Kissing Books: Cultural Diversity and Publishing Options in Romance and RomcomTuesday, June 25, 7:30–9:30 pm

Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) Spadina

Canadian Authors–Toronto is excited to welcome three Toronto romance writers to discuss cultural diversity and publishing options in the romance and romcom genres. Authors Farah Heron, Jackie Lau, and Kasey Goldstraw each bring their own perspective and experience with publishing romance. Farah will represent the traditional publishing track with a short talk about her debut novel, The Chai Factor, out this month with HarperCollins Canada. Jackie will share how she became a one-woman indie publisher of her own romance novels, and Kasey will discuss pulling her 20-year-old manuscript out of hibernation and bringing it to life with the help of a hybrid publisher. Farah and Jackie will also talk about personally adding to the growing cultural diversity of the romance genre by populating their romance novels with Chinese-Canadian characters and “brown people falling stupidly in love.” A Q&A with the authors will follow their presentations. And each author will be selling and signing copies of their books.

Oh, and there will be ice cream. Yup! In honour of summer, and as a nod to Jackie’s book Ice Cream Lover, we’ll be serving free ice cream until it runs out.

New to romance fiction? Want to know more? Check out this great introduction to the world of kissing books on Book Riot.

Meet our panellists:

After a childhood raised on Bollywood, Monty Python, and Jane Austen, Farah Heron self-rejected her writing career before jotting down a single word, despite admitting her ultimate fantasy was to be a writer. But when she could no longer keep the story arcs straight in her daydreams, she started writing a few years ago and never looked back. She writes romantic comedies and women’s fiction full of huge South Asian families, delectable food, and most importantly, brown people falling stupidly in love. Prior to writing, Farah had careers in human resources and psychotherapy. She lives in Toronto with her patient husband, surly teenager, and delightful middle-grader. Farah is the president of Toronto Romance Writers. Learn more by visiting her website here. Farah’s debut novel, The Chai Factor, is due out on June 11 from HarperCollins Canada and has been featured in Elle Canada, Quill & Quire, CBC’s The Next Chapter, Bustle.com, and Book Riot.

Jackie Lau decided she wanted to be a writer when she was in Grade 2, sometime between writing “The Heart That Got Lost” and “The Land of Shapes.” She later studied engineering and worked as a geophysicist before turning to writing romance novels. Jackie previously wrote erotic and contemporary romance as Laura Jardine and now writes romantic comedy with Chinese-Canadian heroes and heroines. Since she began self-publishing in May 2018, she has released six novels, including Grumpy Fake Boyfriend, The Ultimate Pi Day Party, and Ice Cream Lover, and one novella, One Bed for Christmas, a prequel to her Baldwin Village series. Jackie lives in Toronto with her husband, and despite living in Canada her whole life, she hates winter. When she’s not writing, she enjoys gelato, gourmet doughnuts, cooking, hiking, and reading on the balcony when it’s raining. You can purchase all of Jackie’s books through Amazon, Kobo, and other online book retailers. Visit her website and sign up for news and updates here.

Kasey Goldstraw was born and raised in Vancouver, and she studied English at the University of British Columbia and creative writing at Capitano College. At the urging of one of her writing professors, she turned one of her short stories into a novel, but she stuck the manuscript in a drawer and left it there for 20 years while life went on. It was Kasey’s husband, Peter, who kept reading it year after year and prodding her to send it to publishers. Since teaming up with Toronto hybrid publisher Iguana Books, Kasey’s debut novel, Archibald Full Frontal, has been shortlisted for the 2019 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. Thanks to the mindfulness skills she’s been able to cultivate as the co-owner of Toronto yoga studio Tranquility Wellness, Kasey is waiting patiently for the Kobo results to be announced on June 27. To date,  she has only gnawed off a couple of fingernails.

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Join us for a Movie & Pub Social on May 23!

Poetry 101 :
A Workshop with Kathryn Mockler

When: Thursday, April 25, 7:30–9:30 p.m.

