Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Dirty Dozen, with Sharon Jennings

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Sharon Jennings

In Sharon Jennings's Connecting Dots (Second Story Press) Cassandra Jovanovich has two dreams: to find a real home, and to become a successful actor. Both seem completely out of reach to the weary twelve year old, who has spent years being bounced from the home of one relative to another. But when she finds herself in a situation that feels like it could actually be a real home, Cassandra has reason to hope for the first time. If only she could shake Leanna Mets, her self-appointed new best friend, who is very curious about Cassandra's background. Leanna thinks Cassandra should write her story down — but is Cassandra ready to delve into her difficult memories? With newfound friendship and the courage she's built over many years, Cassandra may find her dreams — new and old — closer than she ever expected.

Today we're excited to welcome Sharon to Open Book. Sharon is a multi-award nominated writer for young people, and today she tackles our Dirty Dozen series, which asks authors to share twelve unexpected facts about themselves. She tells us about why she's a great addition to a dance party, her brief career as a (precocious) playwright and a love story that is both "short" and long.

  1. My first career choice, after seeing a pickled brain when I was eight, was brain surgeon. I talked about it at dinner until my older brother threw up.

  2. My second career choice was actress. My first professional role when I was twelve was the back end of the cow in Jack and the Beanstalk.

  3. My signature dance move is the 'funky chicken'. Nailed it before Michael Jackson. (Because I am that old, thank you for noticing.) Invite me to your party and I will demonstrate.

  4. I wrote my first play when I was in grade 4. Still have it! How Puffytail Found Easter. Obviously, very deep stuff.

  5. I worked in the Underwear Department selling bras and girdles when I was in grade 13. I may have mentioned this in my novel Connecting Dots.

  6. I was fired from a part-time bank job within 15 minutes. I was so nervous around all that money that my hands started sweating and I forgot how to count. (I was 22.) My friend got me a job the next day handing out food samples at a grocery store. My high school boyfriend's mother saw me and sent her son in to say hello. Hadn't seen him in 3 years. How embarrassing. And yet — perfect material for a book.

  7. I got a Master's degree in English Literature because I could sit around all day reading.

  8. I worked as an editor for several years in publishing houses because I could sit around all day reading.

  9. I met my husband on the steps of a church at someone else's wedding. They put us together as bridesmaid and usher because we were the shortest people in the wedding party. Thirty-five years later and we are still married: they are not. They were tall. Short people rule.

  10. My favourite meal is food. Perfect food has garlic in it and a glass (read: bottle) of red wine beside it. Chocolate to follow.

  11. I am a lazy parent. I have three children. I want to write a book called, The Lazy Parent. My theory is that the less you do, the better off the kids will be. The End. Let me explain. One day I was reading (see # 7 & 8 above) and my six year old son said, "Will you make me waffles?" I said, "No. I'm reading." He said, "Can I make waffles." I said, "Go for it. Make one for me." He did and now he is a chef. See? See?! This will be a bestseller.

  12. I am an author. I love writing, particularly for children (because I have three) and I love children. The best thing about being an author is that I can sit around all day reading. My husband points out that I should be working. "I am," I tell him. "This is research."


Sharon Jennings has written more than 60 books for young people. Her books have received many nominations and awards, including nominations for a Governor General's Award, TD Canadian Children's Literature Award, and Silver Birch Award for Home Free. She has taught courses on writing children's books, and has visited schools and libraries both in Canada and abroad to talk to young readers about reading and writing. She recently traveled to Kenya twice as the Canadian juror for the Burt Award for African Literature. Sharon's home is in Toronto, Canada.

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