How It All Started

My formative years were spent in the rural outskirts of a small town. I attended a three-room schoolhouse situated on a dirt road originally cleared by Quaker settlers. During recess, I’d pet the velvety noses of cattle gathered along the playground fence.

At the dinner table, I shared stories chocked full of imagery. Perhaps it’s in the blood, as my fifth great-grandmother earned her keep by regaling hosts with Irish songs and lore.

I fell in love with the way books transported me to other places or times, and lit pathways to hope.

For several years, difficulties forced me to set aside books and beautiful words. But when the seas calmed, as they always do, the luxury of reading returned to me. Narratives revealed how to author one’s future. Protagonists proved that antagonists could be defeated by wit if not by might.

I remained an undiagnosed writer until stories began revealing themselves to me. Soon I conjured flawed characters navigating the social restrictions of their era. I unlatched the door to my imagination and said, “Come inside. You are home.”


Gwen Tuinman was born and raised in rural Ontario, and now resides on an urban homestead in Whitby, near Toronto. She graduated from Trent University with a B.A. focused on psychology and from Brock University with a B.A. in Education. Gwen is the creator of The Wild Nellies, a collective of diverse womxn creatives whose events raise awareness and funds for charities that help women escaping domestic abuse. In 2019, The Denise House/Sedna Women’s Shelter and Support Services recognized Gwen as a Woman of Courage. She is also a member of The Writers’ Community of Durham Region and The Brooklin Poetry Society. The Last Hoffman is her first novel.