Friday, June 28, 2024

You're invited to "Writing Kid Lit – the Next Level"

Writing Kid Lit – the Next Level

Online: Monday evenings, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Sept 30 – Dec 2, {or to Dec 9 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.

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 and other pieces about or inspired by Brian's writing courses, workshops, and retreats here (and scroll down).

Fee: $220.35 plus 13% hst = $259

To reserve your spot, email:

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

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Without a Worduva Lie by Garry Ferguson, Reviewed by Michael Joll

Without a Wurduva Lie: And Other Madawaska Valley Tales by Garry Ferguson, 131 pages. Published by MiddleRoad Publishers. Available on Amazon here.

Garry Ferguson is a funny man.

Born and raised somewhere in Madawaska, at one stage in his life (he won’t say which), he spent twenty years living in Bramalea, Ontario. You won’t find Bramalea on a modern map any more than you will discover Whittler’s Creek, but at one time, without a worduva lie, both existed. 

The two communities could hardly be more opposite, which makes Ferguson’s delightful collection of short stories, Without a Worduva Lie, all the more surprising.

To visit Whittler’s Creek is to acquaint yourself with the little-known and scarcely travelled Ontario hinterland beyond “The Smoke.” Whittler’s Creek lies somewhere in the valley between the headwaters of the Madawaska River and the Ottawa River, into which it ultimately flows, but exactly where remains a mystery to geographers, mapmakers and archeologists.

Ferguson’s twenty-three short stories occur in and around this fabled crossroad hamlet.

It’s a place where if rocks had value, the farmers would be millionaires. In this tight-knit but often at loggerheads community and its broader environs, hard-drinking, brawling loggers and sawmill operators rub shoulders with bootleggers of the finest, locally made, aged moonshine. Preachers, farmers and tight-assed school mistresses butt heads, and the craftiest lawyer in the valley provides unconventional solutions to tricky legal dilemmas. 

Chicken Rustling (yes, Virginia, there is such a thing, at least, in Whittler’s Creek), The Christmas Pageant That Went Downhill As Fast As Booze Goes Down A Kid’s Gullet (perhaps the funniest Christmas story you’ll ever read) and grave robbers meet ghosts and those who make a habit of attending funerals and wakes.

To know Whittler’s Creek through Ferguson’s stories is to travel back to the era on either side of “The Hitler War.” It’s a time of Model A Fords, recalcitrant farm tractors and threshing machines, horsedrawn snowploughs, homespun suits and two-holer outhouses. Roads were little more than unpaved concessions and sideroads connecting rundown farms, their “past-their-best” owners, wives, and kids unburdened by conventional school learning.

No matter where you open the book, each story is a carefully crafted vignette of life in that time and place, peopled with some of the most memorable characters you will likely meet anywhere. In the true tradition of old-fashioned storytelling, Ferguson brings a smile to the reader’s lips and frequently an outright guffaw fit to startle the sleeping dog or fireside cat. 

There’s an Aesop moral hidden in many of Ferguson’s stories, cloaked in some of the funniest, most outlandish tales this side of the best of Stephen Leacock and Mark Twain. When you come across “without a worduva lie” in one of Ferguson’s tales, you can be sure you’re about to encounter one of the shaggiest shaggy dog stories you’ll read anywhere.

Ferguson’s keen wit and use of the local vernacular bring freshness to old-time oral storytelling. Bramalea may have disappeared from the map, but Whittler’s Creek lives on in the tales of the man who once lived somewhere in Madawaska. Reward yourself – you deserve it.


Michael Joll is a novelist and short story writer with four published novels and two collections of short stories to his credit. His latest novel is “Hacker.” He lives in Brampton with his wife of nearly fifty-five years and an elderly springer spaniel, a retired member of the Toronto Police bomb squad.

Note: Quick Brown Fox welcomes your reviews and your pieces about reading and 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.  


"Four hostages freed! And the media treats it as a bad news story" by Brian Henry

Noa Argamani and her father reunited after her rescue from captivity in Gaza 

To have some idea what’s going on in IsraelI read the Times of Israel or the Jerusalem Post. Canadian media often just supplies Hamas’s latest propaganda release and calls it news.

Case in point: Did the CBC have a banner headline about the rescued hostages? Hardly. … read the rest here.

Read more of my essays here (and scroll down).

If you want to run screaming from the room whenever politics come up, I do write about other things.

I have a review of The Prisoner and the Writer, an illustrated book for young people by Heather Camlot here, and an interview with Hart Snider, author of the graphic novel, The Basketball Game (here). Both of these do touch on antisemitism, but they’re not opinion pieces ~ as a writer, antisemitism just happens to be my beat (or one of them).

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Last call for this summer's "Intensive Creative Writing" courses

“Intensive Creative Writing”

Offered online at 2 different times:

Tuesday evenings 6:30 – 9:00
July 2 – August 13, 2024 (extending to Aug 20 if it fills up).
First readings emailed June 25.


Wednesday afternoons, 12:30 – 3:00
July 3 – August 14, 2024 (extending to Aug 21 if it fills up).
First readings emailed June 26

Note: See all summer writing courses on offer here.

