Keep checking this space for current news as well as Bold-faced dates indicating readings, appearances and events, including writing courses I’m teaching. For more about what’s happening with SPiN, see SPiN’s News & Events


September 20, 2020 — Due to rain, the One Last Summer Reading event was re-scheduled to the next day. Here is a video clip of our segment in which Tony and I have some fun with the abbreviated title of Four Umbrellas, our book about his Alzheimer’s.

September 19, 2020 — Four Umbrellas is on The Globe and Mail’s list of must-read books for fall 2020.

September 19, 2020 — Tony Wanless and I are among the authors appearing at this special One Last Summer Reading event from 3 to 5 pm at Historic Joy Kogawa House. Note: the limited in-person audience spaces are sold out, but it is possible to join via Zoom by emailing a note to [email protected] and making a small donation or joining as a member on the website at our part, we will be reading in recognition that September is World Alzheimer’s Month.  



August 20, 2020 — Tony Wanless and I kick off pre-publication of Four Umbrellas in an interview with Federation of BC Writers president Jacqueline Carmichael.

July 23, 2020 — It’s official, and Tony and I are most pleased. Four Umbrellas, our book about his Alzheimer’s, will be produced as an audiobook by Tantor Media of the U. S., as well as ebook and good old paper kind by Dundurn Press. Simultaneous release Oct. 17.

June 2020 — We have a cover and a new release date of Oct. 17, 2020 for Four Umbrellas, though you can pre-order your copy right now at your local independent bookstore — ours is Book Warehouse Main Street in Vancouver — or here

February 18, 2020 — Tony Wanless and I are pleased to announce that our book about his Alzheimer’s has been purchased by Dundurn Press. Four Umbrellas is scheduled for publication on Sept. 19, 2020.* changed to Oct. 17, 2020 due to pandemic-related delays.


October 27, 2019 — Tony Wanless and I have written a book about his Alzheimer’s. Read Denise Ryan’s thoughtful feature piece about him and Four Umbrellas in the Vancouver Sun and Province.

April 2019Pacifica Treatment Centre has extended its arts therapy program for another year, and I am teaching and learning as I lead these weekly writing workshops for clients in recovery from addiction.

Feb. 5, 2019 — Celebrate the Year of the Pig with SPiN pal Jen Sookfong Lee‘s newest, a  board book called The Animals of Chinese New Year. Released by Orca Book Publishers, it makes a great gift for the babies in your life — or their parents.

Jan. 1, 2019 — Thrilled to be signed on for another term facilitating weekly writing workshops at Pacifica Treatment Centre.


June 26 – Dec. 31, 2018 Pacifica Treatment Centre in Vancouver has added creative writing to its arts therapy program for clients in recovery, and I am facilitating the weekly writing workshops. For more information on the program, check out the link.


Nov. 4  –  Dec. 2, 2017 — What’s NaNoWriMo? National Novel-Writing Month, and Novel: The NaNoWriMo Challenge is a workshop-style course in which participants aim to write a novel in just one month — rough draft, of course. This year students get an extra week as there is no class on Remembrance Day, November 11th. Registration required. Check the link for further details and join me at UBC Robson Square for 4 Saturdays, from 1 – 3:30 pm.

October 9-17, 2017 — Many thanks to Historic Joy Kogawa House for accepting me for a nine-day writer’s retreat to undertake work on a new novel.  It was both a restorative and a productive stay in the peace and tranquility of the house and garden. Click on the above link to learn more about the importance of the childhood home of author Joy Kogawa, and of the ongoing efforts  to preserve it.



March 11 and 12, 2017 — Room magazine is celebrating its 40th Anniversary with  Growing Room: A Feminist Literary Festival. Check out the link for full details. I’ll be appearing in two events:

#14. Just Try to Stop Me with barbara findlay, June Hutton,  Evelyn Lau, Christine Lowther, Alessandro Naccarato, Juliane Otok Bitek.  Sunday, March 12 at 1:00 to 2:30 pm, Creekside Community Centre.

#19. The Here and Now with Carleigh Baker, Aislinn Hunter, June Hutton and Christine Lowther. Sunday, March 12 at 3:30 to 5:00 pm. **Note the venue has been changed to SchoolCreative Institute for the Arts, 112 E. 3rd Avenue. The photo at right shows the panel (seated L to R): Aislinn, Christine, Carleigh, June, and moderator Tanis MacDonald. Thanks to Devon Rawcliffe @WhoAteTheSquid for the image.


March 7, 2017 — Congratulations to SPiN pal Jen Sookfong Lee whose novel The Conjoined has been nominated for The BC Book Prizes (Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize). Warmest wishes to the nominees in all categories. Winners will be announced April 29, 2017.




November 8, 2016 — “. . .  A conclusion which, frankly, is the loveliest and most satisfying part of a lovely and satisfying novel.” What a lovely and satisfying review of Two-Gun & Sun from Raspberry Magazine‘s Dessa Bayrock.

It’s a wrap! For the course, but not for the gang from UBC’s  Novel: the NaNoWriMo Challenge, who plan to keepnano-2016-class going until the end of the month. From left to right, and holding the number of words they will reach by Wednesday are: Jorge Pereira, Tina Tinaburri, Maikie Paje, Sarah Lawton-Speert, and Carol Wong. Under the weather and missing from the photo, but writing like blazes anyway, is Chantal Eustace (O’Sullivan) at 31,000 words. Way to go, guys!



November 5 – 26, 2016 — It’s National Novel Writing Month, an event celebrated world-wide as writers attempt to scribble out a rough draft in just 30 days. In response to the event UBC is offering the month-long course Novel: the NaNoWriMo Challenge — I’m teaching it again and even contemplating having a go at it, too. Four Saturdays, Robson Square, 1 – 3:30 pm. Registration Required — just click on the link for details.

October 8, 2016 — I will be among the local authors joining the Vancouver Public Library, Central Branch, as it celebrates the city’s first Indie Author Day from 11 am to 2 pm.  Author tables, readings, a ‘talk to an author’ corner and more will highlight the day as you meet and connect with your  writing community.

October 6, 2016 — Emily Carr University’s On Edge reading series begins this fall. I’m reading with author Jane onedgereadingseries_fall-16Eaton Hamilton in the university library, 1400 Johnston St., Granville Island, Vancouver, 7 pm. Check the poster at right to see who else is appearing in the series this fall. (Click to enlarge image.)




September 20, 2016 — Right on time for Two-Gun & Sun‘s first birthday, some nice attention from CBC Books. And 3toread-sistersbrotherswhat stellar company to find myself and my book in. (Click to enlarge image.)





July 20, 2016 — Team All Lit Up asked me, How does your 2-Gun garden grow? “The wackier, the better, ” I replied. See more of my answers in this in-depth and gritty interview.

July 13, 2016 — In this week’s blog the All Lit Up Summer Book Club discusses Two-Gun & Sun. ALU staffchat_smThere is a Question & Answer session at the start, followed by several recorded sessions, so scroll down, choose one, or all, and have a listen. The photo at right shows the club in full, hand-waving exchange.

NOTE: Included in the link are discussion questions you might want to download for your own reading group.



June 15 – July 6, 2016 Two-Gun & Sun has been chosen by the Literary Press Group as the July read to launch its inaugural All Lit Up Summer Book Club. “Hutton’s novel is both sweeping and meticulous” with “something for everyone: a steampunk fascintation with turn-of-the-century technology like Zeppelins, printing presses, and early cars, a certain gunslinging-ness ascribed to frontier westerns, and themes from Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West . . . ”

Here’s Lila’s newspaper as envisioned by the team. Dead-on,  team All Lit Up! (blackmountainbullet_finalClick on image to see full page.)




May 4, 2016 — No prouder moment for me than attending the first public readings by four of the fiction group TWSO fiction gang of 4I’ve been mentoring since September as part of Simon Fraser University’s The Writer’s Studio Online. Here they are after a long road trip from the island, raising a glass to each other’s reading success at Cottage Bistro in Vancouver: Jackie Carmichael (front) and (L to R) Coranne Creswell, Emily Olsen and Liz Laidlaw.



And here, pretty in purple stage lights, is a shot of all of us at the Bistro.Cottage bistro gang Second from the right is Wayde Compton, associate director, Creative Writing, SFU Continuing Studies, which includes The Writer’s Studio and The Writer’s Studio Online.





June siging at Book Warehouse AforIApril 30, 2016 — It’s Authors for Indies day and I will be working the 4 – 5 pm slot at Book Warehouse Main Street near 25th and Main in Vancouver to show my support for hard-working independent bookstores.  (Thanks Nahal Heidari for coming out to see me at the event and for taking this shot of me signing your copy of Two-Gun & Sun.)



Wrapping up the UBC workshop How to Plan Your Novel with (back row L to R) Tom Parkin, Janet Chahwan, UBC How to Plan Your Novel classNahal  Heidari, Clare Mullin, Courtenay Waverick, (front row) Harish Murthy (the photog), yours truly, and Nikki Shearer.

 March 19 – April 16, 2016 – Got a half-written novel in your sock drawer? Got ideas for one but nothing started yet? Writing a novel requires planning and revising. Join me as I lead the workshop Novel: How to Plan Your Novel, four Saturdays (note there is no class March 26 due to the Easter long weekend), 1-3:30 pm at UBC Robson Square. Registration required.

sketch -- sidecar cropped

Februrary 5, 2016 – Open Book Toronto features Dirty Dozen with June Hutton, a list of facts that seldom  arise in typical interviews. Here’s one: pictured is one of several sketches from my notebook. Sometimes, when writing early drafts of my novel Two-Gun & Sun, and trying to conjure up the steam-punky, otherworldly atmosphere of the fictional town of Black Mountain, words failed me, and so I resorted to drawing until I had the image fixed in my mind. Then I went back to writing.




November 27, 2015 – “Intelligent, cerebral and intensely entertaining” – a great review of Two-Gun & Sun by Historical Novel Review’s Mirella Patzer.

June Hutton at Jewish Book FestNovember 22, 2015Jewish Book Festival, A Literary Quickie: Which Author Will You Curl up with Tonight? June Hutton joins Richa Dwor, A.D. Gentle, Rosa Harris, Revital Shiri-Horowitz, Paula Hurwitz, Evelyn H. Lazare, Olga Medvedeva-Nathod, Avrum Nagdiel and Marina Sonkina in this fast-paced event, 10:00 to 11:30 am, Jewish Community Centre, Vancouver. A light brunch is included. Pictured, me at the podium about to present my novel Two-Gun & Sun. To see the video clip of my presentation, go to Two-Gun & Sun, bottom of page.


June at Book Warehouse Main St.November 18, 2015Novel Nights at Book Warehouse Main Street featuring June Hutton, 4118 Main Street, Vancouver, 7-8:15 pm. Pictured is me chatting with fellow-author Dennis E. Bolen, with the warm, cozy book shop in the background. To the right of the photo is poet Timothy Shay, to Dennis’s right is author Shoshona Freedman, then writer and Vancouver Writers Fest volunteer Shirley Rudolph and writer Hans Christensen.



November 7 – 28, 2015Novel: The NaNoWriMo Challenge is a UBC course designed in response to the international pledge to spend the month of November writing a rough draft of a novel of up to 50,000 words.

November 1, 2015 – “History Twistery“, June Hutton guest blogs for Gail Anderson-Dargatz

November, 2015 — “Alternative History: June Hutton builds a satisfying narrative” wonderful review of Two-Gun & Sun by Brett Josef Grubic, Quill & Quire, p. 30

October 20- 25, 2015 – I’ll be appearing at two events at the Vancouver Writers Fest:

Wed. Oct. 21, Event #32, 8:30 pm, Studio 1398, Intoxicated with the Past, Sarah Dunant, June Hutton, Ronald Wright. Moderator: Annabel Lyon

Fri. Oct. 23, Event #59, 1-2:30 pm, Improv Centre, Frontier, June Hutton, Sara Tilley, Paul Yee. Moderator: Jen Sookfong Lee

2G launch Mary, June, JenSeptember 20, 2015Two-Gun & Sun is launched at a lively party at Los Cuervos Taqueria and Cantina, Vancouver. Pictured is the SPiN writing group in full celebratory form at the release of our sixth novel (two each): from L to R: Mary Novik, June Hutton, Jen Sookfong Lee.




September 15, 2015 – Release date of my second novel Two-Gun & Sun. Here’s how the catalogue copy describes it: In 1922 a lone woman arrives in a filthy frontier mining town in the Pacific Northwest. Her goal: to resurrect her dead uncle’s newspaper. Within two days a naked man is shot dead, a famous man is rumoured to be heading their way and the only man capable of fixing her broken-down press so that she might spread this news is a Chinese printer from the nearby forbidden settlement of Lousetown . . . For more details, see the Caitlin Press website. Click on the image at left to get the full cover.


