R.J. Anderson (Stratford ON)

Silver Birch nominee. Writers' Union Member. Author of thrilling yet thought-provoking speculative fiction for children and teens. $300 for one hour-long session, $525 for two, $750 for three, and $900 for a full day, plus mileage for visits outside local area. Willing to travel anywhere within a 150 km radius from Stratford (which includes most of the GTA); open to travelling further if accommodation and meals are provided.

R. J. (Rebecca) Anderson was born to missionary parents in Uganda, grew up in various parts of Ontario, and has become a bestselling author in England, to her great surprise and delight. Having endured years of bullying in primary school, she loves to encourage creative young minds and inspire readers to think deeply about prejudice and discrimination.

Presentations and Workshops:

Rebecca is a dynamic public speaker with 20+ years’ experience. Her passion is to inspire and educate young and upcoming writers, helping them find their creative voice and take their storytelling to the next level with practical, down-to-earth advice. She also gives lively dramatic readings — no droning or mumbling here!

Although she writes fantasy, Rebecca’s stories are grounded in real-world history, folklore and science, and many of her books feature distinctly Canadian characters and settings. Ultraviolet is set in Sudbury, its companion novel Quicksilver in Kitchener-Waterloo; and A Pocket Full of Murder and its sequel A Little Taste of Poison take place in an alternate-universe version of Toronto during the Great Depression. Her books also touch on serious discussion topics such as prejudice and discrimination (Pocket), disability (Knife), mental illness and neurodivergence (Ultraviolet), and Quicksilver has been widely praised for its frank but sensitive portrayal of asexuality.

In addition to visiting numerous schools, libraries, festivals, and after-school book clubs in person and via Skype, Rebecca has taught writing workshops at a wide variety of events including Packaging Your Imagination, SCBWI Canada East, Write!Canada, Book Camp London, and the Young Authors’ Conference. She is able to tailor her content to the needs and interests of her audience, including Christian and other conservative religious schools, and is happy to work with any age group from Grade 4 to adult.

Sample presentations for general school and library audiences:
- From Brainstorm to Bookstore: The Life Cycle of a Novel
- I Became an Author – You Could Too!
- The Real-World Roots of Fantasy and Science Fiction

Sample writing workshops:
- Finding Your Character’s Voice
- Revision: The Magic Key to Successful Writing
- Writing Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction
- Get (Un)Real: Writing Authentic Fantasy and SF
- Time Management and Motivation for Struggling Writers

Further topics available on request.

Needs:

Microphone for large audiences or rooms with poor acoustics. A small podium or note-stand and a table for books and other items used in the presentation. Bottled water or hot tea appreciated, and for full day bookings, a simple bagged or cafeteria lunch.

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Sue Irwin (Grimsby ON)

Writers’ Union Member. Niagara, ON. Teacher. Nominated for a 2017 Silver Birch Nonfiction award. Grades 3 to 8. $250 for one session, $400 for two, $600 for three, $800 for four, plus travel. Happy to do multiple visits in the same school or area in a day. Sessions are 45 to 60 minutes long. Skype visits $150 (45 to 60 min).

Sue Irwin enjoys every step of the writing process. A proud Canadian and avid hockey fan, she’s especially interested in the lives of her fellow-citizens, both famous and not-yet-famous. And she loves to share newly discovered facts with kids. Her work has appeared in AppleSeeds and Highlights for Children magazines. She has also written for Reading A-Z. Safety Stars: Players who fought to make the hard-hitting game of professional hockey safer is her first book.

An elementary school teacher, Sue is comfortable doing presentations with children from JK to Grade 8, but the subject matter of her book Safety Stars is most suitable for students in Grades 5 to 8. (Resource Guide.)

Having been a fan of the sport for as long as she can remember, Sue thought she knew the game well. But as she conducted her research for the book, she was excited to learn more about the history of the game, its rules, and the competitors themselves. All of the hockey players featured in Safety Stars are Canadian citizens, and many grew up in Ontario. When Sue comes to your school, she’ll highlight the hockey heroes from your hometown, whenever possible. Prepare to be surprised by the fun facts that she’ll share!

Sue’s presentation topics include:

– how she became interested in hockey. She’ll share memories of her first (embarrassing!) game experience.

– the exciting world of nonfiction

– the process of writing for publication (includes researching, writing, and revising)

– Ha, Ha! Hockey Talk (includes hockey trivia and funny quotes from professional players)

– how students’ actions can make a difference in the lives of others

– concussion safety (includes ways to reduce injury risk, concussion symptoms, the importance of reporting injuries, and treatment of concussions)

Sue enjoys interacting with her audience, and will intersperse opportunities for Q & A throughout her presentation.

Equipment and Other Requirements

Venues: Flexible, but the library or a classroom is preferred.

 

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Simon Shapiro (Toronto ON)

Nominated for 2017 Red Maple and Rocky Mountain Book Awards. Writers Union member. Passionate about sparking an interest in Science. $275 for one session, $475 for two, $650 for three, $800 for four (full day). Full day price can be split between neighbouring schools. Travel fee waived for Toronto and GTA.

Simon majored in Math, Applied Math and Computer Science and later completed an MBA at York University. After retiring from a career as an Information Technology professional, one of his interests has been writing books for children. He believes that it’s important for students to be STEM-literate (Science Technology Engineering and Math). He loves to spark kids’ interest in Science.

