Another Peek at Where I Write

Last month I told you about my desk and the wall beside it. The wall behind my desk tells more stories about my life as a writer.

Kathy Stinson, author's workspace

The Painting

For my first young adult novel, set in Nova Scotia, Thistledown Press hired Iris Hauser, a Saskatchewan artist to create a cover. They knew the setting was based on a place I’d visited often so they asked me to send some photos for reference. I slipped in one of my son sitting on a rock by the shore when he was the age of one of the novel’s two main characters. I was delighted when Iris used it as the basis for her painting. Matt was working at the Children’s Book Store when Fish House Secrets got published (1992) and he got a kick out of his fellow employees’ reactions when the first shipment of books came in.

The Books

On top of the bookshelf: a sampling of books I’m looking forward to reading, or re-reading in the case of The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence. I want to see how my experience of it is different fifty years later.

Top shelf: a copy of each of my published books (English versions only; translations are elsewhere) and the anthologies and magazines where KS stories appear.

Middle shelf: dictionaries and other writing reference books.

Bottom shelf: more books about writing and a sampling of books by writer-friends or otherwise of importance to me.

The Artifacts

The Dog

The ceramic dog on the top shelf belonged to my mother from the time she was quite young. She was an avid reader and a fan of crossword puzzles and “It Pays to Increase Your Word Power” in Readers Digest. I believe I have her to thank for my love of books, words, and word puzzles. (How she would have loved Wordle!)

Gifts from Students

Peeking out from behind the books is a letter from a Canadian student whose school I visited. “Your books are grat,” the student wrote, “You are a grat riter.” The “riter” of the letter hoped I could come again “awese.” It still moves me to know when something I’ve written or said has inspired a student to read or to write — anything — especially in the early stages of their literacy.

Also a drawing given to me by a student in South Korea when Sylvia McNicoll and I represented Canada at the Seoul International Book Fair in 2017. The youngster in the drawing is listening to a “man with [a] violin” wearing a traditional red robe.

A Crossword Puzzle

I wrote about it in my first ever blog post in 2007. The clue for 7 Down is especially relevant.

A Photo

Of me, violinist Joshua Bell, and one of the best writer-friends ever. When the Washington D.C. bookstore, Politics & Prose, invited me to come sign The Man with the Violin alongside Joshua signing his CDs, Nan Forler volunteered to come along as my “handler.” A jam-packed weekend jaunt so fun Nan and I swear we’ll remember it always.

Two Giraffes

In honour of The Girl Who Loved Giraffes and became the World’s First Giraffologist, of course. One a gift from my daughter representing a donation she’d made in my name to a wildlife conservation organization. The other a gift from Anne Dagg (“the girl”) herself!

A Hint

Zoom in beside the giraffes and you’ll see a hint to what my upcoming (2023) book, to be published with Greystone, will be about. More on that later!

In the meantime, wishing you and all my readers a summer with lots of free time to read, or re-read, some amazing books!

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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


  1. Wendy Mason Geoghegan on June 22, 2022 at 1:05 pm

    What a wonderful writing space you have. Chock full of meaning and relevance just like the books you write! Thank you for sharing this.

    • Kathy on June 22, 2022 at 2:02 pm

      Aw, thanks, Wendy. You are, as always, so supportive.

  2. Peggy Needham on June 24, 2022 at 4:33 pm

    I enjoyed this visit with you, Kathy! Have a wonderful summer.

    • Kathy Stinson on June 25, 2022 at 7:20 pm

      Thanks, Peggy. Happy that you did! Wishing you a wonderful summer too!

  3. Janet Barclay on August 2, 2022 at 11:53 am

    Your comment about how our mom would have loved Wordle convinced me to try it and I am enjoying it very much.

    • Kathy Stinson on September 14, 2022 at 3:04 pm

      That’s great, Janet. Welcome to the Wordle Club!

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