Monday, August 31, 2009

SCBWI Summer Conference 2009

It’s impossible to fully explain my recent experience at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference in Los Angeles. To condense those four days into a few words will be a challenge, and writing a blog about it will be even more difficult because I don’t have many pictures to liven it up. (When Dr. Lobo realized I was planning to take his camera on a three-week trip, he bought me a new camera. I’m happy to have my own camera, but I’m technology-challenged, and it’s going to take a while to learn how to use it. Also, while at the conference, I was apparently unable to control my excitement long enough to hold the camera still, so most of my photos were pathetic. If you really want to see photos—and read a more comprehensive review of the event—go to


Can you imagine being in the same room with authors whose writing has touched you deeply? Can you imagine having a conversation with them? Can you imagine those giants of literature encouraging your own feeble attempts to communicate through the written word?


Let me drop a few names. Lisa Yee, Sherman Alexie, Karen Cushman, Linda Sue Park, Eve Bunting, Richard Peck, Jay Asher . . . There were more, but these are a few of my favorites. Wow.


It’s not only the opportunity to be with famous authors that is so awesome. Spending four days with 900 or so children’s writers and illustrators, even those not yet published, is so energizing. Everyone at the conference was a gifted, creative person who loves books and children. How could I not enjoy being with any one of them? So many fascinating conversations!


Agents and editors also shared their insights about writing. I will be thinking about words I heard at the conference for months to come, and from time to time I’ll share some on this blog.


Here are two (yep, only two) pictures I took that did come out all right.

Here are my friends Gwen and Anna during one of our many meals together. Although Anna is generally a lighthearted person, she looks troubled here. Is she worrying about a plot point?

Here are two more friends. I've known Pati for many years, and I met Linda at the conference. Linda and I shared a hotel room with another woman, Karen. Although we came together as strangers, we left as friends.

"The only bad thing about going to the SCBWI conference is that once you attend, you’ll want to go every year,” a friend warned me. How right she was! I’m already looking forward to next August in Los Angeles. Fellow SCBWI folks, start saving your money and join me there.


Lisa Yee said...

I felt the same way the first time I attended the conference in 2000. Not to be corny, but it was life changing for me.

Best of luck with your writing!

Okie Book Woman said...

Hey! See that comment above? That's from THE Lisa Yee, author of some of my favorite books for kids. She is awesome. I even had a conversation with her at the conference. I can't believe the famous Lisa Yee commented on my blog! (Okay, I'll stop embarrassing myself now. Thanks for stopping by, Lisa.)

drlobojo said...

Re: "I’m already looking forward to next August in Los Angeles."

Maybe we had better talk about this!