Apply for In-person & Virtual Visits

APPLICATIONS ACCEPTED AT ANY TIME

Step 1: select author(s)

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

Before requesting an author 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 authors approved for visits at your school, contact information for each author, the details of the agreement, and an estimate of the co-pay payable by your school. Contact these authors 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 Author & Illustrator Profiles

(Alphabetized by first name)

Alice Walsh


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

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

Home region: HRM

Travel range for in-person visits: throughout Nova Scotia

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

Maximum size of group/class: 45-50

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

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

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

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

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

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

About the author:

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

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


Alice Walsh

Picture books; juvenile and YA fiction & nonfiction

Alison Smith


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

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

Home region: Southwestern Nova Scotia

Travel range for in-person visits: Within the province

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: If travelling more than 50 km, I prefer full-day visits.

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: Poetry, Poetry and Collage, Writing from Dreams

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Understanding metaphor in poetry through collage: Collage is the practice of putting two or more images together that make a new and surprising combination. That’s how metaphor works too. In this workshop, we will look at how collage and poetry intersect through an exploration of poets who collage and write a poem from one of their works.

Understanding the resource of the unconscious though dream poetry: In this workshop, we’ll consider how poets use their dreams to convey meaning and “expose the lies we live” (Leonora Carrington). Students will come away from the workshop understanding that dreams can be a powerful resource for creative writers.

About the author:

Alison Smith is the author of three books of poetry and one chapbook from Gaspereau Press. Her most recent collection, This Kind of Thinking Does No Good, was awarded the 2019 J.M. Abraham Award for Atlantic Poetry and was shortlisted for the 2020 Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award. She has written for radio, the stage, and has taught poetry workshops in prison, schools and other community settings. Alison lives in rural Nova Scotia.


Alison Smith

Poetry; collage

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, screenwriter and arts educator who has represented Halifax at seven national poetry festivals across Canada. He is a recipient of the Emerging Artist Recognition Award at the 2022 Creative NS Awards, and the author of three young adult fiction novels, Worthy of Love, which won bronze in The Coast’s 2018 Best Of Awards, He is also the author of ANNAKA, that was the 2022 recipient of The Community & Place Award from Digitally Lit, and is the author of The Summer Between Us, which won Gold in The Coast’s 2022 Best Of Awards. Andre has facilitated writing and performances workshops at over 50 schools across Nova Scotia. He is currently screenwriting the film adaptation of his novel, ANNAKA that is being produced by Fine Devils Films. Andre is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.


Andre Fenton

YA fiction; spoken word poetry

Angela J Reynolds


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

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

Home region: Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia

Travel range for in-person visits: Travel outside Annapolis Valley may require overnight accommodations. Will travel to Cape Breton.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Available year round, weather depending

Maximum size of group/class: 25 - 30

Areas of expertise: Middle grade fiction, picture books

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Descriptive Writing — Using visuals and examples from her own book, Angela will show the class how she used landscapes and objects as a basis for writing. She will then led the class through exercises to start working on their own descriptive writing. For older students, the class will then use the descriptions as an exercise to start writing a story idea.

Looking Closely at Picture Books — Learn to look at the art in picture books, and to use picture books as the basis for writing prompts. This workshop can be tailored to specific themes or grade levels.

About the author:

Angela J. Reynolds is a retired librarian living in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. She has been a children’s book reviewer, student of folktales, and served on the 2015 Caldecott Committee. Her debut middle grade novel, Threshold, was published in 2022. A reader’s and educators guide to Threshold can be found on Angela’s website at www.angelajwrites.com.


Angela J Reynolds

Fiction; picture books

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: Halifax Regional Municipality

Travel range for in-person visits: 1.5 hours from Metro Halifax (Truro, Bridgewater, Lunenburg, Wolfville, Kentville, etc.)Also available virtually across the province. May be available for readings in Cape Breton (Sydney, Baddeck, Glace Bay area) in September/October and May/June)

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: Historical Fiction (including how to do research) 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 became hooked on reading before she could even walk, and her love of writing wasn’t far behind. Her first “published” work was a class newspaper she created with a friend in Grade Four. She honed her writing skills by taking courses offered by the Institute for Children’s Literature in Connecticut, as well as by participating in workshops and classes offered through WFNS.

Anne has experience teaching basic writing skills to EAL learners and has offered a Creative Writing for Newcomers class through the Writers’ Federation. Her sessions included writing description, creating settings, and writing action scenes.

Anne loves Canadian history and has always enjoyed reading historical fiction. She first learned of the Acadians in Grade 4 and became curious about what happened to them after the deportation.  That curiosity led her first to Grand Pre and then to the Massachusetts archives and became the basis for her book, Jacques’ Escape.

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

 


Anne C. Kelly

EAL; writing skills; Canadian history

Ben Gallagher


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: I live in Lunenburg County

Travel range for in-person visits: I am willing to travel to Halifax as needed

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: I am available during all terms, for no more than a half-day visit

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: I primarily write poetry, but can also address creative non-fiction. Anything can be a topic for poetry!

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

When conducting workshops with younger students (P-6) my focus is primarily sonic. We can work collectively on a group poem, as well as taking time for our own writing. I like to read short example poems for us to think with and to draw inspiration from. I also aim to leave lots of time for students to share their writing (if they want to — no one is ever forced to read out loud).

Workshops for older students (7-12) will also emphasize sonic prompts, rather than content, but the range of examples I provide will be more extensive. I’ll try to provide an overview of a range of different poetry communities, while still giving students plenty of opportunity to write on their own. Ideally the teacher and I will find ways to link poetry and creative writing to other classroom curricula, but I can also do standalone poetry workshops. I find that poetry workshops tend to be expansive, and can hold a range of student interests.

About the author:

Ben Gallagher lives in West Dublin, Mi’kma’ki (Nova Scotia) with his wife and two children. He is a Zen practitioner with the Oak Tree in the Garden sangha. He has worked as a sessional instructor at Dalhousie University in the English & Creative Writing Department, and as a writing instructor at the Toronto Writing Project. His first book of poetry, A Grief Cave: Thirty Poems and an Essay, was published by Frontenac House in 2022.


Ben Gallagher

Poetry; nonfiction

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: 3 hrs generally. Willing to travel to Cape Breton.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: All

Maximum size of group/class: no more than 40 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 P, 1, 2, 3 & 4

Briana has a BFA in Art Education and loves visiting the classrooms of elementary students with her books! She knows how to interact with kids and is excellent at keeping them engaged for the entire presentation. 

Briana’s presentation is 40-55min long and her books are ideal for grades p-4. She is willing to travel to Cape Breton, and is also available for online presentations.

Presentation: 

  1. Teachers will receive and introductory video via email that they can use to prep students for Briana’s visit. This 7 min short video shows her studio, art work, and talks about what she will present during her visit.
  2. On the day of her visit, Briana will share her unique process of writing stories based on the sketches she makes in nature.
  3. Briana will read aloud from one of her  picture books.
  4. Briana will present the first picture book she ever made (in grade 1) and talk about the importance of drafts, editing and revision. It’s A-okay to make mistakes-that is how artists and writers learn.
  5. Briana will lead students through a  worksheet she created specifically for WITS.  This activity helps them through the draft/revision process of designing a character for a picture book. Briana will teach kids a fun brainstorm activity called “Peanut Animals”

Topics Briana Loves to talk about: SABLE ISLAND! also: nature, flowers, painting in nature, Selkies, magical creatures, folktales and fairytales, and being kind to yourself while making art.

About the author:

Briana is a visual storyteller. This means she sees her stories in images first. All of her books, animations and other creations begin by painting or drawing in nature. She takes these sketches home, hangs them on her studio wall, and weaves a story between her paintings by writing. Because of this, the places she visits and paints become important parts of her story. Briana’s work is connected to her childhood memories of her island home a place she calls “Her Happy Place.”

Written and Illustrated:

She Dreams of Sable Island, 2019, Nimbus Publishing.

The Book of Selkie, 2020, Nimbus Publishing.

Wildflower, 2021, Nimbus Publishing.

Mermaid Lullaby, 2022, Nimbus Publishing.

The Twelve Days of Christmas, 2022, Nimbus Publishing.

While you Were Sleeping, (coming Fall 2023), Nimbus Publishing.

Seaside Lullaby,(coming Fall 2024), Nimbus Publishing.

I Lost a Day, ( coming Spring 2025), Nimbus Publishing.

Illustrated:

The Mermaid Handbook, 2020, Nimbus Publishing.

The Pink Balloon, 2021

If You Could Do Anything , 2022, Nimbus Publishing.

Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea, (Cover) 2024

The Nymph and the Lamp (cover) 2024


Briana Corr Scott

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

Bruce W. Bishop

Bruce W. Bishop

Travel Writing; long-form fiction; essays

Camilla Thompson


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

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

Home region: Nova Scotia

Travel range for in-person visits: I hope to share Skating Late and my Sunnyside mindset messages across Canada.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: I am available for all terms and any length of visit.

Maximum size of group/class: Any size.

Areas of expertise: Social Skills, Social Emotional Learning, Growth Mindset, Mental Health Education, Creative Curriculum Development, Whole Self Wellness, Writing for Children, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, Journalling, Goal Setting

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Camilla prides herself on responsive program development and is committed to using an emergent and inclusive play based approach to learning, with a goal of making reading fun and whole self wellness a priority for youth and families.

As a dynamic storyteller and passionate educator, Camilla develops and delivers creative curriculum resources to enrich her stories and improve mental health education and literacy in classrooms and communities across Canada.

Presentations can be adapted to serve students of all ages and abilities.

About the author:

Camilla Thompson is an author, educator and the Director of Sunnyside Self Wellness. On a mission to improve mental health education and literacy across Canada, Camilla infuses her silly storytelling performances with important mindset messages of hope, determination and community involvement and encourages writing and wellness practices proven to increase peace, positivity, health and happiness.


Camilla Thompson

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

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. This is some feedback from students who experienced this unique workshop in 2022: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umhGhrQshV4

I am open to ideas that a teacher may have. If my books fit into a unit of study or if the teacher has an idea about how to integrate my stories or the climate action game, please feel free to ask.

About the author:

Charlotte Mendel is a four times-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.
It is important for teachers to know that authors can hold the interest of their students. You can check out Charlotte’s reading here: https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=charlotte+mendel+youtube#fpstate=ive&vld=cid:077cf738,vid:7_4EO6kKsFQ

In pursuit of creative ways to engage kids in an action-based, positive way about the climate crisis, 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. If you are interested in experiencing either a writing workshop or the climate action game, you can visit Charlotte Mendel’s website for more information, www.charlottemendel.com


Charlotte Mendel

Fantasy; climate; bullying; divorce

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 likes to know what fiction the students have been studying so that he can tailor the workshop to suit student experiences.


Dave Beynon

Science fiction; horror; psychological thriller

David Huebert


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: Will travel 2 hours drive from Halifax if compensated.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Half day, full day; particularly free in May/June. But quite flexible.

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: Fiction, nonfiction, and poetry

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Here are some workshops David has delivered in the past:

  • Talking it Slant: A Workshop on Dialogue
  • Writing and Animals / Writing as Animals
  • Playing with Sound in Poetry
  • Introduction to Poetry Writing
  • A Poem is not a Basket
  • Setting in Fiction

About the author:

A Halifax-born writer and educator, David Huebert has taught creative writing and literature at Dalhousie University, Western University, and The University of King’s College. He has visited many high school and junior high classrooms before, and would love to meet your students. David is a passionate teacher and charismatic public speaker who uses a student-led presentation style, and appeals to various learning styles through tactile exercises and experiments with music. In his first-year English class taught at Dalhousie in 2020, David taught Hamilton and incorporated a karaoke exercise into his teaching. David’s own writing–such as the award-winning short story Enigma (https://www.cbc.ca/books/literaryprizes/enigma-by-david-huebert-1.4110765)–is driven by environmental concerns and a passion for animals. His fiction and poetry have received many national and regional awards and honours. His wife and two young daughters keep him honest and joyful. David’s wife is a high school teacher (at Le Sommet), who keeps her ear to the ground for him about what’s “woke” these days (a peach is not a peach!).


David Huebert

Fiction; nonfiction; poetry

David Wimsett


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

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

Home region: HFX or the Annappolis Valley

Travel range for in-person visits: 150 km

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: All seasons

Maximum size of group/class: 15 to 25, depending on the presentation

Areas of expertise: Fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, women's fiction, presenting books to audiences, writing craft, creating inclusive characters

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

David A. Wimsett has developed and delivered education seminars for over four decades. He is also a stage actor capable of engaging audiences. He is able to make presentations on a wide range of writing topics that include craft, themes, publishing and the writer’s life. He offers guided readings of his work on writing novels of characters, including diverse peoples and examining social issues through fiction. He discusses using emotion and specifics to create engaging characters, reading work in public and writing science fiction, fantasy and historical fiction

About the author:

David A. Wimsett’s novels and short stories follow diverse characters as they grow and have the opportunity to examine themselves and their place in the world on a deep level. His works include newspaper and magazine articles as a journalist and photojournalist, newsletters, blogs, corporate writing, short stories and novels that range from women’s fiction to historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction.

