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Humber Writing Workshop at IFOA 2013

A "Backstage" experience at this year's Humber Creative Writing  Workshop - nestled in an impressive lineup of national and international writer readings and talks. Look below to see what the schedule this year





Wayson Choy is the author of the critically acclaimed The Jade Peony, which shared the Trillium Book Award with Margaret Atwood, won the City of Vancouver Book Award, and was chosen to compete in the 2010 Canada Reads competition. His haunting memoir, Paper Shadows, was nominated for the Governor General’s Award and won the Edna Staebler Prize. The best-selling All That Matters, was nominated for The Giller Prize, and won the Trillium Book Award. Wayson Choy is a member of the Order of Canada, and a winner of the Harbourfront Festival Prize. His memoir, Not Yet, is his most recent work.

Hari Kunzru is a British novelist, journalist, and travel writer of Kashmiri Pandit origin. He is the author of the novelsThe Impressionist, which won the Betty Trask Award and the Somerset Maugham Award, Transmission, which was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, My Revolutions and Gods Without Men. In 2003, Granta numbered him among the ‘Best of Young British Novelists’. His work has been translated into 20 languages.

Francine Prose is the author of 15 novels including Blue Angel, a finalist for the National Book Award, as well as many other works of nonfiction, Her most recent books are The Lives of the Muses: Nine Women and the Artists They InspiredReading Like a Writer which is a favourite of writing students, and My New American Life. A recipient of numerous grants, awards, and honours including Guggenheim and Fulbright fellowships, she was a Directors Fellow at the Centre of Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. She lives in New York City.

Richard Scrimger is a writing and teaching phenomenon, a vastly prolific writer and beloved teacher who has published 16 books for adults and children, and dozens of articles for magazines and newspapers. His work has won awards in Canada and the United States among them the Mr. Christie Book Award, and has been translated into a dozen languages. His latest novel, Ink Me, is about a special needs teen who is given a task by his dead grandfather.

Olive Senior’s poetry books include Gardening in the TropicsTalking of Trees, and Over the Roofs of the World, which was shortlisted for a Governor General’s Literary Award. She is the author of three collections of short stories: Summer Lightning, which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best Book; Arrival of the Snake-Woman, which has just been reissued; and Discerner of Hearts. She has also written works of non-fiction on Caribbean culture, and her work has been translated into several languages. Her 2011 novel, Dancing Lessons, was named a Globe Best Book and was short-listed for the Amazon and Commonwealth prizes.

Miriam Toews is celebrated for both fiction and non-fiction. She is the author of Swing Low: A LifeA Boy of Good BreedingSummer of My Amazing Luck, and A Complicated Kindness, an outstanding Canadian bestseller. Among her many honours are a Governor General’s Literary Award, National Magazine Award for humour, and a Margaret Laurence Award for fiction. She won the 2008 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize for The Flying Troutmans. Her most recent work is the critically-acclaimed Irma Voth.


Sunday, October 27


1:30 – 3:00                             Registration and Walking Tours

                                                                                    York Quay Workshop Office

                                                                                    (Bay on west side of building)



3:00 PM – 5:00                      Welcome Reception and Meet Your Mentor                                                                                                           Amsterdam Brewhouse South                                                                                                                                                                                                           Mezzanine  (finger food plus cash bar)


5:00 PM – 8:00                      (optional) Literary Toronto Tour            Meet at Amsterdam Cafe

                                                With Host, Ben Labovitch


Monday, October 28


8:45                                         Meet at office to go to classes

                                                                                    York Quay Workshop Office

                                                                                    (Bay on West Side of building)


9:00  – 12:00                         Workshop Classes  

                                                                                    Enwave Mezzanines, floors 1-3


12:00  – 1:30                          Lunch Break                   On your own – local eateries


Today only the afternoon sessions are held in the Studio Theatre in the York Quay Centre

1:30  – 2:15                            Reading like a Writer                      Studio Theatre

                                                Francine Prose


2:30  – 3:15                            Flash Assessments                           Studio Theatre

                                                Craig Pyette, Senior Editor, Knopf Random House

                                                Nick Garrison, Associate Publisher, Penguin, Canada


3:30 – 4:15                             Flash Assessments cont’d                Studio Theatre


4:30                                         Office closes

Tuesday, October 29           


 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM                        Workshop Classes                            Enwave Mezzanines


12:00 PM – 1:30 PM                          Lunch Break                                     On your own – local eateries



Today through Friday, all afternoon talks take place in the Enwave Theatre itself.



