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Bring your writing into focus this fall!

Register for intimate master classes with top authors.

About the TIFA x School for Writers Partnership

The TIFA/Humber Creative Writing Master Class Series is a partnership between the Humber School for Writers and The Toronto International Festival of Authors. Launched in the Fall of 2020 as part of the festival's digital slate, the series will provide an exclusive array of writing master classes for the festival's audience. Classes will be led by renowned Humber School for Writers mentors.

Each master class will be 90-minutes long and address a specific aspect of writing craft and life. Classes will be held at Harbourfront Centre, with a group of up to 40 students. The master classes are open to all levels of writers, and will take place daily during TIFA.

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About TIFA

The Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA), Canada’s largest and longest-running festival of words and ideas, returns for its 43rd edition. From September 22 to October 2, 2022, TIFA will bring together over 200 authors alongside musicians, artists and performers through conversations, readings, performances, workshops and more, connecting communities and diving into important discussions relevant to these unprecedented times.

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Master Class Series

Tim Wynne-Jones

The Score of a Narrative,
with Tim Wynne Jones

In film, background music is used as a tool to set the pulse of a scene, to enhance mood and to create a sense of anticipation. An author must rely on narrative alone to create such resonance and lushness in their work. In this workshop, author Tim Wynne Jones will show you ways in which setting can become more than simply a back drop, and can even become the “music” of a scene. Come learn about the score of a narrative with Tim Wynne Jones.

About the Instructor: Tim Wynne-Jones has written 38 books including novels for adults, young adults and children, picture books, and short story collections. He has won the Governor General’s Award, twice, among many other Canadian and international honours. His work has been published in 10 languages in 13 countries. In 2012, Tim was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. Tim also taught creative writing for 16 years in the Master’s Program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. His most recent book, War at the Snow White Motel, and other stories, was published by Groundwood Book in the Covid Spring of 2020.

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Date: September 22, 2022
Time: 5:30 - 7:00 pm
Cost: $60 ($53 + fees)

Omar Musa

Poetry From Artwork,
with Omar Musa

Explore how to reverse-engineer a poem from an image or work of art, with poet and artist Omar Musa. Musa will demonstrate by presenting his work, which combines poetry and woodcut prints, including recent work from his poetry collection Killernova. Participants will then have the chance to practice these techniques by through poem-writing exercises based on artworks.

About the Instructor: Omar Musa is a Bornean-Australian author, visual artist and poet from Queanbeyan, Australia. He has released four poetry books (including Killernova), four hip-hop records, and received a standing ovation at TEDx Sydney at the Sydney Opera House. His debut novel “Here Come the Dogs” was long-listed for the International Dublin Literary Award and Miles Franklin Award and he was named one of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Young Novelists of the Year in 2015. His one-man play, “Since Ali Died”, won Best Cabaret Show at the Sydney Theatre Awards in 2018. He has had several solo exhibitions of his woodcut prints.

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Date: September 23, 2022
Time: 5:30 - 7:00 pm
Cost: $60 ($53 + fees)

David A. Robertson

Writing a Comic Book,
with David A. Robertson

This is an opportunity to peek into the world of comic book storytelling, exploring the intricate relationship between text and illustration, with celebrated author David A. Robertson. Participants will get the chance to discover how to visualize stories, write them and explore the technical aspects of comic books.

About the Instructor: David A. Robertson is the recipient of the Writers' Union of Canada Freedom to Read Award. His memoir, Black Water, won the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award and the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction. His middle-grade fantasy series, The Misewa Saga, includes the #1 bestseller The Barren Grounds. He won the Governor General's Literary Award for On the Trapline and When We Were Alone. Robertson is also the writer and host of the award-winning podcast Kiwew. The Theory of Crows is his first novel for adults. David is a member of Norway House Cree Nation. He lives in Winnipeg.

