A Tale of Two Meetings by Lori Schubert

Two hundred and fifty buzzing literati from across Canada—writers, storytellers, translators, booksellers, publishers, and directors of literary organizations—settled in at tables of ten in an underground conference room at the McGill New Residence. Around the perimeter were the impresarios of this unprecedented two-day extravaganza: the team from the Canada Council for the Arts. The ambitious […]

Poetry at Elizabeth House by Dale Matthews

The Writers in the Community workshops mostly culminate in zines (literary magazines of the participants’ work) and readings. Sometimes there are more elaborate performances. Last night I was looking back over the three zines that have come out of workshops I’ve facilitated at Elizabeth House since autumn, 2012 in Montreal. Each poem or short prose […]

Writing What I Don’t Know by Elaine Kalman Naves

Ever since working at a historical research centre way back I won’t say when, I’ve always wanted to write a novel set in nineteenth-century Montreal. My job at the research centre depended on mining the contents of nineteenth-century Canadian newspapers, which I found to be intriguingly racy, and saucy founts of information. Four years ago […]

Damn That Story Arc by Lori Weber

I’ve been thinking a lot about story, about the patterns that stories take. When I begin to write a book, I rarely know where it’s going. But go it does, on and on, through a trajectory that is both consciously and unconsciously created. It mainly follows the Western story arc – conflict, rising action, climax, […]

Secrets and Storytelling by Monique Polak

“What I’m telling you I never told nobody.” So says the teenage narrator of Sandra Cisneros’s short story “One Holy Night.” Every school year, I teach this short story. I want my students to see how Cisneros’s narrator draws us in. Sure her grammar is poor, but she understands the power – and privilege – […]