He attended the Squaw Valley Community of Writers Workshop in California for four consecutive years.

Mr. Wimsett has won international awards for his short stories, poetry and books.

He’s a member of the Writers’ Union of Canada, the Canadian Freelance Guild and the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia where he sits on the Writer’s Council.

In addition to being an author, Mr. Wimsett is also a stage actor, musician, composer, film maker and professional photographer who raised his son as a single parent.

His home is in a rural Nova Scotia town near the sea.


David Wimsett

Fantasy; science fiction; historical fiction; gender; diverse characters

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 only

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

Emma FitzGerald


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

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

Home region: Lunenburg County

Travel range for in-person visits: 2 hours' drive

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: flexible

Maximum size of group/class: I prefer a single class but can meet up to 3 classes at a time.

Areas of expertise: storytelling through images, drawing

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

I can present a variety of workshops that include reading the book aloud with images from the book projected, and some drawing exercises. Materials needed are simple; pen and paper.

Mental health; EveryBody is Different on EveryBody Street.

Town planning/sustainability; City Streets are For People.

Natural world/poem/counting; Two Crows

Place based sketching/getting to know your neighbourhood: Hand Drawn Halifax/ Sketch by Sketch Along Nova Scotia’s South Shore.

About the author:

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


Emma FitzGerald

Illustration

Francene Gillis

Francene Gillis

Welcome to my profile. I am who I am, or...

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

Hugh R. MacDonald


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

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

Home region: Cape Breton

Travel range for in-person visits: 200 kms

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Fall, and spring, and some winter, depending on the weather..

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: Historical fiction, mainstream fiction, short story, novel, poetry, songwriting

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Hugh enjoys going into schools to meet with young people and sharing his passion for writing. His presentation includes readings from his work, using his songs and his videos to share thoughts on his writing process, and encouraging young people to try their own hand at writing.

Most often Hugh bring copies of his published novels: Trapper Boy and its sequel, Us and Them, and discusses the genesis of the books, especially pointing out that Trapper Boy began as a song, which he later turned into a novel. The song was also made into a video, and then recorded by the Men of the Deeps on their 50th Anniversary CD.

As mentioned, part of the presentation includes: readings from his novels, and playing the video of  the song “Trapper Boy” which will, hopefully, strike a chord with the young people and give them a visual of what many of their fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers had to endure in their younger years.  Hugh discusses the importance of reading, explaining that it will help bring about ideas for future stories they may wish to write.

About the author:

Hugh R. MacDonald is a writer of fiction, and a singer/songwriter. Hugh has been a member of the Writers Union of Canada and the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia (WFNS) for many years. His YA novel, Trapper Boy was published by Cape Breton University Press, and the sequel entitled Us and Them was released in October 2016. Hugh is a graduate of Cape Breton University, and worked in the human services field for 25 plus years, and is now happily retired.

September 2017 — “Trapper Boy” was included in the Reading Nova Scotia publication of “150 Books of Influence” in Nova Scotia

Trapper Boy was selected by Dr. Patrick Howard of Cape Breton University’s Education Department as a novel around which to develop a Teacher Resource. The resource is currently available at no charge for teachers using Trapper Boy. http://cbup.ca/wp/wp-content/Special/Trapper-Boy-Teacher-Resource.pdf

Trapper Boy and Us and Them are available from Nimbus Publishing  https://nimbus.ca/product-category/children-and-teen/children12/page/3


Hugh R. MacDonald

Historical fiction; mainstream fiction; short story; novel; poetry; songwriting

Hui Zhou


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

Preferred visit type: In-person only

Home region: Hammonds Plains, NS

Travel range for in-person visits: Any distance

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: School year, half-day, or full-day (three sessions)

Maximum size of group/class: better having one class per session (about 25-30 students)

Areas of expertise: Writing: nonfiction stories for all ages, nonfiction photograph-storybooks for children; Natural science: insects and other animals

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Hui’s PowerPoint presentation includes

  • Nonfiction writing and the difference from fiction writing
  • Two main types of nonfiction writing (examples below)
    • Story reading from her own children’s photographed nonfiction storybooks, “Puppy Oland” or/and “Running Wild with Bossy Boy”, to show how literary nonfiction tells, educates and entertains
    • An introduction to insects (Hui’s scientific expertise), their amazement, their vital roles to the ecosystem and the scientific evidence of human impacts to their survival, to present what informative nonfiction intends to notify
  • Hints: 3Rs for nonfiction writing

Based on student’s age (grade), the presentation can also be adapted to more story-telling or to what Hui has learned about self-publishing.

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

About the author:

Hui Zhou is a nonfiction writer and a retired entomologist living in Nova Scotia, Canada (Web: From Zhou Hui to Hui Zhou).

Many of her nonfiction stories have been published in print and heard on radio broadcast since the 1990’s. The one titled Grandpa Santa was published in The Chronicle Herald and three other Atlantic daily newspapers on a same day. It was about how her daughter at six excitedly learned about Christmas in her birth country where Christmas has never been a holiday. A piece about how Hui was introduced to the history of the Halifax Explosion, titled The Path from an Old Newspaper, was long-listed for Surrey Muse Art and Literature Awards 2022.

Running Wild with Bossy Boy (2018) is Hui’s first nonfiction photograph-storybook for children about a flock of free-run backyard chickens, focusing on their different personalities, or to them, chicken-alities. Children can easily understand chicken’s personalities, learn the biology through the interesting stories and imagine how happy the chickens are when running freely.

In Hui’s second nonfiction photograph-storybook, Puppy Oland (2023), children will meet the lively dog Oland and discover what Oland liked at his puppy training, if Oland was a good swimmer, how many corn ears Oland retrieved from neighboring campers, whom Oland once badly offended . . .

The success, in writing, photographing, book design, self-publishing, marketing and much more, encourages Hui’s further works for children and her Literary Nonfiction Collection for all ages.


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, and/or The Terrible Horrible Smelly Beach. There will be a mermaid story telling, some rhymes and  riddles and an art activity if time permits. Smelly Beach has an environmental theme and the program also features a fun show-and-tell quiz.

About the author:

Jacqueline is an author, artist and story teller and has written six books. Before becoming a full-time writer she worked for many years in the children’s department of the Halifax Public Library. Her latest book about teen hero  Joe Cracker is due to be released in 2025. She recently made a WITS Resource video – “How to be a Research Detective,” and was featured in an episode of Eastlink’s successful author series “Final Draft” which aired nationally in 2022.


