Bernice Hune (Toronto)

Bernice Hune. Toronto.  Storytellers of Canada.  金山Gold Mountain Stories. Traditional Asian folklore & Canada’s immigrant history (FDK - 12). Per session, 80-100 students. Three Sessions $625 + travel from Toronto.

A seasoned performer, Bernice has presented at 1001 school and festival events, from Vancouver Island for the TD Canadian Children’s Book Week Tour to Halifax for the Canadian Museum of Immigration - Pier 21, as well as at the Singapore International Storytelling Festival.

Bernice shapes each presentation to the listeners. What languages are students hearing at home?  In Bernice’s childhood Toronto home, voices talked in Cantonese. Elders told enchanted fables as well as personal stories about the railway, the head tax and the struggle for the rights of full citizenship.  Her performances delight and inform audiences of all ages.

“Excellent stories - younger students appreciated the humour, enjoyed opportunities to join in on story chants and movement. Great multicultural emphasis!!” - Tamara Clark, Literacy Coordinator, Warren Park

Bernice displays an iron spike, silk cocoons, moon calendar animals, sumie brushes & other items for interactive programming. K to gr 8 guide:

    • The Magic Paint Brush & other enchanting tales for celebration
      Leung! -- chant in Chinese to wake up a wondrous creature
      12 Animal Calendar -– folklore for the lunar new year
      Li-Shi & the Mulberry Tree -- discovery & invention along the ancient silk trade route
      Ghost Train -- Canadian classic by Paul Yee, tells of building the railway with Chinese workers
      BaBa’s Blue Shirt – social justice & hidden head tax papers
      Three Generations under one Roof - heartfelt collisions

For youth and adults, Bernice tells historical stories with fictional characters that she has created, including:

  • Mr. Yip’s Laundry -- enfranchisement, a right that came with a fight for World War II veterans named Wong, Chu & Yip
    Shoes for Suyin in the Chinese Exclusion era, an opera performer with luck & pluck enters Canada

"Outstanding and thought provoking -our history of Canada includes such diversity and should be embraced. Students were completely engaged and very excited to hear the stories. "Ghost Train" gave a captivating backdrop of Canadian Chinese history during the CPR creation.  Thank you for sharing your own personal stories also!"- Jennifer Mohamed, Teacher-Librarian, Donview Middle School, Toronto

Each Session tailored to the participants.  Three Session Fee $625.

  • JK/SK                    45 min.  (about 75 students)
  • grade 1-3             55 min.  (4 classes, max. 80 )
  • grade 4-8             60 min.  (3 classes, max. 100)
  • grade 9-12 varies with venue

Solo concert, family literacy evening, workshop and guest speaking engagements available, the fee for these specialty events varies with venue.

Bernice is a storyteller, actor, radio broadcaster and arts educator. Her presentations highlight the Autumn Moon Festival, Lunar New Year & Asian Heritage month in May.

Prefers a Library setting, but adapts to any space.

Needs a table, chart board with a ledge (marker & masking tape), world map and microphone for some settings.

 

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Marty Chan (Edmonton) AB)

Marty Chan (Alberta). Writers Union Member. A professional liar since 1988, Marty writes books for kids and plays for adults. He’s also a keynote speaker, television screenwriter, radio dramatist, and raconteur.

Marty charges $400 plus HST for one hour-long session, $600 for two presentations, and $825 for three. He charges $1,000 for a full day visit, which allows you to schedule as many sessions as you like into the regular school day. Marty’s fees cover his travel and accommodation from Alberta, and he will offset travel costs through The Writers Union of Canada’s reading program.

If you book a full-day visit and want a family literacy event on the same day, Marty will waive the costs for the evening presentation.

The son of immigrants, Marty grew up in a French-Canadian town where he was the only Chinese kid at school. Bullied and friendless, he found sanctuary in the school library where a teacher-librarian inspired this reluctant reader to fall in love with books. Using his sense of humour, Marty turned bullies into buddies and transformed his passion for literacy into a lifelong career as a writer.

A versatile presenter with a background in theatre, Marty can present to any age and any size audience. He tailors his presentations according to grade levels, creating a unique experience for each group he visits. His sessions incorporate storytelling, humour, games, stage magic, and improv that ignite a passion for literacy in audiences from age 5 to 55. Marty has presented keynote speeches for teachers and librarians, led writing workshops for adults, performed at children’s festivals, and emceed large-scale cultural events.

Venues: Marty is able to present in any venue, but he prefers the library.

Some of his sessions include:

JK to 1: For the price of one full session ($400 plus HST), Marty will deliver two 30-minute storytelling sessions featuring Chinese folktales and stage magic. He’ll also reveal the real-life cats behind his hilarious picture book, True Story. (Maximum audience: 50.)

