Saskatoon Literacy Conference



L4L-website-headerI’m just back from the tenth annual Saskatoon Literacy Conference, held at the University of Saskatchewan in  cooperation with Saskatoon Public Schools. I was one of ten presenters, who included illustrators, authors, and a storyteller – a pleasure to be with such an interesting group.

There was a banquet with a thousand guests, then we each did eight presentations, four per day, and finished with book signing at the local Indigo. The conference was hosted by Florence and John Barton – such a terrific job of organizing such a huge event (2000 students were involved), and such warm and hospitable people. Thanks!

Check out the website at

home_truths-cover-2012If you click on Student Author Connections, and follow Jill MacLean, you’ll come across two trailers for “Home Truths,” my 2010 YA novel told from the point of view of 14 year-old Brick MacAvoy, who is a bully.

Thank you to Alex and David, two grade 8 students who made the video, and to the actors and photographers – I feel you really “got” the theme of the book.

For the grades 6 to 8, I did a writing exercise around the theme of bullying, that led – so I was told – to some interesting discussions. Heartening to see how that book still has an impact.


The lakes were frozen in Saskatchewan and no green grass visible – I’ve stopped complaining about our late Maritime spring!


For the banquet, grade one students were given the photos of the presenters from their websites and asked to draw portraits – then we had to pick out our own.  No problem with mine – I was the only grey-haired woman!

photo 1 photo 2


Then a grade 8 student did a painting for each of us, and we were given these later on at the banquet. Mine is based largely on “The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy” – and I love it! Thank you, Sarah.


photo 3

Jill is on TV!!

Watch for me on the Morning Show on Global TV on Monday morning February 17th at 6:45 a.m. (yes, that’s a.m.) with Crystal Garrett, the Anchor and Co-Host of the Morning News.

We’ll be talking about all five of my books.


Summer Reading…..





I’m very happy with the Kirkus review of Nix Minus One, which you can find on Nix’s home page on this website.

And I’m taking some time off to read.

True Confessions: I can’t read fiction when I’m writing or editing my own fiction.

Because I’ve done so much writing and editing in the last year or two, I’m hungry for other people’s novels. Here’s the list so far:




JoAnn Yhard’s adventure-filled thriller for middle readers, Buried Secrets at Louisbourg.Namesake_C



Sue MacLeod’s evocative and intelligent Namesake, about two teenagers called Jane Grey, one of whom lives in the 21st century, while the other is awaiting execution in sixteenth century England.



Two (adult) novels by Pat Barker, renowned for her books about WWI.

Anne Simpson’s novel Falling, a book that for me was filled with grace.

And Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent, set in nineteenth century Iceland, also about a woman awaiting execution – I’m going to Iceland in July, and plan to read some Icelandic sagas before I leave.

Gotta go. There’s a big stack of books waiting for me….

My Week in Calgary – Part 1



Pajama Press, my publishers for Nix Minus One, flew me to Calgary last week. And what a week! So much went on, that there’ll be at least two instalments to this blog.

The major event was the Calgary Children’s Literature Round Table on the evening of the 22nd.

Supported by United Library Services, the event was billed as “Two Celebrated Canadian Authors.” I spoke first, followed by Ken Oppel – now he is a celebrated author.

I’d reread Silverwing before I left Halifax, and read Sunwing on the flight to Calgary – and enjoyed both so much. Imaginative, original, and exciting. So it was a real pleasure to meet Ken, listen to his talk, and exchange ideas on how we write.

Illustrating my talk with excerpts from Nix, I spoke about the power of experience and of imagination to shape our narratives.

Keep reading – we writers need you!










Winston’s Review



This week, I received a wonderful review of Nix Minus One written by a young man, a review that’s also posted on Goodreads and on my website. But I wanted to bring attention to it because it moved me deeply.

It astonishes me that I’ve written something that touches the male psyche. I don’t start out with an “agenda” when I write a book. I write from character. But Nix, and the potential alchemy of a novel, somehow affected this particular man at this particular time – strongly enough that he took the time to write about it.

Thank you, Winston.

You’ve inspired me to post some spring photos of my perennial garden – photos from last year because the weather’s staying cold in the Maritimes and my crocuses are shivering in the wind.

Winston’s Review     review on












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The Hidden Agenda of Sigrid Sugden
Jill MacLean's latest book The Hidden Agenda of Sigrid Sugden , published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside and is available in bookstores and on-line!

This book is the completion of the Newfoundland trilogy which started with The Nine Lives of Travis Keating, followed by The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy.

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Nix Minus One

Jill MacLean's book Nix Minus One , published by Pajama Press and now available in bookstores!

Nix Minus One is geared for readers in Grade 7-8 and up.
Published February 15, 2013


Jill MacLean's books on Goodreads

Home Truths
Home Truths

reviews: 34

ratings: 143 (avg rating 4.20)

The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy
The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy

reviews: 14

ratings: 69 (avg rating 4.19)

The Nine Lives of Travis Keating
The Nine Lives of Travis Keating

reviews: 26

ratings: 91 (avg rating 4.16)

Nix Minus One
Nix Minus One

reviews: 6

ratings: 13 (avg rating 4.15)

Brevity of Red, The
Brevity of Red, The

ratings: 1 (avg rating 3.00)