Aker, Don (Halifax NS)

Don Aker headshotNova Scotia-based White Pine Award-winning YA author Don Aker is available for school and
library presentations and writing workshops as well as professional development workshops for
educators. Don’s entertaining and enthusiastic presentation style has garnered him invitations to
speak around the world, most recently in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

$575 + HST + $110 travel for half a day (2 sessions); $1100 + HST + $200 travel for full day (4 sessions). Please note that Don’s travel fee pays only a portion of his total costs of travel from Nova Scotia (airfare, accommodation, meals, local transportation, etc.), so he kindly requests that his hosts collect him at—and return him to—whatever subway/bus/train station is nearest their location.

Don Aker is a bestselling author whose publications have earned him numerous honours including five White Pine nominations, an award he won for his novel The First Stone. (His novel Delusion Road earned the 2016 White Pine Honour Book Award.)

Although he is internationally known for hard-hitting stories that address social issues such as youth crime, teen suicide, and gambling, Don’s most recent books include a collection of short stories, a mystery thriller set on Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy, a historical novel for Scholastic’s I Am Canada series, and a novel for Pearson Education’s classroom series on mental wellness. A former classroom teacher, Don loves speaking to students in grades 6-12, and his respect for young people and his sense of humour make him a hit with both teenagers and adults.

“Don Aker is an entertaining speaker and, above all, a great storyteller. As a former educator, he knows how to engage his audience and keep them interested. His enthusiasm and obvious passion for writing make him a fabulous guest presenter!” (Marilyn Girndt, Head of Library, Sinclair Secondary School)

“Don was FABULOUS! Of all the authors I have hosted over the years, and there have been at least three per year, his presentation has been the best…. The students loved him.” (Darlene Charron, Teacher-Librarian, Immaculata High School)

Presentation Details

Although he prefers presenting to groups of 40 or fewer to facilitate interaction with his audience, Don has successfully presented to groups as large as 400 in auditoriums and theatres. However, larger group sizes lessen the opportunity for meaningful dialogue with students.

Don requires his hosts to provide the following items:

  • an LCD projector (Don will bring his PC laptop to run his PowerPoint)
  • an external speaker he can plug into his laptop (to amplify audio in film clips)
  • viewing screen
  • a bottle of water
  • a microphone and amplifier if he is speaking in large, echoing venues or to very large groups

Author Presentation

TITLE: Backstory and Beyond: One Writer’s Journey
AUDIENCE: Students in grades 6-12
LENGTH: 1 hour
DESCRIPTION: Having written 21 books and numerous short stories, essays, and articles, Don is often asked to share the experiences that generated his award-winning young adult novels taught in classrooms across North America. In this informative and entertaining presentation, he describes the circuitous route that took him from a classroom in a small Nova Scotia school to one of the largest publishing companies in North America, and provides behind-the-scenes accounts of the experiences that have shaped both his fiction and his professional writing. Accompanied by a dynamic PowerPoint presentation, Don gives a brief overview of the books he has written, followed by a discussion of his writing process—where he gets his ideas, and the three questions he needs to answer before he can begin writing any story. He briefly describes the genesis of some of his novels and talks about his most important writing tool—his writer’s notebook. He always provides time for his audience to ask questions and, if time and interest permit, he may give a brief reading. Don is completely comfortable tailoring his presentation to the needs of a particular group (e.g., focusing on a particular novel that students have read or are reading), but he requires three weeks’ notice in order to prepare.

Writing Workshops

Don offers half-day and full-day writing workshops, the length of which depend on the particular needs and previous experience of attendees. Don prefers to limit the number of participants to 20, but he is willing to increase that number if a host requires it. Fees for his half-day and full-day writing workshop bookings are the same as those for his author bookings.

A Sampling of Don Aker’s Writing Workshops

Inside Story: Writing Fictional Narratives
We Are Our Stories: Writing Personal Memoir
The Essence of Experience: Writing Poetry that Packs a Punch
Image Is Everything: The Art of Writing Screenplays
Writing Strong Essays: The Power of Persuasion

Professional Development Workshops

A former educator with 33 years of classroom experience that includes teacher-mentoring as well as instruction at the university level, Don offers a number of half-day and full-day professional development workshops for teachers of students in grades 5 to 12. Fees for his half-day and full-day PD workshop bookings are the same as those for his author bookings.

A Sampling of Don Aker’s PD Workshops

Strategic Reading: Making Meaning of Text
The Poetry Roundtable: Talking Toward Meaning
Team-ing With Success: Cooperative Learning in the Classroom
Managing the Bundle: Responding to Students’ Writing
Polishing the Lens: The Power of Point of View
The Power of Pictures: Teaching Visual Literacy

Virtual Visits (60 minutes) via Skype:  $150 + HST

Contact Don Aker for a booking: