MASC Festival 2019

MASC online logo
Catherine Austen speaking at MASC Festival 2019
Me at MASC, about to read from 28 Tricks for a Fearless Grade 6

I had a great time at this year’s MASC Young Authors and Illustrators Festival in Ottawa. The 3-day event was held at the Canadian Aviation Museum, where over 450 children aged 9-12 came from around the region — some of them getting up at 5:00 a.m. to arrive in time! — to enjoy a day of hands-on workshops with professionals from Canada’s children’s literature community.

I was one of 6 presenters this year, giving morning and afternoon workshops every day alongside authors Cary Fagan, Karen Krossing, and David A. Robertson, and artists Britt Wilson and Soyeon Kim. (Read the bios of all of these MASC presenters here.)

You can watch a few of us give readings and talks on the YouTube channel of the sponsor, Eagle Professional Resources Inc. Check out my reading from 28 Tricks for a Fearless Grade 6. (Be warned: there is singing.)

Kids in my workshops built fictional characters, showed them in action individually, then mashed them together in a team plot-building exercise that got loud and silly and impressively imaginative. It was so much fun.

Me at MASC 2019 (Photo by Bill Juillette)

If you’re curious about the Festival — or if you attended and are already feeling nostalgiac — check out the photos on the MASC Facebook Page. (Thanks to photographer Bill Juillette.)

If you want to attend next year, check out MASC online and keep your ears open for the registration call next fall. There will be a whole new batch of professional authors and illustrators from across Canada coming to Ottawa next Spring, ready to expand the minds and improve the skills of another 450 kids through a day of fun workshops.

It’s a special event that’s been going on for more than twenty years, and it was an honour to be a part of it in 2019. My favourite of the all the great moments of the three days was at the book signing at day’s end when a little girl, bright eyed and smiling, shouted, “You inspired me so much!” Can’t beat that.

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