Currie, Susan (Brampton, Ontario)

Member: Writer’s Union of Canada, Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators. Winner: Second Story Press’s Aboriginal Writing Award. Finalist: Silver Birch Award, CLA Book of the Year for Children, Hackmatack Award, Manitoba Young Reader’s Choice Award. 2X named Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books for Children. Burt Award Honour Book. Included on CBC’s list of “25 Canadian YA books to read in fall 2023.” All ages from 8 and up. Up to 100 or so participants.

$250 for one session, $450 for two, $675 for three, $900 for a full day (four sessions). Plus a travel fee of $0.50/km to and from Brampton, Ontario.

Virtual visits $200 plus HST for 30-60 minutes, $150 plus HST for each subsequent session on the same day.

Susan Currie is a passionate and dynamic elementary teacher in Brampton, Ontario. Before she entered the public school system, she earned a living as an accompanist, music director, choir director, dinner musician, leader of various music programs for children, and piano teacher. She’s the author of two middle grade novels and a YA novel. All of these books explore themes of friendship, music, navigating challenges, being resilient, and finding your identity. Susan also has an upcoming nonfiction book about the Haudenosaunee (spring 2024). Susan has been on multiple Indigenous writing teams through the Elementary Federation of Ontario. She wrote lesson plans and prompts for Pearson’s Spark. Susan is an adoptee who was in the foster care system briefly as a baby, and only learned of her Haudenosaunee heritage (Cayuga Nation, Turtle Clan) as an adult. She is happily married to John and has a wonderful daughter named Rachel.

Susan is extremely flexible as a presenter and can customize a presentation to the needs of each venue. Through years in the classroom, she is very comfortable in engaging in conversation with young people. For most presentations, she is likely to talk about how she became an author and how she discovered the way that her experiences in music, as a teacher, and as an Indigenous adoptee affected the kinds of things she wanted to write about. She will also do a reading and conduct a Q and A session.

Susan is also excited to do writing workshops with small groups (no more than 15 or so). Topics might include the following, but please reach out to discuss your needs as Susan will happily customize a session.

Building exciting scenes or characters

Fun ways to edit your work that bring your story to vivid life

Finding your creative voice (could include exploring how the medicine wheel helps you identify the four aspects of yourself)

Using other art forms to inspire your writing – paintings, pieces of music, dance, etc. Writing a story based on one of these.

Telling a story from your life in a dramatically compelling way

Explore how to write effective and interesting dialogue

Grades 4-8:

The Mask that Sang (Second Story Press, 2016)

This story is about a young girl, Cass, who learns about her Indigenous identity via a mysterious Haudenosaunee mask that shows her visions and sings to her. Through her friendship with Degan, an Indigenous boy, she uncovers what the mask is trying to tell her. Themes: magic realism, bullies, resiliency, systemic racism, residential schools, foster care, loss of identity, found friends, Indigenous history in Canada.

Basket of Beethoven (Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 2001)

This story is about a young boy, Sam, who is passionate about music but can’t afford piano lessons. He makes a deal with Helen, a lonely new girl: he’ll get rid of the bullies plaguing her, if she will teach him piano. Themes: unlikely friendship, bullies, music history, systemic inequities, children and parents, poverty, social justice, finding your voice through the arts, and the life of Ludwig van Beethoven.

Grades 6-12

Iz the Apocalypse (Common Deer Press, 2023)

This YA novel is about a musically-gifted foster child who scams multiple systems in order to be able to attend a prestigious international high school for music. She knows that what she’s doing is wrong, but is willing to try almost anything to have a voice of her own. Themes: challenges foster children face, including the way that a disrupted education eliminates many possibilities for the future; how past trauma impacts the present; creativity and the arts; finding identity; loneliness and found family.

All Venues. Equipment required: a glass of water, some simple lunch if she’s staying for the day. A table to spread her things out on. A microphone for larger groups or in the gym. A screen and projector for presenting slides and doing shared writing.

Contact Susan to book a visit:

    Gentile, Leslie (Brentwood Bay, BC)

    Leslie Gentile

    Leslie Gentile, Brentwood Bay, BC. Writer’s Union Member. Middle grade Indigenous fiction English, grades 2-7. Virtual and local in person visit rates: $150 for 45-60 minutes.

    Leslie’s debut middle grade novel Elvis, Me and The Lemonade Stand Summer won the 2021 Victoria Children’s Book Prize, and as shortlisted for the 2022 Rocky Mountain Book Awards and Silver Birch Award, The 2023 Hackmatack Award, MYRA Award, The Diamond Willow Award, the Red Cedar AwardThe Jean Little First-Novel Award and the Geoffrey Bilson Historical Fiction Award. Leslie is of Coast Salish, Tuscarora and Settler heritage.

    Leslie is an engaging speaker who is very comfortable working with children of all ages. As a musician, she often incorporates songs with her readings.

    Leslie is an experienced and engaging speaker who prefers to connect with and engage her audience rather than just deliver a set talk. Leslie is very comfortable working with children of all ages, and is prepared to answer all questions from the audience.

    45 – 60 minutes: Readings from her novel, plus Q&A’s from audience.
    This can include a discussion on The State of Kindness. Using characters from her novel, Leslie will lead a discussion on how the kind characters appear to be happy, and the unkind characters are unhappy. She will include examples from the book of bullying and racism. This can lead to a discussion or short writing activity where students write about a time when they were kind (or
    unkind) and how it made them feel.

    In person audience size 45 maximum. Virtual audience is limitless.

    Contact Leslie to book a visit:

      Skrypuch, Marsha Forchuk (Brantford ON)

      Writers Union Member. Fiction & NF, 2X Silver Birch winner, 2x Red Cedar Winner, Yellow Cedar Winner. Multi awards. All ages. $400 plus HST for 1 session, $650 for 2, $900 for 3 and $1100 for 4, + travel (.68 cents per kilometer, round-trip for SW ON).

      Virtual Visits: $300 plus HST, for one session, 20-60 minutes, $200 for each additional session on the same day.

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