Whether you want a simple “Meet the Author” visit or an intense writing workshop, contact me to ask about availability.

I’ve given presentations and writing workshops at schools and libraries across Canada, and at conferences and events including The Word on the Street, the SCBWI Canada East Regional Conference, MASC Young Authors’ and Illustrators’ Conference, the Blue Met Children’s Festival, TD Children’s Book Week, the Hackmatack Author Tour, Gaspesie Bookfest, and the Vancouver Island Children’s Book Festival.

Learn about Financial Assistance for Author Visits in Canada.


For a standard fee, I can come into your school, library, or writing group to perform a reading, talk about my books and writing process, and answer all your questions.

I offer four basic author visits tailored to the age of the audience:

  • “Making up Stories” (Grades JK-3, 45-60 minutes)

Virtually meet the cat that helped me write a book about ancient Egypt. Discover how a picture book is made, and how we can all be writers every day. With a reading (from My Cat Isis) and an optional writing/drawing exercise with hieroglyphs.

  • “10 Tips for a Fearless Writing Life” (Grades 3-8, 60 minutes)

Get the scoop on what it takes to become an author, summed up in an hour and accompanied by cartoons, memes, and fun facts about phobias. With Q&A and a reading in a devil voice.

  • “Writing and Reading Dystopian Fiction” (Grades 7+, 60 minutes)

Follow the writing process from a first idea to a final book, and discover the importance of perseverance to heroes and authors alike. With publishing tips for teen writers, Q&A, and an optional reading.

  • “Writing through a Lifetime” (Adults, 60 minutes)

A candid talk about why we write and how to stay sane through the ups and downs of a writing life. About craft, genre, and the publishing landscape. With a reading of short fiction.

three cats(I could also give a slide show of my pets, quilts, or mushroom photos — but no one ever wants to pay me for that.)

Writing Workshops

I offer writing workshops, from 1-2 hours, with a focus on Character, Setting, Plotting, and Revision.

I’m always up for developing a new workshop, so feel free to suggest a theme.

Good Company

masc presenters I’ve twice been a presenting author at MASC’s Young Authors and Illustrators Festival, an annual three-day Ottawa event that provides writing workshops to hundreds of keen students in the region.

At left, the presenting authors and illustrators from the 2015 MASC Conference: Kate Inglis, Matt James, Genevieve Despres, Catherine Austen (me), Tim Wynne-Jones, Rina Singh, Sydney Smith, and Monique Polak. (I forgot to take a group photo at the 2019 MYAI Festival, where I presented with Cary Fagan, Karen Krossing, David A. Robertson, Britt Wilson, and Soyeon Kim.)


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