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.”
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!
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.
On May 5, I did a book talk for 98 grade eight students at the Barbara Frum Library in Toronto. The students were attentive and responsive, and they were particularly involved with an oral writing exercise. Youth Services Specialist Claire Argyropoulos had this to say about the presentation: “Karen really inspired the students, and it was a pleasure having her here. She did a great job, and I would highly recommend her.” Thanks to Claire and the Toronto Public Library for arranging the event.
On March 2, I conducted writing workshops at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. The Reading Room there is a vibrant place with volunteers and staff dedicated to putting books into the hands of children and teens. The teens I wrote with were enthusiastic writers and positive critics of each others’ work. Librarian Patrick Gracey had this to say about the workshops: “Karen’s writing program was well received, and both teachers also gave me positive feedback. She really got the kids writing well. I was amazed to see the quiet fury and the amount of writing they got done in a comparatively short time. They also really liked the exercises.” Thanks to Patrick and the Toronto Public Library for arranging the event.
I’m looking forward to conducting a writing workshop at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto on March 2. It’s exclusively for patients of the hospital, but if you’re looking for an event that is open to the public, please join me for a reading at the Barbara Frum Branch of the Toronto Public Library at 1 p.m. on May 5.