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 5 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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Michelle Barker (Vancouver)

Michelle Barker. Vancouver. Writers’ Union member.  Award-winning author of poetry, a picture book, a young adult fantasy novel, short fiction, and non-fiction. 2016 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award nominee. All ages.  Michelle’s rate is $275 for one presentation, $425 for two, $650 for three, and $825 for four. No travel costs within the GTA. Available in the Toronto area mid-November, 2016, early February, 2017, and early June, 2017.

Michelle grew up in Vancouver but has lived in Jerusalem, France, Quebec and the Okanagan region of BC. She has four children. In 2014 she graduated from the MFA program at UBC. When she isn’t writing, she works as an editor and mentor. An energetic presenter, she has run creative writing workshops and given presentations to people of all ages.

Michelle offers the following presentations for different ages:

  1. K1 30 minutes / 30 students max.

A Year of Borrowed Men

  • Reading
  • Time Capsule Activity
  • Q&A
  1. 25   60 minutes

A Year of Borrowed Men

  • Reading with projected illustrations
  • Slides and discussion about life on the farm in 1940s Germany
  • Some historical information
  • Time Capsule Activity
  • Q&A
  1. 5-12 60 minutes

What She Said: Writing Effective Dialogue

  • What good dialogue can do
  • The pitfalls of writing dialogue
  • Student participation and hands-on writing exercises
  1. 8-12 60 minutes

Poetry for the Terrified

  • Why so many people don’t like poetry
  • Imagery and telepathy
  • To rhyme or not to rhyme
  • Making every word count
  • Hands-on writing exercises
  1. 7-10 60 Minutes

The Beggar King

  • Reading from the novel
  • The pitfalls of writing fantasy
  • The writer’s life—pros and cons

With the exception of the youngest classes, the maximum number of students per session is flexible, but Michelle prefers to use a microphone for groups over forty.

Equipment requirements are a projector and a screen for a PowerPoint presentation. And a glass of water, please. Michelle brings a lap top. She would ask that a librarian or teacher be present throughout the presentation.

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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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Leah Bobet (Toronto)

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Toronto. Shortlisted for the Cybils Award, the Aurora Award, the Sunburst Award, the Canadian Library Association Young Adult Award, and the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy; OLA Best Bets selection; winner of the Lydia Langstaff Prize.

$275 for one hour-long session, $500 for two, $750 for three, and $950 for four, plus travel outside Toronto. Happy to discuss arrangements with high-needs schools.

With a wide range of experience in the books and reading world, award-winning novelist, bookseller, games writer, and editor Leah Bobet gives inclusive, information-rich presentations that help students develop new skills—and recognize what they're already rocking! Leah has given presentations and workshops at Toronto Public Library, Essa Public Library, London Book Camp, Word on the Street, the Tucson Festival of Books, and more.

Leah believes in fitting the presentation to the students' needs, not asking students to bend to fit the presentation: every presentation is custom-tailored to fit your group's interests and the topics they're studying right now. The goal: to make sure students leave feeling confident, curious, and inspired!

Recent presentation topics include:

The Secret History of Toronto

Using Leah's 2012 YA novel Above as a basis, this presentation gives students a quick history of Toronto's oddities, dead architecture, secret subway stations, and more, with an emphasis on how the city has grown in welcoming diverse citizens and helping out its most vulnerable. This hour-long presentation, with a Q&A at the end, discusses how writers meld history into brand-new stories and the treasures you can find digging in your own figurative back yard.

Reading and the Writing Life

A 15-minute reading from Above or An Inheritance of Ashes, followed by an in-depth, practical, and occasionally goofy presentation on Leah's path to publication, the writing life, what novels are and can be, finding one's own voice as a writer, and fitting writing into the rest of your life. Includes an in-depth Q&A session so students can focus on the topics that matter to them.