 

Presentations

Simon’s latest book, Faster, Higher, Smarter: Bright Ideas that Transformed Sports, nominated for both 2017 Red Maple and Rocky Mountain Book Awards, and is also a finalist for the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) 2017 SB&F Prize, shows kids that basic science concepts are highly relevant to sports. He tells fascinating stories of people who came up with bright ideas which had a huge impact on various sports. For each innovation, he explains the science of why the innovation was so effective.

Some innovators were athletes, many of them quite young (the youngest was twelve!) But other backgrounds include scientists, a farmer and a security guard. The human interest in the stories is compelling and inspirational. A clear message is that being inquisitive and exploring can result in significant discoveries.

By telling the story of several innovators, a presentation can be tailored to demonstrate the widespread significance of basic scientific concepts such as:

  • Energy and the conversion between kinetic, elastic and potential energy.
  • Fluid resistance (air and water).
  • Centre of gravity.

Other themes that can be highlighted:

  • Disabled sports. The inventors of the sports wheelchair and the blade prosthetic were both young adults who were injured in sporting accidents. They were both determined not to let their injuries prevent them from active lives. They were dissatisfied with the quality of wheelchairs and prosthetic legs, respectively. And both came up with radically new inventions to meet their own needs.
  • Innovation as a result of crossing fields of expertise. Examples include using fiberglass fishing poles to develop vaulting poles; hang gliding technology for wheelchairs; aircraft technology for skis.

For all presentations it would be extremely helpful to have computer projection available to show a Powerpoint presentation and / or images and video. Simon will bring these on a USB (‘thumb’) drive.

The scientific concepts are best for grades 7 and up.

 

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Casey Lyall (Strathroy ON)

Middlesex County and London, ON. Writers’ Union Member. Silver Birch nominee. Middle grade author. $250 for one session, $450 for two sessions, $650 for three sessions, $800 for four (a full day). (Each session is approximately 1 hour.)

Writing Workshops: $400. (Approximately 90 minutes each.)

Virtual Visits: 60 minute Skype visits are also available for $150 a session.

Travel fees: No travel fee if booking within 100km of London, or 150km if booking for a full day. Neighbouring schools can split the full day cost.

Casey is the author of the middle grade mystery series, Howard Wallace, P.I. She is a library branch assistant experienced in running programs for both elementary and high-school-aged students. Casey aims to entertain and inform while leaving her audience excited about creating their own stories.

Presentation Details:

Casey takes students on an in-depth, behind the scenes look at her path to publication. She shares every part of the process: elementary school writing, failed projects, rejection and editorial letters, as well as revised and finished manuscripts. She offers tips and tricks for finishing a story and how to tackle the dreaded revisions. Other topics Casey will touch on include developing characters, the elements of a mystery, writing with humour, surviving rejection, the value of persistence, and how to find your voice as a writer.

Casey is a very flexible presenter and will adapt her program to suit any audience of grades three and up. Each presentation is approximately 1 hour with time allowed for student Q&A throughout.

Writing Workshops are also available for smaller groups and run for approximately 90 minutes. (Maximum size is one class.)

Workshop topics available:

Building Your Story - focus on creating a story arc, writing dialogue that crackles, and developing characters and setting.

Making Your Story Shine – focus on pacing, building tension, deepening relationships between characters, and sticking the ending. (Students should have an in-progress story to work on during the session.)

Venue: Casey prefers to present in a classroom or library space.  Maximum group size per session is 3 classes or approximately 100 students. A librarian, teacher, or other school representative should be present throughout the presentation (or workshop if the group is a full class.)

Equipment required: a glass/bottle of water and a table. A microphone for larger groups if the room acoustics require it. Lunch if booked for a full day presentation.

Casey will also deliver presentations for adult writers as well as educators looking to start a student writers’ workshop. Listed pricing would apply. Please contact her for more details.

 

 

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S. J. Laidlaw (Vietnam)

Writers’ Union Member. White Pine nominee for Fifteen Lanes. Available in May for in-person visits, or anytime for Skype visits. $275 for a one hour session, $475 for two, $700 for three, and $925 for four, travel fees waived for presentations in Toronto, Guelph, Whitby and Ottawa. Skype visits: $150 for a 40-minute session, which includes a reading and question and answer period. Skype proceeds donated to AAWC, a leading Mumbai-based NGO that provides programs and support for the children of sex workers.

S.J. Laidlaw has been a teacher and adolescent counsellor for many years. An experienced presenter, she’s happy speaking to both large and small groups as well as delivering writing workshops. She has been a guest speaker at the Tata Literature Live and the Khala Ghoda Literary Festivals in Mumbai, India, and has delivered writing workshops at a number of international schools and universities.

Susan first went overseas more than thirty years ago as a volunteer teacher with CUSO. She has now lived overseas for more than half her life in countries including Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Nigeria, Honduras, and Russia. Her second book, AN INFIDEL IN PARADISE, is set in Pakistan and draws largely on her experiences while living there. Her third book, THE VOICE INSIDE MY HEAD, is set on a small island off the coast of Honduras where she owns a cottage. Susan learned to dive and snorkelled with whale sharks as part of her research for the book.

A trained teacher with a Master’s degree in Social Work, Susan has developed and implemented programs for disadvantaged children in many countries and is a passionate speaker on the plight of children living in poverty around the world. Susan spent more than two years working with the children of sex workers in the heart of Mumbai’s red-light district while researching her latest book, FIFTEEN LANES. A Teacher’s Guide for FIFTEEN LANES is available here:

fifteenlanes_rgg_v3

She is currently teaching in Vietnam while researching her new book.

