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!
I had a wonderful morning in Bedford South School the week before last. The grade four students had each written a short book about an animal of their choice, all the way from a squid to a red-eyed tree frog.
The teacher – what a woman! – had arranged a group book launch, with parents and other classes invited. And I was invited, too. Such fun to see everyone’s wonderful writing and drawings, a very creative class. Thank you, grade fours!
Another good review for Nix Minus One, this one in the Calgary Herald.
You can find it on Nix’s home page on my website.
I’m in Calgary this week, so the timing of the review is great.
Monday, I’m at the Children’s Literary Roundtable, with Kenneth Oppel – very exciting.
On Tuesday we spend the day at bookstores in Calgary and Pixie Hollow, an hour or so south of Calgary.
On Wednesday and Thursday, library readings, with grades four, five, and six.
Home on Friday.
A busy week!
It’s supposed to snow while I’m there. So here – as an antidote – are the crocuses in my garden
An early start at a private school in Ottawa, where I was warmly welcomed. This visit was sponsored by the Ottawa Writers Festival – many thanks, Leslie.
Then I met a poet friend for a pub lunch, and ended the afternoon at the National Gallery where I watched a segment of “The Clock,” a film that lasts 24 hours, is made up of short clips of many, many other movies all of which have a reference to time, and takes place in “real” time – in other words, if I’m watching from 4 to 5pm, that hour of the film covers the minutes from 4 to 5 pm. I loved it! Apparently the gallery has stayed open all night several times so people can watch the night-time segments.
I begin the day at Caradoc Public School in Mount Brydges, a newly renovated school with a wonderfully bright and airy library. Sitting cross-legged on the carpet from the back window to the tips of my toes are 110 grades 4 and 5 students (and 3 grade 3 students).
On one wall of the library is a quote from Dr Seuss, the same quote that I used in my third book, Home Truths. Definitely a good omen!
I read from The Nine Lives of Travis Keating. Lots of questions from a lively and responsive bunch,considering it’s their first class on a Monday morning! One of my favourite parts of being in the classroom is seeing what interests kids, and what they like – and don’t like – about the books.
Then I see another quote on the corridor wall. It goes something like this:
“Creativity is about making mistakes.
Art is knowing what to do with them.”
Now that I really like.
My second session in the same school was grades 7 and 8, 80 of them. I’d never done a grade 8 class before, but it went fine.
I’m off to a good start. My thanks to Norah Hofford for making all the arrangements.
My third session is at Dunwich-Dutton Public School in Dutton. This is a small group (30 or so) of committed Silver Birch and Silver Birch Express readers, whose librarian has kindly arranged for pizza, veggies, fruit and cookies to be served in the library. Oh yes, and chocolate sauce for the fruit – a big hit. I manage not to get any on my clean shirt. A lot of fun! Thank you, Catherine Nolan, for making sure this happened.
And the fourth session, the first of my four Canada Council readings, is also in Dutton in the public library, another light-filled space. The school kids have walked there (one Newfoundlander among them, I’m always glad to meet anyone from my favourite province). A welcoming poster on the wall, and Susan Lamont is my host and driver for this and for the following day – thank you, Susan.
All day, I enjoyed my drives through the Ontario countryside. Ontario – like Nova Scotia – has had lots of rain, so everything is green and lush.
Back to the hotel, walk, supper, read my notes for the next day and collapse. This will become the pattern all week! No night life, believe me.
Here I am in London, Ontario, at the Quality Suites Hotel.
I’ve gone for a walk, I’ve had supper, and I’ve read over my notes for the next day – four presentations for my first day on the TD Canadian Children’s Book Tour in the London/Waterloo area.
Yep, I’m nervous. But not so nervous that I’m not going to have fun.
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