The Mill

4:30 p.m.


The Eden Mills Writers’ Festival is a proud supporter of emerging writers. During this session you’ll hear from some of the most exciting upcoming writers from The University of Guelph Creative Writing MFA program, and our Read at the Fringe 2023 contest winners.

The University of Guelph Creative Writing MFA is one of the premier graduate writing programs in this country. Among our graduates are such Canadian literary notables as Jael Richardson, writer, commentator and artistic director of The Festival of Literary Diversity; Ayelet Tsabari, winner of the Sami Rohr Prize for International Jewish Literature; Liz Howard, winner of the Griffin Prize for Canadian Poetry, Governor General’s Award-winning dramatist Robert Chafe; and Canadian Screen Award-winning Canadian director and screenwriter Kathleen Hepburn, among many others who are remapping the Canadian cultural landscape. Join us for a series of short readings by six current MFA students. Prepare to be tantalized, awestruck, thrilled – and left wanting more. Get a taste of the work of some phenomenal emerging writers and say that you heard them here first.

2023 presenters:

  1. Alanna Schwartz
  2. Jennifer Venner
  3. Alex Cafarelli (host)
  4. Zahra (Ira) Haghnegahdar
  5. K.R. Byggdin
  6. Phillip Dwight Morgan 

The University of Guelph Creative Writing MFA, part of the University of Guelph’s College of Arts, is located at the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto. For more information go to:

Read at the Fringe is the EMWF’s long-standing contest for emerging writers that awards winners the opportunity to read their work at the festival. Submissions are reviewed by a panel of judges through a blind process, and a winner is selected in each of the three categories (Fiction, Nonfiction and Poetry). The Fringe has a long tradition of winners who have gone on to great success, returning to the EMWF as published authors, including andrea bennett, Anthony DeSa, Kim Echlin and Alison Pick.

2023 Read at the Fringe Literary Contest Winners

Doley Henderson, “Wild Mustard” (Creative Nonfiction)

Doley Henderson is a Toronto/ T’karonto-based writer of fiction and creative nonfiction published in Canadian and US journals and anthologies. A graduate of The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University, Doley is an MFA candidate at the University of King’s College in Halifax. She has drafted a novel, Sea Change, a collection of vignettes, and is writing a mother-daughter memoir about scoliosis, Just Put on Some Lipstick. At open-mics, she shares stories of resilience, travel adventures, and magical connections. World music inspires her; writing fills her with joy; and family keeps her dancing on and off the page.

Liz Johnston, “The Fall Down Effect” (Fiction)

Liz Johnston lives and writes in Toronto. Her stories have appeared in The Fiddlehead, Riddle Fence, The Humber Literary Review, Grain, The Antigonish Review, and The Cardiff Review, among other publications, and she has an essay forthcoming in the September/October issue of Poets & Writers. She is an editor of Brick magazine.

Pujita Verma, “Rentrer (v)” (Poetry)

Pujita Verma is an Indo-Canadian poet and illustrator. Recently, she won the 2023 League of Canadian Poets Broadsheet Contest and was a runner-up for the Janice Colbert Poetry Award. She was also the Youth Poet Laureate of Mississauga and a Poetry In Voice National Finalist. Pujita has taken creative writing classes at Western University and the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies. She will be a resident at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity this Fall and is working on her debut poetry collection.

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