The Humber School for Writers Summer Workshop

The Humber School for Writers
Summer Workshop

July 7 – July 13, 2012

Humber School of Creative & Performing Arts

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The Humber School for Writers provides jet fuel for the literary mind and helps you develop a literary coterie to assist in take-off. The week-long experience is intense and exhilarating. And, it’s set in a campus that looks like something out of the ivy league set on the shores of Lake Ontario.

Since 1992, the Humber School for Writers has distinguished itself as a leading centre for the study of creative writing. Our track record speaks for itself: more than 290 of our graduates have been published, including Julie Booker (Up, Up, Up), Suzanne Desrochers (Bride of New France), Allison Baggio (Girl in Shades). Several have been nominated for literary awards, and a few have gone on to win. Angie Abdou’s The Bone Cage was chosen as one of the five books on Canada Reads. Sarah Selecky’s This Cake is for the Party was shortlisted for the 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize. Robert Rotenberg had bidding wars in New York, London, and Toronto for his first novel, Old City Hall, and Cathy Marie Buchanan’s The Day the Falls Stood Still sold in Italy, the USA, the UK, and made The New York Times Best Sellers list.

Our faculty is no less impressive. Esi Edugyan was shortlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize and won the 2011 Giller for Half Blood Blues. David Bezmozgis was nominated for the 2011 Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award for his novel, The Free World. Johanna Skibsrud’s The Sentimenatilsts won the 2010 Giller, and Miriam Toews’ The Flying Troutmans was a Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize winner. M. G. Vassanji has won the Giller twice.

The week-long workshop consists of two full days and four afternoons of lectures, five mornings of classes, one evening reading, lunches, and a closing banquet.

“One of the best programs of its kind in North America.”
The Globe and Mail

“A very good writing school.”
David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas

This summer, the faculty includes:

David Bezmozgis
Wayson Choy
Esi Edugyan
Bruce Jay Friedman
Alistair MacLeod
Tim O’Brien
Richard Scrimger
Johanna Skibsrud
Miriam Toews
M G Vassanji

Please note:  Instructors may be added or substituted.

David Bezmozgis is a writer and filmmaker. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Zoetrope, The Walrus, The NewYork Times Magazine, and various other publications. His first book, Natasha and Other Stories, won the Commonwealth Regional First Book Prize among other prizes, and was nominated for several others including the Governor General’s Award. His first novel, The Free World, was nominated for the 2011 Giller  Prize and the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. It was also named a New York Times Notable Book for 2011.  In 2010, he was included in The New Yorker’s prestigious 20 Under 40 fiction issue.

Wayson Choy is the author of the critically acclaimed The Jade Peony, which shared the Trillium Book Award with Margaret Atwood, won the City of Vancouver Book Award, and was chosen to compete in the 2010 Canada Reads competition. His haunting memoir, Paper Shadows, was nominated for the Governor General’s Award and won the Edna Staebler Prize. The best-selling All That Matters was nominated for The Giller Prize, and won the Trillium Book Award. Wayson Choy is a member of the Order of Canada, and a winner of the  Harbourfront Festival Prize. His memoir, Not Yet, is his most recent work.

Esi Edugyan is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the University of Victoria. She recently completed a fiction fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. Her work has appeared in Best New American Voices 2003, edited by Joyce Carol Oates. Her debut novel, written when she was 25, The Second Life of Samuel Tyne, was published internationally. Her moving novel, Half Blood Blues, was shortlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize, The Rogers Fiction Prize, The Governor General’s Award, and the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize which it won.

Bruce Jay Friedman is one of the most influential comic writers of our time. He has written for film and stage, but is best known for his fiction, which includes A Mother’s Kisses, Stern, and The Current Climate, The Collected Works of Bruce Jay Friedman, A Father’s Kisses, Even Rhinos Were Nymphos: Best Non-Fiction, and Violencia. Three Balconies was a New York Times Editor’s Choice pick, and Lonely Guy was adapted into a film starring Steve Martin. His latest work is his biography, Lucky Bruce, which was praised in the New York Times Book Review.

