Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Volume One Project with Evan Munday, the Halloween Edition

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Evan Munday

YA author Evan Munday donned a pirate hat and brought together a gang of precocious 8-12 year olds for a Halloween themed writing workshop at Mabel's Fables bookshop in Toronto this past Sunday.

The workshop is a part of a series entitled The Volume One Project, where young writers are paired up with talented Canadian YA authors, such as Munday, in order to develop their understanding of the craft, as well as to have a ton of fun creating stories with their peers.

Munday conceived of a simple, open-ended premise for this Halloween oriented workshop: a mystery plot involving a theft at a local school. The children were then encouraged to explore what it means to write a mystery. Munday is obviously incredibly comfortable teaching kids, and the group was filled with clever and insightful observations and opinions.

Apart from the pirate variety, Munday also donned the cartoonist hat and brought along visual aids for the workshop in the form of literal character sketches of each of the proposed suspects in the mystery plot. He also had drawings of the principal characters from his novel The Dead Kid Detective Agency (ECW Press), and the students were encouraged to incorporate his characters into their story if they so wished.

The group then took a break, where Munday served them all tea (herbal tea, one would imagine) and they hung around chatting and eating cookies. Then Munday gave them a bit of quiet time to brainstorm further and compose the opening of their very own version of the proposed mystery story.

The results were pretty impressive, with many of the kids reading aloud the first page of their fledgling tale. Each of the dozen or so students were seemed really comfortable sharing their ideas, due in part because Munday created an environment where the kids both had fun being creative and were taken seriously. He also was quite adept at encouraging participation and a community of ideas, as well as just jumping in to a story and not being afraid to get things started and develop an idea. Because, after all, the scariest part about the craft of writing is going from nothing to something.

More information on The One Volume Project can be found here.

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