September 2015 – June 2016 SFU’s The Writer’s Studio Online This is a year-long program for emerging writers serious about working on their projects, and in a professional and supportive environment. There are four genres: fiction, poetry, non-fiction (including memoir) and young adult/speculative fiction. I am the fiction mentor for this inaugural programme. The first application deadline is June 30, 2015, but later applications will also be considered. Writing samples are part of the application process, so this is an opportunity to polish your best writing and send it in. The programme is similar in structure to The Writer’s Studio Vancouver, and while it is  designed for those who live outside the Vancouver area, it is also well-suited for others unable to attend in person, such as shift workers, stay-at-home moms, or those caring for aging parents. Have a look at the above high-lighted link and see if this programme is for you!


My new novel Two-Gun & Sun makes its media debut with this preview from BC Booklook.

May 2, 20015 – I’ll be at Book Warehouse at 4118 Main Street in Vancouver from 1 pm onward to roll up my sleeves and do my bit as a bookseller for the hard-working independents.In this blog for Authors for Indies I write about the dusty, inky, papery smells that made me a reader — and a fan of CanLit as well as independent bookstores. Also note the news in the author bio below the blog. Yup, I have a new novel coming out this fall. More details later.



Feb. 28, 2015 – How perfect that a course called Creating Vibrant Settings (see Feb. 7, below) should attract a group of writers enthusiastic about creating a supportive atmosphere in the classroom. Together they studied different approaches to setting, heard and read each other’s work, and asked good questions. It was a delight to be their leader.Pictured here are a few of the gang: Back row (L to R), Anny Giguere, June Slakov, Katherine Doyle, Erick Calder; front row (L to R), Sandy Jakab, yours truly, Natalia Melikhova, Carolyn Wong.


Feb. 23 – May 04, 2015 – It’s the same course but this time SFU’s Introduction to Fiction is being offered in a new online format. Fiction can be as short as a few lines or as long as a novel. It can be fantastic, or it can be realistic. But whatever its shape or size, the same essential parts are at work to make it a story. Join me online every second Monday as we explore the basics of fiction through exercises and assigned readings, and discuss how to apply your findings to your own writing projects. Registration required.


Feb. 16, 2015 – I’m speaking to members of the North Shore Writers Association, North Vancouver Public Library, Lonsdale Branch, 7-8:45 pm.


New! Feb. 7 – 28, 2015 – Setting determines time and place in your story, but a vibrant setting means more than the landscape beneath your character’s feet. Give it shape. Inject it with action. Make it real. Creating Vibrant Settings is a course that will help you find ways to do all of that, and more. Four Saturdays, 1-4 pm, UBC Robson Square. Registration required.

Janurary 31, 2015. Not surprisingly, there was a lot of good chatter in this class, Crafting Believable Dialogue (see below). A lot of good writing too. Pictured on the last day are, back row (L to R) Mony Kankanala, Natalia Melikhova, Anny Giguere, Katherine Doyle, Solveig Scott;Front row (L to R) Andres Delgado, Reem Yousif, Kim Scott.

New! Jan. 10 – 31, 2015 – Good dialogue breathes life into your characters, which not only animates your story, but drives it. Crafting Believable Dialogue for Fiction is a course that will provide you with tips and guidelines to help you get your characters talking. Four Saturdays, 1-4 pm, Buchanan D Building, UBC. Registration required.




Wrapping up the year with a mighty force: the gang from UBC’s 2014 Writing Your Novel in a Month course. L to R: Mony Kankanala, Lawralinda Bowman, Cathrine Holloway, Derek Broadwood, Gayl DeCoursey  and Sarah Lawton-Speert.

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is held every November and there were a few days left in the month when the course ended. Not to be deterred by that, these budding writers chose the time and location for their first meeting off-campus, and plan to keep workshopping together on their novels. All the best to you, gang!


Nov. 1, 2014 It’s back! the ever-popular Writing Your Novel in a Month — and just in time for National Novel Writing Month! Also known as Nanowrimo, November is when writers get together for the challenge of, yup, writing a whole novel in a month. And yes, it can be done–a rough draft, of course. (See the past two Novembers, below, for photo proof of this.) Join us for 4 Saturdays from 1-4 pm, Buchanan Building at UBC Point Grey. Registration required.


October 25, 2014 Saying so long to the gang from SFU’s Introduction to Fiction course at the very cool and spacey digs of Surrey City Centre Library: (L to R) Kenn Ridout, Cassidy Van Delft, Jocelyn Smith and Shadow Shu. An imaginative and productive group, their stories ranged in setting from outer space to inland China, and in themes from mythical to contemporary young adult. Their work included short stories and novels, and more than one of the group read from two different pieces. With such energy and enthusiasm I see many more projects from them down the road.


Oct. 4, 2014 – and running for 4 Saturdays, 1-4 p.m. It’s the same course but new location: Introduction to Fiction at SFU Surrey City Centre Library. Fiction can be as short as a few lines or as long as a novel. It can be fantastic, or it can be realistic. But whatever its shape or size, the same essential parts are at work to make it a story. Join me as we explore the basics of fiction and apply them to your own writing projects. See below for last term’s inventive approaches! Registration required.


Sept. 6, 2014 – and running for 4 Saturdays, 1-4 p.m., Henry Angus Building at UBC Point Grey: Writing in Character.

Oh, my, did we have fun last time! (See Jan. 18, below).

Expect more of the same as exercises and tips help you step out of your own skin and into your protagonist’s. Prepare to dig deep as we explore the many ways to develop character.

Registration required.

Celebrating the end of a class and the start of summer with a few of my students from the workshop Novel: Breaking it Down at UBC Robson Square. Front row, L to R: Sarah Lawton-Speert, Brian MacDonald, Cynthia Pratt Nicolson, Mike Walsh. Back row, L to R, Arielle Spence, Christine Krumrey and yours truly.

Their novel projects spanned contemporary to historical fiction, children’s to adult, and with settings from here to Asia, Scotland, and south of the border, as well as from planet Earth’s early stirrings. What a pleasure to meet them and their stories.


New! April 26, 2014 – and running for 4 Saturdays, 10am – 1pm. I’m back at UBC Robson Square to help you tame your unruly project with the writing workshop Novel: Breaking it Down. You don’t need to have a finished manuscript to take this course. You don’t need to have started one, either. Maybe you’re still wrestling with ideas for your project and are looking for solutions. Help is on the way. Click on the link above to register for this class.

March 8, 2014 Wrapping up the inaugural session of Introduction to Fiction at SFU Vancouver are (back row L to R) Charlene Dy, Sarah Stephen, Mike Walsh, (front L to R) Andrea Walters, Rafaella Petrolacci. These creative minds came up with many approaches to fiction: a children’s story told in rhyme, short story, novel, and, most delightful of all, stories so recently hatched they could go big or small. And the topics! Sudden unemployment, a time twist, mayhem in the garden, a trying patriarch, middle-school woes . . .


New! Feb. 15, 2014 – and running for 4 Saturdays, 10 am – 1 pm, Introduction to Fiction at SFU downtown.

Fiction can be as short as a few lines or as long as a novel. It can be fantastic, or it can be realistic. But whatever its shape or size, the same essential parts are at work to make it a story. Join me as we explore the basics of fiction and apply them to your own writing projects.

Registration required.

February 8, 2014 Now here are some creative responses to an assignment: pictured are several members of the UBC class Writing in Character (see below) showing what objects help them to get under the skin of their characters.

(L to R) June Slakov (the multi-coloured layers of a complex personality), Rebecca Blair (violin protégé), Eileen Reppenhagen (who prefers hats to umbrellas when problem-solving in the rain) and Kevin Mo (pickpocket who clubs assailant with a lantern).


New! January 18, 2014 – and running for 4 Saturdays, 1-4 pm, Writing in Character, at UBC, Buchanan Building, Pt. Grey campus. Write like a man or a monster or whatever inspires you, as long as you write in character. Whether you are writing a short story or a novel, stepping out of your own skin and into your character’s can be daunting. Pitfalls await, but so do delights. Prepare to dig deep as we explore the many ways to develop character. Registration required.




Look at the mix of joy and exhaustion on these faces: members of my UBC workshop group Writing Your Novel in a Month, showing the word count they reached by month’s end. There are some novels and novellas in there already.

It was a delight to meet this group of writers. (Click on photo to get full image.)

Far back row, from left to right: Tara Wohlberg, June Slakov, Cynthia Brooke, Wahid Reza, Camillia Mahal; front row: Nayoung Jin, Louise Lemieux, Jayne Boothe.

