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Day One of the SCBWI Los Angeles Conference.
I’ve been asked to write a report on this year’s L.A. conference. I haven’t written a report on something since I was in school and I will not even begin to tell you how long ago that was. I also have the attention span of a gnat. I know this doesn’t bode well but I will give it a try anyway.
The conference started off this year with a few words from Lin Oliver ( Children’s book author, writer / producer of family films and one of the founders of SCBWI). A few months ago I got to talk to her in person and I’ve got to say she’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. She gave us a number of facts about who exactly was attending this conference. And, here they are…
There are 1266 attendee’s.
There are 400 plus new attendees
175 portfolios in the portfolio showcase.
312 attendees for the writer’s intensive
46 States are represented here, with the exception of both North and South Dakota.
14 Countries are represented
Approx. 988 women attendees, 192 Men and 86 Undeclared
Some of the occupations represented here are Animal Communication Specialist, Auditor, Spam Fighter, and Pickle Professional.
I haven’t check out all the numbers to make sure they work out but it does give you an idea of who is here.
The first keynote speaker was Laurie Halse Anderson (best selling children’s book author). She talked about how the readers of our books are the most important of all readers of all (children). She stressed the importance staying a child because “Growing up is a whole lot of Horse Shit”. And finally, she stated how important it is to sit around a campfire at least once in your life.
The next keynote speaker was Jon Scieszka (Children’s book author). His topic was Subversion, but his talk quickly headed in a different direction. I couldn’t keep up with him as he told stories of growing up with his brothers. But I do know that Jon and his brothers broke the youngest brother’s clavicle several times in his life. Poor kid!
Laurent Linn (Dir. for Simon and Schusters Books for Young Readers), always a conference favorite, gave nuts- and- bolts talk about how a book gets made from dummy to printing. Laurent talking style is a mix of charm and no-nonsense and I find him one of the most informative of all the speakers. This talk was extremely good for people new to this business.
Finally, the last event of the night for me was the Illustrator Social. It’s great to visit everyone but it gets so loud in the room that a bunch of us went to the hotel lobby to talk. This hotel’s lobby is one of the best for socializing. It’s filled with various groups of writers and illustrators experiencing the friendship and comradely that seems to come easily to people in the world of children’s books.
I know this isn’t the greatest of reports, but I’m tired now and don’t care. So there!