Isle Madame author to lead memoir writing workshop

D’ESCOUSSE: Isle Madame author and memoirist Marjorie Simmins is excited to be teaching on home turf for a change.

“I usually teach my memoir workshops at Thinkers Lodge in Pugwash, or Halifax, or Vancouver,” says Simmins, who was raised on the West Coast, but has lived in Nova Scotia for over 20 years, “so it’s a treat to be teaching in Port Hawkesbury.”

Simmins is particularly pleased that the workshop is sponsored by the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, of which she is a long-standing member.

“If you are thinking about any kind of writing, from life stories to fiction to poetry or anything else, joining the Fed is the best money you’ll ever spend,” she says. “They’ve been inspiring and supporting writers in Nova Scotia for over 40 years. The membership is worth it for the newsletter, alone – and the Christmas party!”

Simmins tailor-makes her workshops to suit writers of all levels of experience.

“I don’t care if you’ve never written down a word of your life story,” she says. “If you can tell me why you want to write your memoir, I can tell you how.”

Or, she says, people might even discover the why that day.

“I love see the lightbulbs go on,” she says. “It’s probably my favourite part of teaching to see people off and running with their stories.”

As for storytelling in Cape Breton generally, Simmins says, “Who doesn’t tell a good story here?”

The day-long workshop will feature discussions, readings, and writing exercises.

“Essentially,” says Simmins, herself the author of two non-fiction books, Coastal Lives, and Year of the Horse, “the workshop covers how to get started, keep on, and finish a memoir, along with ideas for structure.”

Related to that, she says, “Sometimes people don’t realize how much choice they have. There are so many ways to create a memoir.”

Simmins is delighted that the workshop will be held in a comfortable and inspiring venue.

“We are lucky to have the boardroom at EMM Law,” says Simmins. “The view out over the Strait of Canso is breathtaking.”

She adds that she is grateful to the law firm for their support of the arts in the community of Port Hawkesbury.

Writing the Stories of Our Lives is scheduled for Saturday, September 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the EEM Law building at 409 Granville Street.

For more information or to register, contact the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia, at 902.423.8113, or on-line at: