What You Know: How Research Shapes a Story With Liz Harmer, David Huebert, Pamela Mulloy, and Claire Tacon. Moderated by Brent van Staalduinen.
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The adage, “write what you know” serves many writers, but it’s only one way to tell a story. Another is to write what you want to know. In a world where autofiction is trending in literature, these writers share how they used research to shape the narrative in their novels. They will share research tips and discuss how to integrate the research so that it’s not begging for attention.
Liz Harmer‘s stories and essays have been published in The Malahat Review, PRISM, Grain, The New Quarterly, Little Brother and other journals. She has won a National Magazine Award in Personal Journalism, was longlisted for the CBC Short Story Prize and was a finalist for a Glimmer Train Prize. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Toronto, where her mentor was Charles Foran. She has also studied with David Bezmozgis, Richard Greene, Robert McGill and Richard Bausch. Raised in Hamilton, Ontario, she now lives with her husband and their three young daughters in southern California, where she is hard at work on a second novel.
David Huebert‘s fiction has won the CBC Short Story Prize, the Sheldon Currie Fiction Prize, and The Dalhousie Review‘s short story contest. His work has been published in magazines such as The New Quarterly, The Fiddlehead, enRoute, and Canadian Notes & Queries. David’s short fiction debut, Peninsula Sinking, won the Jim Connors Dartmouth Book Award, was shortlisted for the Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction, and was a runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. David recently completed a PhD at the University of Western Ontario, where his research focused on human-animal love in American literature.
Pamela Mulloy is the editor of The New Quarterly and the creative director of the Wild Writers Literary Festival. She is also a writer with short fiction published in the UK and Canada. Her debut novel The Deserters was published by Véhicule Press in 2018. Photo by Ayelet Tsabari.
Claire Tacon‘s first novel, In the Field, was the winner of the 2010 Metcalf-Rooke Award. Her fiction has been shortlisted for the Bronwen Wallace Award, the CBC Literary Prize and has appeared in journals and anthologies such as The New Quarterly, SubTerrain and Best Canadian Short Stories. Claire is a lecturer at St. Jerome’s University and her second book, In Search of the Perfect Singing Flamingo is out with Wolsak & Wynn.
Brent van Staalduinen is the author of Saints, Unexpected (Invisible Publishing), a novel of magical realism. His short fiction has won a number of awards, notably the Bristol Short Story Prize, The Fiddlehead Best Fiction Award, and the Lush Triumphant Literary Award, and has been featured The New Quarterly, The Sycamore Review, Prairie Fire, EVENT, Litro, The Writer Magazine, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia and teaches writing at Redeemer University College. He lives and writes in Hamilton.