Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers<br>La société canadienne des auteurs, illustrateurs et artistes pour enfants

Events Calendar

Check the Events Calendar regularly to keep up on CANSCAIP events.

Upcoming events

    • Monday, November 12, 2018
    • Thursday, January 31, 2019
    • On your computer


    If you weren't at our Packaging Your Imagination conference in person, Virtual PYI lets you be there on your computer and on your schedule.

    Your choice of four professionally recorded PYI sessions plus two keynotes costs $125 for CANSCAIP Friends and Members and $150 for non-members. (The in-person conference was $200/$225.)

    NOTE: If you're not already a CANSCAIP Friend or Member, to register at the $125 rate please join first and then register for Virtual PYI.  

    You'll get links to online videos of the two keynotes plus the four sessions you've ordered. You'll also be emailed handouts that were part of the session (not all the sessions include handouts). 


    • Your registration for VIRTUAL PYI includes the two keynotes, plus four sessions of your choice.
    • And new this year, you can order videos of additional sessions for just $10 each. 

    Scroll down for our fantastic PYI lineup!

    KEYNOTES (Both keynotes included with your registration)

    Falling to Pieces vs. Peace of Mind: Planning for the Long Run

    A conversation about safe spaces, maker spaces, and sometimes telling that inner voice to just hush.
    RUTH OHI is the author-illustrator of 20 books, and illustrator of over 60. Her most recent are Scribble and Fox and Squirrel Help Out (both Scholastic Canada). Ruth is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art.

    Claire Mackay Memorial Lecture   

    DEBORAH ELLIS is best known for The Breadwinner, recently made into an Oscar-nominated animated film. She is the author of more than 40 works of fiction and non-fiction. Her books are populated by resourceful young people around the globe, living in war, poverty, and oppression. Named to the Order of Canada in 2016, Deborah's literary awards include the Governor General’s Award, the Ruth Schwartz Award, the Vicky Metcalf Award for a Body of Work, and the Ontario Library Association’s President’s Award for Exceptional Achievement.  


    SESSIONS (Choose any four)

    1. Building a Better Story: The Art of Picture Book Story Construction

    These days, “picture book” describes a wide range of sub-genres that include story books, biographies, concept books, non-fiction and poetic moments. The only rule you can't break when writing one is that it must be entertaining! With a focus on story structure, explore how to tackle this most challenging genre of writing. 

    RUKHSANA KHAN is the author of 13 books, and has won or been nominated for 42 local and international awards. Her picture book Big Red Lollipop was chosen by the New York Public Library as one of the 100 greatest children’s books in the last 100 years.

    2. Going Deep: Creating Characters of Depth and Dimension

    Multifaceted characters who come across as authentic are essential to every good story, every genre, and every age of reader you’re writing for. Explore methods to find a character’s voice, write dialogue that feels real, and dig deep into POV, all to help create powerful, resonant stories. 

    DANIELLE YOUNGE-ULLMAN is the author of three YA novels, including Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined, which was nominated for the Governor General’s Award, the White Pine Award, the Prix Sorcieres of France, and the Prix des Libraires du Quebec, and named one of CBC’s Best Books of 2017.

    3. Writing Middle Grade Humour and Fantasy

    Want to enthrall your readers with memorable characters and fantastical worlds? Want to make them laugh out loud? How about both? Humour and fantasy are a winning combination to capture the hearts and minds of young readers. This workshop explains how to craft a story that both sparks the imagination and tickles the funny bone.

    WADE ALBERT WHITE writes middle grade fantasy and science fiction and is the author of the Adventurer’s Guide series, including The Adventurer's Guide to Dragons (and Why They Keep Biting Me). His time is dictated by three children, a cat, and a hamster, and he strongly believes that a mid-afternoon nap is a legitimate method of research.

    4. Taking the Mystery Out of Negotiating Your Book Contract  

    Your publisher sent you a book contract offer and it's so exciting that you're tempted to simply sign it. But should you? In this session, which includes Q&A from participants, you'll learn about basic, often confusing, clauses, conditions and termsfrom premium sales to electronic and film rights and morecontained in a typical contract, to ensure you don’t sign everything away. 

    SALLY KEEFE COHEN is a literary consultant, based in Toronto, who has been acting on behalf of Canadian writers and writers’ estates for over 30 years, negotiating book contracts with both large and small publishers to ensure that creators’ rights are protected and respected.

    5. Become Your Own Plot Doctor 

    Whether you’re outlining, writing or revising, an analytical examination of your story will help diagnose and treat any plot problems. Learn how to become your own plot doctor by asking yourself questions about your characters and story, and then intuitively answering those questions.

