Humber’s Creative Writing – Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Poetry graduate certificate program helps you improve your writing from the comfort of your own home. You’ll work one-on-one with a professional writer-mentor to improve your short stories, poems, memoir, or novel-in-progress, learning how to develop plot, story, character, dialogue, pace and style through feedback on your own manuscript. The program is intended for those working on book-length projects, and you'll have the satisfaction of completing a large body of work which may include all or parts of a novel, a volume of short stories or a book of poetry.
Humber is noted for its exceptional creative writing mentors including authors of world stature. Past mentors include Martin Amis, Peter Carey, Miriam Toews, David Mitchell, Esi Edugyan, Nino Ricci, Margaret Atwood, Lawrence Hill, Anne Michaels, Edward Albee, Ha Jin and Alistair MacLeod. Recent international authors have included Jenny Offill, Nell Freudenberger and Samantha Harvey.
Courses Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of the program, a graduate will:
Analyze personal and recognized works of fiction and creative non-fiction for form and structure and delineate story features such as conflict, crisis and resolution. Students should be able to differentiate between story and plot and compare various types of conflict used in story writing. Students will explore various methods of plotting a work of fiction such as working backward from the climax, working forward from the initial interaction or borrowing from tradition.
Distinguish the qualities of short stories versus novels.
Evaluate personal and recognized works of fiction for the inclusion of techniques used in creative writing for making narrative an emotional experience. These techniques include the use of significant detail, active voice, and strategies for establishing cadence, rhythm and prose. In addition, students will be expected to be masters of the mechanics of writing and demonstrate the correct use of spelling, punctuation and grammar.
Assess personal and recognized works of fiction for characterization and the techniques used for establishing character credibility and complexity. Students will explore how character motivation is revealed and how characters are presented both directly and indirectly.
Outline and compare personal and recognized methods for establishing setting and atmosphere in stories as well as techniques used for adjusting narrative time.
Critique and manipulate the point of view in personal and recognized stories. In their development of point of view, students will develop strategies for deciding who is speaking in their stories and whom they are addressing. In addition, they will determine which techniques best convey the story and determine the best distance between the reader, author and characters. An analysis of point of view also includes the use of spatial and temporal distance and how to include unreliable speakers in the story.
Evaluate the methods used for developing the theme in personal and recognized stories. They will explore how theme helps dictate the selection and organization of details, style, voice and other elements of the work.
Evaluate personal and recognized works of fiction and creative non-fiction for unity of effect.
Recognize and revise weak spots in their writing. They will explore common errors and the technical questions writers should ask themselves as they review and revise their work and apply them to an analysis of plot, characterization, style, setting, narration, dialogue, point of view, structure, clarity, length and originality.
Conduct the required research to authenticate their story and make it come alive. They will be able to select and use a variety of research methods such as the internet, the library, interviews and site visits.
Evaluate personal and recognized works of poetry for the poetic tools used to shape and focus ideas and feelings and to create texture and vividness in a poem. These techniques include: devise for rhythm; devices for sound; stanza and poem forms; and imagery and figures of speech.
Develop a plan for marketing their creative writing and handling the business requirements of being a writer. This will include researching the needs and demands of the market, preparing query letters and/or book proposals, identifying suitable publishers for their work, finding and working with agents, negotiating a contract, submitting their work in suitable formats, setting fees where appropriate, and keeping appropriate records. In addition, they will explore some of the legal aspects of being a writer such as copyright and libel. Students will also develop an awareness of writing awards and competitions as well as writer support programs.
Identify opportunities to publish freelance works of fiction and creative non-fiction to local, national and international magazines, newspapers, television, film, textbooks, and the Internet. This will include the analysis of the research and publication requirements of a variety of publishers, strategies for introducing ideas and personal works to various media and a thorough understanding of the features of freelance contracts. Students will prepare, review and submit works for freelance submissions.
Evaluate the elements of successful professional writing careers and develop methods for promoting personal works and developing personal relationships with media contacts. This will include exploring ways to make public appearances and provide public readings of personal works. How to manage interviews and participate in a variety of media events will be examined. Public appearances and public speaking.
Check out our Frequently Asked Questions section or read more on How to Apply.
Learn from industry professionals while earning your credential online!
Apply early to increase your chance of being paired with your preferred mentor.
January 2020 Faculty
David Bergen has published nine novels and a collection of short stories. In 2005 he won the Giller Prize for The Time in Between. His novels have been shortlisted for the IMPAC Literary Award and the Governor General’s Literary Award.
Giles Blunt's 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.