It’s back! Nov. 2, 2013 – and running for four Saturdays, 1-4 pm, the workshop Writing Your Novel in a Month, at Buchanan Building D, UBC. And yes, it can be done in a month. A rough draft, of course. See below for the November 2012 session. We had a blast! Registration required.

New! Free! Oct. 11, 2013 – An introductory lunchtime workshop designed to get your creative juices flowing in time for the challenge of Writing Your Novel in a Month, at UBC Robson Square 12:30 to 2 p.m.

*Check back here for details about more courses in the New Year at UBC and SFU.


Aug. 13, 2013 – Warmest congratulations to SPiN pal Mary Novik whose second novel Muse is officially published today.

About the daughter of a harlot who inspires  Petrarch’s love poetry and who later becomes the pope’s lover, Muse has also been published in Italy under the title L’Amante Del Papa — The Pope’s Lover. Her debut novel Conceit has been called “a hearty, boiling stew of a novel” and won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. For more about Mary and her writing see her website.


What Shape is Your Novel?

It’s not an easy question to answer, but I asked my Langara students (from the summer session of The Novel: Mapping it Out, see below) and here’s their creative response.

From Left to Right: Abigail Pelaez, Mia Johnson (peeking out from the back), Lorrie Cameron, Kate Gross (raising her hands because she’s still considering the many and various shapes her story might take), Shoshona Freedman, and Jennifer Tang.



May 15-July 3, 2013 – Spend summer with your novel! The next session of Crea 1080 The Novel: Mapping it Out begins mid-May and runs for 8 Wednesdays, from 6:30 to 9:30 at Langara, 100 W. 49, Vancouver. It’s a workshop for those who’ve begun their manuscript, or have ideas for one. Each evening includes lecture, lively discussion and stimulating writing exercises, plus a chance for two of you to read from your work and receive helpful feedback. Learn how to organize your large project, and how to deepen and strengthen the individual scenes. Registration required.

Wrapping up the spring session of The Novel: Mapping It Out with the gang, from left, bottom row: Ren Birchwillow, instructor June Hutton; top: Michele Goyette, Heidi McLane, Alli Vail, and, poking his head around the corner, the photog himself, Jeremy Bisley.

Even before the class ended I could hear plans in the works for future get-togethers. It’s been a frequent occurrence amongst my students these past few terms.

Happy writing and workshopping and just plain schmoozing, gang!


Feb. 13-April 3, 2013 – Got an idea for a novel, but no idea where to begin? You’re not alone. Join a group of like-minded emerging writers for the spring 2013 session of my workshop The Novel: Mapping it Out, 8 Wednesdays, 6:30 to 9:30 pm at Langara, 100 W. 49, Vancouver. Registration required.




It aint easy Writing Your Novel in a Month, but as of Nov. 24 my UBC students are well on their way to reaching their individual goals. Look how many have hit novella size (17,000+ words) already! Way to go, gang: (From L to R, front row) Mary Kletchko, Jacqui Noftall, Stephen Hinds; (back row) Ed Warkentin, yours truly, Brian Lennox, Carol Whittome, Denise Dalton, Susan Norgaard, Monica Hilborn.

The class was inspired by National Novel Writing Month held every November, and will return for another session in fall 2013.


The Mac-Paps Get the Last Word in The Spanish Crucible, a CBC Radio One special about Canadians in the Spanish Civil War. Part one airs Remembrance Day, Nov. 11 at 8 pm. Part two airs Nov. 16 at 1 pm and again Nov. 18 at 8 pm. That conflict features large in my debut novel Underground, about a Canadian man’s search for identity as he journeys from the battlefields of the Somme to the Spanish Civil War. Veterans of Spain were Canada’s forgotten soldiers, seldom recognized at Remembrance Day ceremonies. This radio broadcast marks a great departure.


Nov. 3-24, 2012 – First there was the Three-day Novel competition, now there’s  NaNoWriMo — National Novel Writing Month, and UBC’s workshop Writing Your Novel in a Month.

Join me for 4 Saturdays, 1-4pm, at UBC Robson Square for exercises, motivators, tips and tricks to help you reach your daily goals and complete a 50,000-word manuscript by the deadline.  Why, that’s just 6 or so pages a day. Hard work? Yes. Fun? You bet. Registration required.



It was a first time at the Vancouver Writers Fest for many of my students, but after a great evening out it’s a certainty they’ll be back. Pictured here, having a pre-festival dinner/literary salon, from L to R, is the gang from the fall 2012 session of The Novel: Mapping it Out: Tom Everitt, Bob Confiant, Andrea Fox, Gloria Rutherford, Aryn Ogilvie, Vincent Morgan, Sean Stares, yours truly, and Owen Morgan. Missing from the shot: Laura Cardoso.

We took in different events throughout the course of the day and evening, and will be sharing the results next week in class.

Congratulations to SPiN pal Jen Sookfong Lee! Her sophomore novel The Better Mother (Knopf Canada 2011) has been shortlisted for the 2012 City of Vancouver Book Award. About the friendship between a gay photographer and a dancer, The Better Mother looks at the lively burlesque era as well as the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic in 1980s Vancouver.

Jen’s first novel The End of East (Knopf Canada 2007), about three generations of a Chinese-Canadian family, was also set in Vancouver. For more about her and her work please see Jen’s website.

Oct. 3 – Nov. 21, 2012 – Fall in love with your own novel this fall! Join me in another session of The Novel:Mapping It Out , 8 Wednesdays 6:30-9:30 pm, Langara College, 100 W. 49, Vancouver. Each evening includes lecture, lively discussion and stimulating writing exercises, plus a chance for two of you to read from your work and receive helpful feedback. Learn how to organize your large project, and how to deepen and strengthen the individual scenes. Come and be inspired! Registration required.

At the end of an intensive week of discussions and workshops, these members of UBC’s Writing Historical fiction class are meeting one last time in the garden at  Gallery Cafe, Robson Square, before heading off to their desks and manuscripts. It was a mutually-inspiring week in which even the workshop leader came away with a few ideas.Thanks, everyone!

Seated (Lto R) Toni Levi, Sheri Thomasen; back row, (L to R) Sharron Simpson,  instructor June Hutton, Alice Huang, and Helen Bottriell.

July 9-13, 2012 Calling all those who’ve ever wanted to write a novel set in the recent or distant  past. From military to romance, western to Elizabethan, the historical novel is a story set against the backdrop of historical events. Whether your goal is to incorporate fictional characters into true events, or real-life characters into imagined circumstances, what you’re aiming for is historical fiction!

Join June Hutton for a week of discussion and lessons as she leads the workshop Writing Historical Fiction. UBC Robson Square, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registration required.

July 1, 2012 — Today is the tenth anniversary for the SPiN novelists’ group: Mary Novik, Jen Sookfong Lee and June Hutton. To celebrate, we have launched a shiny, new website. The three of us met at the Booming Ground summer writing program at UBC way back in 2002, where we pledged to stick together until our novels were done. “Done” has come to mean many things over the years. What a ride it’s been. Five novels amongst us and more on the way. What good company, too. Many thanks, Mary and Jen for your patience and support! And thank you Gail Anderson-Dargatz for posting this guest blog to help us mark the event.

June Hutton guest blogs about Writing Like a Man. Novelist Gail Anderson-Dargatz has generously invited a number of authors to appear on her site. Check them out, too!

Hamming it up in the classroom with a few of the gang on the second-last night of the Langara workshop The Novel: Mapping it Out. (Front row, L to R) Stefanie Kincek, Claire Alter, Ashlee Petrucci, Tim Enno; (back row) Roger Husband, June Hutton, Caroline Hepburn.

There will be a new, intensive summer version of The Novel: Mapping it Out in which  students will workshop their novels-in-progress for a full week, from 10 to 3, Mon to Fri. Details will be posted on Langara’s website later in the spring.

At long last, a Canadian veteran of the Spanish Civil War is honored. On Feb. 26, 2012 Spain granted citizenship to Canadian Jules Paivio, now 96, a volunteer in the international brigades in Spain. He is pictured (right) with American volunteers in the Lincoln Battalion of the International Brigades, 1937, about 75 years ago. Canadians who fought in Spain are seldom named on our public memorials or recognized at Remembrance Day ceremonies, yet one quarter of the estimated 1,700 who volunteered to fight fascism in Spain died there. See Underground for information about the novel inspired by this conflict.

Jan. 25 – March 14, 2012 Bursting to write a novel? Join me as I lead the spring session of the writing workshop The Novel: Mapping it Out, 8 Wednesdays 6:30 to 9:30 pm, Langara College, 100 W. 49, Vancouver. Registration required. *Please note the misprint for times in the printed catalogue. The hours listed here and in the online catalogue are correct.


2011 Archives

2010 Archives

2009 Archives