CWC Mentors.
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Our team

CWC mentors are dedicated, enthusiastic professionals, active in their respective fields and with strong reputations in the field of education and literature. Our team is composed of award-winning authors, editors, screen writers, playwrights, illustrators, designers, and actors.

When students enroll in CWC, they have direct access to mentors and their individual creative outlooks. Mentors often share their works in progress, so students have a unique opportunity to witness the journey of a book as it comes to life.

Our mentors believe in using the imaginative arts (music, drama and illustration) to inspire students to become stronger readers and writers and to specifically create a broader understanding of concepts such as character, plot, setting, point of view, imagery, and style.

Meet some of our mentors . . .

> Lee Edward Födi (Mr. Wiz)   > Kallie George
> Dan Bar-el   > Stacey Matson
> Greg Brown   > Marcie Nestman
> Nafiz Azad   > Donard MacKenzie
> Nick Longstaff   > Joon Hyung-Park

CWC mentor and a student.  

Lee Edward Födi (Mr. Wiz)

Known to his students as “Mr. Wiz,” Lee Edward Födi is an author, illustrator, and specialized arts educator. He is the author ofThe Secret of Zoone and the Kendra Kandlestar series, which includes The Box of Whispers, The Door to Unger, The Shard from Greeve, The Crack in Kazah, and The Search for Arazeen. He has also illustrated picture books for other authors and was the official illustrator for the BC Library's 2016 Summer Reading Club.

Lee specializes in presentations and workshops for elementary-aged children. He has taught programs in Canada, the United States, England, Thailand, and South Korea and is a founding member of CWC. He has taught at the Vancouver Public Library Camp, Summer at St. Georges, and the MASC conference in Ottawa, and has toured as part of the TD Children's Book Week. He has also presented many times to teachers on the topic of creative writing, including at National Council of English Teachers Conferences in Philadelphia and Chicago.

Lee studied at the University of British Columbia and has a degree in English Literature and a diploma in Fine Arts.


Written by Lee Edward Födi:
~ The Guardians of Zoone (HarperCollins, 2020)
~ The Secret of Zoone (HarperCollins, 2019)
~ Kendra Kandlestar: Legends & Lore from the Land of Een (Simply Read Books, 2015)
~ Kendra Kandlestar and the Search for Arazeen (Simply Read Books, 2015)
~ Kendra Kandlestar and the Crack in Kazah (Simply Read Books, 2014)
~ Kendra Kandlestar and the Shard from Greeve (Simply Read Books, 2014)
~ Kendra Kandlestar and the Door to Unger (Simply Read Books, 2013)
~ Kendra Kandlestar and the Box of Whispers (Simply Read Books, 2013)
~ Corranda's Crown (Royal Fireworks Press, 2002)

Illustrated by Lee Edward Födi:
~ The Turtle Book (SLT, 2014)
~ The Chocolatier's Apprentice (Echo Memoirs, 2007)
~ Gwynne, Fair & Shining (Brown Books, 2006)
~ Martha Anne's Quilt for Queen Victoria (Brown Books, 2006)
~ I'll Follow the Moon (Brown Books, 2005)

Lee Edward Fodi (Mr. Wiz)


Kallie George

Kallie George is an author, speaker and instructor of creative writing workshops. She has a master’s degree in children’s literature from the University of British Columbia.

She has written a number of acclaimed books for young readers including the early reader series Tiny Tails, the picture book series Duck, Duck, Dinosaur. Clover’s Luck— the opener of the enchanting Magical Animal Adoption Agency series—features Clover, an unlucky girl who discovers a magical cottage in the woods which is home to fairy horses, unicorns and a fiery dragon.

Kallie has always loved writing from the time she was a child, and now loves to bring that same joy to the students she teaches.


