My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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Teaching & Coaching

Winner, Excellence in Teaching Award, Creative Writing, U of T School of Continuing Studies.

Teaching

Beth's courses at the University of Toronto

I taught “True to Life: Writing Your Own Story” for 26 years at what is now Toronto Metropolitan University, until Covid shut us down in 2020. Since 2007 and ongoing, I have taught “Life Stories I” and “Life Stories II” at the University of Toronto. The course currently runs Tuesday evenings on Zoom, so is open to students from around the world. It works extremely well on Zoom. https://learn.utoronto.ca/programs-courses/courses/2281-life-stories-i

“Life Stories I” is for anyone, both experienced and inexperienced, interested in finding inspiration, structure, and support for their personal writing. “Life Stories II,” which runs only in the winter term, January and February, is for writers who have taken Life Stories I and wish to continue with me, or who have a great deal of writing experience.

The courses explore the kind of writing I love and write myself: creative nonfiction, specifically memoir and personal essay.

Some of my students have never written a single “creative” word, a few have been published but are now stuck, and most are somewhere in between — they have always wanted to write or wrote when younger but stopped, and they need structure, encouragement, and practical feedback.

It’s my job to help them find their most vital stories, the courage and discipline to get the stories down, and the technique to make their narratives compelling for others to read.

Although, for me, students have achieved success when they find satisfaction in their writing work, there’s another kind of success that also makes me proud: stuffed in a large box in my office are published books, essays in anthologies, magazines, and newspapers, and writing prizes won by my students.

If you’re interested in studying with me and have questions, please get in touch via the Contact page on this website.

Beth’s courses at the University of Toronto

Teaching

Winner, Excellence in Teaching Award, Creative Writing, U of T School of Continuing Studies.

I taught “True to Life: Writing Your Own Story” for 26 years at what is now Toronto Metropolitan University, until Covid shut us down in 2020. Since 2007 and ongoing, I have taught “Life Stories I” and “Life Stories II” at the University of Toronto. The course currently runs Tuesday evenings on Zoom, so is open to students from around the world. It works extremely well on Zoom. www.learn.utoronto.ca

“Life Stories I” is for anyone, both experienced and inexperienced, interested in finding inspiration, structure, and support for their personal writing. “Life Stories II,” which runs only in the winter term, January and February, is for writers who have taken Life Stories I and wish to continue with me, or who have a great deal of writing experience.

The courses explore the kind of writing I love and write myself: creative nonfiction, specifically memoir and personal essay.

Some of my students have never written a single “creative” word, a few have been published but are now stuck, and most are somewhere in between — they have always wanted to write or wrote when younger but stopped, and they need structure, encouragement, and practical feedback.

It’s my job to help them find their most vital stories, the courage and discipline to get the stories down, and the technique to make their narratives compelling for others to read.\

Although, for me, students have achieved success when they find satisfaction in their writing work, there’s another kind of success that also makes me proud: stuffed in a large box in my office are published books, essays in anthologies, magazines, and newspapers, and writing prizes won by my students.

If you’re interested in studying with me and have questions, please get in touch via the Contact page on this website.

From former students

“Thanks for all your guidance and support. I will always have a special appreciation for you, who gave me the courage, direction and support I needed to step into an unknown and scary world of writing. You are a very good teacher, an understanding and open-minded person, and above all a kind and caring human being.”
ALI AFKHAMI, IT consultant
“My memoir in essays will be published next year. It deals with a lot of the same stuff I used to write about in class — growing up Black and American in Canada. And thanks again for all your help so far. Writing about myself was a very VERY different challenge for me, but you really helped me solve the puzzle.”
MORGAN CAMPBELL, sportswriter, author
“You provide so many learning moments (e.g., snags, suitcases, etc.). I find it all fascinating and so helpful. Your methodology is excellent and while I wish I had the opportunity to study with you in person, you have mastered virtual instruction.”
ELLEN FOSTER
“I wanted to share my exciting news! One of my stories will be published in an anthology by Mosaic Press. You will no doubt recognize my piece. Thank you for all the encouragement you gave me in my writing life!”
JENNIFER BOYLE

I know I have lived when I have told you my story.” —Spalding Grey

Coaching

I work privately on an hourly basis, online and in my home in downtown Toronto, as an editor, mentor, and writing coach. I help with editing, preparing a manuscript, recharging. I can also get you set up and launched.

Of the writers who’ve worked with me, a number have had pieces in magazines, newspapers, and story anthologies; they’ve published books with various presses. Long-time student Margaret Norquay’s first book, Broad is the Way, was published by WLU Press when Margaret was 86.

I would be happy to hear from you. Please see the Contact page for my email and addresses.

From coaching clients

“It was a huge thrill for me to find just what I was hoping for— an empathetic brilliant insightful voice to give me tools to get on track in this massive new undertaking. ”
SUSAN KASTNER, international journalist and columnist
“Before we connected, I was feeling muddled and grumpy. The experience of working with you has restored my self-confidence and energy level. I now have a direction for next steps that are clear and doable. You taught me a lesson in generosity, patience, and persistence in memoir writing I’ll never forget. With your guidance the book sold over 3000 copies.”
LUCINDA HAGE, author, What Time is the 9:20 Bus? A journey to a meaningful life.
“I thank you so much for your meticulous feedback and your strong encouragement. I was amazed looking over my pages at how much you zeroed in on and how right you are in all your suggestions. You make it all seem possible. I have a ton of work stretching out before me, but I couldn't ask for more astute guidance as I wade in.”
JANE FIELD, activist, author, What are you waiting for? Travelling with CIDP.
“I won 2nd prize in the T.O. Star short story contest!!!!! For my story the Whirlpool. Excellently edited by my friend Beth Kaplan. $2000! Woohoo!!!!”
LAUREL CROZA, prize-winning author, I Know Here and other books

Workshops

Write in the Garden

Once a month during the summer, usually in July, I run a “Write in the Garden” workshop, a one day, intense, write-on-the-spot gathering in my long, lush backyard. I announce the date in my newsletter and on my blog, or those interested can email to enquire.

Words from attendees

“You have a special gift for creating a safe learning environment and for supporting all our efforts. You seem to have this endless well of positive things to say without ever passing judgment. It was a joy to be there with you and the others. Your garden is magical and you created a magical day for me.”
ANN

Life stories well written, well told

So True

Over and over, in my memoir and personal essay writing courses, a student would read a hilarious or powerfully moving true story and I would think, more people should hear this. Finally I started a reading series, so they could.

Eight carefully chosen and well-rehearsed writers read their most important work about life-changing episodes, funny, tragic, and everything in between. At the end, I talk and read too. The event is held twice a year in a warm comfortable space on the second floor of the Black Swan on the Danforth. Our crowds have become so big that we may have to move. But for now, that’s our spot.

Hope to see you there. 

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