Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Still a few spots open in our online "Intensive Creative Writing" courses

Intensive Creative Writing

Offered online at 3 different times:

Tuesday evenings 6:30 – 9:00
March 19 to June 18, 2024 (no class April 23 or June 11). First readings emailed March 12.

Wednesday afternoons, 12:30 – 3:00
March 20 – June 19, 2024 {No class April 10 or June 5}. First readings emailed March 13

Friday mornings 10:00 – 12:30
March 22 – June 21, 2024 (No class April 5 or June 7). First readings emailed March 15

Intensive Creative Writing isn't for beginners; it's for people who  are working on their own writing projects. You’ll be asked to bring in several pieces of your writing for detailed feedback. All your pieces may be from the same work, such as a novel in progress, or they may be stand-alone pieces. You bring whatever you want to work on. 

Besides critiquing pieces, the instructor will give short lectures addressing the needs of the group, and in addition to learning how to critique your own work and receiving constructive suggestions about your writing, you’ll discover that the greatest benefits come from seeing how your classmates approach and critique a piece of writing and how they write and re-write. This is a challenging course, but extremely rewarding.

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, taught creative writing at Ryerson University (now Toronto Metropolitan 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 published.   

Read reviews and pieces about of Brian's various courses and workshops here (and scroll down).

Fee: $292.04 + hst = $330

To reserve your spot, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

See all of Brian’s upcoming weekly writing classes, one-day workshops, and weekend retreats here. 

Monday, February 26, 2024

Tidewater Press wants your book-length manuscripts, plus short Xmas pieces for anthology

Nothing in the Truth Can Harm Us
a novel by Colleen Rene
published by Tidewater Press

Tidewater Press

617 Belmont Street
New Westminster, BC

https://www.tidewaterpress.ca/

You can now get new postings on Quick Brown Fox delivered straight to your Inbox as I publish them. Subscribe to the new Quick Brown Fox page on Substack here:  https://brian999.substack.com/

You can also get an email about twice a month about what’s coming up in terms of writing classes, workshops, and retreats, plus providing links to the other material on the Quick Brown Fox blog. For that, add your name and email in the Sign-Up box in the righthand column. ~Brian

Tidewater Press publishes four to five titles per year. Currently, they’re also looking for submissions for an anthology of Christmas epiphanies.

Tidewater was founded in 2017 to produce well-written, engaging titles that give readers a fresh perspective on themselves and their world.  They want to publish adult fiction and nonfiction books that enlighten as they entertain.

Their fiction aims to subvert or play with standard literary tropes and explore topical themes.

Their nonfiction titles are meant to educate and illuminate Canadian stories, historic or contemporary. They should all have strong narratives, told or written from personal perspectives, that explore Canadian society, values and history. The scale may be intimate or international, but the dynamic is always one that explores individual and collective identity.

“Our mandate is to give voice to those whose background and experience don’t yet meet the requirements of larger publishing houses. They may be from minority, marginalized or socially disadvantaged groups, or they may be writers who have not fully developed their craft. We do not, however, restrict our acquisitions to authors who fit this profile, but we are proud of our ability to identify and encourage new voices on an ongoing basis.

“Tidewater Press seeks out stories that matter by writers who struggle to be heard.”

They accept submissions of both literary fiction and nonfiction that meet the following criteria:

  • The story (whether fiction or nonfiction) is fresh, topical and will resonate with at least one defined, special interest constituency.
  • The story (whether fiction or nonfiction) is compelling and is intended to give readers new insight into at least one aspect of contemporary life or Canadian history. Stories falling within a standard genre will be considered only if they transcend the normally recognized conventions of their genre.
  • The author is committed to producing a quality book and is genuinely willing to engage in a rigorous editing process.
  • The author has the ability and intention to actively support and promote the title after publication.

Submit through Tidewater’s submissions page here.

Include a brief synopsis (up to 500 words) in your submission and and the full manuscript or an excerpt.

Call for submissions for a new anthology:

Upon a Midnight Clear – A new anthology of Christmas epiphanies

Better Next Year, published by Tidewater Press in 2023, was a runaway, seasonal publishing success story. Submissions are now open for a second anthology, Upon a Midnight Clear, again edited by JJ Lee.  New and emerging Canadian writers are invited to contribute to this new collection of stories that illuminate the best of worst of Christmas, to be published November, 2024.

JJ Lee, is the author of The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son and a Suit (2011), a finalist for the Governor General’s, Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust and Charles Taylor prizes for nonfiction.

“We are seeking powerful, amusing, moving and heartfelt stories from established and emerging Canadian authors from across the country in an anthology that debunks the popular depiction of Christmas while delivering its messages of hope and renewal.”

Writers of colour, immigrants, Indigenous authors and the other usual suspects are especially invited. 

Submissions of creative nonfiction/memoir should be 3,500 to 5,000 words in length.

Deadline March 31, 2024.

Full submission guidelines, including a helpful video here.

See Brian Henry’s upcoming weekly writing classes, one-day workshops, and weekend retreats here.  

Check out other book publishers accepting unagented submissions here {and scroll down}.  See other places to send your short work here {and scroll down}.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Gila Green reviews “18 Jewish stories translated from 18 Languages”

18 Jewish stories translated from 18 Languages, edited by Nora Gold, 188 pages published Oct 17, 2024 by Academic Studies Press. Available here.

In a conversation with Nora Gold, I found online, she points out that due to the dispersion of Jews among other nations over two thousand years, Jewish fiction has found expression in the languages of virtually every country. In her new anthology, kudos to Gold for extending beyond the anticipated languages like Yiddish and Hebrew. Instead, she spotlights stories originally published in Croatian, Hungarian, Italian, Turkish, and more.

These 18 stories (some of which are novel excerpts) feature well-known Jewish writers such as Eli Wiesel and Isaac Babel while also introducing readers to lesser-known authors like Gabor T Szanto and Maciej Plaza.

Full disclosure: I received this book a couple of months ago after agreeing to receive a complimentary copy in the mail here in Israel. Given my Yemenite background, I felt a profound responsibility to this anthology, aligning with my belief in elevating lesser-known Jewish voices into the literary discussion. However, by the time I received the book, October 7 had become so deeply embedded in my mind that I could only read the stories through the lens of that barbaric attack.

These three quotations struck me and compelled me to pause and reflect:

What mask shall I put on this year? What will I find when I turn the world upside down, what will I find at the bottom of myself after the second or third glass of liqueur? And can this world be any more weird and crazy than it already is?

– From "Purimspiel" by Jasminka Domas, translated from Croatian by Iskra Pavlovic

Nora Gold, editor of 18

This could have been written for the Purim we have not had yet, the first Purim after October 7.

And then these two quotes:

Uncertainty could prick like a cactus on my windowsill. I had always carried this uncertainty in my body. A word here. A word there. Words that didn't make sense. Words that didn't have anything to do with me. Words that had everything to do with me? Uncertainty became certainty. Nightmare became reality. That had to be why it practically put my mind at ease to learn that Jews across the globe for two thousand years had been blamed for all the evilness that happened in the world.

–From Birte Kont "A Place Nowhere," novel excerpt translated from the Danish by Nina Sokol

You're praying? Your children are dead and you're still praying?" There was not anger there, merely vast astonishment. Abram did not answer. He raised his arms helplessly. What shall I do? (He asked his arms), tell me what should I do.

–From "Luck" by Irena Douskova, translated from Czech by David Livingstone

These three quotes – and many others – made me feel as though Jews are reliving our past lives, as though all the Jews who have ever lived in every place are with us in our grief after October 7.

Gold has given us a profound type of inter-generational, transnational hand-holding. Reading through this historical lens, I was infused with the certain knowledge that we will express our grief, write about it, process it, mourn, and continue. There will be more creativity, more literature, and more anthologies.

If you're looking to read for escape from the events of the day, then this is not the choice for you. But if you wish to have a historical perspective on events or some food for thought about what is happening around us at this very moment, this anthology should be at the top of your list.

18 Jewish stories translated from 18 languages is available from Chapters/Indigo here.

Gila Green grew up in Ottawa then moved to Johannesburg before settling outside of Tel Aviv. She is the author of dozens of short stories, and three novels and one novel-in-stories: White Zion (Cervena Barva Press), King of the Class (NON Publishing, Vancouver), Passport Control (S&H Publishing) and No Entry (Stormbird Press, Australia).

Plus, Gila has two more novels coming: With a Good Eye to be released August 2024 available for pre-order here, and The Inheritance to be released in 2025 (both from Ace of Swords Publishing Montreal).

When she is not writing or mothering her five children, her daughter-in-law or two sons-in-law, Gila teaches EFL and edits manuscripts.

This review was originally published on Gila’s blog here.

Note: Quick Brown Fox welcomes your reviews and your pieces about reading, writing the writing life, and other literary themed pieces. See other book reviews here (and scroll down) and pieces about writing here (and scroll down).

See Brian Henry’s upcoming weekly writing classes, one-day workshops, and weekend retreats here.  

Friday, February 23, 2024

Early Spring Writing Retreat at Sherwood Inn, in Muskoka

Early Spring in Muskoka Writing Retreat

Friday, April 5 – Monday, April 8, 2024
Register soon to be sure of a spot!
Sherwood Inn on Lake Joseph
1090 Sherwood Road, Port Carling, Ontario, Canada (Map here)

Give yourself four days of writing time  a long weekend of instruction, inspiration and creativity. Award yourself with time away from distractions, with no dishes to do, delicious food at every meal, and with the leisure you need to sit with your feet up and write.

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’re just beginning or have a novel in progress, please join us. 

