In this installment of the Weekend Name Drop, I am delighted to be one of the first to reveal the cover of a soon-to-be-released children’s book by an award winning Canadian author. Meet Jennifer McGrath.
Name: Jennifer McGrath a.k.a Jennifer McGrath Kent
Creative field: Writer, Author, Make Believer
Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
Best known for: Winner of the 2009 Hackmatack Award for Chocolate River Rescue; twice shortlisted for the OLA Silver Birch Award and the Manitoba Young Readers Choice Award
My connection: I studied with Jen at St Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. We started and finished our four-year English degrees together, sharing courses like Romantics, Shakespeare and Western Literature. We both also shared a fondness for Derek Wood who was our thesis supervisor. In recent years, we reconnected on Facebook where I discovered Jen has been busy producing books for children. Reading her blog, I also found out she has an admiration for Northrop Frye, the celebrated critic whose work I enjoyed while studying at StFX.
Inspiration for this writer: It’s terrific to see a fellow English major from StFX who is writing. Like most writers, Jen has a diverse portfolio of activities. She furthered her study, completing a Masters degree at the University of Victoria and she has taught at university level. She has written for CBC Radio and is a popular author in schools she has visited. I’m somewhat jealous of the Masters degree, though I am more inspired by Jen’s obvious passion for words and stories and her dynamic endeavours to deliver her own words and stories to her audience.
Why you should check her out and share with others: Thus far, Jen’s books have been aimed at Middle-school readers (7-10 years) although Gadzooks the Christmas Goose looks like a fun one for younger ones. Her first two books are set in New Brunswick. Canadian Teacher Magazine endorses her first book, Chocolate River Rescue, calling it a “fast-paced adventure story…that will keep readers turning pages right to the ending.” It’s sequel, White Cave Escape, has been noted as “an action packed, thrill ride of a book…” by Greg M. Romaneck. I hear there’s a third in the series in the works . . . look out for something in 2017.
THE BIG NEWS is that Jen is soon to launch her brand new book, The Snow Knows. According to her publisher’s website, The Snow Knows is “a lyrical prose poem” in which “a pair of award-winning storytellers share the joys of winter … destined to be a perennial winter favourite, and read aloud by a crackling fire.” Complimented beautifully by illustrator, Josée Bisaillon, The Snow Knows will be available on Amazon in October 2016. Look out for it and remember you heard about it first in my Weekend Name Drop!
Sample of work
“Maybe we should swim for it,” said Tony.
“I don’t know,” said Shawn doubtfully.
“What other chance do we have?” said Tony.
“We’ve gone around the bend. Nobody can reach us now. We should swim before the river gets any wider. The bank doesn’t look that far.”
Shawn squinted at the bank. It looked pretty far to him.
“I can’t swim very well,” shivered Craig. “I can’t even feel my feet anymore.”
The ice floe bobbed as a wave washed against it, sending another ripple of water across their boots. The boys braced themselves on the slick, wet ice, clutching each other’s arms.
“We’ve got to do something,” persisted Tony. “We can’t stay on this thing. We’ll freeze!”
“If we swim, we’ll freeze and drown,” said Shawn, bluntly. “The water’s too cold. And look at those banks…we’d never be able to climb up them.”
“If we stay on this ice floe, we’re dead anyway,” argued Tony. “We’re either gonna freeze to death or get tipped into the river or float out to the ocean. What other choice have we got? We’ve gone around the bend. It’s the point of no return, guys! Don’t you get it? Nobody is coming for us.”
Here’s Jennifer, herself, in a brief interview at the 2010 Frye Festival:
The Weekend Name Drop is a weekly feature on this blog, promoting people I have encountered who are doing creative things.