November 4th – Mini-Workshop: Eva Stachniak on Setting in Historical Fiction

Setting In Historical Fiction

Facilitator: Eva Stachniak

Photograph of Eva Stachniak
Photo credit: Mark Reyners Roberts

The Mini-Workshop will look at how to create scenes set in the past which are vivid and convincing to the reader. Eva will talk about where to look for relevant historical details which will bring your scenes to life, how not to be bogged down by too much research, and how to transport your reader into the past in ways that intrigue and delight. Drawing from what Eva has learned from her favourite historical fiction writers and from her own writing experience, she’ll share her favourite tips and techniques of creating settings in historical fiction that are accurate, authentic, and alive.

About Eva Stachniak

Eva Stachniak is the award-winning and internationally bestselling author of The Winter Palace and Empress of the Night, two novels about Catherine the Great The Winter Palace was a Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year and made The Washington Post’s most notable fiction list. She holds a PhD in literature from McGill University. The Chosen Maiden, set in the world of Ballets Russes and inspired by the art and voice of Bronislava Nijinska, has been published in Canada, US, Germany and Poland.

Born and raised in Poland, Eva moved to Canada in 1981 and lives in Toronto.

Register for the Mini-Workshop when you register for the November 4th RoundTable.  

September 9th – Mini-Workshop: The Infinite Power and Responsibility of Storytelling

Photograph of Author Shannon Webb-Campbell

Writers will explore first person storytelling and poetics, the dangers and excitements. This is a chance to share truth in a personal way – as a form of criticism with poetic veneer. We will dismantle truth, discuss the importance and healing power of telling untold stories, the responsibility of storytelling, and how to be careful not to appropriate.

About Shannon Webb-Campbell

Shannon Webb-Campbell is a mixed Indigenous (Mi’kmaq)-settler poet, writer and critic. She is the author of Still No Word (Breakwater, 2015) and Who Took My Sister? (BookThug, 2018). She was Canadian Women In Literary Arts critic-in-residence 2014, and is a board member. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing from University of British Columbia, a BA from Dalhousie University, and currently is working towards a MA in English Literature at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. Her play The Landless Band opens at LSPU Hall in St. John’s, Newfoundland Spring 2018. She is a member of Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation.

Register for the Mini-Workshop when you register for the RoundTable.

WCDR’s 20th Anniversary Gala

Revised Anniversary Logo

Come celebrate 20 years of The Writers’ Community of Durham Region with an evening of friends and festivities in the lovely, eco-friendly environment that is Bistro 67 (Durham College’s Centre for Food).

Champagne toasts and a satisfying sweet-table will tempt your tastebuds and the companionship of fellow writers will warm your heart.You won’t want to miss the party of the season:

Saturday, September 12, 20157-10 p.m.

Tickets are just $45 each.

Durham College – Centre For Food/Bistro 67

1604 Champlain Avenue, Whitby

(just off Thickson Road & the 401)

Registration is closed!


Bookapalooza 2015 – Bigger and Better

New Venue – Intimate Atmosphere – Free Parking.

On Saturday, November 21st, from 10am – 4pm, join the Writers’ Community of Durham Region in celebrating the talent of local authors. Following the success of last year’s inaugural event, the WCDR will be once again connecting authors with readers, fans and book enthusiasts.

In response to exhibitor comments last year, we’ve made a few modifications to ensure Bookapalooza 2015 is even bigger and better. Elevators. Seating areas. Free parking. Central location. Accessible power. Open snack-bar. Separate stage area. And more…

Our new venue is the charming Durham College, Centre For Food/Bistro 67 building at 1604 Champlain Avenue, Whitby (just off Thickson Rd/401). For site information visit:

We’re inviting agents and publishers to come promote their houses and the local authors they represent. We’ve got editors, workshop coordinators, layout and book trailer designers coming to network their services. And there will be other organizations and conference holders there to inform the public and writers about upcoming events they are involved in.

The costs are: $65 for a Member Author Table (2’x4’), $75 for a Non-member Author Table (2’x4’) and $130 for an Industry/Author Double Table (2’x8’.

To reserve your spot in the show, visit

Bookapalooza (large)

WCDRs Summer Splash

Summer Splash


It’s time to celebrate the creative diversity of writing produced by you and your fellow WCDR members.

Calling all readers!
Submissions will open on
Friday, June 26 at 7 pm.

Please include:
1. A copy of your reading selection »750 words 4 minute maximum

2. Category that best describes your reading:
•Literary or Commercial fiction
•Genre fiction
•Children literature
(The first two submissions received for each category will be invited to read.)

Calling all
Please send before
July 1, 2015.

Calling all
*Authors who published this season!*
Please send a photo of your book cover before
July 1, 2015.

Contact us to
*Reserve a Member Table*

*Contribute Raffle Prizes*

Send submissions, enquiries, or requests:


On Friday, September 26, join the Writers’ Community of Durham Region (WCDR) in celebrating Culture Days with live readings and a video contest!

