On 10 May 2017, author Don Aker visited Marc Garneau’s library to talk about his career. Aker is an author of over twenty books, including The Fifth Stone and Delusion Road. He has won numerous awards such as the White Pine Award and Canadian Library Association’s Honour Book Award.
Aker spoke to Grade 11 and 12 Garneau students in the afternoon about what inspires him to write, and his journey as an author. He began by providing an overview of his career as an author, talking about his transition from writing textbooks to non-fiction to the young adult novels he is best known for today. He explained how the people he has met in his life, especially youth, have inspired the characters in his novels.
He then told the story of Nadia McLean, a teacher who almost lost her life after a rock was dropped on her car from a highway overpass, a situation similar to a scene from one of his novels. Aker feared the adolescent perpetrator of the attack was inspired by the book and spoke about how that affected him personally. He was introduced to McLean and her story by a group of elementary school students who invited both of them to speak at their school and said how he was inspired by her to write a sequel to the original book.
The presentation was concluded with an in-depth question and answer session. Aker’s talk was well-liked by those in attendance for his witty humour and exceptional storytelling. Ryan Lew, a Grade 11 student, said, “As both a fiction author and former high school teacher, Aker was able to provide a unique opinion regarding realist fiction and some of society’s troubles.”