The Vast Inscape: Writing About Mental Health

To write is to reflect and ruminate, to follow the twists of one’s inscape and mine its vulnerabilities—this can be healing, but it can also intensify the wounds. Four writers—Meghan Bell, Triny Finlay, Shazia Hafiz Ramji, and Lindsay Wong—discuss the complexities and challenges of writing about mental health: how it can be both a source of inspiration and one of the greatest barriers to a writer’s “productivity” (ugh), how the ways we talk about “mindfulness” and “self-care” in popular culture can do more harm than good, and how to write responsibly about mental health in a culture that stigmatizes, marginalizes, and gaslights people who are struggling to stay “sane”—if there can be such a thing—in our mad and maddening world. Moderated by Lydia Kwa.

Event Type: Panel
Native Education College
Date: Sunday, March 10, 4:30pm – 6:30pm
Cost: Pay What You Can (recommended: $12.50)
ASL Interpretation Available by Request Before February 15, 2019


Meghan Bell is an editor, writer, and cartoonist, and the publisher and graphic designer of Room. Her writing has appeared in literary journals across Canada, including GrainThe New Quarterly, Prairie Fire, The Puritan, and The Minola Review.

Triny Finlay is a queer writer who lives in Fredericton. Her most recent poetry collection is You don’t want what I’ve got (Junction, 2018).

Shazia Hafiz Ramji is the author of Port of Being (Invisible Publishing), which received the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry.

Lindsay Wong holds a BFA in Creative Writing from The University of British Columbia and a MFA in Literary Nonfiction from Columbia University in New York City. The Woo-Woo: How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug-Raids, Demons, And My Crazy Chinese Family is her debut memoir.


Lydia Kwa‘s latest novel is a radically revised version of The Walking Boy (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2019), second in the chuanqi trilogy after Oracle Bone.