monique polak

Monique Polak's Books

2 minutes reading time (462 words)

What My Writing Friends in Toronto are Up To...

When I was in Toronto last weekend, I didn't just attend the childen's writing conference I told you about -- I also made time for FUN. As I'm always telling my students, it's important to engage in what psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud called "pleasurable play." Time-out for having fun makes us happier, less stressed and more productive. 
On Friday, I had lunch with two ofmy closest friends, both of whom now live in Toronto. I met my friend Lisa Pelletier when we went to Snowlarks Ski School -- about 35 years ago!! And I met my friend Janet Emmett on our first day as students at Marianopolis College in 1977. Lisa is a therapist and Janet is a vice-president of YMCA Canada. When the three of us get together, there's never a shortage of stuff to talk about!!
I also met up with two of my writing friends in Toronto: Hadley Dyer and Jocelyn Shipley -- and today, I want to tell you what they're up to writing-wise. Hadley was my editor at James Lorimer and Co. I owe her a huge debt for being such a thorough and inspiring editor. She recently resigned from Lorimer so she could write full-time. Her first novel Johnny Kellock Died Today (HarperCollins) is a must-read. It won the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year Award and was recently nominated for the TD Children's Book Prize. The story is set in Nova Scotia, where Hadley grew up. On Friday night, Hadley and I had dinner at a wonderful vegetarian restaurant on Bloor Street, where we caught up and "talked shop." Hadley is nearly through the first draft of her next book. We also talked a lot about her new dog, Luke, and I was not surprised to learn that there's a dog in the upcoming book. 
On Sunday morning, before I caught the train home, I met up with another Toronto children's writer -- Jocelyn Shipley. Jocelyn and I met two years ago at Book Expo in Toronto and hit it off. I've read and thoroughly enjoyed Jocelyn's book Seraphina's Circle. It's a lot about sisters and secrets and I'd say it has a slightly old-fashioned charm (a little like Lucy Maude Montgomery's writing). That book was recently nominated for a Stellar Award. Jocelyn and Toronto children's writer Deborah Lougheed are co-editing a collection of short stories about daughters and mothers and body image. Their book, which has the very cool title Cleavage, is due out this spring with Sumach Press. 
There is something special about hanging out with old friends (like Lisa and Janet.) And there is also something special about meeting up with writing friends (like Hadley and Jocelyn) who share my passion for stories and face some of the same struggles I do. 
Okay, back to the writing!!
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Tuesday, 25 June 2024

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