What’s on at the Festival: Literary Workshops

Photo by Aaron Burden from Unsplash

Have you always wanted to write a novel or memoir? Do you have a book you want to self-publish? Or would you just like to take a little time to explore and develop your inner poet/writer? Wherever your interests lie, there’s a workshop for you at the Northumberland Festival of the Arts, September 16 – October 2, 2022, taking place in Northumberland County’s picturesque towns and beautiful countryside.

“Today there will be no counting of tasks waiting for attention.

The canning, the freezing, the baking, the sweeping up of leaves – all can wait.

Today is a day to sit still. To see and smell and hear and notice.”

–Cynthia Reyes
Literary Workshops at NFOTA:

Dane Swan
Writing Our Shadows with Dane Swan, Saturday, September 17, 10 AM – 12 PM, Victoria Hall, Cobourg, ON

We all have that one poem, short story or subplot we’re uncomfortable with writing. Perhaps you find some subjects intimidating or scary, or you’re writing about an incident that has scarred you. Join me, Dane Swan, spoken word artist, musician and author as I share a few simple tools and methodologies I’ve developed to successfully face these difficult situations in my own writing.

Dane Swan’s second book, “A Mingus Lullaby,” (Guernica Editions) was a finalist for the 2017 Trillium Book Prize for Poetry. He also is the editor of Changing the Face of Canadian Literature. His first book, “Bending the Continuum,” (Guernica Editions, 2011) was a mid-summer recommended read from Open Book Toronto. 

Vicki Delany
Plotting a Mystery Novel with Vicki Delany, Wednesday, September 21, 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM, Brighton, ON

You have a fabulous idea for a book. Well done. Now, you have to turn that idea into 80,000 – 100,000 words of intrigue, suspense, adventure, maybe a bit of romance, and some humour. And drop clues along the way. But not too many clues! 

Vicki Delany will lead this workshop designed to unravel the mystery of plotting a crime novel – how to keep the story moving, the characters interesting, and the readers reading. Time is available after the workshop to purchase books, get them signed and chat with the author. 

Jennifer Bogart
Self-Publishing Basics with Jennifer Bogart, Tuesday, September 27, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, Let’s Talk Books in Cobourg, ON.

Learn how to self-publish your work, whether it is fiction, memoir, or children’s literature, without breaking the bank. Jennifer Bogart, publisher, writer and independent book store owner, will also provide an exclusive self-publishing guide for you to take home.

Memoir: A Gift in Words & Pictures with Cynthia Reyes & Carol Shaw, Friday, September 23, 10 AM – 12:30 PM, The Gathering Place, Warkworth, ON.

Come ready to roll up your sleeves, learn the elements of memoir-writing through practical exercises from author and memoirist Cynthia Reyes and Carol Shaw. Doing practical exercises, exploring examples and your own life as inspiration, you will gain ideas and tools to produce your memoir. Whether it’s a literary memoir or storytelling with words and pictures, you’ll find empowerment and helpful tips.

Sue Reynolds
Root, Leaf, Flower and Fruit: Free Yourself Creatively with Sue Reynolds, Monday, September 19, 9:30 AM – 12 PM, The Canning Factory, Grafton, ON.

Creativity of every sort requires risk, but engaging with that risk can give voice and form to our deepest needs and imaginings. No special conditions are required to create. Sue Reynolds, writer, teacher and psychotherapist, will connect you with your creative source and spontaneous intuition, and rekindle a playful, experimental approach for beginning new work.

Sheniz Janmohamed
Inner Garden: Nature Mandalas with Sheniz Janmohamed, Monday, September 19, 2:00 – 4:30 PM, The Canning Factory, Grafton, ON.

In this reflective workshop, you will be led into the garden to take in the colours, sounds, scents and textures of the surroundings. Sheniz Janmohamed, sand artist and poet will lead you into drawing on your senses and reflecting on your own creative journey. After collecting natural materials, Sheniz will lead you in creating your own “inner garden” mandalas. After creating individual mandalas, participants will be encouraged to create pathways of connection between each other’s mandalas—creating an intricate garden within the garden.

Gwynn Scheltema
Woods, Water & Words: writing from the landscape with Gwynn Scheltema, Thursday, September 22, 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM, Trent River, ON.

A day of landscape inspired writing activities to get you writing. Join poet and fiction writer, Gwynn Scheltema at “Glentula” on Lake Seymour. We’ll draw inspiration from the woods, the wandering garden paths, the lake and streams as well as the energy of writing in a community of other writers. The day will be a mix of group-led writing exercises, situation-themed writing prompts and time to write, share and reflect. (lunch included)

Come to the Festival

Get more details or view the entire festival event schedule and purchase tickets here :

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Northumberland Festival of the Arts is a volunteer-run not-for-profit arts organization. To volunteer for NFOTA, please contact info@festivalofthearts.ca

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