McCann, James (Richmond, BC)

Writers Union Member. CWILL BC Member. Fiction, Nominated for a Cybils award, CCBC Best Books. Grades 4-12 and adults. $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 if outside Toronto. Virtual visit fees range from $100 – $200.

Things you might find interesting about James McCann: he has written book reviews for the Canadian Children’s Book News, has taught countless workshops for schools, school divisions, libraries, and teachers’ associations, and from 2006 – 2009 he was the president of CWILL BC.Things you’re more likely to find interesting: Most of his time is spent writing, playing Dungeons and Dragons, or practising the ukulele. He owns a 3D printer and uses it to build sets of cities to inspire stories.

James McCann is friendly and immediately likeable. He has no difficulty collaborating with educators and other authors, he clearly enjoys meeting new people, and he interacts exceptionally well with youth. Above all, his writing workshops are engaging, thoughtfully organized, and hands-on. His presentations are energetic, professional, well-prepared, and tremendously engaging. He is able to convey his passion for reading and writing. He clearly motivates people in all aspects of literacy and, essentially, makes literacy ‘cool’.

Map Making Your Imagination

  • Grades 4-8
  • 60 minutes with a 30 minute author introduction.

This workshop takes students through the story creation process by starting with a map setting and seeing what ideas emerge. This is how I began writing, back when I first started playing Dungeons and Dragons and running my own campaigns.

Your students will learn what it’s like to become an author through my personal story as a reluctant reader to author. Discuss characters and their relationship to the world in which they live. How best to start a story, and what they can do to keep that story going.

At the end of this workshop your students will have a project started they can continue throughout the school year.

Writing Your Story Dungeons and Dragons-style

  • Grades 8-12
  • 60 minutes with a 30 minute author introduction.

Whether your students write contemporary tales or fantasy epics, the popular game of Dungeons and Dragons can make you a better writer. See how modern writers have been influenced through creating characters, maps, and collaborative storytelling to work through tough plot points!

At the end of this workshop, your students will have the tools to say goodbye to writer’s block forever and get their novel written and polished. And yes, they will want to play a game of Dungeons and Dragons!

Contact James to book a visit:

    van Staalduinen, Brent (Hamilton, ON)

    van Staalduinen

    Located in Hamilton, Ontario, Brent is a novelist and award-winning story writer, and a former army medic, radio DJ, tree planter, and high school English teacher. A member of the Writers’ Union of Canada, he’s excited about writing workshops and readings in English for grades 7-12, as well as adults and book clubs.

    Virtual rates:

    • Single session of up to 60 mins: $150.

    In-person rates:

    • Single session, up to 60mins: $250.
    • Two sessions, $500. Full day (max four sessions), $900.
    • No mileage required if distance is less than 25km from downtown Hamilton (L8P 1A1). For SW and Eastern Ontario, mileage will be calculated at the CRA rate of $0.59/km, return. For spots beyond, a travel fee will be determined based on most economical transport and accommodation needs.

    Brent is a dynamic public speaker and highly experienced educator, and easily accommodates for the different needs of his audiences. He offers two types of visits: workshops and/or readings and Q&As. For all sessions, subject matter will be tailored to the needs of the hosting organization and local curriculum requirements (experience with Ontario/IB/MYP/Pennsylvania curricula).

    A sampling of topics Brent has covered (not exhaustive — have an idea or theme you’d like to explore? Just ask!):

    • Novel writing
    • The elements of short fiction
    • Creative nonfiction
    • Memoir
    • Travel writing
    • Teaching creative writing
    • Character
    • Story structure
    • Conflict and tension
    • Submitting work to literary journals and magazines
    • Editing and proofreading
    • Setting up a writing workshop
    • Publishing with small presses
    • Contests and “making a mark”
    • Finding and landing the right literary agent
    • Self-publication and the digital marketplace
    • Social media and self-promotion

    …and more!

    For virtual visits, Brent prefers Zoom. For in-person visits, Brent requires a computer, projector, and screen. If the room is larger than a standard classroom, he’ll need a microphone, preferably wearable.

    van Staalduinen is pronounced: van-Stal-die-nen.

    Contact Brent to book a visit:

      Matas, Carol (Winnipeg, MB,)

      Carol Matas, Winnipeg, MB, member, Writers’ Union of Canada, English. Grades K- 12.

      One hour in person $350 plus GST, $600.00 plus GST for 2 sessions, plus travel. One hour virtual visit, $200.00 plus GST.

      Carol is the internationally best selling author of over 45 books for young people, which have received over 100 awards and honours and been translated into 16 languages.  

      Photo: Chantal Picton Holowka.

      Carol Matas will have a new Holocaust novel, A Struggle For Hope, out this fall with Scholastic Canada. It tells the story of Ruth, a Holocaust survivor who has made the dangerous trip to Palestine after the war. She and other survivors tell their stories as a way of making sense of the world and Ruth discovers how powerful stories can be – for good and for ill. Winnipeg, Manitoba.

      Carol has written historical, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary novels. She is about to have her first picture book published. She has written early readers, middle grade novels and young adult novels and a YA crossover book. She often gets emails from young people  telling her that they didn’t like to read until they discovered her books, and she is thrilled to cultivate new readers. Many of  Carol’s  presentations are about her Holocaust novels. In these sessions she delves into the roots of antisemitism and racism which informed Hitler’s worldview. She loves to talk about “big questions” using books like Cloning Miranda, when she encourages discussions about what it means to be a human being.

      There is no size limit as long as a microphone is provided for in person visits, even in small venues – although the perfect venue is a library.

      Carol does virtual visits all over North America, most recently Atlanta, Georgia to present “The War Within,” a Civil War novel.

      Writers’ Union; Canscaip; SCBWI. Also presents to adults.

      Carol’s books have garnered over 100 awards and honours, including 2 nominations for the Governor General’s Award; the Silver Birch Award; a New York Times Notable book; a Sydney Taylor Award; a National Jewish Book Award finalist; an ALA Best Book of the Year for YA; a Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Award for Young People; CCBC Best Book for Kids and Teens; New York Public Library, book for the Teen Age; and the Geoffrey Bilson Award. They have also been translated into 16 languages and many have been best sellers. Daniel’s Story has sold over 1 million copies in the United States and Canada. 

      Contact Carol to book a visit

        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…

          Withers, Pam

          Writers’ Union Member. Red Maple nominee 2013, 2019 and 2020. YA. Silver Nautilus Book Award 2012. Numerous other award nominations. $225 virtual visit with Pam, co-author Arooj Hayat*, or both; $300 for one session, $500 for two, $700 for three. No HST; includes all expenses. No maximum audience size. Occasional pickup/drop-off requested.

          Writers’ Union Member. Red Maple nominee 2013, 2019 and 2020. YA. Silver Nautilus Book Award 2012. Numerous other award nominations. $225 virtual visit with Pam, co-author Arooj Hayat*, or both; $300 for one session, $500 for two, $700 for three. No HST; includes all expenses. No maximum audience size. Occasional pickup/drop-off requested.

          FREE BOOKS: An unusual offer for an unusual school year

          During 2021 only, Pam Withers (award-winning author of 21 young-adult novels) is offering a free set of YA novels to classrooms that schedule her for a 30-40-minute Zoom presentation. (Applies to 6th grade and up.) Each and every student gets a free download of her 2020 YA novel The Parkour Club, to make the discussion on it during the presentation more engaging. She’ll also read from her just-released Dundurn Press novel, Drone Chase. Both books are available on Amazon.

          Pam has written 21 best-selling YA sports and outdoor adventure books particularly popular with teen boys. A former journalist, editor and outdoor guide who has kayaked the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, she’s a sought-after speaker for her high-energy, humorous presentations. She has presented extensively across North America for 30 years. The Parkour Club (written by Pam and co-author Arooj Hayat*), promotes cultural diversity and counters Islamophobia (while being a nail-biting sports and adventure story). One Egyptian YA book reviewer wrote, “a story for the whole world to read and learn from.”

          Her lively one-hour presentation for grades 4-12 includes:
           Short readings
           Tales of her own adventures
           Humorous anecdotes of how she researches her material
           The patience & persistence it takes to achieve success
           Special encouragement to boys
           The importance of rewriting & accepting criticism
           Tips on writing & getting published
           Extreme-sports video clips
           Q & A time

          Writing workshop: Pam also offers a fun, one-hour interactive workshop on doing research to make your writing more real.

          Equipment required for in-person visits: Projector and laptop for my USB flash drive; table and water.

          Contact Pam to book a visit:

            Bow, Erin (Kitchener, ON)

            erinbow1Writers’ Union Member.  $400 plus HST for one session; $150 for each additional session in the same area on the same day – can be split between schools.   Travel costs waived in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, and the townships.

            Erin writes YA science fiction and fantasy, with a middle grade debut coming in 2019.  With multiple awards, she’s considered one of Canada’s rising stars: Quill and Quire calls her “a new master,” and the CBC says she’s “so close to YA superstardom she can probably taste it.”  As a presenter she’s down-to-earth and funny, working to give students real answers and emotional honesty.

            “I’ve had many novelists visit my classes over the years, but I can honestly say I’ve never seen one connect so well with a teenaged audience. —A.J. Blauer, Acting Head of Literary Arts, Canterbury High School (Ottawa, Ontario)

            Continue reading “Bow, Erin (Kitchener, ON)”

            Barker, Michelle (Vancouver)

            Vancouver. Writers’ Union member (schools may be eligible for travel and fee subsidies).

            Award-winning author of poetry, a historical picture book, two YA historical novels, YA fantasy novel, short fiction, and non- fiction. Winner of the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award (2019); Kirkus Best YA Historical Fiction (2018); TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award finalist (2016). All ages.

            Michelle’s rate is $225 for one presentation, $400 for two, $600 for three, and $750 for four. No travel costs within the GTA. Because she’s coming from out of town, Michelle requires two or more bookings. Online presentations available: $100 for 50 minutes. Continue reading “Barker, Michelle (Vancouver)”

            Narsimhan, Mahtab (BC)

            Mahtab Narsimhan- H20-209960 8x10 300Writers’ Union Member. Silver Birch winning author available for school, public library, and conference visits. Member of The Writers’ Union of Canada. Continue reading “Narsimhan, Mahtab (BC)”

            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 (50 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.

            Continue reading “Skrypuch, Marsha Forchuk (Brantford ON)”

            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.

            Topics:

            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: