A Writer’s Professional Development

The past month has involved me in three events that fall into the category of professional development.

The Writers’ Union of Canada offered a Symposium called “Secure Footing in a Shifting Literary Landscape”. Betsy Warland and Ross Laird were two of the speakers. They explored the question of whether this is the best time in history to be a writer or whether in fact for writers the sky is falling and the ground shifting both at the same time.

Writer's Conference

I’d say the verdict is still out on that one, but I urge you to visit Betsy’s web site and download the pdf of the “Sustaining Yourself as a Writer” chapter from her upcoming book.

Then Trinity College offered a conference called “The Environmental Imagination and Children’s Literature“. After a stimulating morning of sessions, I happened to fall into the buffet lunch line behind David Almond, a writer from the U.K. I was delighted to discover that the organizers had not assigned a speakers’ table, and so I had the great pleasure of having lunch with David, and with Jean Little, who was also attending the conference.

From “Jean and I spent a week together in England as part of an exchange of Canadian and British authors in 1987” and “That’s not long to stay when you’ve traveled so far”, we got onto the subject of my recent work in Liberia. Turns out one of the characters in David’s latest book, Jackdaw Summer is a Liberian refugee. Needless to say, I bought it. (It’s called Raven Summer in North America.)

And then there was this month’s CANSCAIP meeting which featured a “virtual author visit” with Arthur Slade. If you want to know about how a virtual visit works, you can read about it at Arthur’s web site. (And hey, if there are any interested teachers out there, I’m game to try it!)

I think I’m as professionally developed as I can take for a while. But if you’re a writer looking for professional development in the form of a seaside-writing-workshop-and-retreat, Peter Carver and I would be happy to receive your application!

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Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.

Kathy Stinson

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