Friday, September 29, 2023

Kudos to everyone who made the short list for the CANSCAIP Writing for Children Competition!

The Canadian Society for Children's Authors Illustrator and Performers {CANSCAIP} has just announced the shortlist of potential winners for the 2023 competition.

Congratulations to everyone, but special kudos to those of you from my weekly classes. In the Middle Grade division: Beth Elliott, Catherine McKenzie, Christine Michaud (who has two books on the short list!), and Penny Thompson.

And in the Picture Book division: Beth Elliott, and Pawan Kaur Singh.

Plus, I recognize more names from one-day workshops – congratulations to you all!

(And if you've been in my weekly classes and I've managed to leave you off my list of congrats, please forgive me! I remember stories better than names.) ~Brian

CANSCAIP offers this competition for would-be authors of picture books, middle grade, and young adult novels each year. This is a great opportunity, and thanks to the wonderful efforts of numerous volunteers, the hundreds of entries, not only get read, they get comments. CANSCAIP

Children's author Erin Silver
will be one of the guest speakers
for our weekly Kid Lit class. See here.

P.S. There’s still space in the Writing for Children and for Young Adults workshop,  starting with literary agent Eve Adler of Red Fox Literary, Saturday, October 28 (see here).

Here’s the full short list for the CANSCAIP competition:


Underground Symphony  Rita Bates

Ninang's Here  Analene Belanger

Can We Be Friends?  Donna Chastko

Hide-and-Go-Sheep  Susanne Connolly

Not a Book  Tanya Elchuk

The King's Court  Beth Elliott

Don't Mind if I Do  Cynthia Ford

Finding Footprints  Jody Jones

Carols for Mansi  Pawan Kaur Singh

I Remember for Her  Sarah Ker-Hornell

Stay Away from This Book  Eva Klassen

The Journey Home  Christine J. Lee

The Mango Princess  Kalinda Link

Nadia and Lili: The Brilliant Boulangers  Heather McLennan

One-Night Bike  Kamilla Milligan

Together Tea  Kamilla Milligan 

Orange Truck, Blue Truck  Sheryl Niebergall

Wildflower Waltz  Laura Polasek

Tameeka's Race  Michale Raske

Kimone's Music  Sashoya Simpson

The Instrument Maker  Sashoya Simpson


Children's author Lana Button will be
one of the guest speakers for our
weekly Kid Lit class. See here.


On the Same Boat – Christine Chang-Gardecki

Professional Pirate – Beth Elliott

The Time Eater – Andy Haynes

Aliens, and Other Teenage Troubles – Margaret Lafreniere

Kiko and the Dream Eater – Shawne Yukimi MacIntyre

A Drop in the Ocean – Catherine McKenzie

The Secrets of Spondulick Manor – Christine Michaud

Divinely Human – Christine Michaud

Riches – Penny Thompson



Consumed – Elena Bentley

My Accidental Life – Simone Garneau

Hydra – Dallas Nicholls

Last and Only Chance – Rina Nichols

Dirt Magic – D.M. Wagner

The Deepers – Carmen Wittmeier

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

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Assembly Press – A brand new Canadian publisher seeks book-length fiction, nonfiction, and poetry

Leigh Nash, Publisher, Assembly Press

Assembly Press

Note: You can hang out and chat with quick brown foxes and vixens on my Facebook page (here), and if you’re not yet on my newsletter list, add your name and email in the box in the righthand column. ~Brian

Poet and publisher Leigh Nash, poet and editor Andrew Faulkner, and veteran literary publicist and communications strategist Debby de Groot  announced a new joint venture: a brand new multi-genre publishing house, Assembly Press.

Leigh Nash, who formerly served as publisher at both Invisible Publishing and House of Anansi Press, will be Publisher at Assembly, with Faulkner, the former managing editor for Invisible, serving the role of Strategist, and de Groot heading up Communications.

Based in Prince Edward County and in Mississauga, Ontario, Assembly Press will publish a balanced mix of voice-driven and concept-driven fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. They want their books to be notable for engaging with contemporary issues with thoughtfulness, incisiveness, and passion in equal measure. 

They are open to submissions from anyone now and until December 18, 2023.

They welcome submissions by all writers, regardless of publication history or writing experience. In other words – they welcome new authors.

Like everyone else, they especially want submissions from “equity-seeking writers marginalized by attitudinal, historic, social, and environmental barriers based on age, ethnicity, disability, economic status, gender, nationality, race, sexual orientation, and transgender status.”  They will push proposals and manuscripts from these authors to the front of their reading queue. (Of course this means that if they do have submissions from "equity-seeking writers," they’ll push projects by other writers to the back of the queue).

What they’re looking to acquire


  • Our taste is literary, in that we prioritize quality of writing above all else, but we’re not afraid of plot. 
  • Inventive and innovative ways of telling stories, and work that plays with form and style. 
  • We love a good mood, especially writing that’s sly or has a witty sense of humour or that embraces dark or gritty emotions and that leave us with feelings. 
  • Genre projects (romance, speculative, mystery, etc.) that centre craft and writing quality just as much as the narrative. 
  • We’re big fans of short(er) novels and novellas. 

