CNFC MONTHLY WEBINARS
Welcome to the 2021-2022 season of CNFC webinars. All sessions are free for 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.
Stay tuned for upcoming announcements about the 2022-2023 season of CNFC webinars.
Saturday April 9, 2022, 1:30 pm EST – How to become a CNFC Nonfiction Contest Winner
Contests are a terrific way to share your words and promote your writing. Join us for a lively discussion with past CNFC nonfiction contest winners who will share their craft tips and contest submission approaches.
BECKY BLAKE is a two-time winner of the CBC Literary Prize (for non-fiction in 2017 and short fiction in 2013). More recently, she was the 2021 winner of the CNFC/Humber Literary Review creative nonfiction contest. Her first novel, Proof I Was Here, was published by Wolsak & Wynn in 2019. Becky teaches creative nonfiction at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies, and she holds an MFA from the University of Guelph. She is currently working on a second novel and a memoir-in-essays.
MARGARET NOWACZYK is a pediatrician and a clinical geneticist. Her short stories and essays have appeared in Prairie Fire, Geist, Examined Life Journal, Broken Pencil, The New Quarterly, The Antigonish Review, Grain, Litro US, and The Dalhousie Review, and her non-fiction has won the 2018 and 2020 Hamilton Short Works Prizes and the 2020 CNFC/Humber Literary Review contests. “Chasing Zebras,” her memoir about clinical genetics, mental health, and writing was published by Wolsak & Wynn in 2021. She lives in Hamilton, ON with her husband, two sons, two cats, and a rescue greyhound.
Saturday March 12, 2022, 1:30 pm EST – Earth’s Intelligence: Three Nature Writers on Writing, Wonder and Wilderness with Camille Dungy, Harry Thurston, and John Vaillant (moderated by Rachel Rose)
CAMILLE T. DUNGY has authored four collections of poetry including Trophic Cascade (Wesleyan UP, 2017), winner of the Colorado Book Award, and the essay collection Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys into Race, Motherhood and History (W.W. Norton, 2017), finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. A 2019 Guggenheim Fellow, her honors include NEA Fellowships in poetry (2003) and prose (2018), an American Book Award, two NAACP Image Award nominations, and two Hurston/Wright Legacy Award nominations. Dungy’s poems have been published in Best American Poetry, The 100 Best African American Poems, the Pushcart Anthology, Best American Travel Writing, and over thirty other anthologies. She is University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University.
HARRY THURSTON’s environmental writing has been published in many North American magazines including Audubon, Canadian Geographic and National Geographic. His awards include the Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award, the Lane Anderson Award and the Evelyn Richardson Literary Award. His most recent poetry collections include Keeping Watch at the End of the World and Icarus, Falling of Birds, and his memoir Lost River: The Waters of Remembrance was published by Gaspereau Press in 2020. Thurston lives in Tidnish Bridge, NS, and is a mentor in the MFA Creative Nonfiction program at University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
JOHN VAILLANT is an award-winning nonfiction writer, novelist, and journalist, whose work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, National Geographic and Outside Magazine, among others. His books (The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed, The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival and The Jaguar’s Children) have won the Governor General’s Award, The Writers’ Trust Nonfiction Prize, and British Columbia’s National Award for Nonfiction. His latest nonfiction book, Fire Weather, about 21st-century wildfire, is forthcoming in 2023.
RACHEL ROSE is the author of four collections of poetry and a memoir, The Dog Lover Unit: Lessons in Courage from the World’s K9 Cops, which was shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis award for best non-fiction crime book in 2018. Her fiction debut, The Octopus Has Three Hearts, was longlisted for the 2021 Giller Prize. Rose is also the recipient of the Bronwen Wallace Award for Fiction from the Writers’ Trust, the Pat Lowther Memorial Award, a 2014 and 2016 Pushcart Prize, and a 2016 nomination for a Governor General’s Literary Award. She is the former Vancouver Poet Laureate.
We gratefully acknowledge support of this webinar from the University of King’s College Halifax.
POSTPONED: Saturday February 19, 2022: Jaspreet Singh in Conversation with Shazia Hafiz Ramji
CNFC will be postponing the February 19th webinar. Both presenters are eager to reschedule when possible, and we will provide a new date and time when available.
JASPREET SINGH is a Canadian writer published by Véhicule Press in Canada, Bloomsbury in Britain, and also in the United States. His work includes novels (Helium), short story collections (Seventeen Tomatoes: Tales from Kashmir), poetry, nonfiction, and recently a memoir, My Mother My Translator. His work often explores issues of memory, family, exile, and intergenerational trauma, notably with respect to the Partition of India and Pakistan in 1949 and the intercultural violence in India in 1984. A scientist by training, deeply read in both South Asian and western literatures, Jaspreet Singh has lived in many parts of Canada and studied and taught at residencies all over the world.
