Self-Care for Writers 101
with Maya Ameyaw, Eufemia Fantetti, Kathy Friedman, Stuart Ross & Leanne Toshiko Simpson
Mental health and wellness concerns can be particularly acute in the writing community, as writers navigate creative and professional highs and lows. This roundtable discussion focuses on how writers can build strong self-care practices, boundaries, and support systems. It will also touch on the risks involved in writing about mental illness, including what it means to go public with our stories and the challenges of writing about traumatic personal histories.
The discussion will be led by special guests from InkWell Workshops. InkWell runs free creative-writing workshops for people with mental health and addictions issues facilitated by award-winning writers with lived experience.
Early Bird $10 • Online $12 • At the Door $15
MAYA AMEYAW was born and raised in Toronto by a family of poets and visual artists. Her poetry has previously been published in the independent journals Wake (2014) and From The Root (2016). Her poetry and short stories have also appeared in two community arts anthologies, A Place For Us (2016) and The Double World (2017), which she helped to compile and curate with grants the Toronto Arts Council. She is currently working on her first novel.
Maya is the peer support worker for InkWell Workshops.
EUFEMIA FANTETTI’S debut, A Recipe for Disaster & Other Unlikely Tales of Love, was runner-up for the 2013 Danuta Gleed Literary Award and winner of the 2014 Bressani Literary Prize. A graduate of the University of Guelph’s MFA in Creative Writing, she is a three-time winner of Accenti Magazine’s annual competition.
Her work appears in Event, The New Quarterly and the Globe and Mail. She teaches writing at Humber College and edits for the Humber Literary Review. My Father, Fortune-tellers and Me: A Memoir is her latest book, from Mother Tongue Publishing.
KATHY FRIEDMAN has appeared in Grain, Geist, Room, Poetry Is Dead, The New Quarterly, PRISM international, This Magazine, Humber Literary Review, and Canadian Notes & Queries. A finalist for the Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers, she has also been runner-up for the Peter Hinchcliffe Fiction Award and PRISM international’s short fiction contest. Kathy has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Guelph. She teaches creative writing in the University of Guelph’s Open Education program and is the artistic director of InkWell Workshops, which runs free creative writing workshops for adults with mental health and addictions issues.
STUART ROSS is a writer, editor, writing teacher, and publisher living in Cobourg, Ontario. He sold his chapbooks on the streets of Toronto in the 1980s, and is now the prize-winning author of twenty books of poetry, fiction, and essays, including Motel of the Opposable Thumbs (Anvil Press, 2019), A Sparrow Came Down Resplendent (winner of the Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Poetry; Wolsak and Wynn, 2016) and Pockets (ECW Press, 2017). His novel Snowball, Dragonfly, Jew won the Mona Elaine Adilman Prize for Jewish Fiction, and his story collection Buying Cigarettes for the Dog won the ReLit Prize for Short Fiction. Stuart has led workshops across the country and has taught at Inkwell for two years.
LEANNE TOSHIKO SIMPSON is a Japanese-Canadian writer from Scarborough. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 17, she writes about navigating the mental health system, and was featured as an ambassador for Bell Let’s Talk. You can find her work in Contemporary Verse 2, Room magazine and Unpublished City II. In 2016, she was named Scarborough’s Emerging Writer, and this year, she was longlisted for the Journey Prize. Leanne recently completed her MFA at the University of Guelph and teaches creative writing at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and InkWell Workshops.