Saturday, November 14: 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm

How to Create a Successful Writing Group

with Ashley-Elizabeth Best, Nancy Jo Cullen, Y.S. (Ying) Lee, Kirsteen MacLeod, Susan Olding, and Sarah Tsiang


This is the dream team of writing groups.

These poets represent different styles, generations, and communities. How did they find each other and stick together? Join their roundtable discussion to see what makes this group a success. Learn their tips for:

  • Forming your own writing group 
  • Keeping motivated
  • Offering informed critiques
  • Developing your craft at your pace
  • Finding your voice and standing behind it
  • Experimenting in different styles 
  • Banishing self-doubt!

Featuring an all-star lineup of poetry readings. 

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Video Replays will be available for the month of November.

  • ASHLEY-ELIZABETH BEST is a disabled poet and essayist from Kingston, Ontario. Her work can be found in CV2, Ambit Magazine, The Literary Review of Canada, The Columbia Review, and Glasgow Review of Books, among others. In 2015, she was a finalist for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry, and her debut collection of poetry, Slow States of Collapse, was published with ECW Press.

  • NANCY JO CULLEN’S fiction and poems have appeared in Best Canadian Poetry 2018, The Journey Prize, Best Canadian Fiction 2012,  The PuritanGrainfilling StationPlenitude, Prairie Fire, This Magazine, Room and Arc Poetry Magazine. She has published three critically acclaimed collections of poetry with Calgary’s Frontenac House Press and has just completed her fourth poetry manuscript. Nancy is the 2010 recipient for the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers. Her first novel, The Western Alienation Merit Badge was released in May 2019 by Wolsak and Wynn. Her short story collection, Canary, was the winner of the 2012 Metcalfe Rooke prize. 

  • Y. S. LEE’s fiction includes the young adult mystery series The Agency (Candlewick Press), which has been translated into six languages. Her work has either won or been shortlisted for various prizes including the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s inaugural John Spray Mystery Award, the Ontario Library Association’s Red Maple Award, and the Arthur Ellis Award. Her first novel for adults was nominated for the K. M. Hunter Artist Award as a work-in-progress. This year, Ying began to explore poetry as a member of The Villanelles writers’ group. She lives in Kingston, Ontario, within traditional Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee territory.

  • KIRSTEEN MACLEOD is a writer of poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction whose work has appeared in literary journals including TNQ and Malahat Review. Her work has been a finalist for many awards, including ARC Poetry’s 2020 Poem of the Year. Kirsteen, a yoga teacher, also leads “relaxed writing” yoga workshops. Her new nonfiction book, In Praise of Retreat, is forthcoming in Spring 2021 (ECW Press) – see “Green Cathedral” for a preview. Kirsteen’s debut collection of short fiction, The Animal Game, was published in 2016. She divides her time between the lakeside city of Kingston, Ontario, and a riverside cabin in the north woods.

  • SADIQA DE MEIJER is a writer of poetry, essays, and short fiction. She was born in Amsterdam and emigrated to Canada as a child. Her poetry collections are Leaving Howe Island and The Outer Wards. Her essay collection, alfabet/alphabet, examines the imprint of her first language on her life in EnglishShe also writes on themes of migration, belonging, domesticity, and landscape.

  • SUSAN OLDING is the author of Pathologies: A Life in Essays, and Big Reader, forthcoming from Freehand Books in spring, 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. 

  • SARAH YI MEI TSIANG is a poet, children’s writer and teacher. Her books of poetry include Status Update (2013), which was nominated for the Pat Lowther Award, and Sweet Devilry (2011), which won the Gerald Lampert Award. She was shortlisted for the CBC poetry prize in 2019 and longlisted for the CBC poetry prize in 2018. Tsiang’s poetry has won the Arc Magazine Reader’s Choice for Poem of the Year, and was shortlisted for the Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse contest, the Bliss Carmen Poetry Award, and the Re-lit Award. Her work has also been featured in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry and many other anthologies. She is the editor of the poetry collection, Desperately Seeking Susans (2013).