Susan is versatile when it comes to engaging young readers and can tailor her presentations to the needs of your school or library.

 

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John Spray (Toronto and Tweed ON)

Toronto & Tweed On. Writers Union member. Fiction/Non-fiction.
$250 for one session plus HST. $400 with Arthur the boxer. Travel fee waived for Toronto and Tweed.

John has written a critically acclaimed book on the young life of Arthur Biyarslanov, a Pan-Am gold medalist boxer and an Olympian.

Arthur can accompany John with his gold medal and boxing gloves and will be there for Q&A after John’s reading. John is a seasoned speaker and yearly gives out the ‘John Spray Mystery’ award at the T.D. Book Awards. His forty years as a private investigator also add colour to his presentation. John will speak to middle-grade students, Y.A. and adults and is particularly adept at encouraging reluctant readers and readers new to English. John can do up to four, one hour presentations on any day and can travel anywhere in Ontario.

John’s presentation includes tips on writing and how to get the most out any book. He also has many amusing anecdotes from his forty years as a private investigator. The book itself spans three countries, a war, both soccer and boxing and Arthur's struggles growing up in poverty. These are rich topics for both children and adults and by their very nature, spawn curiosity from inquiring minds.

John has no media set-up as the whole idea of reading is to stoke the imagination.  For large rooms or when the acoustics require it, a microphone is requested.

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Bill Slavin (Millbrook)

Millbrook, ON, fiction and non-fiction, Award-winning author/illustrator including the Blue Spruce and Silver Birch Awards, Grades 2-6

$300 + HST per 1 hour session, and $250 + HST for additional sessions, plus transportation/accommodation.

Bill Slavin has illustrated over one hundred children’s books, fiction and nonfiction. Titles include Stanley’s Party by Linda Bailey, winner of the 2004 Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award and Transformed, winner of the 2006 Norma Fleck Award. Recently he has published the third book in his graphic novel series, Elephants Never Forget. Today he is lives in Millbrook with his partner, Esperança Melo, who is also an artist and book illustrator.

Illustration as Story-telling

Bill Slavin's school presentations revolve around a discussion of illustration as a form of story-telling, with the intention of inspiring students to go ahead and create their own stories. He shares his early work with the kids, including his very first book he did back in Grade 3, Zok the Caveman (possibly the most important thing he shows them, as it gives context!) He also discusses the process he goes through to create a picture book, from manuscript through thumbnails and pencil drawings to finished art and usually includes a reading from one of his books in conjunction with showing the original art. His presentation ends with his doing a character sketch for the kids (which will be left with the school), along with a discussion of some basic drawing principals.

Each presentation lasts for about an hour, with slight change ups in the above description depending upon the age of the audience. His preferred audience is Grades 2 - 6 and audience size can be up to 125 children. During the presentation he shows original book art and sketches and reinforces what he's showing with projections of the art (if the AV equipment is available), leaving room for lots of Q & A.

Bill's aim in the presentation is to demystify kids' relationship with art and make it real, tangible and immediate so they can go forward and have the confidence to create their own stories.

Audience Size:  125 maximum (it's best if the kids are seated on the floor or on mats)
Preferred Grades Grades 2-6
AV Requirements:  A laptop linked to a projector. If available he will bring his presentation as a Powerpoint document on a key.
Venues: All, library preferred
Other Requirements A table to organize his work on and a glass of water to wet his whistle!

Signed Books
A signed book can be a chance for kids to make a lasting connection with a visiting author. If any of the kids would like to order a book before the visit, Bill can put you in touch with his local book distributor who would be pleased to provide order forms and make arrangements to have books shipped to your school prior to the presentation.

Please note: Bill's surname is pronounced SLAY-vin.

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Melanie Florence (Toronto)

Toronto. Writers’ Union Member. Winner of the TD Children's Literature Award! Author of novels, non-fiction and picture books and recent winner of the Second Story Press Aboriginal Writing Contest.

Melanie’s rate is $300, two is $550, three is $800 and four is $1000, plus travel from Toronto. (No costs for travel within the GTA.)

Melanie tailors her presentations to the age of her audience and makes them fun and interactive. Groups can choose one of her books for her to do a short reading from and she discusses her experience as a writer, what led her to become a writer and where she gets her ideas. She also talks about the process of writing … from idea to publication.

Each presentation is 50 minutes in duration with 10 minutes for Q&A. She also talks about what drove her to write books with Aboriginal characters and issues, such as residential schools, racism and teen pregnancy.

Melanie can also gear her presentation to discuss Aboriginal issues, such as residential schools and missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Melanie’s most popular visit is a serious but enlightening history of residential schools and introduces students to what life in the residential schools was really like, which is a great addition to the Aboriginal studies curriculum.

Melanie’s books include a strong element of her Aboriginal roots and she encourages discussions and questions on Aboriginal history, residential schools, and especially diversity.

Melanie can tailor a writing workshop to your group but her favourites are Exploring Your Culture Through Writing where the group will  explore their own unique stories and The Importance of a Good First Line, where Melanie and your students will look at famous first lines and talk about what makes them strong. Using a list of strong first lines, the workshop participants will choose one to start their own story.

All venues (classrooms, libraries, auditorium, gymnasiums etc.)
Equipment and other requirements: I like to use power point if possible– can bring my own laptop but will need a projector and screen.