Karen Connelly is the author of nine books of best-selling nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, the most recent being Burmese Lessons, a love story, a memoir about her experiences in Burma and on the Thai-Burma border.
Elisabeth de Mariaffi
Elisabeth de Mariaffi is the critically acclaimed author of three books: the Scotiabank Giller Prize-nominated short story collection How to Get Along with Women, the literary thriller The Devil You Know, and the brand-new Hysteria, released in March, 2018.
Elizabeth J. Duncan
Elizabeth J. Duncan is the author of the Penny Brannigan mystery series set in North Wales. Elizabeth’s first novel, The Cold Light of Mourning, won the William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic 2006 Grant for Unpublished Writers and the 2008 St. Martin’s/Malice Domestic Award for best first traditional mystery.
Camilla Gibb is the author of four novels--- Mouthing the Words, The Petty Details of So-and-so's Life, Sweetness in the Belly and The Beauty of Humanity Movement---and has been the recipient of the Trillium Book Award, the City of Toronto Book Award and the CBC Canadian Literary Award and has been short listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.
Ashley Little has written three novels for young adults and two novels for adults. Her work has won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize, been a finalist for the ReLit Award, The City of Vancouver Book Award, and more.
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.
Pamela Mordecai is a poet, novelist, short story writer, scholar and anthologist. Mordecai has written articles on Caribbean literature, education and publishing, and has collaborated on, or herself written, over thirty books.
Tim Wynne-Jones is an English–Canadian author of thirty-three books for kids of all ages from picture books to short story collections and novels. He has also written three adult novels, radio dramas, songs for the CBC/Jim Henson production Fraggle Rock, as well as a children's musical and an opera libretto.
Alissa York’s internationally acclaimed novels include Mercy, Effigy (shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize), Fauna and, most recently, The Naturalist. Stories from her short fiction collection, Any Given Power, won the Journey Prize and the Bronwen Wallace Award.
Since 1992, the School for Writers has offered an immersive, focused workshop to jump start your creative writing. Mornings are spent in classes with one of Humber’s esteemed writing advisors, and afternoons are devoted to craft and industry talks by faculty, publishing experts and special guests. Whether you’re a beginner or a more experienced writer, there’s something for you in this six-day workshop! In 2019, the Workshop in Creative Writing runs from July 7 to 12 at Humber's Lakeshore Campus.
The Creative Writing by Correspondence Program is a complement to the Humber Summer Workshop in Creative Writing, the two together comprising a flexible and affordable alternative to a standard low-residency MFA.
As of 2017, students who complete the Correspondence Program are eligible for a $300 rebate for the Summer Workshop and vice versa.
The rebate is valid for three calendar years; thus students who complete the Creative Writing by Correspondence program in 2019 will be able to apply their rebate for the Summer Workshop through July 2022.
Humber Creative Writing by Correspondence graduates can work towards a master’s degree from the comfort of their own homes! Thanks to a new arrangement, graduates are eligible for advanced standing in the highly regarded University of Gloucestershire (U.K.) distance MA Creative Writing program. Furthermore, this pathway may lead to a PhD for those who qualify.
“Humber School for Writers was one of my first experiences with writing workshops. I was amazed by how my work jumped to a new level in such a short period of time due to the generosity, experience, and intelligence of my peers and mentors. I said I’d do it again, and I did! Two summers in a row.”
- Madhur Anand, Author, A New Index for Predicting Catastrophes
To help foster the emerging literary talent in this country, the Humber School for Writers offers a number of scholarships to students of exceptional promise who can demonstrate financial need.
*Available to all qualified applicants. Other scholarships are available to Canadian residents only, and Appel scholarships to Ontario residents only. If you wish to apply for a scholarship, you must include supporting documentation to demonstrate financial need. Those who do not include supporting documentation will not be considered. Financial documentation might include a copy of the last page of your tax return, a copy of student debt, or proof of social assistance. Please also include a short paragraph describing your life circumstance, dependents, and partner income, if any.
Scholarship documentation cannot be submitted via Slideroom. After your application has been submitted, the program assistant will contact you to request copies of your documentation if you have indicated that you are in financial need. If a scholarship is awarded to you, payment will come some weeks after the program begins. You must make payment upfront and will be reimbursed later.
The main goal of the program is to improve your writing, and publication is a possibility for some. Graduates of this program may use their writing and editing skills in a wide variety of careers and professions in addition to writing books. Some of our graduates write for newspapers, magazines, television and other media. More than 300 Humber School for Writers alumni have published books and Dr. Vincent Lam, who won the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize for his literary debut Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures, is just one of our distinguished former students. Other alumni have also been on the bestseller lists in Canada: Suzanne Desrochers for Bride of New France, Cathy Marie Buchanan for The Painted Girls, Shari Lapena for The Couple Next Door and Eva Stachniak for The Chosen Maiden.
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This program is part of:
Data Driven 2019
Fri, November 15, 2019 | 08:00 AM - 04:00 PM
Off Campus, All Campuses
Please join us for the third annual Data Driven conference dedicated to exploring data-driven storytelling in Canadian journalism.
This one-day symposium features some of Canada’s most prolific investigative reporters, news developers and data advocates providing an in-depth look into the strategies they use to turn raw data into tomorrow’s headlines.
Students design data for future airport installation
Thu, October 17, 2019
The project is part of the Global Affairs Canada division of the Federal Government and aims to highlight the support Consular Services offer to Canadian travellers.
The hackathon event took place in the Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation and started with an introduction to the design challenge and a briefing call with the client where students were provided the information, materials and inspiration they needed to start their projects.
“When a client is involved, the experience is holistic and involves every aspect of working in the field,” says Bianca DiPietro, program coordinator of the Graphic Design program. “The dynamic between client and student is much more professional and holds a certain level of recognition.”
DiPietro and David Neumann, program coordinator of the Web Design and Interactive Media program say the opportunity for their students to work with real-life clients is great exposure—allowing students to communicate effectively, problem solve and work collaboratively with others.
The students gathered in small groups to design a concept while working with their faculty and advisors to complete their project proposals by the end of the day. Faculty will review the submissions and select up to eight concepts based on uniqueness, creativity and execution. The selected submissions will be shared with Global Affairs Canada to consider the concepts further.
For one group, their concept is a three-dimensional, hollow hemisphere that resembles a globe and features data and information within it. User-friendly to all ages, the globe can be tilted or spun around to allow users to see inside the globe and learn about Consular Services.
“Projects like this give validation to the program and show trust in us as working professionals by allowing us to have our work showcased and potentially have our work attached to the Government of Canada,” says Gizaham Jones, third-year Graphic Design student.
Using different skills and methods, a Web Design and Interactive Media group’s concept includes movable Plexiglass panels. With infographics and data printed or engraved onto the materials, the installation will allow natural light in airports like Toronto Pearson Airport to reflect onto it. The concept also features QR codes and Near-field communication (NFC) codes, which lead users to find more information on the government’s website using their smartphones.
“Being able to have clients give you an open-ended project to work with is a great way to get your creativity and development moving and apply what we’ve learned so far,” says Paul Cudmore, second-year Web Design and Interactive Media student.
The hackathon is part of Humber’s Data storyLAB, which is an innovative hub for data-driven storytelling. Based out of the North Campus, the storyLAB will produce year-round research and partnership opportunities for student learning and engagement.
“StoryLAB is an opportunity for students to pair with reporters, developers and coders to discuss the influence data can create in different journalistic settings. The lab demonstrates how data can transform and impact politics, social justice, and the day-to-day lives of Canadians,” says DiPietro.
Humber’s storyLAB and The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting recently created a storyLAB Data Journalism Grant to support independent data-driven journalism.
For the inaugural grant, Humber and The Pulitzer Center are accepting proposals for stories related to Indigenous lands and property rights. The grant will provide up to $10,000 for a freelance journalist or team of journalists to explore a related story from a data-driven perspective.
This article, by Alysia Burdi, was first published by Humber Today on September 20, 2019. Read the article in it's original context.
Humber Journalism Honoured by Columbia Scholastic Press Association
Mon, October 14, 2019
Humber Journalism publications and students were recognized for excellence by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA).
Convergence and sweat were silver medalists at the CSPA College General Magazine Hybrid Awards, with individual student journalists receiving 15 2019 Gold Circle Award commendations across 11 categories. This year’s CSPA Gold Circle Awards attracted 7187 news and magazine entries from college and university publications around the globe. A full list of individual award recipients is included below.
N03 Editorial Writing
- CERTIFICATE OF MERIT: Staff, "Tuition Poses Unnecessary Barrier to Upward Mobility, Success," Humber Et Cetera, Humber College, Toronto, Ontario;
N05 Personal opinion: Off-campus issues
- SECOND PLACE: Devin Nguyen, "No Easy Route to Good Journalism," Humber Et Cetera, Humber College, Toronto, Ontario;
N12 Personality profile
- CERTIFICATE OF MERIT: Ross Lopes and David Tuchman, "In Memoriam Harry Leslie Smith," Convergence, Humber College, Toronto, Ontario;
N14 Cultural feature
- SECOND PLACE: Elesha Nicholls, "Wingin It," Scribe, Humber College, Toronto, Ontario;
- THIRD PLACE: Kateryna Horina, "They Got Chills," Convergence, Humber College, Toronto, Ontario;
- CERTIFICATE OF MERIT: David Tuchman, "Paying To Play," Convergence, Humber College, Toronto, Ontario;
N18 Briefs writing
- SECOND PLACE: Kateryna Horina and Austin Spearman, "News In Brief," Convergence, Humber College, Toronto, Ontario.
