30 YEARS SERVING OTTAWA     More than 140 Members

Who do we think we are, anyway?

Welcome to Ottawa Independent Writers. We are the largest writers association in the National Capital Region. Our mandate is to assist all writers at all stages of their writing careers through informative monthly presentations, networking, writers retreats and organizing literary events. We are a fun and inclusive group.

Where to meet us:

OIW gathers every third Tuesday of the month at the Hintonburg Community Center, 1064 Wellington St., Ottawa. Meetings begin at 6:30 pm, with presentations starting at 7 pm, lasting until 9 pm. Complimentary coffee and snacks are always at the party.


There is ample parking at the back of the building. Entry is free to members, and a nominal fee of $10 for non-members, applicable toward a membership if they should choose to join.

Next Meeting

To Be Continued  

Using Suspense to Engage Your Readers

March 17th OIW Meeting

Hintonburg Community Center

1064 Wellington St. W

6:30 p.m.

In addition to her Charlotte Adams professional organizer mystery series, MJ has penned the Camilla MacPhee series, set in Ottawa, and two Fiona Silk capers.  She has published over two-dozen short stories in major mystery and consumer magazines, such as Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, and has won numerous crime writing awards.  She has recently completed You Light Up My Death, Camilla MacPhee, number seven.

 She is a frequent speaker on mysteries and mystery writing  and maintains a newsletter to communicate with readers.


MJ lives and plots in Manotick, Ontario with two dachshunds at her feet.  Her husband sleeps with one eye open. 

The meeting starts with coffee and networking at 6:30 p.m., with the presentation set for 7 p.m.  Coffee and light snack will be provided, and we ask that you please bring your own re-usable mug for the evening. 

Please note that there is parking at the rear of the building, but should the lot be full, there is also parking on nearby side streets.


Join Mary Jane Maffini, lapsed librarian, former co-owner of Prime Crime Mystery Bookstore and the author of three and a half mystery series for an examination of the use and value of suspense in fiction.  Explore tips and techniques to keep your readers firmly on the edge of their seats and to keep you, the writer, equally engaged in the writing.  We may also have fun.


2019 OIW Anthology Contest


Last October, we released our annual anthology of short stories - a fine illustration of the diversity of talent within Ottawa Independent Writers membership.


If you enjoyed reading the 2019 OIW Anthology - A Two-four of Tales: Twenty-four Stories from Ottawa Independent Writers - and would like to let us know which stories moved you, made you laugh or just rocked your world, now is your chance.

OIW is holding a contest to give you, the members and readers, a chance to vote on your favourite stories from the 2019 Anthology.

Make your voice heard by voting in the contest and letting our writers know how much you enjoyed their work.  

Click here to have your say.  Votes will be accepted until April 15th, 2020. The winners will be announced at a subsequent OIW meeting.


Leap Day is coming! A reminder that the deadline for submissions for the 2020 OIW Members Anthology is Saturday, February 29.


Things are a bit different this year, in that we are looking for submissions of original fiction/non-fiction, poetry, and scripts for stage, screen or radio. Only one submission per member will be considered.


The upper limit for prose fiction and non-fiction is 3,000 words. The upper limit for poetry and scripts is 250 lines, including stage directions.


This is a members' only activity, and members must be in good standing to have their manuscripts considered for publication. Submissions must be the member’s own original work.

2020 OIW Members Anthology

Writers' Union of Canada Short Prose Competition for Emerging Writers

The Writers' Union of Canada invites submissions to its 27th annual Short Prose Competition for Emerging Writers. Unpublished works of fiction and nonfiction up to 2,500 words in English are eligible, and writers may submit multiple entries. A $2,500 prize will be awarded to the winner, and the entries of the winner and finalists will be submitted to three Canadian magazines for consideration. The deadline for entries is February 14, 2020.

The Competition aims to discover, encourage, and promote new writers of short prose. "Over its twenty-seven-year history, the Short Prose Competition has always delivered an eclectic array of entries," says Executive Director John Degen. "It is quite exciting to discover promising new writers each year." Past finalists and winners have included such future luminaries as Amy Stuart, Alexander MacLeod, Shauna Singh Baldwin, Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, and Lewis DeSoto.
The Union is proud to announce an esteemed group of jurors for the Competition:

  • Janet Barkhouse's poems and stories have been published across Canada in journals and anthologies, and read on CBC Radio. Her debut collection of poems, Salt Fires, (Pottersfield Press) follows on two chapbooks, Silence and Sable Island Fieldnotes (with photographs by Zoe Lucas); a docupoem short screened at Lunenburg Doc Fest 2017; and three children's books. In 2013/14 she was artist-in-residence at Dalhousie Medical School through their Humanities-HEALS program.

  • Jacqueline Guest has written twenty novels for readers of all ages and has over twenty-five years of experience presenting in classrooms, libraries, and at conferences. For many years, Jacqueline has mentored new writers and championed literacy.  Jacqueline is the proud recipient of the Indspire Award for the Arts and was awarded the Order of Canada in 2017.

  • Naben Ruthnum is a Journey Prize winner and the author of Curry: Eating, Reading, and Race (Coach House Press). As Nathan Ripley, his most recent thriller is Your Life Is Mine (Simon & Schuster).

The Competition is open to Canadian citizens and residents who have had no more than one book published and are not currently under contract for a second book. Authors not published in book format are also eligible. The entry fee is $29 per submission, and submissions are accepted online until 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on February 14, 2020. The winner will be announced in late spring 2020.

For complete rules and regulations, and to submit, visit writersunion.ca/short-prose-competition.
The Writers' Union of Canada (TWUC) is the national organization of professionally published writers. TWUC was founded in 1973 to work with governments, publishers, booksellers, and readers to improve the conditions of Canadian writers. Now over 2,100 members strong, TWUC promotes the rights, freedoms, and economic well-being of all writers. TWUC believes a lively and diverse literary culture is essential in defining Canada and its people. Learn more at writersunion.ca.

For additional information:

Valerie Laws, Office Administrator
The Writers' Union of Canada
416-703-8982 ext. 224

There are boards...   

... and then there are Boards!

Ever wondered how the sausages are made?  Want to know what's behind the curtain?  Now's your chance to find out!


OIW is looking for a few good Board members.  Nominations will be held at the February OIW meeting.  We have 5 returning nominees, but there at least 7 positions to fill.  If you’d like more information, please feel free to email communicationsoiw@gmail.com or better yet, come chat with any of the Board members at the Holiday Feast or January OIW meeting.  We’ll be happy to fill you in on all the details.  

A Two-four of Tales has arrived 

Ottawa Independent Writers is proud to announce the launch of our latest anthology,  A Two-four of Tales: Twenty-four Stories from Ottawa Independent Writers.

Running the gamut of fiction and non-fiction, delving into speculation and introspection, and exploring the future, past and the present, A Two-four of Tales has something for all tastes.  These stories provide a fine illustration of the diversity of talent among local writers.  With wit, poignant moments and grand sweeps of imagination, these stories will offer an enjoyable escape into prose.

So dip in and see where the story takes you!

Copies available for $5 at all OIW Meetings.  OIW-members receive one free copy as part of their membership.

Tied first place: Meghan Negrijn, Pirates in the Pantry
Tied first place: Bobbi Florio-Graham, Plan B
Third place: Maggie Taylor, Making it Right
Honorable Mention: Susan Taylor-Meehan, PTSD Africa

Meet a few of them here...
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Click here for details.

Mike Young
Kirk's Landing

Patricia McCarthy

The Crimson Man

Mike was born and raised in Kirkland Lake, a small northern mining town with a nearby First Nations reserve. He grew up with a love of the north, even in the midst of winter, exploring the surrounding woods with his friends, and his grandfather. Kirk's Landing, a crime novel, was his first book. In 2016, he published a sequel, Return to Kirk's Landing.

Author of the wildly imaginative Crimson vampire series, currently consisting of (6) novels: The Crimson Man, The Crimson Boy, The Crimson Woman, The Crimson Time, The Crimson Crimes, and her latest in the series The Crimson Dream. The Crimson vampire series takes place in Ottawa, Canada.


    OIW holds eight monthly program meetings each year on a wide variety of writing related topics, normally with a speaker and plenty of opportunity for questions, They are free for members. Click here to see what's on at our next OIW meeting.

    Craig Munro

    Bones of the Past

    Melissa Yuan-Innes

    Human Remains



    Craig has spent his life traveling and moving from one field of work to another. A voracious fan of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, it was only a matter of time before he turned his mind to creating a world of his own. The Bones of the Past is the first installment in the epic fantasy series - The Books of Dust and Bone.

    Melissa Yuan-Innes (Melissa Yi) is an emergency room physician. Her newest Hope Sze crime novel is HUMAN REMAINS. THE STOCKHOLM SYNDROME, a previous Hope Sze novel, was selected by CBC Radio as a best crime novel of the season.

    OIW in partnership with other writers groups and community associations in Ottawa organizes the largest book fair and outdoors literary festival in the National Capital Region. The most recent Prose in the Park Literary Festival and Book Fair was held on June 10, 2017 in the Parkdale Park in Ottawa. Stay tuned for details on future festivals. In the meantime, click here to visit the 2017 Prose in the Park website.


    Click here for more OIW Authors and their books.

    IN THE


    Then you need our handy-dandy STYLE GUIDE!

    OIW organizes an annual Spring Writers Retreat & Workshop. The most recent retreat was from May 25 to 27, 2018 at the Cove Inn in Westport, Ontario. Acclaimed novelist and poet Steve Heighton was our facilitator. Stay tuned for more details on the 2019 retreat.



    Want to see what the membership's been up to? Click the YOUTUBE link to see meetings and readings!

    The PEN AND PAPER WRITING WORKSHOP meets at the Rideau Branch of the Ottawa Public Library 377 Rideau (across from Rideau Bakery, next door to Loblaws) every Tuesday evening 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm. Get feedback on your writing (any genre) and ideas from the group. Hear the work of other writers and offer your feedback. Discuss issues about writing and publishing. Share your triumphs, trials and tribulations with a supportive, informal group. Open to OIW members and non-members.


    For more information contact: the_moo37@hotmail.com or call (613) 746-3077 or just show up and we’ll welcome you. Contact: tel: (613) 746-3077 email: the_moo37@hotmail.com



    Ottawa Independent Writers

    Postal Box 39016

    Ottawa, ON  K1H 1A1


    Email: communicationsoiw@gmail.com



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