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Mireille Messier (Toronto)

Toronto. Writers' Union Member. French author. Picture books and middle grade. Great for immersion students! K to 6.

Mireille’s rate is $300 for one 45-60 min session, $550 for 2, $750 for 3, $900 for 4 (max 4 per day, min 2 per day if outside GTA), plus travel by car. HST extra.

New this year! Mireille has a new ENGLISH picture book available! She can present "The Branch" / "Ma branche préférée" in either English or French or both. This story of intergenerational collaboration and the love of trees is ideal for readers from grades 1-3.

Mireille Messier is a bilingual Montreal-born, Ottawa-raised and now Toronto-based writer.

Most of her books are published in French and range in genre – from picture books, to chapter books and non-fiction. She enjoys presenting to immersion students and offers lively presentations that are tailored to the language level of the classes.

Now available in both French and English, Fatima and the Clementine Thieves is the story of a young girl's struggle to help save her family's clementine orchard from mysterious clementine thieves. Based in Morocco, it's a fable of collaboration and non-violence inspired by an African proverb.

The school presentation will include a reading of the book, an activity with clementines (season permitting) and a discussion about proverbs or non-violent conflict resolution. Mireille also brings puppets of Fatima and her Grandfather!

Presentation Details

Available in French or English/French (bilingual)
Mireille is a member of The Writers’ Union of Canada, and so schools wishing to invite her may be eligible for a travel and fee subsidy to off-set the cost of her visit.

Here is an example of her presentations by grade:
JK to 1: two 30-minute sessions for the price of one full session ($300+HST) using her book Quelfouillis! Includes a tool-related activity and a song.

Grade 2 to 4: The majority of Mireille’s books are for this age group. 45 to 60 minutes: Session featuring a book of your choice plus a related activity followed by a Q&A on topic/book selected. Themes available: Travel/Geography (Charlotte partout), Anagrams/Word Play (Voilierd’Olivier/Quand les zéros), Food/Cooking (Salade de César), Sports (Charlotte Olympique), Night/Rhyme (Luca). All presentations in this category feature a reading from a giant version of the selected book. When presenting books from the Charlotte series Mireille comes accompanied by her Charlotte puppet.

Grade 4 to 6: 45 to 60 minutes. Session featuring a book of your choice plus a related activity followed by a Q&A on topic/book selected. Books available for this level are Fatima et les voleurs de clémentines (advanced picture book)& the middle grade chapter books from Les aventures de Viviane et Simon series.
Maximum number of students per session: 40-80 (flexible)

Venues she is comfortable in: classroom, library, auditorium. Gymnasium as a last resort.
Equipment requirements: table, glass of water, lapel microphone for larger groups, light lactose-free lunch if booked for full day

Note: Mid to late-morning start time requested during winter months (Dec-March)

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Arthur Slade (SK)

Saskatoon, SK. Writers' Union Member. Red Maple Fiction Nominee for Flickers. Fiction & Graphic Novels, Governor General’s Award Winner, TD Children’s Book Award Winner. Grades 4+. $375 plus HST for 1 session, $600 for 2, $850 for 3 and $1000 for 4. Travel fees waived for Toronto bookings. Arthur will travel by Go Transit to venues in the GTA but requests a pick-up/drop-off at the GO station.

Arthur Slade is a dynamic presenter and the author of seventeen novels for young adults and one graphic novel. His books have been sold worldwide and include DUST, JOLTED, MEGIDDO’S SHADOW, and THE HUNCHBACK ASSIGNMENTS series. He has done over a thousand presentations in Canada, the United States, and Europe.

Arthur Slade is a self admitted “geek” who is completely committed to entertaining and educating his audience. His audio/visual presentations are a mixture of music, video, images and creativity and, most importantly, content: where do ideas come from? How is a book created? How does one become an author? Arthur has a large variety of books and topics to choose from, everything from steampunk, fantasy and horror to World War One and the creation of graphic novels. He designs his presentations for the specific age ranges and interest of his audience. His books are most popular with grades four to eight, but he has done numerous presentations with higher grades and adult groups. He will speak to any size audience. He has taught workshops in Banff and worked as the Writer in Residence for Regina Public Library so he also enjoys giving workshops to children and adults.

All venues, library preferred.
Equipment required: screen and projector & a glass of water

Virtual Visits: $250.00 + HST, 60 minutes, Skype/Google Talk/iChat

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Shane Peacock (Cobourg)

Cobourg, ON. Writers' Union Member. Fiction, Governor-General’s Award nominee, 3 x TD Children’s Literature Award nominee. All ages.

His fees are: $400 for one presentation to a small to medium sized audience, $550 for two presentations or one to a large audience, $750 for three presentations, and $950 for four.

Shane is the author of the critically-acclaimed, bestselling “Boy Sherlock Holmes” series and “Last Message” in the groundbreaking “Seven, the Series.” His first picture book, “The Artist and Me,” the first novel in his YA horror trilogy, “The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim” and “Separated,” the prequel to the “Seven Series,” are his latest works. He is also a playwright, documentary screenwriter and journalist.

Shane has a well-known reputation as a dramatic and effective speaker, and has appeared more than a thousand times in schools, at conventions and in seminars across Canada, the U.S., and Europe. He offers upbeat presentations about why reading and writing are among the most exciting things a kid can do. They appeal to all ages and genders, though teachers say they have a particularly positive effect on boys and reluctant readers.

