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Author Visits

Over the years Kenneth Oppel has spoken at schools, libraries and conferences across Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia.

If you are interested in making a booking, please email him at: kenneth.oppel@sympatico.ca

 

Conferences

Kenneth has given numerous keynotes, sessions, and participated in panel discussions at a variety of universities and conferences, including: University of Toronto, Brigham Young University, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Toronto Public Library, Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books, Canadian Booksellers' Association, Texas Librarian Association, IRA, NCTE, ALA, Reading For the Love Of It, Ontario Library Association, Kaleidoscope Conference, University of Ottawa.


Schools & Libraries 

 

EVERY HIDDEN THING (GRADES 7 AND UP)

Romeo and Juliet meets Indiana Jones in an epic tale that combines a hunt for a dinosaur skeleton, bitter rivalries, and a forbidden romance. It’s 1872: Sam Bolt and Rachel Cartland have accompanied their feuding fathers to the Wild West in search of an elusive dinosaur fossil called the Black Beauty. Using Powerpoint, I will introduce readers to the real warring palaeontologists and the “Bone Wars” that inspired my novel. I’ll also show images from my field trip to Dinosaur Provincial Park, where I did research. I also talk about my creative process, from brainstorming, outlining, and successive drafts to finished book. The duration is about 50-60 minutes.

THE BOUNDLESS (GRADES 4 AND UP)

Join 15-year-old Will Everett on the maiden voyage of The Boundless, the most magnificent train ever built, as it travels across the continent on an epic journey that includes a brilliant escape artist, a mysterious ringmaster, some murderous brakemen, fabulous treasure, bog hags and sasquatches - and Will Everett's struggle to stay alive! Using Powerpoint I'll take the students through the story, and the research I did to create it: the amazing history of the CPR, luxurious train carriages, sasquatch mythology, the figures real and literary in my magic-realist world - and my own trip across Canada on the train. I also talk about my creative process, from brainstorming, outlining, and successive drafts to finished book. The duration is about 50-60 minutes.

half brothewr (grades 6 and up)

Winner of the CLA's Children's Book of the Year, and YA Book of the Year, this is the story of teenager Ben Tomlin, whose scientist parents adopt a newborn chimpanzee and raise it as a human baby, to see if chimps are capable of learning human sign language. It isn't long before Ben forms a powerful bond with Zan - but is Zan a lab specimen, or his little brother? Using a Powerpoint presentation interspersed with short readings from the book, I will talk about the sources of inspiration for the novel, my research (including video footage of my visit to a chimp sanctuary), and the fascinating world of chimpanzees. I also talk about how I got my start as a published children's writer at age seventeen, and my creative process. The duration is about 50-60 minutes.

Silverwing Presentation (grades 4 and up)

Using Powerpoint, I talk about my sources of inspiration for the entire Silverwing trilogy: bat facts, sound technology (real and imagined), natural history, folklore and mythology and exotic locations from around the world. I also talk briefly about my own start as a writer of children's fiction: from my earliest stories to first published book. 60 minutes.

Airborn (grades 4 and up)

I use a Powerpoint slide show, interspersed with short readings, to take my audience on a time travel journey through the imaginary past of AIRBORN (winner of the Governor General's Award) and its sequels SKYBREAKER and STARCLIMBER. Mixing fact and fantasy, I introduce readers to my early twentieth century world: the buildings, the cities, the clothing, and airships. I take them through a brief history of flight, culminating with the great airships invented in the early 1900s - and, of course, the Aurora, the luxurious Titanic­like airship that is the setting of much of Airborn. If time allows, I also talk briefly about my own start as a writer of children's fiction: from my earliest stories to first published book. The duration is about 60 minutes.

PEG AND THE YETI (GRADES K-3)

For this picture book, illustrated by Plasticene virtuoso Barbara Reid, I have a Powerpoint slide show of the illustrations while I read the story; then I show a few reference photographs of Everest and famous mountain climbers - and the Yeti! I also talk briefly about my own start as a writer of children's fiction: from my earliest stories to first published book. 30-40 minutes.

THE NEST (GRADES 4 AND UP)

When a mysterious wasp queen invades Steve’s dreams, offering to “fix” his sick newborn baby brother, all Steve has to do is say “yes.” But “yes” is a powerful word. It is also a dangerous one. And once it is uttered, can it be taken back? Using Powerpoint and short readings, I will introduce readers to the strange ingredients that inspired this novel that explores disability and diversity, fears and dreams, and what ultimately makes a family. I also talk about my creative process, from brainstorming, outlining, and successive drafts to finished book. The duration is about 50-60 minutes.

THIS DARK ENDEAVOR (GRADES 6 AND UP)

This Dark Endeavor (nominated for the Governor's General Award), and its sequel Such Wicked Intent, are prequels to one of the most famous stories of all time: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. My books follow the extraordinary life and adventures of 16-year-old Victor Frankenstein. Using Powerpoint interspersed with short readings from the book, I will introduce my audience to the fascinating Frankenstein myth - Mary Shelley, the story of the book's creation - and the research I did to tell this story of the teenager who would later become a "mad scientist." I also talk about my creative process, from brainstorming, outlining, and successive drafts to finished book. The duration is about 50-60 minutes.

A LIFE SCRIBBLING (ALL AGES)

An illustrated talk about my career as an author, starting with my earliest writings in school, the books (and films, and video games!) that inspired me, how I got my first book published at 17, and how I came up with the ideas for the best-selling Silverwing series, the Governor-General award winner, Airborn, Half Brother, and my latest book, The Boundless. Sprinkled with tips for the aspiring writer. 60 minutes.

CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOP (ALL AGES)

I get the students to limber up with some fun word games before talking about the basics of story creation: brainstorming, plot, character, structure, good guys vs. bad guys, humour, tricks of the trade, revision! I also set two or three short writing exercises - so please make sure the kids come with paper and pen, and prepared to write! (Maximum size: 60 students; duration: 50-60 minutes).

DARKWING (GRADES 4 AND UP)

Using Powerpoint, I introduce the audience to my book, Darkwing, a prequel to Silverwing. The book takes place 65 million years ago: the last dinosaurs are dying out, the mammals are taking over the earth, the first carnivores emerge, and the very first bats learn how to fly. I will discuss the mysterious evolution of bats, the fascinating Paleocene era's flora and fauna, and talk about the real creatures that inspired the animal characters in my book. I also talk briefly about my own start as a writer of children's fiction: from my earliest stories to first published book. The duration is about 60 minutes.

THE KING'S TASTER (GRADES K-3)

For my latest picture book, illustrated by the dynamic husband and wife team Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher, I have a Powerpoint slide show of the evolution of the book, from story to rough sketches, to finished art. I will give an illustrated reading of the book, and talk briefly about my own start as a writer of children's fiction: from my earliest stories to first published book. 30-40 minutes.

 
 

To make an inquiry, please email kenneth.oppel@sympatico.ca