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Recap of Screen to Page and Back: In Conversation with Zoe Whittall and Wiebke von Carolsfeld

by B.A. Tanner

Zoe Whittall, Wiebke von Carolsfeld, and Lee Parpart on stage at Screen to Page and Back

Zoe Whittall, Wiebke von Carolsfeld, and Lee Parpart at Screen to Page and Back, September 24, 2019. Photo courtesy of the author.

Editors Toronto and Canadian Authors Toronto (CA-T) were thrilled to co-present their first event of the fall season, in partnership with the Creative Writing Program at the School of Continuing Studies at the University of Toronto, on Tuesday, September 24.

The evening brought together award-winning, medium-crossing writers Zoe Whittall and Wiebke von Carolsfeld. Zoe has published four novels and three poetry collections to date and written for TV shows such as Degrassi and Schitt’s Creek. Wiebke started as a film director, editor, and writer with her directorial debut, Toronto International Film Festival winner Marion Bridge. She launched her first novel, Claremont (Linda Leith Publishing), earlier this year.

CA-T co-president Lee Parpart moderated the discussion and Q&A session. She guided an enlightening conversation focused on writing for both screen and page, and the differences between the two processes. Lee warmed up the audience for the featured discussion by showing video clips from Zoe and Wiebke’s film and TV work. Wiebke shared a trailer for The Saver, a drama she wrote and directed about an orphaned teenager with a desire to build a new life using a self-help book she found at her cleaning job. The tone switched gears when Zoe contributed a short skit called “Buffin’ Your Muffin” that aired on Baroness von Sketch Show and captured oodles of laughs from the audience.

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An evening with friends: Recap of Sound Mind: A Celebration of Mindfulness and Mental Health through Fiction, Memoir, and Music

by B.A. Tanner

A piece of paper with the word "mindfulness" on it leaning against a window

On the Thursday evening of March 28, room 1050 of the Earth Sciences Centre at University of Toronto (UofT) swelled with the comforting sounds of meditative gong notes, honest conversation, and an impressive cello performance.

Sharing the stage were Ranjini George, Rebecca Higgins, and Erika Nielsen, once again bringing together Editors Toronto, Canadian Authors–Toronto, and the Creative Writing Program at the School of Continuing Studies, University of Toronto (SCS–UofT), to deliver an inspirational and informative panel discussion. These three talented women used their life experiences to tackle the tough subject matter of mental health and wellness as it applies to freelance artists.

The program started with an introduction by Lee Parpart, programs chair of Editors Toronto and co-president of Canadian Authors–Toronto, then moved to the first speaker of the night: Ranjini George, who teaches courses on mindfulness, meditation, and creative writing at the SCS–UofT.

Ranjini addressed the need for freelance writers, editors, and artists to foster mental and physical well-being while they manage numerous projects with various deadlines. Referencing the stories from her 2016 book Through My Mother’s Window: Emirati Women Tell their Stories and Recipes, she talked about her own experiences working in the field of mental wellness and encouraged everyone to practise mindfulness regularly. Ranjini explained how sound can be used to help centre the self and control our continuous wave of thoughts. Treating the crowd to the sounding of the gong, combined with several moments of meditation and deep breathing, she left us with the simple but powerful reminder to “Breathe. Be present.”

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