Members Blog

A Small Selection of Favourite Craft Books

AnnMarie MacKinnon is a CNFC member and board member. She shares a thoughtful list of books on the craft of writing creative nonfiction, for yourself or as a gift for another writer in your life. _ In just a week, winter will be upon us. The short days and long evenings of the season practically beg us to embrace the hygge mood and curl up with a book. And what better way to spend a few of those darker hours…

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One CNFC member’s very unusual publishing journey

“You have stolen my image,” read the subject line. I waited until I had a few minutes of spare time to read the rest of the email. It was Friday. Deadline day at the Haliburton Echo, a weekly community newspaper where I’d been interning for two months. I had until noon to file all my stories and photos for the week. When I finally read the email, sent by an Indian photographer by the name of Udayan Sankar Pal, I…

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How to Host a Literary Cabaret in Six Easy Steps

Do you miss seeing and talking to your fellow creative nonfiction writers in the long months between conferences? Do you want to develop more awareness of great nonfiction in your own town? The CNFC can help you create your own literary cabaret evening right where you are. We have a modest fund to help with promotion, including the design and distribution of digital flyers or posters, and can contribute toward venue rental, if need be.

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Uncovering life’s silences and hidden assumptions

CNFC member Sue Harper interviews Michael V. Smith – poet, novelist, writing prof, and recent author of his first memoir, My Body Is Yours: Books help us contain a kind of emotion that might be unpleasant, so we might get a better perspective on it and have a more sophisticated reaction to it in our own lives. Following two novels, Cumberland and Progress (Cormorant Books) and two books of poetry What You Can’t Have (Signature Editions) and Body of Text…

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How to build story and adventure with Instagram

by Jennifer Kingsley, @meetthenorth Instagram is big, it’s growing, and it’s an opportunity for us nonfiction types. Yes, there’s a bad reality show component, but don’t be fooled. There is fine documentary there too, and we can be a part of it. Instagram made me nervous at first. I saw it, like other social media, as a proliferation of social obligations—without the benefit of leaving the house. A friend convinced me to give it a try; she said it would…

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Writing by your own rules

As a child I wrote stories in booklets made of scrap paper haphazardly stapled together, a combination of words with crayon illustrations that made for a colourful—if not entirely comprehensible—storyline. By the time I was ten I fancied myself a journalist, pounding out short news articles on my dad’s old typewriter, covering the big events of my childhood: the crash of the space shuttle Challenger, or the malfunction of West Edmonton Mall’s Mindbender roller coaster. Writing came easily, and it…

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Come blog with us

Are you a CNFC member? Have you got some writing to share? We are currently seeking pitches for our blog. The CNFC has a modest budget to pay for blog entries. We can offer $50 honoraria for select original content pieces. Please get in touch if you’d like to contribute! Ideas for post content include the following: – Reporting on CNFC events near or far from you – Issues of craft in CNF – Issues of living the writerly life…

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Poetry: Pure Fiction, or Nonfiction in Its Purest Form?

CNFC workshop at Loft 112 in Calgary on Sunday, April 19, 2015 Photos & blog by Dale Lee Kwong Can poetry constitute creative nonfiction? The question is one I had never considered. When I did, I discovered I’ve unconsciously never given my poetry the same respect as my essays. For me, nonfiction held more interest than fiction and I categorized poetry as less valid. After attending a workshop featuring South African author and editor, Helen Moffett, I now feel excitement…

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News from the World of CNF

  As we gear up to our annual CNFC Conference (this time in Victoria), only a couple of weeks away, the world of CNF is fluttering with activity. So, here’s our news: carte blanche has announced our CNF contest shortlist! You can find the shortlist here. Second, our members continue to write and update their blogs: Dennis Malone writes in “What I Learned from Cancer”: Nurses are like sound men at rock concerts: there they are to ensure that all…

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Members Blog: What’s So Scary about Words Like “Religion,” “Spirituality” and “Mysticism”?

Reflections on Writing my Memoir, Into the Mystic: My Years with Olga (Inanna Publications, 2014)  Susan McCaslin The word “religion” can sometimes generate hostility or fear. People mistrustful of religion notice how many of the major religions have been and continue to be tied to empire-building, rigid belief systems, gender inequalities, corporate capitalism, wars, and the exploitation of the “have nots.” The word “spirituality” seems a gentler, more inclusive term, less indicative of rigid belief systems. Yet it too remains…

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