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)

Alberta. Writers' Union Member. 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, $1000 + GST for a full day.

“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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Julie Burtinshaw (Vancouver)

Award winning YA author, storyteller, speaker, workshop leader, ideas person, traveller. Writers Union Member Julie’s rates are $275 per session, $500 for two sessions, $900 for four sessions. Julie will be in Toronto in September and October 2017. Julie's partner is a pilot and therefore she is able to be in Ontario with very little notice. Travel, $150 per day.

Julie was born and raised in Vancouver where she still lives. She loves to travel the world and is passionate about the health of our oceans.  She attributes her fascination with teenage resilience and courage to her own experiences to a tragic family loss. Her books reflect her admiration for the choices teens make when facing impossible situations.

Julie writes both historical fiction and coming of age stories set in current times. Her previous eight novels explore the issues that face young adults and in particular young men in a candid style that engages readers and encourages discussions and exploration.

When not writing, Julie teaches creative writing workshops, and is an active participant in the writing community. She has served as a judge for the BC Book Awards, Red Cedar Awards, Illinois Women's Press Association Communications and mentored many emerging and upcoming writers.

Presentations: Readings and writing workshops for grades seven to college/university. Julie’s ability to engage even the most reluctant teens in discussion and conversation has earned her the praise of many high-school teachers.  Julie employs a series of highly interactive creative writing prompts, games and exercises to ensure that every student leaves her workshops armed with a strong sense of accomplishment, and a newly a discovered passion for the written word in its various forms.

All venues

Depending on the length of the presentation, the size of the class and the goals of the educator, possible topics include (but not exhaustive):

The process of writing
Sourcing ideas
Accessing creativity
Research
Plot development
Character development
Publishing tips and tricks
Poetry
Writing dialogue
Writing Memories

Julie customizes her workshops, readings and presentations depending on the ages, group size and goals of audiences and requests a short email exchange with educators prior to in-classroom visits.

For readings and presentations Julie is comfortable with large groups. For creative writing workshops group sizes should not exceed thirty, although smaller groups are ideal.

Students attending creative writing workshops should bring pen, paper and their imaginations.  Julie will need a flip board, a white board, water, desk or table and a microphone for larger groups.  She uses Keynote format for large group presentations so will require a screen and computer table.

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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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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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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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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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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 (Trenton)

Carmichaelwp1Trenton. 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 7-12: 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 9-12: Creative and Academic Writing Workshops. Topics can include:

- character building
- fantasy world building
- descriptive writing
- the link between language and emotion
- research and interview skills
- 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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Kate Blair (Toronto)

kateblairwp1Toronto. Writers' Union Member. Kate's debut YA novel Transferral was nominated for multiple awards and optioned for a potential TV series. Tangled Planet is set for release in the fall of 2017.

$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.

Kate's presentations are suitable for grades 5 to 12.

Kate Blair has been a museum curator, a clown and a ride operator at a theme park. She holds a degree in history and a masters in museum studies with a specialty in education.

Her first young adult novel, Transferral, is set in an alternative version of modern London, England, where criminals are punished by having the diseases of the innocent transferred to them. It explores ideas around justice, punishment and poverty. Her second, Tangled Planet, is set in the far future, on a generation starship that has just arrived at its destination planet, and deals with the struggles of the crew to adapt to their new home.

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

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.

The importance of failing and how no one is any good at anything when they first start. The role of passion and time in cultivating success, rather than 'natural' talent.

Space colonization: Talking about the research that went into creating a believable, fact-based world in Tangled Planet, and the effort that goes into getting the science of stories right. Explaining issues that face future astronauts and space missions, from the trivial - such as using the bathroom in zero-gravity - to more serious challenges associated with long-distance space travel, exploring exoplanets and finding a home for humanity among the stars.

Crime and punishment: Talking about the research that went into Transferral and the odd and intertwined history of disease, poverty and punishment in England.

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 glass of water.
Lunch (a sandwich is fine) if Kate is booked for morning and afternoon.

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Lana Button (Burlington)

LanaButtonwp1

Burlington. Lana charges $300 for one session, $500.00 for two, $750.00 for three and $900.00 for full day, plus travel from Burlington. Writers’ Union Member.

She shares her stories Willow’s Whispers, Willow Finds a Way, and Willow's Smile, and opens up discussion around empathy, self-esteem and self-reliance. And she always welcomes questions!

Lana is an Early Childhood Educator and former actress who feels at home when surrounded by a group of young children. She loves reading, singing and interacting with her audience! Her lively presentations are sure to keep the attention of young children learning about picture books, about themselves and about each other. Her goal is to leave her audience cheering!

Presentations:

FDK-3 (about 45 minutes) Lana introduces Willow.

She shares her passion for picture books and her journey of bringing Willow to life. Her story is not only a literary step-by step lesson in how a picture book is made it’s a lesson in personal perseverance and determination, told in an engaging age appropriate way.

She shares her story Willow’s Whispers and opens up discussion around empathy, self-esteem and self-reliance. And she always welcomes questions!

FDK-3 (about 45 minutes) Bullying Awareness

Lana focuses on bullying awareness and prevention with her story, Willow Finds a Way. She reads the story and engages the children in discussion around recognizing bullying behavior and in finding ways to stand up to bullying.

Lana loves audiences big and small. She can present to as many as 120 children per session, and will present in classrooms, libraries and gymnasiums.

She just needs a microphone for large groups.

Lana loves family literacy events! She aims to entertain and inspire the whole family with her writing experiences and her stories.

Please email us to book Lana Button:

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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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Mahtab Narsimhan (Toronto)

MahtabNarsimhanDLPSToronto. Writers' Union Member. Silver Birch winning author available for school, library and conference visits.

Mahtab’s rate is $250 plus HST for one session, $475 for two, $700 for three and $925 for four sessions, plus travel per Canada Council mileage rates.

Mahtab, in Persian, means moonlight. She won the Silver Birch award for her debut novel, The Third Eye. Mahtab enjoys connecting with her readers in interactive presentations and encourages discussions about diversity. She’s comfortable with an adult audience as well as Grades 1-3 for her picture book and Grades 4-8 for her middle-grade/YA novels. As Writer-In-Residence at the TDSB (2014-2016) and presenter at TPL (Sophie’s Studio workshops 2011 and 2016), she has given numerous writing workshops and loves it!

Presentations:

Mahtab tailors her presentations to the age of her audience and makes them fun and interactive. Her talk is peppered with personal anecdotes about the challenges she faces when she writes, as well as tips and tricks she uses to meet her daily goal of 1500 words.  Each presentation is 50 minutes in duration with 10 minutes for Q&A. She also talks about the catalyst that took her from a high-powered corporate executive to becoming a writer.

Mahtab’s books include a strong element of her Indian roots and she encourages discussions and questions on world cultures, and especially diversity.  She immigrated to Canada in 1997 and is happy to  share the struggles she faced while trying to fit into Canada.

She describes the research and planning that goes into each book. She’s writing one about Mars at the moment and hopes to get funding to do first-hand research.

Writing Workshop Topics:

  • Creative writing - Fiction
  • The Danger of a Single Story
  • New Immigrant and Fitting into Canada
  • Myth and Magic

Equipment: A mike, table, projector screen and multi-plug power socket. Flip-chart and markers for workshops.

Venue : All, though libraries and classrooms preferred.  

Maximum number of students per session:  100 for presentations and 16 for workshops. This is slightly flexible so please contact her to discuss.

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

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Rene Schmidt (Trenton)

ReneSchmidtwp1Trenton ON, Writers' Union Member. Canadian Disasters series, Red Maple Honour Book, Fiction, Canada’s little known best-selling author.

Rene will charge $175 for one session, $300 for two, $500 for three and for $650 for four sessions. Free mileage within 100 km of Trenton.

Rene Schmidt is a man of wide experiences, from hard-rock mining to truck driving, construction work, crewing on freight ships, acting, teaching, and travels extensively by bicycle, motorcycle, canoe, or truck through Canada. Rene is an award-winning author and engaging story-teller. Reluctant readers and book-shy individuals will find themselves drawn to his stories, of both fictional and true events.

Rene’s books on Canadian Disasters are likely already in your school library.  These best-selling books by Scholastic Canada have accurate and compelling stories of Canada’s dangerous past, written in brief and high-interest format. Rene’s school-setting fiction novel, Leaving Fletchville traces the heart-warming tale of a boy who defies authority to act as surrogate father to his siblings.  Leaving Fletchville was a Red Maple honour book. As a retired teacher, Rene can adapt to any size audience from 5 to 500. Students are held spellbound by his voices and accents.  The recently discovered HMS Erebus is an open portal to Rene’s extensive research on the fate of Sir John Franklin and his men.  Rene has all the details, gruesome photos and cannibalistic theories to share with your classes. He will adapt his presentations to whatever grade or curriculum needs you ask for, from Grade 4 to adult.

Presentation Details

As a retired teacher, Rene can adapt to any size audience from 5 to 500. Students are held spellbound by his voices and accents. The recently discovered HMS Erebus is an open portal to Rene’s extensive research on the fate of Sir John Franklin and his men. Rene has all the details, gruesome photos and cannibalistic theories to share with your classes. He will adapt his presentations to whatever grade or curriculum needs you ask for, from Grade 4 to adult.

 

Send us an email to Book Rene Schmidt:

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