Wordfest Youth is dedicated to creating collective, community experiences that are inclusive and inspirational.

Book your fall youth authors now!

Cale Atkinson

Author / Illustrator / Animator Talk

Book your class now for a supercharged session for the younger grades that shows just how much goes into creating compelling stories and unforgettable characters through visual media. An in-school experience with Cale Atkinson will inspire both reluctant readers and budding artists alike as he shares fun exercises and jaw-dropping examples from his many illustrated books, including If I Had a Gryphon, Little Red Riding Sheep, and Unicorns 101, as well as his work on animated shorts, on television, and in video games for clients such as Marvel, Disney, and American Greetings. Gr. 1-4 (Oct 16-18)


Édith Bourget

Author / Illustrator Talk

Édith Bourget’s incredible range and multidisciplinary talents make her an ideal fit for a variety of classrooms and grade levels in French. Book your school for a live illustration experience with Bourget, inspired by her picture books — perfect for budding artists in grades 2-4. Or bring the author in for an artist talk on her Governor General’s Award-winning poetry books, Autour de Gabrielle and Les saisons d’Henri. Bourget is also available to present her fascinating cross-country travelogue, Ici, là et ailleurs, chronicling her journeys through cities from St. John’s to Vancouver — a perfect complement for middle-grade Social Studies. Contact us to discuss possibilities! All Ages (Oct 15-17) French


Alice Kuipers

Author Talk

Alice Kuipers is the award-winning, bestselling author of five YA novels, including Life on the Refrigerator Door, longlisted for the UK’s Carnegie Medal, and two picture books. She returns to Wordfest with Polly Diamond and the Super Stunning Spectacular School Fair, book two of her Polly Diamond chapter book series. Gr. 1-4, 9-12 (Oct 15-17).


Ashley Spires | Totally Booked!

Author/ Illustrator Talk

Looking for creative ways to spark the imagination and curiosity of the younger grades when introducing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)? Look no further than Ashley Spires’s Fairy Science, the first in her hilarious new picture book series that introduces a charming, determined heroine as she learns about the world and celebrates the joys of curiosity and exploring science. Spires is also available to present her Binky the Space Cat series of junior graphic novels and the bestselling The Most Magnificent Thing, soon to be an animated short film narrated by Whoopi Goldberg. Gr. 1-4 (Oct 16-18).




Alex A. | Totally Booked!

Author Talk French/English

Alex A. is the author and illustrator of the graphic novel series Super Agent Jon Le Bon! (on which the popular CBC Kids videos are based) and Mini-Jon’s Experiments, published monthly in Chickadee Magazine. Fond of wearing colourful wool hats and plaid pants, he lives in Montreal with his dog Wolfy. Gr. 3-6 (Oct 15 & 16).


Sigmund Brouwer | Totally Booked!

Author Talk at YYC SpacePort

This summer marks the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s 1969 moon landing. What better place for students to learn the story of this historic event than at the Spaceport at the Calgary International Airport? Told from the astronauts’ point of view, Sigmund Brouwer’s Moon Mission, The Epic 400 Year Journey to Apollo 11 is a new perspective on the epic journey and how STEM set it in motion! Gr. 5-9 (Oct 21-23).

Susin Nielsen | Totally Booked!

Author Talk

Susin Nielsen got her start writing for TV’s Degrassi Junior High and went on to write for 20 more television shows. She’s also the author of five critically acclaimed and award-winning novels, including Optimists Die First and We Are All Made of Molecules. She returns to Wordfest with her latest YA novel, No Fixed Address, about growing up one step away from homelessness. Gr. 5-9 (Oct 16-18).

Shane M. Chartrand

Author Talk

Who better to introduce your students to the rich culture of Indigenous cuisine than award-winning chef and Chopped Canada competitor Shane Mederic Chartrand? Born to Cree parents and raised by a Métis father and Mi’kmaw-British mother, Chartrand has spent the past 15 years learning about his history, visiting with other First Nations peoples, gathering and sharing knowledge and stories, and creating dishes that combine his diverse interests and express his unique personality. Gr. 7-12 (Oct 16).


Cherie Dimaline

Author Talk at the Bella Concert Hall

Remember last year’s epic field-trip event with Wab Kinew (Go Show the World) at the 650-seat Bella Concert Hall? Don’t miss out on this year’s marquee youth experience featuring Cherie Dimaline and her YA novel, The Marrow Thieves. Her book shot to the top of the bestseller lists when it was published in 2017, and is currently being adapted for television. It won the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Kirkus Prize, and the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, admission is free of charge, and includes a moving on-stage presentation from the author followed by an audience Q&A, and a professional photo of your class with Dimaline. (In-Theatres Only: Oct 17 at 10am [TOTALLY BOOKED] & 12:30pm [SECOND SHOW ADDED]).




Emma Donoghue | Totally Booked!

Author Talk

Sign your class up for an unforgettable morning of laughter, readings, student questions and a celebration of the love that binds together even the most extraordinary family configurations and unique friendships. Emma Donoghue returns with her second book for young readers and the sequel to The Lotterys Plus One, which follows the domestic adventures of a large, rambunctious, multicultural family. Gr. 7-12 (Oct 18 morning only)


Humble The Poet | Totally Booked!