Alistair MacLeod is the author of three collections of short stories: The Lost Salt Gift of Blood, As Birds Bring Forth the Sun, and Island. His novel No Great Mischief won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction, the Thomas Randall Atlantic Fiction Award, and the Trillium Book Award, among others. His most recent work is To Everything There is a Season, a young adult/children’s story and winner of the Booksellers’ Choice Award.

Tim O’Brien is one of America’s greatest authors. His writing career was launched in 1973 with If I Die in a Combat Zone, a memoir about his experiences in the Vietnam war. Since then, he has been published in numerous magazines and has written eight books. These include Northern Lights, Going After Cacciato which won the National Book Award, The Nuclear Age, The Things They Carried, In the Lake of the Woods, Tomcat in Love and, most recently, July, July.

Richard Scrimger is a writing and teaching phenomenon, a vastly prolific writer and beloved teacher who has published 15 books for adults and children, and dozens of articles for magazines and newspapers.  His work has won awards in Canada and the United States among them the Mr. Christie Book Award, and has been translated into a dozen languages.  His latest is Me & Death, a true-to-afterlife adventure.

Johanna Skibsrud’s debut novel, The Sentimentalists, won the 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize. She has also published two books of poetry: Late Nights with Wild Cowboys and I Do Not Think That I Could Love a Human Being. Her most recent work, published this year, is This Will be Difficult to Explain, and Other Stories.She is currently pursuing a Ph.D at the Universite de Montreal.

Miriam Toews writes both fiction and non-fiction. She is the author of Swing Low: A Life, A Boy of Good Breeding, Summer of My Amazing Luck, and A Complicated Kindness, an outstanding Canadian bestseller. Among her many honours are a Governor General’s Award, National Magazine Award for humour, and a Margaret Laurence Award for fiction. She won the 2008 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize for The Flying Troutmans. Her most recent work is the critically-accclaimed Irma Voth.

M G. Vassanji’s extraordinary novel, The Book of Secrets, won the Giller Prize. This was followed by The Gunny Sack, which won the Commonwealth Prize. Another novel, No New Land, and a collection of short stories, Uhuru Street, were met with critical acclaim. Amriika, Wayward Spirits, and The In-Between World of Vikram Lall, are among his works. The latter won a second Giller Prize for the author. His most recent novel, The Assassin’s Song, was nominated for both The Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award. He won the 2009 Governor General’s Award (Non-Fiction) for his travel memoir, A Place Within: Rediscovering India.

” . . . a course not only highly regarded in this town, but praised on the world literary stage.” Toronto Life

The Timothy Findley Visiting Chair in Creative Writing was established in memory of the distinguished Canadian author and playwright who passed away in 2002. Timothy Findley taught for the Humber School for Writers for many years. Each summer, a faculty member with an international reputation will assume the Timothy Findley Visiting Chair. This year, the honour goes to
Tim O’Brien.

We’re here to help

Joe Kertes is Dean of Humber’s School of Creative & Performing Arts. His first novel, Winter Tulips, won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. His comic novel for adults, Boardwalk, and his books for children, The Gift and The Red Corduroy Shirt, were both published to great critical acclaim. Joe is the founder of the Humber School for Writers and the Humber School of Comedy, and is also winner of several teaching awards. His latest novel, Gratitude, won the National Jewish Book Award both in Canada and the U.S.

Antanas Sileika is Director of the Humber School for Writers. Each of his novels Dinner at the End of the World and Buying on Time (which was short-listed for the Stephen Leacock Medal and the Toronto Book Award) was received enthusiastically by critics and readers alike, as was Woman in Bronze, which was named a Globe and Mail Best Book. His most recent novel, Underground, was called a rare and compelling chronicle’ in the Globe and Mail.

Margaret Hart is the principal agent with the HSW Literary Agency. For over ten years, Margaret has been an advocate for Humber School for Writers alumni, selling manuscripts domestically and abroad to publishers including Penguin, Knopf, and HarperCollins. Representation by the agency is open to students registered in the program whose work is recommended by an author.

