‘Everybody gets a chance to be heard’: Series of adult creative writing classes coming to Westminster Church 

August 24, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

Creative expression is one way to improve a person’s mental health or help them make sense of the world. To help Dufferin County residents express themselves creatively, a local high school teacher is utilizing his writing and teaching skills to host creative writing classes for adults.

The weekly classes will run on Wednesdays from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., starting Sept. 6 at the Westminster Church (247 Broadway) and running for five consecutive weeks.

Anthony Carnovale, an Orangeville resident who teaches English at Notre Dame in Brampton, will be instructing the series of classes. The series is called “Blueprint,” and participants will learn the basic building blocks of telling a great story.

“It will be responding to prompts, listening to each other, sharing with each other, critiquing each other’s work in a safe space,” said Carnovale. 

He told the Citizen over the five-week course, participants will learn how to tell a good story in unique ways and take risks.

After the five-week Blueprint course, Carnovale said he wants to run a part two of the course where the participants further expand their writing skills once they build a strong foundation.

“I like to break the rules when it comes to story writing, but I think we need to learn the rules first,” said Carnovale. “So we’ll teach them the basics, and then we’ll teach them how to break the rules at some point and try to come up with something new and unique.”

He added, “Then the idea is always to bring it out to the community. It can’t be insular, it can’t stay within the group, it has to be shared.”

An avid reader himself, Carnovale said his love for books pushed him into writing them. And being an English teacher for 20 years, he partnered with Harry Posner, the Poet Laureate of Dufferin County and author of numerous novels, to teach creative writing about six years ago.

They ran workshops at the Orangeville Public Library and saw a need for programming to aid people’s mental health, so they started running classes for clients of Family Transition Place (FTP) and Kerry’s Place.

FTP aids women fleeing domestic violence, and Kerry’s Place provides support services for people with autism.

The creative writing participants from these organizations would build their writing skills over a few weeks before writing a short story, culminating in a community event.

At Kerry’s Place, Carnovale worked with autistic children and their siblings in a separate course.

“You think about the children who are living with autism… but we never think about the siblings of kids who are living with autism, or the parents, and they need breaks as well. They need programming as well, so we said, let’s try that,” Carnovale noted. 

“It’s just about finding creative ways to bring writing to communities that don’t necessarily get the attention that we think they might want, or need.”

Carnovale told the Citizen at its core, creative writing is about story-telling.

“It’s about the individual telling the story, but in some way, it’s about changing things as they are, and not to tell people what it should be, but just to think and make that attempt,” he remarked. “In the end, all we can do is try and so this group is my try.”

Carnovale said one day, he hopes to create a physical space in the community that offers literacy-based programming to help youth access books and resources. 

There are 12 open spaces for the creative writing class to maintain a small and intimate atmosphere. 

“That way everybody gets a chance to be heard,” Carnovale remarked.

To register for the classes, email

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