Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Orca Book Panel on Writing and Illustrating

If you missed the Vancouver Roundtable's Serendipity Conference this past weekend in Vanocuver, you missed the best in kid's lit conferences. Ten BC author's presented with, I think the highlight going to Linda Bailey who likened her literary journey to the that of riding a donkey. She compared her quest for the best story to reaching for but never quite grasping a carrot on a stick while on the back of said donkey as opposed to the limo carrying J.K. Rowlings was roaring by in. International stars were many but my all time favourite was the conversation between translator Anthea Bell and writer Cornelia Funke. Of course hearing illustrator Janet Stevens refer to her sister as Miss Prissypants was right up there but then you had to be there to hear how that story unfolded and how it relates to Janet's books. Not to worry though. You have plenty of time to sign up for next year, although our most esteemed Roundtable mentor and organizer extraordinaire, Ron Jobe may not be at the helm. The confence was also an opportunity to wish Ron the very best as he retires.

Meanwhile last night our own Victoria Roundtable welcomed a distinguished panel of writers, and illustrator and a writer/editor; all from Orca Books. Each member of the panel introduced themselves and spoke about their craft and or the business of writing before the floor was opened to questions. The information was fabulous for any who wanted to learn more about getting into writing or illustrating kids books. Here is a bit of information about each of our talented panel members.

Sylvia Olsen is a story teller. Since she was a child she loved to tell stories and she loved to listen to stories. So it follows naturally, you would think, that she should become an author. But it wasn’t stories in books that fascinated her it was stories told in person. It wasn’t until Sylvia was over forty years old that she thought about writing. Since then she gets up about 4:30 and writes until 6:30 or 7:00 am. By writing everyday she is learning the art of creating written stories. Sylvia has published 6 novels for young people including Yellow Line and White Girl, a picture book and an adult non-fiction title. She has another picture book due out this fall and at least one, maybe two more teen fictions coming out in 2008. Check out her website @ www.sylviaolsen.com/

After fifteen years as a bookseller at the University of Victoria Bookstore,
Sarah Harvey was thrilled to make the move to Orca, where she edits books for readers age eight and up, and plays Ping Pong with her boss, AndrewWooldridge. Sarah is the author of a picturebook, Puppies on Board. She hasa new book, Bull's Eye, part of the Orca Soundings series, coming out in Fall 2007 and a full length teen novel due in Fall 2008.

Frieda Wishinsky is the international award winning author of over forty trade and educational books. Her books have earned critical acclaim in magazines and newspapers around the world. EACH ONE SPECIAL was nominated for a 1999 Governor General's Award for text and JENNIFER JONES WON'T LEAVE ME ALONE won the 2004/5 UK Stockport, Portsmouth and Sheffield Children's Picture Book Awards. Frieda's books have been translated into many languages including French, Dutch, Danish, Spanish, Korean and Catalan.

Frieda enjoys sharing literature and the writing process . Her most recent titles are: BEWARE, PIRATES! and DANGER, DINOSUARS (Maple Tree Press) 2007), IT'S YOUR ROOM (Tundra Books, 2006), QUEEN OF THE TOILET BOWL (Orca Currents, 2005) and ALBERT EINSTEIN (DK, 2006). Find out more about Frieda @ www.canscaip.org/

Troy Wilson has written two picture books for Orca including Frosty is a Stupid Name and Perfect Man. He has also written three stories for Chickadee Magazine with his third Chickadee story to to appear in May's issue. Check out Troy's website @ www.troywilson.ca/

Jessica Milne is from the Comox Valley and grew up painting, drawing and taking photographs. Her active outdoor lifestyle has been a great influence and inspiration in her work. Throughout her childhood she was balancing her time between visual expression and riding horses, canoeing and skiing.

In Jessica’s work, she has found an interesting visual language that combines both fine art and illustration. Jessica completed a double diploma in Fine Art and Graphic Design at North Island College in Courtenay for which she received the Governor General’s Award for outstanding achievement. She went on to University of Victoria where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with Honours in the fall of 2000. For the past few years Jessica has enjoyed teaching adult drawing and painting classes.

Drawing and painting are often interchangeable, reflecting similar ideas of emotion and mood through color and light. The personality of each character is expressed in a unique style with playful line and texture. Jessica’s landscapes can be seen as interesting backdrops for stories or stand on their own as aesthetic compositions. Regardless of the medium, she is on a journey of visual expression combing elements that are both illustrative and aesthetically pleasing. She has done three books with Orca including: Jeremy and the Enchanted Theatre, Jeremy and the Underworld and Jeremy and the Golden Fleece. Check out Jessica's website @ www.jessicamilne.com/