Scholarship applicants will automatically be considered for all available scholarships. To apply for these, please state your wish to apply prominently in your cover letter. Because competition for scholarships is keen, applicants must provide a statement explaining their financial situation, some proof of need, and a credit card number. Please note that card numbers will not be processed until you have been notified of acceptance. The scholarship amount, if awarded, will be deducted from your payment. Scholarships include:

Dr. Robert A. Gordon Scholarship ($500)
The Timothy Findley/William Whitehead Scholarship ($500)
The KOBZAR Writer’s Scholarship ($949 x 2)*
The Wayson Choy Scholarship ($949)*
The Ben Labovitch Scholarship ($500 or 2X $250)
The Mary Jo Morris Scholarship ($500 or 2X $250)
The Jean-Marc Iammatteo Scholarship ($500)*

*The KOBZAR, Wayson Choy, and Jean-Marc Iammatteo  scholarships are aimed at specific groups. For details, visit our web page.

Scholarships are available only to those who apply by June 1.

For details, please visit our website at

Tuition includes classes, panel discussions, writing life sessions, lunches, and afternoon coffee breaks. Morning coffee can be purchased on-site.

How to Apply – by email or hard copy

You MUST include

– two copies of a cover letter describing yourself and your writing project
– the Registration form
– two identical copies (no more than 15 pages each) of an excerpt from your novel, work of non-fiction, short story, or poetry for assessment. If you are accepted, one copy will be forwarded to your mentor. If you are submitting by email, one copy will suffice.

Please make sure that pages are numbered, double-spaced in 12-point font, and that your name appears on each page.  Also, please keep in mind that manuscript substitutions or changes cannot be made after your submission.

Please choose one of the following options:

Phone 416-675-6622 ext. 3449 and put the cost of the workshop on your MasterCard or Visa. This number is private and secure to the Humber School for Writers. No credit card will be charged until you have been notified of acceptance into the workshop. The cover letter and writing sample may follow by post or email.

Fax your completed registration form to 416-251-7167, attention Hilary Higgins.  Be sure to include your MasterCard or Visa information. This number is secure and private. The cover letter and writing sample may follow by post or email.

Mail your application form by June 1 to:

Hilary Higgins
The Humber School for Writers
Humber Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning
3199 Lake Shore Blvd. West
Toronto, Ontario  M8V 1K8

E-mail your completed application to:
.doc or pdf attachments only.

Assessment and Placement

We will take into serious consideration your preference of instructor when deciding your placement. A committee will make all placement decisions and these decisions are final.

Residency Option

Should you wish to stay on campus during the workshop, modest suite-style accommodations are available in the student residence located in the main campus building on Lake Shore Blvd. West.

Bedroom suites offer two private bedrooms with a double bed in each room, three-piece washroom, kitchenette with a table and chairs, sink, full sized fridge, and microwave. Also included are bed linens, towels, soap, shampoo, light housekeeping daily, 24-hour front desk, and free parking with overnight accommodations. No fire appliances (toasters, stoves) are permitted, and cooking utensils and kitchen supplies are not included. TV lounges with cable are located on each floor for guests to use.

For a 360 view of a suite, please visit

Suites are affordably priced as follows:

Two bedroom (single to quad occupancy)*
$70 per night, plus tax
* You must find your own roommate if you wish to share.

To reserve accommodations, call 1-888-548-6327 (toll free), press 2 for Lakeshore Campus, press 3 for reservations. Visa and MasterCard accepted.

The rate code is CreativeWriter.

For further details, please visit:

Participants who don’t think they’ll be comfortable in a modest college residence may want to consider local hotels such as the Four Points Sheraton, several kilometers east of the campus, or the Stay Inn, a few kilometers north. All arrangements for hotels and transportation between the hotel and the campus are the responsibility of the participants themselves.

Still have questions?

