Friday, May 6, 2016

Celebrating Farley Mowat at his boat-roofed house

Farley Boat Roof House


To kilt up or go Arctic. That's the dilemma I face. It's prompted by the moving of the Farley Mowat boat-roofed house in Port Hope. Come October, an international crew of professional stone-wallers will arrive in that town, 100 km east of Toronto. They will dismantle and then reassemble the boat house, placing it at a new location near the Port Hope Public Library. You can read all about this adventure by clicking here. And while you're clicking around, you might want to check out this definitive piece (ahem) on the legacy of Farley Mowat. Anyway, in Port Hope, after the hard work comes the fun.
I am delighted to report that on Saturday October 8, I will be one of five authors -- including Claire Mowat -- who will celebrate Mowat with readings at the Port Hope Library. You see how this is coming full circle? I can't help but think of Farley responding to fancy public occasions in the Big City by whirling around shameless in his kilt. No, nothing like that is going to happen in Port Hope. Farley Mowat was one of a kind. But the question is: do I gesture towards the pride Mowat took in his Scottish heritage? Or do I, instead, give a nod to the Arctic, which also formed such a large part of who he was? Perhaps by donning tuque and shades? Fortunately, I have a few months to contemplate this question . . . and, perhaps, to receive input from others.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

U of T summer course in narrative nonfiction . . . .


In the past couple of weeks, I have purchased two books written by folks who passed through one of my University of Toronto workshops. I would like to say that these publications are down to me. But I don't dare. People would call me out. Put it this way: at least I didn't get in the way! And here we are again, two months from starting (July 11) my one-week intensive course in narrative nonfiction (aka creative nonfiction) at the U of T summer writing school. A number of folks have already registered, wisely bent on securing the $50 discount offered for early-bird registration. 

As you can see, I do ask for submissions (up to 1,500 words) so we can hit the ground running. Below, we find a nutshell description and an image of the official "me." Dr. Jekyll. We do have a good time. And I do believe that this workshop can move you forward. Click here for Course Details.

Meanwhile, here's that nutshell description: Anyone looking for today's most exciting writing should check out Narrative Non-Fiction, an emerging genre in which writers apply literary techniques to factual narrative. This course will orient writers within the genre, which includes both personal streams (memoir, autobiography, travelogue) and impersonal ones (true-crime writing, biography, historical narrative, immersion reporting). The workshop focuses on craft, and will include lectures, discussions, exercises, and workshopping student writing.
 
You have to register before submitting material.  Please submit a story--maximum 1,500 words: scs.writing@utoronto.ca  Note:  these pieces will be uploaded so that students can read each other's work before the start of the course.
Required Textbook: The Art of Fact: A Historical Anthology of Literary Journalism by Kevin Kerrane and Ben Yagoda, ISBN-13: 978-0684846309--available at the U of T Bookstore.