René Schmidt is a father, husband, retired teacher and writer. By good fortune five of his books have been commercially published.
René and his wife Shirley live on 40 quiet acres in Wooler, Ontario. Besides writing and cutting wood, René is a volunteer at a youth centre and active in his church and community. Meet his family.
René and Shirley with Adrian and Daniel (with cat). Adrian has a masonry business in Vancouver called Ediface Masonry. masonryvancouver.ca He created the wall behind the family. Dan teaches E.S.L. and enjoys the beaches in Barcelona, Spain. Shirley and René live in a super-insulated house they built a few years ago.
René does school visits. Below he gives a presentation to students in Etobicoke about editing and writing.
While his original ambition was to be an actor, then a fiction writer, René began working as a teacher in Scarborough to pay the rent. He was surprised to find so many students who hated reading. When he couldn't find readable and interesting books in the library for them he began to write his own using the students' names as the main characters. René used drama and historical narratives to trick reluctant students into learning. He also discovered the joy of researching and writing non-fiction.
Below, talking to students about the mine disasters in Springhill, Nova Scotia, René leads into a talk on child labour laws in Canada. In the 1800's boys as young as twelve worked (and died) in the Springhill coal mines.
René joins fellow Forest of Reading prize-winners and nominees at an Author's Booking Service event in Milton.
Some of the famous authors are Marsha Skrypuch (who organized the event) Ted Staunton, Sigmund Brouwer, Karen Bass, Alma Fullerton, Rebecca Bender, Kari-Lynn Winters, Robert Priest, Adrienne Kress, Rona Rimler Arato, Heather Camlot, Sylvia McNicoll, Rebecca Anderson Bohner, Irene Luxbacher and Nadia Hohn.
René sometimes misses teaching. In the photo above he was given a wonderful book launch at Stockdale P.S., his last school. Kathryn Corbett (owner of Lighthouse Books in Brighton) organized it and a follow-up visit to the Forest of Trees event in Toronto where students from all over Ontario voted Leaving Fletchville second place overall. Here, his former students read their favourite parts from Leaving Fletchville.