If you’re an aspiring author, you may want to check out this conference on November 7, 2009. Packaging Your Imagination, organized by CANSCAIP, offers a day of inspirational workshops with professional authors, illustrators and performers. This year, I’ll be there as a moderator for an “Ask the Pros” panel, where experts Marie Campbell (agent, editor), Peter Carver (editor, writing teacher) and Sharon Jennings (author, writing teacher) will answer FAQs on writing and publishing.
I just finished a week of WordPlayer writing workshops at Pegasus Studios summer arts camp. It was my third year teaching 9 to 13 year-olds at the camp. This year, I used an otherworldly theme, and we wrote stories based on the photography of Gregory Crewdson, created our own fantastic characters (everything from our version of vampires to animals with a human spirit residing within), and wrote using masks to springboard into our characters. I’m always amazed at the wonderful spontaneous writing that these creative kids can produce. One teen greeted me with the news that a story she started in last year’s camp is now 30 chapters long (about 30,000 words)! I felt privileged to read her story, which is well-written and engaging. Thanks to all for sharing your writing with me.
Last week, I visited a grade 12 English class at Vaughan Secondary School in Thornhill, near where I grew up and went to high school. Every school visit is unique, but what makes this one stand out for me is the interesting activities the class had done with my novel Take the Stairs. It’s the second time this year that a high school teacher has contacted me with innovative teaching ideas for this book. I’m thrilled to observe how people use the book, and how they react to it. I hope to post these activities on my website soon, including ideas about exploring the etymology of characters’ names, linking song lyrics to stories in the book, and illustrating the setting. (Below you can see the Vaughan students’ illustrations of The Building from Take the Stairs.) In the meantime, thanks to Diane Tursman and her students for sharing their insights.
Writers between the ages of 12 and 19 are invited to join me for a free writing workshop at the Toronto Public Library Brookbanks Branch (210 Brookbanks Drive) on January 31, 2009, from 1 to 3 pm. Come play with words, find inspiration for new stories, and polish your prose for submission to the 2009 Young Voices magazine, the library’s magazine for teen writing and art. The contest closes April 4, 2009, with contributors notified in June and the annual magazine released next October.
On October 16 at 7 pm, I’ll join the staff of the Toronto Public Library to celebrate the launch of Young Voices 2008, the library’s annual magazine for teen writing and art. As a guest editor of the magazine, I’m looking forward to congratulating the wonderful teen artists and writers whose work will appear in the magazine. Watch for the magazine to appear at your local TPL branch, or join us for the launch at the North York Central Library (5120 Yonge St.).