Sylvia McNicoll is the author of more than 25 novels for young people. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Sylvia McNicoll is the author of more than 25 novels for young people. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Award-winning authors to read at Electric Mermaid in February

The live reading event takes place virtually via Zoom

Two award-winning authors will share the virtual stage at the next Electric Mermaid event this month.

The live reading event will take place online via Zoom on Friday, Feb. 19. Door open at 5:45 p.m. and the show starts at 6 p.m.

Sylvia McNicoll, author of more than 25 novels for young people, is a former editor of Today’s Parent Toronto. She taught writing to junior grades through Ontario Arts Council, and has served as an electronic writer in residence, commenting on stories from schools across Canada. She volunteered for CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers), served as president, and represented creators on the Access Copyright Board. Currently, she teaches part time at Mississauga Living Arts and offers mentoring services to emerging writers.

“Because I believe in young writers, I love teaching and speaking about writing process,” the Ontario resident said. “I also believe because of the Baby Boomer demographic that seniors and teens need to bond and work together as never before. In my latest YA, The Body Swap, a 15-year-old and 82-year-old exchange souls and team up to fight the faulty car manufacturer that caused their deaths. When you think about it, writers for young adults are always swapping their souls into young bodies to tell their stories.”

McNicoll has received a number of awards, including Arts Hamilton, Hamilton Arts Multimedia Award for Beauty Returns, Korean War Veteran’s Award (Hamilton Arts), Explora-toy Best Novel for Caught in a Lie, a Silver Birch for Bringing Up Beauty and the Manitoba Young Reader’s Choice Award for Bringing Up Beauty.

The second reader of the night is Sharon McInnes, the author of the novel Across a Narrow Strait (2018) and Up Close & Personal: Confessions of a Backyard Birder (2012), a compilation of her newspaper columns. She was a monthly contributor to Bird Canada for seven years. In 2012, her personal essay, “Formative Years,” was published in Living Artfully: Reflections from the Far West Coast (Key Publishing House.) In 2020, her first short story, “The David and Goliath,” was published in Island Writer magazine, then “A Symphony of Sparrows” took second prize for fiction in Askew’s Word on the Lake Contest, and “Various Functions of Fire” took first place for fiction in the Victoria Writers Society competition.

Another short story, “The Neighbour,” was shortlisted for the FBCW BC & Yukon Short Fiction Contest, then won second prize for fiction in the Melody Richardson Memorial Contest.

McInnes lives in Cumberland, where she’s writing more stories and working on a memoir about the time she spent looking after her mom, who had dementia and died in June 2020.

“I wanted to explore the process of becoming an activist, of what pushes someone who’s had no leanings whatsoever in that direction,” said McInnes in a press release. “I wanted to see if I could put that transformation, which must be emotional at its core, on paper. Could I show how someone like Anna, an uptight apolitical high school teacher whose focus in life has always been her younger sister, Katie (who has physical and cognitive disabilities), might one day arrive at place where she feels it is her moral duty to break the law?”

“At the same time, I wanted that thread to be embedded in a story that everyone — not just activist-types — would enjoy,” she added. “So it’s a family drama and love story too.”

Electric Mermaid: Live Reads from Char’s Landing happen on the third Friday of each month on Zoom, via a link from www.charslanding.com. The host is Derek Hanebury, and the moderator is Karl Korven. The artistic director is Jackie Carmichael.

In addition to two national feature readers, there is a curated open mic, with spots of up to five minutes in length. Writers interested in reading from anywhere can email electricmermaidreads@gmail.com.

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