Summer Writing Workshop/Retreat by the Sea

Walking the Beach

How does this sound? Five days in August in a spectacular Nova Scotia setting – indulging in private writing time, walking the beach, getting feedback on your work from me, my partner Peter Carver (children’s book editor for Red Deer Press and teacher of writing for George Brown College), and a small group of fellow writers from all across Canada? (Possibly. It depends, of course, on who the six successful applicants are this year, but in the past we’ve had people from Vancouver, Alberta, Ontario, and Nova Scotia.)

Peter and I are planning to attend tonight’s CANSCAIP meeting where we’ll announce that we are now accepting applications for our third annual retreat and workshop.

We had a great time the first year we offered it – so good we were almost afraid to offer it again. But, as is perhaps obvious from the fact we’re offering it for a third time, last year’s experience was a great success too. (One of our six participants (from Ottawa) actually reapplied and made a return visit to work on another new and promising novel.)

To find out more about this opportunity, read what some of last year’s participants had to say about their time with us, and to find out how to apply, click here.

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Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.

Kathy Stinson


  1. doug berube on March 7, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    Hello Kathy.
    My Grade 7 class is doing 'one year commencing' as a novel study. One student asked me the significance of the picture on the front. I gave them my thoughts..Could we have yours.

  2. kathystinson on March 7, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    I must admit I was pretty puzzled by the cover image for One Year Commencing when I first saw it, after the book came out. But then I figured out that instead of opting for a traditional, literal depiction of what the book is about, the publisher (who has a great deal of respect for the intelligence of young adult readers) had gone for a more sophisticated, metaphorical image. And so we have someone going through a rough patch in life (thus, the rocky ground). Because of the tricky situation her parents' custody arrangement puts her in, she must navigate her way around them both (and the tree represents her family roots). Which way will she go – to live with her mother or with her father? It will be like walking over rocky ground in bare feet to make such a difficult decision.

    That's my interpretation. I'd love to hear yours, or (even better) any thoughts your students might like to offer.

    By the way, thanks for choosing my book for your recent author study!

  3. zoom on September 28, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Hi Kathy. I found your blog through a bit of synchronicity and good fortune. While searching for writing workshops, I suddenly remembered my first and favourite writing teacher, Peter Carver. Peter was my teacher when I was a miserable and confused 16 year old. I'm 50 now (and much happier, thank god).

    I started googling, and one thing led to another until I found myself here.

    Is the Nova Scotia workshop one that you and Peter offer annually, or was it a one-shot deal? I think it would be so fitting if my search for a writing workshop ended here.

    Sue Scruton
    (class of 70-something)

  4. Kathy Stinson on September 29, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Hi Sue. How wonderful that you found yourself here, by such an interesting route! And what a testament to Peter's teaching that you thought enough of it to look him up all these years later.

    You will be happy to know that we do intend to offer our workshop in Nova Scotia again next year. We haven't settled on dates yet, but info for the 2010 workshop will be posted in the Workshops section of my website some time this winter. We'll look forward to getting your application. In the meantime, write on!

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