MASC Young Authors & Illustrators Festival

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

The MASC Young Authors and Illustrators Festival took place on February 27  at the Canada Science and Technology Museum. The festival featured an award winning line-up of Canadian authors and illustrators, and is hosted by JustJamaal ThePoet.  Students in grades four to eight attended a full day of literary activities including artist presentations and hands-on master classes, working with a professional author or illustrator of their choice. We are grateful to our key event supporter: Leacross Foundation.


2024 Authors & Illustrators

Schedule of Events & Masterclasses

Your festival day will run from 8:30am to 3:30pm, with a lunch break between your morning and afternoon sessions (lunch not provided). See below for a more detailed breakdown and masterclass descriptions!

8:30am: Arrival

9:00am-9:40am: Welcome, Meet the Authors, and a special performance

9:45am-11:45am: Masterclass Session #1

11:45am-12:30pm: Lunch & mini dance workshop

12:35pm-1:00pm: Author readings & prize draw

1:05pm-2:55pm: Masterclass Session #2

3:00pm-3:30pm: Book Fair, Author Signings, and Farewell

  • Write Like a Superhero

    J. Torres (Grades 4-6)

    This masterclass is for comic book fans and graphic novel readers who want to write their own comics or graphic novels. Award winning author J. Torres will take you behind-the-scenes and show you how comic books are made and teach you how plot, format, and write a comic book script. This class will help you get started on the road to writing your own Marvel-like masterpiece or the next great graphic novel.

  • Writing Dystopic Fiction

    Angela Misri (Grades 4-6)

    In this two-part workshop, you’ll go through some examples of great dystopic fiction and then break it down into three working sections: plot/setting, characters, and story arcs. PLUS, a bonus, mini “Funny Pages” workshop in the afternoon, in which you’ll learn more about writing comedy and get to try your hand at creating your very own comedic character!

  • Discover your writing voice

    Amanda West Lewis (Grades 6-8)

    You are a unique individual, with your own personal way of expressing yourself. Writers call that your writing “voice.” But it takes work to develop that voice and discover how to connect it with the stories you want to tell. This two-part workshop is geared toward an exploration of words on a physical and personal level. In Part One, you’ll explore how written words come from sounds made by your body. In Part Two, you’ll explore the role of personal memory as a writing tool.

  • Engage your readers

    Wayne Ng(Grades 6-8)

    This masterclass is suited for creative fiction writers who want to learn how to create interesting and emotionally engaging stories.You'll learn the main elements of storytelling--- developing rich characters, interesting plots, fascinating settings, and meaningful themes. By the end of the day, you'll have ideas for writing habits and routines, as well as a deeper understanding of developing a writing project!

  • Make your art come to life!

    Kevin Sylvester (Grades 6-8)

    Kevin Sylvester has written and illustrated more than thirty books for kids, and he’s used a variety of styles and materials. He’ll share some basic tips about how to make your work seem more active, alive and fun to draw. He’ll also discuss… materials, digital vs. analog, shape, colour and character design. Students are encouraged, but NOT required, to come to the class with some examples of their own work… but you are required to bring lots of questions!

  • Cranky Comics!

    Katherine Battersby (Grades 4-6)

    Katherine shares her experiences creating her popular comic book series, Cranky Chicken, in this interactive workshop. Find out where she gets her ideas and how they develop into characters that amble across the page. Through a range of fun illustration techniques and games, participants will learn all about drawing expressive characters, developing a character’s story, and how to capture all this and more on the page. You'll leave with characters and the first pages of your own comic book!

What people are saying

Thank you for giving us a chance to meet these amazing authors. I learned a lot today and I think it really improved my creativity. Having real authors to guide us through everything was just an awesome experience. Thank you very much for hosting this event! I loved it!

— Participant

I have attended the festival for 3 years now and every year I leave with so much knowledge. I have written some of my best work from ideas I have had at this festival and I am eternally grateful for the tips and expertise that this festival has provided me.

— Participant

This experience today was definitely one that I will never forget. It was so much fun, and I learned so many new ways to write, and techniques to make my writing better. I learned so many new games. And the games aren’t just really fun, but can teach your mind to think in different ways.

— Participant

Thank you for this utterly amazing day!! I was overjoyed during every minute! The activities were simply divine!

— Participant

I love writing and this workshop really helped me learn strategies to warm up my brain when trying to write. …. Listening to all these incredible authors and illustrators talk about how much effort they put into their work really inspired me! Thank you so much!

— Participant

It was a very fun day to be able to come here with other students who all had a common interest. I really hope MASC festival keeps going as it was something I really enjoyed and hope other kids can participate in. It actually helped me in a way to get out of my comfort zone, it was really nice to see/talk to people that had a common interest.

— Participant

This festival was really fun! It is really good to meet writers like me and learn from people who have actually achieved their author dreams. I will definitely come back next year!

— Participant

I hope you understand how important you guys are. I know that so many kids had the time of their lives here.

— Participant

Thank you again for the absolute pleasure of being part of the MASC adventure this year. I loved it, meeting all of you who work so hard to bring the arts alive for talented young Canadians, and meeting Catherine, Tim, Adrienne, Kean, and Soyeon too. And of course, the young writers and artists just blew me away. I felt incredibly lucky to join you all! Congrats on a wonderful event. I had such a good time over the past two days. I'm exhilarated and exhausted, the good kind of exhaustion, the kind that suggests you've been part of something wonderful.

— Philippa Dowding

I just wanted to say thank you again so much for such a lovely couple of days! The event went off beautifully…….everything was just amazing! Once more thank you, it was such an honour to be a part of this. Bravo again, and well done!

— Adrienne Kress

Thank you for organizing the event and having me at the MASC again this year. I had a great time connecting with everyone whether they were kids, volunteers, organizers, writers/illustrators. With ice storms that just missed us and lovely sunny day, I think we were meant to be there, all together inspiring each other to shine.

— Soyeon Kim

Thank you so much for having me! It was a truly fantastic event, as always, and I came home inspired to write and work myself! Please pass along my thanks and sincere gratitude to everyone at MASC. The event ran so smoothly, and it was so much fun-- if you ever need me back for any future events, please don't hesitate to reach out!

— Kean Soo

Today has been one of the BEST days of my life! I have been going for 3 years and I know for sure that I'm going to have some great book ideas as soon as I get home!

— Participant

Thank you so much for this opportunity to express our creativity. I hope that the MASC Young Authors and Illustrators Festival continues for years after this and that my kids can come here one day.

— Participant

Thrilled to learn that my MYAI participant secured a publishing deal with Amazon!

— Amanda West Lewis, Author

Books have been an oasis for many people, especially over the past couple of years. Books provide us with the opportunity to use our imaginations, to think creatively, to explore different worlds, and to relate to others, both like and unlike us. Being able to meet with the artists behind these books is such a treat for young people craving that deeper connection.

— Faith Seltzer, Artistic Director, MASC Young Authors and Illustrators Festival

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