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 ~ or inspired by ~ Brian's various writing courses, workshops, and retreats here (and scroll down).

Fee: $247.79 + hst = $280

To reserve your spot, email:

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

Note: You can now get new postings on Quick Brown Fox delivered straight to your Inbox as I publish them. Go to Quick Brown Fox on Substack, click on any posting, and you'll find the Subscribe button down at the bottom. See here:

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Some great places to send your short prose and poetry

Note: 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:


Subterrain is a Canadian literary journal based in Vancouver that publishes creative nonfiction (4,000 words max), commentary (4,000 words max), fiction (3,000 words max), and poetry – but foo poetry, you have to be invited to submit. Subterrain’s tagline is: “Strong words for a polite nation.”

Charges $3 for online submissions through submittable, but no charge for hard copy submissions sent through the mail.

Pays $50 per poem or $.10 per word for prose (to a maximum of $500). 

Deadline: August 15, 2024 for winter issue. Full guidelines here. is an online site dedicated to skillful writing that is brief, humorous and engaging. The emphasis will be on wit, word play, absurdity and inspired nonsense. It’s meant as a refuge from the relentless barrage of negativity, angst, war and climate catastrophe that dominates the web, and its tagline is “because not everything has to be serious.”

Pieces should be 200 – 1,000 words. No payment, but there are 3 monthly prizes for the best submissions.

Contest is currently also running it’s annual humour contest. Requirements are the same as for regular submissions, but there is a $5 US entry fee and three prizes to be won of $250, $100 and $100 US. 

Deadline for contest July 31, 2024. Contest guidelines here.

Regular submissions are on-going. Regular guidelines here.


Hi, Brian.

The May issue of Gemini Magazine is now online featuring the six winners of our 14th annual Poetry Open and more. LP, an art history master's candidate from New Hampshire, took top honors and the $1,000 prize for "Bracken." 

We will be accepting entries to our 16th annual Flash Fiction Contest through August 31. The top prize is $1,000 and the entry fee is $8. Aside from the 1,000-word limit, no rules! Read last year's winner "Just Missed Ya" by Carla Burns here.

General submissions are FREE. Send written work, visual art or videos on any topic here. Always open. No rules. 


David Bright
Gemini Magazine


Writing in a Woman’s Voice

Submissions are open year-round. Send two – six poems or one prose piece (5,000 words maximum), as a single word file attachment or in the text of your email (no PDFs please). Previously published work is fine so long as you own the rights. If you want a short bio posted with your work, please include a third person bio of 100 words or less with your submission.

All rights remain with the author of any work posted. From one full moon to the next, one or two small Moon Prize(s) ($91) will be awarded to a story or poem posted on Writing in a Woman’s Voice during the preceding moon cycle.

Send something to


101 Words publishes flash fiction stories that are exactly 101 words long – titles don’t count; hyphenated words count as a single word. You need to get the word count exactly right.

Pays $10 US for pieces selected to be in one of their flash fiction anthologies. No payment for pieces published on their website.

Submissions are on-going. Full guidelines here.


Quick Brown Fox welcomes your short stories, poems, and essays about reading, writing, favourite books, and libraries. Read a few pieces on the blog to get a taste of what other writers have done. See here and scroll down.

Quick Brown Fox also welcomes book reviews and reviews of any kind and of anything, anywhere or anybody. If you want to review your favourite coffee shops or libraries, babysitters or lovers (no real names please), go for it. See examples of book reviews here {and scroll down).

Submit to:

Include a short bio at the end of your piece and attach a photo of yourself.

See information about all our upcoming weekly writing classes, one-day workshops, and weekend retreats here.

For information about other places to send your short works, see here (and scroll down).

Monday, June 17, 2024

Andrew Nurnberg Associates has eight agents, all looking for authors ~ both children's books & adult

Thorn in My Side by C.J Skuse
represented by ANA

Andrew Nurnberg Associates 

43 Great Russell Street
, UK

Note: 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:

Andrew Nurnberg Associates was founded in London in 1977. They represent authors from around the world in the fields of literary and commercial fiction and general nonfiction, as well as children’s authors.  Several have received major prizes, ranging from the International Prize for Arabic Fiction to the French Goncourt.

There are eight agents on the team, all of whom are accepting queries, but for new authors, your best bets tend to be agents who are actively building their lists:  

Gyamfia Osei is the newest member of the team. She joined ANA in 2023 as a Literary Agent in the UK department. She was previously an agent at The Good Literary Agency, where she began building her list of authors. 

Recent successes include a “significant” 6-figure pre-empt for Busayo Matuluko’s YA debut ‘Til Death, a 5-way auction for Quiet Storm by Kimberly Whittam and the shortlisting of Ebinehita Iyere’s Girlhood, Unfiltered at the 2023 British Book Awards.

At ANA, Gyamfia will focus on developing the agency’s list of children’s authors, including the representation of ANA’s international children’s authors into the English language, while also representing a bespoke list of commercial fiction and narrative nonfiction.