SHAZIA HAFIZ RAMJI’s writing has recently appeared in Galleries West and Canadian Notes & Queries. Her fiction was shortlisted for the Malahat Review’s 2022 Open Season Awards. Port of Being is her first book. She lives in Calgary and Vancouver, where she is at work on a novel.
Wednesday January 12, 2022, 1:30 pm EST: How to Write Winning Applications for Writer Residencies and Grants – Elizabeth Philips and Andrew Steinmetz
Everyone struggles with those intimidating application forms for grants and programs that can make all the difference in our writing projects. This session will demystify the process of applying for writer residencies and supporting your writing with Canada Arts Council grants.
ELIZABETH PHILIPS was the director of the Banff Centre’s Emerging Writer Intensive for eight years. She is the author of four poetry collections, most recently Torch River. In 2015, she published her first novel, The Afterlife of Birds (Freehand Books), winner of the City of Saskatoon Book Award and a finalist for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award. She is a former editor of Grain magazine, and is now the newly appointed Acquisition Editor for Thistledown Press. She lives in Saskatoon.
ANDREW STEINMETZ is a program officer in the Explore and Create program at the Canada Council for the Arts. Andrew is the author of several books including Eva’s Threepeny Theatre (Gaspereau Press 2008) and most recently This Great Escape: The Case of Michael Paryla (Biblioasis 2013), a finalist of the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction.
December 11, 2021: Members’ Reading Event with Moderator Lesley Buxton (1:30pm EST/10:30am PST)
Join us for the annual Members’ Book Launch Webinar, featuring CNFC members reading a short excerpt from their newly-released books. Listen to readings from fellow CNF writers with the chance to win a copy of their book!
November 13, 2021: Writing Partnerships: Find Your Perfect Match – Cooper Lee Bombardier, Moira Dann, and Fiona Tinwei Lam:
Join Cooper Lee Bombardier, Moira Dann, and Fiona Tinwei Lam for a fascinating discussion of how writers work together, from one-on-one writing partnerships to writing groups to formal mentoring. Whether you’re looking to consult, collaborate or critique, find the model that works best for you by understanding the accountability, boundaries, and trust involved in these types of partnerships.
COOPER LEE BOMBARDIER is an American writer and visual artist living in Canada. He is the author of the memoir-in-essays Pass With Care, a finalist for the 2021 Firecracker Award in Nonfiction. His writing appears in The Kenyon Review, The Malahat Review, Ninth Letter, CutBank, Nailed Magazine, Longreads, Narrative
MOIRA DANN’s most recent book is Craigdarroch Castle in 21 Treasures, published earlier this year by Touchwood Editions. Previously, she edited for Penguin Books Facts & Arguments: A Selection of Essays from The Globe and Mail (where Moira worked as a journalist and editor for years). A screenwriting graduate of the Canadian Film Centre, as well as a 2016 graduate of the MFA in Creative Nonfiction program at University of King’s College in Halifax, Moira is scheduled to start an MA in Public History at UVic in January 2022. She lives in Victoria, BC, where she is volunteer President of the Board at Craigdarroch Castle.
FIONA TINWEI LAM has authored three poetry collections and a children’s book, and collaborated on poetry videos that have screened at festivals internationally. She co-edited the nonfiction anthology, Double Lives: Writing and Motherhood with Cathy Stonehouse and Shannon Cowan, and co-edited the nonfiction and poetry anthology, Love Me True: Writers on the Ups, Downs, Ins & Outs of Marriage with Jane Silcott. Shortlisted for the City of Vancouver Book Award and thrice selected for BC’s Poetry in Transit, her nonfiction, fiction and poetry appear in over 40 anthologies, including Best Canadian Poetry (2010 and 2020 editions). Her latest work of nonfiction appears in the fall issue of Maisonneuve.
October 2, 2021: From Hermit Crabs to Talking Skeletons: Playing with Form in CNF – Darryl Whetter
Where formal innovation in contemporary English-language fiction is rare, CNF offers a vibrant subset of formal innovations in which, for example, your creative prose can engage in a dialogue with found or curated text, from family letters to legislation to medical documentation to how-to writing and more. Novelist, poet, journalist and memoirist Professor Darryl Whetter will present a workshop which introduces numerous examples and opportunities for you to splice other texts into your own while discovering new modes of creativity and new opportunities for making nonfiction creative.
PROFESSOR DARRYL WHETTER is the author of four books of fiction and two poetry collections. His most recent books are the climate-crisis novel Our Sands, from Penguin Random House, and Teaching Creative Writing in Asia, with Routledge. A Canadian, he was the inaugural director of the first Creative Writing master’s degree in Singapore. His essays have been published by Oxford University Press, Routledge, Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle, The Brooklyn Rail, The Walrus, etc.
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
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
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
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 Teapot: In 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
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.