Writing Urban Fantasy: Finding Magic In Your Neighbourhood

A workshop-style presentation for fantasy readers or Writer's Craft groups, this presentation introduces students to the core concepts of writing urban fantasy and finding places in one's everyday world where magic can fit. Includes a 30-minute writing and sharing activity, and focuses on the basic skill of reading and writing fantasy: seeing wonder in the everyday.

Where It Comes From: World building, the Apocalypse, and All Our Stuff

Using Leah's 2015 YA novel An Inheritance of Ashes as a basis, this presentation talks about the everyday things we use—sugar, plastic, soap—and how many people's work goes into building our average day. Through showing how Ashes builds a post-apocalyptic world without industrialization, the group discusses re-purposing, reusing, sharing economies, and how making it yourself can be a lot of fun.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SS-G24mPGc

This presentation is great for classes focusing on sustainability, materials science, or environmental studies.

Leah is happy to work with adult or student groups of all sizes, although workshops will run best when capped at 30 students. She requires a screen, projector, and laptop for Powerpoint presentations. If the room is larger or has difficult acoustics, a microphone is appreciated, as is a bottle of water; for multi-presentation days, a low-sugar snack is greatly appreciated.

Virtual Visits cheerfully accepted, at $150 for 60 minutes via Skype or $175 for 90 minutes.

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Martin Springett (Toronto)

Martin Springett 1Toronto. Writers' Union Member.  GG nominee, among others, and winner of the Aurora Award for fantasy illustration and the Ruth Schwartz Award for picture books.

Please note: Martin is not scheduling school and library visits at this time.

Martin’s fee is $250 per one hour session. An all day visit, typically four sessions, would be $900.

Martin Springett has been an illustrator of fantasy book covers and children’s books since 1984 when he illustrated the covers for Guy Kay’s classic fantasy trilogy The Fionavar Tapestry. He has won the Aurora Award for fantasy illustration, the Ruth Schwartz Award in the children’s picture book field for The Nightwalker and been nominated for the Govenor Generals Award for Who. His books include Mei Ming and The Dragon's Daughter, The Follower and Too Many Suns. Martin created his first authored and illustrated book, Jousting With Jesters in 2006, and in, 2011, Fitzhenry and Whiteside released Breakfast On A Dragon's Tail. Kate and Pippin, An Unlikely Love Story, was released in 2012 and has won numerous awards including The Blue Spruce award.

Martin Springett's presentation covers a wide range of topics. As an author, illustrator and musician, Martin uses all his creative skills to engage students in the art of story telling; from flights of fantasy in Breakfast On A Dragon's Tail, to the true life tale of Kate and Pippin, An Unlikely Love Story.

From the original sketches, in the case of Breakfast On A Dragon's Tail, to the first photos that Martin saw of Kate and Pippin, to the finished books on the School Library shelf, Martin will take students through the journey that is the creation of a book. Martin uses a slide show to draw the students in to the world of each book, drawing on the spot, (a gentle art lesson) and live guitar music, usually at the end of the presentation. Students usually love to hear The Dragon, as well as see Martin create a dynamic drawing of one.

For older grades and adult audiences, Martin focuses on the more technical aspects of creating images for picture books and book covers. In his long career as an illustrator Martin has created images for almost all areas where illustration is required.

Martin has also created two graphic novels, What's For Dinner, an all ages book, and The Gardening Club, a companion graphic novel to his vinyl LP of the same name, which is being re released in May 2016.

Martin is comfortable with audiences of all sizes, although in elementary schools, 60 students in a library is ideal.
Set up is - lap top and projector for slide shows / easel with unlined paper for drawing on the spot / a table to display books and original art works. One cup/bottle of water.

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Allan Stratton (Toronto)

AllanStratton1Toronto. Writers' Union Member. Internationally awarded YA and Middle Grade author, educator and traveller, published in over twenty countries

Rates:
Allan’s rate is $375 plus HST for one session, $575 for two, $825 for three and $1000 for four, plus travel from Toronto. Out of town bookings require two or more bookings.

