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FAQs

Frequently asked questions and answers

It is a prominent writing workshop with an excellent track record.

You will spend five intense mornings in class with colleagues and your teacher poring over your work and the work of others. You will spend five afternoons hearing from writers and publishing professionals about how they achieved their goals and how the publishing world works.

It is a very busy week of writing and literature.

While all the above is exciting, we also realize that the most important progress in writing is artistic progress. We aim to provide insight into the craft of writing and help you hone your skills.

Over the last 28 years, the HSW workshop has been taught by some of the most talented national and international writers in the world. Our teachers have included Margaret Atwood, Mavis Gallant, Francine Prose, Martin Amis, Anne Beattie, Peter Carey, two-time Booker Prize winner; Tim O'Brien, National Book Award Winner in the USA; Alistair MacLeod, winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; Edward Albee, legendary playwright and many others.

Prominence is not the only quality we look for in our instructors. All of our faculty have considerable knowledge about the craft of writing and will help you to improve your work.

In the long run, we want you to succeed and will do the best we can to help you achieve your goals. If you are published in book form, we will add the cover of your work to our "wall of fame" and may ask you to read or speak for us. Some of our faculty are former students.

In the short run, your teacher and your classmates will look carefully at 15 pages of your work as well as the work of your colleagues. Your teacher will advise you on the best strategies to improve your writing.

You spend five mornings in class with a small group of students. In that time, each of you reads and comments on the work of the others under the guidance of your writing instructor. You will also have a short private meeting with your instructor. Each instructor addresses the entire student group at least once, so you will hear from every teacher on our roster this season. Former students who have published in previous years tell how they went from aspiring to published. Top professionals in editing and agenting say what they are looking for and how to achieve success.

We do a “Flash Assessment”, an optional activity in which publishers and editors react to the first page of your work.

The large group first gets together on Sunday afternoon for an orientation with the Program Director.

The workshop is both intense and inspiring; participants can expect to be exhausted and exhilarated by the end of the workshop.

You may also find that your colleagues become a useful support group. Some years ago, four alumni formed a writing circle and vowed to stay together until all had been published. The last they were heard from, three had.

Each student will receive a certificate of participation at the end of the workshop.

We endeavor to tell students whether they have been accepted approximately 2 to 3 weeks after they have submitted their completed applications. After the early bird deadline, students will be further informed which mentor they have been matched with.

Student work for consideration is limited to 15 pages, which must be prepared according to professional standards: double-spaced and with name, title, and page number on each page.

If you are accepted, the fifteen pages will be forwarded to your teacher. Please do not make any changes to the manuscript between the time you submit it to us and the time you arrive. You will also receive electronic copies of the writing samples of all class members before the workshop begins.

The insights provided on the pages you submit are intended to help you through the rest of your work.

Those who have a book-length manuscript might consider taking the Correspondence Program in Creative Writing in order to go over a larger body of work with a writing mentor.

In the summer workshop we have had true beginners as well as those who have published books. However, we do not always have suitable teachers for certain types of work. We are especially good at literary fiction, contemporary poetry, and creative non-fiction.

Writers at different stages of development attend the workshop. Prose writers of fiction and non-fiction comprise six of the workshop classes. One class is devoted exclusively to poets.

In 2022, the workshop will take place at Victoria College on the University of Toronto campus. Classes will meet in spacious classrooms in the Victoria College Building (Old Vic) and plenary sessions and talks will be held in the historic Victoria College Chapel, which also plays host to musical performances for the Toronto Jazz Festival and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

The 2022 regular fee is $1450 inclusive of taxes.

Students who register before June 3rd get 10% off the fee.

Winter 2019 through Fall 2021 Humber School for Writers alumni get 15% off the regular fee.

When you apply, you list your top three choices of instructor in order of preference. The placement committee tries to give you the instructor you choose, but reserves the right to make the best match possible. The placement committee takes into consideration availability, class size, writing style, and other concerns. You will be informed of instructor placement before arrival.

Unfortunately not.

The more familiar you are with your instructor's work, the better.

Classes are consist of a minimum of six and a maximum of ten students

Workshop classes start each day at 9:30 am and end at 12:30 pm. There is one hour for lunch. Afternoon talks and presentations typically end by 4 pm.

There is a student reading on Wednesday afternoon from 3:30-6:30 pm.

Victoria College is located in the heart of vibrant downtown Toronto, easily accessible by public transportation. There are many restaurants, shops and hotels nearby, as well as museums, art galleries and movie theatres. The University of Toronto campus is also located by Queen’s Park a large greenspace popular with joggers and urban squirrels.

All classrooms and residence facilities are wheelchair accessible.