NYC SCBWI winter conference!
This past weekend I attended the New York City SCBWI winter conference! There were workshops galore, and several inspirational speakers! Both Dan Santat and Angie Thomas blew me away, with lots of great advice on not just becoming a published writer, but becoming a published writer who can be true to him/herself, while making an impact on the world. If you don’t have any of Dan’s fantastic books, or haven’t picked up Angie’s latest and most amazing book “The Hate U Give”, do yourself a favor and get yourself to the bookstore today!! Finally, the great Jane Yolen also had a fantastic speech about reinventing your creative self. If you weren’t lucky enough to be there, they should be posting video of some of the speeches in the next couple of weeks! (Unfortunately, I missed the keynote with Chelsea Clinton because of a sick child and a no babysitter situation, but I heard she was absolutely earth shattering. I will surely look up that video in the next couple of weeks.)
In addition to the speakers, there were also two panel discussions, one with editors, and another with agents, each discussing the current state of the children’s book publishing market. In between the panels and speeches, we broke out into individual “master classes”, to deep dive into our chosen topics! On the morning of the first day, I worked through some incredibly helpful character development exercises with a very cool Caitlin Dlouhy, (VP/ Editorial Director of Caitlin Dlouhy books and Atheneum Books for Young Readers), and was able to really work through a block I was having with one of my stories. In the afternoon, I had a “two-fer” session, which was a crash course in the A-Z of picture books, with the incredible Jane Yolen and her charming daughter, Heidi Stemple, both authors, and occasional co-authors. (Literally hundreds of amazing books written between those two ladies!!) My final master class on Sunday morning, was an interesting lesson on pairing text and pictures, taught by Russell Busse, (Associate Editor of Little Brown Books for Young Readers).
Last but not certainly not least, there was an awe inspiring illustrators showcase, with a room filled wall to wall with stunning portfolios. I was on a hunt for illustrators who have a talent with expressions and characters, and boy did I find a bunch! Some of my absolute favorites were Larry Daley, Abigale Hicks, Mary Uhles, and the amazing Holly Hatam, illustrator of Dear, Girl, (By Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal.)
But I didn’t just go to classes, listen to speeches, and talk to fellow conference attendees! I also had the opportunity and chutzpah to ask several author/illustrators for impromptu one-minute interviews, which I will be posting over the next few weeks. The children’s book publishing industry is truly filled with some of the kindest, most open hearted people you’ll ever meet. Everyone was more than happy to chat with me for a quick second, and that little bit of kindness is such a lovely light in this crazy world!
Overall, I deepened my understanding of several corners of the publishing industry, and of story telling, and received my much needed jolt of inspiration to keep up the good fight! Thank you SCBWI for arranging such a phenomenal conference again this year!!