CANSCAIP Prairie Horizons Conference 2019: Vision and Voice

WHEN: Fri. May 24th – Sun. May 26th

WHERE: Queen’s House (601 Taylor St. W., Saskatoon)


NOTE: Although the conference will be held at Queen’s House, all available rooms at Queen’s House have been booked. If you will need a place to stay in Saskatoon, here are some places you can try:

If you are staying somewhere other than Queen’s House, you can still eat your meals with the other conference attendees at Queen’s House. Register for the Conference + Meals on the registration site.

Conference Prices:

Three Day Pass: Conference + Meals (Fri. supper – Sat. breakfast, lunch supper – Sun. breakfast)
By March 30th
$120 CANSCAIP Members or Friends /$150 non-members
After March 30th
$145 CANSCAIP Members or Friends /$175 non-members

Three Day Pass: Conference only
By March 30th
$60 CANSCAIP Members or Friends /$80 non-members
After March 30th
$80 CANSCAIP Members or Friends /$100 non-members

Friday only: Supper and Conference
By March 30th $25 CANSCAIP Members or Friends /$30 non-members
After March 30th
$30 CANSCAIP Members or Friends /$40 non-members

Saturday only: Conference and Meals (breakfast, lunch and supper)
By March 30th $75 CANSCAIP Members or Friends /$90 non-members
After March 30th
$85 CANSCAIP Members or Friends /$100 non-members

Saturday only: Conference only
By March 30th $40 CANSCAIP Members or Friends /$55 non-members
After March 30th
$50 CANSCAIP Members or Friends /$70 non-members

Sunday only: Conference only
By March 30th $15 CANSCAIP Members or Friends /$20 non-members
After March 30th
$20 CANSCAIP Members or Friends /$25 non-members

First Thousand Words Editorial Event: Saturday 1:00 pm to 2:45 pm
Only 14 slots available
$75 CANSCAIP Members or Friends/$85 non-members
Manuscripts to be submitted by May 10th. (Submissions details provided upon registration.)

Post-Conference Videos only
$40 CANSCAIP Members or Friends/$60 non-members

Interested in becoming a CANSCAIP Member ($85) or Friend ($45)? Details and applications can be found here.

Book Table: Attendees are invited to bring their books to sell at the book table. Please list titles and prices on an envelope, and sign up for a supervision shift at registration.

Brenda Baker (author and performer)
Miriam Körner (author and illustrator)
David A. Robertson (author)
Rolli (author and illustrator)
Kristine Scarrow (author)
Arthur Slade (author)
Judy Swallow (illustrator)
Shelley Tanaka (author and Groundwood Press editor)
Tanya Trafford (Orca Book Publishers editor).

4:00 pm – 
Arrival and settling in to Queen’s House
4:30 pm – Registration in conference room
5:30 pm – Supper
6:45 pm –
Greeting and Opening Remarks
7:00 pm –
Vision and Voice Panel (with Miriam Körner, David A. Robertson and Art Slade, moderated by Alice Kuipers): Each of these distinguished guests will share what vision and voice means to them in the changing landscape of creating books for children and young adults.
9:00 pm –

QUESTION BOX OPEN: At the back of the room, a box will be wating for you to pop your questions for David Robertson and for Shelley Tanaka. These questions will be considered and may be used in the interviews.

8:00 am – 
8:45 am –
Journaling with Kristine Scarrow: This is an opportunity for a workshop with talented, award-winning local author Krisine Scarrow. Participants will be invited to dig deeply and expand their practice with a guided writing experience and discussion.
9:45 am – Break
10:00 am –
David A. Robertson Interview: David will talk about two of his books: Monsters and When We Were Alone. He’ll share how these books began as ideas, the themes and topics he explores in them (anxiety, the legacy of colonization, the history of residential schools) and how to connect these huge ideas with young readers. From this, attendees will be invited to deepen their ambition when it comes to their own creative practice–taking on bigger issues and learning how to share these ideas with children and young adults.
11:00 am –
I Wrote a Children’s Book. Now What? Tanya Trafford will offer an insider’s view of the journey of a manuscript, from acquisition through to publication.
12:00 pm –
1:00 pm –
First Thousand Words Editorial Event (with Shelley Tanaka and Tanya Trafford): For an additional fee, submit the first thousand words of your manuscript and up to two questions and you will get to meet with one of these editors for fifteen minutes and they will give you feedback so you can polish those pages and find out if you’re headed in the right direction.
(You will not be getting written feedback.) Manuscripts to be submitted by May 10. (Only 14 slots available)
1:00 pm – Illustrator Panel (with Miriam Körner, Rolli, and Judy Swallow) moderated by Sharon Plumb Hamilton): Come and discover the process of illustration and how each of us can think about stories with visual language. Illustrators will also share how illustrations interact with text. (Throughout the weekend, the work of these illustrators will be showcased on the walls of the conference room to inspire and invite conversation and ideas.)
2:30 pm –
2:45 pm –
Rolli – author of the acclaimed middle grade novel Kabungo (Groundwood Books) and frequent contributor to Highlights, Ladybug and Spider – will take you on a whirlwind tour of the world of children’s literary magazines. In addition to surveying the top markets in Canada, the US and Europe, Rolli will provide a variety of tips, tricks, and insights to help put you on the path to magazine success. Three random attendees will receive beautiful mystery gifts!
3:45 pm – Authentic, Spontaneous Performances: How to Fake It Till You Make It with award-winning writer, performer and performance coach, Brenda Baker. Learn the art of sharing your vision and voice with an audience in this incredible opportunity to hear from one of the best!
5:30 pm –
6:30 pm – Shelley Tanaka Interview: Shelley will talk about how to figure out what to do with an idea in a changing market. She will answer questions and go in-depth sharing her unique perspective.
8:00 pm –
Keynote address: Author talk with YA, picture book and middle grade Governor General’s award-winning author David A. Robertson to explore his writing practice, working with an illustrator and the way the publishing industry works. He will explore especially the need for vision and voice in a writing practice.
9:30 pm –

7:00 am – Writing Practice: 
A time for quiet writing together in the conference room with prompts collected during the conference. This is self-directed.
8:00 am –
9:30 am –
Coffee and Discovery Panel (with Rolli, Judy Swallow, Shelley Tanaka, and Tanya Trafford, moderated by Kristine Scarrow): A chat about books and the working relationships between authors, editors and illustrators. Come with questions!
10:45 am –
Conference wrap-up and new conference committee for Prairie Horizons 2021.
11:00 am –
Biennial General Meeting for CANSCAIP Sask Horizons, including election of officers.

Thank you to the following organizations who helped fund this conference:


The Job Jar

CANSCAIP Sask Horizons needs you! The following jobs will be up for grabs at our AGM on May 26th. If you are a Saskatchewan member or friend of CANSCAIP, please look over the job descriptions and consider if you would be willing to run for one of the positions. Thanks!


  1. Provide general direction for the other officers and the group as a whole.
  2. General Meeting (every second year at the Prairie Horizons conference)
    • Make agenda
    • Send notice to all members about the meeting, two weeks in advance
    • Chair meeting
  3. SWG Writing Group Grants application
    • In June, write and submit report on previous year’s grant usage.
    • In June, apply for SWG Writing Group Grant.
      • Fill in application
      • Collate member information including SWG memberships, expiry dates, and age categories. If there are not enough SWG members (2/3), ask non-members to join or renew
  4. Prairie Horizons
    • Maintain arms-length contact with committee and advise as necessary.
    • Open conference and welcome everyone. Tell them about CANSCAIP.


  1. Set up a joint bank account with the President to manage CANSCAIP Sask Horizon funds
    • Deposit cheques as they come in
    • Co-sign cheques with President as needed.
    • Keep track of incoming and outgoing funds and receipts and make sure they match bank statements.
    • Download and save monthly bank statements.
  2. Prairie Horizons Conferences
    • Maintain arms-length contact with committee and advise as necessary
    • Accept mailed registrations and deposit cheques. Give paper registration information to CANSCAIP Liaison. Email receipts to people who pay by cheque. (Online registrations are automatically receipted.)
    • Pay conference expenses as needed.
    • Take cheques to conference to give to presenters. Find out amounts needed from the committee.
  3. General Meeting:
    • Prepare budget report for the previous two years.
    • Take minutes at the meeting.
    • Prepare minutes to be placed on website before the next General Meeting.

Social Media Person:

  1. Manage Website:
    • Post information about events
    • Moderate comments
    • Add member books to sidebar (as members notify you of new books)
    • Add website links of new members to sidebar (as members notify you)
  2. Manage email account
    • Add new members and delete old ones
    • Email membership as needed
  3. Coordinate Online Blog Discussions or other “Connecting” website initiatives
  4. Facebook group: CANSCAIP Sask Horizons
    • Become a group administrator so you can approve requests to join
  5. Act as Liaison with national CANSCAIP office
  6. National CANSCAIP website
    • Get administrator privileges for from national office
    • Post notices of Saskatchewan events on blog
    • Set up event information and registration on national website
    • Maintain conference registration list, including snail mail registrations
    • Ask national office to transfer online registration money to Secretary-Treasurer as soon as event registration closes. They normally send a cheque. It can take a month or two. Verify amount received with event registration logs on the national website, taking into account paypal fees and any CANSCAIP bank fees.
  7. Keep Track of Saskatchewan members
    • Periodically check member list for new Saskatchewan members
    • Contact new Sask members to tell them about the Sask chapter activities
  8. Submit a short report for each edition of CANSCAIP News (4x a year)
  9. Prairie Horizons Conference
    • Share information about the conference as the committee provides it
  10. Set up any other form of social media you want to use

“The First Thousand Words” Editing Fundraiser 2019

If you’ve written a YA novel, a MG fantasy, 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’re not sure if the opening is working.

We are here to help. Submit the first thousand words of your manuscript 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, as professional publishers use. Your pages will be returned to you within six weeks, with comments alongside the text, and with edits done on lines that need them.

The cost for CANSCAIP Members or Friends is $35, and $50 for all others. Maximum of 2 edits per person. The funds raised will go towards the CANSCAIP Prairie Horizons Conference in 2019.

This offer will be open for the month of January only.

Meet our Editors here.

Questions? Contact us at

What I Read When I Was Young: Sally Meadows

Sally Meadows is an award-winning author, singer/songwriter, and speaker from Saskatoon. Sally writes for both adults and kids, in both non-fiction and fiction. Her publications include The Two Trees (Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing; 2015); Beneath That Star (Word Alive Press, 2015); When Sleeping Birds Fly: 365 Amazing Facts About The Animal Kingdom; 2018); and The Underdog Duckling (Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing, Sept. 2018). Sign up for Sally’s newsletter at


What was your favourite picture book? What was special about it?

I don’t recall a favourite picture book—generally, I don’t have a lot of memories when I was that young—but I know that my mother read my older siblings’ Dick and Jane books to me, and continues to occasionally send me Dick and Jane memorabilia including this colouring book re-published in 2004, and magnets featuring the characters. What’s special about this book is that I was named after Dick and Jane’s younger sister—Sally. My mother had asked my brothers and sister what she should name the new baby. Naturally they wanted the same name as the little sister in the Dick and Jane books.



What was the first chapter book your read?

I can’t say for sure, but my older siblings had The Bobbsey Twins (Laura Lee Hope) and The Famous Five (Enid Blyton) books so I imagine it might have been one of those. (I did prefer The Famous Five.)



What was your favourite chapter book? What was special about it?

Most likely Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery) since it is the only book I have kept from childhood. My godmother gave it to me on my ninth birthday. I never really knew her, but she always sent me presents on my birthday, and I treasured them.



Did you ever reread your favourite chapter book once you became an adult? Did it stand the test of time?

Yes, I reread Anne of Green Gables as an adult, but only once. I really enjoyed the CBC television series starring Megan Follows as Anne; one of my all-time favourite characters in any movie EVER was Richard Farnsworth’s Matthew Cuthbert. Recently I had the opportunity to purchase some children’s classic books but I decided not to. I am not particularly interested in rereading what I loved in the past, although I do re-watch movies that I love. I’m funny that way.


Did you read comic books? Which was your favourite?

I was definitely a comic book reader! I read a lot of different ones. Betty and Veronica was probably my favourite, but I also read Archie, Jughead, Richie Rich, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Dennis the Menace, Beetle Bailey, Batman, Fantastic Four, Aquaman, Spiderman, Green Lantern, Tales from the Crypt, and Mad Magazine. I used to pore over the advertisements: I longed to get the sea monkeys and spider monkeys, but alas it was never to be.


Did you prefer fiction or non-fiction?

I preferred fiction but I also had a healthy dose of non-fiction through the two sets of encyclopaedias my parents purchased: The World Book (including its child-friendly subsidiary set Childcraft) and Encyclopaedia Britannica. As far as I remember, I rarely picked up non-fiction books at the library nor did I purchase them. Today I read equally fiction and non-fiction.


Did you like series? Which ones?

Yes, I liked series, and hands-down my favourite was The Hardy Boys (I was a tomboy). I did read Nancy Drew books too but wasn’t nearly as enthusiastic about them as Frank and Joe. As I got older, I read a series of Sherlock Holmes books, and regularly bought Alfred Hitchcock magazines (which are still going strong today).



Did you have a local library? What do you remember about it?

I lived in a number of places when I was young, as my father was in the armed forces, so I don’t have strong memories of any one library. Probably my earliest memory of a library was on one of the army bases in eastern Ontario when I was about five. It was in a small, narrow, portable-type building and had limited hours. I remember one summer visit in particular when we got a special treat afterwards. Later, when we lived in Quebec, my sister and I used to take our bikes to the local library. One distinct memory I have is searching through the card catalogue in those long wooden boxes. Although I don’t remember a lot of details about the libraries I visited when I was young, they must have had a big impact on me; to this day, libraries are one of my favourite places to be.

What I Read When I Was Young: Miriam Körner

Miriam Körner is an award winning writer and illustrator for children and young adults. Her stories reflect her love for northern Canadian wilderness and the people who make the North their home. Her young adult novel “Yellow Dog” and her picture book “When the Trees Crackle with Cold: pīsimwasinahikan” (co-authored by Bernice Johnson-Laxdal) can both be found on this year’s Willow Awards List. 


What was your favourite picture book? What was special about it?

Good question. I only recall two picture books. One was an LP ‘Peter und der Wolf’ (Peter and the Wolf). It came with a picture book and my brother and I would look at the images as the LP was playing. Both music and text were scary and fascinating. I also remember ‘Wo die wilden Kerle wohnen’ (Where the wild things are’). At the time I did not realize that it wasn’t meant to be scary! Nor did I realize I was reading North American authors already back then.


What was the first chapter book you read?

No idea! I just remember reading ravenously as a teenager. Not much memories before then other than the books that scared me. There was a chapter book with a fox who stole a goose and whose tail got shot off by a farmer. I even recall the line drawing of the fox licking his bloody stump but not the title of the book. I had nightmares for many years.


What was your favourite chapter book? What was special about it?

I loved everything by Astrid Lindgren, especially ‘Die Brüder Löwenherz’ (Brothers Lionheart). The relationship between the two brothers always drew me in and the promise of a better world after death. But that’s not really a chapter book.




Did you ever reread your favourite chapter book once you became an adult? Did it stand the test of time?

I reread a few middle grade and young adult novels. I thought I was reading adult books back then. Ha, was I wrong! Lots of disappointment!


Did you read comic books? Which was your favourite?

Not when I was young. I discovered that world much later. Oh wait: I read ‘Maus’ (Mouse), a graphic novel about the Holocaust. Graphic novels were a very new genre back then I believe.


Did you prefer fiction or non-fiction?



Did you like series? Which ones?

I didn’t seek out any series, but I was always upset that the book I just finished reading wasn’t one.


Did you have a local library? What do you remember about it?

I remember the old building with the squeaking gigantic oak staircase that led to a room with gigantic wood shelves over towering little me and feeling utterly lost, never knowing how to find a book I would like to read. I don’t recall going there very often, but I do recall my friends Sophia and Charlotte’s living room that had a huge bookshelf with just the books from Oetinger (the publisher who published my favourite books by Astrid Lindgren and Kirsten Boje). Their mother was an editor (the first one I ever met). I barely dared talking to her who was not only in possession of the finest books (in hardcover!), but had actually talked to the authors who had written them!

Btw: 20some years later I did get the courage to contact her. She is retired now and doesn’t live in the house with the big bookshelf anymore. Which is too bad, because otherwise she might have added “Yellow Dog” to her library which will be published in Germany with my very favourite childhood publisher in 2020.

What I Read When I Was Young: Jeanette Montgomery

A whole world opened for Jeanette Montgomery when her Grade Two teacher taped a Norman Rockwell print on the blackboard and instructed the class to write a story. She wrote a three page story and was thrilled when the teacher read it to the class. Life progressed as normal through school years, marriage and children. She jumped at the opportunity to live in Australia and Saudi Arabia and, while living overseas, travelled worldwide. Several years later when she finally had a moment to catch her breath, Jeanette began putting to paper all the stories that had been rolling around in her head.

She currently works full time, is a member of two writers groups and sits on the Board for the Saskatchewan Writers Guild. She writes YA fiction, poetry and has completed a YA novel, Bloodkin, for which she is currently looking for a publisher. Someday Jeanette hopes to re-write her grade two story of Rockwell’s picture A Boy Meets His Dog from an adult perspective.


What was your favourite picture book? What was special about it?

Who of us does not hold a special place in our memories for stories that took us to new and fascinating worlds in our childhoods.

When I turned 5 years old I was allowed to get my own library card.  I don’t remember the name of the first book I borrowed but I remember the dark blue cover with a silhouette of a girl petting a puppy. Inside were wonderful water colour pictures of kids and dogs. I also remember the librarian cautioning me to take good care of the book and bring it back on time so I could get another one.


What was the first chapter book you read?

The Bobbsey Twins at the Seashore. The book was tattered and the spine was broken but my sisters and I read pretty much any childrens book that came through the house.  I think this one had been passed down from cousins.


What was your favourite chapter book? What was special about it?

The Black Stallion by Walter Farley.  I was ‘horse crazy’. What wasn’t to love! From the cover art of a rearing black horse to the adventure inside the covers, I loved it all.



Did you ever reread your favourite chapter book once you became an adult? Did it stand the test of time?

With so many amazing books on offer I never re-read The Black Stallion.  Perhaps it’s time.


Did you read comic books? Which was your favourite?

Mom wouldn’t let us spend our money on comic books but we had some Golden Classics in the house, again, probably passed down from cousins. My favourite was Ivanhoe. That’s probably when my love of high fantasy was born.



Did you prefer fiction or non-fiction?

Definitely fiction. I lived in the real world with all its problems. Why would I want to read about it!


Did you like series? Which ones?

My introduction to series was my brother’s Hardy Boys and Spin and Marty books. For some reason our town library didn’t carry them so I had to wait until my brother received one for a birthday or Christmas. And then I had to be patient while he read before I was allowed to.


Did you have a local library? What do you remember about it?

 Our town library was probably my favourite place until I hit my teen years and noticed boys. The librarians were wonderful, often holding back books for my sisters and I that they knew we would enjoy. When I was 14 I went through a phase of reading myths and legends. I don’t remember the librarian’s name but she went out of her way to bring in books from other branches once I’d plowed through what our small branch owned.

During summer holidays I would go to the library with my sisters and our friends. We would borrow books, go sit on the lovely shaded front lawn of the library and read. Sometimes we would return the book the same afternoon and get a new one before going home.

What I Read When I Was Young: Bev Brenna

Bev Brenna is a professor, a hiker, a long distance cyclist, and a terrific writer. Her most recent intermediate novel is Fox Magic, a story about hope and transformation for twelve-year-old Chance Devlin after her two friends have taken their lives.




What was your favourite picture book? What was special about it?

I liked One Kitten is Not Too Many by Dorothy Levenson because at an early age I learned to read it by memorizing the gently repetitive text. Then I felt like a “real” reader until a family member said, “Oh, that’s all very well, but you know you’re not really reading it.” Also, in the storyline, the kids “won.” Yay kids!



What was the first chapter book you read?

I read and re-read Penrod by Boothe Tarkington. It is the story of a bad boy and I relished the idea that I, too, could be bad. If only the stars would align.



What was your favourite chapter book? What was special about it?

Mouse Mountain by Fred Lindsay was my favourite, because it was one of three novels I was repeatedly read aloud at bedtime by my all suffering mother (“Oh no, not that one again!” she’d moan). I liked it because the protagonist was an adult, and the other characters were talking animals including a mosquito. My mother gave the mosquito a high, squealy voice when she read his part. Perhaps my interest in mosquitoes was hatched then and there.



Did you ever reread your favourite chapter book once you became an adult? Did it stand the test of time?

I re-read lots chapter books I read as a kid, and consider the “chronotopic” movement (see Bakhtin’s definition of this, from his applied work on Einstein’s theory of relativity)  through time and space as I read them. When I read Anne of Green Gables, for example, I remember exactly how it was to be a nine-year-old reader. I’m also interested in how I now gravitate towards different characters during adult re-readings, in contrast to the subjects I focused on when I was a kid. Current readings of Anne see me relying heavily on Marilla and Matthew. Old is interested in old! Maybe readers really do like to “read up.”


Did you read comic books? Which was your favourite?

I read comics voraciously but do not recall any of them. I treated them a bit like candy. And in those days, perhaps they didn’t have the same substance that many comics do today.


Did you prefer fiction or non-fiction?

I preferred fiction simply because that was what I had the most access to, I think. Also, the non-fiction of my childhood was very text heavy. Today’s non-fiction for kids is often glorious!


Did you like series? Which ones?

I read the Anne series out of love, and the Nancy Drew series out of greed—trying to have a higher stack on my bedroom floor than my friend’s stack. Beating my friend turned out to be easy, however, as when my sister moved out, I fell heir to her dozen ancient Nancy Drew books. At that point, I stopped competing and turned to other things. Many really great series’ books—such as most of Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books—I didn’t discover until I became a teacher. My own kids enjoyed the “Redwall” series—that was a lengthy and joyous find!


Did you have a local library? What do you remember about it?

The children’s books in our local Saskatoon library seemed limitless. I knew I could never read them all, but I dragged in a big basket every Saturday, and I really tried! And…I’m still trying!