Apply for In-person & Virtual Visits

APPLICATIONS OPEN SEPTEMBER 12, 2022
(for priority consideration, apply by Sept 24, 2022)

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, Program Manager (Arts Education), 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)

Alec Bruce


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

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

Home region: Halifax Regional Municipality, Guysborough County, Antigonish County

Travel range for in-person visits: Within a 275-kilometre radius of HRM, six hours return travel; all regions

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: fall, winter, and/or spring; half-day or full-day

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: Newspaper and magazine journalism, and long-form (books) creative non-fiction; business, politics, current affairs, history, memoir

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

What Makes News — Fact, Fiction and the Internet. Power-point presentation, followed by group discussion. (1/2-day or full)

Non-fiction Writing 101: The Elements of Storytelling. Power-point presentation followed by group discussion. (1/2 day or full)

The Business of Freelance Writing — How to Scribble for a Living. Power-point presentation followed by group discussion. (1/2 day or full)

About the author:

Alec Bruce is a writer and author whose bylines regularly appear in major Canadian publications, including the Globe & Mail, Maclean’s, Atlantic Business Magazine, Saltscapes, and Unravel Halifax Magazine. He was a staff reporter, writer and editor for The Report on Business, ROB Magazine, Financial Times of Canada, Atlantic Insight Magazine, Commercial News Magazine, and the Moncton Times & Transcript. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction from the University of King’s College/Dalhousie University in Halifax, N.S.


Alec Bruce

Journalism; nonfiction; business; politics; history

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

Picture books; juvenile and YA fiction & nonfiction

Andre Fenton


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

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

Home region: Halifax, NS

Travel range for in-person visits: Can offer in-person inside HRM, but can only do virtual for classes outside of HRM.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Available for all terms

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: Young adult fiction, spoken word poetry.

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

A versatile writing workshop that looks at our own unique stories through a new lens of self reflection and discovery. Students will have a fun warm up exercise, followed by mapping out their own story through the art of poetry and/or fiction, and will leave our workshop with multiple pieces of work. This will be a supportive workshop that will inspire students continue their journey down the path of writing. For more information, contact andre.fenton@live.ca or andrefenton@gmail.com

About the author:

Andre Fenton is an award-winning African Nova Scotian author, spoken-word artist, and arts educator who has represented Halifax at seven national poetry festivals across Canada. He was the 2015 recipient of The Spirit of The Slam Award. Andre is an author of two YA novels, Worthy of Love, which won bronze in The Coast Best of, and was selected for In The Margins annual Fiction Recommendation List to highlight best fiction and non-fiction titles focused on youth populations living in marginalized existences. He is also the author of ANNAKA that was shortlisted for the Ann Connor Brimer Award for Atlantic Canadian Children’s Literature in the 2021 Atlantic Book Awards. Through the lens of fiction and poetry, Andre has facilitated workshops at over 30 schools across Nova Scotia helping young writers and performers develop their craft. Andre is currently working on a screenplay for a feature film, and released his newest novel, The Summer Between Us in Spring of 2022. Andre is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia


Andre Fenton

YA fiction; spoken word poetry

Angela J. Reynolds


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

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

Home region: Annapolis Valley

Travel range for in-person visits: Will travel throughout Atlantic Canada if travel & accommodations are covered.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Available year-round, but winter travel is conditional.

Maximum size of group/class: 25-30 max

Areas of expertise: Creating characters & setting; reading critically; using picture books as springboard for ideas

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Create characters for your stories: Where do you get ideas? What do characters mean to a story? How do you develop characters? This workshop can help young writers with exercises that give depth to characters. Using examples in Threshold, I will lead students through the process of creating their own characters. Best for grade 4 and up.

Where is it? Setting can make or break a good story. Readers need to know details, but also need to have space to imagine. Using examples from Threshold, I will lead students though exercises meant to observe their surroundings and create settings for their stories. Best for grade 4 and up.

Picture books for inspiration Using picture books as mentor texts and inspiration for stories can be a great way to jump start your writing. This workshop can be tailored for specific grade levels or subjects (extra prep time needed). Best for grade 3 and up.

About the author:

Angela J. Reynolds is a librarian, writer, and picture-book expert. Her debut novel, Threshold, is a middle-grade fantasy set in Cape Breton, where mermaids are real and family is central to the story.

Angela has been reading and writing since she was a child, and never intends to stop. She lives in the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia, where the ocean sings to her.

Angela served on the 2015 Caldecott Committee, and has never looked at picture books the same since. She has a wide knowledge of children’s books from her over 25 years as a children’s librarian.
She has reviewed books for School Library Journal and Horn Book, and Quill & Quire.

Angela also spent an entire month reading old volumes of Little Red Riding Hood at the University of Florida as the Bechtel Fellow.


Angela J. Reynolds

Request author Preferred grade levels: Grades 10-12, Grades 7-9, Grades...

Anna Quon


Preferred grade levels: Grades 10-12

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

Home region: Halifax area

Travel range for in-person visits: maximum 1 hour by city bus

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: All seasons, half day preferred but full day will be considered.

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: Poetry, literary fiction, memoir. Madness, disability, sizeism, visual art

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Interactive Presentations

Writing about Mental Health and Illness

  • A conversation about why and how we might do it

  • A reading of a prose and poetry selection of mine on the topic of the experience of Madness

    and a discussion around the themes and literary devices they employ

  • Questions

  • Takes-aways: a class-generated reading list of writings by Mad authors and poets and some writing prompts

Writing Poetry about Art

  • What is ekphrastic poetry and what are some famous examples of this kind of poetry?

  • Reading and discussing two of those poems together.

  • Why did those poets write those poems (it’s not just about the art)

  • What piece of art would you write an ekpkhrastic poem about and why?

  • Take-aways: a prompt and a reading list of ekphrastic poems

About the author:

Anna Quon is a Mad, mixed-raced, middle-aged poet, novelist, writing workshop facilitator and poem-film maker living in Kjipuktuk (Halifax). She has written three novels: Migration Songs, Low and Where the Silver River Ends, all released by Invisible Publishing. In 2021, Anna  was a juror for the brand new Maxine Tynes Nova Scotia Poetry Book Prize. Her poetry has appeared in Room Magazine, Understorey magazine, Nova Scotia Advocate, and anthologies of the League of Canadian Poets, among others. Her first professionally published poetry chapbook Body Parts was released by Gaspereau Press in the Spring of 2021. Where the Silver River Ends makes a trilogy of her first two unrelated novels, and was listed by CBC Books as one of “20 books we can’t wait to read in March 2022”.


Anna Quon

Poetry; fiction; memoir; visual art; Madness; disability; sizeism

Anne C. 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 days fall, winter and spring (September-June)

Maximum size of group/class: 25-30

Areas of expertise: English as an additional language English writing skills Canadian history

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

For grades 2-6, 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.

In addition, for grades 4-6, Anne offers mini-workshops on creating setting, playing with words, writing description, and writing action scenes.

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 C. Kelly

EAL; writing skills; Canadian history

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 anywhere in the South Shore or within an hour drive (Halifax, Valley). 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: Children's Fiction, 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 often challenges students to think about what the most important part of a picture book is; the pictures or the words. Workshop content depends on the age of the group but often includes illustrating, creative writing, making predictions, colouring, rhymes and humour.

With older students Beth Ann discusses her writing process, writer’s block, and the bumpy road to getting published. She reads from her nonfiction travel memoir, The Kimchi Experiment, and she engages students in fun creative exercises to help get the words flowing.

