WITS grades P-6

John A. Read

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

Clare O’Connor

Clare O’Connor lives in Halifax with her family. She is the author of Skateboard Sibby, a middle-grade novel about an 11-year-old super skateboarder dealing with lots of changes, including the loss of her identity as a skateboarder. When not writing, Clare works as a communications consultant and is a past recipient of a Halifax-Cornwallis Canadian Progress Club Women of Excellence Award in Communications and Public Affairs. Clare is a former Director of Public Affairs for the Heart and Stroke Foundation and received the Heart and Stroke Foundation Chair’s Award for outstanding contribution.

She is a member of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, CANSCAIP, and SCBWI.

Virginia Konchan

Virginia Konchan is the author of the poetry collections Any God Will Do (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2020) and The End of Spectacle (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2018), a collection of short stories, Anatomical Gift (Noctuary Press, 2017), and four chapbooks, That Tree is Mine (Gaspereau Press, 2020), Empire of Dirt (above/ground press, 2019), The New Alphabets (Anstruther Press, 2019), and Vox Populi (Finishing Line Press, 2015).  She holds degrees from Beloit College (BA), Cleveland State University (MFA), and the University of Illinois-Chicago (Ph.D).  Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Best New Poets, The Believer, and The New Republic, her essays and criticism in Kenyon Review Online, Boston Review, Jacket2, and Guernica, her translations in The Brooklyn Rail, Asymptote and Circumference, and her fiction in StoryQuarterly, Joyland, and Memorious, among other places.   Her work has been anthologized in several collections, and her honors include grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Vermont Studio Center, Ox-Bow, The Banff Center, and Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Venice.  Co-founder of Matter, a journal of poetry and political commentary, and Associate Editor for Tupelo Quarterly, she currently lives and works in Halifax.

Janice Landry

Janice Landry is an award-winning writer and journalist whose non-fiction work primarily focuses on mental health and wellness.

Landry started writing books to honour her late father, Capt. Basil (Baz) Landry M.B., of the former Halifax Fire Department, now Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency (HRFE). HRFE is the oldest fire service in Canada. Capt. Landry was awarded the Medal of Bravery by the Canadian government, in 1980, for his part in rescuing an eight-week-old baby from a horrific 1978 Halifax house fire.

Most of Landry’s books include multiple interviews with Canadian first responders, emergency personnel, and their loved ones – as she advocates nationally for better support, education, and pre-emptive training for people across agencies, backgrounds, and careers, who work around trauma.

She has recently completed her fifth book (2019) which focuses on two key cornerstones in mental health and wellness: gratitude and resiliency. That book, “Silver Linings,” is lovingly dedicated to her late mother, Theresa Landry, and friend, Audrey J. Parker, who both died while Landry was working on the project.

“Silver Linings” includes an interview with the person considered to be the world’s preeminent expert and researcher in the field of gratitude, Dr. Robert Emmons, of the University of California – Davis.

Landry freelances under Groundhog Productions. She is a proud graduate (BJ Hons. Distinction) of the University of King’s College, Halifax. Landry spent five months landing the interview with Dr. Emmons in order to honour her late journalism professor, Ian Wiseman, who taught at King’s.

Suzanne Rent

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

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

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

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

Suzanne publishes Boating Atlantic, an annual guide for the recreational boating in Atlantic Canada.

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

Beth Ann Knowles

Beth Ann is from Dartmouth but lives on the South Shore of Nova Scotia with her family of four. Her debut children’s book, Row Bot, was published in 2017 by MacIntyre Purcell. Said about Row Bot

“Through clever text and hilarious illustrations, Knowles invites children to the sheer fun of wordplay. Younger kids will relish the sounds and pictures, while older ones grasp the comic subtleties. A highly original and fun book.”

-Kate Lum, multi-awardwinning author, of What! Cried Granny and Princesses Are Not Just Pretty

Nancy Rose

Nancy is a retired high school Family Studies teacher and Guidance Counsellor who rarely goes anywhere without her camera. The curious little red squirrels in her backyard became the subjects of many of her photos. To make the photos more interesting, she started making squirrel size props (a barbecue, mailbox, washer and dryer, etc) and dioramas, and she lured squirrels into her sets by hiding nuts. Her humorous photos of the squirrels appeared online and in newspapers and magazines world-wide. In 2014 her first children’s book, The Secret Life of Squirrels, was published in Canada and the U.S., followed by three subsequent books in 2015 and 2016, and July 2018. For classroom visits, Nancy brings along a tote box filled with some of her homemade props to show the students and she talks about the art and craft of recycling and being creative.

Nancy’s first two books have also been published in South Korea, and Japan and all are available in paperback to schools through Scholastic Books. The first is also available as a board book for the youngest readers.

Nancy spends her free time with her grandsons when not photographing the expanding number of animal visitors in her backyard in Hubley.

 

Hui Zhou

”It may take time, but dreams can come true.” This speaks to Hui Zhou, a bilingual writer, a freelance interpreter and translator with a long career in natural science. 

Born, eduated, worked, married, became a mother and a respected senior scientist in her home city Beijing, Hui created her next opportunity to Canada. In the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, she researched in her favorite field-entomology and obtained a Master of Scence Degree, dreamed for a long time, from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax.

Still, Hui explores wider in science, but she never stops writing that had been one of her hobbies for most of her life. Recently she turned writing more into a real career. Thus, one more dream comes true.

Hui writes in two languages, Mandarin Chinese and English. Her articles about St. Margaret’s Bay, winter stories in Nova Scotia, the Bay of Fundy . . . and many more life stories swarm into multi-medium in Canada and in China.

She had dreamed of publishing books. In May 2018, her first book, Running Wild with Bossy Boy, was self-designed, self-published on Amazon and locally printed. It tells the real stories about chicken’s personalities, or chicken-alities especially to children, but also with adults in mind.

Now Hui plans for her Essay Collections and other non-fiction books for children.

Being a member of Association of Translators and Interpreters of Nova Scotia (ATINS), Hui enjoys interpreting and translating for the Justice System and public/community services in/outside of Nova Scotia.

Gardening, a heritage from Grandpa, remains her favorite pastime.

Geraldine Tuck

Geraldine Tuck writer, world traveller and retired elementary teacher, is known for her Mystery Marauder Series for readers 8-14. Setting is along the south shore of Nova Scotia during the 1930’s. The first three books deal with rum running, gold mining and the Oak Island Mystery. All are suitable for grades 3-6. During a school visit, students are dressed as characters and books are discussed. Time to draw a treasure map or give a verbal lesson, ‘Improving Detail’, is also offered.

Her newest book, Halifax Explosion Mystery, was published in time for the 100 anniversary of the explosion. The content is suited to grades 5-7. The hour visit involves: a power point presntation on the history of the explosion, an explanation how artifacts and newspapers are used to plot a story and an interactive lesson showing students how she weave facts with fiction.

New Presentatipn for grades 6-9.  Heritage Fairs are part of the junior high curriculum. Geraldine offers a  presentation using personal heritage and Nova Scotia heritage to demonstrate how she gathered research for the historical fiction Marauders Mystery series. There is an interactive activity were students discover famous but mostly forgotten local heros. She begins and ends the hour reading exciting passages from the book, ‘Halifax Explosion Mystery’.

Midnight Marauders ,Moonlight Marauders, Mystery Marauders and Halifax Explosion Mystery appear on the Education Book Order List for Nova Scotia teachers.  Contact GlenMargaret Publishing.  gmp@eastlink.ca for large orders. Chapters Book Store also carry the series.

Check out Geraldine’s website:    geraldinetuck.com

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