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 2023-24, only half-day visits, preferably afternoon to allow for travel.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: I'm interested in half-day (afternoon) school visits from 2022 going forward. Months I'm available in 2023/24 include: October, November, January, February and possibly 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, as listed above, 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 20- 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:

WITS BROCHURE 2023-24

NAME:

Jan L. Coates

GRADES:

P-6

Jan is the author of over 30 books for kids; picture books to novels. Her passions include: reading, writing, art, biking, second-hand shopping, beachcombing, and spending time with her adult kids and new grandbabies!

Visits include a 20-minute PowerPoint presentation/discussion about writing and the writing life, a short reading, and a fun shared writing activity.  Sixty minutes please for grades 3-6; thirty minutes for grades P-2. Jan prefers to work with one class at a time, but she’s flexible.

For more info visit: www.jancoates.ca


Jan L. Coates

Fiction; middle-grade novels; picture books

Janice Walsh-Cruddas


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

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

Home region: Halifax County

Travel range for in-person visits: I love to visit schools anywhere in Nova Scotia! In the winter months, however, I'm only available to HRCE schools for in-person visits (virtual elsewhere).

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Fall, winter, and spring availability for half or full-day visits.

Maximum size of group/class: A maximum of 2 classes (no more than 50 students), depending on the workshop chosen, please.

Areas of expertise: Fiction, song writing, and script-writing are my happy places. My author readings involve students in literacy-based music and games, but I have just as happily guided youth in creating scripts and songs based on well-known fables or social justice topics.

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

BIRD’S THE WORD! author readings are playful, interactive workshops designed to encourage students’ interest in local birds, fun literacy tools like onomatopoeia and alliteration, and important themes of compassion and appreciating differences. They include music, games, a reading of the book, and follow-up mazes, word searches, and colouring sheets, created by the book’s illustrator, Emily Coll. These readings are for grades P-4 (a maximum of 2 grades/reading, please) and run from 35 – 55 minutes, depending on grade level.

FABLE FEST! workshops feature a reading of an Aesop fable which is then broken down into its key elements in order to be adapted into a short, original script created by the group. This workshop is available to grades 4-6, is for a maximum of 25 students, and runs 60 minutes.

SING OUT FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE! workshops feature the building of an original song about a topic of the class’ choice (to be given to me prior to the visit). The music will be developed on the guitar. Students will be led in exploring rhythm in language and song, rhyme as a tool in songwriting, and the history of music as an agent for social change. A recording of the finished song and a guitar track will be sent to the teacher after the workshop for class performance purposes. This workshop is available to grades 3-8, is for a maximum of 25 students, and runs 60 minutes.

About the author:

“Play” is one of Janice Walsh-Cruddas’ favourite words and learning tools and she incorporates it in her performance, teaching, and writing for children and young adults. She has written and directed over 20 plays, including the NS Human Rights Commission’s award-winning project ARC (Action, Responsibility, Choice), The Kerplunk in the Kingdom, and A Wee Drop of Aesop. As a children’s programmer with Halifax Public Libraries for over 20 years, a former co-host of the radio show “Music for Young Earth Citizens” (with her 6-year-old son), and the founder of MITE Theatre, “Jan-Jan” has helped youth discover delight in Shakespeare, singing, theatre games, and the joyful act of communicating. Her book, Bird’s the Word!, has elicited giggles and yays from hundreds of budding wonders. She is humbled and grateful to be a Treaty person who reads, sings and plays in K’jipuktuk (Halifax, Nova Scotia), the ancestral and unceded territory of Mi’kma’ki, the traditional land of the Mi’kmaq people.


Janice Walsh-Cruddas

Fiction; songwriting; scriptwriting

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 class or library presentations plus a casual lunch chat with a student club of your choice.).

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

Jo Treggiari


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

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

Home region: Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Travel range for in-person visits: anywhere in Nova Scotia within 2 hours drive of Lunenburg

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Spring, summer, fall

Maximum size of group/class: 30

Areas of expertise: YA fiction, mysteries, thrillers, writing tips and techniques, writing from life, writing diversity with respect and sensitivity

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Using hand-outs and in-class writing prompts I talk about techniques and tools that I’ve found useful when writing. I combine personal experience and examples from my own texts as well as from other YA/ MG authors- focusing on Maritimes authors. I talk about inspiration, how to overcome hurdles, how to plot, how to keep going through the ‘soggy middle’, how to make writing a daily practice and what you can learn about writing just from reading books that you love and books that you hate! I do cover many genres of writing: from poetry to children’s fiction to non-fiction/memoir/journaling or keeping a diary or notebook for inspiration.

Write what you know is common advice but write what you don’t know is also valuable. I talk about research and how fun that can be. I talk about diversity in literature and giving voice to marginalized communities with sensitivity and respect. I talk about the joy of creating a world, fleshing out characters from nothing but your own imagination, and how you can make them live and breathe on the page.

About the author:

Jo Treggiari is the best-selling, award winning author of six books for young adults. Her 2019 novel, The Grey Sisters (Penguin Teen), was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, a finalist for the Crime Writers of Canada Award and a finalist for the Ann Connor Brimer Children’s Literature Award. Her most recent book, Heartbreak Homes(Nimbus Publishing), a murder-mystery, was the winner of the Crime Writers of Canada Award of Excellence and a finalist for the 2023 Ann Connor Brimer and Dartmouth Book Awards.


Jo Treggiari

YA fiction; mysteries; thrillers; writing diversity

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 and a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC). He holds a degree in astrophysics from Saint Mary’s University, and is currently a Master’s Student at Johns Hopkins University. In 2020 he was presented with an RASC award for Excellence in Science Communication. John cohosted RASC’s series “Explore the Universe Online,” and is the founder of “Stargaze Nova Scotia” a designated stargazing site within the HRM. 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: 125 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 has won prizes both provincially and nationally. #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

Karen Kelloway


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: throughout Nova Scotia

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: September to June

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: Children's fiction, historical mixed with fantasy

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Karen gives an overview of the three anchors that shaped her novel as well as the 3 R’s: Research, Re-work; Re-write.

There are classroom discussion questions at the end of her latest novel, Keepers of the Pact – which is on the Approved List of Resources for all NS schools.

Teacher resources and the classroom PowerPoint can be found at https://karenkelloway.com/teacher-librarian-resources/

 

“Karen, I wanted to thank you for taking the time to come to our school.  Your presentation was very enjoyable and professional. I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!” – Library Technician (presentation to grades 5 & 6)

About the author:

Karen Kelloway’s signature storytelling style blends fact and fiction with a twist of the supernatural for an educational and entertaining read for all ages. Her first novel, Raphael’s Riddle was chosen as the grade 5 book club read for all Nova Scotia classrooms. Her second novel, Keepers of the Pact (Nimbus Publishing), won the Nova Writes Joyce Barkhouse award recognizing excellence in writing for children.

