Tuesday, June 22

OIW Members Reading Night

Clocktower Brew Pub
575 Bank St.

A showcase of poetry and prose from OIW Members. The traditional June Reading Night was a chance to reconnect and share some thought-provoking, amusing, heartfelt, and terrific writing.

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Saturday, June 4

OIW Authors Book Fair

Ottawa's largest book fair featuring local and award-winning authors. Over 30 local authors across all genres! OIW's first in-person book event in over two years. Come find your next great summer read and support local writers. 

Centretown United Church
507 Bank St.


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Tuesday May 17th
OIW's Book Marketing Panel Series
Part I of IV 
On the Road with Author
Rick Prashaw

In the first of our four part series on Book Marketing, Rick Prashaw will provide insights on how he successfully tackled the Canadian landscape to broaden his readership and sell his books. Rick will speak candidly about the good, the bad and ugly of his 35 city pan-Canada book tour; about book sales, publisher support, writing press releases, local media outreach, setting up tour venues, library pitches, related speaking opportunities, and all the benefits versus the tolls.


Rick is a Canadian author, keynote speaker, and storyteller. He has had a diverse career as a journalist, Roman Catholic priest, executive director of a national criminal justice NGO and political staff to three Members of Parliament. He is a winner of the National Ron Wiebe Restorative Justice Award.


Rick's first memoir, Soar, Adam, Soar, is based on the remarkable life of his son, Adam, who tragically passed away in 2016. Adam, inspired him to be an advocate for both transgender human rights and organ donorship. Soar, Adam, Soar was published by Dundurn Press in Feb 2019. Rick toured 35 cities in Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada and the US. He spoke in a variety of venues, has also appeared on podcasts and has been featured in local newspapers. 


Rick recently published his second memoir, Father Rick, Roamin’ Catholic, with Friesen Press. He is using the many insights he gained from marketing his first book as he undertakes the task of publishing and marketing his new memoir using a hybrid-style approach.

Tuesday, April 19th
An Evening with Award-winning Author Alan Cumyn
Where do your ideas come from? And how
do you turn them into worthwhile fiction?

Author and creative writing instructor Alan Cumyn provided a lively talk on the genesis of three of his books: TILT, MY HOT PTERODACTYL BOYFRIEND. and NORTH BY BENJAMIN.  His process from ideation to structure to story is simple and garnered accolades from OIW members. Sometimes wild and sometimes exceedingly vague initial ideas can become workable chapter that can be the foundation for a full and engaging novel. 

Alan Cumyn is the author of wide-ranging and often wildly different literary novels for children, young adults and adults. A two-time winner of the Ottawa Book Award, he has also had work shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award, the Giller Prize, and the Trillium Award. He teaches through the Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a past Chair of The Writers’ Union of Canada. In 2016 he received the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s Vicky Metcalf Award for body of work for young people. An Ottawa native and longtime resident, he holds an MA in English literature and creative writing from the University of Windsor, where he studied under Alistair McLeod, has lived and worked in China and Indonesia, and was a human rights researcher for the Immigration and Refugee Board for much of the 1990s.

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Tuesday, March 15th
Everything about Being a Writer — Except Writing with Jon Peirce
and Elizabeth Zimmer

Being a professional writer requires more just the writing. In fact as Jon indicated, often a writer spends more time, up to 75%, doing things other than writing. These tasks include accounting, marketing, networking-- the elements required to run a normal business because as it turns out, that is exactly how a successful career writer manages their workload. As writers, we find ourselves doing many things other than original composition. Whether it be abridging, translating, keeping up to date with contest and publication rules and format requirements, writing author bios and abstracts or writing acknowledgements, a writer’s craft is more than just putting our stories on the page. And yet, very seldom are these other things mentioned, but that doesn’t make them any less important.

Jon is has been a practicing writer since he was in high school. For many years he free-lanced with the Kingston Whig-Standard as well as writing articles for the Globe & Mail, Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Star - just to name a few. He recently added book-writing to his repertoire producing a university text-book on industrial relations for Pearson Education Canada, and I’ll mention his most recent projects in the next slide. Jon has been a member of OIW since 1997 and a long-time serving board member as well, in fact still serving as a board member.

Elizabeth has written about dance, theatre, and books for many publications including Dance Magazine and The Village Voice. She offers writing workshops for students and professionals across the country, and edits manuscripts of all kinds. She contributed to the CBC in Halifax and Vancouver from 1971 until 1978, edited the dance section of The Village Voice from 1992 until 2006, and has served as a critic there and elsewhere since 1981.


Tuesday, February 15th
Ottawa Independent Writers Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Reading Night

OIW held its Annual General Meeting via Zoom, on Tuesday, February 15th.

Tamara Miller, current President of OIW reported on the key activities of 2021. Reports from the Treasurer Rosemary Bann, and the Membership Director Su Mardelli were also presented. OIW members were given the opportunity to hear and vote on the 2022 plan. 

The 2021 report was well-received with many members complimenting the Board for fantastic growth in membership, website redesign and overall improvements.

The AGM is also the chance to join the OIW Board. Three new volunteers joined the board. Welcome! Welcome!

Once the business part of the evening was over, the annual OIW Reading Night took place. Six members shared work with fellow writers. A combination of poetry, uplublished excerpts, published excerpts and a short story were read to much aplomp and applause. Overall it was a very successful evening. 


Tuesday, January 18th
'Write your 10-minute Play' Workshop

Award-winning actor and playwright, Guy Newsham, kicked off our first meeting of 2022 with a workshop on creating a 10-minute play.


Guy Newsham has been an enthusiastic actor on the stages of community theatres in and around Ottawa for two decades and started writing for the stage in earnest four years ago. To date, his short plays have been successful in more than 20 competitions and festivals, and have been produced, or are scheduled for production, in the US, Canada, and Australia. In 2021, he won Canada's National One-Act Playwriting Competition.


Tuesday, December 14th
Holiday Party and Poetry Contest

OIW hosted our annual Holiday Party and Poetry Contest at the Clocktower Pub in the Glebe on December 14th. The event was an opportunity to connect and hear some fantastic poetry. The Poetry Contest Winners were:


1st Place -- Brenda Cleary, Memory

2nd Place -- Katherine Williams, The Spring March of the Young Worms

3rd Place -- Angelo Fulco, If Fate Was My Slave


Tuesday, November 16th
Navigating Language with Sarah Reside

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.  In November, local editor, Sarah Reside, 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.


An Evening in Conversation with Roy Peter Clark

On Tuesday, October 19th, Roy Peter Clark joined OIW to share some of his insights with OIW.  Largely considered the most influential writing teacher in the rough-and-tumble world of newspaper journalism, Roy has been teaching writing at the Poynter Institute, a school for journalists in St. Petersburg, Florida, for over three decades. His clients have included everyone from The New York Times, the Washington Post, to IBM, and countless colleges and universities. He has authored or edited nineteen books about writing, reading, language, and journalism. Roy has appeared on Today and The Oprah Winfrey Show as a prominent speaker on the writer’s craft.

​Roy lives with his family in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he has become famously fond of pelicans.

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

OIW proudly kicked off our 2021-22 season on Tuesday, Setpember 21st with journalist and best-selling novelist Waubgeshig Rice.  Waub led an 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.