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Date: September 24, 2022
Time: 1:30 - 3:00 pm
Cost: $60 ($53 + fees)

Alissa York

Unforgettable: Engaging Readers Through the Power of the Particular,
with Alissa York

Who wants to read about a featureless individual in an undefined setting doing something vague? (Don’t all shout at once.) Specific, significant details are crucial to creating characters and narratives that the reader won’t soon forget. Join award-winning author Alissa York for a masterclass on this fundamental aspect of the fiction writer’s art.

About the Instructor: Alissa York’s internationally acclaimed novels include Effigy (shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize), Fauna and, most recently, 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, she now makes her home in Toronto, where she teaches at the Humber School for Writers.

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Date: September 25, 2022
Time: 3:00 - 4:30 pm
Cost: $60 ($53 + fees)

Téa Mutonji

Writing Short Stories,
with Téa Mutonji

Author and poet Téa Mutonji believes that truth isn’t in the narrative, but the details. This workshop will teach you the steps for writing short stories. Learn techniques to create recognizable landscapes for your characters to exist within, in the limits of a short story format. Using examples from her debut short story collection, Shut Up, You’re Pretty, Mutonji will demonstrate to participants how to create self-contained stories that will still read as one work through thematic connections.

About the Instructor: Born in Congo-Kinshasa, Téa Mutonji is a poet and writer based in Toronto. She holds a degree in Media Studies and minors in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Toronto Scarborough. Her debut collection of short stories, Shut Up You’re Pretty, is the first title from Vivek Shraya imprint, VS. Books. It was shortlisted for the Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize (2019) and won the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award (2020) and the Trillium Book Award (2020). Téa is the recipient of the Jill Davis fellowship in Fiction at NYU.

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Date: September 26, 2022
Time: 5:30 - 7:00 pm
Cost: $60 ($53 + fees)

Giles Blunt

Getting in Gear: How to Get your Story Started,
with Giles Blunt

Many novels lose steam around their half-way mark, and even more stories could achieve greater impact if they had better pacing. Author Giles Blunt covers the fundamentals of how to structure story elements for maximum effect. If you haven’t started your novel yet, this will give you a basic framework to help design it. If you are already turning out pages, you may find it a useful map to keep you on course.

About the Instructor: Canadian novelist Giles Blunt grew up in North Bay, Ontario, a town remarkably like the fictional Algonquin Bay of his John Cardinal stories. Those books have garnered the British Crime Writers’ Silver Dagger as well as the Crime Writers of Canada award for best novel (twice), and the TV series, Cardinal, has been airing around the world since 2017. Blunt has also written four highly regarded standalone novels, including The Hesitation Cut and Breaking Lorca which the Globe and Mail called “a tour de force—an unforgettable window into the human capacity for cruelty and courage.”

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Date: September 27, 2022
Time: 5:30 - 7:00 pm
Cost: $60 ($53 + fees)

Larissa Lai

Writing Historical Fiction,
with Larissa Lai

In this workshop, American-born Canadian novelist and literary critic Larissa Lai will discuss a range of writing techniques that can be used to create historical fiction. She will illustrate the challenges caused by knowing the past, and suggest how to represent it for contemporary readers. Learn what to do with dated language and behaviours, and how to bridge gaps between lot understandings and new ways of knowing.

About the Instructor: Larissa Lai is the author of The Tiger Flu, Salt Fish Girl, and Iron Goddess of Mercy. Recipient of the Duggins Novelist's Prize, the Lambda Award, and the Astraea Award, she holds a Canada Research Chair at the University of Calgary where she directs The Insurgent Architects' House for Creative Writing.

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Date: September 28, 2022
Time: 5:30 - 7:00 pm
Cost: $60 ($53 + fees)

Shyam Selvadurai

Writing Vivid Characters,
with Shyam Selvadurai

In this workshop, author Shyam Selvadurai will look at various techniques that can be used to bring characters alive on the page, both in fiction and non-fiction. He will illustrate with examples from his new novel Mansions of the Moon, and demonstrate specifically how he dealt with certain problems of character that arose in the novel.

