Plums in the Icebox

Plums in the Icebox:

A Monthly Creative Writing Workshop for Health Practitioners 

Hosted by :

Shane Neilson MD, PHD  Assistant Clinical Professor (Adjunct), McMaster University, and Damian Tarnopolsky PhD, Writer-in-Residence, Health, Arts and Humanities Program, University of Toronto


Offered via Zoom. Last Wednesday of the month, 6pm-8pm, January-June 2021

Fee of C$200 for six sessions.

Plums in the Icebox is an ongoing creative writing workshop for health practitioners. Each month we meet via Zoom in a small group to share work, do some writing, give some feedback and -most of all- reconnect with our writing and reading. In between meetings we do more of the same via chat. Led by an acclaimed poet who is a practicing family physician and a novelist and playwright with long experience teaching narrative medicine, Plums in the Icebox is a supportive community for health practitioners looking to deepen and improve their creative and reflective writing. The ethos is craft-based. The approach is collaborative. The style is informal. But the stakes are high.

For more information visit:

To apply: please send a brief message to the organizers at outlining your interest in the workshop and telling us a little about your writing background and healthcare affiliation. We’ll be in touch shortly. Our first session of the new year is Wednesday January 27th, 6pm-8pm EST. Sorry: scholarships, reduced rates, bursaries, subventions, and the like are not currently available.

Plums in the Icebox

ONLINE 2020 Humanities and Workshop Series 🗓

YOU ARE INVITED: OBLIQUITY – Humanities and Medicine Workshop Series

OBLIQUITY was created at the University of Alberta in 2019 with a vision to dissolve the partition between the arts and the sciences while offering participants tools to cope with difficult situations they may endure. For individuals working in the healthcare field, the ability to process intense emotion and difficult situations is an essential skill for individuals working in the healthcare field yet tools to accomplish this feat can at times feel intangible. OBLIQUITY was created to respond to this impasse. We believe that the arts and sciences are two sides of the same coin – one entity with two unique characters. Kahlil Gibran captures this concept of duality best in his poem Of Joy and Sorrow: “Some of your say, ‘Joy is greater than sorrow.’ and others say, ‘Nay, sorrow is the greater.’ But I say unto you, they are inseparable. Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember the other is asleep upon your bed.”
The theme for this year’s series is INTER/SECTIONS – speakers have been invited to combine two topics that one may not normally associate together (with a focus on the humanities and medicine). Our first workshop will be held on Zoom on September 15, 2020 from 6-8pm MST.
If you would like to participate this year, please visit our website to register (see the link in our email signature). 
For ease, here is the direct link to register:
Please note: there is a separate link specifically for UofA Medical Students. If you are a UofA Medical Student please use this link. If you are not a UofA Medical Student, please use the link titled “External Registration.”
OBLIQUITY – humanities and medicine workshop series
University of Alberta

Writing as Craft in the Time of Covid-19- Some Spots Remain 🗓

Writing as Craft in the Time of Covid-19: 

A weekend digital writing retreat for health practitioners 

Led by Damian Tarnopolsky PhD
Health, Arts and Humanities Program, University of Toronto
and Shane Neilson MD
McMaster University
With special guest speakers
Madhur Anand, author of the acclaimed “memoir-in-halves” This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart 
and Ian Williams, winner of the Giller Prize for his novel Reproduction
Access via Zoom, August 14-16 2020. Course Fee: $500.00
For more information and to register: 
About this event: 
Learning how to write more expertly gives health practitioners a skill with which to build therapeutic relationships, improve patient outcomes, and live in a more engaged way. Led by expert faculty with long experience in teaching narrative medicine and writing in the health humanities, this virtual retreat offers participants a chance to re-tell the COVID narrative from a place of autonomy.
This weekend program will feature a variety of short lectures, workshops, discussions, and reading and writing activities for individuals and groups, designed for their effectiveness at distance and their use for  writers at every level.
Special guest sessions led by internationally acclaimed authors Ian Williams and Madhur Anand offer participants a unique opportunity to learn up close from masters of their craft; editorial advice and consultation on publishing opportunities will also be available.
We offer a respite from pandemic despair, and an invitation into artistic transformation.
Space is limited! For more information and to register, please visit 
Questions? Contact the organizers at