For further information, call 416-675-6622 ext. 3449, or send e-mail to

Registration Form
(Copy and paste if you are applying by email)

Note:  Your work will not be assessed until a credit card number has been received. Payment will not be processed until you have been notified of your acceptance into the workshop.

Surname:                                        Given Name(s):
Date of Birth:
(for registration purposes)

City:                   Prov/State:             Postal/Zip Code:
Home Phone:                     Business Phone:
Method of Payment (check one)

Certified Cheque        MasterCard              Visa
Card No.:                                       Expiry Date:
Cardholder Name:                                Date:

Check your choice of workshop specialty:

Fiction         Poetry         Creative Non-Fiction

Indicate your first 4 choices of author-instructors:
1.                                      2.
3.                                      4.

Please tell us how you heard about this program:


Check appropriate selection and payment:
(All prices quoted are in Canadian dollars)

By June 1, 2012
Course No.                      Class Code              Fee
CRWR 101                        50                      $949 (Canadian residents)
CRWR 101                        51                      $1199 (non-Canadian residents)
Scholarship Applicant (full fee included)

After June 1, 2012
Course No.                      Class Code              Fee
CRWR 101                        52                      $999 (Canadian residents)
CRWR 101                        53                      $1249(non-Canadian residents)
Scholarship Applicant (full fee included)

Total Payment:

Please Note: A $200 penalty will be charged for withdrawal between June 29 and July 6, 2012. No refund will be issued for withdrawal after July 7, 2012

Authors who have taught in the program:

Elizabeth Abbott, Edward Albee, Martin Amis, Margaret Atwood, Joan Barfoot, Richard Bausch, Ann Beattie, Jonathan Bennett, Constance Beresford-Howe, David Bergen, Michelle Berry, David Bezmozgis, Sandra Birdsell, Neil Bissoondath, H.S. Bhabra, Francesca Lia Block, Joseph Boyden, Dionne Brand, Bonnie Burnard, Catherine Bush, Barry Callaghan, Stevie Cameron, Peter Carey, Hayden Carruth, Wayson Choy, Eliza Clark, Karen Connelly, Douglas Cooper, Sally Cooper, Carole Corbeil, Michael Coren, Alan Cumyn, Robyn Davidson, Lauren B. Davis, Anthony De Sa, David Donnell, Roddy Doyle, Esi Edugyan, Howard Engel, Timothy Findley, Richard Ford, Cecil Foster, Bruce Jay Friedman, Mary Gaitskill, Mavis Gallant, Graeme Gibson, Julia Glass, Elisabeth Harvor, Michael Helm, Lawrence Hill, Nalo Hopkinson, Isabel Huggan, Ha Jin, Diane Keating, Joseph Kertes, Janice Kulyk Keefer, Rachel Kushner, Shaena Lambert, Carole Langille, Andrea Levy, Mark Leyner, Annabel Lyon,  Jake MacDonald, Alistair MacLeod,
Rabindranath Maharaj, John Bentley Mays, John Metcalf, Anne Michaels, David Mitchell, Christopher Moore, Lisa Moore, Kim Moritsugu, Donna Morrissey, Sylvia Mulholland, Howard Norman, Tim O’Brien, Caryl Phillips, Alison Pick, Bruce Powe, Francine Prose,  Paul Quarrington, Michael Redhill, David Adams Richards, Nino Ricci, Daniel Richler, Mordecai Richler, Robert Rotenberg, Elizabeth Ruth, Robert J. Sawyer, Richard Scrimger, Olive Senior, Sarah Sheard, Carol Shields, Antanas Sileika, Joseph Skibell, Johanna Skibsrud, Marsha Skrypuch, Linda Spalding, Josef Skvorecky, Susan Swan, D. M. Thomas, Miriam Toews, Barry Unsworth, Jane Urquhart, Guy Vanderhaeghe, Erika de Vasconcelos, M. G. Vassanji, Marianne Wiggins,  Frieda Wishinsky, Eric Wright, Richard B. Wright, Tim Wynne-Jones

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

What are you thinking?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s