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  • Award-Winning Author,

  • Playwright/Performer

  • & Speaker

  • ★★★★★
    ~ CVV Magazine

  • New & Newsworthy

    2015 Begins in Mexico

    I am delighted and honoured to be part of the faculty of the Under The Volcano writing program again this year. The ten-day program offers workshops in fiction, poetry and cultural journalism, as well as the terrain I’ll be guiding people through: memoir.

    I’ll be posting updates and photos on my Facebook page, if you’d like to join the fun from a distance. And if you’d like to consider the program for next year, I can only say this: there might be better ways to spend ten days in the middle of January than in a gorgeous Mexican town devoting oneself to writing among fascinating people and all things inspiring, but I can’t really think of any.


    Happy 2015, everyone. May it bring beauty and peace ~

    Fall/Winter Colour

    I’ve been enjoying a season of workshops.

    There is something uniquely wonderful about a small gathering of people sharing their personal stories, but it is an exceptional experience when these people might never have found themselves around the same table otherwise. Every workshop I offered filled with people whose life experiences were as diverse as they were rich and fascinating (despite everyone feeling initially that their lives weren’t very interesting–why do we all feel that?), and the result was explosive creativity and laughter.

    I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I adore this work.

    I’m hunkering down for the winter now, enjoying a semi-hibernation  and focussing on my own writing. In January, I’ll be making my annual pilgrimage to Mexico, this time to teach as part of the faculty of Under the Volcano, a ten-day program of master classes in the spectacular town of Tepoztlan. As far as I know, the memoir class is full, but there is always next year…

    And lastly, I saw a photograph of an installation by Jim Lambie at the MoMA and was inspired to make my bathroom floor less boring. I am told that the photos don’t do justice to the real thing, but in any case, it makes for very psychedelic peeing.

    IMG_4021 IMG_4019

    Answers to FAQs:

    1. It’s done with strips of vinyl tape. LOTS of them.

    2. No idea how many hours it took, only that I listened to PLENTY of podcasts of The Next Chapter while taping, snipping, adjusting, etc.

    3. I didn’t have a plan; I just made it up as I went along. (That should be my epitaph.)

    4. No idea how durable it will be. Might put verathane on it and cross my fingers.

    5. My partner and son kind of like it…now.

    What’s that old adage? You know it’s time to close a blog post when you start showing photos of your bathroom floor?

    Yes, well, I’m done.

    Have a gorgeous winter ~

    Signature 2014-04-24 18-09-36

    Fall Workshops

    You know that life story you’re going to write…someday?

    If you live in southern Ontario OR are able to travel to Mexico in January, I might just be able to help. For a full list of fall/winter memoir writing workshops, CLICK HERE or visit the UPCOMING EVENTS page.

    “Alison’s workshop was the key that unlocked my voice, the fire that lit my confidence, and the sage that inspired my daily writing practice.
    Still going strong.”

    ~ Pam Beatson, Toronto

    “My writing improved 100%.”
    ~ Sheila Urquidi, Mexico City

    Autumn Workshops

    I’m delighted to be offering memoir writing workshops in a number of Ontario towns and cities this fall, including a 6-week workshop in my hometown of Stratford [see Upcoming Events]. To receive announcements of these workshops as they are confirmed, please join the mailing list (above). These workshops tend to sell out quickly, so early registration is recommended. And the snacks are wonderful, so enjoyment tends to be quite high.coffee & cookies

    Edna Staebler Award

    Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter has been shortlisted for the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction.

    Listen to Alison’s CBC interview regarding the nomination:

    The Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction is a unique award—the only one offered in Canada for the genre. Established in 1991 by writer and literary journalist Edna Staebler, it recognizes a Canadian writer of a first or second published book with a Canadian locale and/or significance.

    According to the award’s website, creative non-fiction is literary not journalistic. The writer does not merely give information but intimately shares an experience with the reader by telling a factual story using the devices of fiction, including:

    • original research;
    • well-crafted interpretive writing;
    • personal discovery or experience;
    • the creative use of language or approach to the subject matter;
    • dialogue; and
    • a narrative about people who come alive.

    Rather than emphasizing objectivity, the book should have feeling, and should be a compelling, engaging read.

    From the earliest days, Canadian non-fiction writers have been recording their experiences in imaginative ways. The genre has firm roots in the work of Susannah Moody, Farley Mowat, Pierre Berton and Edna Staebler herself.


    Magical Last Show

    …of the summer, that is. Many thanks to my hosts, Joanna and Henry Wiersma, and to the enthusiastic audience that filled the domed theatre! Thanks also to all the workshop participants. (Could there have been a more beautiful setting for a writing workshop?) I’ll be doing one more show in the fall (see the Upcoming Events page for ticket info) and then shifting gears and returning to my writing desk for a while.

    fifth wind

    Last Show of the Summer

    In an effort to open up space and time to work on a new project [shhhhh], I have scaled back on the number of performances I am doing this year. My last of the summer will take place on July 26 at Fifth Wind Farm in Cold Springs, Ontario (just north of Cobourg), and it will be a part-fundraiser for the SONG program, which brings musical instruction to young people in need.

    For details, click HERE.

    In August, I’ll be doing a bit of travelling, first to Cape Cod, where I’ll be doing a series of readings and workshops for the Family Equality Council and COLAGE (Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere). After that, I’ll be out in BC at the Sunshine Festival of the Written Word, and then home, where my desk awaits.

    There is one more show scheduled for the fall, the odd reading/talk here and there, and numerous bookings still yet to be confirmed for the 2014/15 season. To receive notification of upcoming appearances and shows, please join the mailing list to the right of this post.

    Thanks. May you enjoy a blissful summer.



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