Category Archives: Breakfast Speakers 2019

Breakfast Meeting January 19, 2019

 

Before founding Yorkland Publishing, Ed Shiller had earned distinction as a journalist, public affairs consultant and teacher. His journalism career spanned 15 years, during which he held senior editorial positions with The New York Times News Service, Reuters News Agency, Radio Denmark and The Toronto Star and contributed to Newsweek, The (London) Sunday Times, The Financial Times of London and many other leading newspapers and magazines. After leaving journalism, Ed served as a public affairs executive for Denison Mines Limited, Kidd Creek Mines Limited and The Canadian Manufacturers Association and subsequently founded Ed Shiller Communications, which listed hundreds of leading North American organizations among its clients.  He is the author of In the Spotlight: The Essential Guide to Giving Great Media Interviews and The Canadian Guide to Managing the Media and taught a variety of communications courses at Seneca College and the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies.

 

Breakfast Meeting February 16, 2019

Douglas Maitland Gibson (born December 4, 1943) is a Canadian editor, publisher and writer.[1] Best known as the former president and publisher of McClelland and Stewart, he was particularly noted for his professional relationships with many of Canada’s most prominent and famous writers.[2]

Born in KilmarnockAyrshireScotland and raised in the nearby village of Dunlop,[1] Gibson attended the University of St. Andrews and Yale University before moving to Canada in 1967.[1] He worked briefly for McMaster University before being hired as a junior editor at Doubleday Canada,[1] where his first job was editing a biography of Stephen Leacock.[1]

In 1974 he became editorial director of Macmillan of Canada,[1] ascending to publisher of the company in 1979.[1] During his time at Macmillan, Gibson sent first-time authors an instructional guide, “What Happens After My Book Is Published?”, which was published by Saturday Night in 1979 and was nominated for a National Magazine Award for humor.[1] With MacMillan, he was noted for successfully negotiating Mavis Gallant‘s first Canadian publishing deal;[3] Gallant, a Canadian writer who had spent much of her life and career living inParisFrance as an expatriate, was not considered to be well known in the Canadian market and did not even have a Canadian publisher at all until Gibson approached her. He also spearheaded the creation and publication of Home Truths, a compilation of Gallant’s Canadian-themed stories which was her only title ever to win the Governor General’s Award for English-language fiction.[4] Robertson DaviesBruce HutchisonJack HodginsAlice Munro and Morley Callaghan were also among the writers who established relationships with Gibson in this era.[5]

In the early 1980s, he also contributed film reviews to CBC Radio‘s Sunday Morning.[2] Throughout his career, he has also been a contributor to The Globe and Mail, the National PostBooks in CanadaToronto Life andMaclean’s.[2]

He moved to McClelland and Stewart in 1986,[6] becoming publisher of the company in 1988[1] and president in 2000.[1] With M&S, he also managed his own imprint, Douglas Gibson Books.[2] Numerous authors, including Munro, Davies, Hodgins, Gallant, Hugh MacLennanGuy Vanderhaeghe and W.O. Mitchell,[2] followed him from Macmillan to M&S in order to continue working with him.[5] Munro returned the advance the company had already paid her for The Progress of Love, and had to enter several months of legal negotiations to get released from her contract,[2] although The Progress of Love ultimately became the first title published by Douglas Gibson Books.[2]The departures greatly damaged Macmillan, which published only a small and irregular selection of fiction titles after Gibson’s departure.[2]

Gibson was awarded the Canadian Booksellers’ Association President’s Award in 1991.[5]

Following his retirement in 2008, Gibson published a memoir, Stories About Storytellers: Publishing Alice Munro, Robertson Davies, Alistair MacLeod, Pierre Trudeau, and Others, in 2011.[1] Munro wrote the book’s introduction. In recent years, he has also been known for frequent public appearances and statements on behalf of Munro, whose declining health has prevented her from making many public engagements.[7]

Breakfast Meeting March 16, 2019

Raised by Nancy Drew and Miss Marple, Sherry C Isaac maintains her love of mystery. Sherry’s novels have earned several women’s fiction accolades and her short, The Forgetting, took the Alice Munro Award in 2009. Upon graduating from Toronto Film School’s screenwriting program, Sherry directed her talents to the world of short film and her first film, Skin Deep, was nominated for best screenplay. As a novelist, screenwriter, and director, she focuses her lens on strong female protagonists on the brink of discovering their courage, identity, and strength.

