Dear Aspiring Writers: I would love to teach you!

I’m excited to be an instructor with the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies, teaching the online course 1863 – Writing Short Fiction: Master Class.

I previously taught short fiction writing at The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education Creative Writing Program at Toronto Metropolitan University.


“Jessica, thank you so much for not only this incredible and priceless feedback on my first draft but for being such an incredible leader through this entire process. This class has totally exceeded my expectations, and pushed me more than I thought was possible—something clicked for me, and this is not my first writing class. It was however, my most memorable experience and I can honestly say that I have stretched further because of you as our instructor.” –Kelly Schnurr

“Jessica, I can’t tell you how validating your reflections and responses were; it was like you were in my head on so many elements of this short story—sincerely, thank you. This was a wonderful process and I learned a ton.”
–Michelle Barker

“I found this course very useful. I entered it as someone who’d never taken a writing class before, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I found Westhead to be a thoughtful teacher who had stimulating exercises, and always provided illuminating comments and notes on drafts and stories. I’d recommend her course to anyone looking for a class on writing short stories.” –Roz Milner

Dear Writing Groups: I would be thrilled to appear as a guest speaker at one of your meetings, offering lessons on craft, tips and tricks about the writing life, and a hands-on writing workshop and/or an in-person critique of writing samples that your members send me ahead of time. Please contact me to ask about fees and availability.

Dear Educators: I would be delighted to speak with your creative-writing classes! I love speaking with students about the writing process, passing along tips and tricks I’ve picked up during my writing career so far, and conducting fiction-writing workshops. Among other appearances, I’ve been the keynote speaker for a “New Directions in Canadian Short Fiction” panel co-hosted by the Canadian Authors Association, Iguana Books, Editors Toronto, and the Creative Writing Program at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies; and a frequent guest author at the Toronto District School Board’s Authors’ Day. I’ve been a workshop leader at the Oakville Public Library and at the White Pine Reading Celebration in Oshawa. I’ve also been a guest speaker at college and university creative-writing classes in Toronto; and a guest speaker and workshop leader for Writer’s Craft classes at high schools in the Toronto, Durham, and Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Boards, and at Havergal College in Toronto. I’ve also given writing talks to members of the Writers’ Community of Durham Region, the Writers’ Community of Simcoe County, and the Writers’ Community of York Region. Please contact me to ask about fees and availability.

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