The Writers’ Circle

The Writers’ Circle

The Writers’ Circle provides the opportunity for consumers to have a voice and means of self-expression. Locally, we provide space, training and resources for members interested in developing their writing talents for pleasure, publication, or both. Members are welcome to visit the site at their own convenience, where they will have access to computers, printing, and writing tools in a space that is comfortable and supportive. NISA is also proud to provide a wide range of information resources for members looking to learn or expand their knowledge in any form of writing. The Writers’ Circle strives to empower consumers to make a difference through the written word.

Members of The Writers’ Circle have the opportunity to learn from fellow members and community writers through the many learning opportunities at NISA. A wide variety of writing workshops have been organized each year to help develop confidence and technique. Workshops have included such topics as haiku, poems from the everyday, memoir-writing, character development, dialogue, inspiration from current events, writing outlines, rhyming poetry, writing for the news, play writing, screenwriting, social commentary and poetry, planning your novel, comic book creation, and writing for profit.

An on-site editor is available to assist individuals with the writing process, both locally and abroad, and accepts writing submissions for publication in Open Minds Quarterly, our internationally distributed literary journal. Our magazine solicits submissions from writers all over the world who have survived depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. We publish first-person accounts, essays, poetry, fiction, short stories, book reviews, and open letters. All of the stunning artwork on our front covers are from the talented artists in our Artists’ Loft.

Summer 2014    OMQ-2014-Spring2OMQ-2014-WinterOpen Minds Quarterly: The poetry & literature of mental health rOpen Minds Quarterly: The poetry & literature of mental health rOpen Minds Quarterly: The poetry & literature of mental health r

Visit our website at

Members’ Writing Successes

Over the last two years, several members have flourished in their writing endeavors and with much perseverance, and support from fellow members and staff, have gone on to publish their memoirs! Copies of our members’ books are available for purchase from us here at NISA. Available at the  Dandelion Café is Allan’s two books, “The Book of Al” and “On Rock Bottom and Know Where to Turn”, as is Renee’s book “Fly Away Free”. Allan’s books are also for sale in Sudbury at Bay Used Books and Chapters.

One of our Peer Support Workers, SueAnn Land, is also an accomplished writer, whose literary support has been very valuable to our members along their writing journies. SueAnn’s book “Carosella” is available for purchase from Amazon and  Lulu.

Shine On  Book of Al  On Rock Bottom  Fly Away Free     Last Man from Earth2   Carosella


Workbook - cover image

With beginning writers in mind, we have also published a guidebook, Mental Pencil, that will lead you through the basics of writing your story. 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. Follow the lessons and exercises inside and you’ll have your first story in hand in no time –  and your readers won’t be able to put it down.

The book is authored by the local writer, Ken Lillie, who has been involved with NISA in the past, and has facilitated thoughtful writing workshops for our members.  He also sat in for a time as the Stories & Essays Editor for Open Minds Quarterly, reviewing the stories and memoirs of individuals living with mental illness. To order a copy of Mental pencil you can come in to NISA, or order it online here.

 We are always looking to expand our programming to meet the needs of the membership, so if there is an area of writing you would like to learn or if you have skill sets that you would like to share with fellow members, be sure to visit NISA and let us know!

Canoe Paddle Painting

Canoe Paddle Painting on Saturday September 10 and the 17th from 10-3pm. Read on for all the details!!

Changes in the Bereaved by Suicide Peer Support Group

Please note the following changes in the Bereaved by Suicide Peer Support Group.

Build your artistic side with new offerings this month

Discover all the wonderful arts-based programming set this month lead by members and community partners. Fill your calendars, and your artistic soul!

Quilting Events and New Skills Training

Lots of wonderful opportunities to develop basic sewing skills, refining new techniques, and collaboration in Warm Hearts/Warm Bodies this month.

Occupational Wellness Programming

Discover programming related to occupational wellness this month.

Art of Resistance: A Touring Social Activist Group Visits NISA

September 1st at 2pm. Mark your calendars! A touring artistic and social activist group, the Beehive Collective is giving a presentation at NISA. Read on for all the details.

You’re invited to Open Minds Quarterly’s Launch Party!

Save the date and join us on Wednesday August 17 from an evening launch party for the special summer issue of Open Minds Quarterly: Mapping Mental Illness in Northern Ontario.

Register now for two special art workshops!

Rock Bass, Birdhouses, Paddles -- oh my! Click here for all the details on two upcoming special art projects open to members and the community, and to learn how to register.

Emotional Wellness Month at NISA

Discover special programming this month as it relates to our theme: Emotional Wellness.

Special Events in the Community Garden

Drumming, Smudging, Yoga, and Aromatherapy in the Garden. Learn all about it!