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 first nonfiction manuscript, The Kimchi Experiment: Naked Parent Teacher Meetings and Other Exploits of a Canadian in South Korea, was published in the spring of 2022 by Pottersfield Press.

 


Beth Ann Knowles

Picture books; children's fiction; nonfiction

Brenda MacLennan-Dunphy


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

Preferred visit type: In-person only

Home region: Inverness and Victoria counties / Port Hawkesbury

Travel range for in-person visits: Within 100 km

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Fall, winter, and spring

Maximum size of group/class: 30

Areas of expertise: Dialogue, writing for theatre

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Formal-style informative presentations as well as interactive workshops that allow students to work with their own experiences to develop ideas and scripts

About the author:

Writer, director and  producer, Brenda MacLennan-Dunphy has had two novels published by Pottersfield Press as well- Never Speak of This Again (2018) and The Silence of the Vessel (2020), which was nominated for an Atlantic Book Award. Four of Brenda’s plays have been on the stage at Strathspey Place, a 500 soft seat theatre in Mabou, Cape Breton- John Allan Cameron’s Last Show (November 2021), John Archie and Nellie (2016, 2012) , The Weddin’ Dance (2013), and Displacement (2014). Her play The Reiteach was put at two small stages in 2020. She was a featured writer at the 2021 Cabot Trail Writers Festival and also won the HR Bill Percy Novel Prize in 2017 for Never Speak of This Again. Born and raised in Inverness County, the mother of four is a teacher by trade, but a gypsy by nature. She loves to find characters along the way in life. Brenda lives in Skye Glen, Inverness County, with her wonderful and patient husband, Ed.


Brenda MacLennan-Dunphy

Dialogue; writing for theatre

Briana Corr Scott


Preferred grade levels: Grades P-6

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

Home region: Dartmouth Nova Scotia

Travel range for in-person visits: 30 min

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Fall , Winter

Maximum size of group/class: per class.

Areas of expertise: children's lit/ picture books. Sable Island, Folklore, Fairytales, Art, Art Making, Drawing, Drawing Natural Objects, Life Drawing

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Ages: Grades 1, 2, 3 & 4

“The Book of Selkie”.

Briana will read the story, and share the process of making the book. Briana will tell stories about seeing seals as a child where she grew up, and talk about the Selkie from Scottish Folklore. She will also share about visiting the seal colony on Sable Island. Briana will share pictures of the cliffs in Ireland that inspired the landscape in the pictures, and talk about making the art for the book inside of a castle. This talk will end with a short “How to draw a seal” , and “Design your own Selkie House” activity, and a Q & A.

”Wildflower”

Ages: Grades 1, 2, 3, 4

Briana will read aloud her latest picture book, “Wildflower”, and share the process of making the book. She will explain how she came to retell the Hans Christen Anderson story of “Thumbelina”.

This talk will end with a drawing activity, “how to draw a swallow” and a Q & A.

This talk has visuals if A/V is available.

 

She Dreams of Sable Island 

Briana shares the journey of writing a book about Sable Island. This talk includes a slideshow of the day she visited Sable Island to research her picture book. Briana will share the sketchbook she made on the island, and talk about how sketching informs her art and writing.

Briana will read the book, and end the session will end with a short “how to draw 4 things on Sable Island” activity and a Q & A.

This talk has a slide show if AV is available

About the author:

Briana Corr Scott is an illustrator & author based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. She tells stories about the beauty of the natural world in her hand painted botanical illustrations, surface patterns, paper doll kits and children’s literature.

Briana begins every project and painting by drawing from life. All of her art and stories are inspired by experiences in nature, and she loves to make art about the overlooked details of the Atlantic coast. Weeds, moths, periwinkles and fog are some of the star subjects in her work. Briana paints her botanical art with gouache and oil, then turns them into illustrations, animations, wall paper, murals, surface patterns, and books.

Briana studied painting and museum education at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. She moved to Nova Scotia after her graduation in 2005.

Briana’s picture books blend the art she makes with the stories and poems that she writes while walking in nature. Her first and second picture books, “She Dreams of Sable Island,” and “The Book of Selkie” were published by Nimbus Publishing Ltd. in 2019. Her latest picture book, “Wildflower”, is a retelling of the classic tale of Thumbelina and was released in April 2021.

Briana has shown her work in solo and group shows at Argyle Fine Art and Teichart Gallery in Halifax. Her illustrations have appeared internationally in online features, film and magazines. Her short stop motions have been featured on CBC Nova Scotia. She has read aloud from “She Dreams of Sable Island” and discussed her writing process and art practice at many events, including public talks at Argyle Fine Art, “Word on the Street” at the Halifax Public Library and the Museum of Natural History in Halifax.  Briana’s recent body of work “The Happy Place” includes a series of paintings and a stop motion short about the imaginary island she visits to make her work. Her animated short, “The Happy Island” was an official selection of the Lunenburg Doc Fest in September, 2021.


Briana Corr Scott

Children's literature; picture books; illustration; nature & life drawing

Carol Moreira


Preferred grade levels: Grades 7-9

Preferred visit type: In-person only

Home region: HRM

Travel range for in-person visits: HRM and South Shore, Annapolis Valley

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: fall and spring

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: YA fiction, fantasy, journalism

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Carol looks at the principles of good writing, which can be applied across genres and shares the passions that fuel her writing–passion is an inadequately recognized motivator for writing in her view. She shares excerpts from her work that demonstrate and clarify these points. Topics under discussion include: how to engage the reader, how to handle plot, and how to evoke character and atmosphere. Students are given the opportunity to write and share their work.

 

About the author:

Carol is a prize-winning journalist. She has had three young adult novels published by regional publishers. Her adult fantasy will be published in 2023. She is a contributor to the soon-to-be-published multi-author novel Less Than Innocent and is a contributor to the non-fiction immigration anthology Coming Here, Being Here (Guernica Press).

Carol is a partner in the regional innovation news site www.entrevestor.com and BlueTechToday, a soon-to-be-launched oceans-themed publication.

The first chapter of Carol’s young adult novel, Riptides, can be accessed here: https://www.moosehousepress.com/excerpt-riptides


Carol Moreira

YA fiction; fantasy; journalism

Carolyn Jean Nicholson


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

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

Home region: Nova Scotia

Travel range for in-person visits: Halifax region

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Fall, winter, and spring

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: Researching and writing historical fiction and non-fiction, especially about one's ancestors.

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Writing Historical Fiction and Non-Fiction, including how-to and resources for researching your ancestors and structuring the material into an article or book for family and friends or a wider audience to enjoy.

We all have ancestors. How much do you know about your ancestors and why are they important?

If you were to trace your ancestors – just direct line: parents, grandparents, great-grandparents (no uncles, aunts, or cousins) – back just ten generations, you would have 1, 022 ancestors and if just one of those 1,022 ancestors had died in childhood, you would not be here today.

That’s how important your ancestors are to you!

  • Intro: why and how I started researching my ancestors and what I found out
  • Discussion: what do you know about your ancestors? How did you find this out?
  • Barriers and Aids to Research: not every family wants to find out about their ancestors. Why might that be? Some people are adopted. Why might they want to find out about their biological ancestors? Do you know where you might begin doing your own research?
  • Some resources and places to start.
  • Discussion: What if you find out something shocking? A few stories about what some people found out.
  • How to begin researching and writing your family story: first considerations.
  • A brief reading from your instructor’s book.

About the author:

My interest is in researching and writing historical fiction and non-fiction. My book, William Forsyth: Land of Hopes and Dreams – a story from early Nova Scotia, was published in 2021 and my second book has the working title Traitors, Cannibals, Highlanders, and Vikings. It’s about the people who came to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in the 1700s and early 1800s. It is due to be published in March 2023.


Carolyn Jean Nicholson

Fiction (adult and YA)

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

Middle-grade fiction; nonfiction; diverse characters; journalism

Charlotte Mendel


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

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

Home region: Enfield, Nova Scotia

Travel range for in-person visits: I am happy to travel

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: I am available for half day, full day, or online visits, any term.

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: Depending on the age group, I speak about

  • The Climate Crisis
  • Bullying
  • Divorce
  • how to write fantasy
  • opportunities for individual action
  • how young people can dispel despair and apathy in the face of seemingly insurmountable issues

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

I do two types of presentations. The first fits well with English or Writing courses; the second is appropriate for every subject, including science, global politics, social studies etc.

An interactive writing workshop:
Normally I start with a dramatic reading to whet the students’ creative juices. I introduce a writing concept or skill; for example, how to create a faulty, yet lovable character–an essential skill, because every reader has faults and wants to be loved. Then I ask the students to apply the learned skill in their own writing. There is always time to share and get feedback!

A role-playing game conducted as a United Nations emergency climate summit: Global stakeholders (the students) need to establish a plan that limits warming to 2 degrees or less. Using an interactive simulator called En-ROADS, the students experience what it’s like to negotiate a climate deal to address one of the greatest human challenges of this century.

I am open to ideas that a teacher may have. If my books fit into a unit of study or if the teacher has a way in mind to integrate my stories, please feel free to ask.

About the author:

Charlotte Mendel is a thrice-published, award-winning novelist.

Her first YA novel, Reversing Time (https://www.guernicaeditions.com/title/9781771836050) is a fast-paced adventure story set in the reality of contemporary events, including the pipeline dispute currently gripping Canada. Time travel, mystery, and family drama intertwine to create a page-turning read; but the story’s focus on opportunities for personal action in the face of the climate crisis is one of its greatest strengths. It is also an inspirational coming of age story that charts one boy’s journey from bullied introvert to hero.

Research shows that kids today are overwhelmed by problems and issues and can find it hard to feel hopeful. Many kids feel that action and change are impossible in the context of seemingly insurmountable issues, like climate change. We need to find new and creative ways to engage our young people.

This is why art—and stories—are important; they help imagine new possibilities.

In pursuit of creative ways to engage kids, Charlotte  has volunteered with the EAC to deliver climate-based programming to schools for years in NS. This year, she is also facilitating an online, role-playing game conducted as an Emergency Climate Summit to 75 schools in England, as part of their COP26-related educational plan (https://www.climateinteractive.org/tools/climate-action-simulation/).

This game and “Reversing Time” both imagine new a different future—one that can give hope to our young people.
For more information about Charlotte Mendel, you can visit her website, www.charlottemendel.com


Charlotte Mendel

Fantasy; climate; bullying; divorce

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

Social justice; environment; fiction; journalism

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 writer and visual artist living in Halifax. 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 18 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.

FB: cooperfrickinleee Twitter: @CooperLeeB  IG: cooper_lee_bombardier


Cooper Lee Bombardier

Memoir; essay; fiction; experimental & hybrid forms

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: I'm 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 history, nonfiction, research, fiction, and picture book writing, as well as creativity, perfectionism, and flow. 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 I've featured in my books.

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Happy to work with you to design something that complements your curriculum needs and your students’ interests. We could do (for example) a Q&A style session, facilitated discussion, writing workshop, or read-aloud – often it’s a combination of several of these.

These are some recent sessions:

  • Flying High into Books: Read-aloud, activities and Q&A with pre-primary through Grade 2 focused on aviation picture books
  • Wonder-Ful Writing (Grades 3 – 6): Interactive session about my books, path to publication, Q&A, focused on history, ghost stories, and channeling your sense of wonder
  • Five Top Tips for Researching & Creating Nonfiction (Grades 4-5)
  • The Care and Feeding of Creatives (Grades 3-6): hands-on strategies for  self-knowledge, self-care, handling rejection and anxiety around the creative process

About the author:

Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail is a multi-passionate, multi-genre author (and mother of two) who loves telling hidden, inclusive stories for audiences of all ages. She has a Master’s Degree in History; has been Writer in Residence at Berton House in Dawson City, Yukon; and was Edmonton’s Historian Laureate.

She is the author of the CBC Top 19 of 2019 Picture Book Alis the Aviator: An ABC Aviation Adventure, featuring Dr. Alis Kennedy, a Metis pilot, volunteer, and advocate.

Her latest picture book, Freddie the Flyer is coming out in Fall 2023 from Tundra Books. It’s co-authored with Gwich’in pilot Fred Carmichael and will feature the beautiful illustrations of Inuvialuit artist Audrea Wulf.

She is currently working on women’s fiction, memoir, and paranormal timeslip chapter books for young readers.


Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail

History; nonfiction; fiction; picture books

Darcy Rhyno


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: 2 hours

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Fall, winter, and spring

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: Short Stories, YA Novels, Travel Writing, Magazine/Newspaper/Website Writing

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

I like to work with teachers to help determine what workshop style best suits the needs of their students and teaching style/emphasis. These can be intense writing workshops with a small group or more generic introductory activities in which nearly any student can take part. Alternatively, I’ll do a general Powerpoint of my life and work as a writer with lots of visuals, short examples and stories. I like to talk about my work researching stories, pitching ideas to publications, working up drafts of writing (fiction and non-fiction), crafting stories using basic writing principles and working closely with editors to hone the final drafts for publication. There’s always lots of room for discussion and QA. If appropriate, I like to involve students with a short writing activity that they always find stimulating and interesting, giving them a peek into the writing life.

About the author:

I write fiction for adults and kids, non-fiction for magazines and web zines as well as plays for stage and radio. My most recent book is a YA novel Monsters of Suburbia which is a contemporary adventure story with themes of bullying, isolation, estrangement and myth. It’s set partly in Nova Scotia and partly in BC. I’m also the author of two collections of short stories: Conductor of Waves, stories for adults but suitable for grades 7-12, and Holidays, stories for adults, some of which are suitable for junior and senior high. The stories in the first collection are all set in a fictional Nova Scotia fishing village and the stories in the second all take place on holidays. I’ve also written a fantasy novel set in Halifax for kids grades 4-6, which students of that age really enjoy when I read it in schools.  I’m a professional travel writer and a columnist for Saltscapes magazine and for the web site Life As A Human. My readings and workshops are lively, fun and engaging. I know kids and the classroom very well; after earning graduate degrees in Education and Literature, I taught in the public school system and worked at the Department of Education. For over 15 years, I’ve been teaching graduate courses in the Faculty of Education at Mount St. Vincent on topics like reading, writing, literacy and popular culture.


Darcy Rhyno

Short fiction; YA novels; travel writing

Dave Beynon


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

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

Home region: South Shore

Travel range for in-person visits: Anywhere within an hour and a half of Chester

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Any

Maximum size of group/class: Any - ideally a class, but I can tailor for any group size

Areas of expertise: Science fiction, horror, psychological thriller.

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

I can teach a general workshop on creative writing, focusing on the elements of a short story.

I can also host a condensed version of the elements of creating scenes, developing characters and writing effective dialogue for more advanced creative writing students.

I could also speak to the importance of imaginative fiction (horror, fantasy, and science fiction) in modern culture.

I could also tailor a session to examine a short story that the students have studied in class and use that story to talk the students through the likely evolution of the story from concept to publication.

 

About the author:

Dave Beynon is a professor of science fiction and writes in a variety of lengths and genres.  His work has been published in anthologies, magazines, e-zines and developed as podcasts.  in 2011, Dave was shortlisted for the inaugural Terry Pratchett First Novel Prize.


Dave Beynon

Science fiction; horror; psychological thriller

Deanna Foster


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

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

Home region: NS, St. Margaret's Bay

Travel range for in-person visits: 60 KM of Hammonds Plains

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Fall, Winter, Spring, half day or full day are okay for me

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: fiction, primarily fantasy or paranormal. Can discuss most forms of fiction, and some middle-grade level (higher elementary grades). Can also talk about writing history / non-fiction.

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

My goal is for students to enjoy creative writing in any form. Students would not be limited to genre, and can explore a writing outlet they are most comfortable with, such as novels, short stories, graphic novels, etc. My visit can be both a workshop-style visit or presentation.

The workshop would focus on character development, setting, plot techniques, world building, pacing, etc. I would work with students one-on-one or in small groups to capture as many as possible.

I can deliver a presentation-style visit, with sample readings, discussing the art of writing, discipline, resources and tools, publication options and expectations (e.g. indie vs. traditional, mainstream vs. local).

I could also do a combination of the two, with time permitting.

About the author:

Deanna Foster loves writing fiction, and is always eager to share that love with others. While teaching high school English, her favourite topic was creative writing. It was highly enjoyable to guide students through the process, from conception to final draft. She is passionate, engaging and excited about sharing her love of writing, to inspire others to express themselves through the written word.

Deanna currently works at Dalhousie University, where she received her BA in History and English. Her first published work, A History of Hangings in Nova Scotia (Pottersfield Press), was a local bestseller. She has also written two novels, Broken Ivy (paranormal) and Raven’s Blood (fantasy). Her poetry, articles, short stories and book reviews have been published through Canadian media outlets. She lives with her two boys in St. Margaret’s Bay.


Deanna Foster

Fantasy; fiction; history; nonfiction

Deirdre Dwyer


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

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

Home region: Nova Scotia but if outside my 100 km radius she asks that schools provide accomodation.

Travel range for in-person visits: Throughout mainland Nova Scotia and if over 100 km radius & Cape Breton I ask for accommodation

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Fall, spring and early summer (winter only if there are storms or ice.)

Maximum size of group/class: 20 & less preferred but will take larger.

Areas of expertise: Poetry, prose, publishing. Japanese culture, Icelandic culture, Nova Scotian wildlife.

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

A mix of reading of poetry or memoir, discussion of the 5 senses, imagery, metaphor, emotion, and description; students do writing exercises, so that they put into practice what we discussed, and so they have some writing to revise and work with later.

About the author:

Presentation style/workshop ideas: With the students, she will talk a little about her writing background, but  will focus on reading and discussing her work and most importantly, have the students to do some writing exercises, based on the discussions. For instance, for a travel poem about Thailand, she will discuss how the palm trees are like earrings for elephants, so the students write will write about jewelry for wildlife. Deirde prefers to work with groups of 25 students or less. Or she will have students write about wildlife after she talks about her time with the Hope for Wildlife rehabilitation centre. For older students, she will discuss emotions and how to include their interests in writing.About the Author:Deirdre Dwyer is a poet who engages her classes in discussion about her poems, non-fiction, and the writing process. She creates various writing exercises about simile, metaphor, about animals and people, and asks the students to read their writing aloud. Her experience at the Hope for Wildlife rehabilitation center, as a community volunteer, as ex-Coordinator of a Farmers’ Market, and traveler motivate her and her students to write on a variety of topics. She is working now on finding a publisher for two poetry collections, and is working two non-fiction manuscripts about her travels in Japan, Asia, Europe.


Deirdre Dwyer

Poetry; prose; publishing

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

Fiction; nonfiction; poetry; screenwriting

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

Picture books; illustration

Frances Nobles


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

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

Home region: Halifax Regional Municipality

Travel range for in-person visits: Halifax Regional Municipality

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Fall, winter and/or spring; visits of any length

Maximum size of group/class: Any size

Areas of expertise: Forms: Novels, short stories - Genres: Mystery, true crime - Themes: Courage, death, friendship, revenge, and love

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

I prefer the interactive presentation/workshop style where there can be a free exchange of ideas as well as discussion about and consideration of new ideas. This also allows for timely questions relating to the material at hand.

Description 1: Story and Plot are Two Very Different Things. In this presentation/ workshop, students will learn the difference between the story and the plot; how they differ and why both are necessary.

Description 2: Be a Dialogue Diva. In this presentation/workshop, students will learn how to write realistic, organic dialogue. Dialogue tag do’s and don’ts are also covered. Further students will learn to have multiple characters speaking in a scene without “head hopping” or confusing the reader.

Description 3: Sometimes Backwards is Better. In this presentation/ workshop, students will learn how to create a story outline. Emphasis is placed on starting with the ending and working backwards to create the story which includes the necessary events to reach the logical or not so logical conclusion/climax. A timeline is included with this method to ensure that the development of the story is sound.

Description 4: Story Arcs and Character Arcs, Oh MY! In this presentation/ workshop, students will be introduced to story and character arcs. They will learn the bell arc and the undulating arc. They will be asked to complete a Major Character Profile/Arc based on how they see their main character(s).

About the author:

F. B. Nobles is the author of She-Wolfe in the Shadows, a cozy mystery published by Crystal Publishing, Fort Collins, Colorado. Through this process, Frances was coached by Dr. Patricia Landy who holds a Ph.D. degree and taught languages at the university level. It was a masterclass, not only in writing, but also in publishing.

As a former legal assistant, Frances became a trained MS Word expert. Further, Frances’ duties also included mentoring new hires. Frances enjoyed being a mentor and received some very favourable reviews from those she mentored.

As a small business owner, Frances was a corporate trainer. She is self-taught and understands how both children and adults learn and the difference between the two. Frances understands that the onus is on the teacher to make the information relevant to the student and to present it in a way that the student may grasp.

Frances believes that while she has a lifetime of knowledge to share with the students, she can also learn many things from them.


Frances Nobles

Novels; short stories; mystery; true crime

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

Historical fiction; public speaking

Hui Zhou


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

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

Home region: Hammonds Plains NS

Travel range for in-person visits: one way within one hour driving

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: September – June

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

Areas of expertise: Writing: non-fiction books towards school-age children and nonfiction prose for all ages; Natural science: entomology, vector-borne disease control and food analytical chemistry

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Hui’s PowerPoint presentation usually covers four topics

  • Childhood in Beijing, China
  • An introduction to insects
  • An about book “Running Wild with Bossy Boy” or one of her prose interesting/suitable to school students
  • Highlights of nonfiction writing

Based on student’s age (grade), the presentation can also be adapted to more story-telling or to such topics as below

  • Culture difference
  • Self-publishing experience

During the presentation, Hui is skilled to develop a good rapport with students and engage their participation.

About the author:

Immigrated to Canada in early 2005, Hui obtained her second degree (M. Sc.) from Saint Mary’s University in late 2006. With a solid science background, diverse interests and an open mind, she writes nonfiction prose. Many of them have been published in newspapers, magazines or radio broadcast since 1990’s. The latest one “Grandpa Santa” was published in four Atlantic daily-newspapers, including The Chronicle Herald, on a same day Dec. 3, 2021.

Hui’s creative nonfiction children’s book “Running Wild with Bossy Boy” tells interesting stories about a flock of chickens she and a friend raised in a beautiful country yard near St. Margaret’s Bay, Nova Scotia. With seventy story-matching photographs in the book, children can easily understand chicken’s personalities (chicken-alities), learn chicken biology through the stories and imagine how joyful their life is when running freely.

Hui is writing two creative nonfiction books for children, revises her prose for a Nonfiction Collection and sometimes writes for print media.


Hui Zhou

Nonfiction; natural sciences

Jacqueline Halsey


Preferred grade levels: Grades P-6

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

Home region: Dartmouth

Travel range for in-person visits: One hour from Dartmouth for in-person visits.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Full or half-day visits. All terms.

Maximum size of group/class: 2 classes maximum ie. approx 50 students

Areas of expertise: Historical fiction for elementary children, research tips, early grade programming

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

  • Grades 3 and up, my presentation consists of a reading of one of my local, historical fiction books, followed by a power point slide presentation of the actual historical event. Students can see for themselves the background and context of the story. I end with an author “Question and Answer” segment.
  • For the younger grades, I start with an animated reading of The Terrible Horrible Smelly Pirate. (sequel: The Terrible Horrible Smelly Beach is coming out next summer) There will be an art segment, a mermaid story telling, and maybe even some riddles from the Mermaid’s secret riddle book.

About the author:

Jacqueline is an author, artist and story teller and has written five books. Before becoming a full-time writer she worked for many years in the children’s department of the Halifax Public Library. Her work this year included research for the book she is writing about local, teen hero Joe Cracker, and making a WITS Resource video – “How to be a Research Detective.” She was featured in an episode of Eastlink’s successful author series “Final Draft” that aired nationally earlier in the year.


Jacqueline Halsey

Historical fiction; research

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

Fiction; middle-grade novels; picture books

Jessica Scott Kerrin


Preferred grade levels: Grades P-6

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

Home region: Province-wide

Travel range for in-person visits: Schools located within HRM

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: In-person visits during the fall and spring; virtual visits during the winter. In-person visits must be booked for a full day (which includes 3 presentations plus lunch with a student club).

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 newest 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.

Virtual presentations: All three topics have been adapted for the virtual format, and also includes a tour of Jessica’s writing studio and a walk-through of a day in the life of an author, with a possible guest appearance by her dog Ivy.

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

Fiction; historical fiction; mystery; adventure; picture book; mental health

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

Astronomy; astrophysics; space exploration

Josh MacDonald (he/him)


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

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

Home region: Dartmouth

Travel range for in-person visits: 100 km

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: fall, winter, spring; half day or full day

Maximum size of group/class: app. 50

Areas of expertise: screenplays; plays; short fiction; pop culture; fantastic genres; young adult content

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Josh is deeply encouraging to students — “If I can do it, then absolutely, so can you! You CAN follow a life in the arts!” Josh will engage students in a fun, free-range and interactive discussion about creative writing and the storytelling process, as well as presenting A/V selections from his own work. Special Equipment: Josh needs a HDMI projector to connect to his laptop, or alternately a television, DVD player and remote control.

Josh loves to talk about creative writing with students of any age, and with junior high & high school students in particular. Josh grew up in the N.S. school system (he attended Oxford School & QEHS) and discovered his love for storytelling via supportive teachers and programs similar to WITS! An award-winning short-fiction writer by 16, Josh grew up to be a professional writer & actor for stage, film and television. Josh is a lively and engaging speaker (and a recognizable performer from his acting work). Josh has been a playwriting instructor at Dalhousie University, NSCAD and Neptune Theatre.

About the author:

Josh is the writer of the play #IAmTheCheese, which was adapted from Robert Cormier’s famous book for young adults. #IAmTheCheese was available to all junior highs and high schools in Nova Scotia in 2022, as a part of the Perform Program and the Nova Scotia High School Drama Festival. Josh has also written the feature film THE CORRIDOR (IFC Films) the comedy-drama feature film FAITH, FRAUD & MINIMUM WAGE (eOne Films; based on his play HALO), and written-directed the scary short film GAME (Crypt.TV).

Trailer for Faith, Fraud & Minimum Wage: www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVs5VL2kH8s

Trailer for The Corridor: www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pD_7pZm5Cg

Trailer for Game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9mqsv6sywI


Josh MacDonald (he/him)

Screenplays; plays; short fiction; pop culture; fantasty

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

Science fiction; fantasy

Kate Inglis


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

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

Home region: Lunenburg County

Travel range for in-person visits: Will travel to Halifax area, on the south shore side, no further than an hour from Lunenburg.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: All

Maximum size of group/class: Any size

Areas of expertise: Novels, poetry, and creative exploration

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Kate has led student experiences from kindergarten to grade 12 across the country, from downtown Calgary to the Inuit outport of Makkovik, Labrador. Workshops include:

(Grades K-3): Childrens’ Monster Poetry—Through imaginative physical play, this workshop encourages young children to become their own storytellers.

(Grades 4-6): The Craft Of Story-Making—This workshop inspires kids to write, illustrate, and share their stories, with creative prompts and media to practice plot, suspense, dialogue, setting, description, and voice development.

(Jr/Sr High) The Creativity Myth—In this workshop, we’ll consider the very different practices of writing and editing, and we’ll explore storytelling as a tool to grapple with (or escape from) life. Students will be encouraged to develop their own voices, and turn reflection into poetry, prose, or stories.

About the author:

KATE INGLIS is an author and photographer living on the South Shore of Nova Scotia. Her fourth book, Notes for the Everlost: A Field Guide to Grief (Shambhala, 2018) won the Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Literary Award. She also writes children’s fiction, including award-nominated novels — her fifth and most recent picture book, A Great Big Night, launched in September 2020 and was awarded a Kirkus star. Kate’s work has been featured in poetry anthologies, and she also co-authored a best-selling book on the craft of photography.

www.kateinglis.com


Kate Inglis

Novels; poetry; creative exploration

Kelly S Thompson


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

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

Home region: Annapolis Valley

Travel range for in-person visits: 150km

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: All

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: gender, harassment/bullying, military, grief, writing

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Why Should I Care? -Stopping Harassment and Supporting Marginalized people

Losing Someone You Love- Processing grief by writing and telling stories

Writing Workshops – Fiction, non fiction and poetry

About the author:

Dr. Kelly S. Thompson has an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC and a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Gloucestershire. Kelly won the House of Anansi Press Golden Anniversary Award for fiction, the 2014 and 2017 Barbara Novak Award for Personal Essay, and was longlisted for the 2021 CBC Nonfiction prize and a 2022 National Magazine Award. Her essays, fiction and poetry have appeared in literary magazines, trade publications, and anthologies. Her memoir, Girls Need Not Apply, was an instant Globe and Mail bestseller and was listed as one of the top 100 Books of 2019. Her next book releases January, 2023.


Kelly S Thompson

Nonfiction; fiction; poetry; gender, harassment, bullying, military, grief

Lauren Soloy


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

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

Home region: Annapolis County

Travel range for in-person visits: Will travel within two hours of driving (Halifax, South Shore, or Yarmouth.) Will consider further trips with overnight stays.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: winter, spring

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: writing, illustrating

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Lauren can do presentations that focus either on writing or on illustrating, or a mix of the two.  All presentations are adjusted to match the age of the students.

For a writing-focussed workshop, she will do a reading from one of her books and then talk about what goes into crafting a good story. She will talk about editing and rewriting, where she gets inspiration, and what it’s like to be a professional author. She will include time at the end for questions.

For an illustration-focussed workshop, she will show work from the books and talk about the work that goes into crafting a good illustration. She will talk about the process of revising images, building up from starting small, and where she gets inspiration. She will include time for questions and live drawing requests. *For all virtual visits, Lauren will include a studio tour, and sneak peek into the process of making the next book.

In addition, Lauren can offer a presentation specifically designed around her book, WHEN EMILY WAS SMALL, published in June of 2020. When Emily was Small was inspired by the writings of famed Canadian artist (and honorary member of the Group of Seven), Emily Carr. Lauren can talk a little bit about Emily’s life and work, as well as what it meant to be a Canadian woman painter in the early 1900s. For younger students, there are activity sheets and craft activities. For older students, she can trace the process of being inspired by another artist’s work, and how to incorporate that into your own work in fun and surprising ways.

 

 

About the author:

Lauren Soloy is the author and illustrator of When Emily was Small and Etty Darwin and the Four Pebble Problem. She has lived on both coasts of Canada, always within reach of the sea.  She currently lives in a 140-year-old house in the wilds of Nova Scotia with her librarian husband, two curious children, an ever-expanding collection of books, two hives of bees, and one cat.  She has a Visual Arts BFA with Honours from the University of Victoria, and a certificate of Fine Furniture from Camosun College.  Along the way, she has learned to make a Queen Anne Highboy, a pottery mug, a hand knit pair of socks, a headstand, and a mess.  

Lauren has been employed by the Annapolis Valley Regional Library as a library clerk and programmer for several years, and has run programs for all ages – from toddlers to seniors. She specializes in art and craft programs that are fun to make, and provide impressive results!


Lauren Soloy

Fiction; children's writing; illustration

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

Fiction; children's fiction; YA novels; history; poetry

Marcia Harding


Preferred grade levels: Grades P-6

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

Home region: Liverpool

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

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: March - June

Maximum size of group/class: 30

Areas of expertise: Theatre and plays; grades 3 - 6 (was an elementary school teacher for 33 years)

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

During my presentation, student will: learn how my childhood fantasy inspired me to write a YA novel, see breathtaking photographs of Sable Island and its wild horses (courtesy of Zoe Lucas), handle artifacts from Sable Island (including a rusty horseshoe, ancient shells, a piece of a shipwreck, a bottle of Sable Island sand, and the skull of a Sable Island horse), hear me read from my novel, listen to Rosalee Peppard’s song The Graveyard of the Atlantic which captures the mystery and tragic/triumphant history of this haunted island, have an opportunity to ask question.

About the author:

Marica Harding grew up in Lockeport, N.S. When she was fifteen, her family moved to Liverpool where she met her future husband, Craig Harding. After completing their university education, they returned to Liverpool where they raised two children and lots of lab puppies. During her 33 years as an elementary school teacher, she enjoyed writing, directing, and producing plays with her students.


Marcia Harding

Theatre; plays

Marjorie Simmins


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

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

Home region: Cape Breton

Travel range for in-person visits: In general, 2 - 3 hours, round-trip. Will come to Halifax if given notice. Again, given notice, I am available to travel around the province.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Fall, winter, and spring

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: Memoir writing; short and long-form non-fiction; biography; literary essays; coastal perspectives; Western and English horseback riding; harness racing

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

I am happy to offer presentations on all aspects of non-fiction. In particular, I enjoy focusing on memoir writing, biography, short-form life writing, and journaling. Our time together would include writing prompts and exercises for the students, and readings by myself and by the students.

As well, I like to offer some fun games and exercises, in small and large groups, which serve to underscore the different elements of memoir writing, and the many similarities all people/writers share. Take-aways include learning the differences between fiction and non-fiction, and making achievable goals as an emerging writer.

Workshop I: “Memoirs, Autobiographies and Biographies: What’s the Dif?”
Subjects covered: What is the difference between a memoir, an autobiography and a biography? Who writes memoirs and autobiographies?  If you are a notable, chances are you’ve had a biography written about you. With memoirs, though, you can be famous or a regular person. But why write a memoir? What’s in it for you?

Writing exercise I, Biography: Using photographs from magazines and online sources that I will provide, students will write short life stories or “biographies” about the people in these. Students will be encouraged to let their imaginations run free! We will share some of the stories by reading them aloud and discuss the story lines and themes that emerge from the readings.
Writing exercise II, Memoir: Students will be asked to write a short “memoir,” on the subject of their earliest memory. When done, I’ll ask for volunteers to read some of these stories aloud. We will discuss how some memories seem to stay with us, vivid and clear, and how others, less distinct, can be teased out by the process of writing.

In consultation with a teacher, I am happy to tailor-make other memoir-only writing workshops for grades 8 – 12. The above workshop is a comprehensive primer of three related genres. Handouts will include a list of current and most popular memoirs for young adult readers, including memoir graphic novels.)

About the author:

Marjorie Simmins is a freelance journalist, author and writing instructor. She is also a memoir specialist, with an M.A. in Research, focusing on memoir studies from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. She has written memoir essays about family, animals, coastal perspectives and aspects of rural and urban life. These have appeared in numerous provincial and national magazines, including Canadian Living, Magazines Canada, Halifax Magazine, Progress, Atlantic Business and Saltscapes, and in several anthologies. Raised in Vancouver, Marjorie now lives in Cape Breton. Her memoir, Coastal Lives, about becoming a Maritimer, was published by Pottersfield Press in 2014.


Marjorie Simmins

Memoir; biography; nonfiction; essays; coastal perspectives; horses

Martine Jacquot


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

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

Home region: Annapolis Valley

Travel range for in-person visits: throughout NS

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

Maximum size of group/class: 30

Areas of expertise: children’s lit, Acadian culture, French-language, Francophone countries and their culture, fiction, non-fiction, young adult, journalism, poetry, writing and publishing industry

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

With little ones, I use a PowerPoint presentation to play a game with them: they feel that they create a story when they are actually learning words and rhymes. With P1-2, I use some of my novels for young readers and we turn the story into a play full of magic as each child is assigned a part based on the story. This way, they memorize some phrases and create their own and feel they are part of an artistic event. With P3-6, I use my novels for young readers to show them what “ingredients” I use to create a story. Depending on the novel they chose, they learn about Mi’kmaq, Acadians or French cultures while having fun.

With grades 10-12, I can talk about Acadian or French cultures, or about the culture of different countries where I spent time. I can also explain how those places inspired me and became part of my stories. This is specially appreciated by teachers who teach them social studies. We can also talk about my novels for older readers, depending on their choice. Since I am also a journalist, I can offer a workshop in journalism. With all age groups, I love spending time to answer questions and explain what it is to work as a writer. I prefer groups of 30 students or less and a computer and/or a projector are useful for showing PowerPoint or pictures.

About the author:

Martine Jacquot has studied and lived in France, England, Switzerland and Canada. Martine writes poetry, novels, short stories, essays, articles, and travel writing in both English and French. Pour plus d’informations cliquez ici.


Martine Jacquot

Children’s literature; Acadian culture; Francophone cultures

Michelle Robinson


Preferred grade levels: Grades P-6

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

Home region: Tatamagouche, Colchester county.

Travel range for in-person visits: Throughout Nova Scotia.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: All seasons, weather permitting!

Maximum size of group/class: Any size.

Areas of expertise: Picture books, early chapter books, writing in rhyme, humour, reading for empathy.

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

My sessions are upbeat and interactive. I ask and answer plenty of questions, set fun literacy challenges and aim to leave children and teachers excited, happy and fired-up about literacy.

Together we’ll discover how big imaginations make us stronger people. I’ll tell you about my job as a writer, including how I come up with ideas, how long it takes to write my books and how many mistakes I make along the way.

In person, I use props and costumes to bring my stories to life. For virtual sessions, I screen share and use fun filters to make the sessions as engaging as possible.

“Brilliantly entertaining, engaging and funny! An absolute treat and an inspiration.”
– Lyde Green Primary

About the author:

A hugely popular author in her native UK, Michelle Robinson has written over 40 children’s books, including bestselling ‘The World Made a Rainbow’, ‘She Rex’, ‘There’s a Lion in my Cornflakes’, ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Bearspotting’, ‘Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry’, the ‘Goodnight Spaceman’ series and many, many more.


Michelle Robinson

Picture books; early chapter books; rhyme; humour

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

Picture books; photography

Natalie Corbett


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: Up to three hours outside of Halifax (with notice)

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Sept - June; preferably Monday and Friday, but can do Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday with notice

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: Fiction, writing from personal experience, Young adult (YA)

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

I love talking to readers and writers of all ages; besides writing, talking about writing is my favourite part of the job. My novels are fiction, based on personal experiences, a process that is important to teach young writers. I am committed to developing a workshop based on the needs and interests of the students attending.

I have given workshops in the public libraries, and in high schools in NS, BC, Sask, and Ont. Workshops provide direct instruction on topics including, Maintaining Point of View, Effective Grammar (yikes on the adverbs!), Outlining and Details, Dialogue, World and Character development. I include writing activites to emphasize and practice important points in those areas that can be accomplished through individual or group work. I strive to provide a supportive, comfortable atmosphere for an interactive workshop experience. I am also happy to talk about my personal publication journey and read from my novel if that is desired by the students and/or teacher.

About the author:

I live in Hatchet Lake with my husband and four school age kids. My day job is a private practicing SLP. I have published four novels, Game Plan, a YA story about teen pgcy and adoption, Aptitude, a YA dystopian story about creativity and individuality, It Should Have Been a #GoodDay, a story about perspective, bullying and high school and Take These Broken Wings, a story about families and growing up. I have two more novels in process, one scheduled to be indie-pubbed in February and the second in the development stage. I keep an active online presence on Facebook, Twitter, Wattpad, and my blog: www.NatalieCorbettSampson.com


Natalie Corbett

Fiction; YA; writing from personal experience

Pauline Dakin


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

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

Home region: NS

Travel range for in-person visits: 5 hrs

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Available fall, winter and spring

Maximum size of group/class: Any size

Areas of expertise: Memoir, biography, writing for audio/radio/podcasting; scenes and dialogue

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Using scenes and dialogue to write compelling non-fiction.

Challenges in writing memoir. This workshop explores the difficulties of memory, recreating dialogue and scenes, and writing about family members or friends.

Audio writing for radio and podcasting.

About the author:

Pauline Dakin is a well-known and award-winning writer and broadcaster who teaches in the School of Journalism at The University of King’s College in Halifax. Her first book Run, Hide, Repeat: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood (Viking/Penguin Random House Canada: 2017) won the 2018 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction. It was also named one of the best 100 books of 2017 by The Globe and Mail. For many years Pauline was the national health reporter for CBC National Radio News, and the host of CBC’s regional documentary show, Atlantic Voice.


Pauline Dakin

Memoir; biography; audio broadcasting; scenes & dialogue

Rebecca Rose


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

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

Home region: Halifax Regional Municipality

Travel range for in-person visits: I would be willing to travel anywhere within Nova Scotia.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Available all. I work 9-5 but my work/boss is flexible.

Maximum size of group/class: Any size.

Areas of expertise: Non-fiction writing, journalism. Local 2SLGBQ+ and feminist history.

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

I can offer two types of workshops (or a blend of the two):

  • An overview of 2SLGBQ+ history in Halifax/K’jipuktuk and Nova Scotia in the 1970s and 1980s including: the formation of Nova Scotia’s first LGB advocacy organization, early LGB hangouts including the Turret and Rumours bars, early drag performers/performances, women’s/feminist organizing including International Women’s Day and Take Back the Night, African Nova Scotian/Black 2SLGB experiences/spaces, the first LGB+ pickets and marches in Halifax/K’jipuktuk and more. This workshop can be tailored to be for various ages. This workshop can include archival photographs, materials, and music from the 1970s and 80s mentioned in Before the Parade.
  • An interactive workshop about researching and documenting local 2SLGBTQIA+ and/or other underrepresented histories. I will use my experience researching and writing Before the Parade to guide students in researching and writing about underrepresented his/herstories that they are passionate about.

Both workshops will include an overview of the importance of documenting marginalized and 2SLGBTQIA+ histories.

About the author:

Rebecca Rose is the author of Before the Parade: A History of Halifax’s Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Communities (1972-1984), published by Nimbus Publishing. Before the Parade is a narrative non-fiction account of 2SLGB community and activism of 1970s and 80s Halifax/K’jipuktuk and features over 30 interviews with local 2SLGB elders.

Rebecca is a sought after speaker and has hosted workshops or given keynote speeches for groups including: The MacPhee Centre For Creative Learning, the Nova Scotia Secondary School Students’ Association (NSSSA), the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity, the Toronto Metropolitan University School of Journalism, the Canadian Association of Labour Media (CALM), the Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project, the Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group (NSPIRG), and the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

Born in Cape Breton and raised in Dartmouth, Rebecca now lives in the hills of Dartmouth with her partner and cat.


Rebecca Rose

Nonfiction; journalism; 2SLGBTQ+ & feminist history

Richard Charlton


Preferred grade levels: Grades P-6

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

Home region: Dartmouth NS

Travel range for in-person visits: HRM and anywhere no more than a two hour drive

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Sept – June. Full and half day visits. For visits outside HRM, a full day is preferred.

Maximum size of group/class: approx. 20 students per session

Areas of expertise: Fiction writing, non-fiction writing, children’s literature, poetry, playwriting & screenwriting

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Richard prefers to present with the children in a semi-circle around him,in a library if available, or a room set aside to which the classes come. He does introductions, then begins interacting with them. His favourite topics are observing and the importance of specific topics, why writing was invented and communicating through cards and letters and email, writing stories. He asks the children what they write about, encourages them to use imagination to write fiction, and shows them how books are made. He sometimes uses audio recordings (music) to aid him in his presentation and often reads the introductory chapters to one of his books. A CD player is useful. It is best if students come with name tags. Richard’s presentations are lively and full of props and entertainment!

Richard created the Kippernickker Adventure Stories for his first five grandchildren who lived in California at the time, and had asked their Granddad to write down the stories he used to tell under the trees when visiting. Ten Kippernickker Stories were written, six of which are now published and recorded on audio CD.

