Austen, Catherine (Ottawa)

Writers’ Union Member. YA, MG and Picture Book author. Multiple awards. All ages. $250 for one session, $450 for two, $600 for three, plus HST (plus travel if outside of Ottawa/Gatineau).

Catherine Austen writes funny, sad, award-winning fiction for all ages. Her school presentations divulge everything she has learned about writing books, accompanied by dramatic readings and adorable cat photos. Catherine has led presentations and writing workshops for the MASC Young Authors’ and Illustrators’ Conference, the TD Children’s Book Week, the Hackmatack Author Tour, the Gaspesie Bookfest, and the Vancouver Island Children’s Book Festival.

Presentations: Catherine offers the following presentations for different ages: “10 Tips for a Fearless Writing Life.” Everything Catherine has learned about becoming an author summed up in an hour and accompanied by cartoons, memes, and fun facts about phobias. Learn how to spot a good story idea, face years of rejection, and take grammar tips from Yoda. With personal anecdotes, Q&A throughout, and a reading in a devil voice. Adaptable to grades 3-7. One hour. “Making up Stories: My Cat Isis and my cat Isis.” Meet the cat that helped Catherine write a book about ancient Egypt. Learn about all the things every writer needs to succeed. Explore everyday writing opportunities you couldn’t find 3,000 years ago. And discover how a picture book is made. With ancient Egyptian props, cute cat pictures, Q&A throughout, and a reading of My Cat Isis. Adaptable to grades JK-3. 45-60 minutes. “Writing and Reading Dystopian Fiction.” Share the joys and heartaches of being a writer in this sad and beautiful world. Read cruel statistics about the publishing industry and learn to rise above them. Embrace testimonials to the benefit of books as entertainments, lifelines, and blueprints for a better world. Analyze a scene from the first awful draft to the final excellent polish. Own your love of literature and embrace your inner author. With tips for teen writers, bad puns, Q&A, and a reading from All Good Children. Adaptable to grades 7-12. One hour. Writing Workshops: Catherine can take students in grades 4 and up through a series of grade-appropriate exercises on a theme discussed in advance of her visit (e.g., writing funny stories; developing an idea into a story; writing dialogue; revising). Writing workshops are tailored to each class in sessions up to 2 hours long. All presentations require a projector and screen or an HD monitor or a smartboard; writing workshops require a blackboard and/or flipchart. Presentations are suited to audiences of up to 100 students; writing workshops are for single classes (25 students). Catherine will present in any venue but prefers a library; writing workshops are best in classrooms.

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