Prairie Horizons 2021 Conference Schedule


6:45 pm – Greeting and Opening Remarks

7:00 pm –
Kenneth Oppel Interview (moderated by Alice Kuipers) Multiple Award-winning author of books for children, young adults, and adults, Kenneth Oppel’s latest trilogy Bloom takes place in a “New World, New Opportunity” situation when Earth experiences an invasion of alien flora and fauna. Ken is looking forward to talking about world-building, science fiction, and the challenges of writing a trilogy.

7:45 pm –

8:00 pm – New World, New Opportunities Panel with Margriet Ruurs, Sara Gillingham, Mark Allard Will, Kathryn Lane, Heather Nickel, and Rhonda Donais (moderated by Kim Benson and Miriam Körner) Each of these distinguished creatives will share how the challenges of the past year have influenced their creative direction and how they envision their role in shaping the future of the children’s book and performance market.


9:00 am – Illustration Presentation with Sara Gillingham (moderated by Jessica Williams) Learn about the nuts and bolts of children’s book illustration and design, the book making process, and how to submit your illustration work to publishers, from the Consulting Creative Director for Greystone Kids.

9:45 am – Break

10:00 am – Keynote Interview: Writing the Big Picture with Margriet Ruurs (moderated by Alice Kuipers) The world is made of stories. How do you pick the one you want to tell and make it appealing to both publishers and a young audience? As we face competition from screen media, we need to find a strong voice and create books that help children’s imagination and knowledge soar. We’ll talk about all aspects of writing and turning ideas into manuscripts.

10:45 am – Break

11:00 am – Finding a Home for Your Book with Traditional Publishing and Self-publishing: Interview with Kathryn Lane and Heather Nickel (moderated by Alice Kuipers) Kathryn Lane, Associate Publisher at Dundurn Press, and Heather Nickel, Publisher at Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing, will discuss the similarities and differences in the acquisition, editing, marketing, and publishing processes. What do various types of publishers look for, and what do each expect from their authors, particularly during the editing process?

12:00 pm – Lunch

1:00 pm – Portfolio and Manuscript Critique Event with Sara Gillingham, Kathryn Lane and Heather Nickel Illustrators: For an additional fee, submit your portfolio (maximum 10 images in a single PDF) and up to two questions and have the opportunity to meet with Sara Gillingham for fifteen minutes.
Authors: For an additional fee, submit the first thousand words of your manuscript and up to two questions and have the opportunity to meet with one of the publishing representatives for fifteen minutes.
Deadline for submissions is April 15th.

1:00 pm – Performance Workshop with Rhonda Donais Rhonda Donais has been telling traditional Indigenous stories and entertaining the young at heart for over 20 years. She is best known for her zany clown character “Tulip”. Her stories will keep you entertained, and make you laugh out loud or think.

1:45 pm – Break

2:00 pm – Workshop on Writing the Graphic Novel Manuscript with Elaine Will and Mark Allard Will Discover from this dynamic duo how graphic novels differ from writing fiction. Learn how to work with an illustrator through the creation process.

3:00 pm – Illustrator Panel with Sara Gillingham and Elaine Will (moderated by Jessica Williams) In keeping with the conference theme–New World, New Opportunities–panelists will discuss the current roles of illustration. In our rapidly changing world, how does illustration inspire possibility, now and in the future?

3:45 pm – Break

4:00 pm – Keynote address with Margriet Ruurs (moderated by Dianne Young) Books are windows upon the world. We’ll travel around the world looking for stories that can be turned into books that will inspire young readers. From camels that bring books to kids in the Gobi Desert to Zambia’s Book Bus, from biographies to poetry, we will talk about finding ideas, conducting research, and writing fiction or nonfiction in your own unique voice.

5:30 pm – Supper

6:30 pm – Biennial General Meeting for CANSCAIP Sask, including election of officers (Sask Members and Friends only)

7:00 pm – Conference wrap-up and selection of new conference committee for Prairie Horizons 2023 (can be from any province) AND DOOR PRIZES!

7:30 – Open Mic (moderated by Dianne Young) Everyone is welcome to attend. If you would like to read or perform, email Dianne Young to sign up. Strict maximum of 4 minutes per person, and maximum of 18 participants so sign up early