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About MeI grew up on a Peace River homestead, attended high school while staying in a dormitory in Fort St. John and went on to UBC to earn a B.A. and Teacher's + read more Certificate. I have worked, studied and travelled in Canada, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Europe, and the UK, serving as a volunteer in Sri Lanka with Canadian Crossroads International and as a group leader with Canada World Youth to Sri Lanka and India. I then earned a Diploma in Creative Writing from David Thompson University Centre in Nelson.

My writing career (i.e., paid work) began with a weekly column in the Alaska Highway News for two years while still in high school and since then, I've published poetry, non-fiction essays and journalism, short and long fiction, stage and radio plays, and children's literature. So far I've published eight books and I am at work on two more children's books for my publisher.

After working a great variety of white, pink and blue collar jobs, I am now writing nearly full-time while working shifts as a relief lightkeeper at West Coast lighthouses, from my home base at the Lennard Island Lightstation near Tofino.
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My Work Speaker Info Contact Me
You May Know Me For:
    Literature Types
  • Picture Books
  • Chapter Books
  • YA Fiction

Published WorksCHILDREN & TEENS

Chanter Dans Le Noir (Les Editions de la Courte Echelle Inc.: 2012) Translated by Fanny Britt.

The Village of Many Hats (Oolichan Books: 2012) chapter book for 7-10 year olds aka Grade 3/4

Singing Away the Dark (Simply Read Books: 2010) picture book for K-2 Illustrated by Julie Morstad

Disturbing the Peace (Polestar Press: 1990) prose-poems & short story collection, much-anthologized for high school and university level English courses-suitable for teens and adults

BOOKS FOR ADULTS
Light Years: Memoir of a Modern Lighthouse Keeper (Harbour Publishing: 2015)
Penny Loves Wade, Wade Loves Penny (Oolichan Books:2010) adult novel based on The Odyssey
Alaska Highway Two-Step (Polestar Press: 1993) mystery novel (will be republished by Harbour Publishing in 2017)
Work is a 4-Letter Word (National & multi-agency adult literacy contract: 1999) illustrated short stories for adult learners
A Blue Fable (self-published rice paper chapbook, Kathmandu, Nepal: 1982) fable for all ages

Singing Away the Dark has 4 nominations to date and was awarded a Red-Starred Book of Exceptional Merit Our Choice Award by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre
-Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award for best illustrated book
-Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Picture Book Award
-Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award
-Chocolate Lily Award

Alaska Highway Two-Step-1994 Arthur Ellis Best First Mystery Award finalist-Crime Writers of Canada
Disturbing the Peace-1991 Ethel Wilson Fiction finalist-BC Book Prizes


Speaking InformationI am comfortable with children of all ages and prefer interactive formats with opportunities for children to ask questions so classroom groups of thirty + read more students or less are ideal whereas a library or gym filled with two hundred students is a challenge for which a microphone is a vital accessory! I have taught creative writing workshops since 1985 to people aged eight to eighty-eight, at venues as varied as the Kamloops Young Authors Conference, Elder Hostel and the Vancouver Island Children's Book Festival. I have different presentations: Fear & Imagination which I have props for, my "bag of fears" which accompanies my reading of Singing Away the Dark and I have a lighthouse slide show, thirty minutes long, which is a nature study and an exploration of an enduring coastal occupation. I've Skyped the Fear & Imagination workshop, with a short visual/musical piece, to classrooms in Edgewood, Nakusp and New Denver to reach six classes for their 2015 Rocking the Page Virtual Writing Festival and followed up by giving feedback to student writing by email. There are endless variations for writers reaching student writers and readers!

One of the best writing workshops I've done recently came about because of a talented and hardworking teacher, Danielle Murphy, Grade 3 teacher at Kanaka Creek Elementary School in Maple Ridge, B.C. She motivated two other Grade 3 classes and soon they were all reading The Village of Many Hats. Danielle organized a parent/guardian luncheon inspired by the community lunch in the story, and in her classroom, over seventeen different nationalities were reflected by the special foods brought in and enjoyed by all. Then teacher/librarian Lucinda Tooker organized a "Hat Day" in the library, invited me to give a presentation and to answer questions emailed to me by students in all three classes before I arrived. Thanks to this degree of preparation, it was a truly wonderful day of creating 2-D hats and wearing 3-D ones. Kudos to all involved! (Lesson plans for both Singing Away the Dark and The Village of Many Hats are on my website, fyi)

My wide-ranging publishing career as a bookseller, publishers' sales rep and creative writing teacher, my life experience as a youth worker in Sri Lanka and India and as a teacher in northern B.C. and the West Kootenay region gives me lots of scope to tailor writing workshops to each age and interest group. My training as a teacher, extensive field work with English as a second language, willingness to work in French at the K-3 level with Chanter Dans Le Noir and my diverse theatrical and musical experience as a performer enables me to present lively and productive writing performances and workshops. I have given over 300 public readings of my work in schools, libraries, post-secondary classrooms, community halls and Festivals across Canada and in the United States. Show Less


    I Will Travel To:
  • Vancouver
  • Coast
  • Lower Mainland
  • Gulf and Vancouver Islands
  • Thompson Okanagan
  • Northern British Columbia
  • Cariboo Chilcotin Coast
  • Kootenay Rockies
  • The Territories
  • Canada - beyond BC
  • USA
  • International

    I Present to Age Groups:
  • Primary School
  • Grades K-3
  • Grades 4-6
  • Grades 7-8
  • High School
  • College / University / Adult

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TestimonialsIt was a wonderful presentation. The children were very taken by your true story, "Singing in the + read more Dark". They also enjoyed the many slides you had to share.
Kim Walter, Teacher
Palsson Elementary School
Lake Cowichan, B.C.
April 2016 Show Less
Please find enclosed our class letters! The kids really enjoyed your presentation, as you will see + read more in their writing!
I really enjoyed your presentation also. It looks very lovely to be a lighthouse keeper, although I am sure it has its trying times as well. I would love to live on the ocean some day.
I hope all is well with you. Thanks again for your visit!
Brenda Keay, Teacher
Don Titus Elementary School
Chetwynd, B.C.
May 2016 Show Less
Reviews by People That Really Matter: Grade 3 Kids from Cedar Elementary School on Vancouver Island + read more in 2014!

Emmett: I liked how she showed us the stories she wrote.
Olivier: I liked that she had so many hats.
Sam: I liked the books. I liked all the titles.
Hunter: I like how she made the books; they were really epic.
Grace: My favorite part was that Caroline was enthusiastic and nice. She wasn't grumpy; she was happy. Show Less

Awards and Recognition:In June 2016, I was awarded an Honorary Associate of Arts Degree by Northern Lights College in + show more Dawson Creek, B.C. for my literary contributions to national and international literature, with my books, often with Peace River settings, for adults and children.

Light Years: Memoir of a Modern Lighthouse Keeper (Harbour Publishing: 2015) was nominated for the Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award in 2016
Singing Away the Dark was awarded a Red-Starred Book of Exceptional Merit "Our Choice" Award by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. It has now been published in French, Korean and Bulgarian. It was also nominated for:
-Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award for best illustrated book-Canadian Library Association
-Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Picture Book Award-Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
-Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award-Canadian Children's Book Centre
-Chocolate Lily-B.C. Library Association

Alaska Highway Two-Step-1994 Arthur Ellis Best First Mystery Award finalist-Crime Writers of Canada
Disturbing the Peace-1991 Ethel Wilson Fiction finalist-BC Book Prizes Show Less

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