42nd Annual SCBWI LA Summer Conference Recap

Originally Posted: September 2013

by Pat Weissner, Metro-NY RA

This year’s LA Conference was vibrant, successful and enlightening, just like  all the preceding ones. Keynotes, workshops, get-togethers and meetings with old friends and new, non-stop for more than four days, sent this conference-goer home with new resolve to make the most of my writing time and stop making excuses. But first I had to come down from all that stimulation in LA.

This conference had the second highest attendance of all time: 1160 attendees from 46 states and 13 countries. This year’s encouraging and entertaining keynote speakers included Richard Peck (author), Laurent Linn (art director) and Emma Dryden (SCBWI board member), all members of our own Metro-NY chapter, along with best-selling authors Carolyn Mackler and Jay Asher. How could anyone not be inspired?

I’d like to share a few quotes from the conference borrowed from veteran conference-goer Courtney Forshay’s blog

www.simplymessingabout.com/2013/08/scbwi-la-2013-notes-recommended-reading.html :

Jon Scieszka (author) – “Be subversive!”

“You don’t want to put kids to sleep–wake them up!” 

Mac Barnett (author)

“Write books with new rules!”

“Wonder is the place where truth and lies meet.” (paraphrased)

Richard Peck (author)

“No one young will pay money to hear an adult.”

“Writing is the act of getting your brain to bleed directly onto the blank page.”

Joanne Rocklin (author)

“You have to know the rules in order to break them and then do something powerful with that.”

Jarrett Krosozcka (author/illustrator)

“Create mini cliffhangers on each page.”

Dan Santat (author/illustrator)

“Illustration is 80% design and 20% ability.”

But it’s not all listening to talks, taking notes, getting tips on craft and being inspired. Our own Metro-NY RA Bridget Casey and steering committee member Kristi Olson dressed up as Cruella DeVille and one of the 101 Dalmatian pups for the Saturday night Black and White Ball. Other attendees dressed up as penguins, nuns, butlers or chauffeurs.

If you have never attended the LA Conference, you’re in for a treat. It needs to be on every children’s writer’s bucket list.

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