Presentation Description & Objectives: 
Through the eyes of a writer turned filmmaker, Smarter, Stronger Storyteller© shows authors how to translate filmmaking techniques to the written page and use those tricks of the Hollywood trade to empower point-of-view and immerse the reader in every scene from set up to cliffhanger. 
Participants will learn: 

  • new ways to establish setting, convey critical information, and add dimension to their story by setting up each scene like a filmmaker 
  • how to adapt skills they already possess to create scenes with more depth, meaning and impact
  • adapt point of view to enhance character, suspense, and more.

Breakfast Meeting May 18, 2019

Leonard Rosmarin is Professor Emeritus of French literature and former Chair of the Department of Modern Languages at Brock University in the Niagara Region of Ontario, Canada. He received his Doctorate from Yale University where he began his teaching career in 1964, then was appointed Assistant Professor at WesleyanUniversity, also in Connecticut.

He returned to Canada in 1969 to take up a position as Associate, then Full Professor at Brock, which, at that time, was only five years old. Leonard felt it would be an exciting challenge to create programs and traditions at a place that was just beginning its existence.

Before reincarnating himself as a novelist, Leonard has been an internationally recognized scholar and published nine books that have taken him all over the map of literary scholarship, from the 17th century to the 21st.

He has been decorated twice by the Government of France for distinguished service in the cause of French letters. From 1992 till 2002 he was Visiting Professor at the School for Doctoral studies at theUniversity of Perpignan in Perpignan, France.

A self-confessed opera addict, he has written a study on the relationship between literature and lyric drama titled When Literature Becomes Opera. He is especially proud of the essays he has devoted to the works of some of the great Franco-Jewish writers of the 20th century: the novelist Albert Cohen, the philosopher Emmanuel Lévinas, the dramatist Liliane Atlan and the Nobel Prize winner, Elie Wiesel.

His English adaptation of Mme Atlan’s finest play, Les Mers Rouges, was mounted by the very popular Toronto Fringe Festival in 2005 and will eventually be made into a film for television.His essay on the novels of Elie Wiesel has been enthusiastically endorsed by the great man himself. Leonard is fully fluent in both French and English, and navigates effortlessly between the two languages and cultures.

Leonard has become a novelist rather late in life, at the ripe old age of 70! Why did it take so long? Here is how he relates his unusual trajectory: “For literally decades I had wanted to immortalize my over-the-top, larger-than-life Jewish family. They were refreshingly un-hypocritical. In fact, they were always brutally frank. They would never stab you in the back; it was always in the chest. So at least you knew where the blows were coming from. They were absolutely transparent. What you see was what you got.

“But whenever I felt inclined to sit down and actually write about them, I would begin to worry about what would happen to my academic career. As of the late 70s, Canadian, just like American universities, were becoming afflicted with the neurosis of ‘Publish or Perish.’ In order to rise through the ranks, I simply had to concentrate on my scholarship and leave novel writing on the back burner.

“Once I retired, however, I had no more excuses. My immediate family and friends got after me to finally put down in writing all the tantalizing, scandalous stories I had been relating to them for years about the extended family of my childhood.  So I sat down and started working on the novel in earnest.

“I had written a few chapters way back in 1982, twenty-six years earlier. At that time, all I intended to do was to make fun of my relatives and throw in some sex into the story for good measure. When I returned to them so many years later, my attitude had, by then, changed radically. I felt a deep empathy towards them. I could no longer mock them. Instead of making my readers laugh at them, I wanted my readers to laugh with them.  I still wanted my novel to be hilarious, but I wanted it to have poignancy, too. Hence the title, Getting Enough.

“It’s the story of a group of individuals from the same family who are desperate for emotional and spiritual fulfilment but go about seeking it the wrong way. They get short-circuited by their erotic cravings. Rubbing epidermises is not the same thing as being in love with another human being.

“The two main characters, at least, come out stronger and better people. Once they stop typecasting one another, they can move towards a loving reconciliation after 26 years of an acrimonious, hate-ridden marriage.

“Now that I have written my first work of fiction, I would love to continue. When you create a novel, you experience the thrill of roaming, untrammelled, within your imagination. The sense of freedom is boundless. You are absolute master of the world you are building. And what is so wonderful is that by creating imaginary destinies you can see more clearly into yourself and our whole human condition.”