Spring 2018 Events: Gananoque, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Montreal & more

Hurry up, spring! I’m sick of my winter boots and ready to hit the road, preferably a road that is not covered in snow.

1000 Islands Writers Festival, Gananoque, April 27-30

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As a Queens’ alum, I have fond memories of picturesque Gananoque and the Thousand Islands Playhouse. Looking forward to returning for events with CanLit faves Kelley Armstrong & Heather Smith!

Tickets & details here 

Canadian Children’s Book Week, Manitoba, May 7-12

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This fantastic program administered by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre (are you a member? WHY NOT?) sends authors and illustrators to provinces/territories that are not their own. I’m looking forward to visiting schools and libraries across Manitoba. Public events include:

Mon, May 7th, 9:30-10:30am Neepawa Public Library

Tues, May 8th, 1-2pm Pinawa Public Library 

Wednesday, May 9th, South Central Regional Library readings

Thurs, May 10th, Jake Epp Library, 1:30-2:30

Also thrilled that I will be able to attend the McNally Robinson Writing Contest Gala on Thurs, May 10th, 7pm- Grant Park 

Forest of Reading Celebrations

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Looking forward to meeting Red Maple readers at various celebrations for this year’s program.

  • Niagara May 4th
  • Toronto May 15th
  • Durham May 17th
  • Peel May 18th

CANSCAIP Mini Prairie Horizons, Saskatoon, May 26

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If you’re in the prairies and interested in writing for kids, I will be part of a stellar line-up of speakers for this one day mini-conference. My session is called 13 Going on 30: What age group are you writing for? In this presentation I will explore age and audience categorizations, restrictions, and expectations.

Tickets & info here 

Montreal YA Fest, Montreal, May 27

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More details to come, but I’ll be joining a fantastic line-up of YA authors at Montreal’s very first dedicated YA festival on Sunday, May 27th.

Hope to see you soon!

 

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McNally Robinson Writing Contest for Kids

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One of the ways I started honing my writing skills was by entering contests, and so I am thrilled to be the guest judge of the McNally Robinson kids’ writing contest, open to grade 5 & 6 students in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. 

This year the theme is “I have always wanted to….” go into space, be a back-up dancer, live with elephants, go back into the past or forward into the future. Think of something you really want to do, and then write a story about how you would do it and what it might be like. This is a great prompt, and one I have used myself! For example, I have always wanted to live on a summer resort and so I wrote about it in Summer Days, Starry Nights. I have always wanted to write an episode of my favourite TV show The X-Files, and so The Winnowing was born! See? Fun!

Writing submissions should be between 500 and 1000 words, and may be fiction or non-fiction. Please note that this contest is only open to grade 5 & 6 students in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Entries will be accepted in-store or via email until Friday, March 23, 11:00pm. 

Winnipeg: writingcontest.grant@gmail.com

Saskatoon: writingcontest.saskatoon@gmail. com

For more information, visit the Kids desk in your nearest McNally Robinson bookstore, or call: Winnipeg 204-475-0492 / Saskatoon 955-1477.

Best of luck to all the entrants!

2017: The Year in Review

What a year it’s been! I feel so fortunate to have had such amazing experiences. In March, I had the pleasure of being part of the Rainforest of Reading, an annual children’s book festival in Grenada, Saint Lucia, Montserrat and Nevis run by OneWorld Schoolhouse Foundation. The festival is the largest literacy initiative undertaken in a region still reeling from infrastructure damage caused by Hurricane Ivan (2006) and Hurricane Tomas (2010) and the economic impact of a global recession. It was an honour to work side by side with this charity. It was especially moving to be in St Lucia on the day that poet laureate Derek Walcott died and hear from teachers and writers who have been influenced by his work. Also, I got to spend all my time with Jael Richardson, a true Force For Good in the world

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As a Blue Spruce nominee I visited many schools across Ontario presenting If I Had a Gryphon and was invited to take part in both the Toronto and Sault Sainte-Marie Festival of Trees celebrations. I met so many engaged readers in addition to teachers, librarians, and parents who work tirelessly to bring Canadian books to Canadian children. If you are worried about books or the state of literacy in this country, this program is a good reminder that The Kids Are Alright!

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Also in the spring, this Anglophile visited England for the first time. I had such fun traipsing through historical sites by day and seeing incredible theatre by night. Highlights include the Roman baths, late night cocktails at Evans & Peel Detective Agency, catching my friends Harrow Fair on their first UK tour, high tea at The Savoy, and every Potterhead’s pilgrimage to King’s Cross Station.

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September brought the publication of my sixth book, The Winnowing. This is my first foray into science-fiction and an unabashed love letter to the X-Files. It was also an excuse to get the skirt of my dreams made. Thanks to Kingi at Peach Berserk for making my sartorial dreams come true!

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And I couldn’t have been more grateful to see The Winnowing on the 2018 Red Maple Fiction Award list. The Forest of Reading program grows by leaps and bounds every year and I was thrilled to be included among this year’s stellar nominees. I can’t wait to visit schools to talk about conspiracy theories, The X-Files and The Winnowing in early winter 2018!

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As for 2018? I am looking forward to my trip to Manitoba for Canadian Children’s Book Week, one of many wonderful programs facilitated by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre (are you a member? You should be! More info here). I also have some book news to share, but you’ll have to wait a little bit longer.

Much love and best to you & yours in 2018!

Giveaway: The Winnowing Book Club Kit

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The only thing better than reading books is talking about books! That’s why I’m a big fan of lit circles, book clubs, and reading groups. I’m putting together a Winnowing themed book club kit including:

  • One copy of The Winnowing
  • The Winnowing stickers
  • The Winnowing bookmarks
  • Official The Winnowing Discussion Guide
  • Discussion Fuel (aka candy)
  • One of my favourite books (a different ‘mystery’ book will be sent with each prize pack)

This book club kit is perfect for students participating in 2018 Forest of Reading Red Maple program (The Winnowing is a nominee) or for any reading group (ages 10+) that loves mysteries, science fiction, and a good old-fashioned discussion. This contest is open to Canadian residents only. Three winners will be selected at random to receive the physical prize pack and one grand prize winner will also win a Skype visit with me.

To enter,  click this link and you will be directed to the contest page with instructions.

Good luck!

October 2017 Events

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I’m hitting the road in October to talk about The Winnowing (with a few If I Had a Gryphon story times in there for good measure). I’d love to see your smiling faces! Check the Events Page for the most recent updates.

 

Oct 14, 2-3pm

Make it an Indigo Weekend Teen Takeover: Indigo Burlington

1250 Brant St, Burlington, ON

 

Oct 15, 3-4pm 

Celebration of Stories Festival : If I Had a Gryphon Storytime 

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 Milton Centre for the Arts, 1010 Main St. E, Milton, ON

 

Oct 22, 11am

Books & Brunch Event Sponsored by Blue Heron Books

Wooden Sticks Golf Club, 40 Elgin Park Dr, Uxbridge, ON

 

Oct 28, 2-3pm

Chapters Vega Signing

3050 Vega Blvd, Mississauga, ON

 

Nov 4, 10-2pm

 Festival of Readers

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St Catherine’s Public Library, Central Branch, 54 Church Street, St Catherine’s, L2R 7K2

 

The Winnowing Blog Tour

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I get it. The Winnowing seems like a hard left turn for me. My previous novels are coming-of-age stories about ordinary kids dealing with family and relationship-based drama. What is this slightly dystopian, conspiracy-driven thriller?! Where did it come from? In a series of Winspiration Guest posts I will attempt to answer this question.

Thank you to the bloggers who make the time to read the book and let me take over their space for a day, I truly appreciate it and all you do for books. Here’s the schedule:

Sept 5: Gushing about The Giver over at Padfoot’s Library

Sept 6: How a garage sale find changed my life at Cherry Blossoms & Maple Syrup

Sept 7: All things X-Files at  Mostly YA Lit 

Sept 8: Q&A with the great Helen Kubiw at CanLit for Little Canadians 

Sept 12: The trouble with genre at Me on Books 

Sept 14: On Gene Roddenberry’s legacy at Confessions of a Book Addict 

Sept 18: How Into The Dream & William Sleator inspired me over at Lost in a Great Book 

Sept 20: Art imitates life, or how a new running habit ended up in The Winnowing at Lost at Midnight 

Sept 22: Q&A about earth-based science fiction & my fave X-Files episodes at Women Right About Comics 

The Winnowing Book Launch

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Fall is just around the corner which means sweater weather, pumpkin pie, and The Winnowing! I’ve been busy working on some guest posts for The Winnowing blog tour and booking events for the fall. Full details coming soon, but for now here is everything you need to know about the Toronto book launch!

When: Tuesday, August 29th 6:30pm

Where: Supermarket Bar & Restaurant, 268 Augusta Avenue, Toronto, ON. Kensington Market

This is a public event, kids and friends welcome!

Books will be sold by beloved Toronto institution and indie bookseller Bakka-Phoenix.

Trivia master and kid lit author Evan Munday will be hosting a round of trivia around 8pm. He will be focusing on related topics (children’s books, 1980s pop culture, science fiction, etc). There will be prizes, so bring your brainiest pals!