Sunday, February 7, 2010

Calling all Canadians: Nominate Literacy

You have until February 15th to nominate Nina’s writing guide, “The Fiction Writer: Get Published, Write Now!” for the 2009 Aurora Award, the Canadian Science Fiction/Fantasy annual award in the “Publications in English: Other Works” Category

Let me tell you a story… When I began to teach college and university biology courses (some years ago…) I was struck by a major observation: many of my students were borderline literate. Many couldn’t spell (I’m one to talk. But even I could see the glaring errors). Many used poor grammar, fragmented and scattered language, and ineffective construction. They didn’t know what a paragraph was. Others couldn’t string a sentence together or make convincing arguments, let alone provide clarity of thought. Their ability to communicate in the written form was downright lacking. Convinced that their knowledge of science was severely compromised by their inability to communicate it, I dedicated myself to include literacy in the science courses I taught. As my students applied themselves to relevant tasks with feedback from me, their writing skills eventually improved.

Simply put, literacy is the ability to read and write (in all its facets) and essentially comes down to the ability to effectively communicate. Here are some startling facts:
  • Four out of 10 adult Canadians, age 16 to 65 -- representing 9 million Canadians -- struggle with low literacy (Adult Literacy and Life Skills (ALL) Survey, Statistics Canada and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2005). This means that they can’t work well with words. They fall below level 3 on the prose literacy scale (of 1 to 5), which is equivalent to high school completion, and the desired threshold for coping with the rapidly changing skill demands of a knowledge-based economy and society (International Survey of Reading Skills (ISRS), 2005).

Now, some twenty years later, I have written a guide to writing that is not only fun and entertaining but enjoyed by youth and adult alike. It celebrates effective writing (in all its forms) and the power of literacy.

Students, young and old enjoy The Fiction Writer:

We use this book weekly in my Writer's Workshop class, and it gives us
all the right tips to write like a professional author. It is written with
a direct, clear style that enhances our understanding and helps us to truly
grasp the concepts presented. The chapters are brief and concise, and really
help us write both fiction and nonfiction. We have learned how to properly
use dialogue, create characters, and find our "muse." I would highly
recommend this book for anyone hoping to enhance their writing
J. Bujold, high school English student

I have six book shelves at home (and about as many at work) devoted to books on writing and the teaching of writing covering all the writing genres. Before
Nina's book, I was getting rather bored with them
.” D. Merchant, English

If you’re a Canadian, you have the chance to “vote for literacy”. Nominate “The Fiction Writer” for an Aurora. The Aurora is a prestigious award and provides good exposure for works recognized. If you think that the world can benefit from this entertaining and easy to use (and youth-friendly) literary aid, you have up to February 15th to submit your nominations for the Aurora online.

ANY CANADIAN or permanent resident of Canada can nominate a work for the Aurora Awards. You don’t have to be part of some organization or pay any fee; you just have to be a Canadian. The top five works in each category with the most nominations will be short listed on the final ballot.

A full list of all eligible works for the Aurora can be found here:

Nina Munteanu is an ecologist and internationally published author of novels, short stories and essays. She coaches writers and teaches writing at George Brown College and the University of Toronto. For more about Nina’s coaching & workshops visit Visit for more about her writing.


Jean-Luc Picard said...

"Nobody can write like what I can"

Literacy is great to encourage.

SF Girl said...

LOL! You are so right, Jean-Luc. Literacy leads to leadership.

Baby Brie said...

I voted for your Fiction Writer in the Other category!

Good luck!

Looking forward to buying a copy of your prequel to Darwin's Paradox next month!

Princess Haiku said...

I agree with you on literacy. Have been thinking of volunteering at my local library which has a literacy program. In the past I have mentored college students and yet this seems more difficult.

Hope you get the literary nom. Good luck.

SF Girl said...

Thank you Margaret and Princess! I hope so too... because I will use it to increase literacy every way I can.