Apply for In-person & Virtual Visits

APPLICATIONS OPEN SEPTEMBER 8, 2021

Step 1: select writer(s)

To initiate a request for a writer or illustrator to visit your school, click the “Request this Author” button found at the top of each profile.

Before requesting a writer or illustrator, please read their profile carefully, ensure that their home region & travel range, availability, and areas of expertise are a match for your needs.

After making a selection, you will see the requested name appear in your “WITS Cart,” located at the top of the profiles section.

You may select multiple authors within a single request form.

One teacher or school representative should make all WITS bookings for the school.

Step 2: complete application form

When you have finished making your selections, click “Check Out” in your “WITS Cart.”

You will be taken the to WITS application form, where you can choose full-day or half-day visits for each of your requested authors (up to a maximum of 5 days per school). Complete and submit this form.

Step 3: receive confirmation

A formal confirmation of approved WITS funding is sent within 3 – 4 weeks of the receipt of your request.

This confirmation includes a list of writers approved for visits at your school, contact information for each writer, the details of the agreement, and an estimate of the co-pay payable by your school. Contact these writers within one month of receiving confirmation to discuss the specifics of their visit (regardless of whether the visit is happening immediately or next May).

Schools that have cancelled past bookings without appropriate reason or notice may not be able to participate in the WITS program.

Step 4: provide co-pay

After the visit, WFNS will issue an invoice to your school via email, which is payable by cheque within 2 weeks of the visit.

To request hard copies of invoices by mail or fax, please contact Linda Hudson, Arts Education Officer, at wits@writers.ns.ca

Schools with outstanding fees from previous years will not be able to participate in the WITS program until all outstanding fees have been paid.

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WITS Writer & Illustrator Profiles

(Alphabetized by first name)

Alice Walsh


Preferred grade levels: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9, Grades P-6

Preferred visit type: In-person or virtual (no preference)

Home region: HRM

Travel range for in-person visits: throughout Nova Scotia

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Sept - June. Full and half days.

Maximum size of group/class: 45-50

Areas of expertise: Picture Books, Juvenile, Young Adult, Fiction and Non-Fiction

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

My workshops are a mixture of discussion and hands-on writing. Using short writing exercises, students will explore the importance of dialogue, imagery, description, and showing vs. telling. Using examples from my own writing, I will discuss how real life experiences and events can be transformed into fictional stories. Also, I will show how to create unique, vibrant, and unforgettable characters and their importance to the story.

Depending on the length of the workshop, the students will create a character, and will invent a problem (conflict) for that character. I will then discuss how this problem is essential to the development of the plot.

For younger children, P-2, I will discuss story characters, and how they grow in the writer’s imagination. Using examples from my own picture books, we will explore concepts such as: Who is the main character? What is the character’s problem?  How does the character go about solving the problem?

The main focus of my workshop is to get students excited about the creative writing process.

About the author:

Alice Walsh writes fiction and non-fiction for adults and children, and her articles and short stories have been published in various magazines and anthologies.  Her published work includes three books for adults as well as eight books for children and young adults. A number of her books have been short listed or won awards such as the Hackmatack, and the Canadian Children’s Book Centre Choice. Her juvenile novel, Pomiuk: Prince of the North (Beach Holme) won the 2005 Ann Connor Brimer award. Another YA novel, A Sky Black with Crows (Red Deer), was nominated for the same award. Her most recent novel, A Long Way From Home, was a finalist for the 2013-14 Hackmatack award.

Alice has degrees in English and Criminology from St. Mary’s University, and a MA in Children’s Literature from Acadia University. She has worked as a pre-school teacher, a creative writing instructor, and a probation officer. She has participated in The Labrador Creative Arts Festival, Winter Set in Summer Festival, and was Writer in Residence at Terra Nova National Park during the summer 2005.


Alice Walsh

Andre Fenton


Preferred grade levels: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9

Preferred visit type:

Home region:

Travel range for in-person visits:

Seasonal and/or sessional availability:

Maximum size of group/class:

Areas of expertise:

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

About the author:

Andre Fenton is an award winning spoken word artist & filmmaker who has repsented Halifax at 7 national poetry slams across Canada. He is currently on the board of directors of the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia and a member at large on the board of Spoken Word Canada. He is an author of two books. Ode to Teen Angst and his new YA novel, Worthy of Love which was published by Formac. He is based in the Halifax area.


Andre Fenton

Anne Kelly


Preferred grade levels: Grades P-6

Preferred visit type: In-person or virtual (no preference)

Home region: HRM

Travel range for in-person visits: 1.5 hours from Metro Halifax (Truro, Bridgewater, Lunenburg, Wolfville, Kentville, etc.)Also available virtually across the province.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: half days or full daysSeptember-June

Maximum size of group/class: 25-30

Areas of expertise: English as an additional languageEnglish writing skillsCanadian history

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

For grades P-6, Anne shares stories of her own writing experience and discusses where story ideas come from, how to do historical research for a story, and the importance of editing and re-writing. Anne’s presentations are interactive and  informal, with lots of time for students’ questions. She also emphasizes the importance of the students’ own reading and writing.

About the author:

Anne has a Masters degree in Teaching-English-as-an-Additional-Language, and worked with adult Newcomers to Canada for twenty-five years as an EAL teacher, program coordinator and language assessor. She has been passionate about reading and writing since she was a young child. While at home with her children, she completed two writing courses through The Institute for Children’s Literature in Connecticut. The short story which eventually became her novel, Jacques’ Escape, was written as an assignment for one of these courses.

Along with reading and writing, Anne also loves Canadian history. She learned about the deportation of the Acadians in elementary school, and became curious about what happened to the Acadians after they left their homes in Acadia.  That curiosity led her first to Grand Pre and then to the Massachusetts archives, and became the basis for her book.

Anne is a natural teacher, and loves to share her passions with young readers and writers.


Anne Kelly

Beth Ann Knowles


Preferred grade levels: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9, Grades P-6

Preferred visit type: In-person or virtual (no preference)

Home region: South Shore

Travel range for in-person visits: Will travel within the South Shore. Happy to do virtual visits all around the province.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Half/Full DaySept – June

Maximum size of group/class: 30 - 40

Areas of expertise: Fiction (ages 4-8), Picture Books, Creative Nonfiction (any age)

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

For younger grades, Beth Ann’s fun-filled creative presentations include the reading of her debut children’s book, Row Bot, and involve student-centered discussions about the role of an author, illustrator, and publisher, as well as how a book is made. She challenges students to think about what the most important part of a picture book is; the pictures or the words. Workshop content can depend on the age of the group but often includes illustrating, creative writing, making predictions, coloring, rhymes and humour.

With older students Beth Ann discusses her writing process and the bumpy road to getting published. She reads from her nonfiction book, The Kimchi Experiment, a publication that began as an email, and engages students in fun creative writing exercises.

About the author:

Beth Ann is an award-winning writer and an ESL teacher who loves incorporating humour into her classes, presentations, and her writing. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Dalhousie University, has lived in Bosnia and South Korea, and coaches soccer in the summer.

Her debut publication was a children’s book which she wrote and illustrated. Row Bot, was published in 2017 by MacIntyre Purcell.

Beth Ann’s nonfiction manuscript, The Kimchi Experiment, will be published in the spring of 2022 by Pottersfield Press.

 


Beth Ann Knowles

Chad Lucas


Preferred grade levels: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9

Preferred visit type: Virtual (but can accommodate in-person if necessary)

Home region: Halifax area

Travel range for in-person visits: Within 90 minutes (in person), open to virtual

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Winter, spring

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: middle grade fiction, non-fiction, developing your voice, writing diverse stories and characters, tackling tough topics, journalism, sports writing

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Fiction vs. Non-Fiction – as a published author (fiction) and former journalist I can talk about the similarities, differences, and skills needed for fiction and non-fiction writing.

The Writer’s Journey – Having worked in multiple areas of writing, I can talk about career options and opportunities for writers, the path to publication, etc.

Writing from Different Perspectives – My middle grade novels each incorporate different points of view. I can talk about voice, choosing points of view (e.g. first person, third person), using multiple narrators, and important things to consider when writing a character outside your own experience or ethnicity.

About the author:

Chad Lucas is a former newspaper reporter and columnist and the author of two middle grade novels, Thanks a Lot, Universe (2021) and the forthcoming Let The Monster Out (2022), both from Amulet Books/Abrams Kids. Thanks a Lot, Universe earned a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection and starred reviews from the School Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews. A proud descendant of the historic African Nova Scotian community of Lucasville, Chad lives with his family outside Halifax.


Chad Lucas

Chris Benjamin


Preferred grade levels: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9

Preferred visit type: Virtual only

Home region: Halifax

Travel range for in-person visits: 100 km

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Half or full days, any term

Maximum size of group/class: 35

Areas of expertise: Social Justice, Shubenacadie residential school, environment and sustainability, fiction, journalism, magazines

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Ranges from interactive to informational. As I believe residential schools are an important curriculum component, I am particularly interested in talking about my learnings from writing Indian School Road. Questions from students are always appreciated. Happy to do readings as well or encourage students to share their work and thoughts.

About the author:

Chris Benjamin has given presentations and workshops based on the broad scope of his work, fiction and nonfiction, and magazine editing. He sometimes gives more focused talks on the history of the Shubenacadie residential school that ran in Nova Scotia from 1930 to 1967. He strives to make each visit an eye opening experience for students, a chance to learn something different from their usual curriculum yet relevant to life in Nova Scotia. Whether focused on storytelling/sharing or activism, he aims to inspire youth to make a difference in their communities, to be positive forces for good.


Chris Benjamin

Clare O’Connor


Preferred grade levels: Grades P-6

Preferred visit type: In-person or virtual (no preference)

Home region: Halifax Regional Municipality

Travel range for in-person visits: Anywhere

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: I’m available for either virtual or, where Covid restrictions allow, in-person visits. These include single periods, half day or full day visits.Available for grades 2 to 6.

Maximum size of group/class: n/a

Areas of expertise: Middle grade fiction. Topics cover resilience and perseverance

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

All workshops/presentations are considered a partnership with the teacher or librarian. If requested in advance, presentations can be customized to support learning outcomes based on student and school interest. However, general themes are resilience, perseverance, challenging assumptions, and the writing process. Depending on the length of time provided, exercises may also be included.

Skateboard Sibby was identified by Quill and Quire magazine as a “helpful classroom resource to provide an entry point for anti-bias and inclusive language and to open up important conversations on gender identity, self-identity, and inclusivity.” I have created a chapter-by-chapter downloadable discussion guide to support teacher or librarian led classroom discussions about Skateboard Sibby. This guide, or a portion of it, can be used in advance of a presentation if this is of interest. It can also be used in support of a presentation if requested by the school.

I consider school presentations a privilege and enjoy working with the school to make the visit fun and engaging.

About the author:

I am the author of Skateboard Sibby, a middle-grade novel about an 11-year-old super skateboarder dealing with lots of changes, including the loss of her confidence and her identity as a skateboarder. I have written extensively as a freelance writer and have now published my first middle-grade fiction in Skateboard Sibby. I enjoy speaking about the process of writing and using Sibby to launch into discussions on change, resilience, confidence building, bullying, and inclusivity.


Clare O’Connor

Cooper Lee Bombardier


Preferred grade levels: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9

Preferred visit type: In-person or virtual (no preference)

Home region: Halifax

Travel range for in-person visits: I'll come anywhere in the province!

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Available any season, happy to do half- or full-day sessions, but prefer full-day for out of HRM visits.

Maximum size of group/class: Since I make my presentations interactive, smaller class sizes are preferable, but I will work with schools as needed around presentation size.

Areas of expertise: Memoir, essay, nonfiction, fiction, experimental/hybrid forms

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

I offer interactive and engaging presentations/workshops where I get students of all levels to participate in writing activites in a fun, accessible manner. I give a bit of background on what a “writer’s life” is like, for this writer, at least. My focus is on creative nonfiction primarily, but I also enjoy teaching fiction, hybrid/experimental forms, and on occasion, poetry. I can customize my presentation/workshop to the needs of teachers and schools.

About the author:

Cooper Lee Bombardier is a queer, trans American writer and visual artist living in Canada. He is the author of the memoir-in-essays Pass With Care, a finalist for the 2021 Firecracker Award in Nonfiction. Cooper first taught creative writing to young people through the Americorp program WritersCorps in San Francisco in the mid-1990s, and was a writer in residence at various Portland, Oregon public schools through that city’s WITS program for four years. He’s been thrilled to be a writer in the schools through WFNS and loves to visit schools all over the province.His writing appears in The Kenyon Review, The Malahat Review, Ninth Letter, CutBank, Nailed Magazine, Longreads, Narratively, BOMB, and The Rumpus; and in 19 anthologies, including the Lambda Literary Award-winning anthology, The RemedyEssays on Queer Health Issues, and Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Speculative Fiction From Transgender Writers, which won a 2018 American Library Association Stonewall Book Award. The Huffington Post listed Cooper as one of “10 Transgender Artists Who Are Changing The Landscape Of Contemporary Art.” He teaches in the MFA in Creative Nonfiction program at University of King’s College and in women and gender studies at Saint Mary’s University.

FB: cooperfrickinleee Twitter: @CooperLeeB  IG: cooper_lee_bombardier


Cooper Lee Bombardier

Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail


Preferred grade levels: Grades P-6

Preferred visit type: In-person or virtual (no preference)

Home region: Halifax Regional Municipality

Travel range for in-person visits: Happy to discuss this. I love to travel and visit different places, and if it works for my schedule and our budget, I’m open to it!

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Flexible availability. Let’s chat about what works best for both of us!

Maximum size of group/class: Flexible

Areas of expertise: I can speak to historical nonfiction picture books using my Alis the Aviator book, as well as to the writing and publishing process from children’s writing up through adult fiction and nonfiction.For Q&As, I find students mostly want to pick my brain about life as an author, how and why I came to be a writer, and what I find the biggest challenges (and rewards are). They also love to share their connections with the text, aircraft, and people and places featured.

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Happy to work with you to design something that complements your curriculum needs and your students. We could do (for example) a Q&A style, facilitated discussion, writing workshop, or read-aloud. Or something brand new that we dream up together!

About the author:

I am a warm, funny presenter who loves to connect with people of all ages and backgrounds around books, writing, history, and more. I’ve done read-alouds to groups of kindergartners; done interactive presentations with teens in the juvenile justice system; and worked with elementary school students on their writing.


Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail

Don Aker


Preferred grade levels: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9

Preferred visit type: In-person or virtual (no preference)

Home region: HRM

Travel range for in-person visits: Anywhere in Nova Scotia. However, schools located farther than a two-hour drive from his home are required to pay for meals and accommodation, expenses that are not covered by WITS.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: All year (weather permitting). Half-day and full-day sessions. Maximum 3 presentations per day.

Maximum size of group/class: Author talks are available for groups of any size. (The larger the group, the less opportunity there is for interactivity, but Don has comfortably presented in the past to groups as large as 400.) Writing workshops are ideally suited for groups of 15 to facilitate sharing (maximum of 20).

Areas of expertise: fiction, non-fiction (memoir, expository essay, persuasive essay), poetry, and screenwriting

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

In his author talks, Don usually provides a brief overview of his books, followed by a discussion of his writing process — where he gets his ideas and the three questions he needs to answer before he can being writing any story. He always ensures there is time for students to ask questions and may offer a brief reading. Don is completely comfortable tailoring his presentations to the needs of a specific audience, particularly classes who are reading one or more of his novels. Having taught middle level and high school students, Don is also comfortable conducting writing workshops on a number of topics. However, in order to conduct workshops, Don prefers to be physically present in the school.

Samples of Don Aker’s Writing Workshops:

  • Inside Story: Writing Fictional Narratives
  • We Are Our Stories: Writing Personal Memoir
  • The Essence of Experience: Writing Poetry
  • Image is Everything: The Art of Writing Screenplays
  • From Argument to Action: The Power of Persuasion

About the author:

Author and educational consultant Don Aker has written more than 20 books and has conducted workshops for students and teachers across Canada as well as internationally (most recently in Vietnam). He is widely known for his bestselling young adult novels, among them Of Things Not Seen, winner of Atlantic Canada’s Ann Connor Brimer Award and the Canadian Authors Association’s Lilla Stirling Award; The First Stone, winner of the Ann Connor Brimer Award and Ontario’s White Pine Award; and The Space Between, which earned the Canadian Library Association’s Honour Book Award. A former classroom teacher, literacy mentor, and university instructor, Don enjoys speaking to students in grades 6 to 12, many of whom are familiar with his books in their classrooms. Don’s most recent books are Scars and Other Stories (Pottersfield Press), Delusion Road (HarperCollins, 2015) and Brothers in Arms: The Siege of Louisbourg (Scholastic, 2015). For more info, visit his website: www.donaker.com


Don Aker

Doretta Groenendyk


Preferred grade levels: Grades P-6

Preferred visit type: In-person or virtual (no preference)

Home region: Kings County

Travel range for in-person visits: within the Annapolis Valley/Halifax

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Oct-June (Full Days only)

Maximum size of group/class: one class at a time, approx. 25 - 30 students

Areas of expertise: Picture books, Illustration

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Stories seem to follow me wherever I go: they chase my bicycle, appear under rocks, pour out of a teapot and fall from the sky. I love to look at pictures and make paintings of things I dream about doing, or of events that I find enchanted, cosy or whimsical. Sometimes I can’t tell what comes first, my pictures or my words.

When I share my work with classrooms, it is usually a bright and creative adventure. I have travelled and have lived in different places and these stories usually creep into my classroom visits. I often bring in objects and paintings and have a lot of fun sharing all the stuff behind the making of each book. Mostly I can inspire kids to feel that absolutely they have stories to tell and this can happen in words, pictures, or both.

This year I have a new book: A Harbour Seal in Halifax based on the actual events in the city of March 2015. Students will be active drawers for this one, and begin their own story strip!

As well, I can offer workshops on BULLY 101. these have been engaging presentations, complete with collage making.

About the author:

Doretta graduated from NSCAD with a BA in Art Education. She then worked in Swaziland, Africa for a year and then Igloolik, Nunavut for another two. Before and after these diverse experiences, she was an avid traveller and tree planter.

Once settled in Nova Scotia, Doretta worked as an artist in classrooms through AVRSB, the program Arts Infusion, the Paints program, and as a volunteer. Her paintings are represented by the Harvest Gallery in Wolfville, Details Gallery in Charlottetown, and Art Sales and Rentals at the AGNS in Halifax.

To date, Doretta”s books include:

  • Bounce Beans and Burn
  • Fiddles and Spoons
  • I’m writing a story
  • Snow for Christmas
  • Thank You for My Bed
  • A Bluenose Christmas
  • Spin to Sea
  • Bully 101
  • Step outside
  • Hockey Morning Noon and Night
  • I’m Drawing a Picture
  • A Harbour Seal in Halifax


Doretta Groenendyk

Emma FitzGerald


Preferred grade levels: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9, Grades P-6

Preferred visit type:

Home region:

Travel range for in-person visits:

Seasonal and/or sessional availability:

Maximum size of group/class:

Areas of expertise:

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

About the author:

Emma FitzGerald was born in Southern Africa to Irish parents and grew up in Vancouver. She has studied both art and architecture, and is the author of Hand Drawn Halifax. She lives and draws in North End Halifax.


Emma FitzGerald

Genevieve Graham


Preferred grade levels: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9, Grades P-6

Preferred visit type: In-person or virtual (no preference)

Home region: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Travel range for in-person visits: Half hour drive outside of HalifaxVirtual appearances

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Usually one hour, any season. 

Maximum size of group/class: doesn't matter

Areas of expertise: Historical Fiction, Canadian History

  • The Halifax Explosion (1917), Acadian Expulsion (1755), Klondike Gold Rush (1898), Canada’s British Home Children (1869-1948), Christie Pits Riot (1933 Toronto), Canadians in the Battle of Hong Kong/POW camps (1941-45)
Writing in General 

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

I am open to the teacher’s suggestions – if you are working on a specific theme (ie a part of Canadian history, or Creative Writing), I can work around that. I can include a discussion about the book, historical fiction, Canadian history, the writing/publishing process, and am open to Q&A anytime.

About the author:

Genevieve Graham moved to Nova Scotia in 2008 and fell in love with the integral history woven into every aspect of this province. Almost immediately, she realized how little she knew about the history, not only of Nova Scotia but of all of Canada, and she embarked on a mission to correct that, using her love of historical fiction as a palette.

All her novels have spent numerous weeks on the Canadian bestsellers list. Most recently, Genevieve focused her research and passion on the dark, little known story of Canada’s British Home Children in “The Forgotten Home Child”. Despite bookstore shutdowns across the country due to COVID-19, “The Forgotten Home Child” became an “instant #1 bestseller” and remained on that list for 19 weeks – 11 of those at #1. It achieved the #5 position in Canadian Fiction for 2020 and educated tens of thousands of readers about this important part of our history.

Genevieve Graham is prolific and determined, dedicated to bringing Canadian history to life through the popular, mainstream market of commercial historical fiction. Having started writing relatively late in life (in her forties), she has already published five novels with Simon & Schuster Canada in five years, and is eager to keep on that same track for years to come.


Genevieve Graham

Geraldine Tuck


Preferred grade levels: Grades 7-9, Grades P-6

Preferred visit type: In-person or virtual (no preference)

Home region: South Shore, Chester NS

Travel range for in-person visits: all of Nova Scotia

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Sept – June

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: taught grades 2, 4, 5, 6. Public speaking at Chester Playhouse and Rope Loft Tavern

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Grades 3-6: This interactive presentation dresses volunteers as book characters, detective, rum runner, and gold miner. The large, hands-on display illustrates the historical research needed to write this series set in the 1930’s in a town on the south shore of Nova Scotia. The author reads exciting passage from each book. An oral exercise demonstrates editing techniques. Drawing for a free t-shirt end the visit.

Grades 5-7: The fourth book in the Marauders Series is suitable for older grades due to the content dealing with the Halifax Explosion. A power point presentation discusses the explosion and how the author used artifacts and newspaper clippings to plot a story. An interactive lesson where students piece together their own historical fiction is offered.

About the author:

Author of Midnight Marauders, (rumrunning), Moonlight Marauders (goldmining) and, Mystery Marauders (Oak Island) and Halifax Explosion–all available on the Teachers’ Book Order List! Books also available in all Chapters Book Stores and by contacting the author directly.


Geraldine Tuck

Greg Loewen


Preferred grade levels: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9

Preferred visit type: In-person or virtual (no preference)

Home region: Colchester County

Travel range for in-person visits: Within 45 minutes drive or provincially in virtual.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: open

Maximum size of group/class: 20

Areas of expertise: critical non-fiction, scholarly non-fiction, commercial self-helpfantasy adventure YA fiction, short fiction, introspective adult fiction

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Grades 7-9:
–   Fiction: What is a story and why tell one? The history of storytelling and the written word. The differences between facts, beliefs and opinions and how the truth participates in all three at once. How can you communicate your experiences to others through writing? How much of oneself gets put into something that isn’t exactly true? How does your experience translate into characters and plots? The basic mechanics of narrative.
–   Non fiction: What is the world and how do you describe the world as it is? The differences between science and history, between nature and culture. How did facts originate and what are their purposes today? Format and presentation: seminar and workshop with writing break-outs, sharing of work, script-like role-play readings and reading assignments.

Grades 10-12:
–   Fiction: Character creation and development, use of allegory, metaphor, the construction of plot and the conveyance of emotional intensity. How to communicate human concerns using non-human characters and unearthly places and spaces. How to make your story have a purpose beyond itself.
–   Non-fiction: What is discourse? What is authority? How do you question both? Learning how to read for meaning and not mere descriptive fact. How did the concept of factuality develop and who does it benefit? Blurring fact and fiction can make for great writing but also for dangerous lying; how to avoid the dark side of creativity.
–   Bonus: university and college preparation: What do professors want? How to write for post-secondary courses and what it means to learn how to think for yourselves.  Format and presentation: seminar and workshop with writing break-outs, sharing of work, script-like role-play readings and reading assignments.

About the author:

G.V. Loewen is the author of thirty books in print and is one of Canada’s leading contemporary thinkers. His non-fiction works include books in education, ethics, health, aesthetics and social theory. He recently wrote a eleven volume adventure saga for young persons and other shorter fiction works.


Greg Loewen

Hui Zhou


Preferred grade levels: Grades 7-9, Grades P-6

Preferred visit type: Virtual (but can accommodate in-person if necessary)

Home region: Hammonds Plains NS

Travel range for in-person visits: Nova Scotia

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: September – June

Maximum size of group/class: ~25 students, 45-50 minutes/session, ~10-minute break between two consecutive sessions

Areas of expertise: Writing: creative non-fiction books towards school-age children, essays/real stories for all ages; Natural science (M. Sc.): especially in entomology, integrated pest management (IPM) and infectious disease.

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Hui’s presentation covers three topics: her childhood in Beijing China, stories about insects/chickens and key steps for non-fiction writing. During her presentation, Hui develops a good rapport with students and fully engages their participation.

The presentation can be adapted to more story-telling and games for early elementary, or extended to such topics as cultural difference, self-publishing experience and basic knowledge of infectious disease for higher grades or any interested schools. Hui is also open to a discussion with schools on presentation topics within her coverage.

About the author:

Immigrated to Canada in early 2000’s, Hui is a graduate from Saint Mary’s University and considers herself a well-adapted Nova Scotian.

With a solid science background, diverse interests and an open mind, Hui’s writing covers various topics and crosses different fields. Her essays/stories have been published in newspapers, magazines or radio broadcast in China since 1990’s and since 2006 in Canada.

Her creative non-fiction children’s book “Running Wild with Bossy Boy” (2018) tells interesting stories about a flock of chickens raised locally and reflects chicken’s different personalities (chicken-alities) with over seventy photos she took along the chicken’s growth.

Hui is working on her Essay Collection and more creative non-fiction books for children.


Hui Zhou

Jan L. Coates


Preferred grade levels: Grades P-6

Preferred visit type: In-person (but can accommodate virtual if necessary)

Home region: Annapolis Valley

Travel range for in-person visits: In 2021-22, only within Kings and Hants Counties

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: I prefer half-day visits, especially for virtual visits. For the school year 2021 – 2022, I'll be doing in-person visits in Kings and Hants Counties, but I'd love to do virtual visits anywhere! I did virtual visits using both Google Meets and Zoom last year, and they worked really well. One thing I enjoyed about that platform was that I could present to a few classes at the same time. (One thing I didn't enjoy was seeing a giant me projected on the classroom screens:)Months I'm available this year include: October, January, February and April.

Maximum size of group/class: I prefer to work with one class at a time, but I'm open to other situations as required

Areas of expertise: Fiction writing (middle grade novels, books for emergent readers, picture books)

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Grades P-4: I read one of my picture books, A Halifax Time-Travelling TuneSky PigRainbows in the Dark, Dancing with Daisy, Karissa & Felix or The King of Keji, then chat about it. This requires 30 minutes for P/1 groups, and I also have relevant activity sheets we do together re wishing, dreaming and/or rainbows.

Grades 2, 3, and 4:  Picture book presentation takes about an hour as I have a 25- minute PowerPoint I use to generate discussion of the writing life, and also a hands-on, fun, guessing-game creative writing exercise.  Each student chooses either a place or a thing and writes a brief description of it using the “other” four senses (not sight). The students then take turns reading their descriptions to their classmates who attempt to guess what the place or thing is. It’s harder than it sounds! But it’s a great exercise to get kids thinking beyond how things look when they use description in their own writing, and it’s fun!

Grades 4/5-7: I read a bit from Say What You Mean, Talking to the Moon, A Hare in the Elephant’s TrunkThe Power of Harmony, The Hermit or Rocket Man, depending on the age level, or the teacher’s choice. I also use my PPT to generate discussion around the books’ themes (searching for a place to belong, bullying, pursuing dreams, Lost Boys of Sudan) and chat about tools we all possess and use as W.R.I.T.E.R.S. (words, reading, imagination, thesaurus, experience/emotions, rewriting, senses), and I’m happy to answer any and all questions. I use the same writing exercise described above, which works well with all ages, and I’m always open to discussing specific aspects of the writing process, as suggested by teachers.

Grades 2 and up: I am open to suggestions from teachers if there’s a certain aspect of writing they’d like me to address. As well, I sometimes read from one of my current works-in-progress as I’m always looking for feedback from readers.

 

About the author:

I’m curious about everybody, and I like to watch strangers and imagine their lives; Why is he doing that? How did that raccoon get in there? What would she do if…? Basically, I’m nosey. Being a visiting author is one of my favorite parts of being a writer because I get to share my love of reading and writing with lots of other people with big imaginations and amazing ideas. For more info visit: www.jancoates.ca


Jan L. Coates

Jen Powley


Preferred grade levels: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9, Grades P-6

Preferred visit type: Virtual (but can accommodate in-person if necessary)

Home region: Halifax

Travel range for in-person visits: Prefer to stay in Halifax

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Half-day

Maximum size of group/class: Any size

Areas of expertise: non-fiction, interactive fiction

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Workshop: have kids explore their level of ability and what it would be like to be otherwise able.

About the author:

Jen Powley is a 39-year-old prairie girl living in Canada’s ocean playground. She left Alberta after a degree in social sciences at the King’s University College in Edmonton, where she edited the school newspaper. Powley moved across the country to pursue an after-degree in journalism at the University of King’s College in Halifax. Following that, in 2001, she moved back to Halifax after a summer in Alberta. She then held jobs at the Independent Living Resource Centre (now Independent Living Nova Scotia) and the Nova Scotia League for Equal Opportunities. Realizing she could not engineer the type of societal change she wanted, Powley returned to school earning her Master’s of Urban Planning at Dalhousie University, and then worked for five years at the Ecology Action Centre. Losing her voice due to her multiple sclerosis, Powley recognized that the presentations required by the job were no longer feasible, so she returned to the University of King’s College to pursue her Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Non-Fiction. In May 2017, Powley released her first and only book, a memoir Just Jen, published by Roseway, an imprint of Fernwood Publishing. 


Jen Powley

Jessica Scott Kerrin


Preferred grade levels: Grades P-6

Preferred visit type: Virtual only

Home region: Province-wide

Travel range for in-person visits: During the ongoing pandemic, I am pleased to offer virtual presentations based on the three topics I have been delivering in person (see below), but tailored to an online platform. I also offer a technical rehearsal with schools in advance of my actual presentation to ensure everyone is comfortable with the platform. Post pandemic: anywhere in Nova Scotia if a full day is booked. Please note: schools located farther than a 90-minute drive from Halifax are required to pay for meals and licensed accommodation, because these expenses are not covered by WITS.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: During the ongoing pandemic: virtual presentations from November to April. Post-pandemic: virtual and/or in-person (full-days only) in April and May.

Maximum size of group/class: Any size

Areas of expertise: Fiction series, Middle Reader, Picture Book, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Adventure, Father/son relationships, Mental health, Coping with Loss

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Jessica’s jam-packed presentation to young writers is a behind-the-scenes look at the everyday experiences that she writes stories about. She includes props, audience participation, and video clips sure to keep students engaged and glued to their seats. She has three presentations to choose from:

For grades 1-3: SENSES – Her new picture book, The Better Tree Fort, about a father/son relationship is featured. She also shares an interest in birding with the characters in this story. She will include a fun mini-lesson on local birdsongs during her presentation that encourages young writers to use all their senses.

For grades 4-6: DETAILS – Her new novel, Clear Skies, is a historic novel that depicts the 1960s space race to the Moon alongside the issue of mental health. She will also use this story to demonstrate the importance of including accurate facts and engaging details for better fiction.

For grades 4-6: STORY IDEAS – Her travel adventure novel, The Things Owen Wrote, explores the relationship between a boy and his ailing grandfather who is coping with loss. She features this novel in her presentation to demonstrate where she gets her story ideas.

About the author:

Jessica Scott Kerrin is the author of Martin Bridge, a highly acclaimed award-winning adventure series. Her trilogy, The Lobster Chronicles, features the accidental capture of a giant lobster as told from the perspective of three different boys. Her mystery novels, The Spotted Dog Last Seen, and its prequel, The Missing Dog is Spotted, feature a historic cemetery inspired by one in Halifax. Her adventure novel, The Things Owen Wrote, brings readers to Iceland. Her picture book, The Better Tree Fort, features a father/son team-building project. Her newly released historic novel, Clear Skies, is all about the exciting 1960s space race to the Moon.

Jessica grew up on the Canadian Prairies. Today, she lives with her family and their hunting dog in downtown Halifax in a house that is close to 150 years old. The floors slope, and all the balls she tosses to her dog roll into one corner.

 


Jessica Scott Kerrin

John A. Read


Preferred grade levels: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9, Grades P-6

Preferred visit type: In-person or virtual (no preference)

Home region: Halifax

Travel range for in-person visits: 40 minutes

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: all visit lengths; all terms

Maximum size of group/class: n/a

Areas of expertise: Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Exploration

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Will bring telescopes, or will demonstrate astronomy software on the computer.

About the author:

JOHN A. READ is a telescope operator at the Burke-Gaffney Observatory a member of the Halifax Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) and recently graduated with a degree in astrophysics from Saint Mary’s University. In 2020 he was presented with an RASC award for Excellence in Science Communication. John also cohosts RASC’s series “Explore the Universe Online.” He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.


John A. Read

Julian Smith


Preferred grade levels: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9

Preferred visit type: In-person or virtual (no preference)

Home region: Yarmouth County

Travel range for in-person visits: Anywhere in Yarmouth, Digby, and Shelburne Counties. Will travel further, but mileage and/or accommodation may be required.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Year-round

Maximum size of group/class: Any

Areas of expertise: Science Fiction and Fantasy (Speculative Fiction)

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Julian is available to teach fiction workshops that focus on imagination, creativity, and storytelling through the lens of speculative fiction. Many of today’s most popular books, movies, and video games fall under the umbrella of science fiction and fantasy. These genres have a remarkable ability to capture the imaginations of young people, and reading and writing speculative fiction encourages students to think about the world in new and imaginative ways.

