Some Port Alice students had the “write stuff,” enough to earn the services of an award winning Canadian author after their book about a wayward sea lion won a provincial contest.
Alan Cumyn — author of 11 novels, winner of the Mr. Christie’s Book Award for children’s literature and nominee for the Governor General’s literature award and the Giller Prize — spent a week at Sea View elementary school as part of a writer-in-residence program sponsored by the Vancouver International Writers Festival.
Last year, some Sea View students wrote a book, Kaouk, the Trailer Park Sea Lion, the true story of a young sea lion that wandered into the local trailer park.
The emaciated and malnourished sea lion was taken to the mammal rescue centre in Vancouver and was — in a rare move — eventually released back into the wilds of the Pacific Ocean.
Cumyn, an Ottawa-based writer who teaches through the prestigious Writing for Children and Young Adults Master of Fine Arts program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, spent a week at the Port Alice school, writing workshops and giving readings.
Cumyn read and workshopped with Sea View students from kindergarten to Grade 9.
“It was a fabulous week,” said Sea View teacher Gail Henderson.
“Alan’s readings from The Secret Life of Owen Skye brought chuckles and knowing smiles from staff and students,” she said.
“His passion for writing was contagious and even reluctant writers’ imaginations were ignited,” said Henderson.
Henderson said the week of writing and reading with Cumyn was truly inspirational and motivating for all her students.