Fiction for children:
~ Wings of Olympus: Colt of the Clouds (HarperCollins, 2020)
~ Wings of Olympus (HarperCollins, 2019)
~ Goodnight Anne (Tundra, 2018)
~ Anne Arrives (Tundra, 2018)
~ The Doll Hospital (Athenum, 2018)
~ Duck, Duck, Dinosaur - Bubble Blast (HarperCollins, 2017)
~ Duck, Duck, Dinosaur - Perfect Pumpkin (HarperCollins, 2017)
~ Duck, Duck, Dinosaur - Snowy Surprise (HarperCollins, 2017)
~ Secrets I Know (Schwartz & Wade, 2017)
~ The Lost Gift (Schwartz & Wade, 2016)
~ Duck, Duck, Dinosaur and the Noise at Night (HarperCollins, 2016)
~ Duck, Duck, Dinosaur (HarperCollins, 2016)
~ Splash (Simply Read Books, 2016)
~ The Enchanted Egg (Disney-Hyperion, 2015)
Illustrated by Alexander Boiger
~ Clover's Luck (Disney-Hyperion, 2015)
Illustrated by Alexander Boiger
~ Flare (Simply Read Books, 2014)
~ Snow White and Rose Red (Simply Read Books, 2014)
~ Spark (Simply Read Books, 2013)
~ The Melancholic Mermaid (Simply Read Books, 2010)
Illustrated by Abigail Halpin
~ Pippy, co-authored and illustrated by Paula Opal (Simply Read Books, 2012)
  Saffy and Ollie, co-authored and illustrated by Paula Opal (Simply Read Books, 2012)
~ Totty, co-authored and illustrated by Paula Opal (Simply Read Books, 2008)
~ Saffy Looks for Rain, co-authored and illustrated by Paula Opal (Simply Read Books, 2008)
~ Saffy, co-authored and illustrated by Paula Opal (Simply Read Books, 2007)

Fiction for Adults:
~ Mr. M and the Red Thread (Read Leaf, 2013)
~ Mr. M: The Exploring Dreamer (Read Leaf, 2010)
Art by Soizick Meister

Kallie George



Dan Bar-el

Dan Bar-el is an award-winning children's author of a dozen books as well as an educator and storyteller. His writing includes chapter books, picture books, and graphic novels.

For the past twenty years, Dan has been working with children ages 3 to 13. He's been a school age childcare provider, a preschool teacher, a creative drama teacher and creative writing teacher. These days, when not writing, travelling around the country presenting his book, storytelling or leading various workshops at schools and libraries, he teaches creative writing courses to children in Vancouver, BC where he lives.


~ The Very, Very Far North (Atheneum Books, 2019)
~ Dog Night at the Story Zoo (Tundra Books, 2017)
~ It's Great Being a Dad (Tundra Books, 2017)
~ Audrey (cow) (Tundra Books, 2014)
~ Nine Words Max. (Tundra Books, 2014)
~ A Fish Named Glub (Kids Can Press, 2014)
~ Dream Boats (Simply Read Books, 2013)
~ Not Your Typical Dragon (Viking Books, 2013)
~ That One Spooky Night (Kids Can Press, 2012)
~ Pussycat, Pussycat, Where Have You Been? (Simply Read Books, 2011)
~ It’s All Greek to Me, Jack (Gumboot Books, 2010)
~ Such a Prince (Clarion Books, 2007)
~ Alphabetter (Orca Books, 2006)
~ Things Are Looking Grimm, Jill (Orca Book Publishers, 2006)
~ Things Are Looking Up, Jack (Orca Book Publishers, 2003)

Dan Bar-el


Stacey Matson

Stacey always wanted to be an author, but she took some long detours along the way. She grew up in Calgary, Alberta, where she completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre at the University of Calgary. After working many an odd job in Calgary, including being a belly dancer, Joan of Arc, a blacksmith, a forklift operator and a fairy princess, Stacey moved to Ottawa to run the Parliamentary Tour and Educational Outreach programs on Parliament Hill. Eventually, her love of writing took over, and she moved to Vancouver to complete her Master of Arts in children’s literature at UBC. Stacey’s thesis for her MA program became her first published novel and the beginning of her trilogy with Scholastic Canada.  

When she’s not writing, Stacey works part-time as a programmer for the Writers’ Exchange, a literacy program for kids in East Vancouver. She is also an interpreter at the Vancouver Aquarium, and, in December, she runs a Christmas tree lot at the PNE.


~ Finding Cooper (Scholastic Canada, 2019)
~ Notes from the Epic Life of a Total Genius (Scholastic Canada, 2016)
~ Scenes from the Epic Life of a Total Genius (Scholastic Canada, 2015)
~ A Year in the Life of a Total and Complete Genius (Scholastic Canada, 2014)

Stacey Matson


Greg Brown

Greg brings excitement and many years of writing and teaching experience to his role as CWC mentor. Greg loves working with young writers as they find their own voices and as they encounter the joy and wonder of reading and storytelling. For several years he’s taught across North America and has guided many young writers as they discover their passion for writing. He’s taught creative writing at the University of Virginia’s Young Writers Workshop and at the Doris Henderson Newcomers School, a school dedicated to helping recent young immigrants prepare to enter the US public school system. He's also taught English Literature and writing at the University of North Carolina - Greensboro, where he received his Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

Greg's writing has appeared in, or is forthcoming from: Paragon, Postscript, Pulp Literature, Tate Street, PRISM international, The Journey Prize Stories 30: The Best of Canada’s New Writers and elsewhere. He’s the recipient of the UBC English Department’s Roy Daniells Memorial Essay Prize, a 2018 Pushcart Prize nominee and the winner of the 2018 Grouse Grind Lit Prize for V. Short Forms. Two of his stories were recently longlisted for the 2018 Writers’ Trust of Canada/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize. When he’s not writing and teaching, he’s a coordinator for the Vancouver Island Short Film Festival.