Grades 2 – 3: With a dose of humour, Marty recounts the real-life childhood experiences that inspired The Mystery of the Frozen Brains and improvises a scene with a few students as the stars of the story. (Maximum audience: 100+)

Grades 4 – 6: Keep the lights on for this thrilling talk about Marty’s scary series, Keepers of the Vault, which was inspired by his haunted elementary school. This session is sure to make a few kids jump out of their seats. (Maximum audience: 100+)

Grades 7 and up: Marty reveals the research he did to write The Ehrich Weisz Chronicles, a steampunk fantasy series featuring magician and escape artist Harry Houdini as the protagonist. Marty will show kids all types of shackles as well as a regulation straitjacket, from which he will attempt to escape. (Maximum audience: 100+)

Keynote sessions: Marty can present a keynote session for mixed grade levels or a family literacy night. His keynotes incorporate elements of humour, storytelling, stage magic, and inspiring stories of overcoming discrimination. (Maximum audience: 400).

Writing workshops: Want to go behind the scenes? Marty shares tips on writing thrillers, creating conflict, and crafting plays. He presents workshops for grades 3 – 12 as well as writing seminars for adults. (Maximum audience: 30.)

Virtual visits: $100 plus HST for a half-hour Skype session.

Teachers and librarians have this to say about Marty’s sessions:

“Wow! What a performance! It is hard to say who enjoyed it more, the students or the staff. We were all captivated with Marty Chan and his engaging, entertaining, and informative presentation. The students were asking for him to come visit us again minutes after the presentation ended. From the moment he began to speak, he enthralled us with details of his journey to become an author. His interactive presentation style and use of humour made his writing process come alive for the students, and murmurs of “I want to become a writer” could be heard rippling through the audience…pure gold to a teacher’s ears!” - Nikki Haight, Prince Philip Public School

“Marty engaged a very difficult group of junior high students the ENTIRE presentation. We have never had a presenter come in who was able to capture and hold their attention. This was awesome. Students were even commenting on their way out the room how amazing he was. It was so great to hear them excited about something related to learning. Students were talking about his presentation for days after. The students say he was the best author they have ever seen.” – Janet Kraft, Ralston School

Marty Chan was able to mesmerize children from kindergarten to grade three with his combination of magic, sketching, story-telling and total body language. His inclusion of Chinese folk tales was a good fit for our grade threes, as they were studying different cultures and traditions as part of the Social Studies curriculum.  In choosing children from the audience to act out his tales, the performance aspect of the Language Arts curriculum was enhanced. All the students were willingly engaged in listening, another component of the language arts curriculum. Our staff were delighted by his revision demonstration, using his “magic book”. The next day when a student was asked to add details to his story draft, he smiled and said,” Just like Marty Chan, right?” – Susan Schneider, I.F. Cox School

Equipment needs:

Marty needs a table to set his props and a glass of water. In a larger venue like the gym, Marty will need a microphone and stand as well as a projector and screen.

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Adrienne Kress (Toronto)

Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Writers’ Union Member.Middle Grade, YA.Winner Heart of Hawick Award (UK). Adrienne Kress’s The Explorers has been optioned by Walt Disney Film Studios.

$300+HST for a single session; $500+HST for two sessions; $900+HST for a full day. Prices for larger groups, workshops, panels, etc., to be negotiated*. Outside the Toronto area, add kilometrage and accommodation as necessary.

Adrienne Kress is a Toronto-born actor and author with six novels to her credit, as well as essays, plays and short stories. She has spoken to children and adults in a large variety of circumstances, from school assemblies and classroom workshops to writers’ associations and conference panels. Her presentations have taken her across Canada, the United Kingdom and the US. Adrienne is a dynamic, skillful speaker, insightful, knowledgeable and fun to be with.

READINGS:

Readings based on middle grade books are geared towards children in grades 4, 5, 6 and 7.  They are 45 minutes to 11⁄2 hours in length depending on needs.  The preferred group size is up to 60 children, and the preferred site is the library, but Adrienne can speak to larger groups in other venues.  She has spoken to small groups in a cozy huddle on the floor in a library and to large groups of a couple of hundred in gyms and auditoriums.

As a passionate author, professional actor and teacher, Adrienne brings a large array of skills to her readings.  She starts with a short talk about “how a book gets published” and “working with your editors is like working with your teacher,” continues with a dramatic reading from one of the books and ends with a question period and a book signing opportunity. When her session arises from one of her more swashbuckling books, Adrienne is happy to add a fencing lesson.

PRESENTATIONS:

Presentations can be geared to any audience, for example, Writer’s Craft classes, writers’ groups, book clubs.   The length of the presentation varies according to the needs of the group, but is most often 1 to 11⁄2 hours in length.  The content can be individualized to suit the interests of the group, but usually covers topics like the trials and tribulations of getting published (including how to get a literary agent), the writing process, working with an editor, identifying your audience, trends in modern literature and the importance of studying past works and authors.