We’re not a good home for straightforward historical novels that don’t have a contemporary hook. We're also not looking for straight-up commercial projects, such as crime, thriller, mystery, romance, speculative fiction, or chick-lit.  

Assembly's first title will be County Harvest,
a follow-up to County Heirlooms

  • We want to see writers grappling with their passion for their subject matter on the page. 
  • Voice-driven and concept-driven nonfiction with contemporary relevance, especially nonfiction from historically underrepresented voices, that engages with the world. 
  • Our interests include ideas, science, psychology, nature writing, culture, memoir, business, and to a lesser extent, history and politics, as well as books that visit the intersection of those subjects. 
  • Work that plays with inventive and genre-bending narrative structures. 

We’re likely to pass on straightforward surveys of subject matter; memoir without any tie-in to larger cultural of social issues; political biographies; and books without any central narrative or intellectual hook.  


  • We are interested in a wide range of contemporary poetry, including lyric, experimental, and visual poetry.  
  • We’re especially keen on poems with a strong sense of voice, and poetry collections with a unifying concept or outlook and that engage with a specific idea, problem or cultural issue. 
  • Visual and experiment poetry manuscripts should be reproducible in a standard book format by commercial printing. 


Include a 12 page letter of introduction to you and the project you’re submitting, a 250-word synopsis, and a short bio (who you are, the communities you come from, the job(s) you work, any other personal details that will give us a good sense of who you are, and a list of publications, if you have one) as part of your letter. Additional context is always helpful; if it’s applicable to your project, please include any/all of the below info in your letter: 

  • what made you write (or want to write) this manuscript and why you’re the ideal writer to tackle such a project  
  • traditions or cultural conversations your manuscript participates in  
  • your manuscript’s ideal reader/audience 
  • books you’ve read and think would be good conversation mates for your manuscript 
  • your hopes for your writing career  

The work. A full manuscript for fiction and poetry, and either a full manuscript or a proposal for nonfiction. We have no word-count requirements, but our preference is for completed prose works between 35,000–90,000 words, and poetry manuscripts in the 60–100-page range. Nonfiction proposals should include a chapter outline and a writing sample of at least 10 pages. 

See Assembly’s full submission guidelines and submit through their online form here.


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

Navigation tips: Always check out the Labels underneath a post; they’ll lead you to various distinct collections of postings. For more children’s and young adult publishers, see here {and scroll down}. For book publishers in general, see here {and scroll down}.

Monday, September 25, 2023

It's Yom Kippur 5784

Ezekiel's vision from the Leipzig mahzor {prayer book for the high holy days}

On Rosh Hashanah it is written, on Yom Kippur it is sealed – how many shall pass away and how many shall be born, who shall live and who shall die, who in good time and who before time, who by water and who by fire, who by sword and who by wild beast, who by famine and who by thirst, who by earthquake and who by plague  …

-         From the high holidays machzor

 May you all be inscribed and sealed for a good year, a healthy year, and a happy year.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Last call for Fall Classes: Personal Stories & Other Nonfiction, Writing Kid Lit, and Intensive Creative Writing

Writing Personal Stories & Other Nonfiction

Offered at two times:

Online: Wednesday evenings 6:30 – 8:30
September 27 – November 29, 2023 {or to Dec 6 if it fills up} No class Oct 18


In-person: Thursday evenings 7:00 – 9:00
Sept 28 – Nov 23 {or to Nov 30 if it fills up} No class Oct 19.
Burlington Anglican Lutheran Church, 3455 Lakeshore Rd, Burlington, Ontario (Map here)

If you want to write any kind of true story, this course is for you. Personal stories will be front and centre – we’ll look at memoirs, travel writing, personal essays, family history – but we’ll also look at writing feature articles, creative nonficti0n and other more informational writing. 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.

We’ll also have two published authors as a guest speakers. Details here.

Fee: $220.35 plus 13% hst = $259

To reserve your spot, email:

Writing Kid Lit – the Next Level

Online: Monday evenings, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Oct 2 – Dec 11, {or to Dec 18 if the course fills up} No class Oct 9 or 23.

This course is for adults {or teens} interested in writing picture books, Chapter Books, Middle Grade books, or Young Adult novels. It’s meant for people who have previously taken a kid lit course or who otherwise know the basics of the contemporary market for children’s literature. 

The focus of the class will be on your work – picture book manuscripts or chapters of novels or nonfiction books for young people that you’ll present to the class for feedback as to how to make them even better. We’ll also have discussions, talks from the instructor, and two children’s authors as guest speakers: Lana Button and Erin Silver. Details here.

Fee: $220.35 plus 13% hst = $259

To reserve your spot, email:

Intensive Creative Writing

Online: Tuesday evenings 6:30 – 9:00
Sept 26 to Dec 12 
{The Wednesday afternoon and Friday morning Intensive classes are already full, as is the "Extreme Creative Writing" class offered in Burlington}

Intensive Creative Writing isn't for beginners; it's for people who have been writing for a while or who have done a course or two before and are working on their own projects. You’ll be asked to bring in several pieces of your writing for detailed feedback, including three long pieces. 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.

Fee: $264.60 + hst = $299

To reserve your spot, email:

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. Brian is the author of a children's version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Tribute Publishing). But his proudest boast is that he has helped many of his students get published.  

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

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