On Tuesday, May 3rd 2016, acclaimed Canadian author, Heather O’Neill, was welcomed by the Collège Letendre to perform a reading from her most recent collection, “Daydreams of Angels”. Ms. Emily Ormond and her secondary 4 English groups were thrilled when Ms. O’Neill first agreed to participate in their Twitter project. Previous to her guest lecture appearance, Ms. O’Neill and the students exchanged reflections on her short stories via the social media platform Twitter.

The students were so delighted at the prospect of being «liked» and esteemed by a renowned author that their level of enthusiasm and commitment to their exchanges was indomitable. During the guest lecture appearance, Ms. O’Neill narrated two readings and led a question and answer period. Thereafter, the students were invited to stay for cake and cookies as they dined, conversed and had their books signed by the author.

Since no single text is read alike, nor can it be understood alike, a tale is essentially a starting point to an endless network of relationships. Who knows where your thoughts might lead you next? Indeed, Ms. O’Neill’s words form a dialogue—a connection to a lost friend. Like an old collectible, her stories summon the exquisite beauty of nostalgia, and evoke the madness of unpredictable childhoods. She describes how innocence can be pierced by negative influences and neglect. And how, crafty children will stucco those absences with uncanny strangers and daydreams. It is in this spirit that the students of Collège Letendre conversed and tweeted with each other, as well as the author, to explore the motivations, hopes and failings of young heroes.

The guest lecture appearance and Twitter project aimed to engage high school students and introduce them to a dynamic and lively experience of reading. The assignment’s purpose was to instill a love of reading even as it sought to cultivate the students’ voices as active commentators. It intended to positively reinforce the communication of ideas via social media platforms while simultaneously challenging the students to extend and challenge their existing ideologies.

Ms. Heather O'Neill is a Canadian writer, most recognized for her first novel, “Lullabies for Little Criminals.” The book was an international success and has won several prizes, including the Canada Reads in 2007, a nomination for the Governor General's Award as well the Orange Prize. She's been nominated twice for the Scotiabank Giller Award: once for her novel, “The Girl Who Was Saturday Night," and most recently for her collection of short stories, "Daydreams of Angels.”