WORKSHOPS:

Workshops can be geared to any audience, for example, elementary school students, Writer’s Craft classes, writers’ groups, book clubs. The length of the presentation varies according to the needs of the group but is most often 11⁄2 hours to 3 hours in length, though it can be expanded.  The content usually covers topics like honing your writing skills, creating your own voice, creating a “world” for your writing, the use of dialogue, humour – its types and where to use it­­– identifying your audience, etc.

AWARDS:

Shortlisted for Red Cedar (BC), Audie (US audio book awards), Manitoba Young Readers Choice Awards, The Quill Awards. Winner of The Heart of Hawick Children’s Book Award (UK)

WORKS:

Middle Grade Novels:

The Explorers – The Door in the Alley (Delcourte Random House) (optioned by Disney)

Hatter Madigan – Ghost in the H.A.T.B.O.X. (Automatic Publishing, with Frank Beddor)

Timothy and the Dragon’s Gate(Scholastic)

Alex and the Ironic Gentleman(Scholastic)

Young Adult Novels:

Outcast (Diversion Books, Paranormal Romance)

The Friday Society (Dial Penguin, Steampunk)

Short Stories: In Wow! 366 (UK) and Corsets and Clockwork(USA/UK)

 Essays: Collected in The Girl Who Was On Fire,The Secret Loves of GeekGirls, and CompleteGuide to Writing for Young Adults

 Plays: Sleepy Hollow (Solar Stage Children’s Theatre)  A Weekend in the Country (Adult – TorontoSummerworksFestival  and Edinburgh Festival Fringe)

To book Adrienne, contact Cynthia Kress:

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Natasha Deen (AB)

In Canada, Natasha’s family found refuge from the political and racial violence of Guyana, South America. Her experiences as a child of two nations are the foundation for her dynamic presentations, which help students find the story and power that lives inside them. She routinely speaks to an entire school during the course of a half day, and travel costs are included in her fee. $500 + GST for half day, $700 + GST for a full day. Writers' Union Member.

“You captured the attention of over 500 students in grades 4-8 from the moment you said your first sentence. You did not simply give a talk, but a gift, to our children.” ~ Kari-Ann Ellery, Teacher-Librarian

Natasha Deen’s books have been described as “gripping” (School Library Connection), “engaging” (CM Magazine) and “feel good” (VOYA).  Students enjoy her sessions because she makes them laugh and help them see it’s okay to be different. Teachers appreciate the presentations because they connect with curriculum and showcase writing skills in easy to implement ways.

PRESENTATIONS

"Don't split your infinitives, careful of dangling participles, i before e -- except after c, know the difference between its and it's." Writing is difficult work, and often, by the time students are done learning the mechanics and rules, they've forgotten the best part of writing: it delivers STORY and stories change the world!

Natasha's dynamic sessions celebrate the funny, sometimes sad, moments of being a kid and being part of an immigrant family. She uses her experiences to connect with students on the universal moments of growing up: feeling different, wanting friends, being bullied, and hilarious moments when the grown-ups act more like kids.

During her visit, she also talks about why Canada is the most amazing country to live in (her family moved to Canada from Guyana to escape the country’s political and racial violence), falling in love with the book she assured her mother she would hate, and her hilarious (and often, disastrous!) attempts to make friends in school. Through the presentation, she weaves in literacy tips as well as themes of inclusion, diversity, resiliency, and embracing individualism.

Students will come away with two important lessons:

  1. Writing is a way to deliver the part that's most fun: STORY
  2. In life, just as in writing, it's not about where you start, but where you end.

Natasha has specific presentations for FDK, Grades 1-3, Grades 4-6, Grades 7-9, Grades 10-12, as well as presentations for mixed-age audiences (i.e. K-8). She is also happy to customize her presentations/workshops per your students' needs.

 

Equipment Needs:

A speaker, projector, and microphone for presentations or large rooms/audiences

Whiteboard/smartboard, projector for writing workshops

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Dave Atkinson (PEI)

Dave Atkinson. Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.  Writers' Union Member. Dave is a fun and funny Hackmatack-nominated Middle Grade author, journalist, and broadcaster.

One session is $225, two for $400, three for $550 and 4 for $700. Plus HST and local travel.

Dave Atkinson is a children’s author, journalist, columnist, and broadcaster. His first novel for middle-grade readers, Wereduck, was nominated for the 2016 Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award. Dave is a multiple award-winning journalist whose work for the CBC has appeared on The Current, Atlantic Voice, Tapestry, Maritime Magazine, and regional radio programs across the country. He and his wife are homeschooling their three silly kids in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Dave’s presentations are fast paced, funny, and a lot of fun. A professional broadcaster, he is able to freely flow from animated readings of his books to discussions about writing, publishing, and how to take the mystery out of the creative process. Dave can grab the attention of students and pull them into his stories, but still allow for a fluid, student-led conversation with lots of questions. Discussions often touch on where ideas come from, how to turn those ideas into tangible stories, and how to learn to love the red ink of a teacher or editor. Dave is available year-round in the Maritimes. He tours through Ontario in the fall and spring. Contact him for dates or to make special arrangements.

