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This program is part of: Humber School for Writers

Immerse yourself in a creative writing workshop this summer!

The 2022 workshop is scheduled to run from July 10-15, 2022

 

About the workshop:

Since 1992, the Humber School for Writers (HSW) has offered an immersive, focused workshop to jump start your creative writing. After two summers of an online workshop experience, we are pleased to offer the 2022 workshop in person at The University of Toronto’s Victoria College. Mornings are spent in classes with one of Humber’s esteemed writing advisors, and afternoons are devoted to craft and industry talks by Canada’s top authors, poets, publishers, editors and agents. You’ll connect with peers and build your literary support network. Whether you’re a beginner or a more experienced writer, there’s something for you in our July writing workshop!
During the Summer 2022 workshop, Olive Senior will lead a dedicated poetry section.

David Bezmozgis, Creative Director - Humber School for Writers

David Bezmozgis, a writer and filmmaker, is the author of Natasha and Other Stories, The Free World, The Betrayers and Immigrant City. His writing has appeared in many publications, including The New Yorker, Harper’s, Zoetrope All-Story, and Best American Short Stories. He has been nominated three times for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, twice for the Governor General’s Literary Award and has received the Amazon.ca First Novel Award among other prizes. In 2010, he was one of The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40. David has written and directed two feature films, Victoria Day and Natasha, and was a screenwriter on the animated feature, Charlotte, all of which were nominated in the writing category for the Canadian Screen Awards.

Creative Director's Message

Heracleitus, perhaps the most epigrammatic of the Greek philosophers, is credited with saying, “Change is the only constant.” That’s how it’s felt in the five years that I have been overseeing the Humber School for Writers Summer Workshop in Creative Writing. In 2017, we returned the workshop to the summer and to the Humber Lakeshore Campus. In 2020, because of the pandemic, we presented the workshop exclusively online. In 2021, expecting to return to “normal” we found ourselves back online. In 2022, we not only intend to offer the workshop in person, but we are also launching a new collaboration with Victoria College and the University of Toronto. Though the online experience proved successful and had its advantages, it nevertheless felt like a substitute for the real thing. So I’m excited that we will be back to the real thing this July, that we’ll be partnering with Victoria College, and that we’ll be providing our students with a more convenient and dynamic location for the workshop.

Returning to teach this year are Giles Blunt, Joe Kertes, Colin McAdam, Olive Senior and Alissa York. Olive will be leading the dedicated poetry workshop. Joining the faculty for the first time is the excellent and iconoclastic Irish-Canadian novelist Anakana Schofield.

No doubt there will be changes in years to come, but I’m also hopeful that we’re embarking on something that will endure.

David Bezmozgis
Creative Director and Faculty, Humber School for Writers
Summer Workshop in Creative Writing
Humber Faculty of Media & Creative Arts

Faculty Bios

Giles Blunt grew up in North Bay, Ontario, a small city similar to the Algonquin Bay of the John Cardinal novels.
 
After studying English literature at the University of Toronto, he moved to New York City, where he lived for the next twenty years, before moving back to Toronto in 2002.
 
The first Cardinal novel, Forty Words for Sorrow, won the British Crime Writers Silver Dagger award, and the second, The Delicate Storm, won the Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis award for best novel, as did the latest, Until the Night. He has been twice longlisted for the Dublin IMPAC award.
 
Find out more about Giles on his website, gilesblunt.com or follow him on Twitter at @GilesBluntBooks.

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Joseph Kertes was born in Hungary but escaped with his family during the Revolution of 1956.

He studied English at York University and the University of Toronto. He founded Humber College's creative writing and comedy programs and was the recipient of numerous awards for teaching and innovation. He was for many years Humber's Dean of Creative and Performing Arts.

His first novel, Winter Tulips, won the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour. His third novel, Gratitude, won a Canadian National Jewish Book Award and the U.S. National Jewish Book Award for Fiction. His novel, The Afterlife of Stars, was a New York Times Book Review: Editor’s Choice. His latest novel is called Last Impressions.

He was the recipient of the 2017 Harbourfront Festival Prize for his contribution to literature and to the literary community.

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Colin McAdam has a PhD in English from Cambridge University.
He has mentored writers at the Banff Centre and the University of Guelph-Humber. His first novel, Some Great Thing, won the Amazon/Books in Canada Best First Novel Award.

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Anakana Schofield is the author, most recently, of Bina, which won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year award in 2021 and was shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize.
Her Giller Prize–shortlisted novel Martin John (2015), was also a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, the Goldsmiths Prize in the UK, a New York Times Editors’ Choice, and named a best book of the year by The Wall Street JournalThe Globe and MailNational PostSunday Business PostToronto Star, and The Irish Times, among others. Her debut novel Malarky (2012) won the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, the Debut-Litzer Prize for Fiction in the United States, and was a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Her writing has appeared in The New York TimesThe GuardianThe Irish TimesZoetrope: All-StoryGranta, London Review of Books, and others. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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Olive Senior is the Poet Laureate of Jamaica 2021-2024 and divides her time between Toronto and Jamaica.
She is a long-standing writing mentor and the prizewinning author of over 20 books of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and children’s literature. Her recent publications include Pandemic Poems: First Wave (2021) – alphabet poems based on the lexicon of the pandemic, and Hurricane Watch: New and Collected Poems, UK: Carcanet 2022. Her numerous awards include the Matt Cohen Award for Lifetime Achievement and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the West Indies. Her first work of fiction, Summer Lightning, won the first Commonwealth Writers Prize.

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Alissa York has been mentoring writers for over a decade, and has been full-time faculty at the Humber School for Writers since 2017.
Her internationally acclaimed novels include Effigy (shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize), Fauna and The Naturalist (winner of the Canadian Authors Association Award for Fiction). Stories from Alissa's short fiction collection, Any Given Power, have won the Journey Prize and the Bronwen Wallace Award. Her essays and articles have appeared in The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, Brick magazine and elsewhere. In 2018, she won the Writers' Trust Engel Findley Award for a Writer in Mid-Career. Having lived all over Canada, Alissa now makes her home in Toronto. Her new novel, Far Cry, is due out in 2023.

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Content and Format

You should attend if

  • you want to learn to write short stories, novels, poetry, memoir, creative non-fiction, Y/A (young adult) or children’s literature
  • you’re already working on a book but would like to improve your writing with feedback from established writers and your peers
  • you’d like to know how to find someone to publish your work
  • you’d like to expand your own writing community by meeting like-minded aspiring writers
  • you’d like to build your professional network through meeting top authors, agents, editors, publishers, and publishing professionals

The workshop runs from July 10 to 15, 2022 and consists of orientation programming, five three-hour workshop classes, numerous craft talks and industry lectures, and one one-on-one feedback session with your mentor.


Sarah Maclachlan (left) discusses the state of Canadian publishing with Nita Pronovost, Emily M. Keeler, and David Bezmozgis during the 2018 Summer Workshop.


During the 2018 workshop, mentor Kyo Maclear leads an afternoon session on the visual storytelling of picture books.


Jenny Offill, 2018 workshop mentor, discusses a student’s work.


A 2018 workshop student listens during an afternoon panel.

In 2022, afternoon panels include the following:

Industry Panels

Student Success Stories
Claire Ross Dunn, At Last Count (Invisible Publishing)
Katie Zdybel, Equipoise (Exile Editions)
Naomi Yano, Affairytales (Self-Published Ebook)

Beyond Paper: New(ish) Frontiers in Publishing
Pieter Swinkiels, Chief Content Officer, Rakuten/Kobo

Ask the Publisher(s)
Jay Millar and Hazel Millar, Co-Publishers, Book*hug Press

Flash Assessments
Anita Chong, Executive Editor, McClelland & Stewart
Anuja Varghese, Fiction Editor, The Puritan

What Agents Want
Kelvin Kong, Agent, K2 Literary
Olga Filina, Agent, Five Otters Agency

Extraordinary Book Story
Aimee Wall, We, Jane (Book*hug Press)

Craft Talks

Olive Senior
The Importance of Poetry

Joe Kertes
Conception: Where Story Ideas Come From

Colin McAdam
Authorial Empathy: How To Put Yourself In Someone Else’s Shoes

Giles Blunt
Research: The Only Thing I Do Besides Whining That Involves Other People

Alissa York
Open Secrets: How To Read Like A Writer

Anakana Schofield
Out in the Open: How To Read Like A Writer, In Front of An Audience

Application Process

Fees

The deadline to register is July 8, 2022, and the fee is $1450 (taxes included). Those who register by June 3, 2022 are eligible for a 10% early bird discount. Winter 2019 through Fall 2021 Humber School for Writers alumni are eligible for a 15% discount

Cancellation Policy: Humber reserves the right to cancel the workshop due to low enrollment. If the workshop is cancelled, registrants will be notified by June 17th and a full refund of fees paid to Humber will be issued.

How to Apply

Students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible in order to improve their chance of being paired with their preferred mentor. To apply, please click on the link below and follow the steps to register for the Slideroom site and submit all the information requested.

