Hajera Khaja

Hajera Khaja’s fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Joyland, The Humber Literary Review, Pulp Literature, and elsewhere. She was longlisted for the 2019 Writers’ Trust McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize. Hajera lives in Mississauga, Ontario, and is currently working on a short story collection. Learn more about her at hajerakhaja.com.

When I first started writing fiction, I bought books about writing and took writing workshops. I learnt a lot, what to do and what not to do, and collected some feedback on my work. But I still felt stuck.

It was when I signed up for The Story Intensive that my relationship with my writing really changed. It was the first time that I submitted writing in a class environment, where the focus wasn’t on critique, wasn’t on telling you what you were doing wrong, but on what you were doing right and how you could continue to grow as a writer. Getting that kind of feedback from my instructor and my classmates was so nourishing.

It was in that environment where I unearthed the stories that I really wanted to tell, and where I first began to believe that perhaps I could get as good as the writers that I admired. And I’m humbled and honoured to be able to play a small part in that journey, to walk along with other writers as they blossom and grow in their own writing and become more confident in their identity as writers.

We do eventually get to the critique part in the Intensive. But by that time, you will trust yourself as a writer, as a story-teller with unique and meaningful ways of looking at the world. And instead of making you wilt, that critique will empower you to move forward with your writing in new directions.

I’ve taken more writing courses since finishing the Intensive but I have yet to find one that is as complete and wholesome as this course. My writing was transformed here and I know yours will be, too.