Ashley Fellowship Reflects Shelley Tanaka’s Literary Commitment to Engaging Others

October 8, 2019

Pillar of Canadian children’s publishing shares expertise throughout Trent University, starting in Oshawa

Ms. Tanaka sitting in a chair

Canadian kids may know Shelley Tanaka as the author of award-winning books such as Amelia Earhart: The Legend of the Lost Aviator.  She is also an acclaimed editor of Canadian fiction for children and young adults at Groundwood Books.  To many young people she reveals the connection between reading and opportunity.

Now, familiar to the entire Trent community as the appointed 2019-2020 Ashley Fellow, Ms. Tanaka will share her distinct expertise through lectures, public events, in-class visits and workshops.

 “I have learned that true teaching works both ways,” observes the visiting scholar who also teaches in the MFA Program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. “I consider myself lucky to be able to connect with and learn from another university community.”

Her residencies will take place at Trent University Durham GTA from October 7-11, 2019 and at Trent Peterborough’s Traill College from January 27-31, 2020.

Students take note

For students in Trent’s Child & Youth Studies and English M.A. (Public Texts) programs in particular, face-to-face interaction with Ms. Tanaka builds a powerful connection. Her in-the-trenches experience illuminates their academic work in courses such as Youth and Creative Engagement, internships or possible pursuit of an Ontario Graduate Certificate in Creative Book Publishing.

However, as the Ashley Fellow Ms. Tanaka hopes to spark many intriguing discussions throughout the university. She wants to shine a spotlight on Canadian writing talent and the children’s publishing industry; ensure all children have the opportunity to read; and explore the impact of technology on the craft and livelihood of writing. 

Ultimately, she hopes all Trent students can inspire the next generation through reading.

“This means figuring out what makes a good book, good writing and why the best stories can inspire empathy as well as showing kids how the world works.”

Big city. Not necessarily. 

Ms. Tanaka works from her home in Kingston, proving that flexibility and opportunity can also be found outside large urban centres.

 “Universities like Trent have shown that we can have vibrant cities that are cultural and academic hubs, where people can pursue a vocation in the arts industry and live in them after graduation.”

Stop by anytime

As she has proven many times over, that she is eager to engage. Notably, she will be the first Ashley Fellow to set up residencies at both Trent campuses.

“I’ll be in the library all week, so I hope students will come and talk to me!”

About Shelley Tanaka

As an author of more than twenty books for children and young adults, she has earned many awards including the Orbis Pictus Award and the Science in Society Children's Book Award. As a fiction editor for nearly three decades at Groundwood Books, she has worked with many prominent Canadian authors, and edited thirteen Governor General’s Award-winning books.

Ms. Tanaka has a M.A. in Comparative Literature. Fluent in German, she is an accomplished translator.

Suggested Links

Calendar of Events

Ashley Fellowship

Child & Youth Studies

English Public Texts

Shelley Tanaka Profile