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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Amanda West Lewis (Perth, ON)

Booking Nov 7 to 9, 2017. Writer’s Union member. Writer of YA, Middle Grade, Poetry, Picture Books, Plays, Fiction & Non-Fiction.

Amanda’s rate is $300 for 1 workshop/presentation, $500 for 2, $750 for 3, plus HST. Travel costs from Perth. Travel and accommodation costs negotiable for multiple day residencies.

Amanda combines careers as a writer, theatre director and calligrapher. Over the course of 30 years, she has combined these skills to present workshops and readings to children, youth and adults in schools and libraries across Ontario.

PRESENTATION DETAILS

Readings/Presentations: Grades 5 – 12. Audience up to 300. 50 – 60 minutes.

Workshops: Grades 1 – 12. Participants up to 30 per session. 1 – 2 hours.

READINGS/PRESENTATIONS:

 “War From Both Sides” tells the story behind the story, revealing the true events and people that inspired the novels September 17 and The Pact. Slides show the children from England and Germany that are represented in the books, illustrating the challenges faced during wartime. The focus is on an empathetic understanding of World War 2 from a child’s perspective view. Topic discussed include propaganda, indoctrination, racism, and survival. Readings from both books are followed by a Q & A.

“Jazz and The Tempest” explores the creation of a novel in verse and prose. Manuscript examples explore how sound and rhythm can reflect character and pace. Slides show historical influences and aid a discussion on research. A reading from a work-in-progress, These Are Not the Words, is followed by a Q&A.

Equipment And Other Requirements: A projector compatible with a MAC or a computer for a memory stick.

WORKSHOPS:

“The Look and Sound of Words”: Working with sound and visual clues, and drawing on aspects of theatre improvisation, the workshop moves participants into character creation, point of view and dialogue. The workshop focuses on playing with words as the basic building blocks of writing.

“Illuminated Letters”: The workshop starts with writing exercises to create simple poems based on participants’ names. Participants are then shown how to draw Versal letters in the style of 15th Century Books of Hours. Small accordion fold books are created using the poems as text, starting each with an illuminated letter. The workshop helps to develop a love and passion for letters, combining writing skills with artwork.

“The Story Behind the Picture”: A picture can tell you a lot about a person. But it’s the writer who discovers who that person is and how they fit into a story. This workshop will use photographs and pictures to get participants creating characters and inventing unique and vibrant stories.

Workshop Equipment And Other Requirements: Students require paper and pencil/pen. Amanda will bring markers, coloured pencils, additional paper and handouts as appropriate.

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Marty Chan (Edmonton) AB)

Booking for May 2018 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)

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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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Karen Bass (Hamilton ON)

 

Hamilton. Writers' Union Member. MG + Teen fiction, Canadian history, Indigenous folklore, WWII, German perspective, YA, Geoffrey Bilson, CLA YA, multiple award-winner.
$300 for one session, $500 for two, $800 for a full day (max four sessions), plus mileage. No HST.

Karen is passionate about reading and loves making history come alive for readers. She frequently shares her broad WWII knowledge with groups of people from 10 years old to seniors. And she has done workshops with students as young as grade three, though usually focuses on secondary students and adults. She not-so-secretly loves action and adventure, with a splash of fantasy.

Presentations:

Karen is an enthusiastic presenter and likes to interact with students. She brings props and costumes, and loves to bring her historical knowledge to life by showing students what they would have experienced, during WWII and in pre-Confederation Canada. Almost all presentations touch on the writing process and, especially, the importance of revising.

Examples of presentations by grade:

3 to 6: Writing Workshop – Details & Descriptions. A sixty-minute interactive romp that encourages students to improve their storytelling using metaphors and strong verbs & adjectives.

Two Times a Traitor: (4 to 8) pre-Confederation, history, Canadian history, 7 Years War, life in 1700s, identity, French & English conflict. Powerpoint pictures with costume/props.
The Hill: identity, Indigenous stories, Indigenous folklore, Cree legend, Cree culture. Indigenous in modern society, cultural conflict, economic disparity. Powerpoint pictures.

5 to 12: The WWII history in Karen’s stories, with age-appropriate anecdotes. With Powerpoint pictures & props.

Uncertain Soldier: identity, immigration, coming to Canada, bullying, racism, WWII, prisoners of war, living in the 1940s.

Graffiti Knight: freedom of expression, protest movements, graffiti as protest, WWII, Soviet Zone, post-WWII Germany, living in war-torn countries.

Run Like Jager: friendship, bullying, student exchange programs, immigration, WWII, Germany, Eastern Front in WWII.

7 to 12 & Adult Workshop Topics: characters, plot, dialogue, writing action. Other topics upon request.

Maximum group size: 40-50 for optimum interaction in talks, 100 with microphone. 16 or so for workshops.

