Sunday, July 31, 2022

Evolving schedule of writing classes, workshops, and retreats

2022

Workshops:

New: Online: Writing for Children and for Young Adults, with Kids Can Press senior editor Patricia Ocampo, August 13. Details here

Online: Writing and Revising, Sunday, August 14. Details here.

***

Weekly classes {Details of all fall classes here}: 

Online: Enjoying Creative Writing, Tuesday afternoons, 12:30 – 2:30, Oct 11 – Dec 6, 2022 {Or to Dec 13 if the course fills up.} Details here.

In-person: Enjoying Creative Writing, Thursday evenings, 7 – 9 p.m., Sept 29 – Nov 24, in Burlington. Details here.

Online: Writing Personal Stories, Monday afternoons, 12:30 – 2:30, Oct 24 – Dec 5, 2022 {Or to Dec 12 if the course fills up.) Details here

Online: Writing Kid Lit, Wednesday evenings, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., Oct 12 – Dec 7, 2022 {Or to Dec 14 if the course fills up}. Details of all fall classes here.

Online: Intensive Creative Writing, Tuesday evenings, 6:30 – 9:00 p.m., Sept 20 – Dec 6, 2022 {Or to Dec 13 if the course fills up. No class Oct 4}Details of all fall classes here.

Online: Intensive Creative Writing, Wednesday afternoons, 12:30 – 3:00 p.m., Sept 14 – Dec 7, 2022 {Or to Dec 14 if it’s fill. No class Oct 5}Details of all fall classes here.

Online: Intensive Creative Writing, Friday mornings, 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Sept 23 – Dec 9, 2022 {or to Dec 16 if the course fills up. No class Oct 14}. Details of all fall classes here.

In-person: Extreme Creative Writing, Thursday evenings, Sept 29 – Dec 1, in Burlington. Details here.

***

Writing Retreats:

New: Lake Simcoe Writing Retreat at The Briars,  Friday, Sept 16 – Monday Sept 19, 2022. Enjoy a weekend of writing at an elegant southern Ontario resort. Details here.

Muskoka Writing Retreat at Sherwood Inn, Friday, Oct 14 – Monday Oct 17, 2022. Details here

To reserve a spot or for more details about any course, workshop or retreat, email brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Saturday, July 30, 2022

“Chaos Theories of Goodness” by Tanya Bellehumeur-Allatt, reviewed by Steve Luxton

Shoreline Press (2022), 70 pp., $14.95 (paper). Available here.

In her poetry collection about the Covid epidemic, Chaos Theories of Goodness, Tanya Bellehumeur-Allatt remarks that if you’d predicted during the cheerful New Year’s celebration of 2020, what actually was about to happen, she would never have believed it, let alone imagined it. But it did, and so now, with her wings and ours too, clipped, she shows how the use of imagination gave her a path through the ordeal. Stuck unexpectedly at home, she dealt with her cabin fever and concern by writing a daily poem.

Chaos Theories is a series of poetic commentaries about her – and our – life while flapping dispiritedly within the cage of Covid 19. She discusses the details, both inner and outer, of suffering enforced domesticity.

There’s no shrill outrage or bellyaching here, just her sincere, quietly earnest voice expressing real anxiety at this contemporary plague. In her poem “Passover Prayer,” she writes: “May the angel of Death/on its gruesome flight/over nation, province, village/pass over us.”

Like all of us, she deeply longs for the bug to be gone, when she’ll happily join the rest of us with “the whistles, warbles and shouts/of our communal cheer.” But she also recommends a little proportion. In the poem “Plague,” she describes a huge East African cloud of locusts blocking daylight, so voracious they’ll “eat the tongue/right out of your mouth.” While in another piece, aptly titled “Perspective,” she tells how monstrous African floods have displaced and left thousands destitute.

Tanya

So, count your blessings.

She proposes that one way to do this, when your secure routines are swept away, is first to accept and even ratify the change, as in “Looking at Caravaggio’s Entombment”: “You are right where you belong.” Then, to seek nourishment in and note the small, meaningful things, which she describes in “My List of Small Things.” Also, she reminds us that mass dislocations – particularly epidemics – while painful at first and isolating, have paradoxically permitted the time for learning and great bursts of creativity in the arts and other fields.

Bellehumeur-Allatt writes: “I sign us up for lessons online:/ … We will emerge from our quarantine like Shakespeare/ And Newton, with theories and plays and solutions.”

The poet is not into unchecked moaning and groaning! She seeks out the constructive side of our current tribulation. Also, the funny one. Her fine sense of humour shows in “Dishevelment: A Sonnet,” where she laments how with the hairdressers shut due to the lockdown, our hair, grown out and self-styled by our own amateurish hands, is such a sight, the only solution is to “turn our mirrors to the wall.” Elsewhere, she prophesies mischievously that, after the epidemic, there will be a similar outcome as that which followed the Great Northeast Blackout – plenty of babies!

Bellehumeur-Allatt’s poems are serious but also, when life urgently requires it, comic and even light-hearted. Moving, intelligent, always accessible, they eloquently speak to and for us in this abnormal and surprising time.

***

Steve Luxton lives in Hatley, Quebec, and is currently Writer in Residence at the Lennoxville Library. This article originally appeared in The Townships Sun (Vol. 49 No. 5 February 2022) p. 17.

Note: You can read a whole collection of Covid pieces on Quick Brown Fox, including two poems from Tanya and even a piece by me. Just click here and scroll down. ~Brian

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

Friday, July 29, 2022

Online: Writing Personal Stories class, Monday afternoons, Oct 24 – Dec 5

Writing Personal Stories 

 ~ Eight weeks of writing and sharing

Online: Monday afternoons, 12:30 – 2:30,
Oct 24 – Dec 5, 2022 {Or to Dec 12 if the course fills up.)
Offered on Zoom and accessible from anywhere there's internet 

Note: See all writing classes offered this fall here

If you've ever considered writing your personal stories, this course is for you. We’ll look at memoirs, travel writing, personal essays, family history ~ personal stories of all kinds. Plus, of course, we’ll work on creativity and writing technique and have fun doing it. 

Whether you want to write a book or just get your thoughts down on paper, this weekly course will get you going. We'll reveal the tricks and conventions of telling true stories, and we’ll show you how to use the techniques of the novel to recount actual events. Weekly writing exercises and friendly feedback from the instructor will help you move forward on this writing adventure. Whether you want to write for your family and friends or for a wider public, don't miss this course.

Our guest speaker will be Jennifer M. Smith, author of  Green Ghost, Blue Ocean. This story of Jennifer’s 40,000-mile nautical adventure won the 2019 Pottersfield Prize for nonfiction and was published by Pottersfield Press in 2020.  Jennifer has also been published numerous times on Quick Brown Fox, and since the publication of her book she’s become a contributing writer for Canadian Yachting magazine

For more on Green Ghost, Blue Ocean visit the distributor, Nimbus Publishing, hereand visit Jennifer’s website   here.

Fee: $176.11 plus 13% hst = $199

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

 

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Albert Whitman & Company seeks picture books, middle grade fiction, and young adult novels

Albert Whitman & Company

250 South Northwest Highway, Suite 320
Park Ridge, Illinois 60068
U.S.A.

https://www.albertwhitman.com/

Note: You can hang out and chat with quick brown foxes and vixens on my Facebook page (here). Just send a friend request to Brian Henry.

Also, if you’re not yet on my newsletter, send me an email, including your locale, to: brianhenry@sympatico.ca ~ Brian

Albert Whitman & Company has been publishing award-winning children’s books since 1919 and has a long-standing policy of accepting submissions from un-agented authors. They’re seeking picture books, middle-grade fiction, and young adult novels.

Specifically:

Picture Books, fiction and nonfiction, for children ages 1 to 8. Word count:  Up to 1,000 words.

Middle Grade Novels for children up to age 12. Word count: Up to 35,000 words.

Young Adult Novels for ages 12-18. Word count:  Up to 70,000 words.

Full submission guidelines here.

Author Jennifer Mook-Sang

If you’re interested in writing for children or for young adults, don’t miss the online Writing Kid Lit workshop, with Kids Can Press senior editor Patricia Ocampo, August 13. Details here

And in the fall, join us for an online Writing Kid Lit weekly class, Wednesday evenings, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., Oct 12 – Dec 7, 2022 {Or to Dec 14 if the course fills up}. Details of all fall classes here.

Beyond that, Brian's schedule continues to take shape:

Online: Writing and Revising, Sunday, August 14. Details here.

Weekly classes {Details of all fall classes here}: 

Online: Enjoying Creative Writing, Tuesday afternoons, 12:30 – 2:30, Oct 11 – Dec 6, 2022 {Or to Dec 13 if the course fills up.} Details of all fall classes here.

In-person: Enjoying Creative Writing, Thursday evenings, 7 – 9 p.m., Sept 29 – Nov 24, in Burlington. Details here.

Online: Writing Personal Stories, Monday afternoons,  12:30 – 2:30, Oct 24 – Dec 5, 2022 {Or to Dec 12 if the course fills up.) Details of all fall classes here

Online: Intensive Creative Writing, Tuesday evenings, 6:30 – 9:00 p.m., Sept 20 – Dec 6, 2022 {Or to Dec 13 if the course fills up. No class Oct 4}. Details of all fall classes here.

Online: Intensive Creative Writing, Wednesday afternoons, 12:30 – 3:00 p.m., Sept 14 – Dec 7, 2022 {Or to Dec 14 if it’s fill. No class Oct 5}. Details of all fall classes here.

