Bruce Gillespie

A blog by freelance writer and editor Bruce Gillespie.

Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Looking for adoption stories

I’m excited to announce that Lynne Van Luven and I are embarking on a new book project, the call for which I’ve pasted below. We’d love your help in disseminating it as widely as possible to anyone you think might be interested.

Call for Submissions–Adoption Stories

Have you spent years wondering what caused your birth parents to give you up for adoption? Have you watched school children play on your street, wondering if one of them could be the baby you surrendered to social services? Have you wondered about the family history of your adopted child? If you have thought about such issues and are willing to write about your experiences in a personal essay, the editors of a new anthology of adoption stories to be published by TouchWood Editions want to hear from you.

Editors Bruce Gillespie and Lynne Van Luven are looking for personal accounts, clearly and honestly written, ranging from 2,000 to 4,000 words in length, for publication in an anthology reflecting an exchange of ideas and feelings by birth parents, persons once surrendered for adoption, and adoptive parents. You do not need to be a professional writer to contribute to this anthology, but you will be required to work with an editor to hone your submission.

Please submit, by October 1, 2009, a 300-word proposal that outlines the story you would like to tell, along with a short biography and your contact information. If you’ve already written a piece that fits the anthology’s focus, feel free to submit it. All essays must be submitted electronically, as Microsoft Word or Rich Text Files (RTFs), to editors Bruce Gillespie and Lynne Van Luven at

All first-draft essays must be received by December 15, 2009. 


Written by bgillesp

August 14, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Check out Checkerspot magazine

I have a story in the Fall/Winter 2008 issue of Checkerspot magazine, which came out earlier this week. If you aren’t familiar with this biannual magazine, you shouldn’t feel too out of the loop: Checkerspot is relatively new, having made its debut in August 2007. It’s published by the Canadian Wildlife Federation and is focused on engaging people in the fight against climate change. It’s a great read, and what’s even better is that you can subscribe for free!

My piece is a words-and-pictures feature about artists addressing climate change in their work. Photo editor Margaret Williamson came up with a fantastic collection of different types of art from all over the world, and then it was my job to write up an introduction and captions for each of the pieces. I’m really pleased with how the feature turned out and was thrilled with the opportunity to write about art and get paid for it, which doesn’t happen as often as I’d like!

Written by bgillesp

November 4, 2008 at 2:19 pm

Posted in Freelancing, Writing

Gone fishing

I have a story in the new issue of Canadian Geographic Travel magazine, which hits newsstands across the country this week. It is my account of the three days and two nights my partner and I spent camped out in an ice hut near North Bay, Ont., this past February.

As I say in the story, we aren’t the sort of guys you’d expect to find ice fishing, but I actually did a lot of it as a kid with my grandfather, so my editor, Patricia D’Souza, thought it would be fun for me (and readers!) to have another go at it.

Against almost all of my friends’ and family’s expectations, we had a really good time, which I chalk up to the hospitality of Scott Nelson, who owns Glen Echo Cottages, and our fantastic photographer, Harry Nowell.

You can check out a preview of the story here, but if you want to read the whole thing, and find out if we caught any fish, you’ll have to track down a copy of Canadian Geographic Travel.

Written by bgillesp

October 15, 2008 at 4:12 pm

Posted in Journalism, Writing

Going to school with David Leach

This is my last full day in Victoria, and I’ll be spending the afternoon at the University of Victoria. I’ll be speaking with one of David Leach‘s creative nonfiction classes about the challenges of writing and editing family memoirs. I’m looking forward to it because David is someone I’ve known by byline for many years, but I’ve never had the chance to meet him in person until this week. The former arts editor of Victoria’s Monday Magazine and the former managing editor of explore: Canada’s Outdoor Magazine, in Toronto, David is now a full-time assistant professor at UVic’s Department of Writing.

If you haven’t his book Fatal Tide, released this past spring by Viking Canada, I highly recommend it. Here’s a short description from the book jacket:

On June 1, 2002, sixty-eight after-work athletes and other “weekend warriors” set off from Saint John, New Brunswick, for a sweaty day of competitive adventure: 15 kilometres of trail running, 40K of mountain biking, and 12 kilometres of sea kayaking on the legendary Bay of Fundy. However, as a storm swept across the final paddling section, what began as a fun introduction to the sport of adventure racing soon turned into a tragedy that would haunt many of the participants for years to come.

Fatal Tide: When the Race of a Lifetime Goes Wrong is a work of investigative journalism that dramatizes, in the storytelling style of such non-fiction bestsellers as Into the Wild and The Perfect Storm, precisely what happened at the controversial Fundy Multi-Sport Race. Fatal Tide also explores the psychology of risk taking in the outdoors, the contemporary culture of reality TV and extreme sports, the science and treatment of hypothermia, as well as the legal and emotional fallout from the first death of an adventure racer in North America.

Admittedly, I don’t read a lot of adventure or travel writing, but David’s book is a compelling read that is hard to put down. It also went a long way toward explaining the appeal of adventure sports to someone like me, who would barely qualify as even an armchair adventurer. So, if you haven’t picked it up, you really should; you won’t regret it.

Written by bgillesp

October 2, 2008 at 10:57 am

Posted in Journalism, Writing