Where: Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) Spadina, 192 Spadina Ave., Third Floor, Room F

Event description:

Poetry is good because it flexes muscles you don’t often use enough. Poetry keeps you aware of your nose, your eye, your tongue, your hand. And, above all, poetry is compacted metaphor or simile.
— Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

In honour of National Poetry Month, Authors–Toronto is delighted to welcome members and non-members to take part in an introductory poetry workshop with popular Toronto writer, editor, and writing teacher Kathryn Mockler.

Much sought-after for her engaging and accessible teaching style, Mockler is the author of four books of poetry and six short films. She is also the Canada editor of Joyland: a hub for short fiction, the publisher of The Rusty Toque, and teaches creative writing at Western University.

Poets and poetry-curious writers in all genres are invited to take this opportunity to practice their craft and/or explore how thinking like a poet can help with prose and creative non-fiction.

Regardless of what type of writing you do or how long you’ve been at it, everyone can benefit from studying how poets play with language, sound, and imagery.

Reserve your spot now for what promises to be a warm, welcoming, and stress-free introduction to the form. Mockler will start by asking, “What is a poem?” and “Why do we write poetry?” By sharing poems and having participants write and respond to them, she’ll explore how poets use language, comparison, ambiguity, ambivalence, and variation to shape the basic elements of a poem into a finished piece. Participants will be guided through writing exercises based on simple prompts, and they will have opportunities to share (or not share) their work with the group.

Poets are welcome to attend! We think it never hurts to go back to the fundamentals, no matter how familiar you are with the form.

We also recommend this workshop for writers in mixed-genre writing groups. Whether or not you intend to start writing your own poems, this workshop will help you provide constructive feedback on other people’s poems.

Click here to read a great blog post on “10 Reasons Why A Prose Writer Should Take A Poetry Course.”

Sound Mind: A Celebration of Mindfulness and Mental Health through Fiction, Memoir, and Music

Thursday, March 28, 7:30–9:30 p.m.
Room 1050, Earth Sciences Centre, 33 Willcocks St.
University of Toronto

Sound Mind: A Celebration of Mindfulness and Mental Health through Fiction, Memoir, and Music is a special joint program geared to helping cultural producers across a variety of fields (including writers, editors, visual artists, and musicians) learn about mental health challenges and adopt new strategies for wellness, mindfulness, and creativity. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in a mindfulness session at the beginning and end of this event.

This event is brought to you jointly by Editors Toronto; Canadian Authors–Toronto; and the Creative Writing Program at the School of Continuing Studies, University of Toronto.

Our featured guests are Ranjini George, Rebecca Higgins, and Erika Nielsen.

More about our panelists:

Photo by Fred Loek for Mississauga News

Ranjini George holds a PhD in English (Northern Illinois University, DeKalb), an MA in English (St. Stephen’s College, New Delhi), and an MFA in Creative Writing (University of British Columbia, Vancouver). She won first place in Canada’s inaugural Coffee Shop Author Contest for her travel memoir, a work-in-progress called Miracle of Flowers. For 13 years, she was a professor of English at Zayed University, Dubai, where she ran the Teaching with the Mind of Mindfulness series. She currently teaches a meditation and writing course and another called Pilgrimage to the Sacred Femininein the Creative Writing Program, School of Continuing Studies, University of Toronto. Her 2016 book Through My Mother’s Window was published in Dubai. She can be contacted via her Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/TheKuanYinStoryCafe/.

Photo by Hayley Andoff

Rebecca Higgins is a mental health educator and writer based in Toronto. She has worked in social and community services for 18 years, specializing in mental health education since 2010, after her own experiences with depression led her to change her professional focus. Rebecca designs and delivers independent workshop sessions for groups and conferences, and she facilitates workshops on behalf of the Canadian Mental Health Association. Visit www.mentalhealthworkshopstoronto.com for more information about her mental health work. A graduate of the University of Toronto (BA), Ottawa’s Carleton University (MSW), and Humber College’s School for Writers in Toronto, Rebecca’s short stories have appeared in such publications as The Toronto Star and The Antigonish Review. Her debut collection, The Colours of Birds, was published by Tightrope Books in 2018. Find her at www.rebeccahiggins.org.