The setting: Sherwood is an elegant resort started some eighty years ago by Harry Draper, a Toronto lawyer who fell in love with the Muskoka’s. He envisioned Sherwood as a charming estate rather than as a sprawling hotel and wanted guests to feel as if they were staying at a friend’s cottage.  Sherwood Inn, especially the Inn building itself, still maintains that warm, old-Muskoka charm.  

Thomas B. Costain, author of numerous best-selling historical novels, including The Chalice and The Black Rose, was a regular guest, so the Inn has a track record as a good spot for writing. Lawren Harris and George Thomson (brother of Tom Thomson) both painted here, though the century-old pines surrounding the Inn would have been a bit younger then.

Rates include accommodation. Rooms are located in the main Inn. Each room includes a queen bed, an en-suite three-piece bathroom, and a desk (for writing).

All meals – Friday dinner, Saturday and Sunday breakfast, lunch and dinner, Monday breakfast and lunch – are provided, as are coffee & snack breaks on Saturday and Sunday. Alcoholic beverages are extra, as are golf and Spa treatments.

Activities included: We seem to be headed for an early spring, but we’ll still definitely be too early for water sports. Expect daytime temperatures above freezing, but there may still be some snow on the ground, especially in the forest, and maybe still ice on the lake (but melting – so don’t go walking on it!) The hiking trails, though, are great, and there are fat bikes, a regular bonfire, and a fitness room. Unlike our Algonquin retreats, there is also Internet, so if you must know what’s going on in the world, you can keep up.  We recommend, though, that you kick back, relax, and let your creative juices flow.

Additional activities: The Inn also features a comfortable licensed lounge and a spa. “True North MVMNT is dedicated to getting you moving towards your happiest and healthiest self! We provide professional Massage Therapy and Esthetic services for all ages and backgrounds.” Spa treatments are not included in the package, but if you're interested, you should certainly book an appointment (here).  

There are various attractions in the area, including the Muskoka Lakes (Cranberry) Farm and Winery, just 8 minutes down the road, and cruises out of Port Carling, weather permitting.  

Check-in on Friday is 4 p.m. Our first writing get-together will be at 5 p.m. Check-out on Monday is at 11:30 a.m. Followed by lunch. Feel free to arrive early – your room may well be ready – and in any case, before 4 p.m. on Friday and after lunch on Monday, you're welcome to use the resort's facilities. 

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 more about Sherwood Inn and about previous retreats here {and scroll down}.

Fees: 

Including both the writing retreat and accommodation, meals, coffee & snack service, and all resort amenities: $1484.96, plus 13% hst for the three nights.

All fees include tips.

Not included in any quoted prices: alcoholic drinks, spa services, golf, or other extras (tipping for these is also extra).

Bring a (non-participating) significant other along for the weekend to share your Inn room for an additional $149.56 plus hst per night ($169 per night) (includes accommodation, meals and all resort amenities, but not the writing part of the retreat or our coffee breaks). 

Book early – space is limited! 

For more information or to register, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Note: Bookings for accommodations for this retreat must be done through Brian (unlike our retreats in Algonquin, where you book your accommodations through the resort). Participants may be able to tack on additional nights at the resort before or after the retreat; these are offered at a special discounted rate. Additional nights need to be booked directly with the resort, after booking your space in the workshop.

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.

Should I bring my work in progress?

Yes! If you have an on-going writing project, bring it with you. Bring more than you expect to get to; you'll have lots of time for writing. Besides, you may want to switch projects or share a project that’s just started or one that’s all done, except for reading it to a small, appreciative audience. If you’re not currently working on anything, don’t worry, we’ll get you writing.

Should I bring my laptop?

Yes! Unless you only work on paper. Even better, bring both – your laptop and your writing pad. No sense being short of essential supplies.

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.

Can you cater to specific dietary requirements?

Yes! But please let me know ASAP. The resort would like those sorts of details a month in advance. 

I want to stay longer or arrive early. Is that possible?

If you want to arrive early or stay longer, that’s fine. You’ll book the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night with Brian, and arrange any additional nights with the resort; just make sure they know you’re with Brian Henry’s writing group – they’ve got a good rate for you.

Is there cell phone reception and WIFI?

Yes.

How about alcohol?

The resort serves alcohol with meals and has a licensed lounge. Guests are also welcome to bring their own wine, beer or whatever for consumption in their room. (Though do note that Hemingway’s advice to write drunk, mostly produces drivel.)

Can I use the spa at the resort or play a round of golf?

Yes, you can certainly book a spa treatment, though that’s extra, and you book these directly with the resort {not through Brian}. And just before you go up, you can check with the resort whether golf courses in the area will be open, but even though we’re headed for an early spring, I doubt it.

Can I bring my spouse (or partner or friend)?

If you want to share your room with a partner, they’re very welcome. Inn rooms each have one queen bed. Just let your partner know you’ll be spending most of your time writing, (though you will have some free time every day).

For more information or to register, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca  

***

See all of Brian’s upcoming weekly writing classes, one-day workshops, and weekend retreats here.