MASC Young Authors and Illustrators Festival 2019

I’m ready for the MASC Young Authors and Illustrators Festival taking place in Ottawa April 9-11. I’ll be leading workshops with keen young writers coming to town from elementary schools across eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

This annual event draws hosting authors and illustrators from across the country. This year’s festival will feature authors Cary Fagan, Karen Krossing, David A Robertson, and me, Catherine Austen, and illustrators Soyeon Kim and Britt Wilson.

This is a chance for kids who love to write and draw — or those who want to find out if they might love it — to spend an entire day in creative workshops with like-minded artists and authors.

Great place for creativity!

The Festival will be held at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum, a gorgeous venue beside the Ottawa River at the Rockcliffe Flying Club. This will be my third time as a workshop host (being local has its advantages) and I know I’m in for an exciting, busy, inspiring week.

The Festival is always a sold-out event, so it’s too late to sign up for this year. But if a day of writing or illustration workshops sounds up your alley, visit the MASC website and keep abreast of the call for registrations to next year’s Festival. (If you’re already signed up for this year, you can attend next year, too — there will be a fresh batch of authors and illustrators to lead the workshops in 2020.)

I can’t wait!

 

Awesome Authors 2019 – Decision Time

There are so many more awesome entries than can be included in the final Pot-pourri collection.

Every year, the Ottawa Public Library holds a youth writing contest for which hundreds of local kids write stories, poems, and comics. The winners and honourable mentions are published in the annual anthology, Pot-pourri. But the contest’s title — Awesome Authors — applies to all of those who enter.

The contest deadline for 2019 has passed (it was February 19th — if you are still thinking about entering, hold that thought till next year), and the entries are currently in the hands of the judges, awaiting final decisions.

I’m one of those judges. I’ve been in a judge for the Awesome Authors English Short Fiction category for the past few years (and hopefully for a few more to come). This year, I considered 136 stories written by kids aged 9-12.

Over the past couple of weeks, I winnowed the original entries down to my top 20. (This was not easy.) The Top 20 are all outstanding. Really, they all deserve to be in next year’s Pot-pourri. But alas, there is no room. Read More

Young Writers Workshop: Setting Exercise

I’ll be giving a writing workshop tomorrow at the Carlingwood Library to help kids aged 9-12 prepare their stories for the Ottawa Public Library’s Awesome Authors Contest.

We’ll do two story-building exercises: one on Character, and one on Setting. Read More

Awesome Authors 2019 – Submission Call

It’s time for all the young writers in Ottawa to get their awesome on!

The Ottawa Public Library wants you to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and write a poem, short story, or comic (or all three!) to enter into the OPL’s 2019 Awesome Authors youth writing contest.

The contest is open to Ottawa students aged 9-18. There will be two age categories this year: 9-12 and 13-18. There are two language categories: English and French. And three genres: poems, short stories, and comics. (You can enter one piece in each genre in each language, if you’re an extra-awesome author, for a total of six submissions!)

You’ll find all the important rules here on the OPL website.

I’ll be judging the English fiction submissions in the 9-12 age category — and I can’t wait to read your stuff! Read More

Young Writers’ Markets

If you are a young writer of fiction or poetry, here are some excellent places to submit your work The updated lists are divided into teen markets and children’s markets (with a bit of overlap).

Online and Print Magazines for Teen Writers:

The Blue Marble publishes poetry, prose and art from writers aged 13-20.


canvas

Canvas is a literary journal that publishes prose and poetry by writers aged 13-18.


Sadly, Cicada Magazine closed in August 2018. Read More

NaNoWriMo on the Slow Track

I posted a motivational blurb on the SCBWI Canada East website today, about slogging it through the last days of November’s novel-writing challenge.

I have never actually made the NaNoWriMo journey, meaning I’ve never done a start-to-finish draft in the month of November. I’ve started books, and I’ve finished books, but never both in November.

But I’m really fond of the whole idea and how it motivates so many people–because who couldn’t use a little more motivation?

My first children’s novel, Walking Backward, began as a NaNoWriMo effort. 
Read More

Inktober for those afraid to Draw

It’s the first day of Inktober. Illustrators know this. The rest of us might not — but we should, all of us. Because Inktober is awesome. And it’s for everyone.

Inktober began in 2009, by artist Jake Parker, as a challenge to improve drawing skills and practices. The gist is simple: you make an ink drawing every day of the month. 31 days, 31 drawings. And you can share it all online.

Inktober is, obviously, intended for artists. But anyone who can make a mark on a page is welcome to participate. Doodlers, calligraphers, even writers. Read More

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