Judith Graves (Alberta)

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Writers Union Member. Golden Oak Nominee. Award-winning author and screenwriter, entertaining and engaging speaker utilizes multi-media in presentations, drawing on clips from music videos, TV and film to illustrate the concepts covered.

$350 for 1 session, $600 for 2, $850 for 3, and $1000 for 4, plus travel and accommodation. Visiting Ontario around the time of the Golden Oak Award, May 27 to June 3rd.

Judith is also the co-publisher of a small press and works as a library technician in an elementary school. She sees the publishing industry and literacy promotion from many perspectives and her presentations reflect this. Judith has presented writing workshops and keynote addresses to teachers, library staff, students, and writer groups – during conferences, professional development events, author panels, as well as through numerous school and library visits. She also writes new-adult fiction under the pen name, Judith Tewes.

Judith offers a variety of workshop topics that can be modified to suit the intended audience.

Super Heroes With or Without Capes (Grades 3-6)

Super stories need super heroes – characters willing to take risks, embark on epic quests, and face their greatest fears. Capes are completely optional. Discover the various types of characters that already exist in books, film, and TV, and how you can use these to develop your own heroes worthy of fandom.

Screenwriting to Die For (Grade 7-12 and Adults)
Novelist and screenwriter, Judith Graves offers a general introduction to screenwriting by examining story structure, character development, and the art of sharp dialogue. From gripping logline to epic showdown, Graves features tips and tricks from the world of screenwriting that apply to creating fiction in any format.

Horror Fiction to Die For (Grade 6-12 and Adults)
Young adult paranormal/thriller author, Judith Graves, helps you dig deep and unearth the killer themes lurking in your horror and thriller fiction. This genre isn’t just writing tales of blood and guts – it’s creating fiction to DIE for. Learn how to get under your reader’s skin, play on their primal fears, and hold mirrors up to their own inner monsters. These FANGtasic tips will keep your readers turning the page…to the dire end.

Fan Fiction to Die For (Grades 6-12 and Adults)
Young adult paranormal/thriller author, Judith Graves, explores the origins of fan fiction, its appeal for youth and adults alike, and how teachers can use this growing format in the classroom. Learn how fanfic writing challenges and mashups can spark interest in creative writing, as well as build and stretch student writing muscles.

Author Visits to Die For (Adults/Teachers/Library Staff)
Judith Graves offers an overview of what makes a virtual author visit successful, the technology basics, and how to connect students or library patrons with authors willing to provide this wonderfully interactive (and inexpensive!) service.

Publishing Tips to Die For (Adults)
Join middle grade/young adult author and co-publisher of Leap Books, Judith Graves, for a look at the dynamic worlds of middle grade and young adult fiction. She’ll share tips for navigating the various roads to publication and how to market your work once it’s out in the world. If you’re writing children’s fiction and want more information about the publishing industry, query process, book marketing, etc…this is the session for you.

Library or classroom and an audience size of 30-60 is preferred. Equipment required: display table, projector and speakers, microphone and PA system for larger groups or gym presentations.

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Michelle Barker (Vancouver)

Michelle Barker. Vancouver. Writers’ Union member.  Award-winning author of poetry, a picture book, a young adult fantasy novel, short fiction, and non-fiction. 2016 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award nominee. All ages.  Michelle’s rate is $275 for one presentation, $425 for two, $650 for three, and $825 for four. No travel costs within the GTA. Available in the Toronto area mid-November, 2016, early February, 2017, and early June, 2017.

Michelle grew up in Vancouver but has lived in Jerusalem, France, Quebec and the Okanagan region of BC. She has four children. In 2014 she graduated from the MFA program at UBC. When she isn’t writing, she works as an editor and mentor. An energetic presenter, she has run creative writing workshops and given presentations to people of all ages.

Michelle offers the following presentations for different ages:

  1. K1 30 minutes / 30 students max.

A Year of Borrowed Men

  • Reading
  • Time Capsule Activity
  • Q&A
  1. 25   60 minutes

A Year of Borrowed Men

  • Reading with projected illustrations
  • Slides and discussion about life on the farm in 1940s Germany
  • Some historical information
  • Time Capsule Activity
  • Q&A
  1. 5-12 60 minutes

What She Said: Writing Effective Dialogue

  • What good dialogue can do
  • The pitfalls of writing dialogue
  • Student participation and hands-on writing exercises
  1. 8-12 60 minutes

Poetry for the Terrified

  • Why so many people don’t like poetry
  • Imagery and telepathy
  • To rhyme or not to rhyme
  • Making every word count
  • Hands-on writing exercises
  1. 7-10 60 Minutes

The Beggar King

  • Reading from the novel
  • The pitfalls of writing fantasy
  • The writer’s life—pros and cons

With the exception of the youngest classes, the maximum number of students per session is flexible, but Michelle prefers to use a microphone for groups over forty.

Equipment requirements are a projector and a screen for a PowerPoint presentation. And a glass of water, please. Michelle brings a lap top. She would ask that a librarian or teacher be present throughout the presentation.

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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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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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