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

     Type: Three-Day Workshop          Dates: July 12-14, 2018         Location: University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, P.E.I.

Presented by Humber College and the University of Prince Edward Island, 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.

The workshop begins on Thursday afternoon with an opening lecture and the first workshop session, followed by a welcome reception with food and drink. Then, 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, a marketing expert will offer practical tips for writers.

Participants 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.

**NEW THIS YEAR** - More time for manuscript evaluation!

You should attend if you find yourself asking these questions:

  • Where can I get editorial feedback on my kids’ manuscript?
  • How will I know when my manuscript is ready for submission?
  • What’s the best way to publish my book?
  • What are publishers looking for?
  • 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?
  • Where can I find help for my writing process?

For more information, please email:

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

Humber logo  University of Prince Edward Island logo  

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"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.

Two years after taking this workshop, my first book was 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

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. 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 chosen as one of University College’s 100 Alumni of Influence. She was awarded an honorary doctorate by Mount Allison University.


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

Sarah Sawler

Sarah Sawler is a publicist, author, and freelance writer living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is the author of the regional bestseller 100 Things You Don't Know About Nova Scotia and 100 Things You Don't Know About Atlantic Canada - For Kids. For the past nine months, she's also been working closely with Cape Breton YouTuber Frankie MacDonald on Be Prepared: The Frankie MacDonald Guide to Life, the Weather, and Everything. Occasionally, she writes about children's literature for Atlantic Books Today, and has had numerous reviews published in the Quill & Quire's "Books for Young People" section.

In addition to writing (and promoting) her own books, Sarah markets other people's books as the publicist for Conundrum Press, a literary graphic novel publisher based in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Previously, she worked as a publicist at Fierce Ink Books, an independent publisher that specialized in young adult books. She's also a former bookseller; years of experience at Woozles Children's Bookstore provided her with valuable insight into everything from cover design to merchandising.

Sarah has also worked as a online technical writing instructor for Dalhousie University's Continuing Education Department, spoken to elementary school classes, facilitated professional development courses, spoken at conferences and festivals, signed piles of books, and once, created a fictional biography for a rooster.

Sarah Sawler

Workshop Dates: July 12-14, 2018

Workshop Fees: Regular Rate: $325, plus 15% PEI HST;   Seniors (65+) & Students: $275, 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

Classroom shot

UPEI Building

UPEI Garden Clock

“The workshop was very well organized, and the presentations were excellent. I was particularly impressed by Cynthia Good and Rick Wilks, and their knowledgeable, informed, and sage advice. I learned a lot; much more than I anticipated. I would definitely attend again.”

~ Don Desserud, PEI


“Thank you for this incredible opportunity for honest feedback! Thank you for broadening my understanding of the publishing industry and about the writing process.” 

~ Elaine Kachala, Toronto, ON


“Thank you, thank you, this was one of the best literary experiences of my life.” 

~ Brenton Dickieson, PEI


"Honing my writing skills, challenging my imagination and learning about the business of publishing is only part of what I gained from the Writing & Publishing Workshop in Charlottetown. This workshop did more than meet expectations. It helped me see what my writing was missing, which, in the words of one of the presenters, was to "just let go and see what happens." Rick, Cynthia and those at UPEI create a special environment for participants to learn and let go. I am so grateful I attended this workshop."

~ Clare O'Connor, Halifax, NS


"I have seldom learned so much in 2.5 days as I did at this workshop last summer. The notes I took are a wealth of practical, factual information and educated opinion about writing and publishing books aimed at children. That learning, along with the feedback about my story and writing, continues to be hugely useful as I write the rest of Human Child. Bravo and thank you!"

 ~ Wendy Pobjoy, First Place, L.M. Montgomery Children's Literature Award, Cox and Palmer 2018 Island Literary Awards

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