Category Archives: Breakfast Speakers 2016

Breakfast Meeting December 10

readings_jul2014Our annual Holiday Party and Member’s Readings will be held on December 10 th at Canadiana. A special breakfast menu will be served and there will be music, balloons, door prizes and and a fifty-fifty draw.  Come out and support fellow WEN members who will be reading their latest creations.  It promises to be an entertaining meeting.

Breakfast Meeting November 19

antanasAntanas Sileika (Antanas Šileika) is a Canadian novelist and critic.

He was born in Weston, Ontario – the son of Lithuanian-born parents.

After completing an English degree at the University of Toronto, he moved to Paris for two years and there married his wife, Snaige Sileika (nee Valiunas), an art student at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.  While in Paris, he studied French, taught English in Versailles, and worked as part of the editorial collective of the expatriate literary journal, Paris Voices, run from the upstairs room of the bookstore, Shakespeare and Company.

Upon his return to Canada in 1979, Antanas began teaching at Humber College and working as a co-editor of the Canadian literary journal, Descant, where he remained until 1988.

After writing for newspapers and magazines, Antanas published his first novel, Dinner at the End of the World (1994), a speculative story set in the aftermath of global warming.

His second book, a collection of linked short stories, Buying On Time (1997), was nominated for both the City of Toronto Book Award and the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour, and was serialized on CBC Radio’s Between the Covers. The book traces the lives of a family of immigrants to a Canadian suburb between the fifties and seventies. Some of these stories were anthologized in Dreaming Home, Canadian Short Stories, and the Penguin Anthology of Canadian Humour. In 2015, the book was long listed for Canada Reads and the Lithuanian translation was nominated for Book of the Year.

Antanas Sileika has worked frequently as a reviewer of books for radio, television, and print.

His third book, Woman in Bronze (2004), compared the seasonal life of a young man in Czarist Lithuania with his subsequent attempts to succeed as a prominent sculptor in Paris in the twenties. The novel was a Globe Best Book of that year.

He is the director for the Humber School for Writers in Toronto, and is a past winner of a National Magazine Award.

His most recent novel, Underground,  appeared from  Thomas Allen in 2011. The story is set in the underground resistance to the Soviet Union in the late 1940’s. It was named as one of the Globe and Mail’s 100 Best Books of 2011.

Breakfast Meeting October 15

Debby de Groot

Debby de Groot started her working life in the classified section of The Star in Johannesburg, and then moved on to publishing in 1982 with a seven-year stint at Harper Collins, and a small business representing publishers in outlying areas and sub-Saharan Africa. She also spent four years with Southern Book Publishers, as Sales and Marketing Director, before immigrating to Canada in 1997, and working on contract with Key Porter Books as Publicity Manager. After leaving Penguin Group (Canada) in 2006, where she was Director, Publicity and Marketing, she formed her own book pr consultancy, ddg Publicity and Marketing. Together with Meisner Publicity and Promotion, the company re-formed as Meisner, de Groot & Associates early in 2008.



Breakfast Meeting September 17

travis_belangerTravis Belanger is the founder and owner of MKTG 101, a budgeted marketing solutions firm for individuals and smaller businesses. After graduating from high school with his first business, and the valedictorian, director, and entrepreneurship awards; he enrolled in the Business Administration program at Brock University. His university career culminated in numerous, invaluable marketing experiences. In his third year, he planned a strategic partnership that resulted in him being placed in charge of a major marketing initiative for a week-long conference in Las Vegas. As graduation approached Travis saw the societal gap in the employment of new, talented graduates. He saw creative, hard-working students who would graduate and be unable to secure meaningful employment. Travis created MKTG 101 with the intention of building the experience of these talented students so they would be able to excel in the workforce after graduation. On the opposite side, individuals and businesses without a large marketing budget are provided an affordable option. Since the inception of MKTG 101, Travis has been involved in every project taken. His experience with finding cost effective solutions for any project has helped numerous clients in a range of industries including: bridal, construction, music, energy, education, events, and literary.

Breakfast Meeting June 18

rosmarinLeonard 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 Wesleyan University, 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 the University 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.”

