Join us at CNFC for our ongoing series of monthly webinars. From November 2020 to April 2021, we’ll host conversations and workshops with leading Canadian writers and tackle diverse topics.  From Finding the Story to Writing About Mental Health, we’ll present thought-provoking sessions that may guide us as we write during these challenging times. You can view upcoming and past webinars below.

The webinar series is FREE for CNFC members. If your membership is expired or you wish to become part of our community, you can renew or join us by following the links on this page: https://creativenonfictioncollective.ca/join-the-cnfc/. The Creative Nonfiction Collective Society (CNFC) is a national organization for Canadian literary nonfiction writers that educates, supports, develops and promotes the CNF genre.

Past Webinars

November 19, 2020, 7:30 pm EST: Finding the Story – Ian Brown

This workshop will guide you to finding the story worth telling, then digging deeper, finding the actual best story within that story, and hewing to it, despite being terrified of same.

IAN BROWN began life as a business reporter at the Financial Post and later at Maclean’s Magazine; quit to freelance and start a publishing company, Invisible Books, with four other writers, which also published Not the Globe and Mail, a parody; was then hired at the Globe and Mail as a feature writer, for five years; quit again to found and host Later the Same Day, a daily afternoon radio show on CBC Radio; moved to Los Angeles, where he wrote a book and began to contribute to the NPR radio show This American Life; returned as host of Sunday Morning and Talking Books on CBC Radio; and eventually made his way back to the Globe, where he has worked for just over a decade. Along the way Ian co-founded an online magazine, Open Letters, and was chair of the Literary Journalism program at the Banff Centre for seven summers. He has won a number of National Newspaper and National Magazine Awards; the National Business Book Award for my first book, Freewheeling, an expose of Canadian Tire and the Billes family; the Charles Taylor Prize, the BC National Award and the Trillium Prize for another book, The Boy in the Moon, which the New York Times deemed one of the ten best books of 2011; and was short-listed for the Taylor Prize and for the Hilary Weston Writer’s Trust Prize for his last book, Sixty: A Diary of My Sixty-First Year. He also wrote Man Overboard, a book about manhood in the late twentieth century, and the editor of What I Meant to Say, an anthology of essays by men and about men, but for women. Ian lives in Toronto.

December 5, 2020, 4:00 pm EST: CNFC Member Book Launch – Betsy Warland

Recording available for CNFC members until March 31, 2021!

Esteemed Vancouver writer and one of CNFC’s founders Betsy Warland hosted the Member Book Launch Zoom Event, featuring CNFC members Joan Boxall, Kate Braid, Beth Kaplan, and Janet Love Morrison reading a short excerpt from their newly-released books.

BETSY WARLAND is the author of fourteen books of poetry, creative nonfiction, and lyric prose including her best-selling 2010 book of personal essays, Breathing the Page— Reading the Act of Writing. In April of 2016, Oscar of Between—A Memoir of Identity and Ideas was launched by Caitlin Press’ new imprint, Dagger Editions. According to one review of Lost Lagoon/lost in thought, published in April 2020: “In trademark lyric prose, Warland’s roving observations in and around Vancouver’s Lost Lagoon offer insights into nature, narratives, and the urban environment.” Warland is a co-founder of CNFC, and also founded and is a mentor in the one-on-one six-month international Vancouver Manuscript Intensive program

January 23, 2021, 1:30 pm EST (10:30 am PST)

Writing About  Mental Health – Eufemia Fantetti and Lenore Rowntree

Recording available for CNFC members until April 30, 2021

This craft-focused workshop will act as a model for writing about difficult topics, using mental health as an example. This webinar includes generative writing prompts, so come prepared to do some writing. The session will also be interactive with private breakout discussion groups. Participants can expect to receive a list of recommended readings at the end of the workshop. NOTE: The session will be recorded and available on the CNFC website for a limited period of time after the session.

