Letters From the Great War onstage at Soulpepper

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One of my first true loves is theatre, and I feel privileged to be working on  Letters From the Great War, a new Remembrance Day piece for Soulpepper Theatre Company. Conceived by musician, Roaring Girl Records label-owner, Sawdust City Music Festival founder and all-around human force Miranda Mulholland, this commemorative piece features songs from or about WW1 interspersed with live readings of actual letters sent during the war.

It is a humbling and harrowing experience to hear these letters read aloud. The naked longing for home and horrific conditions of the trenches are heart-wrenching, but the moments of humour, hope, and quirks of personality are really what shine. The letters are written by soldiers, nurses, mothers and sweethearts, renowned artists and literary figures- such as L.M. Montgomery and Frederick Varley– and everyday people with no historic claim to fame other than the incredible service they provided for their country during the war. Paired with an inspired list of songs, I believe Letters From the Great War is a moving and appropriate commemoration of The Great War, and one that I am very proud to be part of.

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For What? is a painting by artist F.H. Varley, an artist for the Canadian War Records Department. Select letters written by Varley are included in Letters From the Great War

I have powerful memories of the Remembrance Day assemblies I participated in at school. The combination of video, song, and the laying of the wreaths was a very effective way to reflect on the wars and acknowledge the loss and sacrifice of so many. In some ways, Letters From the Great War feels like a grown-up Remembrance Day assembly, featuring some of the very best talent Canada has to offer, and an intimate space for people to reflect, connect and remember,

Letters From the Great War is on-stage at Soulpepper November 10 & 11, 2018.

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Summer 2018 Events

It’s been a busy spring and I’m still riding high off The Winnowing winning the 2018 Red Maple Award! What a day that was! I met so many readers at The Festival of Trees celebrations in Toronto, Durham, Peel, and Niagara. Thank you to everyone who told me their thoughts about The Winnowing and gave me book recommendations for what to read next. Another big thank you to all the readers and voters, I can’t express just how excited I was (and still am) to receive this honour!

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Thanks to Lorna Schultz Nicholson for capturing this photo from the stage in Toronto seconds after the award was announced!

Usually summer is a time for me to recharge, start writing, and do important writerly things like go to the cottage and hang out at Centre Island in Toronto, but I have a few summer/early fall events coming up that I wanted to share.

SAWDUST CITY MUSIC FESTIVAL– August 5th, Gull Lake Rotary Park, Gravenhurst

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This is a fantastic music festival held in and around a range of venues in Gravenhurst, Ontario, once upon a time known as ‘Sawdust City,’ because of the mill that employed a significant portion of the town’s population. You can catch amazing performers in an intimate setting or see one of two main stage shows at the Opera house (one of the top 10 acoustic buildings in Canada) and on Sunday, August 5th  I’m taking part in kids’ day at Gull Lake Rotary Park. I will be reading If I Had a Gryphon and running some activities for kids. In addition to storytime there will be face-painting, balloon animals, food trucks, all right next to the public beach and leading up to Music on the Barge that evening.

Sunday afternoon at the park is free, but for tickets to any of the other performances & general info click  here

MILTON PUBLIC LIBRARY Writing Presentation -Monday, August 27th 6:30-7:30, MPL Central Branch 

This is the 15th year of the library’s kids’ writing contest and I am thrilled to attend the final celebration and give a chat about writing and publishing. This event is free.

TELLING TALES FESTIVAL   Sunday, September 16th, Westfield Heritage Village 

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I am thrilled to be returning to one of my favourite literary festivals, Telling Tales! Check out a fantastic line-up of children’s authors, illustrators, and performers for all ages. I will be making 2 appearances:

The Winnowing, 2pm, Teen Zone/Summer Stage

Children’s Writers Panel, 3pm, Mountsberg Church

 

TELLING TALES FESTIVAL: TEEN TALES  Sunday, September 23rd, 2-4pm, HPL

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This year the fantastic children’s book festival Telling Tales is adding a teen day. This event will take place on Sunday, September 23rd from 2-4pm at the central branch. This event is also free.

The Winnowing, 2:00-2:30pm, Hamilton Room, HPL Central Branch

More to come!

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!

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 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!

Fall 2016 Events

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Can you tell a sasquatch horn from a manticore tooth? What about a phoenix tail feather from a gryphon wing feather? Me and my magical bag of pet clues are going on the road this fall to Rockton, Milton, Calgary, and Vancouver. Will I see you there?

SEPTEMBER

Sept 10th, 10am:  Story Mobs, Toronto, ON

What a fantastic event! Check out participant (and actress) Cynthia Galant’s video here:

September 18th, Telling Tales Festival, Rockton ON

  • If I Had a Gryphon Presentation, Cathcart School House, 12:30
  • Meet the Publishers Talk, Mountsberg Church, 2:45

Sept 24th, 11:30am: Indigo Milton Storytime

OCTOBER

Calgary Wordfest

Oct 12th, 10:00-11:30am, Glenbow Museum Theatre- with Ruth Ohi

*If you are a teacher in the Calgary area looking to book a presentation, click here

Vancouver Writers’ Fest

Oct 18th, 10-11am, Revue Stage-  Creatures, Kids & Communities with Alice Kuipers & Roy Henry Vickers

Oct 19th, 1-2pm, Performance Works- Chain Reactions with Lisa Moore &
Owen Laukkanen-Matthews

Oct 20th, 1-2pm, Revue Stage- Read it Again, Please! with Monica Kulling & Olive Senior

 

IF I HAD A GRYPHON: EVENTS!

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What’s in the bag? Do you know any young pet detectives who could help me solve a magical mystery?

I’ve been gathering props and breaking out the vocal exercises all in preparation for events and storytimes across Ontario for IF I HAD A GRYPHON. Come join me (and maybe a magical creature or two) on the following dates for stories & activities:

Tuesday, Feb 9th, 10:30am, Chapters Brampton, Storytime & Signing 

Saturday, Feb 13th, 11am, Chapters Ajax, Storytime & Signing 

Sunday, Feb 14th, 11am, Indigo Yonge & Eglinton, Storytime & Signing 

Saturday, Feb 20th, 2-3:30pm, TPL Lillian H Smith Branch, Book Launch  Storytime

Saturday, Feb 27th, 11am, Chapters Guelph, Storytime & Signing 

Sunday, Feb 28th, 2pm, Cardboard Castles, Creemore, ON, Storytime & Signing

Monday, Feb 29th, 6pm, Thornton Public Library, Storytime & Signing

Saturday, March 5th, 11am Chapters Milton, Storytime & Signing

Saturday, March 12th, 10:30-noon, Woodstock Public Library, Storytime & Signing