OIW Authors in the news

OIW has been mentioned in a recent Ottawa Citizen showcasing the work of local authors. Even better, a number of OIW authors are mentioned. Check out Lynn Saxberg's article in the November 9, 2020 edition.




February 16th: Annual General Meeting and Flash Fiction Reading

On Tuesday, February 16th, OIW held our Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Flash Fiction Reading Night. 

The AGM included updates from the President and other Board members on the state of OIW and expectations for the year ahead. It was also an opportunity for members to ask questions and get involved.  Members also voted on the Board for 2021-22.

To close the AGM, we had some flash fiction reading on the theme of Love and Isolation, our own little nod to Valentine's Day in the time of covid. 


January 19th: To Be Continued... Using Suspense to Engage your Readers

Award-winning author and lapsed librarian, Mary Jane Maffini, examined the use and value of suspense in fiction. Mary Jane explored tips and techniques to keep your readers firmly on the edge of their seats and to keep you, the writer, equally engaged.  

The former co-owner of Prime Crime Mystery Bookstore, Mary Jane Maffini is the author of eighteen mysteries, in three and a half series.  All five of her Charlotte Adams professional organizer mysteries have recently been optioned for television. The series is being reissued by Beyond the Page Publishing in 2021. A sixth Charlotte book, Death Plans a Perfect Trip is taking shape.


The six Camilla MacPhee mysteries are set in Ottawa and two Fiona Silk capers take place in a quirky village in West Quebec.


MJ has published two-dozen crime short stories in major mystery and consumer magazines, such as Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Chatelaine and several anthologies. Her stories have been reissued in The World’s Finest Mystery and Crime Stories, 3rd ed (Forge), Best Canadian Christmas Stories (Quarry Press) and The Penguin Book of Crime Stories.  She is a charter member of The Ladies Killing Circle and has stories in all seven of the group’s anthologies.


As Victoria Abbott, she collaborated on the five collector mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime) with her daughter, Victoria.  Book Four, The Marsh Madness, won the 2015 Bony Blithe for mysteries that make us smile.


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

December 15th: Holiday Gathering

Traditionally OIW has hosted a holiday dinner complete with festivities and poetry readings, but with things are a little different this year, we still decided to celebrate the holidays and recognize our amazing writers virtually.


Members joined us with  with a cup of their favourite holiday drink and join us for a reading (and small trivia) night to celebrate the holidays!

We heard from a full range of writers in our midst, including prose and poetry this year. Our members shared some laughs and some fabulous pieces.

November 17th, 2020: 'Aha' Moments

On Tuesday, November 17th, local Y.A. author Michael F. Stewart presented an evening of writing tips and tricks for both novels and screenplays.

Michael took us through a decade of one author's 'aha' moments. He covered aspects of craft that he's learned from others and from writing novels, graphic novels, teleplays, and apps. 

Michael is an award-winning author of many books for young people in various genres, including Ottawa Book Award nominee Ray Vs. the Meaning of Life and Heart Sister out this Fall through Orca Books. 

October 20th, 2020: Bookbrush

Remember the scarlet red horse that graced the original cover of Catcher in the Rye? Or, how about the intricately carved sword set against the royal blue of the Game of Thrones cover? Some book images stay with us and lead us gently into the worlds created by their authors.


On Tuesday, October 20th, Kathleen Sweeney, of Book Brush took us through a fun live walk-through of Book Brush, an image creation software platform built especially for authors to help them easily create professional looking ads and images for social media. Kathleen demonstrated how easy it is to use Book Brush to create own eye-catching marketing images for all things social media, including video effects, Box Set images, book covers, and more! 

September 22nd, 2020: It's Good to Be Back

On Tuesday, September 22, at 7 p.m., OIW hosted our first ever virtual meeting via Zoom. 

The meeting included a discussion on how OIW is moving forward and an outline of the fall program in the light of current restrictions. OIW also was pleased to release the Ottawa Independent Writers 2020 anthology cover and title during the meeting.


Follow the link to see the evening's presentation.

January 21st, 2020: Fantasy Fiction with Patricia McCarthy

Ouch!  Ever wondered how best to write that graphic scene?  Or struggled plotting that fantasy novel you've been working on?  Then have we got the evening for you!

In a fantastical evening, Patricia McCarthy, Ottawa's fang queen, led an exploration of sub-genres of fantasy fiction, outlined where creative ideas come from, broke down the ten universal myths of fantasy and much more.  


Ms. McCarthy's Crimson Fantasies of urban paranormal vampire novels tell the unconventional story of Samuel and Magdalene Crimson, set in the city of Ottawa. Part blood bath and part bubble bath, her writing teases readers to make it to the end of each chapter alive. She was riding the vampire wave before there was one, which accounts for her flirtation with the dark art of satire. Read her Crimson Fantasies and you may never feel the same again as you walk the streets of Ottawa when the sun goes down. 

December 11th, 2019: Holiday Feast and Poetry Contest

OIW held it's annual Holiday Feast and Poetry Contest at Perkins Restaurant, 1130 St. Laurent Blvd.    Winners of the poetry contest include:

1st place - Gladys Galay [I Said Instead]

2nd place - Ian Prattis [The Forest]


3rd place - Pearl Williams [Transitions]


Hon. Mention - Catrina Rowe [Gladiator Arena]


Hon. Mention - Peggy Lehman [Starlight]



November 19th, 2019: Dialogue as an Element of Character and Story Development (Back to Basics Workshop)

Join us on November 19th, 2019 at the Hintonburg Community Center as we welcome guest speaker -  professional writer and editor Brian McCullough, OIW Vice-President.

Crafting effective dialogue is a key element of character and story development. Where great dialogue adds punch by creating energy, tension, and unique insight into the minds of your characters, poorly constructed dialogue will make a story slump like few things else. In this fun tutorial workshop, we will examine and practice many aspects of dialogue for use in writing prose fiction/non-fiction, graphic novels/comics, poetry, and script writing for stage, screen and radio/voice-over.

October 15th, 2019: Fleshing Out Life Stories - The Art and Craft of Memoir Writing with Richard Taylor

Everyone has a story that could break, uplift or engage your heart. Shape your personal experiences using a wonderful stew of scenes, characterization, dialogue, reflection, research and story telling. Learn how to give voice to your own experiences to make them universal and touch readers. Bring pen, paper, or laptop.

Richard Taylor has taught writing at Carleton University since 1995 when he was Writer in Residence. He has taught writing in Hong Kong, Australia, Tuscany and over 150 private workshops in Ottawa. For 15 years he has offered his annual Write by the Lake Writer's Retreat at his beautiful Quebec lake house. He has published a book of short stories, a novel and an Australian travel memoir, House Inside the Waves: Domesticity, Art and the Surfing Life. While surfing and open water swimming around the world he has been writing an unusual book about swimming with writers.

September 17th, 2019: Queering It Up A Notch with special guest 'Nathan Burgoine

A presentation for writing with an eye for inclusivity of sexuality and gender. Including tips and tricks (and traps to avoid), this discussion includes language, identity, and a brief overview of some of the factors of queer culture (most centrally the lack of inherent inheritability of narrative and history), all through the lens of helping writers understand the impact of fiction on queer readers. 

’Nathan Burgoine is a queer author writing queer speculative fiction and romance. His debut novel, Light, was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, and his most recent novel, Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks, is a finalist for this year’s Prix Aurora Award for Young Adult novels. He lives in Ottawa, Canada with his husband and their rescued husky.  You can find him online at

June 18th, 2019: OIW Reading Night

Want to find out what OIW members are writing about? We cordially invite you to our second annual reading night, our last meeting before the summer break. OIW members in good standing will be reading excerpts from novels, poetry and short stories to those gathered. It's a great opportunity to find out what we're all about, and what our members are capable of!
Join us on June 18th at the Hintonburg Community Centre, 1064 Wellington St. W., for an a wonderful reading night. Meet-and-greet begins at 6:30 pm, with presentation starting at 7:00 pm and ending at 9:00 pm. Snacks and libations will be served. Admission is free to members and only ten dollars for non-members, applicable to membership if they should choose to join. There is plenty of parking at the rear.


April 16th, 2019: OIW Meeting: Anthology Awards Night and Survey Results

Just a reminder that on Tuesday April 16th at the OIW General Meeting, at Hintonburg Community Centre at 7 p.m. Bob Barclay will be presenting the certificates and cheques to the winners of the best story from Twenty in Eighteen OIW Anthology.

There are four winners, 1st, 2nd, 3rd Prizes and a Runner-up. Could you be one of them? Come support your fellow writers.

Also, we will be discussing the results of the 2018 member survey which was so graciously organized by Gena Watteel.
It'll be a great way to know how to move forward in line with your needs and desires. We would therefore recommend
you attend to find out the results.

There will be time to socialize and get to know members newer and more seasoned, so come down for what will
surely be a fun-filled evening among friends at 6:30 pm, Hintonburg Community Centre, 1064 Wellington st. W.
Coffee and snacks will be served, as always, and good times to be had by all. There is plenty of parking at the rear. Entry is free to members, and only ten dollars for non-members, applicable toward a membership should you choose to join.


