Toronto Writing Workshop

Public-Facing Writing for Academics

Toronto Writing Workshop at JHIThis week-long intensive workshop is designed for academic writers in the humanities and humanistic social sciences who wish to reach broader publics. Participants will be given strategies for writing for different audiences and for disseminating their work in non-academic channels. They will learn strategies drawn from creative non-fiction, journalism, and public writing, such as narrative structure, character development, voice, and point of view.

May 11-15, 2020 Workshop

This year’s workshop will be led by Professors Eva-Lynn Jagoe and Gretchen Bakke, two scholars committed to engaging non-academic audiences with their research and writing.

Eva-Lynn JagoeEva-Lynn Jagoe is an Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Spanish. She is the author of Take Her, She’s Yours (2020), a nonfiction memoir, and teaches courses on critical and creative nonfiction. She has been co-organizer of this workshop, as well as of Banff Research in Culture.

Gretchen BakkeGretchen Bakke is a professional writer with extensive experience writing for both academic and non-academic readership.  Author of The Grid: The Fraying Wires between Americans and our Energy Future (a 2016 Bill Gates pick), and the ebullient genre-bending ethnography The Likeness (2020), Bakke is a Guest Professor of Anthropology at Humboldt University in Berlin.

Application Process

The workshop is limited to 14 spaces, with preference given to mid-level (Associate) professors and/or academic researchers who have published a previous book (academic or creative). All applicants must have completed doctoral work by May 10, 2020. The ideal candidate is a scholar who has a clear sense of their project and has done significant research, and who is in the early stages of writing a substantial book project. This workshop is not primarily intended for those who are hoping to adapt an existing academic manuscript.

To apply, you will need to submit the following:

  1. 500-word proposal of what writing you want to do (or are already doing) in this area and why
  2. 1-page CV
  3. Sample of Writing

Applications must be submitted through the JHI website. The deadline to apply is March 30, 2020.

All upload materials must be submitted in .pdf format.  You will need to upload all components of this application in one session; you will not be able to edit a previously submitted application. This workshop is not available via remote transmission; you must be able to commit to in-person attendance for the full five days, from 9-5 each day.

Before you can apply, you will need to set up a user account in the JHI website if you do not already have one. Please review the Call before applying, and leave yourself enough time to complete the process before the deadline.


For further information about the nature and structure of this workshop Please feel free to write to Eva-Lynn Jagoe or Gretchen Bakke. External (i.e., non-University of Toronto) participants are eligible for limited funding support toward the costs of travel and accommodation on a reimbursement basis. If you have questions about this funding, please contact JHI Director, Professor Alison Keith. For technical assistance with the JHI website, please contact Associate Director Kim Yates.

This workshop is generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the Humanities and the Jackman Humanities Institute at the University of Toronto, through the JHI’s Mellon-funded Humanities at Large initiative.  As a result, there is no tuition.

Participant Feedback About Previous Workshops

“I got more excited about writing that I have been in quite a while and it really expanded how I am thinking about the goals I have and the craft I want to develop.”

“This workshop was the best thing I did all year! [...] Nothing we did was not productive.”

[The workshop] "exceeded my expectations because I am leaving excited to write and work on this new project."

“This workshop is a fine example of JHI’s mandate to ‘enable humanities research to reach outside the university walls and engage with the wider public.’ By supporting 15 scholars in their efforts of public engagement not only do you increase the chances of our individual projects reaching the wider public but also we will be bringing our learning back to our home departments and universities so that we can spread the learning to others. THANK YOU!”

“It was transformative and eye-opening.”