Award-winning Toronto poet Jacob Scheier offers perspectives on mental illness and disability in reading at Brandon University

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Toronto poet Jacob Scheier offers personal perspectives on writing about mental illness and disability in a public reading and talk at Brandon University on Nov. 29.

Scheier’s most recent collection of poetry, Is This Scary? (2021), explores chronic mental and physical illness, areas of his writing that emerge from personal experience.

According to Anna Mehler Paperny, author of the bestselling Hello I Want to Die Please Fix Me, Scheier’s latest book “reminds you of how vital it is to be understood, even when enduring what’s impossible to convey.”

Scheier is the author of three book-length poetry collections with ECW Press, including More to Keep Us Warm, which won the Governor General’s Award for Poetry in 2014.

His poems have been published in numerous magazines, journals, and anthologies, and have been nominated for the National Book Award and long-listed for the CBC Poetry Prize.

In addition to his poetry writing, Scheier facilitates workshops on writing about disability, illness, and grief.

In one of his workshops, participants work toward making their experiences of illness and disability “speak to others in evocative and sometimes provocative ways,” he says. “There is no limitation on what counts as illness or disability.”

His workshop on writing about grief was inspired by his experience as a peer-facilitator of support groups for bereaved young adults. He has an academic background in Disability Studies. He will address grief writing at his BU reading and encourages questions from the audience.

Scheier’s personal essays have appeared in various publications, including the Globe and Mail and Brick. At present he is working on a linked collection of personal essays on chronic illness and secular Judaism.

He taught creative writing at Brandon University in 2011–12 and is back in Manitoba again as the writer-in-residence at the Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture at the University of Manitoba.

Scheier will present his reading and talk in hybrid form, appearing over Zoom before an in-person audience at Brandon University in Rm 104, Clark Hall, from 12:40 – 1:20 pm on Nov. 29.  To join via Zoom, use the link In-person admission is free and open to all.

The English, Drama, & Creative Writing Literary Exchange speaker’s series is supported by the Dean of Art’s Office and the Department of English, Drama, & Creative Writing at Brandon University.

For a Toronto Quarterly interview with Scheier, go to


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