This week, meet Michael Topa, poet. Michael was born in Michigan and has lived and studied in many countries, including Canada, USA, and Afghanistan. He also travelled to India, Pakistan and Nepal. He spent four years in the United States Air Force as a Weather Observer during the Vietnam War and immigrated to Canada when his tour of duty ended, He has worked for many years as a Psycho-educational Consultant and is the co-founder and Director of Greenoaks Educational Services. He has been writing poetry for over 50 years and now a memoir, SHARDS OF GLASS.
WOTH welcomes a return visit from Sue Reynolds. A published novelist and an award-winning writer of poetry and creative non-fiction, Sue has been writing all her life. Her first novel was published in 1992 and won the Canadian Library Association’s YA Novel of the Year award but she never gave up studying the craft of novel writing. She read everything she could get her hands on and took many courses. Through experiencing workshops with Natalie Goldberg, she realized she needed to find community – her tribe – to write with. And so, fifteen years ago, she began passing on what she had learned. In 2002 she took the AWA Certification to lead writing workshops with Pat Schneider (The Writer as an Artist and Writing Alone and With Others) and Patricia Lee Lewis, and she’s never looked back.
Born in Edmonton and raised in Toronto, Michael graduated in English and History at the University of Western Ontario. He worked in construction during his school days and then as a reporter, photographer and editor at newspapers in Timmins and Ajax. After he got his high school teaching certificate he taught for three years. Then he moved to Spain where he taught ESL and learned Spanish Flamenco guitar. Michael has travelled and read widely in philosophy, Canadian studies and religion (Western and Oriental). He has even taught Yoga. As for writing, he has always kept a journal which now exceeds fifty-two volumes. Out of this material he has produced poems, stories and two books. The Disillusioning (published in 2007) and The Lingering Absence (published in 2022). He says he was inspired to write in an effort to fill certain gaps which lingered even though the essential pioneering was pretty much a thing of the past.
An avid reader of mysteries, Vanessa Westermann is a former Arthur Ellis Awards judge, holds an M.A. in English Literature, as well as a Bachelor of Education, and has taught creative writing. Her debut mystery, An Excuse for Murder, was published in 2019. Her latest novel, Cover Art, is the first Charley Scott Mystery and will be released on May 14, 2022. She received an Ontario Arts Council grant, to support the completion of the second book in the series. At the heart of all of Westermann’s stories are strong female protagonists inspired by the heroines in her own life. She currently lives in Ontario.
Ken Morden has lived in Northumberland County for twenty-five years, moving here, after selling his marketing company in Toronto. He and his wife operated a horse breeding farm in Elizabethville until 2020 when they sold it and moved to a 100 acre country property north of Cobourg, along with their two dogs and no horses. Three years ago Ken decided to develop a new career as a writer and since then has written three books – a Morden family historical novel and two murder mysteries. He is currently working on novels four and five. Ken is active in the arts community currently serving as President of Friends of Music, a director of Spirit of the Hills and a member of the organizing committee for the Northumberland Festival of the Arts.