EMWF Panel: In the Lead

Thursday August 6, 8:00 - 9:00 p.m. EST (online)

Presenters: Sheena Kamal, Fight Like a Girl, Rob Shapiro, The Book of Sam, and Lindsay Wong, My Summer of Love and Misfortune

Host: Eric Walters

What does it take to craft a compelling leading character? What do writers do to make us fall in love with, turn away from, follow, root for, or laugh at their protagonists? How does a writer know if their character’s voice is authentic? Explore all this and more in this fun and entertaining panel lead by reader-favourite, Eric Walters!

This event includes closed captioning.


Fight Like a Girl
By Sheena Kamal
Published by Penguin Teen (Penguin Random House)

Love and violence. In some families they're bound up together, dysfunctional and poisonous, passed from generation to generation like eye color or a quirk of smile. Trisha's trying to break the chain, channeling her violent impulses into Muay Thai kickboxing, an unlikely sport for a slightly built girl of Trinidadian descent. Her father comes and goes as he pleases, his presence adding a layer of tension to the Toronto east-end townhouse that Trisha and her mom call home, every punch he lands on her mother carving itself indelibly into Trisha's mind. Until the night he wanders out drunk in front of the car Trisha is driving, practicing on her learner's permit, her mother in the passenger seat. Her father is killed, and her mother seems strangely at peace. Lighter, somehow. Trisha doesn't know exactly what happened that night, but she's afraid it's going to happen again. Her mom has a new man in her life and the patterns, they are repeating.

Sheena Kamal holds an HBA in Political Science from the University of Toronto, and was awarded a TD Canada Trust scholarship for community leadership and activism around the issue of homelessness. Her debut novel The Lost Ones (US)/Eyes Like Mine (UK) won the 2018 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, a Strand Magazine Critics Award and Macavity Award for Best First Novel. It has been sold in fifteen countries and was a Globe and Mail Bestseller, a TIME Magazine Recommended Read, an iBooks Best Book, a Bustle Best Book and a Powell's Pick. Fight Like a Girl is her first young adult novel.

Image

The Book of Sam
By Rob Shapiro
Published by Dundurn Press

Sixteen-year-old Sam Sullinger lives in the shadow of adolescence. He's lost among his overachieving siblings, constantly knocked down by his harsh father, and bullied daily. His only solace is his best friend and crush, Harper.

In a grand plan designed to help him confess his love to Harper, Sam accidentally sets off a series of events that lead to her being kidnapped and taken to Hell. Racked with guilt, Sam makes a bold decision for the first time in his life: He’s going to rescue his only friend.

Sam is thrust into a vivid world fraught with demons, vicious beasts, and a falling city. And every leg of his journey reminds him that he isn’t some brave knight on a quest — he’s an insecure teenager yearning to make his mark on at least one world.

Rob Shapiro is a novelist and TV writer who has dabbled in film, theatre, and copywriting. He recently wrote for Nelvana’s D.N.Ace and co-created two television series that are in development. Rob lives in Toronto.

Image

My Summer of Love and Misfortune
By Lindsay Wong
Published by Simon Pulse (Simon and Schuster)

Crazy Rich Asians meets Love & Gelato in this hilarious, quirky novel about a Chinese-American teen who is thrust into the decadent world of Beijing high society when she is sent away to spend the summer in China.

Iris Wang is having a bit of a rough start to her summer: Her boyfriend cheated on her, she didn’t get into any colleges, and she has no idea who she is or what she wants to do with her life. She’s always felt torn about being Chinese-American, feeling neither Chinese nor American enough to claim either identity. She’s just a sad pizza combo from Domino’s, as far as she’s concerned.

In an attempt to snap her out of her funk, Iris’s parents send her away to visit family in Beijing, with the hopes that Iris would “reconnect with her culture” and “find herself.” Iris resents the condescension, but even she admits that this might be a good opportunity to hit the reset button on the apocalyptic disaster that has become her life.

With this trip, Iris expects to eat a few dumplings, meet some family, and visit a tourist hotspot or two. Instead, she gets swept up in the ridiculous, opulent world of Beijing’s wealthy elite, leading her to unexpected and extraordinary discoveries about her family, her future, and herself.

Lindsay Wong is the author of the bestselling, award-winning memoir The Woo-Woo: How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug-Raids, Demons, and My Crazy Chinese Family. She has a BFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia and MFA in literary nonfiction from Columbia University, and she is now based in Vancouver, Canada. My Summer of Love and Misfortune is her first YA novel. Visit her online at LindsayMWong.WordPress.com or on Twitter @LindsayMWong.

Image
Eric Walters began writing as a way to get his fifth-grade students interested in reading and writing. A Member of the Order of Canada, he has now published more than 100 novels and picture books. He is a tireless presenter, speaking to over 100,000 students per year in schools across the country.

Want a copy of the books featured on this panel?
The Bookshelf (Guelph) is our bookselling partner for this event. If you would like to purchase a copy of one of the books from this event, you can order online at bookshelf.ca or phone 519-821-3311 x1. Free shipping or curbside delivery in Guelph. $10.00 shipping cost outside of Guelph.

Thank you to our supporters:
The Angel Gabriel Foundation, The Canada Council for the Arts, The Department of Canadian Heritage, Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation, League of Canadian Poets, Open Book, The Ontario Arts Council, The Pollock Family Fund and Wellington County.