March 19, 2019: OIW Meeting with Terry Fallis: The Power of a Plan


Join us on March 19th 2019 for what will certainly be an enthralling evening with Terry Fallis, national bestseller and winner of the Stephen Leacock award. Mr. Fallis will talk about the advantages of outlining your novel. Entrance will be free to all, members and public alike, so make sure to invite a friend. The event will take place at the Hintonburg Community Center, 1064 Wellington st. W. and will begin at 6:30 pm for a meet-and-greet. The presentation will begin at 7 pm and will go on until 9 pm. Coffee, tea and snacks will be served, free of charge. There is plenty of parking behind the center. We are looking forward to seeing you in great numbers.

Feb 19, 2019: OIW Meeting Annual General Meeting and Reading Night

Join us on Feb 19th for our AGM, where current and new board members will be elected to fill the various posts required to run this wonderful organization. Anyone may attend, but only members in good standing may vote. Stay after the AGM for a mini reading night. Evening starts at 6:30 pm with our usual meet-and-greet, complete with snacks and coffee, with the presentation beginning at 7:00 pm. As always, we will be gathering at the Hintonburg Community Centre, 1064 Wellington St. West. Bring a friend. There is a plenty of parking at the back of the building.

Jan 15, 2019: OIW Meeting with Phil Jenkins: Talking to Writers and What I Learned

Join us for an enticing evening with writer Phil Jenkins. He has interviewed over 100 writers while he was the Book columnist for the Citizen, from Margaret Atwood to Annie Proulx. He reports back on what he learnt about the writing game from them. Plus a song about writing! You won't want to miss what will certainly be a revelation-filled first meeting of 2019! Come to the Hintonburg Community Centre, 1064 Wellington st. W on January 15th. The meeting starts at 6:30 pm, and you'll have the opportunity to meet and speak to other members, all whilst enjoying complimentary snacks and coffee. The presentation will begin at 7 pm and end at 9 pm. Members get in for free, and non-members pay a nominal fee of $10, applicable toward their membership when they choose to join. There is plenty of parking at the back. We are eager to see you all in great numbers!

November 20 Meeting with Melissa Yuan-Innes: Intelligent Marketing

When You Have Little Time or Inclination to Yell "Buy My Book!" at Random Strangers


Hey, you. Yes, you. You’re a writer. That means you’d rather eat pus than beg readers to buy your book. You want them to fall in love with your work immediately and effortlessly, then clamour for more. How can you achieve this?

Well, people are busy. They want to buy books that don’t suck. This workshop will outline strategies to convince them that your books are worth their while.

Melissa Yi is an emergency room physician and award-winning writer, which means she’s willing to get her hands dirty, but she won’t waste time on useless marketing strategies. Yi’s Hope Sze thrillers have been recommended nationally by The Globe and Mail, CBC Books, and The Next Chapter. Yi has appeared cross-country on The Current and syndicated radio. She also writes non-fiction and speculative fiction under her real name, Melissa Yuan-Innes. Find her on Facebook, Twitter (@dr_sassy), and



October 16 Meeting with Robert Barclay: Caveat Emptor: A True-life Horror Story
The experiences of one hapless author in the clutches of incompetence, double-dealing and sharp practice. Join us as OIW President Bob Barclay relates the chilling tale of his experience with his last book creation. The meeting begins at 6:30 at the Hintonburg Community Centre, 1064 Wellington st. W. Libations and nibbles will be served. Presentation will start at 7:00 sharp, so bring bandages. The evening is freakishly free to OIW members, but non-members are charged a toll of $10 dollars, applicable to their membership if they should choose to join. As always, there is plenty of room for your hearse in the cemetery at the rear.

September 26, 2018 Frank Hegyi Award for Emerging Authors Gala Reception

Ottawa Independent Writers (OIW) will celebrate the announcement of the winner of the 2018 Frank Hegyi Award for Emerging Authors with a gala reception on September 26, 2018, 7 - 9 pm. The gala will be graciously hosted by KPMG at its 18-floor boardrooms, 150 Elgin Street, Ottawa.

Doors will open for the gala at 6:30 pm. There will be readings from the five shortlisted bookings and the comments by the jury.

Food and refreshments will be served. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.

Below is the Longlist. The Shortlist will be announced on September 7, 2018.

Chasing Utopia: The Future of the Kibbutz in a Divided Israel by David Leach (ECW Press)

Dark Ambition: The Shocking Crime of Dellen Millard & Mark by Ann Brocklehurst (Penguin Random House Canada)

In the Black by B. Denham Jolly (ECW Press)

In the Name of Humanity by Max Wallace (Penguin Random House Canada)

Run Hide Repeat: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood by Pauline Dakin (Penguin Random House Canada)

The Patch: The People, Pipelines, and Politics of the Oil Sands by Chris Turner (Simon & Schuster)

Turning: A Memoir, A year in the Water by Jessica J. Lee (Penguin Random House Canada)

Unearthed: A Memoire by Alexandra Risen (Penguin Random House Canada)

Where I live Now: A Journey Through Love and Loss to Healing and Hope by Sharon Butala (Simon & Schuster Canada)

Wrestling with Colonialism on Steroids: Quebec Inuit Fight for Their Homeland by Zebedee Nungak (Véhicule Press)


September 18, 2018 with Marie Bilodeau: Don’t Let Readers Put Your Book Down!

Marie Bilodeau will be our guest and teaching how to effectively use story hooks, chapter hooks, word choices, sentence structure, breathing space...learn ways to keep your reader on the edge of their seat and flipping pages long into the night! Weave tension and conflict like a pro throughout every aspect of your novel by pushing every element a little bit more. Do the unexpected! Challenge your characters! Keep your readers guessing! And above all, avoid that sagging middle! Don’t overuse exclamation marks! All that and much, much more. Bring notebooks, pens, laptops, and prepare to have some fun! (NOTE: No illegal methods of forcing readers to do anything will be endorsed.)

Marie Bilodeau is an Ottawa-based author and storyteller, with eight published books to her name. Her speculative fiction has won several awards and has been translated into French (Les Éditions Alire) and Chinese (SF World). Her short stories have also appeared in various anthologies. She spent a year as Deputy Publisher of The Ed Greenwood Group (TEGG), a massive publisher of shared world stories and media.

Join us at the Hintonburg Community Centre, 1064 Weelington St. W. on September 18th for what is surely going to be an explosive start to the OIW season. Meet-and-greet begins at 6:30 pm, with presentation at 7:00 until 9:00. Entrance is free to members, or a small $10 fee for non-members, applicable toward membership should you choose to join. There is plenty of parking at the rear of the Centre, and coffee and snacks will be served throughout the evening. We are looking forward to seeing you all in great numbers!

June 19, 2018 OIW Meeting: Reading Night

Join us Tuesday, June 19th, for another of our great reading nights. OIW members in good standing will be reading personally selected pieces to the group. This is the perfect opportunity to come and hear what members have been working on! The meeting will take place at the Hintonburg Community Center, 1064 Wellington st. W. The meet-and-greet with coffee and snacks will begin at 6:30 pm, and the presentation at 7:00 pm. OIW members are free, but first-time guests pay a nominal fee of ten dollars, applicable toward a membership should they choose to join. There is plenty of parking at the rear.


May 15, 2018 OIW Meeting: Non-verbal communication with Jennifer Carole Lewis

Join us Tuesday, May 15th, for a fascinating talk about non-verbal communication in writing. Our guest will be none other than Jennifer Carole Lewis, author of the Lalassu series. The meeting will take place at the Hintonburg Community Center, 1064 Wellington st. W. The meet-and-greet with coffee and snacks will begin at 6:30 pm, and the presentation at 7:00 pm. OIW members are free, but first-time guests pay a nominal fee of ten dollars, applicable toward a membership should they choose to join. There is plenty of parking at the rear.



April 17, 2018 OIW Meeting: Comedy Writing with Jim McNally and Rick Currie

Stand-up comic and comedy writer of over thirty years, Jim McNally will be joined by The Rick Mercer Report writer Rick Currie in this captivating meeting about, you guessed it: comedy writing! Join us for what is sure to be an amazing evening with two great guest speakers at the Hintonburg Community Center, on April 17th, at 1064 Wellington st. W, beginning at 6:30 pm for our usual meet-and-greet. The presentation will start at 7 pm and go on until 9 pm. Refreshments will be served. Attendance is free to OIW members, but guests may attend for a nominal fee of ten dollars, applicable to their membership, should the choose to join. There is plenty of parking at the rear.



February 20, 2018 OIW Meeting: Annual General Meeting and Reading Night

Join us for Ottawa Independent Writers' Annual General Meeting. Members present and in good standing will be able to vote for the 2018/2019 board of directors. As well, we will be holding our members' reading night afterwards. Details were sent by email in the past week. The event takes place on February 20th at the Hintonburg Community Center, 1064 Wellington st. W, starting at 6:30 at which time coffee, tea and snacks will be served. The AGM will begin at 7:00 pm, followed by readings until 9:00 pm.  We are looking forward to seeing you in great numbers.



Ottawa Independent Writers

Postal Box 39016

Ottawa, ON  K1H 1A1





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