Colleen Nelson

Colleen Nelson is a writer from Winnipeg Manitoba.  Her first book Tori by Design was the winner of the 2012 McNally Book Award for Young Readers.  She followed that novel up with “The Fall” and again won the 2014 McNally Book Award for Young Readers and shortlisted for the Ontario Librarians Award White Pine Award (2014).  A prolific writer Colleen has completed five published books since Tori by Design was published in 2012.  She has recently completed 250 Hours (Coteau books) and Blood Brother (Dundurn Press, released in Spring 2017).  As a local writer and Teacher-Librarian Colleen is passionate about sharing her joy for reading and writing and is an excellent presenter to all age groups.  

Colleen Nelson is a Manitoba Writers’ Union Member and a Manitoba Writers Guild Member.  Her works are primarily fiction, she is White Pine Nominee, and has received multiple other nominations and awards. Her presentations are aimed towards students K-12, as well as adults.

Her fees are $250 for one session, $400 for two, $550 for three, and $700 for four in Winnipeg and surrounding areas. Travel outside of Winnipeg can be negotiated.

Colleen is a dynamic, enthusiastic presenter who uses humor and anecdotal stories to engage her audience. She is the author of five young adult fiction novels with more on the way.

Presentations by Grade: Colleen uses her presentations to share her passion and love of writing with all grades. They can be tailored to fit any age and group size. Colleen’s books deal with many aspects of the school curriculum.


K-12--Colleen will engage the class with an overview of what it takes to get a book published and what the writing process looks like for her. She will share the secrets to becoming a better writer with examples from her own writing. Using a Power Point presentation, Colleen will discuss each of her books and how they move from an idea to a published novel. Colleen will do a reading from one of her novels and answer questions from students.

For grades 7-12, Colleen can also focus on one or more of these themes based on her books:

Adolescent Grief (The Fall)

The legacy of residential schools in Canada (250 Hours)

Poetry (Finding Hope)

Cyber-bullying (Finding Hope)

Urban Art aka Graffiti (Blood Brothers)

Class Conflict in Contemporary Teen Literature (Blood Brothers, Finding Hope and 250 Hours)


Virtual Visits: $100, 45-60 minutes (may be divided into two 30 minutes) through Skype

Writing Workshops

($400 for a half-day (2 hours), but can be negotiated for multiple bookings.)

Grades K-2-Colleen’s experience as a preschool, Kindergarten teacher and early years Teacher-Librarian come in handy as she expertly takes students on the journey to create their own group story. Using ideas generated by the students, they will create a story that has characters, a setting, plot, climax and resolution. Colleen will email the final version of the story to the teachers for the children to illustrate and/or read aloud. Each of the stories will have personalized extension writing activities for the classroom teacher to use.

Grades 3-8-Colleen will go through the basics of story elements and focus one of the following genres: mystery, adventure or memoir. Colleen has worked extensively with the First Steps for Literacy Program and 6 Traits for Writing with her own students and can deliver a powerful program that reinforces what teachers are already doing in the classroom.

Grades 9-12- Colleen will discuss what it means to Write Fearlessly with high school classes.


If you read my recent books, you might think I’m a gang member who knows what it’s like to live on the streets. But, as my friends and family can attest, the gritty, violent world I write about is different from my own. No meth addictions or graffiti in my background. Not even a shoplifting habit. So, please, rest assured, I’m nowhere near as troubled as my characters.  


However, I do enjoy writing from many different points of view; inhabiting a character who is different from me is my favourite part of writing. It is only through looking at the world through someone else’s eyes that we can understand them. I have taken chances with many of my books and written characters that are far removed from my comfort zone, but that is what challenges me as a writer.


Colleen will challenge your students to look at a story from a different perspective, develop a character that tests the boundaries of what is familiar and write with compassion and empathy to engage the reader.

To arrange a school visit, please contact