OIW Authors in the news


OIW authors are making the news! Some of our amazing authors were featured in an Ottawa Citizen article looking at how the pandemic year has impacted writers and their books. A number of OIW authors were mentioned and OIW is quoted.


Check out Lynn Saxberg's article in the November 9, 2020 Ottawa Citizen!


Recent Events

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Tuesday, November 16th 
Navigating Language with Sarah Reside


On Tuesday, November 16, 2021, OIW joined local editor, Sarah Reside for a discussion on Navigating Language.

Language shifts all the time, and recently, there has been an awakening of understanding about the language we use around under-represented communities, such as LGBQT+ and BIPOC.  Sarah led a discussion on language and terminology and the importance of respectfully and accurately representing these communities in our writing. 

Sarah Reside is the founder and owner of edits and Revisions. She has been working with authors for over five years, asking questions that allow them to bring depths to their work and polishing the writing until it gleams.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

An Evening in Conversation with Roy Peter Clark

On Tuesday, October 19th, 2021, OIW hosted an evening in conversation with "America's Writing Coach", Roy Peter Clark.

Largely considered the most influential writing teacher in the rough-and-tumble world of newspaper journalism, Roy Peter Clark has been teaching writing at the Poynter Institute, a school for journalists in St. Petersburg, Florida, for over three decades. His clients at Poynter have included The New York Times, the Washington Post, National Public Radio, USA Today, CNN, Gannett, Microsoft, IBM, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Disney, AAA, the World Bank, and countless colleges and universities. He has appeared on Today and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Clark has authored or edited nineteen books about writing, reading, language, and journalism. Humorist Dave Barry has said of him: “Roy Peter Clark knows more about writing than anybody I know who is not currently dead.” He plays keyboard in a rock band. He lives with his family in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he has become famously fond of pelicans.


OIW proudly kicked off our 2021-22 season on Tuesday, Setpember 21st with journalist and best-selling novelist Waubgeshig Rice.  Waub led a insightful discussion on Storytelling Fundamentals in Journalism and Literature.

Originally from Wasauksing First Nation, Waubgeshig Rice has worked in a variety of news media since graduating from Ryerson University's journalism program in 2002. For the  bulk of his career, he reported for CBC News. In 2014, he received the Anishinabek Nation’s Debwewin Citation for excellence in First Nation Storytelling. His most recent role was host of Up North, CBC Radio’s afternoon show for northern Ontario. His debut novel, Legacy, was published in 2014, and his latest work, Moon of the Crusted Snow, was released in October, becoming a national bestseller.


Waub Rice.jpg
Moon on Crusted Snow.jpg

Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Storytelling Fundamentals in Journalism and Literature with Waubgeshig Rice

Tuesday, May 18, 2021
The Science of Stories with Jack Wang

Why are human beings the “storytelling animal”? How are we evolutionarily adapted to producing and consuming stories? What can brain science tell us about our passion for narrative, and what do narratives tell us about how the brain works?

OIW was pleased to welcome Jack Wang to offer an insightful examination of what draws us to read and write stories. Through an exploration of evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, and literature, this talk examined fundamental questions about why we love stories and strategies for holding the attention of other minds.


Jack Wang is the author of a collection, We Two Alone (House of Anansi Press, 2020; HarperVia, 2021), and a novel, The Riveters (forthcoming from House of Anansi Press and HarperVia). His fiction has appeared in Brick, PRISM international, The Malahat Review, The New Quarterly, The Humber Literary Review, and Joyland and has been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and longlisted for the Journey Prize. In 2014–15, he held the David T. K. Wong Creative Writing Fellowship at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, and in 2020, he was awarded a residency at Historic Joy Kogawa House in Vancouver. He holds an MFA from the University of Arizona and a PhD from Florida State University, and he is an associate professor in the Department of Writing at Ithaca College.
Originally from Vancouver, Jack lives in Ithaca, New York, with his wife, novelist Angelina Mirabella, and their two daughters.



April 20th: Writer's Workshop: Create a Chapbook in 90 Minutes

You've heard of “flash fiction?” Well, this is self-publishing on steroids.

Chapbooks are small, easily produced booklets that rose in popularity during the Renaissance. Often printed on a single folded sheet of paper, these mini-volumes make excellent giveaways. On Tuesday, April 20th at 7:00 p.m., Brian McCullough introduced OIW to a “flash process” of writing, illustrating, and assembling our very own freshly minted chapbooks. 

Brian McCullough is a working editor, writer, and workshop presenter with more than 40 years of experience. He has edited novels, essays, stories, and self-help books for publication, and is the production editor of the Royal Canadian Navy’s award-winning Maritime Engineering Journal. He also writes freelance features for Postmedia Content Works and was a 2018 winner of the Ottawa Public Library 50+ Short Story Contest. Brian’s short play, “That Old Car Smell,” is currently being workshopped with Kanata Theatre.

Chapbook 101 Powerpoint

YouTube video on folding your Chapbook

March 16th: Writing Crime Fiction 

Ever wanted killer tips on building your characters? How about stealing away with creative plot twists or red herrings? Want to kidnap your reader's attention? Well, on Tuesday, March 16th at 7 p.m., Rosemary McCracken, author of the Pat Tierney mystery series, explored the twists and turns of Writing Crime Fiction. Rosemary took us through her process for plot structure, great endings, and meeting readers' expectations among so much more. 


Rosemary McCracken teaches novel writing at George Brown College in Toronto. Safe Harbor, the first novel in her Pat Tierney series, was shortlisted for Britain's Debut Dagger Award in 2010. Her short stories have appeared in numerous collections. “The Sweetheart Scamster,” a Pat Tierney story in the anthology Thirteen, was a finalist for a 2014 Derringer Award. The Toronto Star has called Pat Tierney “a hugely attractive sleuth figure." To learn more about Rosemary, visit her website at and follow her blog at 

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!