Mr. Bedard spoke briefly about his early years and education. Graduating from University of Toronto with a BA he worked in the library for eight or nine years. Then he worked briefly as a pressman. When his children were small he wrote two books of fairy tales. With the cooperation of his wife, he worked as a househusband and began to write in his “spare time”.
During his studies at the University of Toronto he was inspired to begin writing poetry by a course that introduced him to many poets including Emily Dickinson and William Blake, who continue to influence his writing. He stopped writing poetry when he was twenty-one; and the poetry in The Green Man is the first that he has written since that time.
Each book takes between four and five years to write. Mr. Bedard prefers to write his first two drafts by hand and then types the next draft on an electric typewriter. The challenges of finding ribbons for an electric typewriter in the age of technology amused his audience.
Mr. Bedard read a passage from The Green Man (pages 27-29) beginning with “Welcome to the Green Man...” He described the passage as representative of the whole story. In response to questions from the audience he said that when he begins a book he has an end target for the main characters. It is important to allow the characters to develop through the sorry because they need to be alive and not static. Authors require a thick skin to survive the editorial process; but the process makes the book better. Sometimes in order to retain the integrity of the story it is necessary to reject a proposed change.
When asked about the strong presence of magic in a book for children Mr. Bedard spoke of ghosts as representative of our pasts. They are important because they inform us in the present and we have a responsibility to keep them alive.
Michael Bedard thanked IODE Canada for The National Chapter of Canada IODE
Violet Downey Book Award saying, “The IODE Violet Downey Book Award is a
welcoming and heartening affirmation that books matter.”