    KAREN KROSSING has written seven novels for kids and teens, including Punch Like a Girl, runner-up for the Kaywell Books Save Lives Award, and Bog, winner of the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award. She conducts writing workshops to empower emerging writers, and is currently enrolled in an MFA at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. 

    6. Picture Your Cover!

    What makes an eye-catching and memorable picture book cover? A few weeks ahead, Rebecca will provide you with details and art direction on a mock cover assignment for a picture book. You’ll bring rough work and/or final art for discussion to learn what works and what doesn't.

    REBECCA BENDER is the art director at Pajama Press, and an author-illustrator. Her Giraffe and Bird was chosen as the TD Grade One Book Giveaway for 2018.  

    7. Breaking-in Panel

    If you’re a kidlit writer trying to get your first book published, this is the session for you! Our panel of newly-published authors tell how they got there. Lots of specific, practical advice... plus bring your questions for the Q&A.

    S. K. ALI is a Toronto-based author and teacher. She has a degree in creative writing and has written about Muslim life for various media. Her first novel, Saints and Misfits, was featured on many top ten YA lists and was a finalist for best debut YA fiction by the American Library Association. She is working on her second YA novel, a story about love.  

    NASEEM HRAB is the marketing director at Kids Can Press and the author of the picture books Ira Crumb Makes a Pretty Good Friend and Ira Crumb Feels the Feelings. Her comedy writing has appeared on McSweeney's Internet Tendency and The Rumpus. 

    JEAN MILLS has a communications background in writing, editing and college teaching. Her features, reviews and children’s stories have appeared in publications across Canada, and two novels were published in the educational market. Skating Over Thin Ice is her first YA novel to make it through the door at a trade publishing house.

    8. Get Crafty:  Practical Tips for Finding Your Focus

    Great idea! Now, how do you actually start? Get crafty to get the best story. How do character and plot work for different ages? Which genre is best for you? What voice to use? What makes a first chapter?  Can an outline help? Show or tell? Tips and tools of tradecraft that could make the difference for you. 
    TED STAUNTON writes picture books, novels, non-fiction, and graphic novels. In 2013 he won the CCBC John Spray Mystery award and his work has been nominated for many others. His newest novel, What Blows Up (Scholastic), will be published in December. Ted teaches the Writing Children’s Fiction courses at George Brown College and has presented everywhere from Inuvik to Addis Ababa.

    9. The Essentials of Character Design

    When creating a picture book world, designing a character that compliments the story is key. How do you develop an endearing, eye-catching and original protagonist? How do you give them energy and personality in a few simple strokes? This workshop will guide you to creating the humans or animals who will inhabit those stories and bring them to life.
    QIN LENG is an award-winning illustrator of over 40 picture books, board books and chapter books. She made her authorial debut with I am Small (Kids Can Press). Qin won the APALA Prize for best picture book in 2015 and was a finalist for the Governor General’s award in 2014.

    10. PANEL—Three Publishers and an Agent

    Our annual publishing panel always packs the room. Hear the latest about the state of kids lit from the book industry’s best.

    10. PANEL—Three Publishers and an Agent

    Our annual publishing panel always packs the room. Hear the latest about the state of kids lit from the book industry’s best.

    BARBARA BERSON is a literary agent with the Helen Heller Agency, specializing in YA, literary fiction and memoir; and a freelance editor recently named a finalist for the Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence. Previously, she was Penguin Canada’s children’s publisher, and worked with many award-winning authors. 

    PATRICIA OCAMPO was most recently managing editor and children’s book editor at Simon and Schuster Canada. She is a past president of IBBY Canada (International Board on Books for Young People) and a former literary agent. She acquires early readers, middle-grade fiction, young adult fiction, and parenting books.

    ERIN O'CONNOR is senior editor at Scholastic Canada,for non-fiction, picture books, and book-plus projects. Erin began her publishing career as assistant art director and editor at Owl and Chickadee Magazines, and at Scholastic spent many years with the school book clubs division.

    ANDREW WOOLDRIDGE is the owner and publisher at Orca Book Publishers in Victoria, BC. After starting in the warehouse more than 25 years ago, he has performed many publishing duties including editor, marketer, forklift driver and, most successfully, squirrel catcher. 

    11. Turning Fear into Stories Readers Will Die For

    Two authors share their insights on writing horror for middle grade and young teens. From plot to pace, character to setting, lots of tips and tricks to help you craft your own horrific masterpiece. 

