Writing Through Your Fears, Regardless
Presented by Gerard Collins


9 a.m. to Noon
State Library

All writing involves fear: from the frightening blank page to critical reception, and, most important, the motivations and outcomes for our characters, who must overcome their fears in order to act with courage.

As Neil Gaiman says, “There are so many fragile things, after all. People break so easily, and so do dreams and hearts.” At the essence of humanity lies fear. Good writing depicts the most ordinary of people in their perilous moments—and they’re all perilous moments, for even the brightest of days can change so quickly. Our fears bring uncertainty, often suspense, and provide the basis of dreams, promises, disappointments, and nightmares, sometimes even victories—the stuff of great writing. Writers know what there is to fear (everything), where it’s lurking (everywhere), and how to deal with it.

In this workshop, where we will discuss great works of fear—from The Grapes of Wrath to The Handmaid’s Tale, from Dracula to The Vampire Lestat, from Pride and Prejudice to Normal People—we’ll explore the usefulness of anxiety and how to make those fears an integral part of our writing, regardless.

Michael Knight Photo

Gerard Collins is a Newfoundland writer, now living in New Brunswick, Canada whose first novel, Finton Moon, was nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award, Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic, the Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage and History Award, and has won the Percy Janes First Novel Award. In 2019, he turned the Finton Moon experience into a multi-media art exhibition, “The Book that Wrote Itself”. His short story collection, Moonlight Sketches, won the Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award. In 2021 his second novel, The Hush Sisters, published by Breakwater Books Ltd., won an international Next Generation Indie Book Award in the suspense category and was a finalist in the paranormal category. A lecturer at Memorial University for two decades and an occasional lecturer at University of New Brunswick, Gerard has a Ph.D. in American (Gothic) literature. He is an experienced leader of writing retreats and workshops in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Most recently, Gerard was invited to teach a Masterclass in creative writing by the Northrup Frye Festival. He lives in southern New Brunswick with his partner Jane and their protective black dog Finn, and he is currently working on everything.


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