Karen gets inspiration from the setting of her stories. She spent time in Turkey to research her first novel, Raphael’s Riddle and in Brigus, Newfoundland and Labrador for her latest novel, Keepers of the Pact. Both books are on the Approved List of Resources for NS schools.

Karen lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with her husband, two teenagers, and their fluffy black-and-white Havanese, Chewie. A portion of all Karen’s book sales goes to school breakfast programs.


Karen Kelloway

Fiction; history; folklore

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, the Annapolis Valley, or the South Shore within one 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’ 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 living on the south shore of Nova Scotia. Her fourth book, Notes for the Everlost: A Field Guide to Grief  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 and was awarded a Kirkus star and nominated for the national David Booth Children’s and Youth Poetry Award. 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

Laura Churchill Duke


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: 100km from the Kentville region. (Halifax, Annapolis, South shore)

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Winter/Spring is best for me. I teach full time at the university in the fall. If I am doing the 3-part lesson, then I would like classes stacked on the same day, if I am travelling afar.

Maximum size of group/class: Any size

Areas of expertise: Creative non-fiction, historical creative non-fiction, journalism

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

The usual workshop I do is in three parts (three separate visits, each 1 week apart) but can be condensed or modified depending on the need and the schedule.

Historic Creative Non-Fiction Writing: Middle school or high school

This project-based activity will see students engage with their local community to discover some of the local characters and bring their story to life through research and story writing.

In doing so students will have the opportunity to learn and connect with their past, as well as develop new and grade-level appropriate critical thinking, research and writing skills.

Lesson 1: Laura Churchill Duke will come to the school and teach a 30-minute lesson on how to research historical people using internet sources. She will discuss how to take appropriate notes, and how to keep track of sources.

Laura will then provide the students with a list of historical people from that area. Students are then asked to select one of these individuals to research.

Class time: Teachers provide class time over the following week for students to research their chosen historical figure.

Lesson 2: Laura will return to the classroom one week later and teach a 30-45 minute class about taking the research and turning it into creative non-fiction writing. The goal will be to have the students write a monologue about the individual, bringing them back to life, much like in Valley Ghost Walks.

Class time: Teachers provide a week of class time for the students to write their monologues.

Lesson 3: After receiving the monologues from the teachers, Laura will review them and return a week later to present them to the class. This can be done in several ways, in discussion with the teacher. In the past, we have videoed local actors reading the scripts, or we can have students perform each other’s scripts.

 

According to curriculum outcomes, students will learn about expressions of culture:

  • What cultural expressions do I see in my community?
  • How can I discover more about my culture through communication forms?
  • How can I express my identities and cultures through communication forms?
  • How do I see culture expressed in oral communication forms?

They will interact with sensitivity and respect, considering cultural contexts, audience, purpose, and situation; will select, interpret, and combine information from culturally diverse contexts; will be expected to create text, independently and collaboratively, using a variety of types of writing for a range of audiences and purposes; and will explore the concept of culture and demonstrate an understanding of its role in their lives, inclusive of Acadians, African Nova Scotians, Gaels, Mi’kmaq, and additional cultures.

About the author:

Laura is a communication specialist and journalist in the Annapolis Valley. She is currently teaching communication to first year kinesiology students at Acadia University, focusing on writing, research and presentation skills.

Laura is also a freelance journalist for Saltwire Network, writing stories for Atlantic Canada. Her writing also appears in the Acadia Alumni Bulletin. She can also be heard as the Kentville community contact on CBC Radio, Information Morning.

Laura is the author of two creative non-fiction novels, Two Crows Sorrow, and Rooted in Deception. She also wrote the scripts for the Kentville and Bay of Fundy ghost walks for Valley Ghost Walks.

Laura has taught this workshop several times in both KCA (Kentville) and Hantsport middle schools.

www.laurachurchillduke.ca


Laura Churchill Duke

Nonfiction; history; journalism

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: 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, Etty Darwin and the Four Pebble Problem and The Hidden World of Gnomes. She also illustrated I’s the B’y and A Tulip in Winter: A Story About Maud Lewis. 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

Linda Pannozzo


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

Preferred visit type: In-person only

Home region: HRM/ Lunenburg County

Travel range for in-person visits: I'm open to travelling anywhere in Nova Scotia

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Fall/ Winter/ Spring; half or full day

Maximum size of group/class: Maximum 30

Areas of expertise: Journalism, science writing, non-fiction, research, environment, health, science literacy

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Under the Influence: The role of journalism in creating the scientifically literate citizen

Topics will include:

What is scientific literacy?

The obstacles to free scientific inquiry

Examples of how non-science influences can interfere with science.

Discussion about the importance of being scientifically literate in the era of social media; How to spot sketchy information

Question period

 

 

About the author:

Linda is an award-winning author of two non-fiction books and a freelance journalist of more than twenty years. Her educational background is in environmental science, education, and journalism. Her work often delves into highly controversial subject matter, where complex issues must be deciphered and communicated to a non-specialist audience. Science writing often involves navigating the murky, uncomfortable and sometimes questionable world where science and politics overlap, and being able to recognize when science is under the influence.


Linda Pannozzo

Journalism; science writing; nonfiction; the environment

Lynette Richards


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

Preferred visit type: In-person only

Home region: HRM

Travel range for in-person visits: I hour

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: minimum half day, school year only

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: Literary graphic novels, historical non-fiction, creative non-fiction, inspiration and imagination

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Lynette will show original art and read from Call Me Bill, her Young Adult graphic novel. Call Me Bill weaves 2 true local stories together. She will host art-making activities during conversation about panels, pages and spreads . She will chat about the history of  storytelling with images and words from Medieval illuminated manuscripts and stained glass windows to pre-digital photography and printing as related to journalism.

About the author:

Lynette Richards is the writer and illustrator of YA literary graphic novel Call Me Bill (Conundrum Press 2022). She is a Craft Nova Scotia Master Artisan, who lives and works in Terence Bay NS, where she operates her business Rose Window Stained Glass.


Lynette Richards

Graphic novels; nonfiction; historical nonfiction

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

Megan Coffin


Preferred grade levels: Grades P-6

Preferred visit type: In-person only

Home region: Pictou County

Travel range for in-person visits: 2hr

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Spring

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: Children's Stories, Wildlife, Adventure

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Introduction
Interactive Reading: Read from one/both The Adventure of Sneaky the Snake books.
Character Creation: Guide students in creating their own original characters. Discuss character traits, appearances, and backstories. Encourage students to draw and/or write about their characters
or
Storytelling Workshop: Lead a collaborative storytelling session where students work together to create a short story. I can start with a basic plot outline and have students contribute ideas for characters, settings, and conflicts.

Book Cover Design: Have students design their own book covers for one of my books or for a story they’ve created during the workshop.

Q&A Session:

About the author:

Megan Coffin, a proud resident of Nova Scotia, is an accomplished author known for her captivating children’s books. It was after her beloved father’s passing that Megan decided to honor his memory by sharing their favorite stories with their loved ones. Inspired by his handwritten versions of Sneaky the Snake’s adventures, Megan took on the challenge of revising and expanding these tales, completing her highly admired series, “The Adventures of Sneaky the Snake.” These stories take readers on captivating journeys, filled with thrilling twists and heartwarming moments, all set against the backdrop of Megan’s childhood experiences in Nova Scotia.

While Megan’s writing has yet to receive notable awards, her dedication to preserving her father’s legacy and creating charming tales has earned her a growing readership. The illustrations in her books hold a special significance as they are all based on the cherished places she grew up in. Each detail, from her grandmother’s fields and home to the family tractor and the local farm where she and her brothers played, adds an authentic and nostalgic touch to her stories.

As a Nova Scotia resident her whole life, Megan has an inherent understanding of the region’s natural beauty and rich landscapes. She weaves these elements seamlessly into the fabric of her stories, creating a sense of familiarity and fondness for readers of all ages.

Through her engaging storytelling and heartfelt narratives, Megan continues to enchant audiences young and old alike. Her ability to transport readers to a world of imagination, while honoring her father’s legacy, showcases her passion and talent as a writer. Megan’s books remind us all of the power of cherished memories and the importance of preserving our roots for future generations.


Megan Coffin

Request author Preferred grade levels: Grades P-6 Preferred visit type:...

Melanie Mosher


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

Preferred visit type: In-person only

Home region: HRM-Eastern Shore

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

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: year around, weather permitting

Maximum size of group/class: 30

Areas of expertise: picture books, middle-grade, fiction

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Visits are made up of a reading, a Q & A, and a discussion of the who, what, where, when, and why of writing. See how changing any one of these can create a new story. Imagine if Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web was an elephant. What if Little Red Riding Hood took place during a blizzard?

About the author:

In grade two, Melanie won an essay contest, and has been writing ever since. She lives on the Eastern shore in a tiny green house with a bright orange door. She is the mother of two grown girls, and a grandmother to one.


Melanie Mosher

Picture books; middle-grade; fiction

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: Ideally no more than 1hr 45min drive.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Any month except March.

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 50 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

Michelle Wamboldt


Preferred grade levels: Grades 10-12

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

Home region: South Shore

Travel range for in-person visits: Prefer to travel within 200 km. Will consider further, but may require compensation for overnight accommodation.

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Available year round for full or half days.

Maximum size of group/class: Any size.

Areas of expertise: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Research, Communications and Interviewing/Public Speaking

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

I can offer teachers and students classroom experiences in the following areas:

Writing Fiction

Through readings, handouts, writing prompts and interactive class discussion we will explore the process of writing fiction. I will talk about my own writing and how I turned fact to fiction in my historical fiction novel and short stories.

Topics covered may include:

Finding inspiration – Building stories and developing characters and settings from our imaginations or our real lives.

The Process – How to get started, and how to stick with it until you finish.

Research – Tips and tricks and learning how fun it can be to travel down the rabbit hole.

Editing – The importance of the editing process for anything we write. Fun, interactive exercises.

Writing for Life – Communications

Writing is a skill required for all aspects of life, not just story telling. This workshop will help students to understand the importance of developing solid writing skills and techniques for their future studies, careers and lives.

Drawing from my years of experience in the public and private sector we will use interactive exercises and presentations to discuss language use, editing, audience and the best techniques for communicating ideas. Practical advice and guidance will help students to appreciate the role writing plays in their lives.

Public speaking may also be touched on or developed as an alternate lesson where verbal and physical communication will be examined and discussed.

About the author:

Michelle is a former journalist and communications writer who now focuses on writing fiction.

Her publications include – Birth Road (Nimbus Publishing) an historical fiction novel inspired by her own grandmother’s life in Truro, Nova Scotia as well as short stories which have appeared in The Dalhousie Review and Moose House Publication’s, Blink and You’ll Miss It, Vol II.

Michelle’s lengthy career as a communications specialist with the Government of Canada, her years of conference presentations and her public appearances as an author have honed her writing and public speaking skills.

With a diverse background of work and writing experience, Michelle brings a rich and balanced portfolio to the classroom that encourages students to engage, write and dream of possibilities.


Michelle Wamboldt

Fiction; historical Fiction; research; public speaking

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 big 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”. I invite students to “write the next book” about Mr. Peanuts and think about how they would make the props and get the squirrels to participate.

About the author:

Nancy is the author/photographer of 4 picture books in the Secret Life of Squirrels series, and two board books featuring Oakley the Squirrel. She is a retired high school Family Studies teacher and Guidance Counsellor. In 2010 she started making squirrel size props (a barbecue, mailbox, washer and dryer, etc) and dioramas, and she captured photos of backyard squirrels when they explored her sets to find the hidden 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 big tote box filled with a variety of her homemade props and she talks about the challenges of writing a story that is illustrated with photos of her backyard squirrels as well as the fun of creating her props with found, recycled and dollar store materials. She invites students to think about what the next adventures of her squirrels could be if they were writing the next book.

Nancy is available for live classroom presentations and also for Google Meet/ Zoom sessions, which went over very well in the 2020-2022, and with schools in other provinces.


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

Nicole Spence


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

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

Home region: Nova Scotia

Travel range for in-person visits: 5 hours

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Fall, Winter, Spring. Full or half day

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: memoir, creative non fiction, novel, autobiography

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Nicole’s workshop, entitled “Everyone Has a Story,” encourages young writers to recognize the importance of telling and writing their stories, while coaching them in the art of writing, revising and persisting in the evolution of their writing skills.

About the author:

Nicole Spence is the author of the poignant memoir Somewhere North of Where I Was. The brazenly honest story of a young girl whose tragic circumstances are tempered with a driving spirit of hope and perseverance.


Nicole Spence

Memoir & autobiography; nonfiction; novels

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

RC Shaw

RC Shaw

Request author

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

Sal Sawler


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

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

Home region: HRM

Travel range for in-person visits: Primarily HRM. Willing to travel to South Shore of Nova Scotia. Can travel elsewhere in Nova Scotia, but only for a multi-day booking (can be shared between schools, as long as they are in the same region

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

Maximum size of group/class: 30

Areas of expertise: Environment and Climate, Community Building, Collaboration, STEAM, Non-Fiction, Fiction, YA, Picture Books, Graphic Novels,

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Elementary (Pre-Primary to 2):
Presentations will include a story-time reading of When the Ocean Came to Town, along with a brief discussion about tide pools and other beachy habitats OR helping our communities (teacher’s choice), plus an age-appropriate craft or game.

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.

About the author:

Sal Sawler is the award-winning author of three non-fiction books: 100 Things You Don’t Know About Nova Scotia; 100 Things You Don’t Know About Atlantic Canada – For Kids; Be Prepared: The Frankie MacDonald Guide to Life, the Weather, and Everything,and one picture book: When the Ocean Came to Town (illustrated by Emma FitzGerald).

Be Prepared was nominated for both Hackmatack and Forest of Reading Awards, and won a Moonbeam Children’s Award. 100 Things You Don’t Know About Atlantic Canada – For Kids was also nominated for a Hackmatack Award.


Sal Sawler

History; Picture Books; Children's Fiction; Graphic Novel Editing; Journalism

Sara Jewell


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

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

Home region: counties: Cumberland, Colchester, Pictou

Travel range for in-person visits: 150 km/90 minutes

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: fall, winter, and spring - full day if more than 30 minutes away

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: non-fiction (personal journalism) & children's picture books - ideas, research, writing process, ethics (writing about other people)

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

My visit with a class includes an interactive read aloud with a PowerPoint presentation, a discussion about the writing process, and writing activities, all geared to the grade level. These author workshops are as short as 30 minutes or as long as 60 (90 minutes if you want a craft!).

For grades P-3, the talk about writing process is brief and the writing activity involves drawing and writing.

For grades 4-6, the writing process chat includes “before and after” photos of my books, from idea to drafts to finished copy.

 

About the author:

Sara Jewell is a freelance writer, substitute teacher, licensed lay worship leader, and the author of a children’s picture book and two collections of essays for adults. A former city girl who grew up near Toronto and lived in Vancouver, Sara has called rural Nova Scotia home for more than 16 years. She lives on 72 acres along the River Philip in Cumberland County (on the north shore) with her husband, her mother, several pets, and a flock of chickens.

Sara’s first book (Field Notes) and her children’s book reflect her love of rural life and the people and animals who live there. Her children’s book includes descriptions of the eight creatures in the book and would make a great addition to a study of local wild animals.

Sara is very enthusiastic about the writing process (never hand in the first draft!) and committed to encouraging emerging writers (check out her “You are a writer” account on TikTok at @jewellsara_writer)


Sara Jewell

Nonfiction; picture books; writing ethically

Sarah Butland


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

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

Home region: Pictou County

Travel range for in-person visits: 1 hour

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Half day

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: fiction

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

For younger grades, I typically host an interactive story time focusing around my children’s book Sending You Sammy and it’s message of healthy eating. Dressed as BananaGirl, I delight and inspire children to eat healthier and be more active. Inspired by competing headlines in a provincial newspaper, Sending You Sammy was written to encourage the increase of childhood literacy rates, especially in boys, by being different and fun. The other headline screamed about the high childhood obesity numbers, so BananaBoy was my solution.

I am eager to present to older grades about freelancing and journalism, as well as thinking outside the genre when it comes to writing what you love. I will discuss all the avenues of writing there is, including when to get started and how.

About the author:

I am a successful artist, a wonderful and thriving mother of one, a reacher towards both people and dreams despite all of the turned backs and obstacles in my way. I am a thriving freelance writer and reporter, an author loved by enough readers to make it worthwhile and a discombobulated conundrum who loves to hear new music, tell new tales and meet new authors. And I’m doing something I always dreamed of doing – reviewing books to support others as well as myself and family.


Sarah Butland

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

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

Shelley Thompson


Preferred grade levels: Grades 10-12

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

Home region: Kings County

Travel range for in-person visits: Annapolis Valley, Halifax

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: All

Maximum size of group/class: Some presentations are great for a large class, some work best (short film creation from script to screen - with smaller groups.t

Areas of expertise: Screenwriting; Short and feature films; Creating story outlines for novels; Developing a character

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Screenwriting – short and feature length structure

Telling a long story – structure and how to build it.

Telling a short story – impact, structure and learning what’s important.

Creating a character and character history and giving them a distinct voice.

Human rights, queer and trans expression.  and rights, international events (processing the news).

Creating short films ‘from dream to screen’.

Writing problems into solutions.

 

About the author:

Shelley Thompson  is a writer/actor/director with a particular interest in screenwriting and novels focusing on women in rural environments:  women of all ages,  marginalised by virtue of age or sexual/gender expression and/or preference.

Strong areas of interest:  Screenwriting, Creating a character and character history and giving them a voice. Human rights, queer and trans expression.  and rights, international events (processing the news).


Shelley Thompson

Screenwriting; fiction

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.  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

Tiffany Morris


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

Preferred visit type: Virtual only

Home region: Nova Scotia

Travel range for in-person visits:

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: Any season, half-day

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: Poetry - climate, literary, speculative; Fiction - speculative (sci-fi, horror, fantasy)

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Generative workshop with ekphrastic element (listening to stories, illustrating)

About the author:

Tiffany Morris is an L’nu’skw (Mi’kmaw) writer of speculative poetry and fiction from Nova Scotia. She is the author of the horror novella Green Fuse Burning (Stelliform Press, 2023) and the horror poetry collection Elegies of Rotting Stars (Nictitating Books, 2022). Her work has also appeared in Uncanny Magazine, Nightmare Magazine, and Apex Magazine, among others.


Tiffany Morris

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

TP (Tom) Wood


Preferred grade levels: Grades 10-12

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

Home region: North Shore

Travel range for in-person visits: 75 km or 1 hour

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

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: fiction, poetry, magical realism; developing a personal writing style and finding the voice within

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

1. So, You Want to be a Writer? – This 40 minute interactive session examines how to diffuse the voice that keeps writers from writing. And how to tap into that inner creativity.

2. Creating Memorable Characters – A roadmap to creating memorable people in stories. Examines Hamlet, Forrest Gump and Scrooge.

About the author:

TP Wood graduated from McMaster University with an Honours degree in English and History. He has been an Editor for three weekly newspapers and two corporate publications, has written executive speeches, screenplays and 30 years of private journals. He is an active member of the Canadian Authors Association, The WFNS and The Writers’ Union of Canada. His poetry has been published in the Niagara Poetry Anthology, the Banister and Gravitas, and his debut novel,77° North (Mosaic Press) was released in May 2023.


TP (Tom) Wood

Fiction; poetry; magical realism

Wendi Stewart


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: 300 kms

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: all

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: weekly newspaper column for 13 years (consisting of 670 essays)

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Writing development and exercises in general with specifics as to character development, point of view, plot, etc, in workshop format.

