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MASC Young Authors and Illustrators Conference

masc conferenceNext week I’ll be a guest author at the annual MASC Young Authors and Illustrators Conference, which runs from April 21-23 in Ottawa, Ontario.

Students in grades 4-8 from eastern Ontario and western Quebec will be bussed and driven to the Canadian Aviation Museum to attend the Conference for one day each, taking a day away from school for some hands-on learning through writing and illustrating workshops led by professionals in the children’s book industry.

The kids will enjoy a plenary session in the morning and a book signing session in the afternoon, where they’ll meet all 8 of the guest authors and illustrators. Sandwiched in between those events are the meaty bits of the conference: morning and afternoon workshops in small, age-specific groups with the authors or illustrators of their choice.

So it’s a full day of writing and illustrating stories. Playing with ideas, developing characters, generating tension, figuring out what makes a story work, and just basically having fun with the awesome power of creativity. Can’t beat that.

I was a guest author at the 2012 MASC Conference and it was a blast but this year promises to be even better because (a) I know what I’m doing this time round; and (b) two of my favourite authors will be there and I’ll get to have lunch with them: Monique Polak and Tim Wynne-Jones.

Monique Polak

Monique Polak


Tim Wynne-Jones

(They have 50 books between them. Good ones. Go read a few.)

I’ll soon meet the other authors and illustrators who are guest presenters this year: authors Kate Inglis and Rina Singh, and illustrators Genevieve Despres, Matt James, and Sydney Smith. (You can read all their bios on the MASC website.) I won’t get to take their workshops, alas, but I’ll chat with them over morning coffee and that’s always fun.

Best of all, I’ll meet over a hundred young writers and share in their creative process for a couple of hours and get totally inspired while I motivate them to write their stories as well as they can.

That’s a better-than-average week, I’d say.

And that’s it for this Friday.




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