Dave’s presentations are geared towards Grades 3 through 6. He is comfortable with individual classes and groups as large as 90. Dave requires a bottle of water and a microphone when speaking to larger groups.

Dave will facilitate workshops for adults on writing for kids, getting noticed by a publisher, working with an editor, and promoting your work in traditional and social media. Fees are adjustable by the length of the workshop.

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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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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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Deborah Kerbel (Thornhill ON)

dkerbelWriters’ Union Member. GG finalist. MG, YA Fiction. $325 for one presentation, $575 for two, $850 for three, $1000 for four, + travel (no travel costs within GTA). Full day fee can be split between two neighbouring schools. Out of town visits require two or more bookings.

Deborah Kerbel was born in London, England, but moved to Canada before she was old enough to cultivate a posh accent or a love of marmalade. She is the author of six acclaimed novels for kids and teens. From school groups to large events and international festivals, she’s an experienced presenter and enthusiastic speaker who uses humour and an interactive style to engage her audience. Deborah loves visiting schools and meeting readers and writers of all ages. Based in Thornhill, Ontario, she’s the proud mom of two book-loving children, both of whom continue to inspire many of her story ideas.

Presentations

Deborah’s 60 min presentation consists of:
-details about her Middle Grade and/or Young Adult novels (depending on ages present)
-motivation, rejection, determination, and the rocky road to publication
-interactive PowerPoint quiz about famous children’s authors
-discussion about where ideas come from
-personal anecdotes about writing
-reading and Q&A session
-each student receives a signed bookmark

Grades: 4 - 8

Maximum number of students per session: 60-80 (flexible)
Venue: All acceptable, but library preferred.
Equipment requirements: Projector and screen, glass of water, microphone for larger groups

Workshop details:

Deborah enjoys mentoring emerging writers through workshops, library visits, and short-story competitions. Her interactive workshop is designed to help emerging writers take their craft to the next level. Participants can expect to come away with a variety of creative new ideas and material for their writing as well as the tools to implement them. During the final part of the workshop, participants will take several minutes to write a scene using some of the character traits, setting ideas, and action scenes that were collectively brainstormed within the group.

Maximum workshop size: 15

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Irene Luxbacher (Toronto)

Irene Luxbacher photoToronto ON,  Author/Illustrator, fiction and NF.  Governor General nominee, USBBY winner and Disney Adventure Awards winner.  Multi awards and nominations

$300 plus HST for 1 session.$500 for 2, $650 for 3 and $800 for 4 + travel. Fees include art supplies.

Irene has more than 17 years experience making presentations and teaching visual art to children and adults.  Her specialty is presenting for primary ages, but enjoys making presentations to all when requested. She tailor makes her presentations to compliment teacher lesson plans and current classroom topics or interest.  As the author and illustrator of both art activity books and picture books, she usually presents to 1-2 classes at one time, with groups ranging from 20-30 children.  Because Irene often brings art supplies for demonstrations and craft projects, it is preferable for classes to rotate over the course of the day if more than one presentation is requested.

Presentations by grade

Irene is easy going and flexible with her presentations. She is understanding, warm and engaging. She always makes sure students are drawn into her world of storytelling and art making. A typical presentation usually begins with a brief introduction and the reading or sharing of one of the books she’s either illustrated or written and illustrated.  After some discussion, a theme or idea is arrived at and an art demonstration or workshop follows.  Irene always tries to leave behind a class art project that will keep kids thinking about her books and leave readers with a reminder of the fun that can be had when inspiration and imagination are at play.

Here is an example of her themes by grade:

JK to 2: A 10-15 minute reading of “The Imaginary Garden” by Andrew Larsen followed Q&A on topic of your choice (i.e. gardens, seasons, environment, relationships), Ending with 30 minute group art activity such as a class garden mural project

2 to :4 A 20 minute reading of “Mr. Frank” followed by Q&A on topic of your choice (i.e. different jobs/occupations, fashion history, relationships with elderly family members).  Presentation with students creating a miniature tailor shop of the ages using collage materials.  What time period would you create clothes for? What ages? Why?

4 to 8: A 20 minute reading of “Malaika’s Costume” by Nadia Hohn. Q&A on topics such as immigration, empathy, differing cultures/customs. Presentation ending with the creation of a carnival headpiece reflecting each students own style, interests or emotions.

7 to 12: Irene would do workshops involving students in the art of storytelling through words and images for this age group.  Simplifying text and adding visual content would be discussed and demonstrated.  Some drawing techniques would be shared and students would work on the 32 page format that most picture books come in to be completed in class or at home. Students would have a chance to look through many of Irene’s books and ask questions about the process of coming up with an idea and turning it into a book.

Professional Development Workshops:

Irene loves to involve primary teachers in art making workshops that demonstrate how to make the most of a few supplies and how to ensure a successful lesson.  Ordering art supplies can be daunting and expensive if you’re not sure where to begin. Irene will bring in basic, inexpensive tools and materials and demonstrate their many uses. Irene’s professional development workshops are fun, interactive and lively and will offer teachers valuable information.  Providing a solid foundation of simple techniques that can be applied to any topic will help teachers enjoy using visual art as a teaching and learning tool on a regular basis.

