Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Maxine Bennett – Writer and Teacher

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Twenty three year old Maxine Bennett is at the beginning of her career. She has a great knowledge of both writing and theatre and loves to share that knowledge with those younger than her. She has a passion to teach and has done this through her work as an interpreter at Dinosaur Provincial Park. Maxine is boundless in her energy when working with young writers. She is truly a mentor to those around her. I’m sure one day, her name will be mentioned as the reason notable writers got started in the craft.

I present, an interview with Maxine Bennett – writer and teacher.

KF: Why did you decide to start teaching?

MB: I loved being in writing groups when I was younger, so any chance to work with kids in that line is one I enjoy, as I hope they will have as good an experience as I had.

KF: What is your philosophy when it comes to teaching youth?

MB: Just write. As long as they're writing, it's good. Editing comes later, much later.

KF: Do you learn more about your craft when you teach?

MB: I have not had too many opportunities as yet, but every time I have helped out I feel I get a better understanding of what works and what doesn't.

KF: What kinds of educational programs do you work with?

MB: None officially as yet, but I do help some in my mother's classroom, as well as with my little brothers. I hope to do more in future.

KF: Do you think kids who don’t already view themselves as writers or creators, or who have disengaged from writing, get as much out of having a guest writing teacher or author as students who already view themselves as writers?

MB: Absolutely! They may decide to write as hobby, or see that writing doesn't have to be pained or structured, but instead joyous and fun!

KF: In your view, does writing always have to happen on the page?

MB: Not necessarily. I write plays with kids that often go from concept to performance without ever having a single word hit paper.

KF: What kinds of writing do you do when you are not teaching?

MB: I love to try new forms. At the moment I'm into scripts. I also play with poetry and short stories, and am currently working on a manuscript of darkly comedic prairie fiction.

KF: What do you see yourself doing in the future?

MB: Writing and making theatre, as well as working in provincial and national parks.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Kim Firmston

Kim Firmston is a writer and creative writing instructor in Calgary. Her teen novels Schizo and Hook Up were Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Bet Selections. Her short story "Life Before War" was shortlisted for the 2008 CBC Literary Awards. Her most recent novel for teens is Touch, about a teenage hacker with a troubled family life.

Go to Kim Firmston’s Author Page