This week we talk to Ronald Mackay. Since Ron put aside technical and academic writing in favour of more personal and creative writing, in 2011, he has published four memoirs, written a dozen plays only a very few of which have been produced, and written lots of short stories of which some 20 have appeared in anthologies. While Ronald was surprised at losing some friends during this career switch, he was compensated by new friendships from unexpected quarters. Ronald has been forced to revise the commercial aims that propelled him towards creative writing a decade ago and to come to terms with the concrete realities of the nature of publishing in the 21st Century.
Meet J.D. Carpenter. David grew up in Toronto, earned degrees at York and Queen’s, taught high school English for 25 years and ran a Special Education program for 14 of those years. He publishes under the name J D Carpenter and began his writing career as a poet, later switching to fiction, primarily murder mysteries: The Devil in Me (McClelland & Stewart, 2001); Bright’s Kill (Dundurn Press, 2005); 74 Miles Away (Dundurn Press, 2006); Twelve Trees (Dundurn Press, 2008) and The County Murders (Cressy Lakeside Books, 2016). A second Joe Horn mystery, The Lake Pirates was published by Cressy Lakeside Books in 2020. Now David has returned to writing poetry as well as planning a major revision to a Campbell Young mystery which he put aside several years ago. So, though he told us that his biography hadn’t altered except in that he had grown two years older since he was last our guest, it seems there’s plenty to add to it. Today he tells us about his recent work and current projects
This week we are rebroadcasting an episode we made last year with Marie Prins. Marie had just published her mid grade novel The Girl from the Attic with Common Deer Press and had begun a determined marketing campaign in the difficult conditions of the pandemic. She garnered many positive reviews for her book and recently the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators announced that The Girl From the Attic was one of five finalists for the Crystal Kite awards. In the past few months she has been writing several picture story drafts and a number of new poems.
Heidi Croot received her first literary award at her Grade 8 graduation and was heart-broken because her father couldn’t be there to see her. She took an Honours BA in English from Western University, which taught her all about writing essays. This led her to a 35 year award winning career as a business writer, in the fields of technology, long-term-care, municipal government, and health and safety before she decided to hang out her free-lance shingle. Her creative writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Brevity, Writescape, Linea magazine, and a WCDR anthology. Presently she is working on a memoir, which she has recently sent to a professional editor.
This week Port Hope celebrates Farley Mowat Week. Word on the Hills is delighted to hear about it from Claire Mowat. Claire was born and educated in Toronto and is a graduate of Ontario College of Art. Originally a graphic designer, she switched to writing during the 1960s when she lived in Newfoundland. This led to her first book, The Outport People. Her second memoir Pomp and Circumstances about her experiences working at Rideau Hall was followed by, Travels with Farley a memoir of the Mowats’ time living on the Magdalen Islands. She also wrote a novel for younger readers, The Girl From Away, that was so successful that she developed it into a trilogy, by writing The French Islands and A Summer in Louisburg. For many years, Claire and Farley, her husband, divided their time living partly on a farm in Nova Scotia and partly at their home in Port Hope where she still lives. Today she is visiting us to talk with us about Farley Mowat Week 2021 in Port Hope, to honour his many achievements and celebrate Farley’s 100th birthday on Wednesday May 12th. Farley Mowat published over 40 books and sold 17 million copies during his lifetime and his stories, memoirs, books about the arctic and other travels are still bestsellers today.
Meet Sue Reynolds an award-winning writer of novels, 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.
This week we air our final episode dedicated to celebrating Poetry Month 2021. Join us to hear eleven local poets, Carol Ann Judd, Gwynn Scheltema, Kim Aubrey, Wally Keeler, Antony Di Nardo, Jessica Outram, Kathryn Macdonald, Chris Cameron, Katie Hoogedam, Christopher Black and Felicity Sidnell Reid read their poems inspired by spring.
This week meet Reva Nelson. Reva has been a teacher-librarian, an Actra and Equity actor, a seminar leader, facilitator and professional speaker. (She likes to say, by choice, not from being fired.) She has written three books, Risk It!, on positive risk and change, Bounce Back!, on resilience, and Hippie Chick Abroad, a memoir. Her most recent venture is a book of poetry, Twisted Branches.
This week we welcome Marie-Lynn Hammond for a return visit to Word on the Hills to celebrate Poetry Month and to share some of the poems she has written in the past year. Marie-Lynn Hammond is a bilingual singer-songwriter, playwright, editor, writer, and occasional poet who happily moved to Cobourg six years ago. A founding member of Stringband, one of Canada’s seminal folk groups, she’s known for her original songs, which often tell uniquely Canadian stories. A passionate animal advocate, she can frequently be found rescuing cats.
This Sunday we welcome poet Allan Briesmaster to our first show celebrating Poetry Month 2021. Allan Briesmaster is a freelance editor and publisher who has been active in the Toronto-area literary scene for many years. He was a founding partner in Quattro Books and currently runs his own small press, Aeolus House. He is the author of eight full-length books of poetry, most recently The Long Bond: Selected and New Poems (Guernica Editions, 2019), and nine shorter books. His next book, Windfor, is forthcoming this year from Ekstasis Editions. Alla.n has read his work, given talks, and hosted readings and book launches across Canada and frequently in Cobourg.