From Pen to Published

Learn about the world of publishing from the people who are in it.

Sidney Smith Hall 100 St George St, Toronto, ON M5S 3G3
Saturday November 17, 2018
from 12 - 7PM

Join The Soap Box and The 11th Floor Writers for a day long publishing fair filled with keynote speakers, networking, workshops, and the launch of Voices From the 11th Floor!

Sidney Smith Hall is an accessible building with ramps, powered entrances, and an elevator. Directions to Sidney Smith can be found here. We encourage anyone with questions to contact The Soap Box directly with any requests.

Hear from published authors and industry professionals

Ann Y.K. Choi
Ann is a graduate of the Creative Writing Certificate Program at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies. Her instructors included authors Dennis Bock, Alexandra Leggat, Catherine Graham, and Kelli Deeth. David Adams Richards was her mentor at the Humber School for Writers. Her novel, Kay's Lucky Coin Variety, was published by Simon & Schuster Canada and shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award in 2016. Her debut children’s book and new novel will be released in 2020. A founding member of the 11th Floor Writers, she resides in Toronto. Visit her online at
Alana Wilcox
Alana Wilcox is the Editorial Director of Coach House Books, an independent literary publisher in Toronto. She is a co-founder of the uTOpia series of books about Toronto and is the editor of many award-winning books. She's also the author of a long-out-of-print novel.
Joseph Kertes
Joseph Kertes founded Humber College’s creative writing and comedy programs. He was until recently Humber’s Dean of Creative and Performing Arts and is a recipient of numerous awards for teaching and innovation. His first novel, Winter Tulips, won the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour. His novel, Gratitude, won a Canadian National Jewish Book Award and the U.S. National Jewish Book Award for Fiction. Kertes’s latest novel is called The Afterlife of Stars. It was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice. He is the most recent winner of the Harbourfront Festival Prize.
Dianah Smith
Dianah Smith is a writer, teacher and arts educator based in Toronto. Her writing has been published in anthologies, high school textbooks, online and print. She’s currently completing her first novel.
Since 2005, she has facilitated workshops independently and also in highs schools, universities, bookstores and community organizations throughout Southern Ontario. Noticing an absence in safe and supportive writing spaces for non-mainstream writers, Dianah created a reading series (‘A’ is for Orange) and courses and workshops specifically for these communities.
She has been the recipient of numerous writing and professional development grants and has been a jury member for local and provincial arts funding organizations.

Attend workshops hosted by the 11th Floor Writers and guest facilitators

[Re]searching for your Story
Historical research can be dry and dusty. Andrew and Chris lead a discussion on how to translate historical detail effectively into a novel, story, or nonfiction narrative. They’ll share the creative methods they’ve tried and used to infuse a tale that takes place in the past with realism and interesting detail.
Balancing the Writer’s Life
Students and aspiring writers struggle with one or more of the following barriers to effectiveness: setting priorities, managing distractions, work overload, and procrastination. Successful writers have learned to overcome these roadblocks and this seminar is specifically designed to impart these skills. You have a limited amount of time; but more than enough to accomplish your goals. Life is habit forming. Successful people have successful habits. Would you like to be one of them?
Writing Diverse Stories
With the literary mainstream changing, the discourse around writing diverse stories has never been more relevant. Using their own writing and editing experience, workshop moderators will facilitate a discussion with participants to discuss why diversity in fiction matters. This workshop will encourage dialogue in an inclusive space on reconciling personal identity and writing, championing diverse fiction, diversity in the broader literary community, and other relevant topics. The session will be interactive, and participants are asked to be prepared to discuss and share questions with the group, if comfortable.
Getting Published
Learn all there is to know about getting your work published, from crafting the perfect bio to corresponding with editors, social media etiquette, and what to do once you're accepted. We will also provide a primer of Canadian journals, contests, and publishers. Bring your questions for an extended Q&A.
Building a Career in Writing
How do writers build their careers? Is a day job necessary? What kind of training or education is most beneficial for a creative writer? Is it possible to make a living through writing alone? How do writers get grants? How does one become a creative writing professor/teacher? In this practical and interactive workshop, participants will learn about the various ways that writers build their careers and support themselves through publishing, teaching, and grants.
Writing From Real & Professional Life
Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; truth isn't.
- Mark Twain.
Melanie Russell, a registered psychotherapist, discusses real-life mental illness and the strategies and complications of incorporating these themes into fiction.
Maureen Lynch will talk about writing from ‘real life’ and choosing memoir, creative non-fiction or fiction for your work.

Guest Facilitators

Robin Richardson
Robin Richardson is the author of three collections of poetry including Sit How You Want, and is the Editor-in-Chief at Minola Review. Her work has appeared in Salon, Poetry, The APR, Hazlitt, and Tin House, among others. She holds an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College, and lives in Toronto
Lauren Kirshner
A finalist for the City of Toronto Book Award, Lauren Kirshner is a novelist, arts educator, and Assistant Professor of English at Ryerson University. Her first novel, Where We Have to Go (M&S) was called a “strong original debut” by The Globe and Mail and published in translation in Holland and Germany. Lauren’s feature writing, short fiction, poetry and memoir have appeared in publications including Hazlitt, The Toronto Star, Chatelaine, ELLE CANADA, THIS, NOW, Taddle Creek, Quill and Quire, and Exile. She is a graduate of The University of Toronto MA in Creative Writing, where she was mentored by Margaret Atwood. Since 2005, Lauren has taught hundreds of creative writing workshops and classes across Ontario, in universities, libraries, and in the schools. Her Young Authors Program was a finalist for the Premier's Award for Excellence in the Arts. Since 2010, Lauren has served as the Founding Creative Director of Sister Writes, a Trillium Foundation and Toronto and Ontario Arts Council funded creative writing program for women marginalized by factors such as mental health issues, poverty and social isolation taught by professional women writers. Lauren lives in Toronto, where she is currently at work on a collection of short stories.
Dale Smith
DALE SMITH is a poet, critic, and scholar of poetry and rhetorical theory on the faculty of English at Ryerson University, Toronto. He is the editor with Robert J. Bertholf of An Open Map: The Robert Duncan / Charles Olson Correspondence and Imagining Persons: Robert Duncan’s Lectures on Charles Olson. A critical study of poetry and public culture, Poets Beyond the Barricade: Rhetoric, Citizenship, and Dissent after 1960, was published in 2012. His writing has appeared in The Baffler, Best American Poetry 2002, Columbia Poetry Review, Denver Quarterly, The Walrus, and elsewhere. A recent book of poetry, Sons, was published by Knife/Fork/Book (2017); other poetry includes American Rambler (2000); The Flood & the Garden (2002); Black Stone (2007); Susquehanna (2008); and Slow Poetry in America (2014). His reviews and essays have appeared in the Boston Review, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Poetry, and Brick. Born in Dallas, Texas, Smith has resided in Ontario since 2011 with the poet Hoa Nguyen. Together they published the book imprint and semi-annual poetry journal Skanky Possum from 1998-2005. More recently, Smith has been an editor for the White Wall Review since 2012.


Free for everyone registered before October 17, 2018
At the door tickets will be $10 and students with valid ID will recieve a 50% discount
Voices from the 11th Floor will also be on sale at the conference (taxes exempted for cash purchases)
Please note that all attendees who purchase student tickets will be required to show their student ID upon enterence. Anyone who fails to do so will be asked to pay for the remaining fee.

A big thank you to our sponsors