Toronto Public Library Homepage

This page has been archived and is no longer updated.


May 23, 2011 | Elizabeth Ruth | Comments (0)


Wow! It's hard to believe that my residency is almost over. Just last week I was still reviewing manuscripts and now I'm preparing for the farewell event on Wednesday.

During my time with TPL, I've met many wonderful people, and I will miss all of you. But, before it's over, I hope you'll come by and say 'hello" or "goodbye" in person this wednesday between 6:30-8:30PM, when I, along with four excellent writers, will be reading and taking questions from the audience.

The four guest writers for the farewell event are: Phoebe Tsang, Max Hancock, E. Rose Hamilton, and Rebecca Bray. (Full event details can be found on the TPL website.) I chose these four to represent the program because each of them has produced work that is polished and precise, and reveals a fresh new voice. I know they'll motivate you.

To all the aspiring writers who came to see me and shared their stories, memoirs, and novel excerpts, you are each a testament to the importance of programs such as this one. I wish you good luck, and remind you once again that your writing is important, simply because it is yours. Keep going!





The Changing Book

May 13, 2011 | Elizabeth Ruth | Comments (0)

Hello everyone,

If you were at The Changing Book panel you already know what an illuminating evening it was. Each of the four panelists - Susan Swan, Sarah Sheard, John Degen, and Deanna McFadden - brought a unique perspective to the issue of e-books and e-publishing. While there were differing opinions about the impact of electronic books on writers and for readers, all panelists agreed that the technology was quickly and dramatically overtaking the sale of traditional books - sometimes referred to as "P" books. 

For me, it has been bewildering to watch the e-revolution in publishing unfold while I finish a third novel, and over the years I've wondered whether I'll ever write another novel again, not because I'll stop writing, but because what I write may be defined, produced and sold differently. And I've also wondered what it might be like to spend a few years writing another novel knowing that it may never actually exist in book form, that it may only every be a digital file.

As someone who creates stories that I hope will become permanent, lasting examples of how I see the world, the fact that my future novels may not be material artifacts produces a strangely nostalgic feeling. So, I must admit that I approached the event, and the subject of electronic books a little wistfully. However, to my surprise, after listening to the panelists and to audience, I left the event feeling much more hopeful and inspired. This e-revolution in books is merely beginning; no one can say what will happen next, or what new opportunities will emerge for writers. Certainly readers are happy (e-books are now outselling P-books in many regions) to have portable devices that allow them to purchase books and read stories anywhere, anytime. And I'm confident that writers, too, will find their place within this brave new world.


Off to a great start...

March 14, 2011 | Elizabeth Ruth | Comments (0)


Hi Everyone,

If you haven't yet been to one of my workshops or events, we've been having a fabulous time. The workshop on writing effective characters and developing conflict in fiction had close to one hundred registrants and it seemed to me, from the podium, that all of them turned out. Wonderful questions from the audience too. The audience always makes any event for me.

Last week-end I was at the Parkdale branch to offer a creative writing workshop for youth. The group was smart, engaged and we shared some good laughs, as well as some good writing. I'm looking forward to next Saturday when I will be giving the second youth workshop at the north york branch. 

Since this residency began I've been reading through submitted manuscripts. We were really lucky this year, to have more than double to usual submissions. There are obviously a great number of aspiring writers in Toronto. We selected by lottery, in other words randomly, and that was hard because I'm sure there was some great work that didn't get picked. One of the best things about reading through the submissions now is coming across little gems - a beautiful sentence, an inspired storyline, a unique protagonist. So far, I've had all three happen. 

Maybe I'll be meeting with you to talk about your work? Or, seeing you at one of the events. 

I'll post again soon.