Writing Workshops, Retreats, Mentoring


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    Update for October 2017

    What’s in this Newsletter:

    • A Novel Approach First Draft begins this coming week for its 9th year – For the first time ever, Sue is teaching it in both Oshawa (biweekly Wednesday evenings 7-9:30 pm) and in Toronto (biweekly Monday afternoons 1-3:30 pm)!Will this be the year you keep that promise to yourself to get that book written?
    • Some Upcoming Contests and Calls for Submission
    • A Few Spots Still Available in Poetry Sanctuary this Fall

    A Novel Approach 2017-18 Toronto and Oshawa

    Sue has long wanted to offer A Novel Approach farther afield than Uxbridge and Newmarket, so she is absolutely delighted that she’s been able to partner with Firefly Creative Writing in Toronto to offer A Novel Approach in their brand new creative writing space on the Danforth. She’s long admired the work of Chris Kay Fraser and the community she’s created and was absolutely delighted when Chris agreed that Firefly was the perfect Toronto home for this year’s group.

    And she’s equally delighted that the marvelous Deb Rankine, a.k.a. The Fridge Whisperer, has offered to host the Oshawa group this year.

    The dates of the biweekly workshops are here at this link:
    A Novel Approach Class Calendar

    The workshops begin next week, so don’t wait any longer! If you’re unfamiliar with the course information you can read all about it on A Novel Approach. To register, please go to this link:

    Register for A Novel Approach 2017 – 2018

    By June of next year you can be cradling your weighty print copy of your first draft in your arms – a physical 70,000 word, 300 page tome!


    Sue will also be offering two more SoulCollage workshops this fall – one each in Newmarket and Sharon. If you’re interested in being notified about these, please contact her directly at suereynolds@goforwords.com


    Gift yourself a full day immersed in verse.

    Ready to Begin Writing

    Poetry Sanctuary offers the poet in you a working vacation at Uplands Retreats located in the beautiful, peaceful Oak Ridges forest just north of Whitby, Ontario.

    The combination of inspiration, learning, silence, sharing and great food will make your muse delirious with gratitude.

    Join James Dewar and 7 other poets this autumn at Poetry Sanctuary.

    November 18th is sold out, but there are 2 spots left on October 22nd and 3 on December 10th.

    Take home a poem (or 2, or 3) you will want to share with the world.

    Visit Poetry Sanctuary to learn more and register


    Sue and James are delighted to announce that they have been asked to be the judges for the inaugural Melody Richardson Memorial Contest Sponsored by the Muskoka Authors Association.

    For More Information about the contest click here: Melody Richardson Memorial Contest

    Deadline October 15th.

    Call for Submission to Anthology

    Mansfield Press has put out a call for submissions to the anthology: “Another Dysfunctional Cancer Poem”
    Current statistics predict 1 in 2 people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. We need more art to understand the complexity and dimensions of what this means.

    So please join us in this landmark groundbreaking anthology on the subject of cancer; whether from a patient, survivor, caregiver, loved one, doctor, surgeon, alternative healer, compassionate human being, body part or disease itself point of view.

    This anthology aims to offer new ways of seeing, understanding, and representing this ordinary and extraordinary experience; with a full spectrum of emotions spanning the tragic and comic.

    We believe the imagination and poetry have their own parts to play in our contemporary healing warehouse. And we invite you to demonstrate this power as we bring together an exciting group of contemporary poems and poets tackling the “c” word in unexpected and affecting ways.

    Please send between one and four poems on the topic of cancer in any poetic style/form and from any perspective to dysfunctionalpoems@gmail.com plus a 100-word author bio.

    Previously published poems are welcome as long as the author owns the copyright and gives us permission to reprint, and as long as the poem was published after the year 2000.

    Deadline: November 30, 2017


    Sign up for our updates for contests and calls for submissions. (Subscription in the sidebar to the right) New calls added regularly!

    Melody Richardson Memorial Contest – Muskoka Authors Association

    Deadline October 15th 2017 at NOON.

    1st Annual Melody Richardson Memorial Contest

    Get as Creative as you want!

    2 Prize Categories:
    Short Prose contest

    (1500 words max)

    Flash Prose Contest

    (500 words max)

    First Prize for Prose:

    $500 + publication on MAA website

    Second Prize for Prose: 

    $200 + publication on MAA website

    Honorable Mention:

    Publication on MAA website

    First Prize for Flash Prose:

    $300 + publication on MAA website

    Second Prize for Flash Prose:

    $125 + publication on MAA website

    Honorable Mention:

    Publication on MAA website


    In 1999, Writer/Journalist Melody Richardson started a writing group in Muskoka. Over the years she continued to share her expertise, encouraging both novice and experienced writers.

