Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Picture Book Classes Start Soon

This semester I'm teaching two classes in the University of Toronto's Continuing Studies department.

"Writing for Children: Picture Books" begins on Wed. Oct. 6 12:30-2:00 p.m. In the course I talk about the fundamental structure of picture books and other essential elements. Each week there is an assignment, all of which go towards producing drafts of two manuscripts. There's always a lot of good energy and enthusiasm in the class and we all enjoy it.

"Writing for Children: Picture Books II" begins on Monday Oct. 4 6:30-9:00 p.m. While it has no prerequisite, the course is intended for people who have taken previous writing courses. (If you really want to take it anyway, you can email me.) There are no set talks or assignments. Instead, the class is devoted to detailed workshopping of manuscripts brought in by participants. As well, we are having two guests. One is a picture-book illustrator who will talk about what makes a good manuscript from the illustrator's point of view. The other is an editor at a major children's publishing house who will give us the inside scoop on how manuscripts are accepted and what editors look for.

Here is the website for the school:

Or phone 416 978-2400.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

'Valentine's Fall' a Toronto Book Award Finalist

The award nominations for the Toronto Book Award were held at the Toronto Reference Library, with Mayor David Miller making the announcements. (I've met David Miller twice--once when he was trying to get elected and now, on his way out.)

Naturally, I am delighted. Being a born Torontonian, this award nomination means a lot to me. I'm just now starting to read the other nominated books. That's what awards really do--help readers to discover good books.

All of the nominees are reading at this year's Word on the Street in Toronto next weekend, and also at the Yorkville Library on October 5. The winner is announced at a ceremony on Oct. 14 (6 p.m.) at the Toronto Reference Library. Everyone is invited, so come on down and see what a bunch of nervous authors looks like.