Project Description

Register Now for Memoir Writing Workshop!

Have you ever secretly dreamed about writing your memoirs? Have you been stuck on where to start? Don’t wait. It’s time to put pencil to page.

As NISA members have observed here, or experienced for themselves, the interest in writing one’s memoir is blooming. Writing is a powerful means of exploring our experiences, and serves a therapeutic value in identifying and sharing our unique recovery journeys.

We are thrilled to be offering our Mental Pencil life stories workshop again! This four-week writing workshop will guide you through the basics of writing your story, from deciding what to write, to developing your tone, point of view, characters, dialogues, and submitting your work. The workshop is based on our 2010 handbook, Mental Pencil: Sharpen up your story – A guidebook and workbook for telling your life story. You will explore and develop your writing skills and dive into the art of telling your life story, potentially for publication.

Natalie MorrillThe facilitator is our Writer-in-Residence – an established local writer – Natalie Morrill. Natalie is a graduate of UBC’s MFA program. Her recent work appeared in filling Station and CAROUSEL, and is forthcoming in Room magazine. Her first novel’s manuscript was recently shortlisted for the HarperCollins Canada/UBC Best New Fiction award. She edits the literary journal Dappled Things, and teaches at Laurentian University and Cambrian College in Sudbury.

These Mental Pencil workshops are part of a larger writing project. With support from a Northern Arts Grant, in addition to facilitating the memoir-writing course Natalie will also be guiding aspiring writers one-to-one in the craft of storytelling, and will be taking the Mental Pencil workshop on the road to three other consumer/survivor organizations in Northern Ontario to strengthen the voices from the North, and particularly those with lived experience of mental illness. Furthermore, she will be guiding writers in honing their skills to a point where they are ready to formally submit their completed piece to the special Northern Ontario issue of Open Minds Quarterly, the Summer 2016 edition, which will feature stories, essays and poetry told through the Northern Ontario lens.

Register Now for the Mental Pencil workshop! Limited spots available.

The courses are running for four weeks, Mondays and Wednesday from 1:30pm-3:30pm, starting May 25th.

To register, contact Corinne Larouche at 705-222-6472 ext. 308, or

Visit Open Mind’s Quarterly’s website to read our interview with Natalie and to learn more about this unique writing project.

Contact Natalie to receive one-to-one support for your writing projects, at or 705-222-6472 ext. 323. You can also connect with her through Twitter @natalie_morrill