SPRING 2018 


SESSION 1Thursday May 10th to Wednesday May 16th (7 day workshop) 


"WRITING NATURE" — Pelee Island Bird Observatory sponsored workshops. There will be two workshops during the week, approximately four hours long each. A portion of the proceeds from enrolment tuition will be donated to PIBO. Optional activities include an island tour, winery tour and tasting, and SpringSong tickets. 

What is nature writing? Because “Nature” is the world we are in and the world that is in us, nature can be used in a myriad of ways in all genres: as setting, or as active participant and plot driver, and/ or symbolically, for philosophical observation and thematic exploration. The natural world—its landscape and oceans, animals, fauna, and birds—can represent everything from freedom and the power of imagination, to human desire, fear, indifference, and greed. During this workshop, we will look at the first five pages of each participant’s submitted fiction or nonfiction piece, focusing on the author’s use of nature and discussing its effectiveness. TO SUBMIT, please follow the instructions under the "APPLY" tab. You will be required to send 4-5 pages of fiction or nonfiction, once the preliminary on-line form has been accepted.

Instructors: Margaret Atwood and Graeme Gibson

Margaret Atwood’s speculative MaddAddam trilogy engages with current ecological concerns within a dystopian landscape, challenging the humatn/ nature dichotomy. Graeme Gibson’s The Bedside Book of Birds and The Bedside Book of Beasts are nonfiction “miscellanies” that explore the complexity of human/ animal relationships in myth and literature, fiction and nonfiction.


SESSION 2 — Friday May 18th to Sunday May 20th (weekend workshop) 

"WRITING AND DIVINATION" — One workshop class on Saturday. Lunch included.

To “divine” is to seek guidance and counsel from a god—or an oracle. To “auger” is to read the signs whether one is looking at the stars (astrology), throwing down coins (I-Ching), or drawing cards from the major and minor arcana (tarot). In this workshop will explore how occult practices dovetail with our writing lives. We’ll first take writers who used chance and occult practices (Yeats, H.D., Robert Duncan, Sylvia Plath, and James Merrell) before delving into prompts and revisionary exercises that border on the uncanny. Utilizing the language of tarot, the symbols of dreams and the forms of archetype, we will engage modes and invite portals into enhanced receptivity. TO SUBMIT, please fill out the on-line form under the "APPLY" tab. There is no writing submission required for this workshop.

Instructors: Hoa Nguyen and Timothy Liu

Timothy Liu is the author of multiple poetry collections. He currently lives in New York, where he is an associate professor at William Paterson University. Hoa Nguyen has written several  poetry collections and been shortlisted for the prestigious Griffin Poetry Prize in 2017. She teaches poetics at Ryerson University in Toronto, Miami University’s low residency MFA program, and the Milton Avery School for Fine Arts at Bard College.