Personal:
Allan was raised by a single mother in the 1950s. He identifies strongly with at-risk kids as well as special achievers. He has lived in Switzerland and New York and travelled through Asia, Africa, Europe and South America.

Presentations:
Allan's presentations focus on direct interactions with students from grades 5 - 12. A trained teacher, Allan begins with a short dramatic reading -- he began his career as an actor so his readings are extremely animated. Then he invites students into an open-ended Q&A session. Typical questions include: "Where do you get your ideas?" "How do you create characters?" "How do you make up stories?" "What do you do if you're blocked?" are typical questions.) Allan is also very willing to talk about the travels that inspired his work and the day to day life of a writer.

Some of Allan's YA novels have dealt with social issues such as date rape, bullying, HIV/AIDS (whether in Africa or North America), discrimination; and has had leading characters from broken homes and with violent fathers. His novels have also included characters who are gay, Muslim and from other countries. He is open to addressing these situations, and to serving as a role model in those areas that have affected his own life. (Or he can just be plain fun for younger students.)

Class size: maximum 90 students, however rates for full assemblies can be negotiated

All venues. (Library preferred, although with no other classes present during the presentation)

Needs: A glass of water and a microphone if speaking to a larger group. (No podium) Lunch if presenting to classes in morning and afternoon.

Virtual Visits: $150 + HST up to 30 students (larger groups to be negotiated), 60 minutes, Skype

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Rona Arato (Toronto)

 

RonaArato2Writers Union Member. Historical fiction, non-fiction and biography. Multiple award winner and accomplished speaker.

Rona’s rate is $250 per one-hour session, $450 for two sessions, $700 for three sessions and $900 for a full day. There is no travel charge within the GTA. For travel outside the GTA, the standard kilometrage applies. Virtual visits are $250 for a one-hour presentation.

Rona is an accomplished speaker. She is comfortable with audiences of children and adults. Rona has spoken at schools, libraries, historical societies, and conferences. She conducts writing classes and workshops for all age groups.

As a former teacher, Rona understands what teachers and school librarians want from an author’s visit. She uses an interactive reading/discussion approach to involve children and excite their curiosity. Rona links her presentations to current issues such as immigration, bullying, and social responsibility. A theme that runs through much of her work is that one person can, and often does, make a significant difference. By involving the children in examining these issues, she helps them think about the way they interact with friends, family and the community at large.

Rona has a PowerPoint presentation for each book, with images that bring the stories to life. For example, for The Last Train, a Holocaust Story, she has pictures taken by the American soldiers who liberated the death train. Her presentation for Working for Freedom, the Story of Josiah Henson, includes pictures that are excellent for Black History month.  For Ice Cream Town, her pictures include historic photos of New York’s Lower East Side, and Ellis Island. For her latest book, The Ship to Nowhere, on Board the Exodus, her presentation includes pictures of the historic ship, the refugees on board and her protagonist, Rachel and her family.

Rona’s presentations are PowerPoint and she requires an LCD projector (provided by the school or library), a screen, and a microphone if speaking in an auditorium or gym. If a laptop is available, she will bring her presentation on a USB flash drive. If not, she will bring her own laptop.

Rona teaches several workshops including one on the difference between fiction and non-fiction and a creative writing workshop that she calls “Painting with Words,” on how to make stories come alive.

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Natale Ghent (Toronto)

author photo colour Toronto, ON. Writers' Union Member. Award-winning author and illustrator. Grade 2 to adult.

Natale’s schedule is flexible and she would be thrilled to visit your school or library. Her rate is $350 per session, $600 for two, $850 for three, plus travel from Toronto.

Natale is a high-energy presenter who loves interacting with her audience, from grade 2 to adults. A middle grade and YA author and illustrator, Natale is passionate about both aspects of her craft. She also loves teaching workshops.

Natale’s PowerPoint presentations and workshops are interactive and big on fun with a focus on Q&A, themes, anecdotes, and personal stories about the book being discussed. In each session, Natale explores what it means to be a writer/illustrator—and most importantly, a human being.

