Virtual Workshop: Writing Memoir

04jun4:00 pm5:00 pmVirtual Workshop: Writing MemoirWith Helen Humphreys and Beth Kaplan

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Speakers for this event

  • Beth Kaplan

    Beth Kaplan

    Beth Kaplan, a former actress, taught memoir and personal essay writing at Ryerson (now Toronto Metropolitan University) from 1994 to 2020, and has taught for fifteen years also at the University of Toronto, where she was given the Excellence in Teaching Award. She’s the author of two memoirs, a biography, and a textbook guide to creative writing. Loose Woman: my odyssey from lost to found, about the dramatic year her life changed completely, came out in 2020 and was a finalist for the Whistler Independent Book Award.


Event Details

Presented by The Chang School of Continuing Education

Join authors Helen Humphreys (And A Dog Named Fig) and Beth Kaplan (Loose Woman) for an interactive workshop on writing memoir! Register at the link below to claim your FREE spot.

An artist’s solitude is a sacred space, one to be guarded and kept apart from the chaos of the world. This isolation allows for uninhibited wandering, uninterrupted meditation and the nurturing of sparks of inspiration into fires of creation. But in the artist’s quiet there is also loneliness, self-doubt, the possibility of collapsing too far inward.

And a Dog Called Fig is a memoir of the writing life told through the dogs Helen Humphreys has lived with and loved over a lifetime, culminating with the recent arrival and settling in of Fig, a Vizsla puppy.

It’s a book about companionship and loss and creativity that is filled with the beauty of a steadfast canine friend and the restorative powers of nature. It is also a book about craft, divided into sections that echo the working parts of a novel—Beginnings, Character, Pacing, Setting, Structure, Process, Endings. Just as every work of art is different, every dog is different—with distinctive needs and lessons to offer. And if we let them guide us, they, like art, will show us many worlds we would otherwise miss.

The memoir Loose Woman: my odyssey from lost to found tells how a quasi-alcoholic actor came to spend four astonishing months living and working among men with severe disabilities at a L’Arche community in Provence, and how the experience opened her heart and transformed her life.

The book brings to life the late seventies, when feminism and sexual liberation were ascendant, and a single woman had to come to terms with what this new kind of freedom meant. It gives a backstage view of the triumphs and miseries of a successful actor, celebrates daily life in France — tradition, argument, cheese — and shows a daughter struggling to emerge from the shadow of her powerful, flawed parents.

Loose Woman illuminates how, with the help of six damaged Frenchmen, a gifted, damaged young woman begins, at last, to trust and forgive herself, to live loosely, and to set off in a surprising new direction.


Presented by The Chang School of Continuing Education


The Chang School of Continuing Education


(Saturday) 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm