Amanda West Lewis

Amanda West Lewis

Perth, ON

AMANDA WEST LEWIS has combined careers as a writer, theatre director, calligrapher, book artist and instructor. She has spent her career working in the arts and arts education.

Amanda is the author of 7 books for young people. Her new book, The Pact, sets friendship, poverty and family amidst the culture of indoctrination and propaganda in Nazi Germany. Her previous novel, September 17: A Novel, is a fictionalized account of the sinking of the  S.S. City of Benares during the Second World War. September 17 was nominated for the Silver Birch Award, the Red Cedar Award, and the Violet Downey IODE Award. Both novels are published by Red Deer Press. 

Other books include WRITING, A Fact and Fun Book; LETTERING; MAKING MEMORY BOOKS; THE JUMBO BOOK OF PAPER CRAFTS; and ROSIE BACKSTAGE (co-written with Tim Wynne-Jones).

In her theatre career, Amanda has focused on work with young people, directing and teaching extensively. She is the founder of the Ottawa Children&;s Theatre, where she offers a range of drama education programs for children aged 3 - 16. She has founded theatre programs for disadvantaged youth and children with autism spectrum disorder. She is currently a member of the Great Canadian Theatre Company&;s Playwright&;s Network.

As a professional calligrapher and book artist, Amanda has exhibited her artwork in numerous group and solo shows. She has been an active member of the Riverguild Fine Crafts, the Perth Autumn Studio Tour, The Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild, and the Calligraphy Society of Ottawa.

Amanda has taught numerous workshops and classes in writing, acting and calligraphy for all ages at schools and universities throughout Ontario.

Amanda lives with her husband, writer Tim Wynne-Jones, outside of Perth Ontario. They have 3 grown children who are a constant source of joy and inspiration.



In 1939, Peter Gruber is a young boy with a booming black market business in Hamburg, Germany. Peter’s resourcefulness helps him survive crushing poverty until world events destroy everything he has ever known. Childhood is left far behind, and Peter has to survive a different kind of horror – pledging allegiance in an elite training camp for SS officers in Nazi Germany. Inspired by a true story, The Pact sheds light on indoctrination, propaganda, insidious racism and a child’s basic sense of morality.

"Gripping, gritty, and tremendously poignant. In The Pact, Amanda West Lewis powerfully reveals the flipside of war through a unique perspective. With great empathy, Lewis depicts the inner and outer battles fought by young Peter Gruber — loving son, loyal friend, and Hitler Youth recruit. Her masterful telling takes us from simply knowing history to truly feeling his story. A riveting historical read for both the head and the heart." — Caroline Pignat, two time winner of the Governor Generals&; Literary Award

"How does an entire country sleepwalk into intolerance, dictatorship, insanity, war? The Pact unfolds with the smell, the sound and feel of utter reality, in the form of the life of one simple boy being pushed, inescapably, into the uniform of the SS. Essential reading from a new, bright light in historical fiction, Amanda West Lewis."

 --- Alan Cumyn, award winning author of The Sojourn.

"The Pact speaks to a new generation of readers who want to understand how wars happen, and fills that immeasurable silence with compassion and understanding. By showing how rhetoric and propaganda affect young lives on both sides of the conflict, Lewis provides an important lesson for our time."

 --- Wayne Grady, award winning author of Emancipation Day.


Nominated for the OLA 2015 Silver Birch Award, the 2014 IODE Violet Downey Award, the 2014 Red Cedar Award and listed in the Canadian Children&;s Centre 100 Best Books for Spring, 2014

SEPTEMBER 17 is a novel based on real events. In 1940 a group of children are being evacuated from England on the SS City of Benares, a requisitioned luxury liner bound for Canada. Like a floating palace, the ship carries them away from the war to new lives in the safety of a far away country. But when their ship is torpedoed in the middle of the Atlantic, their hopes and dreams are shattered. All that matters is survival…

Told from the perspective of the children, their journey becomes an adventure story of loss and astonishing bravery.

"Riveting and Heartbreaking…" Kirkus Review

“This is how history should be taught - through the eyes of those who lived it.” Janet Barclay. Good Reads

"…their harrowing survival stories will have strong appeal for readers entranced by Titanic tales…" Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

"…it has that gripping tension, that aura of tragedy, that sense of doom that, to me, marks all great maritime novels.” Wayne Grady, Kingston Whig Standard

“…a compulsively readable, compelling story of survival in the face of overwhelming adversity.” Michael Cart, Booklist