Best Selling Children’s Author Helaine Becker
Writing for Children: Picture Book Primer
Date: Monday, March 4, 2019
Time: 1 to 4 pm
You’ve got great stories! And family members love them! Can you turn them into a picture book – and get it published?
In this fun workshop, you’ll learn about what makes a picture book work. You’ll learn how to turn an idea into a professionally crafted book, and how to go about finding a publisher for it (when the time comes!) You will also work on actual projects (bring your story ideas!), get works-in-progress critiques and come away with the bones of your very own picture book text.
Handout of resources will be given to participants.
Audience: Teens and adults, space is limited
Helaine Becker is the bestselling author of more than 80 books for children, including the #1 Canadian national bestseller, A Porcupine in a Pine Tree, and the internationally bestselling picture book biography, Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13. Helaine’s award-winning books for children include Sloth at the Zoom, You Can Read, The Ode to Underwear, Worms for Breakfast, Zoobots, Hubots, Monster Science and Lines, Bars and Circles: How William Playfair Invented Graphs. She’s a multi-time winner of the Silver Birch Award and Lane Anderson Award for Science Writing, and winner of the Canadian Picture Book of the Year Award from the Canadian Booksellers Association. Eight forthcoming titles – picture books and nonfiction for kids – are currently under contract with Henry Holt Publishers, Groundwood Books, Scholastic Canada, Kids Can Press and Owlkids Books.
Helaine has been a keynote speaker at the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Canadian conference, CANSCAIP’s Packaging Your Imagination conference, and the CCBC Writing for Children seminar. She talks about books and writing to students and general audiences across North America and internationally, with appearances at the World Science Festival (NYC), Tucson Book Festival, Vancouver Writers Festival Blue Met Festival (Montreal) and the Toronto International Festival of Authors. She also has served as a judge for the New Brunswick Picture Book Award, Burlington Library Children’s Writing Contest and Innisfil Library Student Writing Contest.
Helaine volunteers regularly for brain research and for literacy organizations including First Book. She’s also a certified pyrotechnician, so expect fireworks at any time. helainebecker.com
Acclaimed Poet and Novelist Helen Humphreys
Fiction, Non-Fiction, or Poetry? Choosing a Container for your Writing
Date: Friday, April 12, 2019
Audience: aspiring writers
This workshop will examine the benefits and limits of these three different genres, and how to decide what will be the best fit for your material as a writer. Come prepared to write.
Her first novel, Leaving Earth (1997), won the City of Toronto Book Award and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Her second novel, Afterimage (2000), won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, was nominated for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Her third novel, The Lost Garden (2002), was a 2003 Canada Reads selection, a national bestseller, and was also a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Wild Dogs (2004) won the Lambda Prize for fiction, was optioned for film, and produced as a play at CanStage in Toronto in 2008. Coventry (2008) was a national bestseller and was shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award and the Canadian Authors Association Award for Fiction. It was also a New York Times Editors’ Choice. The Reinvention of Love (2011) was longlisted for the Dublin Impac Literary Award and shortlisted for the Canadian Authors Association Award for Fiction. The Evening Chorus, 2015 was nominated for a Governor General’s Literary Award and was a national bestseller.
Helen Humphrey’s most recent novel is Machine Without Horses, 2018. A seasoned writer stumbles across an obituary and imagination is sparked. The brief words of memoriam describe a woman who was both extraordinary—eccentric, revered in her field, a renowned expert—but also utterly ordinary. How does a writer, intrigued by all that isn’t said, create a story? Capture an unknowable woman and all the secret passions, choices and compromises that make up a life? explores the real life and the imagined internal life of the famous and famously private salmon-fly dresser, Megan Boyd, a craftswoman who worked for sixty years out of a bare-bones cottage in a small village in the north of Scotland. Humphreys, both present in the story and its architect, reveals with her inimitable style the complicated emotional landscape that can exist under even the most constant surface.
Humphreys’ work of creative non-fiction, The Frozen Thames (2007), was a national bestseller. Her critically acclaimed memoir, Nocturne, was a finalist for the Trillium Book Award.
Her collections of poetry include Gods and Other Mortals (1986); Nuns Looking Anxious, Listening to Radios (1990); and, The Perils of Geography (1995). Her last collection, Anthem (1999), won the Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry.
The recipient of the Harbourfront Festival Prize for literary excellence, Humphreys lives in Kingston, Ontario. hhumphreys.com