Writer in Residence: Fall 2014

Fall 2014 Writer in Residence: Robert Paul Weston
Powell River, BC

The Writer in Residence Program connects authors with schools and communities throughout British Columbia.

This fall, the Writers Fest partnered with the Powell River Public Library to bring award-winning author Robert Paul Weston to Powell River, BC. Because our Education Co-ordniator could not collaborate with a school to set up a residency due to the strike, she reached out to Powell River’s local library, where the Assistant Chief Librarian Katie Kinsley agreed to host the student workshops if teachers were still on strike in October. Fortunately, the strike ended on October 6th and as part of his residency, Weston was able to work with Grade 6 students at Westview Elementary and students in grades 1 – 5 at Edgehill Elementary.

Weston introduced students to the craft of creative writing through workshops and writing exercises. He taught students about writing poetry and creative fiction, including mysteries. The students worked together to come up with creative ideas for stories and then tried writing on their own.

“The workshop hit its intended mark by leaving the students feeling more confident about their writing skills and excited to sit down and write after a week of guidance from a professional.”

Sonia Zagwyn
Teen Services Coordinator, Powell River Library
Powell River, BC


 

Weston also hosted two events for adults in the community. His first workshop, called “So You Want to Write a Children’s Book,” explained the process of writing, planning and publishing a novel for children. And his second event was an exploration of the weird and wild world of fairytales—a humorous and historical look at some of the most popular tales as they would have been told in medieval Europe.

“Weston’s unique style resonated with students, spurred their imaginations and inspired an interest in writing. The adult events, since they touched on themes of writing for kids and sharing stories, have ignited adults’ interests in sharing stories with their children and their community. I was surprised at what an intergenerational event Weston’s Fairytales for Grown-ups was. Parents brought their middle grade to teenage children with them, which was great because the library doesn’t have a lot of programs that bring in families with older children.”

Katie Kinsley
Powell River Public Library, Powell River, BC

 

Weston’s first novel Zorgamazoo won the Silver Birch Award, the Audie Award, the California Young Reader Medal and an E.B. White Read Aloud Award, and was optioned for film by the producer of Shrek. His books have been shortlisted for the Red Maple Award, the Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best Young Adult Mystery and the Children’s Book Council Book of the Year. His new book The Creature Department is an incredibly creative book about creatures of every shape, stripe and scale.