Maximum group sizes for presentations: 20-30.  Workshops are ideal with 7-15 people at a time.

Classrooms or library preferred

Equipment required: A glass of water, A table to organize art supplies and books on.  Irene loves to read her books in a circle, on an open floor area with young children. A large plastic drop-sheet or two to protect desks or work areas from possible paint/glue spills.

*Irene uses art materials that are non-toxic and tools that are age/skill appropriate.

Virtual Visits: $150 plus HST, 60 minutes, Skype.

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Darren Groth (Vancouver)

Darren Groth 3Vancouver BC. Writers’ Union Member. YA. Aussie adopted by Canada; GG Finalist,  BC Book Prizes, multi awards in Australia. Fees: $300 for 1 session, $500 for 2, $700 for 3, $850 for 4 (plus HST). Because. A day can be shared between two cooperating schools.

For the GTA (and Toronto bookings near GO stations), Darren can GO TRAIN (not buses or subway) travel both ways all day; he requires pick up and drop off at the GO stations. Where GO Trains are not feasible, car or taxi pick-up from Darren’s hotel is requested.

Bio: Darren is a Canozzie (Canadian-Australian), ex-PE teacher, proud ASD parent and author of five novels, including the acclaimed YA work ‘Are You Seeing Me?’, winner of the 2016 Adelaide Festival Award for YA Literature (Australia) and finalist for seven major prizes on both sides of the Pacific including the Governor General’s Literary Awards and the BC Book Prizes.

Presentations: Despite his occasional confounding accent and Aussie-isms, Darren is a brilliant speaker and presenter for schools, libraries and writing organizations. Presentations include:

  • ‘Seven Pieces of Priceless Advice from Perry’; an entertaining insight into the decorated YA novel ‘Are You Seeing Me?’ and an exploration of life lessons provided by protagonist, Perry Richter; includes two interactive games with prizes: ‘AYSM Numbers’ and ‘Jackie Chan or Ogopogo’; Grades 5-12; 60 minutes; suitable for individual classes or large groups.
  • ‘Coming to Canada’; a reflective and humourous look at cultural difference in Darren’s fiction, teaching and real life; includes one interactive game with prizes: ‘Aussie Interpretations’; Grades 5-12; 60 minutes; suitable for individual classes or large groups.

Workshops: Darren is a facilitator highly skilled in co-operative learning techniques. His sessions are designed to not only produce great writing, but also great collaboration. Workshops include:

  • ‘Authorship: The FAQ’; a comprehensive and interactive overview of ‘insider’ author knowledge; includes five co-operative group exercises; half-day, only for creative writing groups (max. 16); suitable for secondary students and adults.
  • ‘Seeing is Believing’; a flyover of the ‘Are You Seeing Me?’ journey, from conception to publication; includes two co-operative group exercises; 60-90 minutes; only for creative writing groups (max. 16); suitable for secondary students and adults.
  • ‘Small Stories, Big Dreams: Adventures in Flash Fiction’; a deep dive into the world of flash fiction, its craft, its creation and its publishing opportunities; includes multiple writing exercises, an open mike session, and a competition/prizes; half- or full day; only for creative writing groups (max. 16); suitable for secondary students and adults.

Equipment requirements: Water, tea, lunch (Vegemite sandwich lol) if staying for the day. A screen and projector for Power Point.

Virtual Visits: $100 plus HST, 30 minutes; $150 plus HST, 60 minutes Skype.

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Christie Harkin (Aurora)

christieharkinAurora, ON. Christie is a Toronto-area publisher and editor of many award-winning children/ young adult novels and picture books. She is also a former English and ESL teacher/tutor and experienced presenter. $175 for a 1.5 hour session. $350 for one half-day session (3 hours). No travel fee for York Region or Toronto. Standard kilometrage for other areas.

Christie is the former producer/host of Bookmarks: The Book Report Show for Kids, a cable-access TV show that gave children the opportunity to talk about books and interview authors on television.

These Topics can be tailored to suit all grades from Junior to High School:

The Publishing Process (1.5 hrs)

How is a book “made”? What does it take to become a published author or illustrator? Students will learn about the publishing industry and process of getting a book published. Audience limit: flexible/negotiable/large group.

