Two former Elk Island Public School (EIPS) students are returning to school to teach writing.

The Young Authors' Conference is an annual event that welcomes students in a day of storytelling. Throughout the day, students attend sessions led by professional authors and illustrators who share their knowledge and life lessons to encourage students.

Jonathan Ewing and Amelia Newstead will be presenting about writing for the stage and screen. What makes them both unique hosts is that they're former EIPS students themselves.

Newstead graduated from Salisbury Composite High School last year, with this being her first Young Authors' Conference.

"I started writing plays and short sketches in Grade 7, and then I put on my first little show in Grade 8, and the first musical I wrote was in Grade 9," said Newstead.

Newstead plans to take an interactive approach to her presentation, letting the students collaborate on a script together.

"I'm a very hands-on kind of person," said Newstead. "So, to get kids in the mindset of what it's like writing a movie, it's very tactile."

When advising aspiring writers, Newstead takes from the old adage 'write what you know'.

"Write the truest thing you know. The funniest thing for people is stuff that's happened to them; they're the best ones to tell it."

On the flip side, Jonathan Ewing takes a different approach, choosing instead to dissociate in finding his characters.

"Sometimes trying to write stories from my world experiences is just not possible," said Ewing. "I think coming to that realization of what matters to you and trying to find your own voice and how you can make an impact in the world is what really stands out."

Ewing graduated from Ardrossan High School in 2019, publishing his first novel 'Hidden In Plain Sight' when he was in Grade 10.

Ewing had attended the Young Authors' Conference himself when he was a child. He said he recognizes Marty Chan, one of the presenters, from when he was there as a kid.

"I think there's this element of responsibility in giving ideas and making sure the students understand there's never a wrong way to get into writing," said Ewing. "Having as many opportunities as possible as a young writer is so important to the development of your craft."

The 32nd annual Young Authors Conference hosts more than 400 students and takes place at F.R. Haythorne Junior High on April 15.