award nomination, and his second appearance on the long list for the IMPAC. Practical Jean was short-listed for the Rogers Writer's Trust Fiction Prize and won the 2011 Leacock Medal for Humour.



Terry Fallis is the author of The Best Laid Plans, a satirical novel that won the Leacock Medal for Humour and is in development for a six-part television series. In 2011, The Best Laid Plans was crowned the winner of CBC Canada Reads as the “essential Canadian novel of the decade.” McClelland & Stewart published the sequel toThe Best Laid Plans, called The High Road, in September 2010. It was a finalist for the 2011 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour.  McClelland & Stewart published Terry’s third novel, Up and Down, in September 2012, and it debuted on the Globe and Mail bestsellers list.



3:00 – 3:45 How Do You Like My Writing?


In this session, a publisher and writing teacher will listen to one minute of your prose (novel, non-fiction, short story) and let you know what they think of the writing and the story. Aspiring writers should bring one anonymous page of an adult novel, memoir or short story to the session and drop it in a box. The aspiring writer should also, in one sentence at the top of the page, describe what the submission is from. Pages will be chosen by lottery (no guarantees that yours will be picked) and read aloud by host and author, Antanas Sileika. Jack David and Kim Moritsugu will each react to the opening lines. This is a rough and ready exercise, not for the faint of heart! Put your email address at the top of the page as well and a Humber writing teacher will send a short comment about the piece by email whether to nor the piece is chosen.


Jack David, Publisher, of ECW Press, has spent decades in the literary trenches, publishing academic articles about Canadian Writing and then opening up his press, ECW, to publish books ranging from wrestling guides to novels. He is a great friend of students, and has always been willing to listen to a pitch or consider any literary project.



Kim Moritsugu is the author of five novels: the romantic comedy Looks Perfect (shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award), the domestic comedy Old Flames, the literary mystery The Glenwood Treasure (shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Best Crime Novel Award), and the domestic novel The Restoration of Emily (published in May, 2006). Her most recent novel is And Everything Nice. She also has a blog called The Hungry Novelist.



4:00 – 4:45 How to Write a Bestseller

No one can tell you exactly how to write a bestseller, but some writers do manage to do it. What’s it like to break out with a book after long toil in the trenches of writing? At this writing Cathy Marie Buchanan has been on the bestseller list for weeks with her second novel, Painted Girls, a historical novel set in the time of the French painter and sculptor, Degas. And her first novel made the New York Times bestseller list as well. How did she do it? Learn from the writer herself.


Cathy Marie Buchanan is the author of The Painted Girls and The Day the Falls Stood Still. Published January 2013, The Painted Girls has garnered rave reviews and been showered with special attention—everything from selection as a People Magazine pick to designation as a book “People Are Talking About” by Vogue to inclusion inEntertainment Weekly’s Must List. Also an IndieNext pick, The Painted Girls debuted on the New York Timesbestsellers list and is a #1 national bestseller in Canada. The Day the Falls Stood Still, her debut novel, is a New York Times bestseller, a Barnes & Noble Recommends selection, and an IndieNext pick.



5:00 – 5:45 Close Your Eyes and Think of Book Sales: Mastering the Art of Self-Promotion  


Will the world beat a path to your door if you have written a poem, story, novel, or books of non-fiction? Absolutely not! You must make yourself known in this media-heavy world. It’s simply not enough to exist on paper (or online) alone. The two speakers below will help you take your work out into the public. Before it can be critiqued, it has to be noticed!


 Elizabeth Ruth is the author of the acclaimed novels, MatadoraSmoke, and Ten Good Seconds of Silence. Recently, Elizabeth delivered professional development workshops across the country teaching writers 'How tTo Be Your Own Publicist.' Elizabeth teaches at U of T and mentors within the Humber School for Writers.


Monica Pacheco is a literary agent with Anne McDermid & Associates Ltd. Her clients include actress/writer/director Sarah Polley (Didi and the Bean, forthcoming from HarperCollins Canada); Yves Meynard (Chrysanthe trilogy, Tor 2012); Madeline Ashby (vN: The First Machine Dynasty, Angry Robot 2012, sequel iD: The Second Machine Dynasty, June 2013); Marty Chan (The Ehrich Weisz Chronicles, forthcoming from Fitzhenry & Whiteside), Bram Stoker Award-winning author David Nickle and Journey Prize nominee Irina Kovalyova.



And we are in Halifax on the same day, so stop by our booth, staffed by the accomplished Binnie Brennan, an alumna and published writer.


We'll be in Vancouver a week later, on September 29. Stop by and see our booth, staffed by alumna Amanda Reaume.