Sessions are specifically geared toward the age and unique interests of each audience. Participants are encouraged to share their own experiences with writing, illustrating, and the topics explored in the novels being presented.

Please contact for maximum group size for presentations.

Maximum group sizes for workshops: 16

Workshop topics:

Breaking through Writer’s Block
Fiction Investigation: Elements of Writing Fiction
Illustration Materials and Techniques
Other topics upon request

Equipment required: A microphone for larger groups, table to put things on, computer setup for PowerPoint, materials as needed, water.

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Arthur Slade (SK)

Saskatoon, SK. Writers' Union Member. Red Maple Fiction Nominee for Flickers. Fiction & Graphic Novels, Governor General’s Award Winner, TD Children’s Book Award Winner. Grades 4+. $375 plus HST for 1 session, $600 for 2, $850 for 3 and $1000 for 4. Travel fees waived for Toronto bookings. Arthur will travel by Go Transit to venues in the GTA but requests a pick-up/drop-off at the GO station.

Arthur Slade is a dynamic presenter and the author of seventeen novels for young adults and one graphic novel. His books have been sold worldwide and include DUST, JOLTED, MEGIDDO’S SHADOW, and THE HUNCHBACK ASSIGNMENTS series. He has done over a thousand presentations in Canada, the United States, and Europe.

Arthur Slade is a self admitted “geek” who is completely committed to entertaining and educating his audience. His audio/visual presentations are a mixture of music, video, images and creativity and, most importantly, content: where do ideas come from? How is a book created? How does one become an author? Arthur has a large variety of books and topics to choose from, everything from steampunk, fantasy and horror to World War One and the creation of graphic novels. He designs his presentations for the specific age ranges and interest of his audience. His books are most popular with grades four to eight, but he has done numerous presentations with higher grades and adult groups. He will speak to any size audience. He has taught workshops in Banff and worked as the Writer in Residence for Regina Public Library so he also enjoys giving workshops to children and adults.

All venues, library preferred.
Equipment required: screen and projector & a glass of water

Virtual Visits: $250.00 + HST, 60 minutes, Skype/Google Talk/iChat

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Robert Priest (Toronto)

Robertpriest 7Toronto ON. Writers' Union Member. Poetry, song and Y/A fiction. People's Poetry Award. SOCAN airplay award. Multi-awards All ages.

$300 for one session, $550 for 2, $800 for 3 and $1000 for 4, +travel.

Robert is an experienced and entertaining poet, singer-songwriter, and Y/A novelist for all ages. His ability to do up to 4 presentations in the same school or area in the same day makes him an ideal economic choice. With his repertoire of picture books, children's songs and poems, Y/A novels and adult songs and poems he is comfortable with large groups and can do up to 4 of them a day. For smaller groups he has a variety of workshops in poetry, prose and lyric writing.

Robert is known for his energetic thoughtful and entertaining performances. Interactive songs and poems meant to engage the audience in the process are a feature. A good question and answer session is also a mainstay. Robert's most important job is to make sure to enthuse as many students as possible about writing and reading literature.

Here is an example of his themes by grade

JK to 2: two 30 min. song/poetry sessions for the price of one. ($300) using material from Day Songs Night Songs and Rosa Rose. Themes of play, cooperation, ecology and mutual respect.

2 to 4: 45 to 60 min. poetry/interactive song session plus Q&A on a variety of curriculum appropriate themes. (Rosa Rose, Day Songs Night Songs, The Secret Invasion Of Bananas plus songs from Summerlong.)

4 to 8: 45 to 60 min. Most of Robert's poetry, children's songs and Y/A novels are for this age group. Poems serious and humourous on topics of social justice, bullying, the environment, technology and fantasy. Can include some poems from his adult books as well. Robert loves to talk about the writing process and where he gets his ideas. (Rosa Rose, The Secret Invasion Of Bananas, Y/A fantasy novels The Paper Sword and Second Kiss.)