    MARINA COHEN is the author of middle-grade horror novels including, The Inn BetweenThe Doll’s Eye, and coming in 2019, A Box of Bones. Her books have been nominated for awards in both Canada and the US. 

    JOEL A. SUTHERLAND is the Silver Birch and Hackmatack Award-winning author of Haunted Canada 4 to 8 andSummer's End. His new series, Haunted, includes The House Next Door and Kill Screen, and has been praised by Goosebumps author R.L. Stine. 

    12. From the Lab to the Library: Science Writing for Kids

    Fresh, fun science writing not only conveys facts, it inspires future scientists. In this workshop, explore genres in science writing and discover the best publishing pathway for your working style and goals. Then learn advanced research techniques that will take you well beyond Wikipedia… and into editors’ hearts. Strategies for organizing and managing research will also be discussed.

    L. E. CARMICHAEL is an escaped lab monkey with a PhD in wildlife population genetics. She’d much rather talk about science than actually do it, and has written 21 books for kids and teens, including the award-winningFox Talk and Fuzzy Forensics.

    • Monday, December 31, 2018
    • Thursday, January 31, 2019

    If you've written a Young Adult or Middle Grade novel, a chapter book for early readers or a picture book, the first thousand words are what will capture a potential publisher or agent. They have to be pitch perfect. Or maybe you've started a new project and you aren't sure if the opening is working. We are here to help!

    Submit the first thousand words of your project and up to two questions and our volunteer team of experienced, published authors will give you editorial feedback so you can polish those pages or find out if you're headed in the right direction. 

    The edits will be done anonymously as Tracked Changes in a Word document and will be returned to you within six weeks. Maximum of two edits per person.

    The cost for CANSCAIP Friends or Members is $35 per edit, and $50 per edit for everyone else. All proceeds will go towards the CANSCAIP Prairie Horizons conference in May 2019. 

    For more details, go to

    This offer is open for the month of January, 2019 only. 

