Sylvia Gunnery



Sylvia Gunnery has published over 25 books for teens and children as well as professional resources for teachers of writing. A recipient of a Prime Minister’s Teaching Award, she has presented at conferences, libraries, and schools across Canada. She leads online and in-person writing workshops for adults and youth. Sylvia lives at Crescent Beach on the South Shore of Nova Scotia where she’s working on a YA series of linked stories, what I know about next.


The Writing Circle explores active classroom writing groups as a powerful structure where young writers can work together on all aspects of the writing process and build confidence in themselves as writers. An ideal resource for new and experienced teachers.

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Revision Plus is a student resource that focuses and simplifies the job of revision. Using these specific and clear task cards, students will learn how to revise successfully as they develop their own draft writing.

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Finding Stories Every Day

Often writers are asked:  Where do you get your ideas?  In this presentation, a simple and empowering answer is explored: Writers find stories in their imaginations.  Sylvia Gunnery shares many of her books for young people, explaining where her ideas originated and making clear connections between her themes and her own life experiences.  A PowerPoint of visuals complements this 45-minute presentation for audiences of up to 50.  There is lots of room for student comments and questions.  Recommended for grades K – 3.

Just Write!

How can you create your own fictional characters?  Just write!  In this introductory fiction writing workshop, students create their own imaginary characters and experiment with ways to get them talking and walking across the page. Students will leave this workshop keen to continue writing their stories. Recommended for grades 4 – 12, with groups of up to 25 students.

The Story Behind the Cover

Every story is unique, yet the process of creating a story follows customary steps toward completion. Using several of her own books as examples, Sylvia Gunnery explains how stories develop from the first spark of an idea, through the writing process (especially the revision stages), then to  cover designs, and finally to the publication of a book ready for readers.  A PowerPoint of visuals complements this one-hour presentation for audiences of up to 75.  There is lots of room for student comments and questions.  Recommended for grades 4 – 12.

Tweets, Texts, and Quick Writes: Is there still room on the page for sustained writing?

Short answer: Yes.  Explore the long answer by joining in the activities and discussions of this workshop.  Reflect on the writing process and how it affects the way we think; compare purposes of various writing formats; discuss current theories on whether the internet is changing how we write and read; consider authentic and successful writing experiences for your students.

Real Revision

Students can be quite satisfied with first draft writing, even believing that revision isn’t needed at all. But, if they’re not revising, they’re not writing.  This workshop offers insightful strategies that encourage young writers to revise thoughtfully and often.  Through hands-on activities and group discussion, participants will explore individual themes and reflect on the writing process.  Inspire students to move successfully beyond that first draft.

Writer’s Choice: the key to creativity and critical thinking

Adolescent learners want independence and they want choices.  Support these student writers through well structured, yet flexible, strategies from brainstorming to draft writing to rethinking and revising.  Promote the discovery and development of individual writer’s voice.  Build engagement and encourage students to write creatively, think critically, and share confidently.

Advanced Writing Workshop

Have you been working (and working) on a writing project that has you hooked?  Great!  You’re half-way there.  Join this small writing circle and dig deeper into your draft writing.   Experiment with ways to develop your ideas, structure your storyline, create dialogue you can hear, and make essential revisions.  Explore strategies for moving forward, including finding a publisher who’ll say yes.

Get It Right: Find Your Voice in Writing for Children and Youth

You have a great story you can’t stop daydreaming about. Or you started one and find yourself staring at a blank page… again. Or maybe you’re curious to learn more about writing for younger audiences. Grab this opportunity to get your daydreams off the back burner, fill up those blank pages, and explore writing for children and youth. Immerse yourself in your own writing through a variety of focused activities. Share and discuss the choices you make in language, theme, and style to develop a strong writer’s voice.