Photo by Shayne Gray Photography

Toronto-basedcellist Erika Nielsen has a multi-faceted career as a chamber musician, collaborative artist, orchestral player, and educator. Her musicianship spans baroque and classical traditions to contemporary and popular genres. She has performed with artists such as Kanye West and Johnny Reid, and she is a graduate of The Glenn Gould School in Toronto and Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Erika is a blog contributor to www.BPhope.com and the author of the mental health blog https://soundmindbook.com. She published her first book, the memoir and wellness guide Sound Mind: My Bipolar Journey from Chaos to Composure, with Trigger Press in 2019. A passionate educator, Erika maintains a busy private studio and is on faculty at National Music Camp of Canada. She is also a visual artist. Learn more at www.celloerika.com.

Meet the Agents: Lloyd Kelly and Victoria Loder

When: February 28, 2019, Thursday, 7:30–9:30 p.m.

Where: Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) Spadina, 192 Spadina Ave., Toronto, Room F, Third Floor

For many writers, finding an agent (or the right agent) is one of the most challenging parts of the publishing process. Querying is an acquired skill, and authors need to know how to improve their chances of success.

Please join us on February 28 for a networking and information session with two Toronto literary agents who have a combined 34 years of experience in book publishing: Victoria Loder from The Rights Factory and Lloyd Kelly of Kelly Consulting Agency.

Lloyd Kelly has worked in publishing for more than 30 years, and was a vice-president at HarperCollins before transitioning to working as an agent last year. Victoria Loder has worked in publishing for more than four years and is now an assistant agent specializing in adult genre fiction and narrative non-fiction of all kinds.

Both speakers will discuss what to look for in an agent and what to expect from the author-agent relationship. After their talks, we’ll move on to a lengthy Q&A session, where you will be able to have all or most of your questions about finding and working with an agent answered in one evening!

More about our speakers:

Lloyd Kelly is an agent and consultant at Kelly Consulting Agency. He has developed and executed numerous publishing projects, and served as a vice-president at HarperCollins, where he played a significant role in the success of major Canadian publishers and bestselling authors. He helped to create a new publishing imprint, CollinsCanada, and worked with authors such as Mike Holmes of Holmes on Holmes, Les Stroud of Survivorman, and Margaret Powers, the world-renowned author of the poem “Footprints,” among many other bestselling authors. The Kelly Consulting Agency represents authors with adult and children’s publishing projects, including books about current affairs, social justice, health, wealth, wisdom, environmental issues, humour, biography, pop culture, relationships, spirituality, and select fiction on thematically important and universally relevant themes.

Victoria Loder is an assistant agent with The Rights Factory specializing in adult genre fiction and narrative non-fiction of all kinds. She has worked in publishing for more than four years, previously having served as editor-in-chief of Scarborough Fair magazine, book reviewer for The Underground magazine, VIP trendsetter for Paper Lantern Literary, and sales, marketing and publicity assistant with Thomas Allen & Son. Victoria’s favourite novel is The Book Thief.

Winning Two Gillers: A Conversation with Esi Edugyan and Her Editors

When: January 22, 2019, 7:00–9:00 PM

Where: University of Toronto, Sidney Smith Hall amphitheatre (Room 2102), 100 St. George St.

Co-presented by Editors Toronto, Canadian Authors–Toronto, and the Creative Writing Program at the School of Continuing Studies, University of Toronto.

This special event will bring acclaimed novelist Esi Edugyan together with four of her editors — Patrick Crean, Marie-Lynn HammondJohn Sweet, and Jane Warren — for a discussion about the writing and editing of Ms. Edugyan’s two Giller Prize winning novels, Half-Blood Blues (2011) and Washington Black (2018).

Have you wondered what it’s like, editorially speaking, to work with an author who has won not one but two Giller Prizes? Would you like to know more about the editorial process that shaped these celebrated books? Esi Edugyan and her panel of accomplished editors will address issues such as these during their talks and the Q&A.

This event will feature a reading and a short talk about the author-editor relationship from Ms. Edugyan, short presentations from her editors, and ample time for questions from the audience (since we know this group has questions!) We’ll close the event by raffling off valuable prizes in support of the SCS Creative Writing Bursary, and time will be allowed for Ms. Edugyan to sign books.

Copies of Washington Black will be available for purchase at the event. Debit and credit cards will be accepted.

Thank you to these generous sponsors!