Our 40th season of literary events begins!

We’ve got a jam-packed literary line-up this fall! IFOA Weekly autumn events include the highly anticipated Toronto launch of Joseph Boyden’s new book, The Orenda, readings by authors affiliated with The Writers’ Union of Canada (including Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize winner Lawrence Hill), a conversation with beloved author Alexander McCall Smith and interviews with critically acclaimed writers Ann Patchett and Amy Tan. Tickets are on sale now! Don’t miss out—buy yours today!

The Why of Creative Writing

Brian Francis (c) Paula Wilson

(c) Paula Wilson

By: Brian Francis

Full confession: I can’t teach you how to write.

That might not be something you’d expect a creative writing instructor to say, but it’s the truth. And, in spite of whatever the reality TV shows may lead you to believe, the vocal coach can’t teach you how to sing. The dance instructor can’t teach you how to cha-cha.

And while you can learn the steps, the chords or the adjectives, the role of any instructor should be to show you the “why” of your creativity, rather than the “how.”

Writing, like any art form, is about expression. It’s about carefully selecting words to articulate the things and feelings you can’t easily describe. It’s about mood and undercurrents and the unspoken of our daily lives. Writing is about giving shape to your experiences and observations. It’s about making sense—or, at the very least, an attempt to make sense—of the complicated lives we lead.

What I try to do in my Intro to Creative course is show you why your writing is important. I want you to reconsider your experiences. To discover doorways you might not have noticed. To see the familiar in a way that feels unfamiliar. Above all, I want to help you understand the importance of your creativity and encourage the ways your writing will surprise, mystify and delight you.

What I hope you walk away with is a sense of possibility. There are ideas and characters you carry around every day that need to find their place on the page. Even if you never publish anything, it’s the journey of your writing, the value you place on your own creative expression, that will hopefully prove to be the most rewarding—and lasting—part of the process.

Intro to Creative Writing, in partnership with IFOA, runs for six weeks, starting September 17.

Kenneth Goldsmith and Christian Bök discuss conceptual literature

On Tuesday, poets Kenneth Goldsmith and Christian Bök were at Harbourfront Centre to discuss conceptual literature during an event presented with The Power Plant. Considered the founders of the conceptual writing movement, Goldsmith and Bök provided a fascinating history and read from some of their own conceptual texts. For a recap of the event, click here.

And the winner is…

Last night (April 3) a packed house at Harbourfront Centre celebrated National Poetry Month with Poetry NOW: 5th annual Battle of the Bards. Nineteen poets competed in a battle of words and creativity reading their poetry for five minutes each. A jury comprising the Toronto Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke, Authors at Harbourfront Centre Director Geoffrey Taylor and Artistic Associate Jen Tindall came together after all of the participants had their moment on stage to decide on a winner.

And the winner is…

Peter Norman, author of Water Damage, is the winner of the 5th annual Battle of the Bards.

Peter Norman

Peter Norman

As the winner, Norman receives an invitation to read at the 34th annual International Festival of Authors (October 24 to November 3) and an ad for his book in NOW Magazine. This is the fifth year AUTHORS has partnered with NOW Magazine for this unique event. NOW Magazine’s Susan G. Cole hosted the event.

AUTHORS has also invited 4 additional Poetry NOW participants to read at IFOA: Warren Clements (Bird Doggerel), Beatriz Hausner (Enter the Raccoon), Mathew Henderson (The Lease) and Christine McNair (Conflict).

For a look at the full press release click here.

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