7 to 12 Robert has 3 Y/A fantasy novels, a repertoire of poetic rock songs, 2 books of Y/A poetry and selections from his 10 acclaimed books of adult poetry for this age group. Themes of literacy, war, repression, oppression, rebellion, friendship, bullying, the use of power, poetry, military force, coming-of-age and romantic love to name a few.

Maximum group sizes for presentations : one classroom for JK to 3. 100+ for other ages.
Writing workshops work best with no more than 15 participants.

Workshop topics:
Poetic animation—creating fun narratives and characters from real world objects.
How to write a line–some techniques for generating micro-poems and beginning lines of poems and/or lyrics
How to write a fantasy series—a talk with lengthy Q&A on Robert's process writing his Spell Crossed fantasy series.
Song lyric writing—strategies for developing new song lyrics or for writing lyrics to existing melodies. Robert likes to talk about writing his number 1 hit Song Instead of a Kiss and other aspects of the music business. Venues. Library preferred.

Equipment required—solid surface to display books and hold papers. A microphone for larger groups or in the gym, a blackboard or other large writing surface.

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Catherine Austen (Ottawa)

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National Capital Region. Writers’ Union Member. YA, MG and Picture Book author. Multiple awards. All ages.

$250 for one session, $450 for two, $600 for three, plus HST (plus travel if outside of Ottawa/Gatineau).

Catherine Austen writes funny, sad, award-winning fiction for all ages. Her school presentations divulge everything she has learned about writing books, accompanied by dramatic readings and adorable cat photos. Catherine has led presentations and writing workshops for the MASC Young Authors’ and Illustrators’ Conference, the TD Children’s Book Week, the Hackmatack Author Tour, the Gaspesie Bookfest, and the Vancouver Island Children’s Book Festival.

Presentations:
Catherine offers the following presentations for different ages:

“10 Tips for a Fearless Writing Life.” Everything Catherine has learned about becoming an author summed up in an hour and accompanied by cartoons, memes, and fun facts about phobias. Learn how to spot a good story idea, face years of rejection, and take grammar tips from Yoda. With personal anecdotes, Q&A throughout, and a reading in a devil voice. Adaptable to grades 3-7. One hour.

“Making up Stories: My Cat Isis and my cat Isis.” Meet the cat that helped Catherine write a book about ancient Egypt. Learn about all the things every writer needs to succeed. Explore everyday writing opportunities you couldn’t find 3,000 years ago. And discover how a picture book is made. With ancient Egyptian props, cute cat pictures, Q&A throughout, and a reading of My Cat Isis. Adaptable to grades JK-3. 45-60 minutes.

“Writing and Reading Dystopian Fiction.” Share the joys and heartaches of being a writer in this sad and beautiful world. Read cruel statistics about the publishing industry and learn to rise above them. Embrace testimonials to the benefit of books as entertainments, lifelines, and blueprints for a better world. Analyze a scene from the first awful draft to the final excellent polish. Own your love of literature and embrace your inner author. With tips for teen writers, bad puns, Q&A, and a reading from All Good Children. Adaptable to grades 7-12. One hour.

Writing Workshops: Catherine can take students in grades 4 and up through a series of grade-appropriate exercises on a theme discussed in advance of her visit (e.g., writing funny stories; developing an idea into a story; writing dialogue; revising). Writing workshops are tailored to each class in sessions up to 2 hours long.

All presentations require a projector and screen or an HD monitor or a smartboard; writing workshops require a blackboard and/or flipchart.
Presentations are suited to audiences of up to 100 students; writing workshops are for single classes (25 students).
Catherine will present in any venue but prefers a library; writing workshops are best in classrooms.

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Lesley Livingston (Toronto)

LesleyLivingstonWPToronto author. Writers’ Union Member. MG & YA. CLA winner, multi-awards & nominations. Grades 4 to 12.

