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Nora Decter

Nora Decter

Photo: Nicholas Lefebvre

Nora Decter grew up in the North End of Winnipeg, Manitoba. She has an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from Stony Brook University and a BA in English and Creative Writing from York University. 

Now based in Winnipeg, she wrote the first draft of How Far We Go and How Fast at a cabin in the woods in Manitoba. She has a rock ’n’ roll past. 

HOW FAR WE GO AND HOW FAST, the debut YA novel by Nora Decter, will be published by Orca Book Publishers on September 25, 2018. For more information, and to hear the songs Jolene writes in the book, visit



How Far We Go and How Fast. Orca Book Publishers, 2018


Kobo Emerging Writer Award for How Far We Go and How Fast, 2019
Eligible for National Public Readings Program:


Presentation Description

Presentations can include: an author talk followed by a reading from my book and a Q&A, a writing workshop on one of the topics below, or a combination of the aforementioned.


Presentation Length:
40 mins-1 hour
Fiction, Memoir, Young Adult
Grade 6 and up
Audience Size:
Workshop Description:

Becoming a Writer: In this presentation I tell the story of how I went from a shy kid who lived inside her books to a grown-up who writes them, with time for an age appropriate reading from my book, Q&A period and an idea generating writing exercise that helps students discover the stories they have in them to tell.

Voice Workshop: Voice is a term that’s used a lot when talking about writing, but what does it mean? And how do you get one? I can’t write a character until I have their voice in my head. In this interactive workshop students and I work together to unpack the idea of voice in writing. We'll look at diverse examples of strong voices in literature. I talk about how I crafted Jolene’s voice in my novel and do a reading from the book. Since voice connects to so many other aspects of writing such as character, plot and setting, I incorporate relevant literary terms as we go. Finally, I lead students in writing exercises that experiment with different aspects of voice and help them generate ideas. This workshop can be adapted to any grade level over grade 6 and can run anywhere from 50 minutes to 3 hours.

The Writing Process: Jane Austen wrote while her mother and sister sewed next to her in the sitting room. Hemingway wrote standing up before it was cool. Joan Didion likes to sleep in the same room as a book when she’s approaching the end of a draft. The advice about how to write is endless, overwhelming even, but what’s really important is figuring out how you write. This workshop introduces students to different writing techniques and concepts with the goal of demystifying the writing process. We’ll look at examples of different drafts of a poem, a short story, and an excerpt from my own novel, to show what that process can look like. We’ll do brainstorming and free-writing exercises and discuss editing and workshopping techniques. We’ll talk about all the various aspects of a story, how different writers work, and how to shake up your writing practice when you get stuck. Can be adapted to any grade level and time slot.