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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Caroline Pignat (Ottawa)

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

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

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

The Power of Story Presentation:

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

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

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

Creative Writing Workshop

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

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

 

Creative Writing Sessions

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

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

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

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

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

Requirements: projector, screen, speakers.

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

 

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