Reality Skimming
11Jul/12Off

Why SF#2: Hiromi Goto

Why SF? Asking kindred spirits in the SF community the story of why they give back and create forward.

HiromiHiromi Goto's many awards include the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book in the Caribbean and Canada (1994) and the James Tiptree Jr. Memorial Award. She is an active member of the literary community, a writing instructor, editor and the mother of two (big) children. She has served in numerous writer-in-residencies and is currently in BC, working on an adult novel and a graphic novel.

Photo by S. Goto.

A Chat with Hiromi Goto

Lynda: Describe the mentorship program you'll be heading up and what makes it different from other courses in creative writing

Hiromi:The Writer's Studio is a one-year writing program that meets bi-weekly in the evenings or Saturdays which means that you can develop your writing alongside your career/job and family needs. All of the details can be found here: . (Please note genre and/or YA fiction has not yet been included into the website.) I've been newly enlisted to mentor a group of writers seeking to take their writing to the next level in genre fiction and/or YA fiction. Until now writers of genre fiction and/or YA fiction were required to explore their craft under general fiction. With the opening of a new section writers can speak more directly to the challenges specific to these forms. I.e. world-building in fantasy or science fiction. My own writing practice ranges between stories of the fantastic, horror, conventional literary short stories, sf, YA crossover dark fantasy, etc. so I'm in an ideal position to speak to many forms of fiction. I can't claim to have expertise in, say, Romance or Mystery per se. However, all forms of genre will be taken seriously. This may very well be the first time (if not in a very long time) that genre fiction is being taught in a long-term workshop setting in this city. I'm very excited!

Lynda: Why do you think it's important to mentor writers?

Hiromi:Mentoring is a form of shared learning-- between the mentor and the mentee (odd word...). The framework of mentorship creates a kind of relationship that has greater flexibility and elasticity; it is possibly less hierarchical. Certainly the absence of the requirement to grade writing submissions creates a learning environment far less fraught. I also think that mentoring is a way of giving back to a larger writing community that has nurtured me as I made my way, first, as a student of writing who then went on to become a professional writer. We are interconnected-- all small pieces of a greater body. TWS has one of the highest ratios of instructional contact hours per tuition dollar of any creative writing program in North America. Even more importantly TWS focuses on the development of community. This is essential to the long-term practice of writing after the writing courses have been completed. You'll also gain hands-on experience in working on the program magazine, emerge, and develop skills not only in the specifics of writerly craft but also the wider realities of being a professional writer. I'm a little old-school in terms of focussing on specific skills development needed in order to boost one's writing level. Although I have great faith in the soft-learning gained through workshopping I also think that time spent talking specifics about story elements as well as assigning homework assignments (optional of course!) can really boost competency and excellence.

Lynda: How do interested writers apply? And by when? How can they contact you with questions?

Hiromi:The deadline for application for the next program (which begins January 2013) is October 31. Details can be found here. Please note that there are no guarantees that you will be placed with me as a mentor although you are welcome to request working with me. However, if your sample of writing clearly falls within the specifics of my mentoring group it is highly likely you will be placed with me should your application be accepted. I would also like to specify that the mentor group I'll be leading, genre and/or YA fiction, does not meant that writers of YA fiction must be writing in a genre form (i.e. Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Weird, Romance, Mystery, Detective, etc.). Writers of YA realist fiction are welcome to apply. For more information about the program it would be best to send inquiries to twsinfo@sfu.ca. People looking for more information about me can visit my website: www.hiromigoto.com . If you'd like to get a greater sense of my approach to writing please check out some of my older blog posts pertaining to writing/craft/writing life et al.

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