The event starts at 6:30 upstairs at The Bear (A Firkin Pub), located at  1294 Kingston Road, Pickering (Liverpool and Kingston Road).  The wonderful Bill Humber will be our master of ceremonies, introducing talented local authors, poets, and singer-songwriters, who will entertain pub patrons with their own original work for up to 5 minutes.  If you’re interested in reading, contact events coordinator Cryssa Bazos at to reserve your slot!

There’s no cover charge, and food and drinks will be available for purchase.

And did we say contest?

As part of Culture Days, we’re hosting a video contest just for WCDR members!  Send us a 30-second or 100-word video in .mpg, .wmv, or .avi formats that explains

  • how writing has changed your life;
  • what the WCDR means to you;
  • one of your favourite WCDR moments; or
  • what our motto, “Writing doesn’t have to be a solitary act,” means to you

to by no later than 11 pm on September 19.  All videos will be screened at the September 26 event and submissions will be judged by the audience on clarity, content, and creativity. Film and submit or get fancy and edit! It’s up to you.

The winner will be announced at the October RoundTable, and he or she will receive a free RoundTable and mini-workshop!

Please be aware that we cannot show videos that include profanity or copyrighted materials, and that by entering the video contest you give WCDR the right to use your video for promotional purposes.

See you at Culture Days!

Culture Days

Assess your book submissions one-on-one with an agent!

Each of the three agents—Sam Hiyate, Ali McDonald and Stacey Donaghy—who participated in our U25 event have extended an invitation for you to meet with them during a scheduled 50-minute one-on-one session to assess your writing project and learn effective methods of submitting to an agent.

Prior to your session you will have the opportunity to submit a query letter, a one to two page synopsis, and 20 pages (double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12 pt, single-sided) of your manuscript for discussion with the agent.

The agents will critique your submission with a focus on:

  • Shape
  • Structure
  • Voice
  • Characters
  • Stakes
  • Saleability

These sessions are limited, so book early!

Registration fee: $75 for members; $85 for non-members

Please note: Your submission is due 10 days before your scheduled session and only work that falls within the agents’ wish list guidelines will be considered.

***Please note: The WCDR is proud to facilitate these sessions as a learning experience for our members. We cannot, however, guarantee any outcome of the meeting in terms of feedback or willingness to consider your work for client consideration or publication. Submissions to agents and editors before or after, or without a WCDR session may be made without cost through accepted channels as outlined by the agent or editor’s websites and are entirely separate from the WCDR. 



Stacey Donaghy – Donaghy Literary Group

With over twenty-two years of experience and formal training in Adult Education, Management, and Social Services, Stacey brings a wealth of technical and professional experience to the literary world. As a manager in the field of Education and Training, her roles have included people management, curriculum development, academic editing, marketing, creative design, publishing, proposal writing, contract negotiations and public speaking. Her training includes principled negotiations as it applies to relationships and contracts.

Stacey’s Wish List: Romance, Edgy and unique New Adult, plus YA.  

Stacey’s Sessions:

Place: Newmarket – exact location TBA
Dates: TBA
Times: You will be advised of your timeslot once all registrations have been received.

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Sam Hiyate  The Rights Factory

A veteran of 20 years in publishing, Sam is co-founder and president of the literary agency The Rights Factory. Before that he ran the literary division of The Lavin Agency. He is co-founder and former editor/publisher of the litmag Blood & Aphorisms (b+a)and the editor/publisher of the avant-garde publisher Gutter Press. Sam also teaches at Ryerson University, The University of Toronto, and has lectured on publishing at Simon Fraser University, Humber College, and Centennial College, where he sits on the Publishing Advisory Board. He has written about publishing for Quill and Quire, The Toronto Star, The National Post and The Globe and Mail.

Sam’s Wish List: Actively looking for New Adult titles, more than YA, with an emphasis on series potential.

Sam’s Sessions:

Place: Toronto – exact location TBA
Dates: TBA
Times: You will be advised of your timeslot once all registrations have been received.

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Ali McDonald: Literary Agent, Children’s Lit and YA, The Rights Factory
A member of The Rights Factory team since 2009, Ali specializes in children’s literature of all kinds, ranging from novelty board books, picture books, early readers, chapter books, and graphic novels, to middle grade and young adult fiction and non-fiction. She enjoys working primarily with debut authors, but also has the distinguished pleasure of representing literary stars among her international clients. Ali is living the dream of having a job she loves.

Ali’s Wish List: “I’m always looking for new and distinctive voices, especially in the areas of middle grade and young adult. More specifically, I’m currently on the hunt for early readers with a classic storytelling vibe; humourous and action/adventure middle grade for boys, as well as, friendship-based, character-driven middle grade for girls; and boundary-pushing young adult fiction, with diverse characters, unconventional structures, and big hooks. I’m desperate for something that says Law & Order: SVU for teens—along the lines of Brandy Colbert’s Pointe.”

Ali’s Sessions:

*Details to follow

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