Self-editing and peer-editing: Why a good editor is a writer’s best friend (1.5 hrs)

  • Stages of writing (preparation, the writing process, revision)
  • What to look for in your own work and in your partner’s work when you are editing
  • Common errors and bloopers
  • How to be critical and encouraging at the same time
  • What to do when you are STUCK
  • Peer-editing workshop

Crafting your own picture book: Presentation and workshop: 1.5 hrs

  • Thinking about AUDIENCE
  • Thinking about STORY
  • Thinking about ILLUSTRATION
  • Turning the page: Thinking about DESIGN
  • Picture book planning workshop

Diversity on the Bookshelf: Who are books for? Presentation and workshop: 1.5 hrs

  • Discussing the role of books in addressing issues of diversity, inclusion, race, gender, ability, socio-economics, and sexuality.
  • Exploring books that present characters and scenarios that both represent and challenge students’ experiences
  • Shelf-study workshop; evaluating a collection critically

Workshop: The Literary Journal: (2-hour minimum)

Students will workshop the creation of a class or school literary publication using submissions that are collected in advance. They will learn to examine submissions critically and consider topics of inclusion, voice, diversity, style, balance, and merit. Working in groups, they will formulate a “vision” for their publication, begin to select pieces, make editorial notes, and create a preliminary table of contents.

Requirements: Water, projector/screen and apparatus to connect a laptop for PowerPoint presentations, microphone if the space warrants. Classroom presentations and workshops: Audience Limits: 40 students per session.

 

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Heather Stemp (North Bay)

heatherstempwp1North Bay, ON, Writer's Union Member. Historical fiction for middle grade and YA readers. Red Cedar Nominee

$250 plus HST for 1 session, $450 plus HST for 2 sessions, $650 plus HST for 3 sessions, and $850 plus HST for 4 sessions, plus travel.

Heather is an experienced presenter with small and large groups. Thirty years of teaching have prepared her for settings that include the classroom, library, and auditorium.

What Teachers Can Expect

Heather believes in interactive presentations. She uses her middle grade historical fiction, Amelia and Me, to take grade 3 to 7 students on a trip to Harbour Grace, Newfoundland in 1932. From there, Amelia Earhart began her solo transatlantic flight. This location was also where she met Heather's aunt, Ginny. Their meeting was the beginning of an incredible adventure.

Students will be offered a hands-on experience in order to explore the geography, history, food, dress, music, and dancing of Newfoundland. Themes such as friendship, family, bullying, conflict, and early aviation can be explored further at the teacher's request. Heather is happy to examine topics that meet the curriculum expectations for a particular grade. Presentations are geared to the interests and needs of each group.

In grades 8 to 12, Heather uses her YA historical fiction, Taking Flight, to examine topics related to aviation, World War II, the Ferry Command, Amelia Earhart, Purdue University in 1936, women in higher education, and men and women in non-traditional roles. The impact of world events on family, relationships, and the community may be included. She is happy to explore the writing process with grade 8 to 12 students as well.

Because of her experience in curriculum writing, Heather is interested in collaborating with teachers. One of her sessions can be a noon hour or after school workshop which focuses on reading and writing strategies. This can be done in conjunction with school readings.

Equipment Required: A glass of water, a cup of coffee. A table to spread her things out on. A microphone for larger groups or in the gym, or if the room acoustics are questionable. A screen and projector for PowerPoint.

Virtual Visits: $90 plus HST, 60 minutes, Skype.

Download Writers-in-the-Schools subsidy form here: WITSApplication

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L. E. Carmichael, PhD (NS)

Carmichaelwp1N.S. Writers' Union Member.  Award-winning author of 21 science books for young people.

Fees: $250 for a one-hour presentation, $400 for two hours, plus travel expenses. Contact me for full-day pricing. Fees include supplies for experiments. Skype visits also available.

Lindsey is comfortable presenting to small groups or entire gymnasiums, and loves to combine book talk with hands-on science experiments. Lindsey is also an experienced writing instructor, offering workshops for both children and adults.

Presentations:

Lindsey specializes in making science cool and accessible to kids, so she's most often invited to speak about the subjects of her books. She can also present on academic writing skills, or speak to the terror – and thrill! – of researching and writing non-fiction for kids.

Sample presentations and workshops are described below. Lindsey will create custom programs to suit your needs, but additional development fees may apply.

Grades K-3: Laura and the Locusts

In 1875, a swarm of Rocky Mountain locusts destroyed Laura Ingalls Wilder’s family farm. This presentation integrates Laura’s descriptions of the swarm (On the Banks of Plum Creek) with the newest scientific information on Locust Migration. Prepare to be fascinated and creeped out all at once!

Grades 3-6: Decoding Domestication

Ever wonder where domestic animals came from? Why they look the way they look and act the way they do? Learn about a remarkable experiment that decoded domestication. Based on Lindsey's book Fox Talk, this program includes video of experimentally domesticated foxes and answers the eternal question, "What does the fox say?"

Special requirements: If a docile, kid-friendly dog is available, students can take part in a live communication experiment during the presentation.

Grades 7-10: Forensic Science: Digging Into DNA (1 hour)

Inspired by Lindsey's 2014 Lane Anderson Award-winning book Fuzzy Forensics: DNA Fingerprinting Gets Wild, this presentation explores the way scientists use DNA to solve crimes against both people and wildlife. Includes a signature "myth busting" section on TV forensics and plenty of time for questions.