$300 for one session, $550 for two, $800 for three and $1000 for four plus HST (and travel if outside of Toronto, ie: GO Train, Greyhound, etc.)

Lesley is a classically-trained Shakespearean actress with over 2 decades of stage experience, much of which had involved performing for high school audiences, with in-depth Q&A sessions. Her presentations, as a result, are always dynamic and interactive. Lesley believes that humour is a powerful tool, especially when used in communicating with young people, and she endeavors to keep her talks entertaining as well as informative.

About the presentations:
Lesley will always do a dramatic reading, comprised of 1-3 excerpts from one or more of her recent books. The reading can last anywhere from 10-20 mins, depending on the amount of time available.

Before the reading, she will talk about her path to publication, her experiences in the worlds of literature and performance, and the impetus to become a writer.

After, she is more than happy to do an in-depth question and answer period with students on a wide-ranging assortment of topics including, but by no means limited to: the work itself, her personal experiences in the writing and theatrical professions, the mechanics of novel writing, mythology and folklore, Shakespeare, pop-cultural influences, historical and literary references, the business of writing, making a living as a writer or an actor (or not), and the importance of story-telling in our culture.

Grades Lesley will present to: grades 4 and up.

Maximum number of students per session: Lesley can work in very small groups right up to large auditorium gatherings, provided she has a microphone in larger venues.

Story-crafting workshops are available for grades 9-12, tailored to the participants’ interests (topics can include starting your story, character development, crafting realistic fantasy worlds, writing for the YA or MG audience, drafting an action scene, etc.).

Lesley is also available for adult writer professional development workshops on a variety of topics.
Maximum participants for workshop: A group of 15-20 participants for optimum results, although Lesley is open to larger workshops if there is a greater amount of time available (usually 2-3 hours minimum).

Venues: classroom, library, auditorium, gymnasium—essentially, Lesley is comfortable in all settings, from sitting on the floor in a corner of the library to taking over the school gym (provided she has a microphone for larger venues and maybe some water and a stool to perch on.)
Equipment and other requirements: None.

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Richard Scrimger (Toronto)

Toronto based. Writers’ Union Member. Funny-serious novelist. Multi awards.

$350.00 for one presentation, $600.00 for two, $850.00 for three, or $1000.00 for four. HST and maybe a rental vehicle (moving back to the city, he gave away his car) extra.

Richard Scrimger has written more than 20 books for children and adults, and been awarded and translated a lot. Recent novels feature a magic camera, an upside-down world visited through a city sewer, a War of 1812 that may be happening right now, and a depressed zombie. (Fortunately, confusion is Richard’s natural state.) Alongside the humour in all his stories are serious life issues. The magic camera helps our hero understand what it is to be gay. The upside-down world unites a grieving boy and his dead dog.  The zombie has to deal with prejudice in school and parent council, national media, and family. The War of 1812 – no, actually, that one’s just wacky.

Richard’s presentation for grades JK-2 suggests a simple formula: experience + ideas = story. The group crafts a story together, and the audience participates in a raucous read-along.

For middle grades (3-5) Richard recounts an event from his own life to model techniques of story-building. Then he and the audience create their own story using some of those techniques. He uses a power-point to show how pictures can tell a story.

Presentations to seniors (6-8) start with the dark places inside us where stories are born. Richard shows how to twist dark truths to make convincing stories. He and the audience put together a story from pieces of truth, and discover how and why it works.

High-school students get a more formal approach. Richard introduces the four kinds of writing necessary to tell a story, the three basic plots, the different types of protagonist and antagonist, the role of the narrator, the importance of voice. If the group is small enough, Richard uses shared exercises to facilitate character and plot.

There is no maximum number of students per session: Typical would be 60-100. Fewer students means more interaction. Over a certain number, Richard might charge more.

Richard is on the faculty of the Humber College School For Writers. He offers interactive workshops and writer-in-residence programs, working with class-sized groups over several sessions to produce a finished product.

