Site Accessibility Statement
Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
September 20, 2017
Canadian Excellence

Participating Authors, Illustrators and Editors

Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch: Picture books & camp director

Marsha didn't learn to read until she was nine.   At ten, she taught herself how to read with Dicken's Oliver Twist.  After high school, Marsha earned an honours degree in English at UWO.   In 1978, she took a job with an industrial supplier, becoming the first woman in Canada to be an industrial sales rep.

She married Orest Skrypuch in 1981, and in 1982, she returned to UWO and got her Master of Library Science degree. She worked as a librarian for Agriculture Canada until 1984 when her son Neil was born.
Marsha invented a washable nursing pad that was so successful it was sold across Canada and in Europe for over a decade.

In 1996 Marsha's first book, Silver Threads was published. All of Marsha's books have one thing in common: they are the stories that people tend to brush under the carpet.

Robin Baird Lewis: Illustrator and artist
For over 30 years Robin has established a respectable body of work in art galleries, in public and private collections internationally,  and in award-wining book illustration and design. Titles include the classics RED IS BEST and BIG OR LITTLE? (Stinson) and  the hottest seller on the Annick Press 2000 List, TO THE POOL WITH MAMA (Farrell)
In 1999 she completed the 400+ page MORE THAN WORDS - a parenting guide for autistic children by Fern Sussman,  published by the Hanen Learning Centre.
After a 12 year tour of duty teaching high school art, Robin escaped to head up Birdsnest Productions, an umbrella  organisation for the sub-divisions of "MURALLY YOURS", "Portraits with Attitude", and Sign DESIGN", which showcase Robin's eclectic skills and talent.
Robin shares a heritage stone cottage with photographer-husband, Nicholas Gunn and a family of  two Newfoundland dogs and two cats.

Kathy Stinson: Picture Books
Kathy Stinson grew up in Toronto, sorted mail, taught school and waited tables before figuring out, while at home with her two children, that what she really wanted to do was write.  Many of her titles have since been published in Canada and abroad, including ONE YEAR COMMENCING, a novel which was nominated for B.C.'s Red Cedar Award and RED IS BEST, a picture book which won the Toronto Chapter IODE Award.
In 1987 Kathy travelled to England as part of the first international exchange of Canadian and British children's authors, organized by The Canadian Children's Book Centre.
A member of The Writers' Union of Canada, CANSCAIP, IBBY-Canada, the Canadian Children's Book Centre, and PEN Canada, Kathy has worked as Writer-in-Residence for the Kitchener, East York and Toronto library systems and by computer as a Writer In Electronic Residence.
In 1996 she received a Bicentennial Civic Award of Merit from the City of Scarborough.

Peter Carver: Writing teacher and editor.
Peter Carver has worked in the Canadian publishing industry for 30 years as editor, publisher, writer, and commentator, principally in the field of books for young readers. His publishing career began with Peter Martin Books in 1976, where he was the editor of a series of anthologies for reluctant readers entitled the Elements series. Since then he has edited picture books, fiction, and non-fiction projects for a number of Canadian publishers. For several years in the 1990s he was co-owner of a small publishing company, Boardwalk Books. Peter is a three-time recipient of the Vicky Metcalf editor’s award, in 1993, 2000, and 2001.

Since 1996, he has been editor of children’s and young adult books for Red Deer Press.

During the 1980s he spent seven years on the staff of The Canadian Children’s Book Centre where he was responsible for the centre’s publishing program, coordinated the annual Children’s Book Week, and also began teaching workshops for adults who wanted to write for the young audience.

For 20 years he researched and wrote the Freedom to Read Week kit for the Book and Periodical Council. In recognition of his contribution to this cause, Peter was named a co-recipient of the Canadian Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Award in 2002. In 2004 he was awarded the Writers Union of Canada Freedom to Read award.

In addition to his work as an editor, Peter has spent the past 20 years teaching Writing for Children classes for George Brown College in Toronto. He has also given workshops to writers and spoken to audiences from Vancouver to St. John’s.

Prior to entering the publishing world, Peter spent fourteen years teaching high school English in Ottawa and the Ottawa Valley. He now lives in the country near Guelph, Ontario with his partner, writer Kathy Stinson.

Valerie Sherrard: Mysteries.

Born in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan, in 1957, Valerie (Russell) Sherrard lived in various parts of the country before settling in NB, where she has made her home since 1980. Writing for young adults comes naturally to the mother of three who was also the Executive Director of a group home for adolescents for ten years, and a former foster parent to approximately 70 teenagers.

Valerie’s desire to become an author was born when she was in grade six and living with her family in Lahr, West Germany, where her father was stationed. Her homeroom teacher that year, Alf Lower, praised and encouraged her efforts and instilled in her a lifelong belief in her ability to write. (In 2001 Sherrard did some ‘amateur sleuthing’ and located her former teacher. The two have been in touch ever since and her sixth book, Hiding in Plain Sight, is dedicated to Lower.)

Characters often precede stories for Sherrard, and she finds that an entire plot can develop around a character, rather than the other way around. Valerie believes this gives a story its voice, and has learned to allow her characters free reign, even when that means the plot needs to be altered. Each protagonist is unique and real to the author, though they may possess combinations of characteristics from various people she has known.

While her first published books have all been young adult novels, Sherrard has recently expanded her writing to include younger children and other genres, such as historical fiction.

Her other interests are varied, ranging from home decorating to playing chess or Scrabble with her husband, Brent. Their family home is a converted funeral parlour.

Valerie Sherrard can be contacted at

Edo van Belkom: horror for adults & children.

Edo was born in Toronto in 1962, he graduated from York university with a degree in writing. He worked as a daily newspaper sports and police reporter for five years before becoming a full time freelance writer in 1992.  Since then he has done a wide variety of writing-related work from trivia questions to book reviews, opinion pieces on professional wresting to special speeches for Toronto mayor Mel Lastman.
As a teacher he has taught short story writing for the Peel Board of Education, been an instructor at Sheridan college and lectured on horror and fantasy writing at the University of Toronto.
He has won the 1997 Stoker award for horror writing as well as two Aurora awards in 1999 and 2003. 
He lives in Brampton Ontario with his wife Roberta and son Luke.
Lenore Keeshig -Tobias: Author and folkteller.

Lenore Keeshig-Tobias is an Anishnabe author and storyteller from the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation, and is currently a naturalist and cultural interpreter for Parks Canada. She has conducted workshops in storytelling, writing, land claims, Aboriginal rights and other aspects of Native culture and history, and has worked on issues of racism in the arts, specifically cultural appropriation.
Keeshig-Tobias shares the 1993 ‘Living the Dream Book Award’ with her daughter, Polly, and a 1987 ‘Author's Award’ with her husband, David McLaren.

Barbara Haworth Attard: Author Keynote Speaker - Friday Session

Barbara Haworth-Attard is a native of Elmira, Ontario, presently residing in London, Ontario with her family.
June 1995 saw the publication of her first junior novel, Dark of the Moon. Since then she has written twelve novels in the historical fiction, fantasy and contemporary genres for middle-grade and young adult readers. Her thirteenth book, "Forget-Me-Not" a sequel to "Love-Lies-Bleeding" was published in the Fall of 2005 from HarperCollins Canada. Also tl Henry Holt and Company will be bringing out the US edition of "Theories of Relativity." This book has also been sold to Editions Thierry Magnier of France. Barbara also writes short stories, her most recent being in the Red Deer Press 2005 anthology The Horrors. Barbara has spoken at various senior centres, historical societies, quilt guilds and churches.