About the author:

Richard is a retired Electrical Engineer and a Granddad. He lives in Dartmouth with wife June (a retired primary school teacher), and they have three married children who have between them produced eleven grandchildren, all of whom love to read.

He created the Kippernickker Adventure Stories for his first five grandchildren who lived in California at the time, and had asked their Granddad to write down the stories he used to tell under the trees when visiting. Ten Kippernickker Stories were written, six of which are now published and recorded on audio CD.

Richard (Dick) has other books and is also a playwright with several plays published and performed; on stage, studio and TV. In 2007 a full length movie was released from one of his plays. The sixth Kippernickker book Great Uncle Oliver’s Code was published in 2012. Check the website for full details: www.kippernickker.com or dickcharlton.com


Richard Charlton

Fiction; nonfiction; children’s literature; poetry; playwriting; screenwriting

Ronan O’Driscoll


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: No more than an hour driving from Halifax

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: fall, winter, spring

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: historical fiction, autism, immigration, STEM topics

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

I like to give activities to make the topic interactive. Group discussions are also good.  From my time as an instructor at NSCC, I can facilitate both. I can discuss the main themes of my novels: immigration, autism and its history. Also of interest might be the topic of working as a software engineer. I am lucky to work at Wattpad which is an online novel writing platform popular with the Gen. Z demographic. As a company, Wattpad encourages diversity in the workplace and I can dispel any myths around working as a programmer.

About the author:

Software engineer and author. I have written two novels of historical fiction, one about immigration  https://chiefoneill.com) and another about autism (https://poor.farm).

I taught programming at NSCC and now work as a Software Engineer at Wattpad (an online web-novel site popular with a younger demographic). I can talk about how you can be an engineer as well as creative.


Ronan O’Driscoll

Historical fiction; autism; immigration; STEM topics

Sal Sawler


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: Will travel an hour outside of HRM in any direction. May consider travelling farther if visits are booked at multiple schools in the region.

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

Maximum size of group/class: 30

Areas of expertise: Nonfiction, Children's, History, Biography, Weather and Climate

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:

Sal 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).

 


Sal Sawler

Nonfiction

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 co-wrote the screenplay adaptation for Lady Hammond Entertainment, and is now working on her second novel, The World in Awful Sleep.


Sarah Mian

Fiction

Shauntay Grant


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

Preferred visit type: Virtual only

Home region: Halifax

Travel range for in-person visits:

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Spring 2023 (May - June)

Maximum size of group/class: 2 classes (approx. 50 students max)

Areas of expertise: Children's Picture Books; Children's Poetry; African Nova Scotian history and culture

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Shauntay Grant introduces young readers to her poetic picture books with animated author readings and explorations into the making of the book. African Nova Scotian history and culture comes alive through history, personal narrative, and imaginative tales.

About the author:

Shauntay Grant is a children’s author, poet, playwright, and multimedia artist. She is the author of Africville, shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Awards and winner of the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. A multidisciplinary artist with professional degrees in creative writing, music, and journalism, she “creates artworks that are engaging and accessible, but also challenging, rigorous, and informed by deep research” (The Royal Society of Canada). A former poet laureate for the City of Halifax, she teaches creative writing at Dalhousie University. Her newest book for children My Fade Is Fresh is available from Penguin Books.


Shauntay Grant

Picture books; poetry; African Nova Scotian history and culture

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

Fiction; nonfiction; poetry; science fiction; fantasy

Steve Vernon


Preferred grade levels: Grades 7-9

Preferred visit type: In-person only

Home region: Halifax

Travel range for in-person visits: I am not able to drive, so it either has to been a Halifax bus route, or you will need to arrange a drive for me.

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

Maximum size of group/class: 35

Areas of expertise: Fiction, storytelling, history and folklore

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

I’ve been collecting, writing, and telling stories for over four decades. I’ve stood at campfires and lecterns from one end of Canada to the other, for audiences ranging from 5 to 5000 eager listeners.

My presentations are low-tech. I need a whiteboard, blackboard, or a flip chart just for a couple of sketches, and enough room at the front of the class to stomp around without trampling small children.

My workshop is basically a cross between stand-up comedy and storytelling. I cover the basics of to write or tell a story, starting with story structure, using vivid description and choosing a voice. I guarantee that a good percentage of your students will leave that room wanting to write.

 

About the author:

Born in the woods of the North Canadian Shield and living in Nova Scotia for the last 35 years, Steve Vernon learned the story telling tradition from his grandfather. He has read on CBC radio, Breakfast Television, Global Noon and at schools and libraries across Nova Scotia. Steve’s high voltage storytelling production, Word of Mouth, was written under the auspices of the now dissolved Nova Scotia Arts Council and presented two years running at the Halifax Fringe Festival.

Steve is Nova Scotia’s most entertaining writer and collector of ghost stories – and I guarantee that even the most relaxed student is going to sit up and listen when they find out that a writer of ghost stories and horror fiction is in the classroom. Steve’s energetic and down-to-earth approach towards teaching storytelling and writing reaches school kids from grades 2 to 12. They listen and enjoy and ultimately learn from his entertaining presentations.

Steve has written several ghost story collections for regional publisher Nimbus – including the bestselling Halifax Haunts: Exploring the City’s Spookiest Spaces – as well as a very popular novel for young readers Sinking Deeper and a children’s picture book Maritime Monsters. Steve has a brand new ghost story collection coming out in the fall of 2011 entitled The Lunenburg Werewolf And Other Stories of the Supernatural.


Steve Vernon

Fiction; storytelling; history; folklore

Sylvia Gunnery


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: For virtual WITS visits: throughout NS For 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: Virtual: throughout the year In-person: throughout the year (weather permitting)

Maximum size of group/class: presentations: up to 75 students; writing workshops: up to 25 students

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 presentations/readings as well as writing workshops.  The Story Behind the Cover is a PowerPoint presentation adapted for grades P through 12.  Students will hear excerpts from her books, find out what inspired her story ideas, and learn some behind-the-scenes details about how a book develops from an idea to a publication.  In writing workshops, students will be active writers, creating their own fictional characters and making them walk and talk on the page.  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.  In 2023, she will be a speaker at Reading For the Love of It in Toronto.  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.  https://sylviagunnery.ca


Sylvia Gunnery

Children's fiction; YA fiction; picture books

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Recommended Experience Levels

The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (WFNS) recommends that each workshop’s participants share a level or range of writing / publication experience. This is to ensure each participant gets value from the workshop⁠ and is presented with information, strategies, and skills that suit their current writing priorities.

To this end, the “Recommended experience level” section of each workshop description refers to the following definitions developed by WFNS:

  • New writers: those who have been writing creatively for less than two years and/or have not yet been published in any form.
  • Emerging writers: those who have been writing creatively for less than five years and/or have some short publications (poems, stories, or essays) in literary magazines, journals, or anthologies.
  • Established writers/authors: those with numerous publications in magazines, journals, or anthologies and/or a full-length book publication.
  • Professional authors: those with two or more full-length book publications.

For “intensive” and “masterclass” workshops, which provide more opportunities for peer-to-peer (that is, participant-to-participant) feedback, the recommended experience level should be followed.

For all other workshops, the recommended experience level is just that—a recommendation—and we encourage potential participants to follow their own judgment when registering.

If you’re uncertain of your experience level with regard to any particular workshop, please feel free to contact us at communications@writers.ns.ca