Member Profile

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Rene Schmidt

Photo: Dan Schmidt 2006

René Schmidt was born in Holland in 1954 and immigrated to Canada in 1957. He remembers not wanting to speak English. He had many jobs including underground mine worker, truck driver, construction worker, taxi driver, ship officer trainee and upholsterer. René studied theatre performance at Ryerson and is a graduate of York University's Creative Writing Program and Faculty of Education. As a young teacher René wrote heroic stories for his students, using their names in title roles. René's first book, Canadian Disasters by Scholastic Canada, became a bestseller and three updated editions followed. Leaving Fletchville, an award-winning fiction novel, deals with parenthood, racism, friendship and bullying. Recently René built a house, directed a youth drop in centre and taught Senior Drama at a local high school. He is happily married to Shirley. They have two sons, Adrian and Daniel, who now travel the world and do interesting things. René enjoys writing, cutting wood, riding his motorcycle, and carpentry. He is also compiling a series of humorous short stories for adults.   

Phone number:
c/o Writers' Union of Canada


Canadian Disasters - 43 True Stories. Scholastic Canada, 2013
Leaving Fletchville. Orca Book Publishers, 2008
Canadian Disasters . Scholastic Canada, 2006.
Disaster! 36 Real Life Canadian Tragedies. Scholastic Canada, 1999, 2000.
Canadian Disasters . Scholastic Canada, 1985.
Contributing author to Hill Spirits III. Blue Denim Press, 2017
That's Just The Way We Were - Brighton Memories. Contributing Writer,, 2006
"Less is More on the Trent Severn". Canadian Living Magazine, August issue, 2003
"Disorganized Sports". Canadian Living Magazine, March Issue, 2001


Red Maple Honour Book for Leaving Fletchville, 2010
short-listed for IODE Violet Downey Award for Leaving Fletchville, 2009
High Recommendation, CM Magazine (Canadian Review of Materials) for Disaster!
Reader's Choice Award for Canadian Disasters, 1986.
Leaving Fletchville selected to "Best Books For Kids & Teens" for Canadian Children’s Book Centre, 2010
Recommended, review in C.M. Magazine for Leaving Fletchville, 2008
Recommended by School Library Journal for Leaving Fletchville, Feb 2009
Best Books for Kids and Teens for Canadian Disasters , 2013
Eligible for National Public Readings Program :


Presentation Description

René is comfortable with any group from 10-100. Focusing on student interest, and flexible to changes in the group he will use Q & A, data projector, props, original verse and dramatic reading. He will read excerpts from his latest writing or poetry and tell forgotten stories through Canada's history. René will do SKYPE presentations for a discounted cost. René uses spooky stories or verse to illustrate stories and engage students' interest. Q & A sessions reveal his trove of little-known Canadian historical facts for the fact-junkies in the crowd.  René began his teaching career as a Remedial Reading and Special Education teacher and he still has a genuine heart for those who 'missed the train' in reading. Invite him to meet those students or book his workshops for teachers(see below).      

Presentation Length:
45- 90 minutes
Fiction, Non-Fiction, Disasters, History, Creative Writing
4 - 12 & adult
Audience size:
10 - 100
Workshop Description:

René will address teachers or education professionals in workshop format on the following topics;  Writing for Children, Child-Teacher authored books for non-readers,  Teacher's Workshop on Writing for Publication, Christian Themes in Writing and a year-long Mathematics and Language Integrated Unit (Fletchville) which includes lesson plans.   

Northern OAC WITS:
One session:
Two sessions:
Three sessions:
Four sessions:
One session:
Two sessions:
Three sessions:
Four sessions:
GST not applicable