During his visits, he usually discusses why it took him a while to get interested in reading as a kid, how he became a writer, and the wild and crazy things about which he’s written. He shows students how to tell stories by telling a few good ones – a favorite is his account of The Great Farini’s high-wire duel with Blondin over Niagara Falls, first told in his biography of the former. He also describes how he conceived and wrote the “Boy Sherlock Holmes” series, was involved in the “Seven Series,” and created the dark novels in “The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim.” He also reveals a few secrets of his trade and delivers a short, dramatic reading.

Sometimes, caught up in the strange stories he’s telling (and has told in print), Shane gives lessons in high-wire walking and sumo wrestling … believe it or not.

Though until this year his presentations have been for grades 4 to 12, beginning in early 2016 with the publication of “The Artist and Me,” he will offer a talk for Kindergarten to grade 3.

Shane also does workshops, Creative Writing seminars for high school students, and Skype presentations.

Libraries or auditoriums with theatre-like areas are the best venues, but Shane will also speak in your gym if that makes the most sense in terms of availability and audience size.

The only equipment Shane requires is a projector or Smart Board of some sort, with speakers, to which he can hook up his laptop.

There is no limit on audience size, though a single presentation to a very large audience will have a slightly higher fee.

 

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Vikki VanSickle (Toronto)

Toronto. Writers' Union Member. Dynamic writer and children's publishing professional. Interactive presentations, customization available. All ages.

$280 + HST for 1 presentation; $500 + HST for 2 + travel for locations outside Toronto.

Vikki is a dynamic and engaging presenter who mixes funny anecdotes with interactive activities to connect with audiences of all ages. She grew up in Woodstock, ON where she spent her childhood reading, figure skating, and watching the X-Files in the dark. In addition to writing, Vikki works in marketing at Penguin Random House and is an award-winning bookseller, playwright, former camp counsellor and musical theatre nerd.

Presentations:

JK- Gr 2

When a kitten sneezes it's adorable, but when a dragon sneezes it's a fire hazard! In this presentation students are asked to consider 5 objects from a bag of clues to determine what kind of pets may be in the book. Teacher's guide and printed activities available as well. A fun introduction to mythological creatures.

Works best in a classroom or library situation.

Offering 2 30-35 minute presentations for hourly rate of $280 + HST. Some travel costs may apply.

Gr 4-8

Vikki presents her journey from library kid to published author including a behind the scenes look at publishing, writing tips, and her famous backpack activity, which demonstrates how simple it is to spark a story.

Works best with groups under 60, can present in gym with mic for 300

Summer Days, Starry Nights Presentation

Gr 6-8

This presentation focuses on music and culture of the 1960s and includes trivia and a discussion of character building featuring music clips. Students will be asked to take part in the Summer Days, Starry Nights Playlist Project.

Works best with groups under 60, can present in gym with mic for 300

Req: projector, surface to project onto

Vikki can also tailor presentations for adults (especially teachers, librarians and writers' groups,) writers' craft students or schools that are interested in a class novel study. Contact her for more details.

 

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Kari-Lynn Winters (St. Catharines)

St. Catharines. Writers’ Union Member. World traveling picture book and non-fiction author, storyteller, and performer

$400 plus HST for 1 session, $700 for 2, $950 for 3 and $1100 for 4, + travel.
30 min. sessions for kindergarten are $200.00 when booked with at least of one full 55 min session. Discounts when you refer/rebook.

Kari-Lynn Winters is an award-winning, children's author, playwright, presenter, and academic scholar. Twenty-five of her picture, non-fiction, and poetry books have been published or accepted for publication. She is also an experienced teacher of writing, who has taught a range of students in Canada and the United States. Kari-Lynn is currently an associate professor at Brock University.

Presentations and Workshops

LARGE GROUP PRESENTATIONS
Kari-Lynn’s tailor-made 50 min. interactive presentations are both educational and engaging. They include readings from her books, puppetry, props, games, songs, strategies for literacy and drama, visuals, audience participation, and a book signing.

She can present to large (up to 400) and small audiences, and for a range of ages (birth – grade 8, and adult).

WORKSHOPS:
Kari-Lynn also leads workshops in reading strategies, writing, publishing, drama, multi-modal literacies, or any combination.

Some workshop examples include:

HUNGRY FOR MATH
Do dragons play hockey and stomp their feet? Are shapes found in your environment? Participants use storytelling, movement, improvisation, and fingerplays to create understandings about math and poetry. (Preschool-Grade 3) (Teacher and Parent workshops also available) (60 min.)

WRITING WITH AND BEYOND WORDS
Show, don't tell. Keep the plot moving. Develop your characters. Explore the musicality of the language. These are concepts that many authors grapple with every time they write. How might authors layer these ideas in order to create a better story? In this workshop, Kari-Lynn demonstrates some of the ways you can make your writing leap, sing, and dance off the page. (Grades 4-adult) (60 min.)

KEEP THEM LAUGHING: WRITING FUNNY FICTION
Humour is a tremendous tool for writers. Skillful humour can make your stories more memorable, improve your writing, and earn you financial and personal rewards. Drawing on her own writing, as well as the writing of others, Kari-Lynn demonstrate eight concrete ways to hone your humour writing and keep them laughing. (Grades 6-Adult) (60 min.)

GETTING YOUR ACT TOGETHER
We’ve all heard the phrase, “No drama please!” But this isn’t the case with writing fiction. Drama strategies can help a writer build tension, create authentic characters, and develop better dialogue. In this interactive workshop, participants will learn page-to-stage strategies for animating and improving their writing. (Grades 1-Adult) (60 min.)

 

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Richard Scrimger (Toronto)

Toronto based. Writers’ Union Member. Funny-serious novelist. Multi awards.

$350.00 for one presentation, $600.00 for two, $850.00 for three, or $1000.00 for four. HST and maybe a rental vehicle (moving back to the city, he gave away his car) extra.

Richard Scrimger has written more than 20 books for children and adults, and been awarded and translated a lot. Recent novels feature a magic camera, an upside-down world visited through a city sewer, a War of 1812 that may be happening right now, and a depressed zombie. (Fortunately, confusion is Richard’s natural state.) Alongside the humour in all his stories are serious life issues. The magic camera helps our hero understand what it is to be gay. The upside-down world unites a grieving boy and his dead dog.  The zombie has to deal with prejudice in school and parent council, national media, and family. The War of 1812 – no, actually, that one’s just wacky.

Richard’s presentation for grades JK-2 suggests a simple formula: experience + ideas = story. The group crafts a story together, and the audience participates in a raucous read-along.

For middle grades (3-5) Richard recounts an event from his own life to model techniques of story-building. Then he and the audience create their own story using some of those techniques. He uses a power-point to show how pictures can tell a story.

Presentations to seniors (6-8) start with the dark places inside us where stories are born. Richard shows how to twist dark truths to make convincing stories. He and the audience put together a story from pieces of truth, and discover how and why it works.

High-school students get a more formal approach. Richard introduces the four kinds of writing necessary to tell a story, the three basic plots, the different types of protagonist and antagonist, the role of the narrator, the importance of voice. If the group is small enough, Richard uses shared exercises to facilitate character and plot.

There is no maximum number of students per session: Typical would be 60-100. Fewer students means more interaction. Over a certain number, Richard might charge more.

Richard is on the faculty of the Humber College School For Writers. He offers interactive workshops and writer-in-residence programs, working with class-sized groups over several sessions to produce a finished product.

He and Ted Staunton – part of the highly successful ‘7’ series of linked novels — have developed a collaborative approach to writing they call Story Team. The 2 authors present in tandem, giving hands-on support to pairs of students crafting narratives together.

Richard offers Professional Development Workshops for teachers, educators, story builders. He has given key-note addresses across Canada, and conducted story workshops on 4 continents.

He is comfortable in any venue – classroom, library, auditorium, gymnasium, concert hall, phone booth.

Richard requires: Coffee.

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Liam O’Donnell (London)

LiamODonnell-wp1London, ON. Writers’ Union Member. Middle grade novels, comics and graphic novels for reluctant readers, tech-whizzes and gamer geeks.

Liam’s rate is $575 for two sessions, $825 for three and $1000 for four, plus travel from downtown Toronto.

Liam is an award-winning author, elementary teacher and creator of over 35 graphic novels and books for reluctant readers, including: Tank & Fizz, Max Finder Mystery and the Battle of the Blocks series set in the world of Minecraft.

As a teacher, Liam always makes his presentations interactive and engaging for all students. He draws on his past as a reluctant reader and his love of technology and video games to connect with students and inspire them to become readers and writers.

Presentations

Panel Power: Making Comics and More

Grades: 4-8 Size: 60 students max. Length: 40- 60 min (flexible)

Dive into the world of comics and see how writers and illustrators team up to turn ideas into full colour graphic novels. Drawing on his newest mystery series, Tank & Fizz, Liam shares a hands-on look at the scripts and sketches writers and illustrators create before moving on to the final draft. Liam also talks about where he gets his ideas, including how his love of video games inspired him to create Battle of the Blocks, a middle grade adventure series set in the world of Minecraft. Writing tips, advice and time for a Question and Answer session are all included too.

Set Up Requirements:

Projector (for Power Point slides), screen and table to display books. Library or classroom (no gyms please, if possible).

Liam also offers virtual visits on Skype or Google Hangouts. Contact us for fees.
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Philippa Dowding (Toronto)

 

Toronto. Writers’ Union Member. Fiction writer. Silver Birch Express nominee. JK to 8. Philippa’s rate is $300 per session, $550 for two, or $750 for three sessions, + travel expenses outside GTA (for example, GO Bus and GO Train).

Philippa is an award-winning copywriter, a poet, and an acclaimed children’s author. She is a lively and entertaining presenter, often accompanied by her guitar and gargoyle puppet. Her presentations and writing workshops have been promoted and endorsed by the Toronto Public Library. Her children's books have been nominated for numerous literary awards, including the White Raven commendation from the International Youth Library in Munich.

Philippa can talk to groups large or small, from grades JK to 8, and will tailor her 1-hour presentation to your needs and students, as follows:

Lost Gargoyle Series (ages 8-12): includes a powerpoint presentation, textbook images, a gargoyle puppet, music, and author reading.  Students discuss gargoyles, medieval times, loneliness, friendship, homelessness, inclusion and difference, the writer's craft and more.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer? (All ages): Philippa combines the top 10 questions she gets asked by students into one interesting and colourful powerpoint discussion which answers questions like: when did you know you wanted to be a writer, who gets to pick what goes on the cover of your books, what does a manuscript look like and more.

Any presentation includes audience participation, Q&A, and for younger grades Philippa can also bring her guitar.

Maximum group sizes for presentations: 60 for JK to grade 2. 100+ for everyone else.