In the Children’s space, Gyamfia would love to find contemporary stories that are full of heart and joy-driven books that celebrate kids from underrepresented backgrounds (think Clare Weze, Kimberly Whittam and Elle McNicoll).

Funny middle-grade and YA horror are currently at the top of her list, and she is keen to read more teen projects (think Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging and Glow Up Lara Bloom). She’s also very interested in finding a graphic novel or illustrated project for either MG or YA readers.

She is very open when it comes to Children’s nonfiction but would be particularly interested to consider unique cookbooks aimed at young chefs, books exploring mental health/wellness and projects that bring the experiences of marginalised children to the forefront.

In the adult fiction space, Gyamfia enjoys well-plotted, fast-paced narratives with authentic characters who lodge themselves in her mind long after she’s finished reading (think Big Little LiesVerity and Girl A). She’s open to a broad range of genres, but would be particularly keen to see cosy crime, contemporary romance and tightly plotted domestic noir.

Note that Gyamfia does not consider literary fiction and, in the commercial space, she is not hugely interested in high fantasy, trauma-focused stories or particularly gruesome horror.

In the adult nonfiction space, she would be happy to consider commercial narrative nonfiction and cultural history projects (think Brit(ish)It’s Not That Radical and Everything I Know About Love).

Twitter: gyamfia_o

Query Gyamfia at:

Make it clear you’re submitting to her in the Subject line of your email. Attach a 1-page synopsis and the first three chapters or 50 pages. For nonfiction proposals, please send an overview, chapter outlines and three sample chapters.


Note: If you’re interested in writing for children, don’t miss our online “Writing Little Kid Lit” course on Wednesday evenings, July 3 – Aug 14 (details here), and our one-day workshop, “Writing for Children and for Young Adults with Nan Froman, Editorial Director of Groundwood Books, Sunday, Sept 22. Details here.


Sara O’Keeffe is an Affiliate Agent. She specialises in fiction, representing literary, reading group and genre fiction authors. She is based in London but hails originally from Waterford, Ireland. Sara has twenty-five years’ experience in the world of publishing, having worked with a host of major brand names in fiction, initially as a publisher and now as an agent.

Sara enjoys the process of working with authors on their ideas, honing their craft and turning their creativity and talent into commercial success. She is passionate about storytelling, with particular interest in upmarket genre (especially thrillers)reading group and accessible literary fiction.

Sara enjoys working closely with writers, helping to shape and develop their work and advocating on their behalf. Sara has a very deep network of contacts in the publishing industry, built over a long career, and seeks to use that knowledge and insight to give her clients the best possible publishing journey.

Sara is excited to hear from fiction authors of all backgrounds. She loves powerful, page-turning stories and she’s drawn to unique voices.

Visit her website:

Query Sara at:

Make it clear you’re submitting to her in the Subject line of your email. Attach a 1-page synopsis and the first three chapters or 50 pages. For nonfiction proposals, please send an overview, chapter outlines and three sample chapters.


Note: If you’re interested in getting an agent and how the how publishing process works, don’t miss our online “How to Get Published” workshop with guest Gordon Warnock of Fuse Literary agency, Sunday, July 21. Details here


Rory Clarke studied English Literature at Birmingham City University before going on to gain his Masters degree in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Warwick. He joined Andrew Nurnberg Associates in 2017 and assisted the Foreign Rights Agents for France, Germany, the Netherlands and Nordic territories.

In 2021, Rory joined the UK department. Now an Agent, Rory is actively building his own list of fiction and nonfiction, which began with the sale of the debut book by Nadeem Perera and Ollie Olanipekun of Flock Together in a pre-empt to Gaia Books (Octopus).

In fiction, he is drawn to voice-driven and story-led literary writing powered by strong ideas, evocative settings and a command of form.

He is interested in a wide range of nonfiction from popular science, history, literary and cultural criticism, current affairs and nature writing. He is primarily looking for compelling, original stories from emerging experts with surprising and new takes on a subject.

Twitter: @_RDClarke 

Query Rory at:

Make it clear you’re submitting to him in the Subject line of your email. Attach a 1-page synopsis and the first three chapters or 50 pages. For nonfiction proposals, please send an overview, chapter outlines and three sample chapters.

Andrew Holgate has joined ANA as an Affiliate Agent. Previously, he was Literary Editor of The Sunday Times for 14 years until his retirement in October 2022, and before that was deputy literary editor for a further nine years. 

He has spent his whole working life in books, either in bookselling, publishing or literary journalism, and will be growing a small list of fiction and literary non-fiction, memoir, biography, nature and history.

Holgate is an honorary fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, has co-edited two books (including one, The Cost of Letters, on how authors earn their living) and has judged many literary prizes, most recently the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction, which he chaired in 2021. In his time at The Sunday Times he also relaunched the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award and ran the Sunday Times Short Story Award.

Find him on twitter: @aholgate

Query Andrew at:

Full submission guidelines here.

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

Navigation tips: Always check out the Labels underneath a post; they’ll lead you to various distinct collections of postings. If you're searching for more interviews with literary agents or a literary agent who represents a particular type of book, check out this post.