Breakfast Meeting May 21


Sean E. Livingston is a Naval Reserve officer with the CAF, as well as a teacher and Sea Cadet instructor. For over a decade, he has researched and promoted the history of HMCS Oakville, keeping its memory and story alive. His book Oakville’s Flower has just released and it is a must read!
Sean: Oakville’s Flower: The History of HMCS Oakville tells the story of a Second World War Corvette that was christened in, and named after, the town of Oakville.  Despite its exciting naval career, and the valour displayed by its crew during the war, memory of the ship and its heroic deeds was all but forgotten.  The book reveals the deep connection the people of Oakville had with their namesake warship, a unique bond that stirred deep feelings of patriotism, loyalty, and love.  Oakville’s Flower not only brings to light the story of this ship and the community that supported her, but also reveals how its memory is being kept alive in the community from which it is named.  It is more than just a history of a ship – it is a revelation of how Canadians, both at sea and at home, did their part when the world was in crisis.   Although the book will naturally be a pleasure for fans of naval history, it is a story anyone can read and appreciate.  I hope people enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.

Breakfast Meeting April 16

anthonydesaAnthony De Sa grew up in Toronto’s Portuguese community. His short fiction has been published in several North American literary magazines. Barnacle Love is Anthony’s first book. It was critically acclaimed and became a finalist for the 2008 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the 2009 Toronto Book Award.

His novel, Kicking the Sky, was released in September, 2013. The novel was set in 1977, the year a twelve-year-old shoeshine boy named Emanuel Jaques was brutally raped and murdered in Toronto. It was finalist for the 2014 Libris Award, the Canadian Authors’ Association Fiction Award 2014, and the 2014 Toronto Book Award.

Breakfast Meeting March 19

shanejosephShane Joseph is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers in Toronto, Canada. He began writing as a teenager living in Sri Lanka and has never stopped. Redemption in Paradise, his first novel, was published in 2004 and his first short story collection, Fringe Dwellers, in 2008. His novel, After the Flood, a dystopian epic set in the aftermath of global warming, was released in November 2009, and won the Canadian Christian Writers award for best Futuristic/Fantasy novel in 2010.His latest release is In the Shadow of the Conquistador, a novel set in Peru and Canada. His short stories and articles have appeared in several Canadian anthologies and in literary journals around the world. His blog at is widely syndicated.

His career stints include: stage and radio actor, pop musician, encyclopaedia salesman, lathe machine operator, airline executive, travel agency manager, vice president of a global financial services company, software services salesperson, publishing editor, project manager and management consultant.

Self-taught, with four degrees under his belt obtained through distance education, Shane is an avid traveller and has visited one country for every year of his life and lived in four of them. He fondly recalls incidents during his travels as real lessons he could never have learned in school: husky riding in Finland with no training, trekking the Inca Trail in Peru through an unending rainstorm, hitch-hiking in Australia without a map, escaping a wild elephant in Zambia, and being stranded without money in Denmark, are some of his memories.

After immigrating (twice), raising a family, building a career, and experiencing life’s many highs and lows, Shane has carved out a niche in Cobourg, Ontario with his wife Sarah, where he continues to work, write, and play in a rock band.

Shane Joseph, believes in the gift of second chances. He feels that he has lived many lives in just a single lifetime, always starting from scratch with only the lessons from the past to draw upon. His novels and stories reflect the redemptive power of acceptance and forgiveness.

Breakfast Meeting February 20

Introducing Sherri Sanjurjo, also known as ‘Dymond’, a woman filled with a deep compassion for youth everywhere. 
At the age of 19 Dymond quickly got to work and started motivationally speaking to youth in various community centers and local youth groups. From there she pioneered a youth outreach sports program along with a youth committee for youth at risk at a local church. She has also worked with youth in Peel and Toronto District high schools partnering with programs such as the “Freedom Writers” program, Drama & English programs, and has been a keynote speaker for Black History month in various high schools.


Today Dymond has completed her first book called The Metamorphosis: A Dymond Story, a non-fiction narrative that candidly gives us a look into the life of Dymond from the age of eight to eighteen.  We get to travel with her from New York City’s South Bronx to Toronto’s inner-city Jungle.