monique polak

Monique Polak's Books

1 minute reading time (275 words)

Visit to John Abbott College

I spent yesterday afternoon at John Abbott College, where I spoke to Deirdre King's Journalism class. Lately, when I've been doing school visits, I've been speaking mostly about being a YA writer -- so this was a change for me. But part of what I spoke about was the link between being a reporter and writing fiction. Reporters have to get things right; fiction writers can play with the facts in order to tell a good story. But as I told the students yesterday, writing fiction often requires a lot of research. I never realized that until I started my first fiction project. I was pleased (and impressed) that so many of Deirdre's students said they hope to write professionally. A few already write for the John Abbott newspaper, which, of course, is great training and experience for them. I often wish I'd been involved in school newspapers at college and university -- that way, I'd have gotten back to writing sooner. During yesterday's visit, I also mentioned an interview I read in last week's National Post with Dave Eggers, an American writer best known for his memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, in which he tells the story of raising his little brother after the death of their parents. Asked what kind of project he's now interested in, Eggers says something really interesting and important about journalism: "I wanted to recommit to what I'd been taught in journalism school: Use the medium to give voice to those who might not have one and a platform to effect change." Now that's something for all writers -- journalists and novelists, too -- to think about!!
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Comments

Guest
Guest - Marilyn on Sunday, 09 December 2007 02:32

Hello Monique. Im Marilyn and you visited my journalism class at John Abbott. You told me to write to you about good journalism schools. Thanks!

Hello Monique. Im Marilyn and you visited my journalism class at John Abbott. You told me to write to you about good journalism schools. Thanks!
Guest
Guest - Sophie B. X. on Monday, 10 December 2007 21:46

(Still remember me?) I actually read half of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius but had to stop to study for exams last year. I still own a copy, so I'll probably finish it during the holidays. I should be studying for Biology instead of writing this comment, but one does need a break from zoology. I'm planning to finish reading Vanity Fair, Kidnapped and Great Expectations this winter. I don't understand why you gave Vanity Fair level 4, the highest degree of difficulty/complexity, on your reading list. The language is old fashion, but the story is so charming and graceful, so perhaps I haven't read enough yet to get the real theme of the story?

OH, I really like your web-site, it's cute.

(Still remember me?) I actually read half of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius but had to stop to study for exams last year. I still own a copy, so I'll probably finish it during the holidays. I should be studying for Biology instead of writing this comment, but one does need a break from zoology. I'm planning to finish reading Vanity Fair, Kidnapped and Great Expectations this winter. I don't understand why you gave Vanity Fair level 4, the highest degree of difficulty/complexity, on your reading list. The language is old fashion, but the story is so charming and graceful, so perhaps I haven't read enough yet to get the real theme of the story? OH, I really like your web-site, it's cute.
Guest
Guest - Phil Cutler on Tuesday, 11 December 2007 00:08

Good evening Monique,
I found your visit with us at John Abbott very helpful and I am sure most of the other students did as well. I have loads of ideas for great human interest stories, but I'm not exactly sure how/where you are supposed to submit them. You seem to have loads of experience doing exactly that so any help would be great and much appreciated.
Typing with my arms crossed,
Phil Cutler

Good evening Monique, I found your visit with us at John Abbott very helpful and I am sure most of the other students did as well. I have loads of ideas for great human interest stories, but I'm not exactly sure how/where you are supposed to submit them. You seem to have loads of experience doing exactly that so any help would be great and much appreciated. Typing with my arms crossed, Phil Cutler
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