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:

    Younge-Ullman, Danielle (Toronto, ON)

    Writers Union Member. White Pine Award Winner and two-time nominee, also nominated for Governor General’s award, Amy Mathers Teen Book award, Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz award, among others—a total of 18 nominations and Best-of lists. YA Author of HE MUST LIKE YOU, EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL IS NOT RUINED, and LOLA CARLYE’S 12 STEP ROMANCE.

    Danielle’s virtual visit fee is $200 per 50-60 minute session. In person visits are $300 for 1 hour presentation; $550 for 2, $800 for 3, plus travel for locations outside Toronto.

    Danielle is a confident and dynamic presenter who loves talking about books with people of all ages. She attained a BA from McGill, worked for years as an actor before turning to writing, and has had a wild variety of jobs—everything from acting, to dubbing English voices for Japanese TV, to temping, to teaching Pilates, to freelance writing. Danielle lives Toronto with her husband and two daughters.

    Presentations: Because of her background in theatre, Danielle is very comfortable in front of an audience and loves engaging with readers. Though she writes teen fiction, she can also adjust her presentations for groups as young as grade 5 and 6. Presentations can be geared toward each group, and can be done with more of a workshop emphasis if required. All presentations include time for questions!

    Age range: grades 5 and up, but ideally grades 7-12. Danielle also loves presenting to and working with adult groups, and meeting with book clubs.


    Pantsters, Plotters & Making Soup: A discussion of the essential elements of fiction, and explanations of some of the different techniques used by writers to craft story and write fiction.

    Turning Real Life Into Fiction: The process of using your own stories as inspiration for fiction is deeper, more layered, and much more detailed than it looks. In this session, Danielle will take you through the process of distilling the essence of your experiences, and using the most compelling themes and elements to create a work of fiction, using He Must Like You and Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined as examples.

    How to Pursue a Career as a Novelist: A presentation that explains the process of becoming a professional writer, from beginning writing through searching for an agent, to going through the process of being published. This presentation is great for students who are interested in the arts, and in the process of making decisions about their futures.

    How to Revise the Crap Out of Your Manuscript: Danielle is an in-depth and joyfully ruthless reviser. In this session she will go through the steps she takes to revise her manuscripts in a way that can also be applied to shorter works. Subjects will include character consistency, POV, tone, tightening and/or expanding, layering in new characters and plot lines, analyzing structure, and general troubleshooting of things that aren’t working. 

    Equipment: podium or desk, microphone for groups larger than 40. Maximum group size: 40-60 for optimum interaction, but Danielle is also comfortable in front of larger groups. 25 or fewer for workshops.

    Contact Danielle Younge-Ullman: