Apply for Writer & Illustrator Bookings

APPLICATIONS OPEN SEPTEMBER 8, 2020

Browse writers & illustrators below — or filter them by literary genre and grade-level expertise.

Before requesting a writer or illustrator, read their profile carefully, noting individual program locations, travel parameters, and other requirements.

Writers who must travel 2+ hours for a WITS visit may require overnight accommodations at the expense of the school. Hosting a WITS visit also requires ensuring writers have adequate breaks (between sessions) and an offer of lunch (if working for a full day).

Step 1.

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

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, but please do not request more writers than you are able to accommodate into your school programming year.

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

Step 2.

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). Carefully fill out and submit this form.

Step 3.

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.

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 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

Genevieve Graham


Works with Grades: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9

Maximum group/class size:

Home Region: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Will travel:

Half an hour outside of Halifax

Availability:

Half day, any term, and I’m always available for virtual visits.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Why Historical Fiction Is Important / Writing Historical Fiction
  • Canadian History Isn’t Boring
  • British Home Children
  • Klondike Gold Rush/early Mounties (NWMP)
  • Acadian Expulsion
  • Halifax Explosion

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

I generally begin by reading a chapter, then I do a little talk with Q&A but I am open to suggestions.

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 this province but of all of Canada, and she embarked on a mission to correct that. Using her love of historical fiction as a palette, Genevieve began in-depth research into the Halifax Explosion, life on Nova Scotia’s home front during both World Wars, the reality of German U-boats skulking around our rocky coves, and the Acadian Expulsion, weaving compelling, heartbreaking, yet hopeful fictional stories into the facts. Those three Nova Scotia-based novels (“Tides of Honour”, “Come From Away”, and “Promises to Keep”) spent numerous weeks on the Globe & Mail bestsellers list, bringing Nova Scotian history to thousands of Canadian readers. Determined to reach beyond Nova Scotia, she turned her attention to the West Coast, where she delved into the Klondike Gold Rush and the early Mounties (NWMP) in “At the Mountain’s Edge”. Having already achieved a following of historical fiction readers across the country, “At the Mountain’s Edge” became an “instant bestseller” on the Globe & Mail bestseller 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.

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

Request author Works with Grades: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9 Maximum...

Briana Corr Scott


Works with Grades: Grades P-6

Maximum group/class size:

Home Region:

Will travel:

Availability:

Areas of Expertise:

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

About the Author:


Briana Corr Scott

Request author Works with Grades: Grades P-6 Maximum group/class size:...

Virginia Konchan


Works with Grades: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9, Grades P-6

Maximum group/class size:

Home Region:

Will travel:

Availability:

Areas of Expertise:

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

About the Author:

Author of two poetry collections, Any God Will Do and The End of Spectacle (Carnegie Mellon, 2018 and 2020); a collection of short stories, Anatomical Gift (Noctuary Press, 2017); and four chapbooks–Virginia Konchan’s work has appeared widely in the US and Canada.


Virginia Konchan

Author of poetry, short fiction, translations, and criticism.

Janice Landry


Works with Grades: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9, Grades P-6

Maximum group/class size:

Home Region:

Will travel:

Availability:

Areas of Expertise:

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

About the Author:


Janice Landry

Request author Works with Grades: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9, Grades...

Greg Loewen


Works with Grades: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9

Maximum group/class size: 20

Home Region: Colchester County

Will travel:

Northern Health Region

Availability:

open

Areas of Expertise:

fiction, non-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 over two-dozen 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

Author of over two-dozen non-fiction books.

Suzanne Rent


Works with Grades: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9, Grades P-6

Maximum group/class size:

Home Region: HRM

Will travel:

Willing to travel outside of HRM.

Availability:

Areas of Expertise:

Newspaper and magazine writing and editing, interviewing, and publishing.

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

About the Author:

Suzanne Rent has worked in the Halifax media since 2003 and has experience in newspapers, magazines, television, and radio. Her work has appeared in The Chronicle Herald, Halifax Magazine, East Coast Living, Halifax Examiner, Globe and Mail, Canadian Business, and many others.

She has experience mentoring students and adult learners in the writing and editing process. When she was the editor of Our Children Magazine, she created a student-correspondent program in which she mentored elementary-age students whose work was published in the magazine. In 2015, she was shortlisted for the Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence for this student-correspondent program.

She taught a Journalism 101 program to adult learners at the Dartmouth Literacy Network and the Bedford-Sackville Literacy Network.

Suzanne is currently working on a 10-episode radio show called The Great Nova Scotia Songbook,  which will be launched in November 2018. This series will chronicle the history of music in Nova Scotia, including the music of First Nations communities to today’s hip-hop artists. To date, she’s interviewed 45 musicians and industry talents for this project.

Suzanne has a special industry in Nova Scotia history, genealogy, music, community news, and the extraordinary stories of everyday people.


Suzanne Rent

Experienced newspaper, magazine, television, and radio writer.

Jen Powley


Works with Grades: Grades 10-12

Maximum group/class size:

Home Region:

Will travel:

Availability:

Areas of Expertise:

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

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

Journalist, creative non-fiction writer, and memoirist.

Cooper Lee Bombardier


Works with Grades: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9

Maximum group/class size:

Home Region:

Will travel:

Availability:

Areas of Expertise:

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

About the Author:

Cooper Lee Bombardier is a writer and visual artist originally from the South Shore of Boston. He has been a construction worker, a cook, a carpenter, a union stagehand, a bouncer, a welder, a shop steward, a dishwasher, a truck driver, and a housepainter, among other things, for a paycheck. His writing appears in many publications and anthologies, such as The Kenyon Review, CutBank, Nailed Magazine, and The Rumpus; and recently in the Lambda Literary Award-winning anthology The Remedy–Essays on Queer Health Issues (ed. Zena Sharman) and Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Speculative Fiction From Transgender Writers, winner of the 2018 American Library Association Stonewall Book Awards Barbara Gittings Literature Award (eds. Cat Fitzpatrick and Casey Plett). The Huffington Post listed Cooper as one of “10 Transgender Artists Who Are Changing The Landscape Of Contemporary Art.” His visual art was recently curated in an exhibition called “Intersectionality” at the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami, and hung recently in shows at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, NM, the National Queer Arts Festival in San Francisco, and at Helltown Workshop in Provincetown, MA. A veteran of the original Sister Spit tours, he’s performed, lectured, and exhibited art across North America. Cooper is the fiction editor at Gertrude Press, an ELL volunteer tutor for immigrant community members at his local public library. He has received fellowships from the Regional Arts and Culture Council, Lambda Literary Foundation, and RADAR Labs. Cooper Lee has taught writing at the University of Portland, Clark College, Portland State University, and at various Portland-area high schools as a writer-in-residence through Literary Art’s program Writers in The Schools. He is a 2018 Visiting Writer at the Pacific Northwest College of Art’s Critical Studies graduate program.


Cooper Lee Bombardier

Writer & visual artist originally from the South Shore of...

Beth Ann Knowles


Works with Grades: Grades P-6

Maximum group/class size: 30 - 40

Home Region: South Shore

Will travel:

Anywhere within an hour of Bridgewater (South Shore, HRM, Valley…)

Availability:

Sept – June

Areas of Expertise:

Fiction (ages 4-8), Picture Books

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Beth Ann’s fun-filled creative presentations include the reading of her debut children’s book, Row Bot, and involve student-centered discussions of environmental and friendship themes. Workshop content can depend on the age of the group but often includes illustrating, creative writing, making predictions, coloring, rhymes and humour, as well as discussions on the road to being a writer and illustrator.

About the Author:

Beth Ann is an ESL teacher and works with pre-K to junior high students. She has presented to elementary classes and community groups and she is passionate about the environment.


Beth Ann Knowles

South Shore writer-illustrator and ESL teacher.

Hui Zhou


Works with Grades: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9, Grades P-6

Maximum group/class size: Any

Home Region: HRM

Will travel:

Anywhere in Nova Scotia

Availability:

September – June

Areas of Expertise:

Nonfiction, entomology, pest management

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Hui loves to invite children into her scientific world which is populated with creatures such as insects, chickens, and other animals. She will explain how these creatures have played an indispensable role in human existence, and suffer from misunderstanding, depopulation, and the effects of human greed and selfishness. Working with the children, Hui will tell them interesting stories about chickens, and pass on the basic and accurate knowledge about insects.

About the Author:

Hui is a graduate from St. Mary’s University, and has a Masters Science Degree and a long career in entomology, integrated pest management (IPM), and vector-borne disease control. She is a bilingual writer (English/Mandarin), interpreter, and translator. Focusing on real stories and non-fiction books for children, Hui has published many life stories in national/local media such as magazines, newspapers, and radio broadcasts in China since the 1990’s and later in Canada. The success, in its writing, book design, photography, self-publishing, marketing, promotion, and distribution of her book Running Wild with Bossy Boy provides Hui with a high level of confidence in writing, and is planning another non-fiction children’s book based on her expertise and personal interest.


Hui Zhou

English-Mandarin nonfiction children's author, interpreter, and translator.

Geraldine Tuck


Works with Grades: Grades 7-9, Grades P-6

Maximum group/class size: 25 - 30

Home Region:

Will travel:

all of Nova Scotia

Availability:

Sept – June

Areas of Expertise:

taught grades 2, 4, 5, 6

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, Moonlight Marauders and Mystery Marauders, Mystery Marauders and Halifax Explosion–all available on the Teachers’ Book Order List! Books also available in all Chapters Book Stores.


Geraldine Tuck

Author of the Marauders series.

Julian Smith


Works with Grades: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9

Maximum group/class size: Any

Home Region: Yarmouth County

Will travel:

Anywhere in Yarmouth, Digby, & Shelburne Counties. Will travel further, but mileage and/or accommodation may be required.

Availability:

Year-round

Areas of Expertise:

Science Fiction & 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

Author of over a dozen science fiction and fantasy stories...

Sarah Mian


Works with Grades: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9, Grades P-6

Maximum group/class size: Any

Home Region: Queensland

Will travel:

Maritimes

Availability:

Areas of Expertise:

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

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 Writing on Fire Teen Writing Experience and taught an adult fiction course at the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia.

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 writing process and share the journey of how I achieved my childhood dream to become a published novelist.

About the Author:

Sarah Mian is from Dartmouth, NS. Her debut novel When the Saints won the Jim Connors Dartmouth Book Award, the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award, and was a finalist for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. She lives in Queensland, Nova Scotia.


Sarah Mian

Winner of the Dartmouth Book Award & Savage First Book...

Philip Moscovitch


Works with Grades: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9, Grades P-6

Maximum group/class size: 30

Home Region: HRM

Will travel:

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.

Availability:

Sept – June. Full and half days.

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

Freelance writer, editor, and audio producer with a passion for...

Jessica Scott Kerrin


Works with Grades: Grades P-6

Maximum group/class size: 100 (if larger, school must provide a mic)

Home Region: HRM

Will travel:

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.

Availability:

April-May, full-day only; does not work with grade primary

Areas of Expertise:

Fiction series, Mystery, Adventure, Picture book

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, a short reading 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, is featured. She 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. She will 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. 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

“Jessica presses all the right buttons, giving this age/reading level...

Sylvia Gunnery


Works with Grades: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9, Grades P-6

Maximum group/class size: for readings, up to 75 with teachers present; 15 to 20 at writing workshops

Home Region: South Shore

Will travel:

Throughout NS. When traveling more than 90 minutes each way, it may be necessary for the school to provide overnight accommodation

Availability:

Oct & Nov, Jan – May. Full day visits only, please (3 sessions per day).

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 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. Teachers and students may be interested in a series of workshops which Sylvia has very successfully done for several years at two NS high schools.

About the Author:

Stories have always been part of my life—my family shared stories around our kitchen table on Hillside Avenue in Halifax’s North End; I made up stories to tell my sister at night in our bedroom; I wrote stories as soon as I could form sentences and paragraphs. But I did not take myself seriously as a writer until I was almost 30 years old. That summer I studied at the Banff Centre in Alberta for five weeks. One of my teachers was W.O. Mitchell, a well known Canadian writer who taught me to trust in my own writer’s voice and to keep on writing. Alice Munro, another teacher at Banff (and who won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature), gave me this advice:  “When you’re not writing, read.” Now I have 26 books in print, including books for teens and younger readers and teachers.   Game Face, the third novel in my Lorimer sports series, was nominated for the 2015 Hackmatack Award.  Road Signs That Say West, my latest YA novel, was published in 2017.  Now, I’m working on another YA novel what I know about next.  Most days you can find me here at Crescent Beach on the South Shore, writing or reading or walking on the beach.


Sylvia Gunnery

Author of over 25 books for teens and children as...

Lesley Choyce


Works with Grades: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9, Grades P-6

Maximum group/class size:

Home Region: HRM

Will travel:

Anywhere in Nova Scotia

Availability:

Half day visits only, preferably afternoons

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

Lesley teaches at Dalhousie University, runs Pottersfield Press and has...

Jan L. Coates


Works with Grades: Grades 7-9, Grades P-6

Maximum group/class size: prefers to work with one class at a time, but open to other situations as required

Home Region: Annapolis Valley

Will travel:

HRM, Chignecto-Central, Annapolis Valley, Tri-County & South Shore (and open to other areas)

Availability:

Oct, Nov, good-weather days January-March, May. Full and half day visits.

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 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. For grades 2, 3, and 4, the picture book presentation takes about an hour as I have a 15 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 4/5-9: I read a bit from Talking to the Moon, A Hare in the Elephant’s TrunkThe Power of Harmony, 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

Jan Coates lives in Wolfville, NS with her husband and...

Don Aker


Works with Grades: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9

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

Home Region: HRM

Will travel:

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.

Availability:

Oct – Dec, Mar – Jun. Full days only, maximum of 3 presentations per day.

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 (three weeks advance notice required). Having taught middle level and high school students, Don is also comfortable conducting writing workshops on a number of topics.

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 Screen Plays
  • From Argument to Action: The Power of Persuasion

About the Author:

Author and educational consultant Don Aker has written 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 language arts 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 novels 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: www.donaker.com


Don Aker

A fomer high school teacher, literacy mentor, and university instructor

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