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8 Books that Shaped Me As a Writer

My debut novel Looking for Jane explores multiple facets of motherhood over the course of several decades, as well as the feminist movement for reproductive choice in Canada. So I'll begin with one of my favourite feminist reads, and one that undoubtedly shaped my interest in reading and writing about the lives of women.


Book Cover Unless

Unless, by Carol Shields

This was probably my first adult feminist read during my formative years. My mother recommended it to me, and it's always stood as an example of truly outstanding, exceptional writing talent to which I can only dream of aspiring! It's also a profound example of the power that exists in writing about the lives of ordinary women. My debut novel Looking for Jane is about exactly that: a group of everyday women who exhibited extraordinary courage in standing up to an unjust system. Unless is also what we would today call a bit "meta" in that it explores the ways in which "women's fiction"—which really translates to any book in any genre that features and speaks primarily to women—is sidelined as lesser than in …

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Once Upon a Story: Five Tips For Aspiring Story Writers

Book Cover A Squiggly Story

Writers' block is not just the bane of literate. In A Squiggly Story, a new picture book written by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Mike Lowery, a young boy wants to write stories as avidly as his big sister does, but even though he knows his letters, he can't write many words yet. Can he write a story anyway?

With his sister coaching him, the boy figures out how to make it work. And what he learns and the advice he gets turns out to be applicable to writers of any age. 

Here, Andrew Larsen shares with us five tips to get a story started...and finished. 


1) Don’t be afraid to begin. Every story starts with a single word and every word starts with a single letter.

Illustration A Squiggly Story Larsen Lowery


2) Write what you know. Ideas for stories are everywhere. They’re in your imagination. They’re in your memory. They’re in your family. Sometimes they’re tickling your funny bone.

Illustration A Squiggly Story Larsen Lowery

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