Thursday, October 31, 2019

“The Poplar Grove” a story for Halloween by Sally Basmajian

You may have heard the tale.
Long, long ago on every Halloween night a dark figure haunted this poplar grove. The people in the nearby town would catch glimpses of a mysterious man, clad all in black, as they peered through the cracks in their boarded up windows.
He moved smoothly through the trees, as if gliding on the wind, always hesitating at the edge of the woods, rarely approaching the town. The hiding townspeople trembled with fear as they clutched their wooden crosses, praying for salvation. 
In those days, even babies wore tiny crosses around their necks on Halloween, for the people knew that on this night of the year a vampire roved the woods. If a child perished – and more than one infant had been choked in their cradles by the rustic necklaces – better it be in the arms of their Saviour than by the bite of the devil’s creature.
Nowadays in our town, nobody brandishes garlic or a homemade cross on Halloween. We laugh at the old tale and let the kids go trick or treating – well supervised by their parents, of course. All the same, nobody ever goes near the woods at night.  It’s sort of an unwritten rule, and I’ve never even heard anyone say that it might be interesting, just as a stunt or on a dare, to hang out there and see what happens.  Our fear is powerful and it endures, all these generations later.
So it might surprise you that tonight is Halloween and I’m standing in the middle of the poplar grove, surrounded by hundreds of shadowy, silvery trunks.  The dry, remaining leaves shake and chatter in the wind, creating cascades of sound, as if a ghostly presence were applauding my daring escapade. 
The trees crowd around me, making me feel that they are creeping closer and closer to me. I know this is only my imagination. Still, I shiver with anxiety as I wait for something, anything, to happen.
I wear no garlic. I carry no cross.
Aside from the gentle clapping of the leaves, there’s no sound or movement in the poplar grove.  I’m spooked by the darkness, and look to the moon, hoping that its light will comfort me, but it is remote and uncaring. What I am experiencing is true loneliness. I feel sad and uneasy – and ridiculous – as I continue to stand, deep in the woods, waiting for my miracle from hell.
And then it happens.
“Very interesting,” a baritone voice drawls. “And what have we here?”
I turn quickly and trip on a jutting root. Recovering my balance, I look around.  I see nothing but trees and their shadows, shifting in the dappled moonlight. 
“Who’s there?” I say. I am annoyed with myself when I hear the wobbliness of my words.
“Hmmm. Let me guess. Hardly a maiden, are you?”
That makes me mad. Since when do supernatural creatures get to be so fussy?
“Show yourself, whoever you are,” I say. That’s better. My voice sounds firmer, more authoritative. 
“Certainly, madam, if that is your wish.”
A tall, slender figure apparates before me. His face is in shadow, but I can see how elegant his form is, swathed in a cloak of pure blackness.
I am way too angry to be rattled by his ability to pop, fully fledged, into being like a horrifying genie or a magician’s ratty bunny.
Madam?  Like, are you kidding me? I’m only twenty-five years old! How do you get off calling me madam?”
He chuckles, a rich, cultured sound. That makes me even madder.
“I don’t know who you think you are, you piece of recycled Halloween garbage, you excuse for something that is actually capable of scaring anyone, but I’m no madam. As a matter of fact, I’ve been told I look young for my age and that I’m pretty darn hot! So, get over here and bite my frickin’ neck and deliver me into the next dimension or whatever it is that you do. Time’s a-ticking. Move it!”
The man comes closer, appearing to float inches above the ground. He is illuminated by the moonlight and is easily the most handsome male I have ever seen, in spite of his SPF-100 complexion. I swan my neck in his direction, hoping he will notice that I have washed it especially well for this occasion, and have even been thoughtful enough to pre-scratch it so that it emits an enticing smell of fresh blood.  His nostrils quiver.
“Well, my dear, I usually go in for maidens. It’s kind of my thing. But, it has been a century or so. And you do have a certain spunky charm about you.”
His eyes become black slits and he swoops toward me with intent.
“Welcome to eternity,” he says.
My neck is stretched to its fullest extent, my eyes are closed. I feel no fear. This is it  my ticket to a glamorous afterlife, and I am ready. My whole body quivers with anticipation as I await the vampire’s puncture and then his extracting kiss.
Nothing happens. 
I crack open a baby blue. There he is, my supposed hero of darkness, my canine-tooth-enhanced Count, lounging against a nearby poplar, shaking his head in a judgmental, tsk-tsk way, and eying me with distaste.
Oh, no. No, no, no. This can’t be happening.
“What’s wrong?” I ask. I know what’s coming and I can’t bear it.
“Your blood. It is tainted with disease. I will not touch you.”
“What? How can you reject me? What I have isn’t catching; I swear to you. And I need your help here, buddy.  One little bite?”
“’Fraid not, my dear. You have my sympathy, of course, on your illness. Besides, I’m doing you a favour. The vampire’s life is long and tedious. All that waiting around in the woods, hoping for unblemished youths to appear. It isn’t getting easier, either, as the years go on – maidens being almost impossible to find and parents being all over-protective and that. Consider yourself lucky.”
As he drones on, I’m edging closer. “Listen here, you bat-winged bully, I absolutely need you to impale me with those beautiful, sharp teeth of yours. You can’t leave me hanging like this!”
I launch myself at him, hands outstretched to grab his narrow shoulders.  My plan is to drive my long fingernails into his flesh and take a bite out of him if he won’t chomp me first.  Maybe I’ll get some sort of medical benefit if I succeed, and I have nothing whatsoever to lose. I open my mouth and prepare to make contact of a deliciously macabre kind.
But, with a crackling, electric sound, he vanishes.  I sprawl on the ground, rubbing my head where it has collided with a sapling and look wildly around me.  My vampire is nowhere in sight. He’s gone, taking all my hope with him.
A small, winged creature flutters high in the sky, over the trees. A vampire bat? I can’t be sure. All I know is that when it disappears from sight I’m left alone, in the woods.
It’s a death sentence.
Years ago, I watched my mother die from this disease in a way that was much too fast for me but agonizingly slow for her.
But you can bet that I’ll never give up. Other options exist. There are medical procedures I can try. There are therapies these days that weren’t available to my mother when our illness killed her. The doctors will help me, and my fellow townspeople will be there to support me every inch of the way. I intend to fight for my health and for my life, and fight hard.
And, hey, you never know. I’ve heard tales of a strange wolf pack menacing a town not too many miles from here. To my knowledge, nobody has said the w-word aloud, but to me the animals sound a lot like werewolves. A werewolf mauling would be an awfully messy way to meet my goal, but I’ll do some research first and then, if the situation looks promising, maybe I’ll go on a solo field trip there one night.
A single bite from one of them should do the trick.