    The Muskoka Authors Assocation is honoured to sponsor the Melody Richardson Memorial Contest (MRMC) in Melody’s memory.

    A little about Melody

    Melody Richardson started Muskoka’s memoir group, then expanded her writing program to welcome all genres. Many Muskoka Authors Association members, including Cindy Watson and Wendie Donabie were part of Melody’s inspirational group and honed their craft under her unique brand of encouraging mentorship. Sadly, Melody passed away after a brave fight against cancer in 2014. To keep her memory and contribution alive, MAA created the first annual Melody Richardson Memorial Contest.


    A little about the contest

    In honour of Melody’s contribution to memoir writing, the inaugural contest is dedicated to the art of personal story whether told as memoir or as fiction inspired by personal story.

    There are two categories:

    • Prose (maximum 1500 words)
    • Flash Prose (maximum 500 words)

    Writers will submit a short piece or flash prose in some way based on their real-life experience.


    Submission Guidelines:

    • Double spaced
    • 12 point font
    • Your name cannot appear on or in the story, but ensure the title does.
    • Ensure your name appears on the entry form with the title of your piece.
    • No previously published works will be considered.
    • Multiple submissions accepted (separate entry and payment for each entry).


    Deadline: October 15, 2017 at 12 noon

    How to enter:

    Entries must be submitted through the MAA website at www.muskokaauthors.ca

    Please pay your fee of $10 (members) and $20 (non-member) per entry online.

    Ensure the title of your manuscript is on the entry form and the piece itself, but that your name does not appear on the story.


    Entry fee: Members: $10
    Non-Members: $20



    Two New $10,000 Prizes for Short Stories and Poems

    We wanted to let you know about two new literary prizes:

    One of the reasons we know about it is that Sue is honoured to have been asked to be one of the judges in the Short Story Category!

    “The Ross and Davis Mitchell Prize for Faith and Writing is designed to help give voice to these individuals and communities and to help re-awaken Canadians to the powerful truth, goodness, and beauty that belief brings into our shared lives. Poetry and fiction that draw from the deep wells of religious tradition can provide those brief moments where the familiar world becomes strange, and those strange gods become familiar.


    In A Secular Age, Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor writes that many modern people have imagined the gods away and so live in a disenchanted world. Yet despite this, they continue to be haunted by moments of wonder (or fear) that tempt them towards belief. Could there be something more to the world than meets the eye?

    Of course, many  Canadians have an idea about what this something might be. And they live their lives within communities that have sought to understand it, share it, live according to it, and pass it on to their children and grandchildren. These are the thousands of Canadians of faith communities, Canadians who participate in the myriad of religions that make up the social landscape of Canada.

    Yet it’s sometimes easy to forget about all these individuals and communities of faith, and to imagine Canada as one increasingly “secular” – by which we often mean irreligious – nation. The Ross and Davis Mitchell Prize for Faith and Writing is designed to help give voice to these individuals and communities and to help re-awaken Canadians to the powerful truth, goodness, and beauty that belief brings into our shared lives. Poetry and fiction that draw from the deep wells of religious tradition can provide those brief moments where the familiar world becomes strange, and those strange gods become familiar.

    But this prize is not designed to paper over conflict or erase distinctions. There are important distinctions between Muslims and Christians, Hindus and Orthodox Jews, and others that should not be erased, but understood. In fact, another goal of this prize is to encourage a posture of charitable listening which does not discourage disagreement or persuasion; rather, it hopes to make it more robust within the boundaries of mutual respect. If we are to live together in difference, we must allow difference the room to flourish.

    Finally, this contest does not want to ignore the deep wounds given and received by the religious communities in Canada. Such wounds often fester quietly under the surface of communities who have been oppressed, alienated, and left out of the public life. This prize encourages poets and writers to share these stories as well lest the oppression continue through their silence and absence.

    If you are a writer who is Canadian or you currently reside in Canada, we warmly invite you to read the guidelines for submission and submit an entry before our June 30th 2017 deadline.


    1. There will be $25,000 CD of Prize money awarded.
      1. 1st place for short story: $10,000
      2. 1st place for suite of poems: $10,000
      3. 2nd place for short story: $2,500
      4. 2nd place for suite of poems: $2,500
    2. Also: All the shortlisted nominees will have their work published in an anthology to be published in 2018.
    3. A Prize Gala will be held in the Fall of 2017 to honour the shortlisted authors and Prize recipients.

    Click here for a PDF:

    Or click this link to read about it on the FAITHINCANADA150 website:

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