about Rene & Writing

René Schmidt is a writer and retired teacher living near Trenton, Ontario. He and his wife are 'living the dream' on 40 acres of land. René says hello to all his former students. 


Professional Memberships René is a member of the Writer’s Union of Canada and he sometimes is a judge of the Union’s new short fiction writing contests. He belongs to The Spirit of The Hills Arts Group of Northumberland County and is a member of the Author’s Booking Service. René visits schools and libraries where he speaks about books, writing and editing to students and teachers. He has a current police check on file registered with the Toronto District School Board and Author's Booking Service.  See the Contact René page for booking him. 

Education  René Schmidt attended public and high schools in Ontario and Illinois. He studied Theatre Performance at Ryerson and graduated from York University with an Honours B.A. and a B.Ed. degree. René auditioned into the exclusive Creative Writing program at York where he wrote many short stories, play scripts and a novel. René was taught and encouraged by Canadian authors Clark Blaise, Mavor Moore, Matthew Corrigan, Sheldon Rosen, and Tim Wynne-Jones. Although René was able to sell some of his writing as early as 1980, he could not earn enough to write full time. René taught school for twenty-seven years in Scarborough and Northumberland County.    

Personal Life  René was born in Zaandam Holland in 1954 and immigrated to Canada in 1957. As a boy he was usually on another planet;  day-dreaming and making up stories in his head. His teachers weren't impressed. René spent several years after high school working, travelling by bicycle, truck and motorcycle and doing a wide variety of jobs including underground mine-worker, construction labourer, truck driver, upholsterer, and taxi-driver before returning to University.  René is married to Shirley and they have two sons; Adrian and Daniel. René retired from teaching in 2009 and recently served as director of a youth drop-in centre. He also taught Senior Drama at a local high school for a semester. René continues to write. 

On Writing  René will freely admit to a love-hate relationship with writing. He loves to write, but easily gets distracted, especially when the right words won't come. He loves when a story is finished and reads well, but he is seldom satisfied, so his stories are seldom finished. He re-writes dozens of times before he can let it go. Sending a story out for possible publication is hard because rejection is painful.  However, in René's filing cabinet, Rejection Letters are right next to Reviews - and so far he usually gets good reviews... 

Book Themes  Although René began writing fiction, he has found amazing stories while researching seventy-one Canadian Disasters over the years. He uncovered a trove of facts, events, and heroic stories embedded in the tragedies. He and four keen students began a book on Canadian Heroes many years ago and he still hopes to get it published someday. 

On Teaching  René is grateful for the years spent teaching students younger than his comfort level. Teaching them forced him to simplify his writing way more than usual and that was good for him.