For application inquiries, please contact David Bezmozgis at 416-675-6622, ext.3465 or david.bezmozgis@humber.ca.

Reputation

Over 330 of our alumni have published over 1000 books!

Notable alumni authors include

  • Eva Stachniak (The Winter Palace)
  • Roberta Rich (The Midwife of Venice)
  • Cathy Marie Buchanan (The Painted Girls)
  • Robert Rotenberg (The Guilty Plea)
  • Shari Lapeña (The Couple Next Door)


The team of 2018 workshop mentors gathers for a group photo at Gabekanaang-ziibi ("mouth of the river"), the first stop in the Courtyard Trail of Indigenous Cultural Markers at Humber Lakeshore. The team is, from left to right, Jenny Offill, Tracey Lindberg, Adam Foulds, Alissa York, Colin McAdam, Kyo Maclear, and David Bezmozgis.

A 2018 student workshops a story with his colleagues and mentor, Alissa York.

Testimonials

“I’m truly happy Humber is exploring creative ways to continue with the workshop this summer. When I attended in 2018, we learned the finer points of craft in smaller classes, as well as the broader side of the business through talks and panel discussions--all things that can, thankfully, be taught virtually. The information presented not only enriched my short story and novel writing but helped prepare me for the day when I’m ready to send out my manuscript. It’s a relief to know that in these uncertain times, there’s still an opportunity for writers to dig deeper on a creative level, connect with other writers and learn to better express themselves as they give back to the world through their work.”

- Angie Ellis, 2018 Workshop Participant

"The Humber School for Writers provided the most valuable thing to me as an emerging writer— an audience. Readers. It’s a creative digital forum where keen and sensitive readers treat your writing with close consideration, and lend their most thoughtful feedback. What’s gained in having your work read with serious attention is that you, the writer, begin to take your writing seriously. With sharpened instincts, you learn to work with an eye to mastery. Critical feedback opens a well to more vivid and impactful stories. Working in a collaborative virtual community, among mentors and likeminded participants, you find your footing as a writer, you see where you are exactly, and form a better understanding of where you may want to go."

- Andrew Morris, 2018 Workshop Participant

"I’m getting so much out of the Humber School for Writers correspondence program. The format is ideally suited to the work – instead of attending theoretical lectures and struggling to apply them to my writing, I get thoughtful, personalized instruction on every piece I submit. My teacher and I have built a meaningful rapport and although she never pushes me, I know she’s waiting, so not producing is not an option. In the hands of these distance learning experts, the weeklong Humber Writers Workshop, which I attended last summer, will not lose any of its lustre. Don’t miss the opportunity."

- Bonny Reichert, 2019 Workshop Participant

About the Workshop Location

Victoria College, University of Toronto

Victoria College is associated with the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Arts & Sciences. It brings together the best of all worlds—the academic advantages of Canada's leading research university, the rich diversity of a big city and the close-knit social and intellectual community of a small liberal arts college.

Points of interest near the campus include

Residence

Regular Rate
$80.25 per single room / per night (+13% HST = $90.68)
$107.00 per double room / per night (+13% HST = $120.91)

Student / Senior Rate
$74.00 per single room / per night (+13% HST = $83.62)
$100.00 per double room / per night (+13% HST = $113.00)

This nightly rate does include breakfast and WiFi. Check-in is at 4:00PM, and Check-out is at 11:00AM, located at Margaret Addison Hall (140 Charles St. W. Toronto, ON, M5S1K9), where the full payment is collected upon Check-in.

Rooms can be booked by filling in the reservation form below and emailed to accom.victoria@utoronto.ca or faxed to 416-813-4077. Reservations can also be made over the phone at 416-585-4524 (monitored 24/7).

Victoria College Campus Building

Opportunities for Further Study

The Correspondence program

The Humber Summer Workshop in Creative Writing is a complement to the Creative Writing by Correspondence Program, the two together comprising a flexible and affordable alternative to a standard low-residency MFA. The Correspondence Program, formally known as the Creative Writing - Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Poetry program, is a 28-week distance studio program offering aspiring writers the exceptional opportunity to complete book-length projects with guidance from a distinguished mentor. You’ll work from the comfort of home and receive extensive feedback via either regular or electronic mail. The program is customized to address the particular needs of your novel, collection of short stories, volume of poetry, or piece of creative non-fiction. It may include assessments of your handling of plot, story, character, dialogue, pace and style with the goal of improving your manuscript and refining your craft. Writers looking for an affordable alternative to a low-residency MFA program will find this program especially helpful following the Summer Workshop in Creative Writing.