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Don Sawyer

Don Sawyer

Photo: Jan Sawyer

Don Sawyer is an educator and writer living with his wife, Jan, in Salmon Arm, BC. Don recently retired from Okanagan College, where he taught adult education, served as the college’s ABE Department Chair, and Director of the International Development Centre. Don coordinated and managed five CIDA-funded development projects in West Africa, including the West African Rural Development Centre (WARD) project, shortlisted for the 2005 Canadian development project of the year.

Don is the author of the award-winning young adult novel Where the Rivers Meet (Pemmican); Tomorrow Is School, a non-fiction account of his first teaching experiences in rural Newfoundland (Bendall Books); several children’s books, including The Meanest Teacher in the World and Miss Flint Meets the Great Kweskin (Chestnut Publishing); two new “quick read” detective novels, Hurricane on Grimm’s Island and Saving Farley’s Bog (Highgate Press), and the illustrated Lunchbag Chronicles (Playfort Publishing). He has also authored a series of novels for beginning adult readers as well as numerous curriculum guides and manuals. His essays have appeared in most of Canada’s major newspapers.



The Lunch Bag Chronicles. Playfort Publishing, 2010
Miss Flint Meets the Great Kweskin. Chestnut, 2007
The Meanest Teacher in the World. Chestnut, 2007
Hurricane on Grimm's Island. Highgate, 2010
Saving Farley's Bog. Highgate, 2010
Where the Rivers Meet. Pemmican, 2010 (9th ed)
Where the Rivers Meet Teacher's Guide. Pemmican, 2010
Grampa and the Four Brothers. Pemmican, 1998
The Buckle. Queen's Printer, 1997
Crocodiles and Tears. Queen's Printer, 1997
Frozen Tears. Queen's Printer, 1997
Donna Meets Coyote. Secwepemc, 1989
Adventures with Miss Flint. Thistledown, 1993
Running. Playfort/Midway, 2011
Where the Rivers Meet Teacher's Guide. Pemmican Publications, 2010


Ebel Memorial Award for Where the Rivers Meet, 1990
Children's Choice for Adventures with Miss Flint, 1993
Eligible for National Public Readings Program:


Presentation Description

I have more than 50 publications ranging from academic articles and adult non-fiction to curriculum handbooks and children's stories to op-ed pieces in most of Canada’s leading dailies. With this background, I have been able to work with teachers, adult learners and elementary and secondary students in all phases of writing. I often use my own writing as a departure, but am able to engage learners and teachers in reflecting not only on the work, but on the issues dealt with and the process of writing. I have also begun to explore Skype to present readings to students from Ontario to the NWT.

Presentation Length:
1 hour to 1 week
children's; YA
Audience Size:
Workshop Description:

I have provided writing workshops to instructors across Western Canada and the Arctic, especially focusing on the teaching of writing to students from 10 to adult. A special area of expertise is research on teaching writing and language arts to aboriginal learners. My workshops are interactive and practical while being grounded in current theory. I am equally effective with students, and have given readings and writing seminars in dozens of classrooms, libraries, school assemblies and colleges. I am available for student and instructor workshops, classroom readings, and custom writing instruction projects.

As a teacher as well as a writer, my in-service presentations emphasize practical ways of working with my own writing and other literature to help students effectively and enjoyably explore all areas of language – reading, writing, speaking and listening. I have written or edited more than 10 guides for instructors that contain classroom-proven, interactive, experiential instructional strategies and activities.