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It’s hard to imagine that Chaos Calling: Book I of The Xenthian Cycle would exist if I’d never taken a creative writing course with Nalo Hopkinson at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies.

Before taking the course, I’d finished a novel draft and was working on a second project. I was excited about my ideas. What I didn’t know was whether I could write. Close friends and family had read for me, but blindly trusting their opinions struck me as foolhardy.

What I wanted, of course, was feedback from people who weren’t invested in me.

I was working on U of T’s campus in Media Relations at the time. As a staff member, I only had to pay the tax to take a course through Continuing Studies. To this day, I deeply appreciate that benefit.

Hopkinson is an award-winning speculative fiction author. She happened to be teaching creative writing at U of T the semester I signed up in 2005.

You can read about Hopkinson’s books on her website.
Brown Girl in the Ring is set in Toronto. It’s still my favourite, although I love the short stories in Skinfolk, too.

Through that course, I met my writing group. Hopkinson’s feedback sessions set the rules for our meetings over the next seven years. It was a transformational period in my life.

Diana continues to read my drafts. I named Anna and Malcolm’s son Tim to remember T. J. O’Neill, our late colleague.

Taking my School of Continuing Studies journey full circle

When I published Chaos Calling earlier this spring, I reached out to the school to thank them for the opportunity all those years ago. I told them about our writing group’s success. They were kind enough to post this piece about my experience and downstream success.

Thank you to the School of Continuing Studies’ Marketing team for featuring my work.

You can read the article on their website.

Curious about taking a course? You’ll find more information on their website.