Sally Basmajian is an executive escapee from the corporate world of broadcasting. She lives in idyllic Niagara-on-the-Lake with her understanding husband and demanding sheltie and spends her free time writing. She has won recognition for her stories in the 2014 and 2015 Rising Spirits Awards and in creative non-fiction 2015 contests sponsored by ScreaminMamas and Canadian Stories.

See Brian Henry's schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Barrie, Bracebridge, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Ingersoll, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Orillia, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, St. John, NB, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

“Garden of Eden” by Nadine Rodrigo

The frangipani tree overflows with milky white flowers, its centres garnished with liberal brush strokes of yellow saffron. It perfumes the air, and a sprinkling of fallen blossoms decorates the lawn. The morning sun promises the perfect temperature for a lazy day.  Kumari, Ramesh, Savi and I sprawl on a straw mat in our garden under the shade of our favoured tree.
The school break is well under way and I pull out a scrabble board, having already played cards, monopoly and checkers.  I drag an old crate for a table and Savi, my younger sister, unearths a discarded tire for a seat.
Soon, we’re deep into the game, and Kumari, my friend who lives next door, comes up with words that we’ve never heard of and she takes forever when it came to her turn.  My brother Ramesh is getting irritated.  
“Come on Kumari, how long are you going to take?”
She doesn’t bother to answer, concentrating on her next mysterious word.  Savi lags behind in points, she is bored. She plays with her hair, looks at her red nails, notices a chip, and starts chewing on it.  Ramesh is about to berate Kumari again when my mother appears with tall glasses of lemonade.  Eager hands reach for the drinks. Ramesh gulps his down while Kumari absentmindedly sips hers.
The shrill sound of barking shatters the gentle morning. Startled, I drop my glass. Charlie Brown and Lester, my pet dogs are at the edge of the garden where the tall grass and bushes grow wild after the monsoon.  Their hair is raised on the ridge of their backs and they bark ferociously.  We dash across the lawn to investigate.
“Stop making such a racket you two, Mom will yell at -”
 I freeze.
Behind the long grass is a huge cobra, half raised, hood expanded, it stood, majestic and mesmerizing.  Transfixed, we stare at it until Kumari starts howling for her mother. 
“Charlie!  Lester! Come back! COME BACK!”  
I scream at the top of my voice which quivers, barely producing any sound.  I struggle to grasp them by their collars but I am hauled back by my mother who is behind me.
“Priya, what do you think you are you doing? Don’t you know how far it can leap?”
My mother wails and prays simultaneously.  I wish my dad would return home soon from work.  Kumari’s mother hears the commotion and joins us, breathless and barefooted.  She clutches Kumari close to her when she sees the cobra and pleads, “You must not harm the king cobra. If unprovoked, it will go away on its own.  If you kill it, you know it will come to haunt you.”
 She is superstitious like many others, and I hardly know what to believe.  The dogs bark relentlessly, but the cobra does not budge, only swaying slightly with the movement of the dogs. It hisses, fangs exposed ready to strike.  Charlie Brown, the dachshund, runs back and forth on its short legs, his sausage like body barely above the ground. Lester, of unknown origin stands a foot taller. He snarls with his teeth bared, prepared to attack. 

