West Lewis, Amanda (Perth, ON)

Member of The Writer’s Union of Canada; Society of Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators (SCBWI); Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators & Performers (Canscaip); Access Copyright; MASC Artist/Instructor

AMANDA WEST LEWIS is a writer, theatre creator, calligrapher and experienced teaching artist who is passionately interested in exploring the world from the perspective of young people. Her most recent book These Are Not the Words, is a semi-autobiographical novel that uses prose, poetry, jazz and Shakespeare to confront addiction and mental health issues in the lower East side of Manhattan, 1963. Previous books include award nominated September 17 (about the City of Benares disaster, 1940) and The Pact (based on the true-life story of a young boy in Nazi Germany). Amanda has published eight books for young readers and was the Founder and Artistic Director of the Ottawa Children’s Theatre. She weaves her backgrounds in theatre and calligraphy to teach and present to students of all ages.

Author Readings/Presentations

“Dealing with War: Youth in Times of Conflict” (Grades 5 – 12/sec V).

In this presentation, we will look at real-life events and people that inspired the novels September 17, The Pact, and Focus. Click. Wind. We’ll explore the stories of young people in England, Germany, the United States and Canada who had to face the challenges of World War 2 and the Vietnam War. Our themes will focus on propaganda, indoctrination, racism, survival and choice.

Readings from September 17: A Novel, The Pact, and Focus. Click. Wind. will be followed by a Q & A.

Equipment And Other Requirements: A projector compatible with a computer for a memory stick.

“Jazz and The Tempest” (Grades 5 – 12/sec V)

This presentation will show how different writing genres can be used to explore difficult topics. Working with the novel These Are Not the Words –– a semi-autobiographical novel in poetry and prose –– we’ll look at how the writing used sound and rhythm as a setting for themes of addiction and mental health. We’ll also discuss the role of memory, fact, and fiction in shaping an autobiographical novel.

Readings from These Are Not the Words will be followed by a Q & A.

Equipment And Other Requirements: A projector compatible a computer for a memory stick.

Maximum 300 students

One session: 50 minutes (incl. Q & A) $425 + HST
Two-50 minute sessions $600 + HST
Three-50 minute sessions $700 + HST

WORKSHOPS:  Maximum 30 students

WRITING FROM MEMORY: A poetry writing workshop (Grades 1 – 12/sec V)

Memories are made of small moments. Working with memory moments, we can discover new ideas to form a base for creating stories.

In this hands-on, collaborative workshop, we’ll start with the writing prompt: “What is your earliest memory?” Together, we’ll create a series of group poems that are both specific and personal. We’ll also look at examples of how this same memory prompt inspired the verse novel “These Are Not the Words.”

The workshop explores ways that our memories and dreams can spark ideas and springboard us into larger writing projects.

One Hour Session $300 + HST 

One 2-hour session or Two 1-hour sessions $525 + HST

Two 2-hour sessions $650 + HST 

WHO’S IN THE PICTURE? (Grades 5 – 12/sec V)

A picture can tell you a lot about a person. But it’s the writer who discovers who that person is and how they fit into a story. This workshop will use photographs and pictures to get participants creating characters and inventing unique and vibrant stories. You’ll dig deeper with some role-play and dialogue writing. But beware – characters often take on lives of their own and drag you off on unexpected adventures!

One Hour Session $300 + HST 

One 2-hour session or Two 1-hour sessions $525 + HST  

Two 2-hour sessions $650 + HST 

WHAT’S BEYOND? : Where Writing and Theatre Intersect (Grades 5 – 12/sec V)

We can learn a lot about a character by what they don’t say. Conveying the space between words –– the pauses in life –– is an essential skill for any writer. Drawing on improvisation and drama games, this writing workshop will explore character motivation, points of view and dialogue as we discover the hidden meaning beyond the words.

One Hour Session $300 + HST 

One 2-hour session or Two 1-hour sessions $525 + HST

Two 2-hour sessions $650 + HST 

ILLUMINATED LETTERS: Where Writing and Art Intersect (Grades 5 – 12/sec V)

The workshop starts by writing simple poems based on participants’ names. Students are then shown how to draw Versal letters in the style of 15th Century Books of Hours. These illuminated letters will be used to create a uniquely decorated poem. The workshop helps to develop a love and passion for letters, combining writing skills with artwork.   

Workshop Equipment: Students require paper and pencil. Amanda will bring markers, coloured pencils, additional paper and handouts.

One 2-hour session $450 + HST  

Two 2-hour sessions $650 + HST 

Contact Amanda to book a visit: