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Literary guest visits Deh Cho
Canadian author tours communities for children's book week

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Canadian author encouraged literacy and aspiring writers during a tour through three Deh Cho communities.

NNSL photo/graphic

Author Lorna Schultz Nicholson talks about her Puckster book series during a presentation and reading at the Fort Simpson community hall on May 6. Schultz Nicholson visited three Deh Cho communities as part of TD Canadian Children's Book Week. - Roxanna Thompson/NNSL photo

Lorna Schultz Nicholson visited Fort Simpson, Fort Liard and Fort Providence between May 6 and 10 as part of TD Canadian Children's Book Week. In each community the author gave presentations in the schools as well as one to the general community.

Schultz Nicholson, who's been writing for almost as long as she can remember, had her first book published in 2004. To date, she's had 23 books published ranging from picture books, such as Puckster's First Hockey Sweater, to novels for young adults, such as Against the Boards.

Schultz Nicholson encourages aspiring writers to just start writing. The goal is to get the whole first draft written. It will be rough and not very good, she said, but once it is finished you will have something to work on and mould.

The same theory works for students.

Schultz Nicholson, who lives in Calgary, told Deh Cho students they shouldn't get hung up on their first sentence and should just get their thoughts down. They can always go back and rework that first sentence, she said. The author told students that she sometimes changes her first sentence as many as six times.

She also talked to students about what inspires her to write. Ideas can come from anywhere, she said.

"You just have to open up your mind to be observant and to see and hear," said Schultz Nicholson.

While in Fort Liard the author saw a bison walking down a street and also saw the ice on the Liard River break. She plans to file both memories away for possible future use.

It was wonderful for students to have a chance to meet someone who's been published and to learn what it takes to get something printed, said William Gowans, the principal of Echo Dene School in Fort Liard.

"Lorna was fantastic," he said.

Gowans said it was great for students to hear from someone other than their teachers that revision and editing is a natural and necessary part of the writing process. Students often think if they write something, it is set in stone the first time, he said.

When speaking with students in younger grades, Schultz Nicholson talked more about why it is important to reading and having a love of reading.

"She was really good with the kids," said Kelley Andrews-Klein, the acting principal at Bompas Elementary School on May 6.

"The kids were really engaged."

This was Schultz Nicholson first visit to the Deh Cho.

"I've had such a fantastic time," she said.

"I love the children."

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