In next to no time, a crowd has gathered to watch.  The neighbours holler conflicting advice, Ramesh and the boys rummage for stones; Savi and I cling to each other sobbing, terrified that the cobra will surely kill my pets.  
Finally, it sinks into the grass, and slithers away.  The cobra moves its long body swiftly, the dogs unaware it has vanished, continue to bark. 
The familiar sound of our car signals my dad is home.  Relieved, I rush towards him and hug him and hold my pets tight. Everyone gathers around to relate the story, including the brave heroes of the day, Charlie Brown and Lester.    
The scrabble board lies upturned and abandoned, under the tree. Exhausted by the day’s events I sit beside the scattered letters wondering where the King cobra disappeared to.  I pick up the letters to place them in the box, and by habit, form a word. The letters in my hand spell, COBRA.  I shiver, and fling them into the box.
The frangipani blossoms appear ghostly white.                                                      

Nadine Rodrigo was born in Quebec  and grew up in Sri Lanka, which has influenced much of her writing. She sees writing like having a baby: you give birth to your story, nurture it tenderly and rein it in when necessary and hope the ultimate result will be splendid.   

See Brian Henry’s schedule hereincluding writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Cambridge, Georgetown, Georgina, Guelph, Hamilton, Jackson’s Point, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Saint John, NB, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.                                                                              

Sunday, October 27, 2019

”Big Bag of Rocks” by Rocky Mancini

There is a joke that goes, “If a man is alone in the forest, and there isn’t a woman to hear him speak ... is he still wrong?”

I’m reminded of this joke every now and then.  One of those now and then moments came up during our latest move.  My wife and I have moved six times over the past 32 years and each time we have a discussion about what should and shouldn’t find a place in the new house. The latest move involved a particularly sensitive item.

“You’re not bringing that thing with us to the new house are you?” my wife asked.

I stopped… not sure if that was a question a comment or a command. It sounded like a question. I could even envision a question mark at the end of the sentence. But even after 32 years of marriage I occasionally had trouble distinguishing between them.

The subject of the question / comment / command was swaying heavily from my left hand while I did my best to balance a large well-used cardboard box in my right. The words Fragile and Breakable wavered drunkenly in front of me. Despite its dimensions, the box was a lot lighter than the knapsack I had in my left and failed to act as adequate counterweight to the hefty knapsack.  My sudden change of pace resulted in an interpretive dance-like movement of a third-rate circus juggler navigating an obstacle course. Conceding defeat, I slowly lowered the knapsack to the ground and focused on keeping the box steady.

The look of confusion on my face prompted my wife to continue. “You realize you’re literally carrying a bag of rocks to our new house, don’t you?” 

Again, I found myself struggling with whether this a question or comment.  I had an inkling of where this discussion was going.

 “First of all,” I pointed out, “it’s not a bag, it’s a knapsack.”

“Fine.” her sigh was followed by a controlled breath, and then she slowly repeated, “You realize that you are literally carrying around a ‘sack’ of rocks, don’t you.”

I was fairly certain that this was a comment, not a question.

“Secondly,” I continued, ignoring the implied you idiot, “they’re not rocks. They’re minerals and fossils,” trying my best to give an “as you well know” tone to my voice but coming across as defensive.

For the sake of context I’d like to include at this point that the knapsack in question contained various samples of minerals, ores, fossils and yes … maybe the odd rock or two. These were all collected over the years, starting from university where I graduated in geology, and ending, not coincidentally, when I began dating my wife.

The entire collection fit snugly inside an old knapsack.  I lugged, dragged and kicked that knapsack all over the province during my undergrad field trips.  Over time I continued adding to the collection whenever I came across interesting samples at mineral shows or during hiking and camping trips with friends.  I had invested a lot of time, sweat and energy into that bag of rocks.

The knapsack was a simple design, a single large pouch made of canvas.  I purchased it at an army outlet store at the start of university. It’s primary purpose was to hold rock and mineral samples, the odd prospecting tool, and beer, sometimes at the same time. It’s colour, never brilliant to begin with, had faded to a mellow sandy beige and showed the scars and scuffs of many misadventures.  It had tan brown buckles and edgings, which were cracking but holding up remarkably well.

It was still sturdy for its age, although it had lost its shape some time ago.  It now sagged a bit and the straps had been broken and replaced by various strings ropes and laces over the years. However, this knapsack, broken straps and all, never made it into the category of junk, at least in my mind. 

The knapsack, its contents notwithstanding, had become a symbol, a reminder of more carefree days before mortgages, kids and corporate ladders.  I couldn’t tell you the name of half the samples anymore, but that wasn’t the point.  I still have memories of climbing over outcrops in Timmins, hanging onto rocky ledges right next to a busy highway in Belleville. These images are firmly entrenched in my psyche.

To be honest, both items I was juggling, the bag of rocks and a box containing my wife’s mothers’ and grandmothers’ heirloom cups, saucers, dishes and delicate china pieces see the light of day about the same number of times each year – that is, never.  But somehow my wife’s box of china was considered valuable … nay precious … while the other was considered … well, a bag of rocks.

The point was that it was my bag of rocks, darn it, I’d take it with me if I wanted to.  It was my line in the sand and I refused to concede to “more important things” like family heirlooms and rare and precious china. It represented a line in the sand and I refused to budge – on principle.

I have to admit I sometimes wrestle with the logic behind my attachment to this weathered relic and why it deserves a place in our home.  To the untrained observer, my affection and dedication to its preservation seem incongruent with how I treat it or its cargo.  I find it embarrassing to even bring the minerals out in the open for anyone to see, having forgotten what most of them are called.  All I can say is that there aren’t a lot of things from my university days that I have held onto.  A dusty framed diploma and this old beaten canvas knapsack seem to be the extent of what I had accomplished in four years of study. Giving it up would be like turning my back on an old friend. 

Back to the story … I knew well enough that this was not the time to bring up the fact that the box marked Fragile and Breakable was also going to our new house and would take up more than twice the amount of our limited storage space than my wee knapsack would.  It was also not the time to mention that the knapsack would undoubtedly find itself tucked underneath my desk where it would continue its role of jamming my toes whenever I tried to stretch my legs and would not take up any of our limited precious storage space.

To make matters worse, my wife has recently taken up minimalism with a religious fervour.  The movements manifesto being something along the line of, “If it doesn’t bring you joy, throw it out.”  You can probably see where this is going. My bag of rocks did not give my wife any joy.

But for now, my wife abandoned our discussion in favour of supervising the movers who were moving her dresser and were currently teetering at the edge of the stairs. Shaking her head and muttering something about the similarities between stubborn children and husbands under her breath, she hurried off to save the furniture.  

I knew that this was a temporary reprieve and that the discussion would continue.  Uncomfortably satisfied with the shaky truce, I took advantage of the opening provided and carried the box and knapsack to the car.  I realized that concessions might need to be made for the sake of peace. The familiar refrain – “happy wife, happy life” - kept ringing in my ear.  Compromise, I knew was the only solution to resolve the stalemate.  Compromise is something I have learned to do and have become quite good at – 32 years of marriage having provided me a lot of practice at perfecting the art.

So compromise I did.

The knapsack is a little lighter now. A result of sacrifices made on the minimalist altar regarding which rocks were really joyful and which could be discarded.  Peace restored, the knapsack with the surviving contents secured under my desk, things have returned to normal. 

But some days when I am alone in my office and my wife isn’t around to hear me speak, I tell myself, “I’m not wrong! At least I’m pretty sure I’m not.”

Rocky Mancini lives in Oakville with his happy wife of 32 years and their son. He recently retired and is exploring new endeavours with a particular focus on music, writing and art. In no particular order, his interests include: family, community, the environment, travel and the preservation of wildlife and nature. 

See Brian Henry’s schedule here, including Saturday writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in Algonquin Park, Alliston, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Georgetown, Georgina, Guelph, Hamilton, Jackson’s Point, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, New Tecumseth, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Algonquin Park Writing Retreat at Arowhon Pines Resort, Friday, June 5 – Monday, June 8,

Algonquin Park Writing Retreat
Friday, June 5 – Monday, June 8, 2020
Arowhon Pines Resort, Arowhon Pines Rd, Little Joe Lake, Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada

Give yourself a long weekend of writing time  a weekend of instruction, inspiration and creativity. Award yourself with time away from distractions, with no dishes to do and wonderful food at every meal, as you sit with your feet up and write in the most beautiful wilderness setting in Ontario. This is where the Group of Seven got its inspiration (Tom Thompson is buried just a couple of lakes over); it’s a wonderful place for you to find your inspiration, too.
The retreat will feature both instruction and guided writing exercises, plus one-on-one critiquing and coaching from Brian.  You’ll also have lots of time to relax, rejuvenate, and reconnect with your creativity. 
All writing levels welcome. Whether you are just beginning or have a novel in progress, please join us. 
The setting: Arowhon Pines is a peaceful, quiet resort nestled in the woods on Little Joe Lake inside Algonquin Park. There are no motorboats on the lake, except for the resort’s own pontoon boat which takes guests on occasional wildlife tours.
The resort is without TV and is far from the roar of traffic. The cry of a loon is the loudest noise you’re likely to hear all day.
Rates include charming accommodation (cabins have a mix of queen beds for one person or couples or twin beds for two people rooming together; rooms also have private bathrooms and each cabin has a lounge with fireplace to share with your fellow writers). 
Three all-you-can-eat gourmet meals per day are provided, featuring an abundance of fresh food prepared by master chefs and an inspired kitchen staff. (Bring your own wine or beer!)
All activities included. When you’re not writing, or for spouses who accompany you, there is plenty to do: canoe or kayak a series of lakes or hike trails to see wildlife (moose, loons, beaver, turtles, fox, deer), swim in the lake, sail, stand up paddleboard, play tennis, relax. For indoor activities there is a games room with table tennis, shuffleboard, books, board games. Your stay also includes access to all Algonquin Park programs and activities including a car pass for you to fully enjoy the park.

Check-in isn’t until 3 p.m., but guests can arrive in the morning to fully take advantage of the facilities (though the meals included in your package don’t begin until after check-in time, so lunch on Friday is extra if you arrive early). Each guest can borrow a day pass for Algonquin Park. The formal retreat will begin late Friday afternoon. On Monday, we'll have our last formal get-together at 11 a.m., ending at 12 noon. Check out time is at 1 p.m.  Most guests have lunch while the bellhops load the car. But once you’ve had lunch, don’t feel you have to rush off!
Participants are welcome to bring spouses, partners or friends, as there will be plenty to do while you’re writing – canoeing, kayaking or sailing, swimming if warm enough, tennis, reading and just plain resting and unwinding, enjoying the wilderness.

Read about a stay at Arowhon Pines 

Instructor Brian Henry has been a book editor and creative writing instructor for more than 25 years. He publishes Quick Brown Fox, Canada’s most popular blog for writers, teaches creative writing at Ryerson University and has led workshops everywhere from Boston to Buffalo and from Sarnia to Saint John. But his proudest boast is that he has helped many of his students get their first book published and launch their careers as authors.
Read reviews of previous writing retreats at Arowhon Pines here (and scroll down). 
To see more reviews of Brian’s weekly courses and Saturday workshops, see 

Seminar fee:
For the full 4-day, 3-night retreat: $185.84 plus hst = $210

Book early – space is limited! Full receipts issued.
For more information or to register, email:

Accommodation fee (including accommodation and food, plus use of all the resort’s facilities):
$268 per person, based on double occupancy ($536 per couple)
$335 per night, based on single occupancy
Plus 15% service charge (in lieu of tipping), then plus 13% hst.

Book early – space is limited! Full receipts issued.