Author Talk

Prove you’re the coolest teacher on the planet by hosting a packed hour of raw, honest storytelling at your school with Humble the Poet (a.k.a. Kanwer Singh). In Things No One Else Can Teach Us, Humble the Poet flips the conventional script for happiness and success, showing us how our hardest moments can be our greatest teachers. Humble the Poet is a Canadian-born rapper, spoken-word artist, poet, author, and former elementary school teacher. He is also a social media star with a popular blog that attracts more than 100,000 monthly readers and an Instagram account with close to a half a million followers. Gr. 7-12 (Oct 21).

David A. Robertson

Author Talk

A member of Norway House Cree Nation, David Robertson educates as well as entertains through his writings about Indigenous Peoples. The award-winning author of children’s books, graphic novels, and YA novels comes to Wordfest with Ghost the final novel of his Reckoner trilogy. Gr. 7-12 (Oct 15-18).



Richard Van Camp

Author Talk

Richard Van Camp is one of Canada’s greatest oral storytellers and the best-selling author of twenty-two books, including the coming of age novel The Lesser Blessed, adapted into a film starring Benjamin Bratt. Three Feathers is Van Camp’s latest graphic novel to be made into a film and Moccasin Square Gardens is his latest book of short stories. Gr. 7-12 (Oct 15-16).



Bob Joseph | Totally Booked!

Author Talk

Bob Joseph is a Gwawaenuk Nation member, former professor, and the CEO of Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. His bestselling, 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act is an essential guide to understanding reconciliation and its repercussions on generations of Indigenous Peoples.

Alice Kuipers

Author Talk

Alice Kuipers is the award-winning, bestselling author of five YA novels, including Life on the Refrigerator Door, longlisted for the UK’s Carnegie Medal, and two picture books. Always Smile: Carley Allison’s Secrets for Laughing, Loving and Living is Kuiper’s tribute to the life and legacy of figure skater and singer/songwriter Carley Allison. 9-12 (Oct 15-17)


Barry Lyga & Morgan Baden

Authors Talk

Called a “YA rebel-author” by Kirkus Reviews, Barry Lyga has published 20 YA books including Thanos: Titan Consumed, in conjunction with Marvel Comics.  Morgan Baden has ghostwritten several bestselling YA novels and does social media for a children’s publishing house. Together they’ve written The Hive, just named a Best Book of Fall 2019 by People magazine! A speculative YA thriller set in the near future, The Hive will spark a conversation with your students about online shaming and internet bullying. Gr. 9-12 (Oct 15-16)


Jesse Thistle

Author Talk

Jesse Thistle is available to give an inspirational talk for high school students, based on his debut memoir From the Ashes, and his recent Walrus Talk on youth leadership. Once a high school dropout and now a rising Indigenous scholar, Thistle chronicles his life on the streets and how he overcame trauma and addiction to discover the truth about who he is. Gr. 9-12 (Oct 23).




Phone our Youth Programming Associate, Rita Sirignano at 403-260-2706 or email her at for more information on in-school author visits in 2019.

Book Your School Visit

What is Wordfest Youth?

Wordfest Youth supplies authors from across Canada and around the world to present fun, illuminating in-and out-of-school events that promote a love of reading and a deeper appreciation of the world of ideas and imagination.

Who Brings the Best Authors to YYC?

Wordfest! Wordfest Youth connects Calgary students with the world’s most compelling authors. We’re a high-calibre, not-for-profit event planner of the wordiest kind who, for more than two decades, has given kids opportunities to experience life-changing ideas.

What Happens?

Pure Awesomeness! Wordfest brings the best authors from across Canada and around the world into schools for captivating, Ted-talk style presentations, as well as larger, We-Day like gatherings at theatrical venues.

Why Does Meeting an Author Matter?

Meeting an actual person who wrote an actual book can be a captivating and transformative experience, one that fosters self-confidence, sparks conversations, and seeds imaginative potential. This past year, students had the opportunity to ask NASA astronaut Dr. Dave Williams about his record-breaking, longest walk in space; hear Caldecott Medal-winner Lindsay Mattick’s story of how a real-life bear cub adopted by her great grandfather was the inspiration for the fictional Winnie the Pooh; and learn about indigenous heroes and how to move forward with Truth and Reconciliation with Wab Kinew. (He even did an impromptu rap for them!)

When Can the Authors Come?

In addition to our annual Imaginarium Festival (October 14 – 23, 2019), Wordfest connects students with authors throughout the year. Join our mailing list to be the first to receive our notifications on who’s coming to Calgary next!

What is the Cost to Book an Author?

The cost for an in-school visit is $600 for a one-hour presentation; in-theatre presentations cost a subsidized rate of $6 per student, with teachers and chaperones free. Each experience also includes two signed, complimentary copies of the author’s book for your school library. To ensure that as many students as possible can participate in these life-changing experiences, we’re pleased to provide full or partial subsidies to schools that require financial support. As funding is limited, please contact us as soon as possible to inquire about subsidized events. If your school can cover the cost of an author visit – thank you! Please know that your payments enable us to pay it forward to other less fortunate schools.

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Nominate a School for Priority Funding: Did you know that Wordfest receives donations from individuals and private organizations to help deserving schools and families gain access to Wordfest Youth programming? Complete this form to nominate a school for consideration.