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  • The Insider’s Guide toWriting and Publishingfor Young ReadersSummer Workshop in Charlottetown, P.E.I.

     Type: Two-Day Workshop          Dates: July 13-15, 2017         Location: University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, P.E.I.

Presented by Humber College and the University of Prince Edward Island, through the generous support of the Access Copyright Foundation, The Insider’s Guide to Writing and Publishing for Young Readers is an intensive workshop for writers of young adult and children’s literature. No matter what stage of writing you’re at – from concept to first draft or beyond – here’s the lowdown on the world of publishing and self-publishing. Led by Cynthia Good and Rick Wilks, two of the most experienced professionals in the business, this workshop, held in in beautiful Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, is full of practical suggestions and writing inspiration.

Opening with a Thursday evening reception and lecture, each workshop day will be divided into writing and publishing segments. The hours devoted to writing will concentrate on developing an outline that acts as both a map for writing and a selling tool. There will also be the opportunity to get feedback on one chapter of your book, if you have a manuscript.

The publishing segments will look at the current publishing landscape, explore traditional and self-publishing models, provide business details, and help you to construct a query letter for publishers and literary agents.

Plus, children’s author, editor, and book publicist Tom Ryan will be on hand to offer practical marketing tips for writers!

Each participant will leave the workshop with new directions for their manuscript, enriched knowledge of publishing, a strong outline of their book and an effective query letter.

You should attend if you find yourself asking these questions:

  • Where can I get feedback on my kids’ manuscript?
  • What’s the best way to publish my book?
  • Which Canadian publishers may be interested in my work?
  • How does self-publishing work and is it for me?
  • What literary agents represent kids’ books?
  • How can I market myself and my book?
  • Can I learn about the publishing process for kids’ and adult books?
  • How can I get a job in publishing?
  • Where can I find help for my writing process?
  • How can I find time to write?

Photo credits: "Prince edward island cavendish red cliffs" by chensiyuan - chensiyuan. Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons

Save the Date

"Writing a kid’s book can be an exciting but intimidating task. I came to the Humber PEI writing workshop with many ideas, but had no direction. This course changed that dramatically.

The weekend in stunning PEI was spent tapping into every corner of the writing/publishing world. We discussed everything from sentence structure to how to get a publisher’s attention. We had in depth critiques of each other’s works. We were then given options as to what to do with the work once it was completed.

Today, two years later, I am still benefiting from this workshop. In fact, in a few months my first book will be published with Annick Press. In truth, this course actually changed my life. If I hadn’t been there, I am quite positive children’s books would still just be a dream. I can’t say enough about this workshop. Go and see for yourself."

- Belle DeMont, author of I Love My Purse (Annick Press 2017)

I Love My Purse book cover


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Rick will open with his perspective on the children’s writing and publishing community in Canada. He’ll pose the fundamental question: what is the place of reading today in youth culture and how does this influence what we create? You’ll learn the dos and don’ts of writing for children and youth, and how to connect with readers.

Then the fun really begins! In this highly interactive session, you’ll look at the material your fellow participants have prepared, and hear their responses to your creative work. We ask that a story outline and sample chapter be submitted in advance. Submissions will not be identified unless you choose to let your name be known. By the conclusion of the workshop, you will have a clearer idea of how you can improve your writing and create manuscripts that will please both yourself and your readers.

Leave the workshop with:

  • an outline that will help you write and sell your book
  • specific feedback on one chapter of your book

Photo credit: Tourism P.E.I. / Heather Ogg

On the first day, Cynthia will provide an overview of children’s publishing in Canada and discuss some of the issues and trends every writer should know. She’ll invite input on self-publishing experiences and review the pros and cons of doing it on your own. You’ll begin work on query letters.

On the second day, you’ll talk about literary agents and some basic business and contractual issues, but the heart of the session will be on reviewing your query letters. As part of that review, we will also discuss next steps and self-marketing suggestions. There will be lots of time for questions.

Leave the workshop with:

  • a query letter that will make agents and publishers take notice
  • a better understanding of how publishing works in Canada

Photo credit: Tourism P.E.I. / Paul Baglole

Lighthouse, PEI

Cynthia Good

Cynthia Good has been a leader in the publishing industry for many years. She was appointed the first editorial director of Penguin Books Canada and went on to become president and publisher. Over her twenty years with Penguin, she established a publishing program which grew into one of the most successful in Canada. After Penguin she joined Humber College.

At Humber, Cynthia developed the Creative Book Publishing program and mentored over 300 students. In 2014, she stepped down from that position to take on the newly created role of Director of Student and Industry Initiatives, which allowed her to focus on program and community outreach until retiring in 2016. In recognition of her accomplishments at Humber, she was named director emeritus and was awarded the Humber Award for Excellence in Teaching.

A University of Toronto Arbor Award recipient for outstanding volunteer service, Cynthia was most recently chosen as one of University College’s 100 Alumni of Influence. She was awarded an honorary degree by Mount Allison University and was appointed the Ashley Fellow at Trent University where she is now an adjunct professor. Contact:

Rick Wilks

Rick Wilks co-founded Annick Press in 1975 and has been its sole director since 2000. Annick has been recognized as one of the most innovative publishers of fiction, non-fiction and picture books for children and young adults, publishing, among others, Robert Munsch, Sharon McKay, Kathy Stinson, Allan Stratton and Kevin Sylvester. Rick oversees all aspects of the publishing process, with a special emphasis on acquisitions.

His publishing philosophy stresses projects that are dynamic and developed to the highest literary standards. A joy of reading experience is essential to capture the minds and hearts of youth. Annick titles encourage critical thinking and the development of children’s inner resources so that, in addition to becoming confident, contributing members of their communities, they are also engaged with society at large and their peers around the globe. Annick was recently nominated for International Publisher of the Year.

Rick also co-founded the National Reading Campaign, where he has served as co-chair and currently sits as a board member. The Campaign’s goal of advocating for reading as a national public good addresses one of Rick’s highest priorities.

Rick Wilks

Tom Ryan

Tom Ryan is the author of several books for young readers. He has been nominated for the White Pine Award, the Stellar Award and the Hackmatack Award, and two of his novels were Junior Library Guild selections. Tom has worked as a publicist in the publishing industry, and also edits fiction for young readers on a freelance basis. Born and raised in Inverness, on Cape Breton Island, Tom currently lives in Halifax with his husband and their dog. For more information, visit

Workshop Dates: July 13-15, 2017

Workshop Fees: Regular Rate: $300, plus 15% PEI HST;   Seniors (65+) & Students: $250, plus 15% PEI HST

To Register: Click here to sign up via Eventbrite!

Save the Date

The Insider’s Guide to Writing and Publishing for Young Readers will be hosted at the University of Prince Edward Island’s scenic campus, located mere minutes from historic downtown Charlottetown.


Participants coming from off Island may wish to stay in UPEI’s student residences.

These accommodations include

  • free parking
  • local telephone access
  • bed linen and towel exchange service
  • 24 hour security
  • smoke-free environment

To review residence fees and book your spot at Bernardine Hall, Blanchard Hall, or Andrew Hall (UPEI's new residence), visit UPEI’s Conference Services page:

Google Map of UPEI Location

University of Prince Edward Island: 
550 University Avenue, Charlottetown, 
Prince Edward Island, Canada C1A 4P3

UPEI Building

UPEI Garden Clock

UPEI Walkway with Students