By the time Erin left, I had a room full of eight year olds writing poetry. Even the boys.
--Joyce Nafzinger, grade three teacher
Simply the best author presentation we've ever had.
--Bob Spree, High School Writers' Craft teacher
I give school and community presentations regularly. These are some of my more popular school presentations. I charge a fee of $250 per classroom visit, plus travel for visits outside of Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge.
I also do free author visits via Skype for classes or book clubs studying one of my books. Click here to contact me.
A Writers' Journey
grades 5 and up
Single classes doing units on creative writing, Writers' Craft classes, school clubs,
Writing Plain Kate took me six years. Let me walk students through getting an idea and creating characters - through writer's block and the long slog of the first draft - through editing your own work - through finding an agent and the excitement of making a sale.
And then comes the fun part: a two-foot tall stack of manuscripts that represent my work with my editors and copy editors. I'll show specific examples of editorial comments and revisions, and talk generally about how to make a story stronger. I also provide resources for students who are interested in publishing their own work, and I take questions all along the way.
This is a lively, interactive presentation, best suited for grades six and up.
Erin Bow and her three-foot tall pile of drafts had my creative writing class mesmerized and laughing. Some of them even started revising after Erin's visit.
--Kristen Maithes, High School creative writing teacher
grades 2 and up
150 kids maximum
I'm a well-known haiku writer, and I lead haiku workshops for students as young as grade two. Get beyond 5-7-5 and learn about season words -- about the haiku leap -- and about looking at the everyday world with haiku eyes. My most recent class, fourth graders, wrote these:
My beautiful horse
had a beautiful foal
too close to winter
The maples are fire colour
We are bourning lefs
The smoke smells yello
I also talk about how haiku is traditionally combined with images and used in decoration. A "tanabata tree" makes a great all-school project.
This presentation works best with a single class, but can be given to an auditorium full of up to 150 kids. Allow me to recommend a mixed group: various ages, mix special education and gifted classes together. In the classroom, this requires a chalkboard, white board, or flip chart. In the auditorium, I need an overhead projector and screen.
I teach a special education class and we took the ideas back to our classroom and created our own haikus. The students loved it. They were able to create a picture of their moment in time. It was a great presentation.
--Sheri Burns, grade 4 - 6 special education teacher
I think you had my guys when you mentioned ninjas.
--Melissa Reist, gifted class grade six teacher
Writing an Oral History
High School and University
single classes studying social studies, history, or writing
My award-winning poetry book Ghost Maps is drawn from six months of interviews I did with a veteran of World War II's Battle of the Bulge. I meant to write a novel, but I found all of the action of a novel is not recorded in history books: how DO you sleep in a fox hole? What do you eat? How do you keep your socks dry?
In reading from this book and telling the story of its creation, I'll provide a gentle introduction to the concept of social history, and bring the real experience of our veterans to life.
If it fits your class's needs, I give practical advice on how to collect an oral history from parents, grandparents, neighbors, and friends. What will future generations want to know? How can your students, as young historians, bring those lives to light?
This presentation works best with a single or double classroom of up to fifty high school students.
Erin Bow is a smart and funny speaker, with flawless timing and a delightfully surprising fund of lived experience to draw on. Better still: she has important things to say.
--Kim Jernigan, editor The New Quarterly