Payne, Mary Jennifer (Toronto, ON)

Mary Jennifer’s rate is $300 plus HST per session, plus travel from Toronto. For multiple visits within the same day (maximum of 4), each session is $250 plus HST. Virtual visits via Zoom are $200 plus HST. Each session is 60 minutes long. Author readings with a Q&A and/or writing workshops are available for booking.

Jennifer Payne is an internationally published writer who’s widely known for her YA fiction, including her contributions to the award-winning Boldprint and Timelines series and her Daughters of Light trilogy. Her novels often centre around the themes of gentrification, poverty, climate change, prejudice, marginalization, resilience, etc. and feature strong, female protagonists. Mary Jennifer’s YA hi-lo novel, Enough, was praised by CM magazine as a book that, “In trying to address issues of poverty, race, and gender, the author creates a thought-provoking tale that would be useful for opening up reflection and/or discussion around inclusivity and social struggle.”

Mary Jennifer Payne is an internationally published writer who’s widely known for her YA fiction, including her contributions to the award-winning Boldprint and Timelines series and her Daughters of Light trilogy. Her novels often centre around the themes of gentrification, poverty, climate change, prejudice, marginalization, resilience, etc. and feature strong, female protagonists. Mary Jennifer’s YA hi-lo novel, Enough, was praised by CM magazine as a book that, “In trying to address issues of poverty, race, and gender, the author creates a thought-provoking tale that would be useful for opening up reflection and/or discussion around inclusivity and social struggle.”

Sample Writing Workshops (These can be tailored to relate more directly to my
novel and the characters/themes therein):

There Are Two Sides to Every Story…. You’ve heard the phrase, “There’s always two sides to a story,” right? In this workshop, I’ll unlock your imagination and allow you to give voice to those characters that didn’t get their fair shake at the spotlight in their original narrative. From Voldemort to Cinderella’s stepsisters to Anansi the Spider, the sky’s the limit in terms of who you can bring to life. Step into your character’s shoes and tell the story from his/her point of view. The workshop leads into discussions around marginalization and the inclusiveness (or lack thereof) within different narratives. This workshop will incorporate fun improvisation to get us warmed­ up. Suitable for ages 10 and up.

Believe in Me! How to Create Realistic Characters in Your Stories. Your protagonist and antagonist, as well as your entire cast of characters, need to come alive on the page in an authentic way. Like everyone, each of your characters is a mix of complex emotions and characteristics. And they have a backstory that motivates them to behave in particular ways in different situations. This workshop will help participants really develop their characters. From deciding your protagonist’s favourite food to his/her greatest fear, you’ll end this session with a character that is “fleshed ­out” and real enough to step off the page. This workshop will incorporate drama exercises such as hot-­seating as the character being developed to help get the creative juices flowing. Suitable for ages 10 and up.

Create, Collaborate, Celebrate! Many modern workplaces are collaborative. In this fun and fast-­paced workshop, participants will collaborate in groups of two to ­three to develop a story from a current news headline. Each story will be shared and celebrated at the end of the session. After briefly plotting some of the elements of your story, you and your partner will take turns writing sentences (or paragraphs, if you’re really daring!) to bring your narrative to life. During our sharing of work at the end of the workshop, there will be an opportunity to discuss what worked, what frustrated us, and what sparks of discovery were made along the way. Suitable for children aged 10 and up.

Book editing and coaching for writers is available as well.

Contact Mary Jennifer to book a visit…

    Nicholson, Lorna Schultz (Alberta)

    Writers’ Union Member. Fiction and NF. Multi nominations and awards. K-12.Adults. $300 plus HST for 1 session, $550 for 2, $750 for 3 and $900 for 4. Travel will need to be negotiated. She always has accommodations in Toronto and Niagara.

    Lorna Schultz Nicholson has two books being released fall 2019. Just Three is a hi-lo Orca Currents novel, and can be compared to a modern day Parent Trap.  PK Subban: Amazing Hockey Stories (Scholastic) is a non-fiction complete with text, photos and graphics.

    Continue reading “Nicholson, Lorna Schultz (Alberta)”

    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: