Melanie Fishbane (Toronto)

Toronto. Writers’ Union Member. Author of the young adult novel, Maud: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery.

Melanie’s rate is $250.00, two is $450.00, three is $700.00 and four is $900.00, plus travel. Skype visits available.

An experienced teacher, lecturer and presenter, Melanie has internationally presented on children’s literature, historical fiction and the life and work of Canadian author L.M. Montgomery to people of all ages. Her presentations are adaptable to the skill and knowledge of the group and she incorporates her experience as an English college teacher to engage students in writing about what they are interested in.


Book Talks

Melanie is an animated speaker who enjoys bringing props to her presentations, which may or may not include her first writings (and most definitely not her journal from when she was 12-years-old). Geared to grades 5 and up, her presentations can be adapted to the grade level and/or size of group. All presentations discuss path to publication, writing life, with a focus on research best practices, and the writing process. Depending upon the length of the book talk, details to be explored can also include any or all of the following:
• The life and times of L.M. Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables
• L.M. Montgomery as Teen Writer
• History of women during late-19th century Canada – L.M. Montgomery and her contemporaries
• Larger discussion on how to write historical fiction

Writing Workshops

Writing Historical Fiction: This 1 to 2-hour writing workshop provides an outline and framework on best practices in writing historical fiction, including the difference between primary and secondary sources, important questions to consider, as well as focusing on plotting, character, structure, description and dialogue. Workshop can be adapted for time requirements.

Journal Writing: Many writers, such as Anne Frank and L.M. Montgomery, used journal writing to explore their feelings about the world and work on their writing. This workshop shows how journal writing can not only be the first step in the writing journey, but it also be a tool for self-exploration and examination. This 1 to 2-hour writing workshop gives students the opportunity to tap into their creativity, while also exploring freewriting, discussions on the inner critic and strategies for writer’s block.

Equipment and Other Requirements

For lectures and talks, 30 to 50 students, but will take larger groups for lectures. For writing workshops, 16 or so.

I’ll require a table, water, laptop & projector for PowerPoint, and access to a microphone for larger groups or in the gym.

For writing workshops, a white board or flip paper with markers. Students should come with a notebook and pencil or pens. No laptops or cell phones, please.

 

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Natasha Deen (AB)

Natasha Deen

Available Oct 16 to 20. 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. $550 + GST for half day (2 sessions, or entire school in one), $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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Charis Cotter (NF)

Newfoundland. Writers' Union Member. Multiple award-winner. Silver Birch 2016 Honour Book. Fiction, Newfoundland ghost stories, writing workshops. Grades 4 to 6.

Her rate is $300 for one session, $550 for two sessions, plus HST and kilometrage.

Charis has an engaging, playful approach to writing and storytelling that draws an enthusiastic response from students. She has toured schools and libraries across Canada, thrilling audiences with her Newfoundland ghost stories and her unique, imagination-based writing workshops.

Haunted Newfoundland: Ghost Stories from the Rock
For some reason, Newfoundland has more ghosts than anywhere else. Ghosts in the ocean, ghosts on the barrens, ghosts in lighthouses, and ghosts at kitchen parties. Using stories she has collected herself, Charis takes her audience on a creepy tour of that very haunted island. Some stories go back hundreds of years, like the Old Hollies, said to be the victims of shipwrecks, who are heard screaming in the wind just before a bad storm. Charis tells the mysterious true story of her book, The Ferryland Visitor, about a family who has just moved to a lonely lighthouse. Then she describes an unsettling experience she had herself on the barrens one dark Newfoundland night. She finishes the performance with a dramatic story about ghostly footsteps in Bay de Verde in the 1920s. At the end of the presentation, Charis talks about her books and answers questions about writing and ghosts.
75 minutes. Grades 4 to 6. 125 students maximum. Classroom or library where students can sit in a group on the floor. Table. Chair.

Walk into Your Story: A Writing Workshop
Charis presents a writing workshop based on her novel, The Painting, where 12-year-old Annie walks inside a painting of a lighthouse in Newfoundland. After a dramatized reading from The Painting, Charis leads the students through a series of visualizations, using Annie’s experience of walking inside a painting as a model to illustrate how to imagine a story. Students create the details of an imaginary world, create a character and begin to develop the plot of their story. Along the way, Charis shares some thoughts about her inspiration and writing process for The Painting. At the end of the workshop, she talks about her books and answers questions about the writing life.

75 minutes. Grades 4 to 6. 60 students maximum. Classroom or library where students can sit in a group on the floor. Easel or whiteboard with markers, table, chair.

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Rebecca Bender (Burlington)

rebeccabenderwp1Author-Illustrator. Burlington, ON. Writers' Union Member. Blue Spruce winner. K to 4.

$350 plus HST for 1 session, two for $600, three for $800 and four for $1000, + travel for destinations further than 50 km.

Rebecca has been working as an illustrator, designer, and art director in children’s publishing for over 10 years. She brings her expertise of book and story creation to her talks and encourages children to create their own picture books. She is the author-illustrator of the popular Giraffe and Bird books. Recently she illustrated Slug Days, written by Sara Leach (October 2017).

Presentation
Rebecca’s goal is to inspire children to develop their own characters, write their own stories and craft their own books to share with others. Through drawing and discussion, children will take part in creating illustrations that may be a springboard for story writing. She shares her journey of becoming an author-illustrator and her process for coming up with ideas. Rebecca requires an easel, chart paper, and a chair and prefers a group size of about 65 students per presentation.

Rebecca is happy to visit middle schools, high schools and colleges as well, to speak about the creative process in both writing and illustrating.

Workshop
Rebecca offers illustration and writing workshops designed to kick start the creative process of making a picture book. For this presentation format, tables or clipboards and basic art supplies are necessary for the students.

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