Past events

Wednesday, January 09, 2019 CANSCAIP MEETING Wed Jan 9 with ILLUSTRATOR Hilary Leung
Wednesday, December 12, 2018 BRING IT! to our HOLIDAY MEETING & POTLUCK on Wed Dec 12
Wednesday, November 14, 2018 CANSCAIP MEETING Wed Nov 14 with AUTHOR Vicki Grant
Saturday, November 10, 2018 Packaging Your Imagination Conference 2018 (SOLD OUT!)
Wednesday, October 10, 2018 MEETING Wed Oct 10 with ILLUSTRATOR/AUTHOR Carey Sookocheff
Thursday, September 27, 2018 WEBINAR: Successful School Visits by KEVIN SYLVESTER on Thurs Sept 27 at 7:00 EST (plus recorded)
Wednesday, September 12, 2018 MEETING Wed Sept 12 with SPEAKER Neil Christopher of publisher Inhabit Media
Wednesday, June 13, 2018 JUNE MEETING at The Bookshelf in Guelph (Wed Jun 13)
Saturday, May 26, 2018 Mini Prairie Horizons 2018
Wednesday, May 09, 2018 MAY MEETING with SPEAKERS Theo Heras, Marthe Jocelyn, Samantha Swenson TOPIC Books for Babies
Thursday, May 03, 2018 ONLINE VIDEO of Arthur Slade's WEBINAR It Lives: Bringing Your Backlist to Life
Wednesday, May 02, 2018 ART SHOW May 2-31 Children's Book Illustration by CANSCAIP Members and Friends
Wednesday, April 11, 2018 MEETINGS on Wed. Apr. 11: 6:00 for ANNUAL MEETING & 7:00 for MONTHLY MEETING with SPEAKERS Peter Carver & Heather Camlot
Wednesday, March 14, 2018 MONTHLY MEETING Wed. Mar. 14: Illustrator Night SPEAKER Qin Leng
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 Writing for Children Competition (DEADLINE for Entries May 31)
Wednesday, February 14, 2018 MONTHLY MEETING Wed. Feb. 14: Illustrator Night SPEAKER Milan Pavlovic
Friday, January 26, 2018 ONLINE VIDEO of Marketing Children's Books by Judy Brunsek WEBINAR
Thursday, January 11, 2018 VIRTUAL PYI: Packaging Your Imagination Conference on Your Computer
Wednesday, January 10, 2018 MONTHLY MEETING Wed. Jan. 10; SPEAKER Mireille Messier
Monday, January 01, 2018 "The First Thousand Words" Editing Fundraiser
Wednesday, December 13, 2017 MONTHLY MEETING Wed. Dec. 13; SPEAKERS: Vikki Van Sickle, Naseem Hrab, Liz MacLeod, Mary Beth Leatherdale and Hadley Dyer
Saturday, November 11, 2017 CONFERENCE: Packaging Your Imagination 2017
Wednesday, November 08, 2017 MONTHLY MEETING Wed. Nov. 8; SPEAKER: Amanda Lewis
Wednesday, October 11, 2017 MONTHLY MEETING Wed. Oct. 11; SPEAKER: Sue Todd
Monday, September 25, 2017 WEBINAR VIDEO: Grants for Writers and Illustrators
Wednesday, September 20, 2017 WEBINAR: Grants for Writers and Illustrators
Friday, September 15, 2017 CONFERENCE: Prairie Horizons 2017
Wednesday, September 13, 2017 MONTHLY MEETING Wed. Sept. 13; Celebrate CANSCAIP's 40th Birthday; SPEAKER: Michael Martchenko
Monday, June 19, 2017 CANSCAIP Saskatchewan Presents: Alice Kuipers and Arthur Slade
Wednesday, June 14, 2017 MONTHLY MEETING Wed. Jun. 14; SPEAKER: Frank Viva
Wednesday, May 10, 2017 MONTHLY MEETING Wed. May 10; SPEAKERS: Teresa Toten, Lena Coakley, Sue Irwin, John Spray (Tree Awards Nominees)
Wednesday, April 12, 2017 Annual Meeting of Members Wed. Apr. 12 PLUS world-famous Osborne Collection
Wednesday, March 08, 2017 Meeting Wed. Mar. 8: SPEAKER Sarah Ramsey (Book City)
Wednesday, February 08, 2017 Meeting Wed. Feb. 8: SPEAKER Lynda Hill (Theatre Direct)
Tuesday, January 17, 2017 POSTPONED: Webinar on Navigating and Negotiating Publisher Contracts (Warren Sheffer)
Wednesday, January 11, 2017 Meeting Wed. Jan. 11: SPEAKER Christie Harkin on Diversity in Publishing
Wednesday, December 14, 2016 Meeting, Book Sale & Dessert Potluck with SPEAKERS Ruth Ohi & Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Wednesday, November 30, 2016 Announcing winners and finalists of 2016 Writing for Children Competition
Wednesday, November 09, 2016 CANSCAIP Meeting Wed. Nov. 9; SPEAKERS: Angela Misri & Joyce Grant
Wednesday, October 12, 2016 CANSCAIP Meeting Wed. Oct. 12; SPEAKER: Joel Sutherland
Wednesday, September 14, 2016 CANSCAIP Meeting Wed. Sept. 14; SPEAKER: Anne Shone, Scholastic Canada
Thursday, June 16, 2016 Canadian Writers Summit (June 16 to 19)
Wednesday, June 08, 2016 CANSCAIP Meeting Wed. Jun. 8 at Durham College Whitby Campus; SPEAKER: Kat Mototsune (James Lorimer & Co.)
Wednesday, May 11, 2016 CANSCAIP Meeting Wed. May 11: Don Aker, Karen Bass & Charis Cotter (Forest of Reading nominees from NS, AB and NL)
Thursday, May 05, 2016 Writing for Children Competition 2016: Deadline July 31
Wednesday, April 13, 2016 CANSCAIP Meeting Wed. Apr. 13: Puppetmongers Theatre PLUS Annual Meeting of Members
Wednesday, April 13, 2016 CANSCAIP Annual Meeting of Members
Wednesday, March 09, 2016 CANSCAIP Meeting Wed. Mar. 9: Annick Press publisher Rick Wilks
Wednesday, February 10, 2016 CANSCAIP Meeting Wed. Feb. 10: Illustrator Night with Gary Clement
Wednesday, January 13, 2016 CANSCAIP Meeting Wed. Jan. 13: Estate Planning with Marian Hebb
Wednesday, December 09, 2015 Meeting, Book Sale & Dessert Potluck Wed. Dec. 9: Holiday Books with Werner Zimmermann & Lisa Dalrymple
Saturday, November 14, 2015 Virtual PYI 2015 (Packaging Your Imagination Conference Online)
Saturday, November 14, 2015 Packaging Your Imagination Conference 2015
Wednesday, November 11, 2015 NEW LOCATION for Meeting on Wed. Nov. 11: North York Central Library. TOPICS: Books for Young People with Disabilities AND Silent Books: Final Destination Lampedusa