For more information or to register, email:

Who can attend the retreat?
Everyone interested in developing their writing skills is welcome to attend, whether you're aspiring writer or an accomplished author or simply enjoy writing as a hobby. There is no requirement for you to have been previously published or even to have an intention to publish.

I'm a poet / playwright / other writer. Is this retreat for me?
The retreat is open to anyone who enjoys writing. Instruction will focus on narrative writing; i.e., stories, whether fiction or memoir. But if you’re an essayist or poet or whatever, you’re entirely welcome. 

Should I bring my work in progress?
Yes, if you have an on-going writing project, bring it with you! If you’re not currently working on anything, don’t worry, we’ll get you writing.

Should I bring my laptop?
Yes, if you prefer to work on your laptop. If you prefer to work on paper bring that. Or go crazy and bring both.

Can you cater to specific dietary requirements?
Yes, just let the staff at Arowhon Pines know beforehand about your needs.

I want to stay longer or arrive early. Is it possible to do that?
If you want to arrive early and stay longer, that is fine. Just arrange it with the resort. There is plenty to see and do in the park, and Arowhon Pines is a lovely place to base from.  Arowhon will keep the same rate throughout your stay.

Is there cell phone reception and WIFI?
Arowhon Pines is an island of luxury, but in the midst of wilderness, so no cell phone reception and no WIFI, though there are landlines and there’s access to the resort’s Internet connection. (Contact the resort for details.) But be sure to have your writing projects on your laptop when you come, not stored in the Cloud.

How about alcohol?
Arowhon doesn’t serve alcohol, but guests are welcome to bring their own wine, beer or whatever to have with meals or back at your cabin or wherever. (Though do note that Hemingway’s advice to write drunk, mostly produces drivel.)

Can I bring my spouse (or partner or friend)?
Certainly. Just let them know you’ll be spending most of your time writing, (though you will have some free time every day), and make sure they enjoy superb food, beautiful wilderness, and relaxing on the deck or the dock or out on a canoe as they glide past a moose munching on water lilies….

For more information or to register, email: 
To book your accommodation at Arowhon Pines, phone toll free: 1-866-633-5661
Or you can book on-line here~ But be sure to also phone and tell them you're with the writing retreat!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

You're invited to an author reading – to just listen or to read – Sunday, Nov 24, in Toronto

Author Reading
Sunday, November 24, 2019 
12 noon – 4 p.m.
The Wallace Gastropub, 1954 Yonge St, Toronto (Just north of Davisville. Map here.)

Note: We’re also having a reading day Saturday, Dec 7, in Oakville. See details here.

At this reading graduates of Brian Henry's writing classes get to strut their stuff. Come hear some of the most amazing emerging writers in the Toronto area reading some of the best work you’ll hear this year. This will be a fun get-together and everyone’s invited. Don’t miss it!
And if you want to read from your own work, email me, and I’ll let you know if there’s still room on the roster – as of now, there is space. (But you must arrange to read in advance; you can’t just show up on the day and hope to read.)
Doors open at 12 noon. Arrive for lunch by 12:15, or if you’re just having a drink or coffee and a snack, please arrive by 12:45. But because we’re monopolizing their second floor, you can’t order just a coffee (or they might not want us back).
The actual readings will start at about 1:30 and we’ll go to about 3:30 / 3:45 p.m. 
If possible, RSVP as soon as possible and let me know you’re coming:
I look forward to seeing you all there! ~Brian
This winter, there's a whole new round of classes from Introductory to Intensive: 
Burlington: Exploring Creative Writing, Thursday afternoons, Jan 23 – March 19. Details here.
Oakville: Writing Personal Stories, Thursday evenings, Jan 23 – March 19. Details here.
Burlington: Next Step in Creative Writing, Tuesday afternoons, Jan 21 – March 31.
  1st reading emailed Jan 16. Details here.
Burlington: Intensive Creative Writing, Wednesday evenings , Jan 15 – March 11. 1st readings emailed Jan 8. Details here.
Toronto: Intensive Creative Writing, Friday mornings, Jan 17 – March 13.  1st readings emailed Jan 10. Detail here.
    See details of all winter courses here,
To reserve a spot, email:

See Brian’s complete current schedule here, including Saturday writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in Algonquin Park, Alliston, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Georgetown, Georgina, Guelph, Hamilton, Jackson’s Point, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, New Tecumseth, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.