About the Instructor: Shyam Selvadurai was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He came to Canada with his family at the age of nineteen. Funny Boy, his first novel, was published to immediate acclaim in 1994. It was shortlisted for the prestigious Giller Prize, was a national bestseller, won the W. H. Smith/Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Lambda Literary Award, and was named a Notable Book by the American Library Association. In 2020, it was made into a feature film by director Deepa Mehta. His second novel, Cinnamon Gardens, was shortlisted for the Trillium Award. His third, The Hungry Ghosts, was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award. Selvadurai is also the author of an acclaimed novel for young adults, Swimming in the Monsoon.

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Date: September 29, 2022
Time: 5:30 - 7:00 pm
Cost: $60 ($53 + fees)

Anna Moschovakis

Embodied Editing,
with Anna Moschovakis

Once a piece of writing becomes more than an idea, the process of editing begins. In this workshop, Anna Moschovakis teaches how embodied editing practices can help dislodge habits and fears about messing with what we’ve made. Given that every writer is different and everybody is different, this workshop will offer examples of practices that can be personalized for engaging breath, voice, nerves, boredom, blushing and other somatic experiences to help a text move to its next stage.

About the Instructor: Anna Moschovakis is the author of the novel Eleanor, or, The Rejection of the Progress of Love and of three books of poetry, most recently They and We Will Get into Trouble for This. Her translation of David Diop’s At Night All Blood Is Black (Frêre d’âme) was awarded the 2020 International Booker Prize. Raised in Los Angeles, she has lived in New York since 1993 and currently makes her home in the Western Catskills.

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Date: September 30, 2022
Time: 5:30 - 7:00 pm
Cost: $60 ($53 + fees)

Wendy Erskine

Time and the Short Story,
with Wendy Erskine

How do we experience time? This workshop, led by author Wendy Erskine, will discuss the ideas of time: elastic time, objective versus subjective time, slowed down or sped-up moments of experience, and how we experience time as people. Learn about the temporal structures of literature by examining the unity of time in classical dramas, or expanses of time in 19th Century novels, in addition to discussing chronological versus non-linear narratives.

Through a close, collaborative reading of His Mother by Wendy Erskine, and Vanka by Anton Chekhov, workshop participants will learn how there is movement between different timelines. These temporal shifts create meaning and complexity and are important details for writers to manage. This session should enlighten participants to the possibilities time presents within their own work.

About the Instructor: Wendy Erskine is the author of short story collections Sweet Home (2018) and Dance Move (2022). Her work has been published in The Stinging Fly, Winter Papers, Female Lines: New Writing from Northern Ireland and Being Various: New Irish Short Stories and read on BBC Radio 4. Sweet Home was Book of the Year in the Guardian, The White Review, Observer, New Statesman, and TLS. It won the 2020 Butler Literary Award, was shortlisted for the Edge Hill Prize 2019 and longlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize 2019. The story 'Inakeen' was longlisted for the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Prize 2019.

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Date: October 01, 2022
Time: 3:30 - 5:00 pm
Cost: $60 ($53 + fees)


On Beginnings and Endings,
with David Bezmozgis

How you start and how you finish are often the most memorable parts of short stories, novels – and life! What makes a good opening and a good ending? How does an opening set the tone for the rest of the work, and when is the right time to end it? Using examples from other writers and from his own work, author and Humber College facilitator David Bezmozgis will guide you through the vital decisions all writers have to make.

About the Instructor: David Bezmozgis is an award-winning writer and filmmaker. He is the author of the story collections Immigrant City and Natasha and Other Stories, and the novels The Betrayers and The Free World. His books have been nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, The Governor-General’s Award, the Trillium Prize and won the First Novel Award and the National Jewish Book Award. David’s first feature film, Victoria Day, premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival. His second feature, was an adaptation of his story Natasha. David lives in Toronto and is the Creative Director of the Humber School for Writers.

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Date: October 02, 2022
Time: 5:00 - 6:30 pm
Cost: $60 ($53 + fees)