In his workshops, Julian introduces students to some important narrative ingredients — such as character, conflict, and setting — and uses examples from literature and pop culture to keep students engaged. Through a series of brainstorming activities and writing exercises students will learn how to generate compelling ideas and turn those ideas into their own stories. By the end of the workshop, students will have the foundation of a work of original fiction.

About the author:

Julian Mortimer Smith has published more than a dozen science fiction and fantasy stories in some of the world’s top speculative fiction magazines, including Asimov’sTerraform, and Daily Science Fiction. He has also published non-fiction pieces in SaltscapesCottage Magazine, and The Skinny. He is a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and SF Canada.

Julian lives in Yarmouth and spends his days writing copy for a web design company. He previously made a living as a freelance editor, working on projects ranging from romance novels to board games. When he lived in Edinburgh he worked as the books section editor of The Skinny, a Scottish arts and entertainment magazine.

Julian has a bachelor’s degree in English literature from McGill Univeristy in Montreal and a Master’s in Communication and Culture from York University in Toronto. You can find out more about his writing at his website: http://julianmortimersmith.com/


Julian Smith

Lesley Choyce


Preferred grade levels: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9, Grades P-6

Preferred visit type: In-person or virtual (no preference)

Home region: HRM

Travel range for in-person visits: Anywhere in Nova Scotia

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Half day visits only, preferably afternoons

Maximum size of group/class: Any size

Areas of expertise: Young adult novels, fiction, history, children's fiction, poetry

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Lesley will read from such kids’ books as Skunks for Breakfast and Far Enough Island, as well as such young adult novels as The Book of MichaelThe End of the World as We Know ItWave WarriorSmoke and Mirrors or Shoulder the Sky (winner of the 2003 Ann Connor Brimer Children’s Literature Prize). He can talk about the history of Nova Scotia (Nova Scotia Shaped by the Sea) as well. The main focus of the presentation is to get students enthusiastic about writing, imagination and creativity. Lesley also has stories to tell about skunks and ravens and brings along his poetry music videos to inspire non-book kids. He’s guaranteed to entertain, intrigue and provoke. When not writing, Lesley teaches at Dalhousie University, performs spoken word poetry/music and surfs in year round.

About the author:

Lesley teaches at Dalhousie University, runs Pottersfield Press and has published over 86 books for adults and kids. His Young Adult novels concern things like skateboarding, surfing, racism, environmental issues, organ transplants, and rock bands. Lesley surfs year round in the North Atlantic and is considered the father of transcendental wood-splitting. www.lesleychoyce.com


Lesley Choyce

Monica Graham


Preferred grade levels: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9, Grades P-6

Preferred visit type: In-person or virtual (no preference)

Home region: Chignecto-Central

Travel range for in-person visits: throughout NS. Accommodation may be required for schools 3 or more hours away.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Sept – June. Full and half day visits.

Maximum size of group/class: 30

Areas of expertise: Non-fiction: history, biography, news, trivia, opinion (suitable for grade 7 and up); workshops for younger kids; memoir–everyone has a story to tell.

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Monica uses props and games to explain the differences among fact, fiction and opinion; and individual and group writing exercises to demonstrate how to make facts interesting. She talks about cheating – using dictionaries, thesaurus, spell-check and other tools to gain an advantage. She reads to students and answers questions about writing. If older students have writing they want to share and discuss, teachers should let Monica know in advance in order to adjust the presentation time and style. If a particular topic or project interests the students, please let Monica know.  A flip chart or chalk/white board is handy, and students should have pen/cils and paper. Monica does not usually employ electronic gizmos as her experience shows they are frustrating and time-consuming to set up. BUT during the Covid-19 pandemic she is stepping out of her comfort zone to reach young writers in schools.

She prefers working with groups of 30 students or less and a scent-free audience is preferred. Coffee and maybe a biscuit are appreciated after a long drive.

About the author:

Monica Graham lives in the woods in Pictou County, where she keeps three big vegetable gardens, grows raspberries and blackberries, swats black flies, hunts for moose tracks and mushrooms and tries to keep her little dog out of the swamps. When she’s not playing in the mud or skiing or snowshoeing,  she hides in her office and writes books and stories and even poetry. She used to write for newspapers, but retired to fire up her imagination for more fiction!  She likes history and imagining the people who lived in a place long ago. , Monica has written news and feature articles for  the Halifax Chronicle HeraldRural Delivery, and others. She wrote the books Looking Back at Pictou County, The Historic Town of Pictou, Scotch Willy and Other Nicknames from Pictou County, The Great Maritime Detective, Bluenose, Historic New Glasgow, Stellarton, Trenton & Westville, and  Fire Spook, a true ghost story released in October, 2013.  In May, 2015, Nimbus Publishing released a collection of her columns called In the Spirit: Reflections on Everyday Grace. Two months later, her history of Pictou Academy, called Cradle of Knowledge, was launched in advance of the school’s 200th anniversary in 2016. In the works are a story about finding a good place for her aging mom to live, an historic novel, a funny tale about husbands that she calls My Next Husband Will Be Normal and more – she has more ideas than time!

Monica served as 2011-12 Writer-in-Residence at Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library, and was Writer-in-Residence at Berton House in Dawson City, Yukon, in 2008.


Monica Graham

Nancy Rose


Preferred grade levels: Grades P-6

Preferred visit type: In-person or virtual (no preference)

Home region: HRM (Hubley)

Travel range for in-person visits: Preferably within an hour of HRM, and further if accommodations are provided for schools more than a couple hours away. Virtual is a better option for distances.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: I am retired so all days are generally available but fall and spring are best for travel.

Maximum size of group/class: Any size. Smaller is better so everyone can see the pictures in the books as I read, and can see the miniature props I bring along and ask questions. I have a slide show for large groups.

Areas of expertise: Children's Picture books and illustration using photography and craft miniatures

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

My presentation is paced for the age group I am speaking with.  I like to read one or more books to the students after discussing how I went from being a photographer to the author.  I bring a tote box filled with some of the miniature props I have made for my books, which inspire students to think about how they could make their own props and take photos for the stories they write.  We discuss fiction and non-fiction and the challenges of writing a story using real photos of ‘wild’ animals, versus drawings.  Older students are intrigued with the craft and photography aspects of the process and I talk about the role of the editors and publishers and how a book goes from “backyard to bookstore”.

About the author:

Nancy is the author/photographer of 4 childrens book in the Secret Life of Squirrels series, and a new (2021) Alphabet board book featuring Oakley the Squirrel.. She is a retired high school Family Studies teacher and Guidance Counsellor with a love for photography and the curious antics of her backyard squirrels. In about 2010 she started taking making squirrel size props (a barbecue, mailbox, washer and dryer, etc) and dioramas, and she lured squirrels into her sets by hiding nuts. Her humorous photos of the squirrels appeared online and in newspapers and magazines world-wide. In 2014 her first children’s book, The Secret Life of Squirrels, was published in Canada, U.S. Japan and South Korea.   For classroom visits, Nancy brings along a tote box filled with some of her homemade props to show the students and she talks about the art and craft of recycling and being creative.

Nancy is available again for Google Meet sessions, which went over very well in the 2020 school year, and also for live classroom presentations.

 


Nancy Rose

Philip Moscovitch


Preferred grade levels: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9, Grades P-6

Preferred visit type: In-person or virtual (no preference)

Home region: HRM

Travel range for in-person visits: Throughout NS. I enjoy travelling throughout the province for visits. Please keep in mind that I will require meals and accommodation if I’m travelling a considerable distance.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Sept – June. Full and half days.

Maximum size of group/class: 30

Areas of expertise: Fiction, Graphic novels, Journalism, Non-Fiction, Interviewing techniques, Radio, Documentary.

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

I am most frequently asked to offer workshops on writing comics, but I also offer presentations on kickstarting fiction writing, working on non-fiction, and effective ways to interview and ask questions.

Comics

Ever wonder how a comic is put together? What does the writer do? How about the illustrator? Using real-life examples from my 14 years writing the “Daisy Dreamer” comic for Chickadee, I talk about the process of writing comics and share scripts and artwork with students. I also share exercises for building characters and stories. These sessions generally run 45-60 minutes.

I also offer longer sessions (half day or more) that go more deeply into the process of creating comics and that include time for students to work on their own longer-term comics creations.

Narrative non-fiction

Let me help your students find stories in unexpected places. For upper elementary and junior high, we will practice using our senses and powers of description to write short non-fiction. For older classes, I offer workshops on shaping facts into stories. I draw on my own years of experience writing non-fiction articles and my book, Adventures in Bubbles and Brine.

Oral History/Interviewing

“Someone should write that down!”

For teachers and students interested in finding and recording the stories around them, I offer a workshop on how to zero in on great stories and get people to talk about them.As a freelance writer and broadcaster, I have interviewed hundreds of people – including the first person from PEI to play Major League Baseball, a member of the last Leafs team to win the Stanley Cup, the first photographer to snap underwater shots of Titanic, the most active 99-year-old I’ve ever met, and even family members. Students have the technology they need to record stories. My workshop teaches them how to find those stories, and how to approach subjects in a way that encourages them to share them.As part of this workshop we practice hands-on in class, which is always fun.

Kickstart Your Fiction

In school, I was the kid who never had any ideas. Now I have too many of them. This workshop uses photos and fun, effective writing prompts to help students find and quickly develop their ideas for short stories, comics, or longer works.

Other Workshops

I am open to ideas! If you have something different you’d like me to do, let’s chat about it.

Language

I am bilingual (I make part of my living as a French-English translator) and can do presentations and workshops in French for immersion classes.

Je suis bilingue, originaire de Montréal, et tous mes ateliers et présentations sont également disponibles en français.

 

About the author:

I am a freelance writer, editor, and audio producer with a passion for telling stories and have been publishing non-fiction for more than 25 years.  For five years, I was the editor of Canadian Screenwriter magazine, and I’ve been a writer and story editor for several documentaries. As an audio producer, my work has aired both regionally and nationally on CBC Radio. While my focus is mostly non-fiction, I have also published short fiction and poetry.

My interests are broad. I’ve written about everything from professional wrestling to mental health, and from food to art.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me. You can also keep up with me on Twitter @PhilMoscovitch.


Philip Moscovitch

Sarah Mian


Preferred grade levels: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9, Grades P-6

Preferred visit type: In-person or virtual (no preference)

Home region: Queensland, ns

Travel range for in-person visits: Maritimes

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Any/all

Maximum size of group/class: Any

Areas of expertise: Fiction

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

I am passionate about inspiring young writers and have developed a variety of creative writing exercises suitable for all grade levels. As a Writer-in-the-Schools, I engage students in the creative process and share the journey of how I achieved my childhood dream to become a published novelist.

I possess a BEd in Secondary School Education and have extensive Primary-12 classroom experience as a substitute teacher. I have given creative writing workshops at the Afterwords Literary Festival, the ‘Writing on Fire’ Teen Writing Experience and have taught adult fiction courses at the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia.

About the author:

Sarah Mian’s debut novel, When the Saints, won the Jim Connors Book Award, the Margaret & John Savage First Book Award, and was a finalist for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. She recently co-wrote the screenplay adaptation for Lady Hammond Entertainment, and is now working on her second novel, The World in Awful Sleep.


Sarah Mian

Sarah Sawler


Preferred grade levels: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9, Grades P-6

Preferred visit type: Virtual (but can accommodate in-person if necessary)

Home region: HRM

Travel range for in-person visits: Will travel an hour outside of HRM in any direction. May consider travelling farther depending on circumstances.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Fall, Winter, Spring

Maximum size of group/class: 30

Areas of expertise: Nonfiction

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Elementary (Grades 3-6): Presentations will include a discussion on research methods, fun readings and interactive trivia (with a prize!) and a hands-on activity.

Junior High/Middle School: Presentations will include a discussion on research methods, including the importance of critical thinking, readings, interactive trivia, and a hands-on activity.

High school: Visits will look at the various ways writing can be incorporated into a career, focusing on my experience as a journalist, a business writer, a graphic novel publicist, and an author. Presentations will also include a hands-on activity and readings.

About the author:

Sarah Sawler is the award-winning author of three books: 100 Things You Don’t Know About Nova Scotia; 100 Things You Don’t Know About Atlantic Canada – For Kids; and the Moonbeam Spirit Award-winning Be Prepared: The Frankie MacDonald Guide to Life, the Weather, and Everything (with Frankie MacDonald). Both middle grade books were nominated for the 2019/2020 Hackmatack Awards. Be Prepared was also nominated for a 2018 Yellow Cedar Award (Forest of Reading).

 


Sarah Sawler

Sherry D. Ramsey


Preferred grade levels: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9, Grades P-6

Preferred visit type: In-person or virtual (no preference)

Home region: Cape Breton

Travel range for in-person visits: within Cape Breton and Strait Regions, further if accommodations are arranged.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Fall, winter, spring; Full and half days; only Wednesdays for the remainder of 2021, Tuesdays or Thursdays for early 2022

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: Fiction, Non-fiction, Creativity, Poetry, Editing and Publishing, Science fiction & Fantasy

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

For grades P-3, Sherry often offers interactive visual presentations on storytelling or how books come into being. This includes a brief storytelling session or reading. For older students, she often offers an interactive session with students where they brainstorm story ideas from student input. Her talks generally revolve around at least one of the following topics: how to build interesting stories and characters; discussion and practice creating vibrant backdrops for stories; discussing the different stages of writing as they apply to students and professional writers. She also often addresses topics that revolve around writing speculative fiction and poetry — definitions of “speculative”, finding ideas, and what makes a strong story within or outside various genres.

For elementary grades Sherry can manage two classes together (if they are not too large); for junior high and high school she prefers no more than one class at a time.

About the author:

Sherry D. Ramsey writes science fiction and fantasy for both adults and young adults, and is one of the founding editors of Cape Breton’s Third Person Press. She has published over thirty short stories nationally and internationally, and her award-winning debut novel, One’s Aspect to the Sun, launched in 2013 from Edmonton’s Tyche Books. The sequels, Dark Beneath the Moon and Beyond the Sentinel Stars (Tyche Books) followed in 2015 and 2017, and a fourth book in the Nearspace series is forthcoming. She has also published the YA fantasy The Seventh Crow (Dreaming Robot Press, 2015), and the middle grade science fiction adventure, Planet Fleep (2018). Some of her short stories are collected in To Unimagined Shores (2011) and The Cache and Other Stories (2017). A collection of stories for young readers, Beacon and Other Stories, came out in 2019. She’s currently adding more titles to her urban fantasy Olympia Investigations series and working on a comic fantasy novel, as well as teaching English courses as a sessional instructor at Cape Breton University.

Sherry has co-edited six anthologies of regional short fiction with Third Person Press and conducted numerous writing workshops in person and online. A member of the Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia Writer’s Council, Sherry is also a past Vice-President, Secretary-Treasurer, and Web Administrator of SF Canada. She is an active participant with Writers In The Schools and loves talking to students about writing and creativity. You can visit Sherry online, read her blog, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @sdramsey, and find some free fiction and sample chapters on her website.


Sherry D. Ramsey

Sylvia Gunnery


Preferred grade levels: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9, Grades P-6

Preferred visit type: Virtual (but can accommodate in-person if necessary)

Home region: South Shore

Travel range for in-person visits: For virtual WITS visits: throughout NSFor non-virtual WITS visits: Throughout NS. When travelling more than 90 minutes each way, it may be necessary for the school to provide overnight accommodation.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: For virtual visits: October – May; half-day and full day visits; schedule can be flexible. For non-virtual visits:  Oct & Nov, Jan – May. Full-day visits (3 sessions) only, please.

Maximum size of group/class: Negotiable, depending upon whether the visit is virtual or in-person, with larger groups more easily accommodated in person

Areas of expertise: Fiction (chapter books for ages 6 to 8, juvenile for ages 9 to 12, teen from ages 12 to 16); picture books (non-fiction guided reading books for primary and grade one); teacher resource books on writing

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Sylvia offers two WITS presentations as well as writing workshops.  The presentations are The Story Behind the Cover (recommended for grades 4 – 12) and Finding Stories Every Day (recommended for grades primary – 3).  These flexible and informal presentations are updated every year and are accompanied by PowerPoint visuals. Students will hear excerpts from her books, find out what inspired her story ideas, and learn some behind-the-scenes details about getting a book published.  In writing workshops, students will be active writers, creating their own fictional characters and making them walk and talk on the page.  Follow-up lessons will be suggested. High school teachers may be interested in booking a series of writing workshops with a specific group (or groups).  Topics for all workshops may be planned with input from teachers to fit with their current curriculum goals.

About the author:

Sylvia Gunnery has published over 25 books for teens and children as well as professional resources for teachers of writing. A recipient of a Prime Minister’s Teaching Award, she has presented at conferences, libraries, and schools across Canada.  Since the spring of 2020, she has also enjoyed working virtually with adult writers and students through workshops, mentorships, and WITS visits.  Road Signs That Say West, her most recent YA novel, is published by Pajama Press.  In 2022, she will be a speaker at Reading For the Love of It in Toronto (http://www.readingfortheloveofit.com/brochure.html). Sylvia lives at Crescent Beach, on the South Shore of Nova Scotia where she’s working on a series of linked YA stories, what I know about next.


Sylvia Gunnery

Thibault Jacquot-Paratte


Preferred grade levels: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9

Preferred visit type: Virtual only

Home region: Nouvelle-Écosse

Travel range for in-person visits: I’ve been told that this year, the program was done via the internet.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: I can most probably arrange to be available any date if I know long enough in advance (except for mid-October, when I will be very busy).

Maximum size of group/class: 10-15

Areas of expertise: – Poetry (over 10 years professional practice in 2 languages. Knowledge of theory and practice). – Short stories / fiction (multiple publications. – Longer prose (Non-fiction : experience in journalistic and academic writing / Fiction : planing a novel, work/organization methods, “what type of novel do you want to write?”)– Theatre/drama (what kind of theatre? What do you want to communicate? Working on characters and stage atmosphere). I am not a writer who takes commercial fiction as the standard. With me, students will also be brought to look at experimental writing and writing techniques. If discussing novels, we can discuss “plotted” and “plotless” novels. If talking about poetry, we will discuss narrative, non-narrative, versified and prose poetry, etc. If discussing theatre, we will talk about impression, expression, realism, fantasy, etc. For me, giving a workshop does not work solely on focussing the people who take it, but broadening their scope.

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Workshop theme examples:

– Playing with language / language deconstruction and prose writing.
– Alter egos, friends, and strangers : building characters and distancing yourself from your writing.
– Not just action; writing ideas : how can literature become engaged? (constructing plots around ideas, or putting ideas into stories).
– World building : techniques on creating a credible culture.
– A poetry of action : narrative poetry, and poetic thought in event sequences.

The workshops would mostly encompass sharing and discussing, but would also feature a presentation of different aspects of the workshop themes, as well as textual examples. For example, on writing ideas, we could look at prose by C.F. Ramuz, Mongo Beti or poetry by the likes of Edith Södergran. On world building we could lean on different alphabets in the world, and how different languages and alphabets inspired authors like Tolkien or Guy G. Kay – and the importance of distancing oneself from mirroring existing cultures. For poetry in action, we could look at narrative poetry by authors such as Inger Christensen, T.S. Elliot or Blaise Cendrars, in order to see how sequencing events and action can create a poetic narration. In-class exercises would accompany these examples.

About the author:

Born in Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1993, Thibault Jacquot-Paratte started publishing poetry in 2010, as well as writing and performing his own songs. He has, since then, published poetry, short stories, essays, and plays, in both French and English, in North America and Europe. Some of his plays have been produced for the stage, and in 2017 and 2019, he was also brought to co-direct short films in Denmark and in Canada. He has been able to travel on four continents, and perform or read before diverse audiences. He obtained a Batchelor’s from the Sorbonne (Nordic Studies) in 2015, and a Master’s (focus in Sociology) in 2017, with exchanges and scholarships to Finland (Vaasa), Norway (Tromsø), and Denmark (Askov).

As a writer he has published poetry, short stories, essays and drama (in journals, and as books), in both French and English. Some of his plays have been performed. His writing styles span multiple genres – Contemporary, Sci-fi, realism, satire, absurdism… In 2019 he was selected to be one of two official poets of the National Acadian Society during the National Acadian Congress in PEI and New Brunswick.

During presentations, he tries to give as much information as he can, while making sure participants can keep up, ask as many questions as they want, and are motivated by regular activities. Used to working with the theatre, he knows that energy, a positive attitude, and positive reinforcement are essential to keep a group interested.


Thibault Jacquot-Paratte

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