All venues. Libraries preferred.

Equipment required: a table, water, laptop & projector for Powerpoint, microphone for larger groups or in the gym.

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Mahtab Narsimhan (Vancouver)

MahtabNarsimhanDLPSWriters' 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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R.J. Anderson (Stratford ON)

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. 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 -

A table to display books and other items, a screen for PowerPoint, and a mic for larger groups or questionable acoustics

Venues: Flexible, but the library or a classroom is preferred.

 

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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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Vikki VanSickle (Toronto)

Toronto. Writers' Union Member. Dynamic writer and publishing professional. Interactive presentations, customization available. All ages.

$300 + HST for 1 hour presentation; $500 + HST for 2 + travel for locations outside Toronto.

Vikki is a dynamic and engaging presenter who mixes funny anecdotes with interactive activities to connect with audiences of all ages. She grew up in Woodstock, ON where she spent her childhood reading, figure skating, and watching the X-Files in the dark. In addition to writing, Vikki works in marketing at Penguin Random House and is an award-winning bookseller, playwright, former camp counsellor and musical theatre buff.

Presentations:

JK- Gr 2: IF I HAD A GRYPHON

When a kitten sneezes it's adorable, but when a dragon sneezes it's a fire hazard! In this presentation students are asked to consider objects from a bag of clues to determine what kind of pets may be in the book. Teacher's guide and printed activities available as well. A fun introduction to mythological creatures based on IF I HAD A GRYPHON, finalist for the 2017 Blue Spruce & Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Award.

Works best in a classroom or library situation.

Offering two 30-35 minute presentations for hourly rate of $300 + HST. Some travel costs may apply.

Gr 4-8: THE WINNOWING- New!

This presentation focuses on Vikki's new novel, THE WINNOWING and explores the possibilities of Vikki's two favourite words, WHAT IF? Includes an introduction to alternative history and conspiracy theory.

Req: projector, surface to project onto, mic for large groups/gym presentations

GR 6-8: SUMMER DAYS, STARRY NIGHTS

This presentation is built around 2015 Red Maple finalist SUMMER DAYS, STARRY NIGHTS and focuses on music and culture of the 1960s. It includes trivia and a discussion of character building featuring music clips. Students will be asked to take part in the Summer Days, Starry Nights Playlist Project.

Req: projector, surface to project onto, mic for large groups/gym presentations

Vikki can also tailor presentations for adults (especially teachers, librarians and writers' groups,) writers' craft students or schools that are interested in a class novel study. Contact her for more details.

Vikki can also tailor presentations for adults (especially teachers, librarians and writers' groups,) writers' craft students or schools that are interested in a class novel study. Contact her for more details.

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Ted Staunton (Port Hope)

Ted Staunton 2016-08-31Port Hope, ON.  Writers’ Union Member. Fiction & non-fiction, multi-award nominee & winner. All ages.

$350 for 1 session, $575 for 2, $800 for 3 and $1,000 for 4. Family Literacy events are $575. Fees for multi-visit workshops vary by project.

Writer and musician Ted Staunton is the author of over forty books, from picture book favorite Puddleman to the award-winning YA novel Who I’m Not and titles in the Seven series. A funny, enthusiastic, and vastly experienced presenter for all ages, he’s performed and led workshops from Inuvik to Addis Ababa, often with an instrument in hand. Ted also teaches writing to adults at George Brown College.

Presentations & Workshops

Ted has presentations and workshops for all ages and grades, K-12 and adult. Frequently he covers an entire school in two or more sessions during a day. Fast paced and funny, he looks at how events in real life are imaginatively transformed into the stuff of his stories, and then shared through the writing process. He tells and read stories, plays music, leads imagining activities, demonstrates the writing and editing process with computer files and other show and tell material, and leaves time for audience Q&A.
Optimum group size is 70-100, but reasonable grade groupings for primary, junior, intermediate and senior presentations are more important than group size.
Preferred venue is the library, but Ted has spoken in lots of gyms.
Presentation times are 45 minutes for primaries, around an hour for all others.
For set-up Ted requests a table for show and tell material, an armless chair, and for middle grades and up, a screen and projector he can connect his laptop to. Audio is not needed. For extra large groups or venues a microphone may be required.

Ted leads a variety of multi-visit workshop projects. Building Books is a series of five weekly visits to multiple classrooms in which students write and create picture books using professional techniques, and finish with a book launch party. For grades 1-12.
The Wrong Magic, for middle grades -12, is co-presented with author Richard Scrimger over four visits. Pairs of students learn story structure by writing situations in which a super hero makes things worse with “the wrong magic”. Lots of one on one with Ted and Richard. The Stories CD has students collaborating on “fractured” fairy tales which they script and record with Ted. The stories are then anthologized on CDs which they decorate and package. Adaptable to grades 1-12

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Robin Stevenson (BC)

B.C. Writers’ Union Member. Silver Birch winner, Stonewall Honor winner, Governor General’s finalist and Red Maple finalist. Writing instructor and editor. Fiction and Non-fiction. Grades 3-12.

Robin will be available for Toronto visits Jan 29 - Feb 4, 2018, and possibly also in May 2018.

Robin’s rate is $350 for one session, $600 for two, $800 for three and $950 for a full school day, plus travel if applicable. (Travel fees waived for Toronto bookings. Robin will travel by Go Transit to schools in the GTA but requests a pick-up/drop-off at the GO station.)

 

Robin is an experienced and passionate presenter, and an award winning author of 21 books for children and teens. Her work has been translated and sold in a dozen countries. She is also a former social worker and counsellor, a creative writing instructor, and a freelance editor. As the author of early chapter books, middle grade books, and YA novels, she presents to elementary, middle and high school students levels. She loves giving writing workshops that inspire students to tell their own stories.

Presentation Details- grades 3-12; 60 minutes

School Visits

Robin is available for author visits, school and library presentations, author-in-residence programs, writing workshops and conferences. Her school presentations are appropriate for older elementary students (grade four and over), as well as middle school and high school students. She is also available for professional development workshops for teachers and librarians on a number of issues (Schools As Safe Spaces- Supporting LGBTQ students; Engaging Reluctant Readers and Writers; Using Fiction to Build Emotional Literacy). All presentations, workshops and programs can be tailored to the needs of the particular group.  Please contact Robin to discuss your group’s needs and for information about my rates and availability.

Pride: Celebrating Diversity and Community (grades 4-12)

How did Pride come to be? And what does Pride mean to the people who celebrate it? In this engaging and interactive presentation, Robin draws on her non-fiction book, Pride: Celebrating Diversity and Community. She talks about the history of the LGBTQ rights movement and the challenges still faced by LGBTQ people and communities today. Using images and anecdotes from the book, Robin shares historical photographs, stories of contemporary kids and teens, and images of Pride celebrations from around the world. In this presentation, Robin emphasizes the important role of allies and the idea that we all have a part to play in making our world a better place for everyone.  This session would be a good choice for schools focussing on inclusiveness and equality, and for groups working to prevent bullying.

 Becoming a Writer: Finding & Telling Your Stories (grades 4-12)

In this engaging presentation, Robin shares how she became a writer, where her ideas come from and what her creative process looks like. She discusses some of the challenges she experiences and share some tips for young writers. She also facilitates a group brainstorming exercise to illustrate how to develop a story through an understanding of its characters. Students will work together to develop a character, explore possibilities for conflict, and uncover the myriad of story possibilities that this leads to. In this session, Robin’s goals are to share her passion for the writing process and to inspire students to pursue their own creative interests.

 Creative Writing Workshops (grades 6-12)

Robin is available to facilitate hands-on creative writing workshops for small groups. Participants will explore how they can use their own experiences and curiosity to create compelling writing and convincing characters; discuss strategies for finding story ideas; develop their skills at creating complex and believable characters; and discover how well-developed characters can help uncover new story possibilities.

Maximum group sizes for presentations: Any size group. Robin prefers to have no more than a three-grade spread for a single presentation (eg. Grades 4-6, 6-8, 10-12).

Writing Workshops work best with small groups (maximum size 30)

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 need will need a projector and screen.

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Willow Dawson (Toronto)

Willow Dawson

Toronto. Writers’ Union Member. Author / illustrator of Graphic Novels, Picture Books. Multi Awards. All ages.

550 for two sessions, $750 for three, and $900 for four plus HST and travel outside of the downtown Toronto core. Willow requests a minimum of two sessions, can be shared between two schools or libraries.

Willow Dawson has lots of experience giving presentations and workshops to kids and adults of all ages. Infact, she often presents to several different grades at the same school or library in a single day. She loves speaking about her books and more generally about comics and graphic novels, writing techniques and the illustration process. Each presentation is tailored to the needs of the group and is lively and educational with questions encouraged throughout!

Presentations by grade:

Willow likes to work with a general framework for her presentations informed by the teachers or librarians but which is open enough to accommodate the needs of the audience in the moment. She likes to let people ask questions throughout so that she is able to gauge interest areas and adjust as necessary. When she can, Willow tries to work in how she overcame the reading and writing difficulties she faced as a child only to become both an author and illustrator today! Teachers and librarians love her because her presentations are lively, informative and inspiring.

Here is an example of her themes by grade:

JK to grade 2 – two 30 minute storytelling sessions for the price of one full session ($375+HST) using The Wolf-Birds.

Grades 2 to 3 – 60 minutes: Storytelling session plus Q&A on The Wolf-Birds.

Grades 4 to 7 – 60 minutes. Presentations include an overview of the book of choice with a bit of historical background and information on how she creates a graphic novel, including: research, writing, illustrating, editing and revising.

Avis Dolphin: World War I, the sinking of the Lusitania, life in the 1910’s, friendship, the power of storytelling, survival. Collaborating with an author.

Hyena in Petticoats: Nellie McClung, The Famous Five, early Canada, feminism, women’s rights, suffrage, enfranchisement, The Persons Case. Life in the 1920’s – 1940’s.

No Girls Allowed: Hatshepsut, Mu Lan, Alfhild, Esther Brandeau, James Barry, Ellen Craft, Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, girls dressed as boys, women’s rights. Collaborating with an author.

Grades 7 to 12 – 60 minutes. Biography, autobiography and memoir. Willow uses the above books as well as her ongoing work on 100 Mile House (memoir) to discuss the differences and similarities, challenges and joys of writing biography, autobiography and memoir graphic novels. This presentation includes personal stories and anecdotes, including how she found her voice and became an author and illustrator.

Maximum group sizes for presentations: 45 for JK to Grade 3. 100+ for everyone else.
Workshops work best with smaller groups, around 15-20 participants.

Graphic Novel Workshop Topics:

Character Development
Creating Tension and Drama, Creating Humour
Panel Transitions
Words and Pictures
Writing Engaging Dialogue
From Script to Thumbnails
Art Stages: Penciling, Inking, Colouring (includes an overview of design and lettering)
Other topics upon request

These workshops can be adjusted to suit the needs of any age group. They also work well for Writers’ Craft classes.

Writer-in-Residence Program:

3-10 (or more) sessions. 60-120 minutes each. Participants get in-depth, hands on experience with each stage of the process of creating a comic or graphic novel, as well as a window into the worlds of self-publishing (‘zines and webcomics) and publishing (working with Editors, Art directors, and Publishers). Each stage of the process is handled in a separate session with an end goal of developing their stories into finished 1-3 page comics that are then photocopied and bound together as a small, collective comics ‘zine.

All Venues are acceptable.

Equipment required: A glass of water, a table for her presentation materials. A microphone for larger groups. A laptop, screen and projector for PowerPoint.

Willow sends her PowerPoint ahead of time. Please ensure it is set up and ready to go prior to her arrival.

Handouts will be sent for the teacher and/or librarian to photocopy in advance, along with a list of any materials the students may need if there is a workshop. Workshops require desks or tables and chairs for participants.

A librarian, teacher or other school representative should be present throughout the presentation or workshop.

 

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Eric Zweig (Owen Sound)

Owen Sound ON. Writers' Union Member. Hockey historian and author, Silver Birch nominee, available for school and library visits.

Eric’s rate is $250 for one session, $450 for two, or $650 for three, plus HST. Mileage costs can often be negotiated for multiple bookings, for presentations in the GTA, or for visits to the Barrie/Orillia area.

By the age of ten Eric Zweig was already a budding sports fanatic who was filling his school news books with game reports instead of current events. He’s been writing professionally about sports and sports history since 1985. Eric has also been a guest on many television and radio programs, appearing as a “Hockey Philosopher” in the CBC series Hockey: A People’s History in 2006.

Presentation:
Since 1999, when Eric began writing books for children, he has made many presentations in schools, libraries and bookstores. His presentation is very low-tech and tends to be somewhat informal. His talks have more energy when he doesn’t keep to a rigid script. However, he always has a general plan prepared for each presentation.

Eric likes to emphasize to schoolchildren that writing does not just mean thinking up creative stories. Most of the writing we do in our lives – for school or for work – will be non-fiction. Though he has written two novels, and can speak to that too, for Eric, working mostly on historical non-fiction, writing can be like detective work. Often, he has to do a lot of research to find the truth behind the legends in sports. This is the best part of what he gets to do. He likes to discover things that no one else knows. In talking about research, Eric always explains how the Internet can make this so much easier … but that a researcher has to be very careful about what type of sources to use.

Eric likes to leave a lot of time for questions. If there are a lot of questions, it’s hard to cut off any children. If there aren’t a lot of questions, he can pick up the talk again, or do more readings, with a better idea of what the children want to hear about.

Length of Visit
Generally, Eric’s presentations last for one hour, though they can be shorter to accommodate the time of your school periods. He is happy to do two, or even three talks per school visit, or combine two or three talks between different schools in the same area.

Grades
Eric’s preference is to present to grades 4 to 6, but he’s comfortable with anything from grades 3 to 12.

Venue
Classrooms or libraries with groups ranging from 30 to 90 people are best. Gymnasiums can be difficult due to the acoustics, but Eric is happy to present to larger groups in a school gym or auditorium if need be.
Please note: Eric’s surname is pronounced zwEYEg.

 

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