Tuesday, November 10, 2015 CANSCAIP Art Show and Sale, November 10 to 20, L Space Gallery, Humber College Lakeshore Campus
Wednesday, September 30, 2015 Writing for Children Competition 2015: Deadline September 30
Friday, September 18, 2015 CANSCAIP Prairie Horizons 2015
Wednesday, September 09, 2015 CANSCAIP Toronto meeting Wed. Sept. 9: New "Secrets" Series Panel: Five authors with moderator Kevin Sylvester
Friday, June 19, 2015 Rhyme Crimes: What Make Good Children's Poetry?
Wednesday, June 10, 2015 CANSCAIP Toronto meeting Wed. Jun. 10: Illustrators Night with Julie Kraulis
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 May 13th Meeting NEW LOCATION: North York Central Library; SPEAKERS: Susan Juby & Susin Nielsen (RSVP)
Wednesday, April 08, 2015 Toronto Meeting Wed. Apr. 8; SPEAKERS: Kathy Kacer and Jake Epstein
Wednesday, April 08, 2015 CANSCAIP AGM
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 Toronto Meeting - March 11. Join us for Kids' Lit Quiz
Wednesday, February 11, 2015 Toronto Meeting - February
Wednesday, January 14, 2015 Toronto Meeting - January - Illustrator Night
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 Toronto Meeting - December
Wednesday, November 12, 2014 Toronto Meeting - November
Sunday, October 19, 2014 PYI Pitch Perfect!
Saturday, October 18, 2014 VIRTUAL PYI
Saturday, October 18, 2014 Packaging Your Imagination 2014
Wednesday, October 08, 2014 Toronto Meeting - October (in Burlington)
Wednesday, October 01, 2014 CANSCAIP Art Show at Humber College, open to the public until Oct 17
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 Toronto Meeting Wed. Sept. 10 at 7:00 (we're back at TPL Northern District Branch)
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 REMINDER: Call for submissions artwork show and sale; deadline Sept 4
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 June meeting
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 May meeting
Wednesday, April 09, 2014 Toronto Meeting - April
Wednesday, April 09, 2014 CANSCAIP AGM
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 CANCELLED - Toronto Meeting - March
Monday, March 03, 2014 Writing for Children Competition
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 Toronto Meeting - February
Wednesday, January 08, 2014 Toronto Meeting - January
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 Toronto Meeting - December
Wednesday, December 04, 2013 Edmonton Meeting - December
Sunday, November 17, 2013 PYI 2013 Get Published Bootcamp
Saturday, November 16, 2013 VIRTUAL Packaging Your Imagination 2013
Saturday, November 16, 2013 Packaging Your Imagination 2013
Wednesday, November 13, 2013 Toronto Meeting - November
Wednesday, October 09, 2013 Toronto Meeting - October
Wednesday, October 02, 2013 Edmonton Meeting - October
Friday, September 20, 2013 CANSCAIP's Prairie Horizons Conference
Wednesday, September 11, 2013 Toronto Meeting - September
Saturday, August 17, 2013 August Atlantic Region Meeting
Wednesday, August 07, 2013 Edmonton Meeting - August
Saturday, July 13, 2013 July Atlantic Region Meeting
Wednesday, June 12, 2013 Toronto Meeting - June
Wednesday, June 05, 2013 Edmonton Meeting - June BBQ & Buzz
Saturday, May 25, 2013 Yes Oui CANSCAIP (CANSCAIP Quebec) Imagine A Story Conference
Monday, May 13, 2013 Toronto Meeting - May
Tuesday, May 07, 2013 May Atlantic Region meeting
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 Toronto Meeting - April
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 2013 Annual General Meeting
Wednesday, April 03, 2013 Edmonton Meeting - April
Wednesday, March 06, 2013 March Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 Montreal February Meeting
Wednesday, February 13, 2013 February Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, February 06, 2013 Edmonton Meeting - February
Wednesday, January 09, 2013 January Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, December 12, 2012 December Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 November Montreal Meeting
Wednesday, November 14, 2012 November Monthly Meeting
Saturday, November 10, 2012 Packaging Your Imagination 2012
Thursday, October 25, 2012 CANSCAIP Montreal Meeting
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 October Monthly Meeting: Illustrators Night
Wednesday, October 03, 2012 CANSCAIP Edmonton Meeting
Wednesday, September 12, 2012 September Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 June Monthly Meeting
Tuesday, June 05, 2012 EDMONTON CANSCAIP meeting
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 May Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 April Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 2012 Annual General Meeting
Wednesday, March 14, 2012 March Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, February 08, 2012 February Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 January Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, December 14, 2011 December Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 November Monthly Meeting
Saturday, November 05, 2011 Packaging Your Imagination 2011
Friday, September 16, 2011 Prairie Horizons Conference
Saturday, May 28, 2011 Imagine a Story
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