EUFEMIA FANTETTI holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. Her short fiction collection, A Recipe for Disaster & Other Unlikely Tales of Love, was runner up for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award and winner of the Bressani Prize. Her writing has been nominated for the Creative Nonfiction Collective Readers’ Choice Award and was listed as a notable essay in the Best American Essay Series. My Father, Fortune-tellers & Me: A Memoir was released by Mother Tongue Publishing in 2019. She teaches at Humber College and co-edits The Humber Literary Review.

LENORE ROWNTREE holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. Her novel Cluck (Thistledown Press) was a finalist for the Great BC Novel Prize. She was a co-editor and contributor to the anthology Hidden Lives: true stories from people who live with mental illness (Brindle & Glass), and her essay in the collection was shortlisted for a CBC Literary Award. Her poetry has been included in The Best of the Best of Canadian Poetry (Tightrope Books) and in the Poet to Poet anthology (Guernica Editions).

February 20, 2021, 1:30 pm EST (10:30 am PST)

Body & Soul: Writing About Spirituality – Susan Scott

Recording available for CNFC members until May 31, 2021.

Are there ways to write authentically and convincingly about a topic that makes some readers flinch? Spiritual memoirs can be off-putting; but if done well, they can unify the personal and cultural, the ineffable and embodied. Spiritual memoirs can help writers frame complex topics, from intergenerational trauma and explosive family secrets to experiments in shunning, skirting or switching faiths. Using lively discussion and writing prompts, we will examine how to craft an honest spiritual memoir that challenges convenient stereotypes and the confines of convention.

SUSAN SCOTT focuses on powerful, transgressive stories that inspire healing change. Her work on spirituality includes the edited collections, Body and Soul (Caitlin Press, 2019), a breakout volume on unorthodox approaches to the sacred, and Stories in my Neighbour’s Faith: Narratives from World Religions in Canada, featuring personal essays from community leaders countrywide. Temple in a TeapotIn Which the Pilgrim Carts the Remains of her Good China to the First Mormon Temple, in Ohio, was launched on a 1,000-mile women writers’ tour throughout the Western U.S. Susan is a long-time editor with The New Quarterly, and director of the Wild Writers Mentorship Program.

March 20, 2021, 1:30 pm EST (10:30 am PST)

The Art of the Interview: Great interviews make great stories – Denise Ryan

Recording coming soon!

Award winning essayist, feature writer and news reporter Denise Ryan will share her experiences, trade secrets and tips. Formatted as a dynamic interview and networking session where you ask the questions, this is an opportunity to ask what you’ve always wanted to know about how to get the interview, get informed consent, establish rapport, overcome hostility, work with a trauma-informed ethic, get past scripted answers and craft story-based lines of inquiry.

DENISE RYAN is a journalist and author whose work has received many distinctions including awards from Amnesty International, the CBC literary Prizes, the Webster Awards for feature writing and breaking news, and Sovereign Awards. Known for her sensitive, in-depth interviews, narrative long-form features and dynamic storytelling, she brings a wealth of experience developed through two decades of reporting, feature writing, teaching and mentoring other writers.

CANCELLED: Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity  – Cicely Belle Blain

This 90-minute session will explore unconscious bias as it relates to equity, inclusion, and diversity, discuss what it means to be an ally, and explain why this matters in your writing.

CICELY BELLE BLAIN is a diversity and inclusion consultant, activist and writer; they are one of Vancouver’s fifty most influential people of 2018, as awarded by Vancouver Magazine for their work as a co-founder of Black Lives Matter – Vancouver, Canada’s second Black Lives Matter chapter. They were also a winner of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Youth Leadership Award in Social Movement Building for their commitment to Black liberation and LGBTQ+ activism. In 2017, Cicely Belle was listed as one of CBC’s 150 Black Womxn Making Change in Canada and in 2019 they became one of BC Business’s 30 under 30 business leaders as well as a finalist for the Canadian LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Cicely Belle’s first book of poetry and essays, Burning Sugar, was published in 2020 with Arsenal Pulp Press and VS Books.