  Greg Brown  

Marcie Nestman

Marcie Nestman is an actor, voice-over actor, and theatre instructor.

After graduating from the Theatre Arts Performance Conservatory at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Marcie continued her studies at The Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City. Marcie has appeared in numerous TV commercials, theatre productions, and other projects.

This past year, Marcie made her assistant directing debut with the production of Dot & Ziggy, and up next she’s writing her first commissioned play, On My Walk, with author Kari-Lynn Winters for Carousel Theatre for Young People.

Theatre credits include Ann in Ruby Slippers Theatre's production of Communion, Patsy in Carousel Theatre's The Secret World of Og and Bobby, for 168 performances, in the BC children’s tour of The Big League. Marcie can also be seen in many promotional advertisements for Animas Canada, showcasing and raising awareness for heroes living with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes.

Marcie specializes in workshops for young actors and writers. She teaches acting at Carousel Theatre and creative writing for The Creative Writing for Children Society (CWC). In addition, she has taught at numerous theatre and writing camps, including the Mount Royal University Summer Camp, Carousel Theatre, CWC Wizards Camp in Korea, the Write It, Read It camp for the Whistler Public Library, and as artist-in-residence in Thailand. She finds that her passion for acting and writing is ignited by teaching children the fundamentals of theatre. She loves being able to participate in and experience the passionate energy that her students bring to everyday life.

~ On My Walk (Carousel Theatre, 2016)
~ Annie, Communion (Ruby Slippers, 2013)
~ Patsy, The Secret World of Og (Carousel, 2009)
~ Bobby, The Big League (Carousel, 2007)
TV / Film
~ VIFF trailer (2014)
~ Onlooker, Signed, Sealed, Delivered (2014)
~ Family Member, A Swan Song (2013)
Voice Over / Narration
~ My Pollogen, 2013
~ Battle of Monmouth Musuem Exhibit, 2013
~ Saffy Looks for Rain, Narration, Simply Read Books, 2013
~ The Swing book Trailer, Simply Read Books, 2013
TV Commercials
~ Bounty paper towels, 2015
~ Toyota, 2014
~ Telus Health, 2014
~ Tidy Cats, Purina, 2013

Marcie Nestman


Nafiza Azad

Nafiza Azad has been immersed in fantastical worlds her whole life. She was born in Fiji where she dreamed about fairies and monsters. She immigrated to Canada with her family when she was seventeen and continued dreaming about fantastical worlds. She was determined to be a doctor but after an epiphany one afternoon while in biology class, she changed her major and graduated with a BA in English Literature. Her first novel was the thesis she wrote for her Masters degree in Children’s Literature which she completed at UBC.

Nafiza is passionate about languages and minored in Korean at university. She mostly uses her Korean skills when she’s watching Korean dramas or when she’s reading webtoons. She has also dabbled in Latin, French, Spanish, Arabic, and Urdu. When Nafiza is not writing, she is either plotting her next book, taking pictures of flowers, or staring out the window at the sky.


~ The Candle and the Flame (Scholastic, 2019)

Nafiza Azad.


Donard MacKenzie

Donard MacKenzie is a playwright, actor and educator, whose work has been produced across Western Canada and as far away as Australia. He has acted with various Vancouver theatre companies and is currently Artistic Director of Origins Theatre Projects.

In 2015, he defended his PhD dissertation at UBC in Narrative and Drama Education and he is also a graduate of UBC’s prestigious MFA in Creative Writing and recipient of the Malcom Lowry Award. He has worked with students of all ages in community and Kindergarten to Grade 12 school settings. Donard utilizes drama and improv theatre games as a means to help students write on their feet and he believes writing is fun work. His favourite book as a child was Where the Wild Things Are and he enjoys writing on coming of age themes. His family is originally from Ireland and he may have got his love of storytelling from his grandmother. He grew up in on the west coast of Canada, and enjoys swimming at the beach, anytime of the year.


Select publications
~ Whispers from the Source (in review) Journal of Poetry Therapy
~ Naming the Shadows: research drama about Shakespeare education in primary class, (2011): Canadian Journal of Practice Based Research in Theatre
~ Keats to Armours and other Swimming Lessons (2015): Coast Reporter, July 23, 2015

Select conference presentations on writing
~ Making the Invisible Visible: The Process of Playwriting. Theatre and Cognition Conference, Cork Ireland, May 22-24 (2014)
~ Huston’s Foxhunt. Excerpt from the Freudian Palimpsest of Monty and John, Canadian Association of Theatre Research, University of Victoria, (June, 2013)

Select stage writing productions
~ Monty and John: A Freudian Palimpsest, Workshop Production, University of Alberta, Arts Based Research Studio, March, 2015, Directed by Stephen Heatley
~ On the Way Home, various venues, Origins Theatre Projects
~ Thomas at Mile Zero: a full length play in workshop production, Dorothy Somerset Studio/Origins Theatre Projects, 2008
~ Diary of a Madman adaption of Gogol short story, Fringe Festival Pick (Edmonton Sun, 1988)
~ The Poet, The Friend, and The Dark Lady, Adaptation of Shakespeare’s Love Sonnets (Winnipeg Free Press, 1994)
  Donnard MacKenzie.  

Nick Longstaff

Nicholas Longstaff's lifelong focus on guiding young people in their own creative discovery has led to many fascinating projects and collaborations over the years. He is himself a writer, director, producer, and an award winning composer.

He has worked with the Canadian Film Centre, Canadian Stage Company, and many ‘new works’ theatres including Factory, Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto, and Theatre de Petits Lanternes in Québec. As Principal and Director of ArtsCore in London ON, Nick’s playwriting unit and music composition courses created many original works that were produced and presented to thousands at many venues including theatres, libraries, and public attractions like Storybook Gardens and Fanshawe Pioneer Village.

He helped teachers integrate creative writing and music techniques in their own teaching practices, most notably through the Council on Drama in Education (CODE) in Ontario, and the International Drama/Dance Educators’ Association (IDEA) in both Québec and Hong Kong. He helped to develop the first ever integrated Drama and Dance curriculum for the Association of Christian Schools which is still used in thousands of private faith-based schools across Canada and the USA.

His desire to inspire and support the success of young people means that Nick is delighted to be stimulating creativity and guiding youth towards excellence at CWC, where it is clear that the voice of the child is of primary importance.


~ An I For An I & We All Go Blind
~ Bananas
~ Captain Crow & the New World
~ Possibilitheatre
~ Spaced
~ The Dark Remembrance
~ The Goodhue Curse
~ The Great Harvest of Hope
~ There's a Giant in the Woods


~ Alice in Wonderland
~ Cinderella
~ Puss 'n' Boots
~ Rumpelstiltskin
~ Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
~ The Adventures of Pinocchio
~ The Flower of Truth
~ Thumbelina
  Nick Longstaff  

Joon-hyung Park

A well-known intercultural educator and author, Joon-hyoung Park is the founder of CWC. His dream to help children weave creativity into their writing began in 2004 when he met children’s fantasy book author Lee Edward Födi at a café in Vancouver, Canada. Joon asked Lee to develop a unique educational curriculum for creative writing and in the fall of 2004 the two experimentally started the first Dream Workshop in North Vancouver with a class of twelve rambunctious students.

Now, four years later, Dream Workshop has developed into a full fledged program, with regular classes held all over the lower mainland of British Columbia. Over 250 children each year take part in CWC’s Dream Workshop and, as result, publish their own books. Even young talent writers in countries as varied as Korea, the USA, Japan, New Zealand and the Philippines get access to CWC through on-line programs, and are able to delve into the world of creative writing and art.

Reflecting on these past four full years with CWC, Joon recently published a book in Korean, ‘내 아이 창의력을 키우는 영어 글쓰기 (Weave Creativity into Writing), compiling his educational critics and columns, which have appeared in newspapers and other media in Vancouver and Seoul. The book poignantly tackles problematic English education in Korea and suggests to Korean parents and educators the fundamental change of perspectives on how to read and write in a comprehensive way.

Keeping the vision he’s shared with CWC’s authors and staff, he will strive to keep on exploring, experimenting, and expanding new creative areas on English education, sticking to the firm belief that kids are born as naturally creative beings and it is our role, as educators, to help them nurture and expand this creativity through robust and educational circumstances.

  Joon-hyung Park  
      ©2020 Creative Writing for Children Society of Vancouver