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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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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Leah Bobet (Toronto)

LeahBobetwp1

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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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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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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Eve Silver (Niagara)

EveSilverwp6

St Catharines ON. Writers’ Union Member. YA Fiction. Adult Fiction. White Pine winner. Multi awards. Grade 7 & up.

Eve’s rate is $300 plus HST for one session, $550 for two, $800 for three and $1000 for four, plus travel from St Catharines.

Eve Silver is the author of three novels for teens and sixteen novels/novellas for adults. Her work has been translated into over fifteen languages. She regularly teaches at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies and also mentors emerging writers in young adult and adult fiction. She has travelled throughout North America conducting book talks, presentations and writing workshops since 2006, and she loves meeting readers and writers everywhere she goes.

Presentation and Workshop Options (other topics available—please enquire):

Informal Reading and Q&A:
The presentation opens with a brief overview of Eve’s background and how she came to write. She focuses on the process of writing her teen series. She offers a brief reading followed by a discussion of concepts related to the reading. Questions and discussion are encouraged, but Eve recognizes that teens are often reticent to begin a dialogue and she comes armed with a variety of questions to pose to the audience in order to stimulate interaction. The presentation is meant to inspire, spur dialogue, foster an interest in reading, and promote literacy.

Book Talk:
For this presentation, participants should have read one or more of Eve’s books ahead of time. Eve discusses her path to publication, how her work has evolved, the influence of Manga and Anime, connections between video games and The Game series (Rush, Push, Crash), and the themes that evolve in the books (teamwork, friendship, coming of age, grief, loss, anxiety, depression). She delves into the specifics of characters’ goals, motivations and conflicts and encourages participants to ask questions and share their thoughts and experiences.

Writing Workshops:
Eve delivers writing workshops for teens and adults tailored to the needs of the audience. The goal of the workshops is to inspire, energize, and stimulate the imaginations of attendees. Workshops include exercises that focus on creating vivid characters, developing believable worlds, writing sparkling dialogue, and marrying plot and pace to create a page-turner. Examples of recent workshop topics include:
What In The World?—An Interactive Worldbuilding Workshop
Scents and Sensibility—Enrich your work by incorporating the five senses
So You Think You Can Pants—Tips and techniques for keeping the plot moving whether you work from an outline or write by the seat of your pants
The Long and Winding Road—Twists and traps on the road to publication, and how to overcome them

Eve is also available for adult writer professional development workshops.

Eve will gladly present a Reading and Q&A to groups of less than 20 or more than 300. She requires a microphone for large venues (auditoriums, gymnasiums). She requests that a librarian, teacher, or other school representative be present throughout the presentation.
For Book Talk, attendance of approximately 20-30 students is ideal.
For writing workshops, attendance must be limited to a maximum of 30 participants.

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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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