Writing Workshops work best wish 16 or so participants

Writing Workshop Topics:

Be the Beanstalk: Grow a story. How to tell a story which is more than just who, what, where and when.

Who is this character really? Techniques for character development beyond hair and eye colour!

Book covers, blurbs, bookmarks and bios. How to write like an artist and think like a copywriter.

Games, games, games: Let your students explore their creativity through these guided (and hilarious) writing games.

All Venues, including library, school, bookstore or outdoor event.

Equipment required: laptop to run powerpoint presentation if possible (she will provide the memory key), projector and screen (or suitable wall or surface). A table and microphone for larger groups or in the gym. A glass of water, cup of tea or coffee.

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Robin Stevenson (BC)

BC. Writers’ Union Member. Silver Birch winner and GG finalist. Writing instructor and editor. Fiction and Non-fiction. All ages. Available for Toronto visits Jan 30 - Feb 4, and again in May 2017.

Robin’s rate is $300 for one session, $550 for two, $750 for three and $850 for a full-day, plus travel if applicable.

Robin is the award winning author of nineteen novels for children and
teens, as well as the non-fiction book Pride: Celebrating Diversity and
Community. She is also a former social worker, a creative writing
instructor, a freelance editor, and an experienced and passionate
presenter. As the author of early chapter books, middle grade books, and
YA novels, she presents to all age levels. She especially loves giving
writing workshops.

Presentation Details- grades 4-12; 45-60 minutes

School Visits

I am available for author visits, school and library presentations, author-in-residence programs, writing workshops and conferences. My school presentations are appropriate for older elementary students (grade four and over), as well as middle school and high school students. I am also available for professional development workshops for teachers and librarians on a number of issues (Creating LGBTQ-Inclusive Schools; Supporting Queer-Straight Alliances; Engaging Reluctant Readers and Writers, etc).

All presentations, workshops and programs can be tailored to the needs of the particular group.  Please contact me to discuss your group’s needs and for information about my rates and availability. I am happy to provide reference letters on request.

Pride: Celebrating Diversity and Community (grades 4-12)

For LGBTQ people and their supporters, Pride events are an opportunity to honor the past, protest injustice, and celebrate a diverse community. The high point of Pride, the Pride Parade, is spectacular and colorful. But there is a lot more to Pride than rainbow flags and amazing outfits. How did Pride come to be? And what does Pride mean to the people who celebrate it? In this engaging and interactive presentation, Robin draws on her new non-fiction book,Pride: Celebrating Diversity and Community. She talks about the history of the LGBTQ rights movement and the challenges still faced by LGBTQ people and communities today. Using images and anecdotes from the book, Robin shares historical photographs, stories of contemporary kids and teens, and images of Pride celebrations from around the world. In this presentation, Robin emphasizes the important role of allies and the idea that we all have a part to play in making our world a better place for everyone.  This session would be a good choice for schools focussing on inclusiveness and equality, and for groups working to prevent bullying.

 Becoming a Writer: Finding & Telling Your Stories (grades 4-8; grades 9-12)

In this engaging presentation, Robin shares how she became a writer, where her ideas come from and what her creative process looks like. She discusses some of the challenges she experiences and share some tips for young writers. She also facilitates a group brainstorming exercise to illustrate how to develop a story through an understanding of its characters. Students will work together to develop a character, explore possibilities for conflict, and uncover the myriad of story possibilities that this leads to. In this session, Robin’s goals are to share her passion for the writing process and to inspire students to pursue their own creative interests.

 Creative Writing Workshops (grades 6-12; maximum 30 students):

Robin is available to facilitate hands-on creative writing workshops for small groups. Participants will explore how they can use their own experiences and curiosity to create compelling writing and convincing characters; discuss strategies for finding story ideas; develop their skills at creating complex and believable characters; and discover how well-developed characters can help uncover new story possibilities.

Maximum group sizes for presentations: Any size group. I prefer to have no more than a three-grade spread for a single presentation (eg. Grades 4-6, 6-8, 10-12).

Writing Workshops work best with small groups (maximum size 30)

All venues (classrooms, libraries, auditorium, gymnasiums etc.)

Equipment and other requirements: I like to use power point if possible– can bring my own laptop but need will need a projector and screen.

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Caroline Pignat (Ottawa)

Ottawa. Red Maple Fiction nominee for Shooter. Writers' Union Member. Two-time GG winner, Two-time Red Maple Honour, CLA Book of the Year Honour. Gr 4 to 12. $350 plus HST for 1 session, $600 for 2, $850 for 3 and $1000 for 4, + local travel. Virtual Visits: $250.00 + HST, 60 minutes, Skype

Caroline Pignat is the award-winning author of seven highly acclaimed novels. She writes contemporary YA, historical fiction, and free verse novels that dig into her characters through multiple forms and points of view.

Back in high school, Caroline wrote a short story that years later became her novel GREENER GRASS, 2009 GG winner. THE GOSPEL TRUTH won the GG in 2015. With over 20 years experience as a teacher and author, Caroline loves exploring the craft and power of story as she engages readers and writers of all ages.

The Power of Story Presentation:

Learn Caroline’s recipe for rich characters and meaty plots as she talks about her writing experiences and explores how to:

  • make the most of your inspiration
  • deal with your inner critic
  • use research in writing
  • create believable characters
  • start your story…and where to end it

This presentation can be tailored to focus on a specific novel or form depending on the needs and interest of the audience. She presents to any size audience.