He and Ted Staunton – part of the highly successful ‘7’ series of linked novels — have developed a collaborative approach to writing they call Story Team. The 2 authors present in tandem, giving hands-on support to pairs of students crafting narratives together.

Richard offers Professional Development Workshops for teachers, educators, story builders. He has given key-note addresses across Canada, and conducted story workshops on 4 continents.

He is comfortable in any venue – classroom, library, auditorium, gymnasium, concert hall, phone booth.

Richard requires: Coffee.

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Liam O’Donnell (Toronto)

LiamODonnell-wp1Tank & FizzToronto, ON. Writers’ Union Member. Middle grade novels, comics and graphic novels for reluctant readers, tech-whizzes and gamer geeks.

Liam’s rate is $575 for two sessions, $825 for three and $1000 for four, plus travel from downtown Toronto.

Liam is an award-winning author, elementary teacher and creator of over 35 graphic novels and books for reluctant readers, including: Tank & Fizz, Max Finder Mystery and the Battle of the Blocks series set in the world of Minecraft.

As a teacher, Liam always makes his presentations interactive and engaging for all students. He draws on his past as a reluctant reader and his love of technology and video games to connect with students and inspire them to become readers and writers.

Presentations

Panel Power: Making Comics and More

Grades: 4-8 Size: 60 students max. Length: 40- 60 min (flexible)

Dive into the world of comics and see how writers and illustrators team up to turn ideas into full colour graphic novels. Drawing on his newest mystery series, Tank & Fizz, Liam shares a hands-on look at the scripts and sketches writers and illustrators create before moving on to the final draft. Liam also talks about where he gets his ideas, including how his love of video games inspired him to create Battle of the Blocks, a middle grade adventure series set in the world of Minecraft. Writing tips, advice and time for a Question and Answer session are all included too.

Set Up Requirements:

Projector (for Power Point slides), screen and table to display books. Library or classroom (no gyms please, if possible).

Liam also offers virtual visits on Skype or Google Hangouts. Contact us for fees.
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Philippa Dowding (Toronto)

 

Toronto. Writers’ Union Member. Fiction writer. Silver Birch Express nominee. JK to 8. Philippa’s rate is $250 per session, $450 for two, or $650 for three sessions, + travel expenses outside GTA (for example, GO Bus and GO Train).

Philippa is an award-winning copywriter, a poet, and an acclaimed children’s author. She is a lively and entertaining presenter, often accompanied by her guitar and gargoyle puppet. Her presentations and writing workshops have been promoted and endorsed by the Toronto Public Library. Her children's books have been nominated for numerous literary awards, including the White Raven commendation from the International Youth Library in Munich.

Philippa can talk to groups large or small, from grades JK to 8, and will tailor her 1-hour presentation to your needs and students, as follows:

Lost Gargoyle Series (ages 8-12): includes a powerpoint presentation, textbook images, a gargoyle puppet, music, and author reading.  Students discuss gargoyles, medieval times, loneliness, friendship, homelessness, inclusion and difference, the writer's craft and more.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer? (All ages): Philippa combines the top 10 questions she gets asked by students into one interesting and colourful powerpoint discussion which answers questions like: when did you know you wanted to be a writer, who gets to pick what goes on the cover of your books, what does a manuscript look like and more.

Any presentation includes audience participation, Q&A, and for younger grades Philippa can also bring her guitar.

Maximum group sizes for presentations: 60 for JK to grade 2. 100+ for everyone else.

Writing Workshops work best wish 16 or so participants

Writing Workshop Topics:

Be the Beanstalk: Grow a story. How to tell a story which is more than just who, what, where and when.

Who is this character really? Techniques for character development beyond hair and eye colour!

Book covers, blurbs, bookmarks and bios. How to write like an artist and think like a copywriter.

Games, games, games: Let your students explore their creativity through these guided (and hilarious) writing games.

All Venues, including library, school, bookstore or outdoor event.

Equipment required: laptop to run powerpoint presentation if possible (she will provide the memory key), projector and screen (or suitable wall or surface). A table and microphone for larger groups or in the gym. A glass of water, cup of tea or coffee.

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Marina Cohen (Markham)

marinacohen1Markham, ON. Writers’ Union Member. Middle Grade/YA Fiction & NF. Red Maple Honour Book. Writing workshops. Grades 4 and up.

Marina’s rate is $275 per session plus travel from Markham. Travel costs within the GTA may be waived.

Marina Cohen is the author of several fantasy and horror novels for kids and teens. She grew up in Scarborough, Ontario, where she spent far too much time asking herself What if… In elementary school, her favourite author was Edgar Allen Poe and she aspired to write similar stories. She is drawn to the fantastical, the bizarre, and all things creepy.

 

Presentation Details

My Path To Publication (grades 4+)

Exciting, engaging, and interactive, Marina takes students along on her bumpy road toward publication. The ultimate message is one of perseverance. Using audience participation and drama, Marina includes a mini-workshop demonstrating four techniques she uses to create suspenseful scenes.

The Facts in my Fiction (grades 7+)

Using her novel, Mind Gap, Marina demonstrates the writing process from conception to publication—a process which began as a creepy incident in Europe twenty years earlier and developed through various forms and genres including a short story, a French play, and ultimately a YA novel. Using audience participation, Marina includes a mini-workshop on Voice.

Other available Workshops:

  • The Plot, Pace, and Pourquoi of Paranormal Writing
  • Getting Published 101: 10 DOs and DON’Ts for emerging writers
  • Parent workshop: Encouraging Literacy at Home
  • Grade 12 Writers' Craft Workshops
  • Bullying: Who really has the power to stop it? (Marina uses her novel Chasing the White Witch as well as her personal experience published in the anthology DEAR BULLY: Seventy Authors tell their stories)

Equipment and Other Requirements
Marina is comfortable presenting in a classroom, library, gym, or auditorium. She requires a projector and screen, as well as a table to display books and other items.

 

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Lena Coakley (Toronto)

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

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

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

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

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

Presentations

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

Writing and Researching Historical Fiction

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

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

Everyone Has a Story to Tell

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

Grades 8-12

Audience limit 60 (25 for workshops)

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

Lena Requires:

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

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

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

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Linda DeMeulemeester (BC)

linda demeulemeester wp1 jpgFees: When Linda visits Ontario she would love to plan a visit to your school or library. Her rate is $250 per session. There is no travel charge within the GTA. For travel outside the GTA the standard kilometrage applies.

Linda DeMeulemeester is a west coast author. Inspiration for the Grim Hill books came to her while she was watching her son play soccer at Halloween. Linda is thrilled that her new publisher, Heritage Book’s Wandering Fox, will be reissuing the series. The Secret of Grim Hill will be out in fall 2015. Grim Hill: The Secret Deepens, Grim Hill: The Forgotten Secret and Grim Hill: The Family Secret will be out in spring 2016!

Linda has presented at numerous schools, the Junior Author’s Conference and toured for TD Children’s Book Week, and for Kootenay Library Association Red Cedar readers.

Presentation Details:

How to you provide reader cookies to an audience?
What should you feed a plot bunny?
Who in the story gets ‘save the cat’ scenes?
Something a writer really hates is...

The answer to these questions and more are revealed as Linda weaves stories and pointers about her writing process into a visual and interactive power point presentation. Throughout the presentation she uses colourful power-point slides to focus the audience’s attention.

Though this presentation is ideally enjoyed by Grades 4-6, she has also presented to Grade 3 students and Grade 8 students. Maximum number of students per session is flexible, but she prefers to use a microphone for groups over sixty. The presentations can be tailored from thirty to forty to sixty minutes in length depending on audience size.

Equipment requirements are a projector and a screen for a PowerPoint presentation. She brings a lap top. She also appreciates a librarian or teacher to be present throughout the presentation.

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