Tuesday, November 16: 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm

Finding Solace: Retreats and Reading

With Kirsteen MacLeod, Susan Olding, and Susan Scott.


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Join this intimate, lively chat with leading stylists in creative nonfiction. Kirsteen MacLeod’s In Praise of Retreat and Susan Olding’s Big Reader lead us into territory that’s uncommonly strange and uncannily familiar. From monks and hermits to poetic geniuses and long lost loves, we’ll explore how nonfiction writers navigate the wild terrain they’re committed to exploring. Learn about wrangling controversial topics, packing for research trips, pitching to publishers, and the secret to producing work that is timely, beautiful, and arresting.

  • Kirsteen MacLeod is the author of two books, In Praise of Retreat (nonfiction/memoir) and The Animal Game (short stories). A native Glaswegian, she has also lived in Toronto and Brazil. Her prose and poetry have appeared in many literary journals, magazines and anthologies, and her work has been a finalist for the CBC Literary Award (creative nonfiction) and Arc Poetry’s 2020 Poem of the Year.  Kirsteen divides her time between her home in Kingston, Ontario, and a riverside cabin in the north woods.

  • Susan Olding is the author of Pathologies: A Life in Essays, and Big Reader (Freehand Books, 2021). Her poetry and prose have appeared widely in literary journals and magazines, including Arc, Prairie Fire, Maisonneuve, the Malahat Review, and the Utne Review. Her most recent contribution to TNQ is “Pacific Spirit,” the magazine’s first photo essay. She currently lives in Victoria, BC, but Zooms back to Kingston to meet with the Villanelles.

  • Susan Scott has an ear for the sublime, the personal, and edgy. Transgressive storytelling that inspires change informs her life-writing webinars and collaborations with fellow artists, activists, and scholars. As TNQ’s lead nonfiction editor (2012-9), she
    championed neglected voices and attracted National Magazine Award-winning work that went on to Best Canadian- and Best American Essays. As a contributing editor, she directs the Wild Writers Mentorship Program. Learn more from her website. Or check out her latest book, Body & Soul, and see why Sarah Selecky calls this unorthodox collection “a revelation.