1:30  – 2:15                            Success Stories                                 Enwave Theatre

                                                Colette Maitland – Keeping the Peace, Biblioasis

                                                Urve Tamberg – The Darkest corner of the World, Dancing Cat


2:30  – 3:15                            Writing Historical Fiction               Enwave Theatre

                                                Tom Taylor – Brock’s Traitor, Hancock and Dean


3:30 – 4:15                             Writing For Young Adults               Enwave Theatre

                                                Richard Scrimger


4:30 – office closes


*5:00 – 6:00                           *IFOA Free Optional Event –         Studio Dance Theatre

                                                 Artist Talk - Nadeem Aslam




Wednesday October 30


 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM            Workshop Classes                            Enwave Mezzanines


12:00 PM – 1:30 PM             Lunch Break                                     On your own – local eateries



Afternoon hosted by Richard Scrimger



1:30  – 2:15                            Writing Poetry                                  Enwave Theatre

                                                Olive Senior   



2:30  – 3:15                            Independent Publishers                   Enwave Theatre

                                                Jack David, ECW Press

                                                Sarah MacLachlan, House of Anansi


3:30 – 4:15                             Publishing Realities                          Enwave Theatre

                                                David Kent, HarperCollins Canada


4:30 – office closes


*5:00 – 6:00                           *IFOA Free Optional Event                        Studio Dance Theatre

                                                 Artist talk - Kevin Barry                   

                                                (No tickets necessary – first come)    



9:00 PM                                  Letter to a Young Writer                          

                                                All Humber Faculty Round Table       Studio Theatre


(NB Tickets for this Writing Essentials event are free, but must be picked up at the box office. Show your nametag and say you are a Humber Student)





Thursday, October 31


 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM            Workshop Classes                            Enwave Mezzanines


12:00 PM – 1:30 PM             Lunch Break                                     On your own – local eateries


1:30  – 2:15                          What Agents Seek                            Enwave Theatre

                                                Jackie Kaiser


2:30  – 3:15                            Writing Inspired by Family             Enwave Theatre

                                                Miriam Toews


3:30 – 4:15                             Writing Memoir                               Enwave Theatre

                                                Wayson Choy


4:30 office closes


*8:00 PM                                The Journey Prize (IFOA Event)  Fleck Dance Theatre


(NB Tickets for this event are free, but must be picked up at the box office. Show your nametag and say you are a Humber Student)



Friday, November 1 


9:00 AM – 12:00 PM             Workshop Classes                            Enwave Mezzanines


12:00 PM – 1:30 PM             Lunch Break                                     On your own – local eateries


1:30  – 2:15                          Writing the New Novel                    Enwave Theatre

                                                Hari Kunzru


2:15  – 3:00                            Other Offerings at Humber                        Enwave Theatre

                                                Margaret Hart, Cynthia Good,

                                                 Antanas Sileika


3:30 – 5:00                             Farewell Reception                          Amsterdam Brewhouse South                                                                                                            Mezzanine  (cash bar)


Some of the Logistics for the 2013 Workshop


Welcome to the New Format of our Writing Workshop!


This year, the Humber Writing Workshop is being held right inside the International Festival of Authors. This means there will be other literary events going on at the same time. We hope you enjoy the literary buzz! In addition to Humber events, you will have free entry or free tickets to some of the IFOA events, but you can also find a full listing International Festival of Authors events here: You will also receive a booklet about the IFOA on site.


The Humber Office


For the length of the workshop, we will be located (days only) in a York Quay bay on the west side of the building. Since it is a remote office, we will not have a full equipment, so please make sure your printing (a class set of your workshop material) is done ahead of time and ready to hand out to classmates on Sunday afternoon.