Friday, April 29, 2005

Young writers learn from some pros

PUBLICATION: The Ottawa Citizen
DATE: 2005.04.29
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Arts
PAGE: D8
SOURCE: The Ottawa Citizen
ILLUSTRATION: Photo: Wayne Cuddington, The Ottawa Citizen / Ottawa authorBrian Doyle works with Alex Cumming, 10, one of 600 children attending a youth writing seminar.

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Young writers learn from some pros

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Young aspiring writers and illustrators had a chance to rub shoulders and learn from their mentors over the past three days at the 14th annual Young Authors' and Illustrators' Conference at Ottawa's Saint Paul University.

About 200 students a day from Grades 4 to 8 came from as far away as Belleville to participate in the workshops, run by MASC, a non-profit charity that connects artists and the community.

"It was a lot of fun," said Alexa Carswell, a Grade 8 student from Brockville. " I learned how important the beginning of a story is to catch a reader's attention."

Brittany Sequin, 13, a Kingston student who wants to be a writer, also enjoyed the day. "I liked how the authors told us about their experiences," she said.

The authors, too, get a lot out of the conference. Ottawa children's author Brian Doyle, a popular presenter at the conference, is always impressed with the young scribes. "I just can't quit," he said. "I see the intelligence in their eyes and it just breaks me up." He encouraged the 25 young people in his workshop to imitate other writers until they find their own voice.

Eight authors and illustrators participated in the conference.

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