Lisa Lawrence (Edmonton, Alberta)

White Pine nominee for YA novel Rodent. Writers' Union Member. Available for school or library visits (accessible by public transit) in the Toronto area on May 15, 17, 18, and 19, 2017. $200 for a 45 – 60 minute session and $150 for subsequent sessions in the same school. No travel costs. Available Fridays for Skype visits ($100 for 45 – 60 minutes).

Lisa grew up as a free-range kid in small towns in British Columbia and Alberta. She could often be found in the library during summer vacations or hammering away at an old typewriter. She graduated from the University of Alberta with a BA in Romance Languages, an MA in Italian Studies, and a B.Ed in Secondary Education. She currently works as a teacher and writer in Edmonton, where she lives with her husband and three children. Rodent is her first novel.

Lisa’s presentations are intended for students in grades 7 and up (ages 12 to adult). They include a reading and discussions with students about finding the writing spark, the writing and editing process, tips for aspiring writers, and any other questions or interests students have. As a relatively new writer, she engages with youth who someday hope to publish their work, those who enjoy reading, or those who are simply curious about the behind-the-scenes process.

Class sizes can be negotiated, with preference to groups of 40 students or less at one time.

All venues.

Needs: A bottle or glass of water while presenting, for the teacher to be in attendance, and lunch if presenting to classes in the morning and afternoon at the same school.

 

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Don Calame (BC)

White Pine nominee for Dan vs Nature. Writers' Union Member. Available May 15-18, 2017. His rate is $300 for one session, $550 for two, $800 for three, and $950 for four plus travel from Toronto. He is also available for virtual class or library visits through Skype or Facetime throughout the year.

Don Calame is an accomplished screenwriter and the award-winning author of four novels, Swim the Fly (Candlewick Press, 2009), Beat the Band (Candlewick Press, 2011), Call the Shots (Candlewick Press, 2013) and Dan Versus Nature (Candlewick Press, 2016).

Don’s writing nominations and awards include the OLA White Pine Award, American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award, the Nevada Young Reader’s Award, the Michigan Library Association Thumbs Up! Award, IndieBound Kids Next List, and the YALSA Popular Paperbacks Top Ten.

As a lifelong reader it breaks my heart when I hear from parents, librarians, and teachers that teenagers—and teenage boys in particular—do not enjoy reading. This is why I wrote my first novel, Swim the Fly. I wanted to create something that would speak to a young adult audience. Particularly of interest to me was the task of trying to engage the reluctant reader teenage boy. It was important to me that the story be realistic, fun, and funny as a way to keep the reader absorbed all the way through the book. And while I was confident that boys would enjoy this story, what surprised me was how many girls have embraced the book as well. I begin my presentations with a short reading from a couple of the more humorous sections of my books. I find that this helps everyone relax and sets the tone for a lighthearted and enjoyable experience. 
After I’ve read, I open the floor for questions and answers. During this period we will discuss pretty much anything. Topics often include: how I became a screenwriter and novelist, the differences between writing novels and screenplays, where story ideas come from, how screenwriting has affected my novel writing, and how much of my novels are based on real life. 
I present to students from grades 8 to12. This is not flexible due the mature subject matter of my books. I will address groups of any size in any venue.

Requirements
A bottle or glass of water, a microphone for groups of 90 or more, and for teachers to be present during talk.

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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:

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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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Lena Coakley (Toronto)

Toronto. Writers’ Union Member. Award-winning author of YA fantasy and historical fiction.

$225 plus HST for one session, $400 for two, $600 for three and $750 for four held at the same location on one day. $100 for one-hour Skype. No travel charge for GTA. Transportation/accommodation fees apply for presentations outside the Toronto area.

Lena is an enthusiastic presenter who gears her visit to the needs and interests of each group.

Her YA fantasy novel Witchlanders was called “one stunning teen debut” by Kirkus Reviews. It was a White Pine Award Honouree, a MYRCA nominee and won the 2012 Crystal Kite Award for the Americas.  Her short stories “Mouse” and “Mirror Image” are required reading for many grade-eleven Ontario students.

Worlds of Ink and Shadow, Lena’s historical fantasy novel about the young Bronte sisters, comes out January 5th, 2016.

Presentations

Lena is happy to work with teachers and librarians to develop a need-specific presentation, but her are two examples:

Writing and Researching Historical Fiction

Lena talks about writing and researching her historical fantasy about the famous Brontë sisters. What were these authors really like, and how did they come to write some of the most beloved books of all time? How did Lena fictionalize these characters while staying true to their real lives? And how can a historical novel also be a fantasy?

This presentation is appropriate for a general audience, but Lena is happy to tailor it to classes studying particular works of the Brontës such as Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre.

Everyone Has a Story to Tell

A two-time, second-prize winner of the Toronto Star’s Short Story Contest, Lena provides engaging activities that spark brainstorming and help students hone their work from idea to finished story. Students will come away feeling empowered to write and excited about their brand-new skills and ideas.

Grades 8-12

Audience limit 60 (25 for workshops)

Lena is also available for workshops for teachers and educators that focus on teaching creative writing to teens.

Lena Requires:

    • Depending on the presentation, a digital projector, screen and extension cord may be required
    • Bottled water would be much appreciated
    • Staff assistance in the form of classroom teacher or librarian

Please note: Her first name is pronounced “Lay-na.”

Virtual Visits: $100 plus HST, 60 minutes (can be divided), Skype/Google Talk

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