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King’s MFA Toronto-centric winter residency goes online

January 9, 2022

On January 9, 2022, 63 students, 16 faculty and mentors, and 18 guests from the Canadian writing and publishing community  gathered virtually for their Toronto-centric King’s MFA winter residency.

The six-day online residency will — as always — be jam-packed with writerly conversations of all sorts.

Madhur Anand, the 2020 Governor General’s Literary Award winner for Nonfiction for her memoir, This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart, will answer the question, “Why I Write,” in what has become an inspirational end-of-residency lecture.

J.B. MacKinnon, a finalist for the 2021 Governor General’s Award for Nonfiction for The Day the World Stops Shopping, will answer questions about why and how he came to write his “thought experiment,” and what writing “imaginative nonfiction” really means.

Lauren McKeon, a King’s MFA graduate and author of three books —F-Bomb: Dispatches from the War on Feminism (her MFA project book); No More Nice Girls: Gender, Power and Why It’s Time to Stop Playing by the Rules; and Women of the Pandemic — will talk about “Building a Writer’s Life.”

Writing, of course, is about more than just writing, and this year’s winter residency will — as always — also deep-dive into all aspects of the publishing side of writing.

Our guests will include editors Bhavna Chauhan of Penguin Random House Canada, Jen Knoch of ECW Press and Jim Gifford of HarperCollins Canada; literary agents Hilary McMahon of Westwood Creative, Chelene Knight from Transatlantic, and Sam Hiyate of The Rights Factory; copyright specialists John Degen and Sally Keefe Cohen; publicist Debby DeGroot; and bookseller Ben McNally.

Students will also learn what authors need to know about the world of e-books and self-publishing from the fine folks at KOBO, and the possibilities for nonfiction writers in documentary film and TV from John Turner, an Oscar and Emmy-nominated executive producer and development executive of non-fiction series and feature documentaries.

On “Pitch Day,” Thursday, January 13, every member of the Classes of 2022 and 2023 will get the chance to meet one-to-one with two different agents or editors to practice-pitch their MFA book project and get feedback and suggestions.

In between, of course, students will also meet with their mentors, gather in informal online coffee break sessions and enjoy evening readings by their fellow students and mentors.