I’m the author of five nonfiction books, long-time teacher of creative writing at the University of Toronto, an editor, and former actor. Lover of Beatles, France, Jon Stewart, cheese, reading, and my garden, among much else.
News: Beth’s upcoming and recent events:
Recent Media Appearances
It’s been a busy time here at Bethkaplanwords Inc. I did two long interviews, one with Lisa Lucca, a vivacious writer and radio host in New Mexico, and the other for Vancouver book podcaster Joseph Planta, who reads deeply and asks great questions. On a visit to Ben McNally Books, Rupert McNally asked, on the spot, to tape a brief video of me speaking about my book and then about a favourite writer of my choosing; you’ll see who I chose. A third interview, conducted by my good friend Christopher Moore about putting together a memoir-in-essays, appeared recently on the Creative Nonfiction Collective’s website. Wish I could go to Barbados now and put my feet up, but no — onward.
My new Substack
Voila my new Substack. It’s called Touchpoints: a writer’s truth, and is about this particular writer at this particular stage of her life — what’s working, what’s not, what she’s trying to accomplish, and what she has given up on. Follow her journey as she struggles to get her words into the world. And even better, see pictures of her adorable cat, who does not appreciate literature.
Midlife Solo named Ben McNally Books bestseller
Midlife Solo was one of Ben McNally Books’ top ten bestsellers from November, alongside some other great books. Thank you to everyone who has read Midlife Solo so far and supported a wonderful local independent bookstore in the process.
Midlife Solo: Writing through chaos to find my place in the world
A single mother starting afresh in her forties struggles to come to terms with the messy complications of middle age.
An extraordinary life, written with tremendous heart, insight and humour.
—GLENDA MACFARLANE, Book Review Columnist, The Bridge newspaper
Loose Woman: My Odyssey from Lost to Found
To her own amazement, a mixed-up young actress finds herself in an extraordinary situation in the south of France and is changed forever.
I loved reading this hugely enjoyable book, page-turning and honest. And it’s funny!
—DAME HARRIET WALTER, one of Britain’s foremost actresses
True to Life: 50 steps to help you tell your story
A succinct, illuminating guide to writing memoir or anything else.
This book is fabulous: a user-friendly, down-to-earth accessible guide to writing.
—WENDY LITNER, Huff Post and TV writer, lawyer, former writing student
All My Loving: Coming of age with Paul McCartney in Paris
A teenaged girl spending a lonely year in Paris in 1964 keeps herself company with hilarious fantasies about the Beatles as she struggles to understand the world.
A lively, evocative, and moving memoir of a period, a girl, and a family.
—VALERIE HAUCH, former Toronto Star staff reporter
Finding the Jewish Shakespeare: The Life and Legacy of Jacob Gordin
A biography of the author’s great-grandfather, a titanic figure in the turbulent, mesmerizing world of the Yiddish theatre on the Lower East Side of New York.
This is a witty, shrewd and elegant book which tells a story of vital importance.
—TONY KUSHNER, Pulitzer, Emmy, and Tony award winning playwright and screenwriter
Teaching and Coaching
I’ve been teaching memoir and personal essay writing for thirty years at two Toronto universities. In 2012 I was given the Excellence in Teaching Award at the University of Toronto.
Born to Blog
As I started the Life Stories II class, the advanced section, on Zoom last night, I was about to tell