About the author:

  • professional writer for 17 years
  • Meadowlark (a novel) published by NeWest Press in 2015, published by Nagel & Kimche in 2016 translated to German and released in Switzerland
  • weekly newspaper column for 13  years – Wendi With An Eye
  • judged Atlantic Writing Competition
  • writer-in-residence at Berton House Dawson City, Yukon
  • grateful recipient of grants from Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, and Nova Scotia Arts Council
  • created podcast from Canada Council for the Arts, re-examining the history of Canada during the fur trade (catching frogs is available on Spotify, Apple, and google podcasts) from research to find my Cree grandmother (Nahoway) 5 generations back, born at Fort Prince of Wales
  • blog -www.wendistewart.wordpress.com

 


Wendi Stewart

Nonfiction; fiction

Whitney Moran


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

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

Home region: HRM

Travel range for in-person visits: Anywhere in NS

Seasonal and/or sessional availability: anytime

Maximum size of group/class: any size

Areas of expertise: writing, editing, publishing, storytelling, brainstorming, imagination, community-building, acceptance

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

Whitney is available to lead young students in grades primary–2 in workshop presentations of her debut children’s picture book, I Want to Build a Seahouse. This quirky, rhyming read-loud is a poetic ode to the childhood yearning for freedom, sprinkled with new-sibling jealousy. A heartfelt story of family and independence, and a celebration of imagination and the natural world, it explores the following topics:

  • Self-determination and independence
  • Friendship, family, and community-building
  • Learning to accept change, i.e. a changing family dynamic
  • Imagination and play
  • Sea life, seafood, and our relationship with the ocean

WORKSHOP PART I (30 minutes)

First 10 minutes: Whitney will offer an interactive reading of the book (complete with parrot puppet!) that encourages students to think about the topics above. Time will be allotted for questions—and pass around the puppet (always popular!) and ask questions.

Next 15 minutes: Following this, students will work on an art project.

Each student will be provided with art supplies and a paper handout, a template for drawing their own seahouse. During this time, Whitney will interact one-on-one with students about what they feel are important aspects of their seahouse, allowing each student to respond to the key messages of the book, exploring individual emotional responses to community and family dynamics and their relationship to nature, while showcasing their individual personalities and interests. The key in this activity is exploring creativity and imagination, while also considering independence and our relationship with the natural world (in this case, the ocean).

Stickers exclusively created for this workshop, featuring characters and scenes from the book, will also be shared with students for use in their art projects.

Final 5 minutes: Students will be encouraged to share their seahouse creations with the class, with Whitney responding and encouraging dialogue between students.

Students will be able to keep their seahouse drawings, and reflect on what the concept of home, and family, means to them.

WORKSHOP PART II (30 minutes)

The second workshop focuses on the setting of I Want to Build a Seahouse, the ocean, and the creatures who live there. It focuses on being a good neighbour to our sea friends, and could be considered an environmental exercise that incorporates very basic marine science.

Each student is now “captain” of their own seahouse! Whitney will pass out seahouse captain’s hats (origami paper hats that have been made in advance) for each of the students.

First 20 minutes: The workshop begins with going through enlarged slides of the artwork from I Want to Build a Seahouse to spot the various sea life (flora and fauna).

Sea life featured includes:

  • Seagull
  • Macaw
  • Lobster
  • Oyster
  • Cod
  • Giant Pacific octopus
  • Blue whale
  • Grey dolphin
  • Gray reef shark
  • Narwhal
  • Orca
  • Seaweed
  • Sand dollar

Students will have an opportunity to guess the name of each form of sea life. Whitney will provide answers as we go along, paired with real photographs as well as fun and interesting facts.

Final 10 minutes: We’ll briefly discuss what the relationship between humans and these various forms of sea life might be like, and how we can best co-exist in our seahouse environments.

For example, in Seahouse, the young girl tends a seaweed garden, and then harvests the seaweed when she’s hungry. She also fishes for lobster, oysters, and cod. What are some things the girl might want to consider as she’s interacting with this plant and marine life?

What marine animals and sea life do you imagine living near your seahouse, and how would you interact with it in a respectful way?

This second part of the workshop allows students to reflect more broadly on the impact we can each have on our environment, and the living creatures around us. It continues the theme of imaginative play, while introducing real science and environmentalism, and the concept of cohabitation and symbiotic relationships.

 

10–12 WORKSHOPS

Whitney is the managing editor for the largest publishing company in eastern Canada, and has worked as a book editor for over a decade. As such, she has a wealth of knowledge about the publishing industry. She has limited availability to speak to English or Creative Writing students in grades 10–12 about writing and editing, by delivering her interactive presentation Spilling the Ink: An Editor’s Advice to Writers, which she has delivered with much success to groups of all ages and abilities.

Whitney is also able to do an Ask the Editor Q&A, upon request.

About the author:

Whitney Moran is the managing editor of Nimbus Publishing and Vagrant Press, Atlantic Canada’s largest independent publishing house. She has over ten years’ experience reviewing, critiquing, and acquiring submissions for publication. She also regularly produces developmental, substantive, line, and copy edits for hundreds of books.

Whitney is also the author of a brand new children’s picture book, I Want to Build A Seahouse (2023), and co-author of the non-fiction book East Coast Crafted (2017).

She has delivered dozens of workshops to writers of all ages and writing abilities, from university-level courses to teen writing camps to daycare play groups. She is personable, enthusiastic, and passionate about championing local stories and writers.


Whitney Moran

Fiction; nonfiction; editing & publishing; storytelling

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Recommended Experience Levels

The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (WFNS) recommends that participants in any given workshop have similar levels of creative writing and / or publication experience. This ensures that each participant gets value from the workshop⁠ and is presented with information, strategies, and skills that suit their career stage. The “Recommended experience level” section of each workshop description refers to the following definitions used by WFNS.

  • New writers: those with less than two years’ creative writing experience and/or no short-form publications (e.g., short stories, personal essays, or poems in literary magazines, journals, anthologies, or chapbooks).
  • Emerging writers: those with more than two years’ creative writing experience and/or numerous short-form publications.
  • Early-career authors: those with 1 or 2 book-length publications or the equivalent in book-length and short-form publications.
  • Established authors: those with 3 or 4 book-length publications.
  • Professional authors: those with 5 or more book-length publications.

Please keep in mind that each form of creative writing (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and writing for children and young adults) provides you with a unique set of experiences and skills, so you might consider yourself an ‘established author’ in one form but a ‘new writer’ in another.

For “intensive” and “masterclass” creative writing workshops, which provide more opportunities for peer-to-peer feedback, the recommended experience level should be followed closely.

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