Online: Intensive Creative Writing, Friday mornings, 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Sept 23 – Dec 9, 2022 {or to Dec 16 if the course fills up. No class Oct 14}. Details of all fall classes here.

In-person: Extreme Creative Writing, Thursday evenings, Sept 29 – Dec 1, in Burlington. Details here.

Writing Retreats:

Lake Simcoe Writing Retreat at The Briars,  Friday, Sept 16 – Monday Sept 19, 2022. Enjoy a weekend of writing at an elegant southern Ontario resort. Details here.

Muskoka Writing Retreat at Sherwood Inn, Friday, Oct 14 – Monday Oct 17, 2022. Details here

To reserve a spot or for more details about any course, workshop or retreat, email brianhenry@sympatico.ca

 

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Stretch out your summer with a Writing Retreat at The Briars, Friday, Sept 16 – Monday Sept 19

 

The Briars Writing Retreat

Friday, September 16 – Monday, September 19, 2022
The Briars Resort & Spa on Lake Simcoe
55 Hedge Road, Jackson’s Point, Ontario, Canada (Map 
here)

Give yourself a 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 Peacock House

The setting: Originally a Regency-style Manor House built by Captain William Bourchier in 1840, the estate was purchased in 1870 by Dr. Frank Sibbald, who added two wings to the manor house, a coach house, a brick stable and of course a peacock house, because where else are you going to keep your peacocks?

The Briars also has a storied literary history.  Humorist Stephen Leacock was a great friend of the Sibbalds, visited often, and is buried just down the road from the resort at the pretty St. George’s churchyard, as is author Mazo de la Roche. De la Roche’s Jalna series were worldwide bestsellers, making her one of Canada’s bestselling authors ever. Indeed, her books are available to this day from Dundurn Press.

Today, the Briars still offers the warmth of a country estate steeped in history while providing all the benefits of an extensive, modern lakeside resort.

Rates include accommodation. Each room has a king, queen or two twin beds, and an en-suite four-piece bathroom.

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 Spa treatments – but you might want to check those out (see here).


All activities included. When you’re not writing, or for spouses who accompany you, there is plenty to do. The resort has an indoor and outdoor pool, a well-equipped exercise room, and a games room with pool, shuffleboard, ping pong, and foosball. The beautiful Lake Simcoe setting offers idyllic opportunities for canoeing, paddle-boarding, biking and hiking, with the resort featuring its own nature trails and with other trails three kilometers down the road at Sibbald Point Provincial Park. And of course there are plenty of nooks around the resort that are ideal for reading, resting and unwinding.

Check-in on Friday is 4 p.m. Our first writing get-together will be at 5 p.m. On Monday, we'll have our last writing get-together at 10 a.m., ending at 11 a.m. Check out is at 12 noon. (though we may push the Monday schedule an hour later if the resort isn't full and they can accommodate a 1 p.m. check out) But once you’ve had lunch, don’t feel you have to rush off! You can stay for the rest of the day, enjoying the amenities of the resort. Participants are welcome to bring a non-participating significant other. 

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 about previous retreats here {and scroll down}.

Fee, including both the writing retreat and accommodation, meals, coffee & snack service, tips and all resort amenities, for all three nights: $1,691.15 plus 13% hst 

Or if you're sharing a room with another participant in the writing retreat, the fee is $1,246.90 plus 13% hst each for all three nights 

Not included: alcoholic drinks (or any drinks bought at Drinkwaters Lounge), spa services, golf or other extras.

{Note: you may notice all prices have gone up about 5% since last year, as the resort has increased its fees – but I haven't increased mine ~Brian.} 

Bring a (non-participating) significant other along for the weekend to share your room for an additional $125.66 plus hst per night (includes accommodation, meals and all resort amenities, but not the writing part of the retreat). This is special reduced pricing offered by the Briars for conference participant spouses.

Book early – space is limited! So that we can maintain physical distancing, we'll have fewer people at the retreat than we’ve had in the before-times, so it will be a more intimate experience and participants will have more opportunity for one-on-one coaching with Brian. Full receipts issued.

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).

The Briars serves delicious food, elegantly plated

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. Or bring both – your laptop and your writing pad. No sense being short of essential supplies.

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.

Can you cater to specific dietary requirements?

Yes. But you need to let me know ASAP, so I can let the staff know about your needs.

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.

Is there cell phone reception and WIFI?

Alas, yes.

How about alcohol?

The resort serves alcohol with meals and has a licensed lounge called Drinkwaters. 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 or a round of gold, though that’s extra, and you book these directly with the resort {not through Brian}.

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

If you want to share your room with a partner, they’re very welcome. Just let them 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 Brian Henry’s upcoming weekly writing classes, one-day workshops, and weekend retreats here.