Creative Writing Workshop

— 1 hour / grades 3-12 / maximum one class

Learn how to crate your inner critic and unleash your creativity. Through prompts, props, and activities, you’ll pick up tips for creating characters with vivid voices, engaging motives, and dramatic conflict. The workshop includes Caroline’s insights on the writing process, writing time at the stations of your choice, and a reading circle.

 

Creative Writing Sessions

afternoon session(s) — depending on content / grades 6-12 / maximum one class

In these customized workshops, Caroline teaches specific techniques using the Writer’s Craft framework of investigate, practice and reflect on topics such as:

  • Knowing and Showing Characters
  • Plot and the 3 Act Structure
  • Plot and the Hero’s Journey
  • Empathy in Writing
  • Dialogue and Voice
  • Historical Fiction
  • Journalism
  • Poetry
  • Making the Most of Peer Editing

Together they will explore what enriches our writing, try it out in drafting sessions, and then share and reflect through peer editing and/or reading circles.

Caroline has given workshops for grades 4-12 through MASC’s Young Authors Conferences, MASC Teen Authors Conference, Carleton University’s Creative Writing Camps and TD Book Week.  She is a confident and engaging presenter with years of experience teaching students from grades 4-12. For the past seven years, she has been teaching grade 12 Writer’s Craft, but she is off this 2016-17 school year and will be available for more visits outside of the Ottawa area.

Requirements: projector, screen, speakers.

Ask us for Caroline’s free 40+ page novel study guides for EGGHEAD, GREENER GRASS, and THE GOSPEL TRUTH or her Book Club Guide for SHOOTER.

 

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Willow Dawson (Toronto)

Toronto. Writers’ Union Member. Author / illustrator of Graphic Novels, Picture Books. Multi Awards. All ages.

550 for two sessions, $750 for three, and $900 for four plus HST and travel outside of the downtown Toronto core. Willow requests a minimum of two sessions, can be shared between two schools or libraries.

Willow Dawson has lots of experience giving presentations and workshops to kids and adults of all ages. Infact, she often presents to several different grades at the same school or library in a single day. She loves speaking about her books and more generally about comics and graphic novels, writing techniques and the illustration process. Each presentation is tailored to the needs of the group and is lively and educational with questions encouraged throughout!

Presentations by grade:

Willow likes to work with a general framework for her presentations informed by the teachers or librarians but which is open enough to accommodate the needs of the audience in the moment. She likes to let people ask questions throughout so that she is able to gauge interest areas and adjust as necessary. When she can, Willow tries to work in how she overcame the reading and writing difficulties she faced as a child only to become both an author and illustrator today! Teachers and librarians love her because her presentations are lively, informative and inspiring.

Here is an example of her themes by grade:

JK to grade 2 – two 30 minute storytelling sessions for the price of one full session ($375+HST) using The Wolf-Birds.

Grades 2 to 3 – 60 minutes: Storytelling session plus Q&A on The Wolf-Birds.

Grades 4 to 7 – 60 minutes. Presentations include an overview of the book of choice with a bit of historical background and information on how she creates a graphic novel, including: research, writing, illustrating, editing and revising.

Avis Dolphin: World War I, the sinking of the Lusitania, life in the 1910’s, friendship, the power of storytelling, survival. Collaborating with an author.

Hyena in Petticoats: Nellie McClung, The Famous Five, early Canada, feminism, women’s rights, suffrage, enfranchisement, The Persons Case. Life in the 1920’s – 1940’s.

No Girls Allowed: Hatshepsut, Mu Lan, Alfhild, Esther Brandeau, James Barry, Ellen Craft, Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, girls dressed as boys, women’s rights. Collaborating with an author.

Grades 7 to 12 – 60 minutes. Biography, autobiography and memoir. Willow uses the above books as well as her ongoing work on 100 Mile House (memoir) to discuss the differences and similarities, challenges and joys of writing biography, autobiography and memoir graphic novels. This presentation includes personal stories and anecdotes, including how she found her voice and became an author and illustrator.

Maximum group sizes for presentations: 45 for JK to Grade 3. 100+ for everyone else.
Workshops work best with smaller groups, around 15-20 participants.

Graphic Novel Workshop Topics:

Character Development
Creating Tension and Drama, Creating Humour
Panel Transitions
Words and Pictures
Writing Engaging Dialogue
From Script to Thumbnails
Art Stages: Penciling, Inking, Colouring (includes an overview of design and lettering)
Other topics upon request

These workshops can be adjusted to suit the needs of any age group. They also work well for Writers’ Craft classes.

Writer-in-Residence Program:

3-10 (or more) sessions. 60-120 minutes each. Participants get in-depth, hands on experience with each stage of the process of creating a comic or graphic novel, as well as a window into the worlds of self-publishing (‘zines and webcomics) and publishing (working with Editors, Art directors, and Publishers). Each stage of the process is handled in a separate session with an end goal of developing their stories into finished 1-3 page comics that are then photocopied and bound together as a small, collective comics ‘zine.

All Venues are acceptable.

Equipment required: A glass of water, a table for her presentation materials. A microphone for larger groups. A laptop, screen and projector for PowerPoint.

Willow sends her PowerPoint ahead of time. Please ensure it is set up and ready to go prior to her arrival.

Handouts will be sent for the teacher and/or librarian to photocopy in advance, along with a list of any materials the students may need if there is a workshop. Workshops require desks or tables and chairs for participants.

A librarian, teacher or other school representative should be present throughout the presentation or workshop.

 

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