Grades 7-10: Forensic Science: Finding A Match (2 hours)

A variation on Digging Into DNA, this program covers the history and science of fingerprinting – both traditional and DNA varieties. It also includes two hands-on experiments with extensions for later home or classroom use.

Special requirements: Lindsey provides most of the ingredients, but requests that schools supply mugs, paintbrushes, kettles, and newspaper.

Grades 7-12: Creative and Academic Writing Workshops. Topics can include:

- research and interview skills
- descriptive writing
- world building for sci/fi and fantasy
- touching your reader’s emotions
- revision and editing techniques
- lab reports or argumentative essays
- and more!

Grades 10-12: Creative and Academic Writing Workshops. Topics can include:

- research and interview skills
- descriptive writing
- revision and editing techniques
- lab reports or argumentative essays
- and more!

General Requirements for all presentations: Projector and screen, with computer (Lindsey's Mac does not play well with others). A table for setting up displays. For large room and groups, a microphone is required. Lindsey has a lot of food allergies and prefers to provide her own meals.

Download Writers-in-the-Schools subsidy form here: WITSApplication

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Susan Aihoshi (Toronto)

Toronto author of Torn Apart, about the Japanese internment in WWII Canada. Writers' Union member. 150-kilometre distance from Toronto. $175.00 per session. Travel costs by public transit would apply outside Toronto, as Susan does not drive.

Susan begins with a short introduction explaining how the research and writing of her first book, Torn Apart, has changed her life. As a third-generation Japanese Canadian, the history of her people held little interest for her until she approached it from a personal view. Hearing stories from her mother and other family members, as well as others not related to her, Susan now realizes that history is more than what happened in the past—it’s what we choose to remember.

A reading of selected excerpts from the book follows the intro. Afterwards, Susan gives a visual presentation of period and other photographs, which help illustrate both the reading and the background of the book.

The presentation ends with a Q & A session with the audience. A one-page preparatory list of questions is available for handout in advance, if students have not read the book.

Susan can tailor her presentation to suit particular subject areas (English, Creative Writing, History, Social Studies).

Length of presentation time: 45 minutes to an hour, or one period.

Maximum 2 sessions per day.

Susan will present to Grades 4 and up, including high school students.

Maximum number of students per session: 50, although Susan is flexible and has presented to much larger groups in an auditorium setting.

Susan is comfortable in a classroom or a library.

Equipment required: projector and screen, lectern (music stand, table or desk), to place book while reading, portable microphone (if room size is very large).

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Arlene Chan (Toronto)

ArleneChan2016Toronto. $250 for one session, $400 for two, and $550 for three. No travel charges within the Greater Toronto Area.

Arlene has written seven books about Chinese festivals and the Chinese in Canada. Arlene has given hundreds of presentations to students from grades one up to grade twelve. She was a guest author at the 2014 Toronto International Book Fair and the 2013 Word on the Street.

Here’s what Vivien Keiling, Youth Services Librarian, Vaughan Public Libraries, has to say about Arlene’s presentation:

Presenting to school-aged children is not an easy thing - they're easily distracted and aren't always that interested in hearing what the presenter has to say. Arlene Chan was amazing - she was able to take a large group of  11 year-olds (65 of them) and keep them engaged, interested, and enthusiastic for a full hour presentation [about the dragon boat festival]! The children were asking tons of questions and even after it was time for them to leave, they didn't want to go! Arlene was a fantastic presenter - the best author visit I've had.

You will enjoy 60 minutes of lively and interactive presentations geared for the age of the audience. As a retired librarian, who planned and presented programs at the Toronto Public Library, I know what teachers and school librarians expect, and how to keep students engaged. (I’ve also been a guest on many television and radio shows, like CBC Radio’s Here and Now and Fresh Air.) There’s always lots of time for questions. I’m at ease in making presentations in classrooms and libraries.

Best for grades 1-6. Audience up to 80 children at a time. A separate room is preferred to contain the noise of excited children during their simulated dragon boat races.

Special Occasions:

 “The Dragon Boat Festival” – May/June, depending on lunar calendar. Best for grades 1-3. Preferred audience size of 30. This presentation can be scheduled as two 30-minute presentations instead of one 60-minute one.

“The Moon Festival” – September/October, depending on the lunar calendar. Best for grades 1-6. Audience up to 80 children at a time.

“Chinese New Year and other Celebrations” – January/February, depending on the lunar calendar; Asian Heritage Month in May. Best for grades 7-12. Preferred audience size of 30.

Historic Events:

“The Role of the Chinese in the Construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway”

Righting Canada's Wrongs: the Chinese Head Tax and Anti-Chinese Immigration Policies in the Twentieth Century

The Chinese Community in Toronto: Then and Now. Best for grades 7-12. Preferred audience size of 30.

People in History:

“A Proud Chinese Canadian”. The Spirit of the Dragon: The Story of Jean Lumb. Best for grades 7-12. Preferred audience size of 30.