N29 Single sports photograph
- THIRD PLACE: Paige McGowan, "Bear Hunting," Humber Et Cetera, Humber College, Toronto, Ontario;
N37 Newsmagazine Cover
- CERTIFICATE OF MERIT: Chelsea Alphonso and Ross Lopes, "Decolonize It," Convergence, Humber College, Toronto, Ontario;
N38 Page One Design
- CERTIFICATE OF MERIT: Et Cetera Staff, "Higher Education," Humber Et Cetera, Humber College, Toronto, Ontario;
N45 Alternative Story Presentation
- FIRST PLACE: Kit Kolbegger and Michelle Rowe-Jardine, "Predators of the Press," Convergence, Humber College, Toronto, Ontario;
N46 Design Portfolio of work
- SECOND PLACE: Chelsea Alphonso and Ross Lopes, Convergence, Humber College, Toronto, Ontario;
N50 Single Subject Feature Package, Double-truck (two-facing pages)
- THIRD PLACE: Staff, "Legalization Day," Humber Et Cetera, Humber College, Toronto, Ontario;
N51 Single Subject News or Feature Package, 3 or more pages or special section
- CERTIFICATE OF MERIT: Chelsea Alphonso, Ross Lopes and Austin Spearman, "Reporting People As People," Convergence, Humber College, Toronto, Ontario;
- CERTIFICATE OF MERIT: Paige McGowan and Art Team, "Centre Stage," Scribe, Humber College, Toronto, Ontario.
Humber professors nominated for prestigious literary awards
School of Writers
Wed, October 02, 2019
Professors David Bezmozgis and Nicola Winstanley have been nominated for two of Canada's most prestigious literary awards.
David Bezmozgis, co-ordinator of Humber’s creative writing graduate certificate, has been shortlisted for the Giller Prize for Immigrant City, his sophmore short story collection. Bezmozgis is no stranger to Giller nominations; his novels, The Free World and The Betrayers, were shortlisted in 2011 and 2014 respectively. The $100,000 prize will be presented at a gala on November 18.
Nicola Winstanley, co-ordinator of Humber’s Media Foundation program, is a finalist for a 2019 Governor General’s Literary Award in the Young People's Literature – Illustrated Books category. How to Give Your Cat a Bath is the fourth book by the acclaimed children's author. She is a past recipient of both an Ezra Jack Keats Foundation New Writer Award and a Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award nomination. The winners of the Governor General's Literary Awards, valued at $25,000 in each category, will be announced on October 29.
Congratulations, David and Nicola!
No news at this time.
Faculty of Media & Creative Arts Events
Fall 2019 Open House
Sat, November 16, 2019 | 10:00 AM - 02:00 PM
Come to Open House and get a solid understanding of what it's really like to be a Humber student.
Visiting the campus is one of the best ways to make a decision about college, so join us and speak to faculty and current students, see the labs and take a tour!
General Sessions & Campus Tours
The journey to college brings many questions about your future career, but what about residence, athletics, transfer options or financial assistance? General sessions are designed to help answer these questions and many more. Find the General Sessions related to your campus and come take a tour with us.
School Program Sessions, Tours and Information Booths
Don't just imagine where you'll be studying at Humber, come see for yourself. Program sessions and lab tours offer a better understanding of the learning environment. Staff will provide detailed information about your program, the scope of the industry today and where your education could take you. Feel free to ask questions about your program, curriculum, career and placement opportunities.
Faculty of Media & Creative Arts News
Radio Humber and BRTV Collaborate to showcase Indie Canadian Artists
Thu, June 13, 2019
96.9 Radio Humber teamed up with the Broadcast Television/Videography Program to bring Canadian artists on campus for an interview and performance.
Faculty of Media and Creative Arts Students Win Big at this Year's Skills Ontario Competition
Mon, May 27, 2019
The Faculty of Media and Creative Arts would like to congratulate four of our students who won at Skills Ontario this spring.
Ten Good Things to Stream When the Weather is Bad
Wed, May 08, 2019
And they all just happen to feature Humber grads!
No news at this time.
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