Four prominent, published authors are coming to Grand Bend June 11 and 12 to share their expertise with writers and those who want to become writers. Among the guest presenters are two authors from Lambton Shores – Bonnie Burnard, a short story writer and Giller Award winner for her novel A Good House, and Robyn Doolittle, a reporter for the Globe and Mail, and author of Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story. Two other presenters, husband and wife team Jeff Rasley and Alicia Rasley are travelling from Indianapolis to present at the weekend-long workshop. Jeff is a non-fiction writer, while Alicia writes fiction.
“We are really excited to have two women who grew up in Lambton Shores speaking at our event,” says one of the co-organizers of the Write on the Beach Workshop, Mary Alderson.
Burnard, who grew up in Forest and now lives in London, won the 1999 Giller Prize, which annually recognizes excellence in Canadian fiction. Burnard will be speaking on Sunday, June 12 at 9:30 a.m. on the topic of Close Reading: An Attentive Look at Fiction. She will help writers examine their own work and determine if it is doing what they want it to do. She will also give insight into how to offer constructive and helpful critiques of written work.
Doolittle was a Toronto Star reporter when she broke the story of Ford’s cocaine use. She is speaking on how to build a roadmap to tackle big writing projects. She recommends organizing research to set the stage for a smoother editing process. She will also advise on how to fact check and setting a schedule. Doolittle will be speaking on Sunday, June 12 at 1:30 p.m.
Jeff Rasley, a lawyer for 30 years and a mountaineer, has written about scaling Mt. Everest and other travel. A non-fiction writer, his workshop will be of interest to those wanting to write their memoirs. His workshop will be on Saturday, June 11 at 9:30 a.m. He will talk about the difference between journaling and memoir, how to develop a theme for different types of memoirs and the legal risks that might occur.
Alicia Rasley is an award winning author of mystery books, women’s fiction, and romance novels. She also teaches the craft of writing in workshops and online. She will be speaking on how to plot and build a story, and how to create strong characters and events. Her workshop will be Saturday, June 11 at 1:30 p.m.
Event co-organizer, Debbie McClure, herself a published author, was excited to bring the Rasleys to Ontario, after having interviewed them regarding their work for an
online blog. “I found out they often come to Ontario to take in shows at the Stratford Festival, so I asked if they would consider doing a workshop on their next trip. We are fortunate that they agreed,” McClure says.
The Grand Bend Writers’ Group, under the auspices of the Grand Bend Art Centre, was formed a year ago as a means for local writers to get together and support each other. As the next step to their monthly meetings, the group decided to set up the workshop and bring in successful authors to speak. The group was able to obtain funding from Lambton’s Creative County Fund and the Grand Bend Community Foundation. “We are really pleased with the local financial support for this first time event,” Alderson says. “And we’re happy with the number of registrations already coming in,” adds McClure. The maximum number of participants they can register for each workshop is 60. Both organizers are hoping that this will become an annual event and already have a list of authors they are contacting for next year. “Grand Bend has a vibrant arts and culture community and we want to build on it,” Alderson explains, “Plus it’s good economic development – we are bringing people to Lambton Shores in the June shoulder season, who will visit restaurants, shop, and stay at local accommodations.”
The “Write on the Beach” Workshop will be held at the Southcott Pines Clubhouse in Grand Bend. Registration fee is $38.95 per session, or $147 for all four sessions. To register for the event, go to http://gbartcentre.com/writers-workshop/ , or contact Debbie McClure at 519-318-2082.