Immigration:

“Canada’s Anti-Chinese Immigration Policies, 1885-1967”. Righting Canada's Wrongs: the Chinese Head Tax and Anti-Chinese Immigration Policies in the Twentieth Century. Best for grades 7-12. Preferred audience size of 30.

Equipment and other Requirements

Projector or SmartBoard for Powerpoint presentations

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Laurent Chabin (Montreal)

Laurent ChabinLaurent Chabin, Montréal. Laurent est un auteur francophone qui a publié plus de 85 titres, pour adultes, adolescents et enfants.
Laurent is the author of over 85 titles, for adult, teens and children.
Tarifs : 300 $ pour une rencontre d'une heure, 550 $ pour 2 rencontres (1 heure chacune), 750 $ pour 3 rencontres, 900 $ pour 4 rencontres. Minimum de 2 rencontres par jour, maximum de 4 rencontres. Ajouter frais de transport et hébergement (pour ces raisons, il est souhaitable de grouper les visites). Non assujetti aux taxes.

Rates: $300 for one 1-hour presentation, $550 for 2, $750 for 3, $900 for 4. Minimum 2 presentations per day, maximum 4 presentations per day. Lodging and travel expenses from Montreal are extra (for this reason, we strongly suggest grouping presentations and/or connecting with other local schools to share these expenses). Taxes are included.


Laurent est surtout connu pour ses romans policiers, qui s'adressent à tous les publics (5e année jusqu'à 12e année, avec bien sûr des titres différents pour chaque niveau). Ce type de romans a l'avantage d'attirer très rapidement l'intérêt des jeunes qui ne sont habituellement pas portés vers la lecture.

Laurent is best known for his detective and police novels for all age groups (Grade 5 and up, various titles for various reading levels, of course). This literary genre has the advantage of quickly drawing student’s attention especially those who may be reluctant readers.

L'atelier présente le roman policier comme genre, avec ses techniques et ses particularités : personnages, intrigues, «punch», etc. Il tente de montrer aux élèves, par l'intermédiaire des histoires racontées, que la violence n'est pas une réponse à la violence. Il insiste aussi sur le fait que la lecture est autant un apprentissage du monde qu'un plaisir.

The presentation begins with an introduction to the detective novel as a genre, with its distinctive characteristics and techniques – characters, intrigue, punch, etc. With examples from his books, Laurent will show students that violence is not the answer to violence. He also insists upon the fact that reading is as much a part of learning about the world as it is a pleasure.

Les présentations ont lieu uniquement en français et l'auteur s'adresse aux élèves francophones ou d'immersion, dont il a une longue expérience. Maximum : 60 étudiants, pas de gymnase, pas de besoins techniques.

The presentations are exclusively in French and are tailored specifically for francophone or French immersion students with whom he has many years of experience.

Maximum 60 students/presentation
No gyms
No technical requirements

Pour réserver des présentations avec Laurent, prière de communiquer avec nous par courriel.

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Kate Blair (Toronto)

kateblairwp1Toronto. Writers' Union Member. Debut novel Transferral gathering rave reviews.

$200 for 1 session, $375 for 2, $500 for 3, $600 for 4 sessions. Limited to visiting schools accessible by public transit, or where a teacher is able to provide transport from the nearest transit stop/station - no travel costs within Toronto; actual transit cost elsewhere in the GTA.

Presentations suitable for grades 3 to 12.
kateblairwp2
Kate Blair has been a museum curator, a clown and a ride operator at a theme park, she has lived in four countries on three continents. Her young adult novel, Transferral, explores ideas around justice, punishment and class in an alternate version of London, England. She holds a degree in history and a masters in museum studies with a specialty in education.

Kate loves to share her enthusiasm for reading, writing, and finding your place in the world. Presentations are tailored to meet the needs of the age group, and are flexible, responding to the curriculum and the interests and curiosity of the students. She has years of experience in museums leading school workshops and presentations with all age groups, keeping students engaged and entertained.

Kate draws on her own struggles with concentration and fitting in at school to connect with students. She presents on the importance of passion and time - rather than talent - inspiring students to pursue what they love and to put the work in, rather than believing they should only focus on what they've been told they are 'good at'.

Kate’s presentations can cover a variety of topics, adapted to suit the audience and their interests, including the following:

The importance of failing; how no-one is any good at anything when they first start.

Why being the odd one out at school is a good thing.

Writing a book: what does it take and how do you get started? Including: how to spark ideas; how to create characters; how to keep your reader reading; how to edit and how to research.

Topics related to Transferral: Crime and punishment – what is the purpose of justice? A brief history of crime and punishment in London. Democracy and other ways to change the world around you.

All venues, library preferred.
Maximum group size: 200
Equipment and other requirements:
A microphone and podium for larger groups, or if the presentation is in a gym or auditorium.
A flip chart.
A glass of water.
Lunch (a sandwich is fine) if Kate is booked for morning and afternoon.

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