Kerrin, Jessica Scott (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Jessica Scott KerrinHalifax-based. Writers’ Union Member. Best-selling English author of 16 works of fiction (picture books, chapter books and middle grade). K-6.  Jessica’s rate is for a virtual visit is $175 (per session, flat fee, with her dog Ivy making a cameo appearance upon request). Her fee structure for in-person visits is: $300 for one 45-60 minute session, $575 for 2, $825 for 3 and $1,075 for 4, plus $50 per session to help defray her travel expenses from Halifax.

About Jessica’s presentations

Jessica’s jam-packed presentation to young writers is a behind-the-scenes look at the everyday experiences that she writes stories about. She includes props, audience participation and video clips sure to keep students engaged and glued to their seats. They will learn how to identify sources around them for creative inspiration, understand how brainstorming works to launch a writing assignment, discover how to take an idea and shape it into a story, and develop an appreciation for editing and good writing habits. Reported outcomes following her visits include an increase in library borrowing, an enhanced understanding of the writing process, a surge in creativity, and the application of new techniques for creative writing. Often, students will declare that they’ll be writers when they grow up, too!

For grades P-3: SENSES – Her new picture book, The Better Tree Fort, features a father/son relationship. Jessica also shares an interest in birding with the characters in this story. She will include a fun mini-lesson on local birdsongs during her presentation that encourages young writers to use all their senses.

For grades 4-6: DETAILS – Her new middle grade novel, Clear Skies, is a historic novel that depicts the 1960s space race to the Moon while exploring mental health. She will also use this story to demonstrate the importance of including accurate facts and engaging details for better fiction.

For grades 4-6: STORY IDEAS – Her travel adventure novel, The Things Owen Wrote, explores the relationship between a boy and his ailing grandfather dealing with loss. She features this novel in her presentation to demonstrate where she gets her story ideas.

In person visits:

  • Maximum number of students per session: 40 – 200
  • Preferred venues: one location, either a library or auditorium work best
  • Equipment requirements: The venue will provide a table for Jessica’s equipment, a microphone for groups over 100, and a viewing screen or whiteboard. Jessica brings the rest (her own projector, speakers, and laptop).

Virtual visits:

  • Maximum number of students per session: flexible
  • Preferred platform: Zoom or Google Meet. Jessica offers a “technical rehearsal” in advance of presentation

Maximum number of students per session: 40 – 200 (flexible)

Preferred venues: one location, either a library or auditorium work best

Equipment requirements: The venue will provide a table for Jessica’s equipment, a microphone for groups over 100, and a viewing screen or whiteboard. Jessica brings the rest (her own projector, speakers, and laptop).

Contact Jessica:

    Blair, Kate (Toronto, ON)

    Writers’ Union and CANSCAIP member.

    Kate’s YA novels Transferral and Tangled Planet were nominated for multiple awards and optioned for TV and film. Her middle-grade novel The Magpie’s Library was named an OLA Best Bet for 2019 and nominated for the Northern Lights Award.

    GTA only. $200 for 1 session, $375 for 2, $500 for 3, $600 for 4 sessions. Limited to visiting schools accessible by public transit, or where a teacher is able to provide transport from the nearest transit stop/station – no travel costs within Toronto; actual transit cost elsewhere in the GTA.

    Kate’s presentations are suitable for grades 4 to 12.

    Kate Blair has been a museum curator, a clown and a ride operator at a theme park. She holds a degree in history and a masters in museum studies with a specialty in education.

    Her first young adult novel, Transferral, is set in an alternative version of modern London, England, where criminals are punished by having the diseases of the innocent transferred to them. It explores ideas around justice, punishment and poverty. Her second, Tangled Planet, is set in the far future, on a generation starship that has just arrived at its destination planet, and deals with the struggles of the crew to adapt to their new home. Her middle grade novel, The Magpie’s Library, is about a girl dealing with the decline of a grandparent, who discovers a door to a magical library.

    Kate loves to share her enthusiasm for reading, writing, and finding your place in the world. Workshops and presentations are tailored to meet the needs of the group, and are flexible, responding to the interests and curiosity of the students. She has years of experience in museums leading school workshops and presentations with all age groups, keeping students engaged and entertained.

    Kate’s presentations and workshops can cover a variety of topics, are always adapted to suit the audience and their interests, and include aspects of the following:

    Writing a book: what does it take and how do you get started? Including: how to spark ideas; how to create characters; the importance of failing and how no one is any good at anything when they first start. The role of passion and practice in cultivating success, rather than ‘natural’ talent.

    Space colonization: Talking about the research that went into creating a believable, fact-based world in Tangled Planet. Discussing issues that face future astronauts and space missions, from the trivial – such as using the bathroom in zero-gravity – to more serious challenges associated with long-distance space travel, exploring exoplanets and finding a home for humanity among the stars.

    Crime and punishment: Talking about the research that went into Transferral and the odd and intertwined history of disease, poverty and punishment and the way that even now, disease and prejudice can go hand in hand.

    Portals in fiction: discussing stories with magical and non-magical gateways and helping children to come up with their own stories involving portals.

    All venues – library and classrooms preferred. Currently in-person only, due to unreliable technology. Maximum group size: 200. Equipment and other requirements: A microphone and table/podium (and preferably a projector) for larger groups, or if the presentation is in a gym or auditorium. A glass of water.

    Contact Kate Blair to book a visit: