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“Buy this book. Keep it on your bedside table. Buy several copies and give them away. Give a copy to every young writer you know. Give it to every writer you know. Use it in workshops. Take it on a plane journey. Take it fishing. Use it to take your mind off the pain of a hooked finger. Use it as a divining tool. Use it to cut the crap.”
—Michael Kenyon, The Malahat Review

Workbook: memos & dispatches on writing, a collection of memos, aphorisms, rants, provocations, and fragmentary essays published by ECW (misFit editions), October 2011

• Second printing, June 2016
• Third printing, January 2017

“A perceptive and lovely book for the writer in your life. Heighton's ‘memos and despatches on writing’ offer insight and advice. Often contradictory, there are intriguing observations on what it means to be a writer. Just one: ‘Writers have no monopoly on poverty, humiliation, or aggressive inner demons. Close your door and get on with it.’”
—Nuala ni Chonchuir, The Gloss (Ireland)

“More extended poem than writing guide … I would encourage readers to approach Workbook with a poet's mindset—to simply digest Heighton's wisdom, letting it nourish the parts of the brain that are made for play … It's to Heighton's credit that his dispatches so wholly resist universalization.” —Andrew McDonald, Event

“This book is an embarrassment of riches… Every section is deft, dry and delightful.” —Numéro Cinq

Workbook contains lots of good, well-thought out advice said well… [with] a complexity and a keen-eyed vision of literature and the world… Heighton as character, hero of the workbook on writing, exhibits his own contradictions even in this finely pared down work of many years. And it's a stronger work for it. Of the genre, certainly, one of the better.” —National Post

“Not so much a how-to or a classroom guide as… a glimpse into the mind of an artist fully engaged in his craft. [The memos] read like flashes of insight, sparks struck from the forge of a working writer.” —Kingston Whig-Standard

Publisher's description:

Since selections first appeared in the New Quarterly and the National Post's online Afterword, Steven Heighton's memos and dispatches to himself — a writer's pointed, cutting take on his own work and the work of writing — have been tweeted and retweeted, discussed and tacked to bulletin boards everywhere. Coalesced, completed, and collected here for the first time, a wholly new kind of book has emerged, one that's as much about creative process as it is about created product, at once about living life and the writing life.

Selected links:

  • THE NEXT CHAPTER: Shelagh Rogers' CBC interview of Guy Gavriel Kay along with Steven Heighton, who talks about his essay "Given to Inspiration," from Workbook
  • A FEW MEMOS TO MYSELF: an essay from Workbook
  • ON TRYING TO WEAR AL'S SHIRTS: an essay from Workbook
  • ECW PRESS: read more excerpts and purchase Workbook
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