Last night, I attended the second official meeting of a new teen writers’ group at the Barbara Frum Library in Toronto. Organized by Youth Services Specialist Claire Argyropoulos, this group offers teens a place to share their works-in-progress and get valuable feedback. I was invited to talk to the group about the writing process and how to set up a nurturing and dynamic writing group. We also wrote together and critiqued each others’ work. Here’s what Claire Argyropoulos had to say about the evening: “Your workshop was very enjoyable, and the girls thought you were inspiring. They really enjoyed the exercises, and you gave them a lot of good tips. I hope you can come back soon to give us more of your wisdom and insight.”
Tonight I’m going to the launch of the Toronto Public Library’s 2010 Young Voices magazine. It’s a magazine of art and writing by 12 to 19 year-olds. I’ve been a guest editor of the magazine for four years, and I love encouraging young writers.
If you know any teen writers or illustrators in Toronto, please let them know about the magazine. The deadline for submissions is every April. Here’s a link.
A nine-year-old girl who loves to write. A birthday party. What better way to celebrate her birthday than with writing games?
This Saturday, I conducted a series of writing games for nine-year-old Saskia and 19 of her friends. As the guests entered Saskia’s home, they were greeted by the words “Creativity World” written in 12 different languages. Together, we played games with words – creating evil villains, writing using masks, and using “story dice” to tell stories as a group. I enjoyed getting a glimpse into the creative worlds of these girls. Saskia and her friends are fine writers.
It was an intriguing idea for a birthday party – one that I would have enjoyed when I was a kid. Heck, I’d even enjoy it now!
If you’re interested in writing or illustrating for kids or teens, check out CANSCAIP’s Packaging Your Imagination conference, an annual day of workshops by experts in the field. This year, the conference will be held at Victoria College in Toronto on Saturday, November 6th. As Vice-President of CANSCAIP, I’m spearheading the committee to organize the day, and it promises to be inspirational. With workshops on non-fiction illustration, cartooning, how to write graphic novels, mystery writing, and much more, you’ll get excited about creating for kids. So book Saturday, November 6th in your calendar and register soon. See you there!
I’ve posted a new section on my website of writing activities based on my WordPlayer writing program. I first developed the program as a lunch-time drop-in writing club at Presteign Heights Public School in Toronto during 2005 to 2006. Since then, I’ve conducted WordPlayer workshops throughout Ontario and Quebec with kids, teens, and adults, further developing the program. Click here to explore new ways to start writing, how to share your writing, and how to revise.
I’m excited by a new volunteer job that I’m about to start. Next week, I’ll begin volunteering at the Red Door Family Shelter in Toronto. Red Door offers help for families who are experiencing a housing crisis, families who are refugee claimants, and women and children who are escaping domestic violence. I’ll start by helping to provide childcare at one of their shelters for the summer. Once I get to know the place and the people better, I plan to run evening writing workshops for kids and parents. In the meantime, I’ll be reading plenty of great Canadian children’s books to the kids.