Charis Cotter

Charis Cotter

Charis Cotter is a writer, editor and storyteller living in Newfoundland. She grew up in Cabbagetown and Parkdale in downtown Toronto. After taking a degree in English at Glendon College, York University, she went on to study acting at The Drama Studio in London, England. After several years as an actor, she moved into publishing, where she has been working as a freelance editor and writer for more than 20 years.In 2005 Charis won the Heritage Toronto Award of Excellence for her book, Toronto Between the Wars: Life in the City 1919–1939. Since then she has written several critically acclaimed children’s books, including a series of biographies about extraordinary children and an illustrated book about international ghosts. Born to Write: The Remarkable Lives of Six Famous Authors was a finalist for the 2010 Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-fiction. Charis first toured schools as an actor in a Young People’s Theatre production of W. O. Mitchell’s "Jake and the Kid." Her favourite part of the show was interacting with the students during the question period after the play. Today Charis is known for her lively school presentations, based on her books. She has toured Canada from coast to coast, entertaining children with her alter egos: Queen Elizabeth II (complete with gown, crown and royal attitude) and the Scottish Silky Ghost, who dusts everything in sight, including children. Her fascination with ghosts has led her to many far corners of Newfoundland, looking for ghost stories.In 2013 Charis founded her own publishing company, Baccalieu Books, to publish The Ghosts of Baccalieu. She created this book with the students from Tricon Elementary School in Bay de Verde, with funding from ArtsSmarts.* Students contributed drawings and traditional ghost stories collected from the community. Charis has sold The Ghosts of Baccalieu to libraries, bookstores and the general public, with a portion of the revenue going back to Tricon Elementary. Charis continues to do ghost storytelling workshops at schools, community centres and book festivals. She reviews children’s books for the National Reading Campaign, Quill and Quire and The Canadian Children’s Book News.The Swallow: A Ghost Story, was published by Tundra Books (Random House) in September 2014. This spooky gothic novel, set in Cabbagetown, Toronto, in the 1960s, is partially based on Charis’s childhood experiences living behind a cemetery. The German translation rights have been purchased by cbjVerlag/Random House Germany, who will publish it as Das Unsichtbare Mädchen (The Invisible Girl). The school presentation for The Swallow features a theatrical performance of an excerpt from the book and a ghost-story writing workshop. *ArtsSmarts is sponsored by the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council and the Department of Education through the Cultural Connections Strategy.
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