Sunday, June 21, 2015

Canwrite! 2015 Conference Master Class with Anthony de Sa

As well as being a brilliant writer of fiction, Toronto's Anthony de Sa is a born teacher who teaches high school and gives writing workshops.

His collection of short stories, Barnacle Love, was nominated for the Giller in 2008, and the novel Kicking the Sky was shortlisted for the 2014 Toronto Book Awards.

Last week before the Canwrite! conference officially opened, we had a lot of fun in de Sa's lively workshop. Our first task was to use a significant object to tap into the senses. "The least used in description is the sense of smell," he told us, although it is powerfully evocative.

We used a group process to create fascinating story lines, creating lists and selecting short powerful words of description to knock out cliches.

"Trust where your writing is going," our teacher advised. "There is an organic way of developing stories...Things happen when you don't expect it," and sometimes "the story writes itself."

Mr. de Sa also emceed at the CAA Literary Awards Gala. A charming host, he was formally dressed a white shirt and tie, tuxedo jacket and bluejeans.

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