I’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 www.literacyforlife.ca
If 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!
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.
My friend Meghan Marentette and I had a joint launch at the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia of her first children’s novel, The Stowaways (Pajama Press) and of my fifth novel, The Hidden Agenda of Sigrid Sugden (Fitzhenry & Whiteside).
A terrific event – a sandwich board outside the door, children sitting on a rug near the podium, delicious nibblies prepared by us (yes, I’m boasting!). Lisa Doucet was there from Woozles,
selling books. My great-grandson Logan was in the front row (his first book launch) with his mother Jessica, my granddaughter, to whom my book is dedicated.
Carmen Klassen of CBC Radio did a wonderful job of introducing Meghan and me, thank you, Carmen.
And many friends came to help us celebrate as our two new books make their way into the world. Thanks to everyone who made this event so successful.
I was in Toronto from November 4-10, for the launch of all Pajama Press’s 2013 titles – including Nix Minus One. Meghan Marentette was also there from Halifax, with her first novel for children, The Stowaways; and I stayed with my friend Sue MacLeod (thank you, Sue!), who launched her contemporary/historical YA novel, Namesake.
It was a fun event, familiar faces (Alma Fullerton among them) and new ones (Karen Bass, whose novel, Graffiti Knight, I very much enjoyed) – and Gail Winskill introduced us all. Books for sale, great grub prepared by Alma’s husband, and good “shop” talk.
Then we hopped the #509 shuttle through the wasteland near Harbourfront (construction, construction, construction) to Bay Street Station, and caught the subway. I felt like a pro on Toronto Transit by the time I flew home.
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The wonderful Authors’ Booking Service arranged a visit to the Pleasantview Library (take the Bloor Line east and the bus north).
One hundred grade 8 students sitting on the floor of the auditorium at 9 a.m. My first time to read Nix Minus One in junior high, and my first (gulp) Powerpoint presentation. Everything went super-smooth – Powerpoint really helped, because none of the kids were from Newfoundland or had ever been there. So I could show them fishing villages and shots of the barrens and the mountains on the northern peninsula.
And they loved Nix!!! So wonderful to meet with that response, with such close attention. Thank you, every one of you!
I’ve decided to attend the Pajama Press launch in Toronto – for all their titles (ten altogether) published in the spring and fall seasons of 2013. So I’ll be there on November 7th with Nix Minus One.
My flights are booked on Porter Air – I love flying into Toronto Islands airport and taking the ferry to the Harbourfront area.
And I can stay with my friend Sue MacLeod, who will also be at the launch with her wonderful present day/historical teen novel, Namesake.
The six-month “sabbatical” I’ve been trying to take from the world of kidlit? With two new titles published this year – Nix Minus One and The Hidden Agenda of Sigrid Sugden – I’m out of luck!
Obviously, I really care about both books, and want to do everything I can to introduce them to potential readers. So…I’d better go prepare my presentation for the Pleasant View Branch of the Toronto Public Library on November 6th….
I visited two of the Calgary Public Library branches on my trip out west – branches, so I was told by Anne O’Sullivan, who drove me to both of them, that only rarely got visits from authors. Thank you, Anne.
At the first, Glenmore Square, I was met by Suman Gangopadhyay, the branch supervisor – so much enthusiasm for her job and the community programs she was able to implement.
A class of grade fives arrived, some of whom had read The Nine Lives of Travis Keating.
I only had 45 minutes with them, not nearly long enough. A wonderful group of kids. In the Q/A, one girl asked me if I knew the ending of the book when I began…what a great question!
The second day, in the Shaganappi Branch, I was greeted by Joey Sayer, also so helpful and kind. A mix of grades four, five and six.
One of the teachers had hooked the students on Nine Lives, and Joey had collected their questions for me. Somehow the conversation segued to how my grandson helps out with “techy” questions, including the intricacies of Modern Warfare, and how Stuart always beat me hands down. A lot of the boys there obviously knew about Modern Warfare, so I read the poem about it (swearword omitted) from Nix Minus One. It was really fun.
Libraries, as I must have said at least six times on this blog, are among my favourite places on earth. Where else can you be given access to so many books – and they’re free. Think on it. Free.
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.
Pick up your copy today!
- What has Jill been up to? January 26, 2016
- 2015 Ontario Library Association’s Silver Birch Nomination October 21, 2014
- White Ravens Selection 2014 – Nix Minus One October 8, 2014
- Atlantic Book Awards – Ann Connor Brimer Award for Nix Minus One! May 26, 2014
- Festival of Trees May 26, 2014
ratings: 143 (avg rating 4.20)
The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy
ratings: 69 (avg rating 4.19)
The Nine Lives of Travis Keating
ratings: 91 (avg rating 4.16)
Nix Minus One
ratings: 13 (avg rating 4.15)
Brevity of Red, The