bridge of the Edmund Fitzgerald

René Schmidt  

René Schmidt is a father, husband, retired teacher and writer. 

René has had five books published since 1985. His four book series on Canadian Disasters have sold over 100 000 copies and can be found in libraries and schools all across Canada. His novel Leaving Fletchville received good reviews and is still being sold in Canada and the USA. He has also written articles for Canadian Living and other publications. 

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 and 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.

Below René gives a presentation to students in Etobicoke about editing and writing. 

René worked as a teacher in inner-city schools in Scarborough and was surprised so many students hated reading.  When he couldn't find readable and interesting books in the library he began to write his own using the students' names as the main characters. René introduced historical facts and narratives into his stories to trick reluctant students into learning about Canada.  

Below, René is talking to students about the mine disasters and child labour laws in Eastern Canada. In the 1800's boys as young as twelve worked (and died) in the Springhill coal mines. 


René was a Forest of Reading prize-winner.  Here he joins fellow prize-winners at an Author's Booking Service event in Milton. 

You may recognize 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 Nadia Hohn and Marsha Skrypuch who organized the event. 


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.