Sunday, January 8, 2012

NESCBWI 2012 Conference: Keeping It Real

The annual New England SCBWI Spring Conference opens its registration on January 23rd, 2012. This year's theme is "Keeping it Real: Reality and Worldbuilding in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Illustration."

You can find the link to the conference here: NESCBWI Conference Registration 2012

This year, the conference will be Friday, April 20, 2012 - Sunday, April 22, 2012, at the Sheraton Monarch Place, in Springfield, Massachusetts. I haven't personally visited the new site, but I hear it is fabulous and will accommodate the larger crowds that have been frequenting our regional conference over the last few years. Word is, New England conferences rank right up there with NY and LA.

Why does our conference attracts such large crowds? It could be because we attract renowned authors, illustrators, agents, and publishers to lead workshops and give keynote addresses. This year, for example, Sara Zarr is delivering the Author Keynote on “The Meaning in the Mess: A Case for Writing Life As It is, Not How We Wish It.” Sarah is the acclaimed author of four award-winning novels for young adults. And, Harry Bliss is delivering the Illustrator Keynote on “Laughing Between the Lines: on Pictures and Humor”. Harry is an internationally syndicated cartoonist and cover artist for the New Yorker Magazine and has illustrated a number of award-winning children’s books.

Our region is also notable for the fact that so many award-winning authors and illustrators live right here in New England. They’re members of the NESCBWI, and they continue to attend our conferences, lending us their depth and breadth of knowledge and ideas, and yes, their smiles and laughter.

But what really sets our conference apart, is the people who put their time and energy into making the New England SCBWI successful. From the Board Members, to the Conference Faculty, right on down to the weekend volunteers, we are a region of abundant generosity. NESCBWI is an entirely volunteer-run organization and we depend on more than 100 volunteers each year to make our conference not only a success, but one of the most exciting, educational and best attended SCBWI conferences in the country.

This is my third year as Conference Volunteer Coordinator. Is it a lot of work to organize 100+ volunteers? You bet. It’s also fun. As a general rule, children’s book writers and illustrators are fun people to be around. We’re topped off with a sprinkle of magic fairy dust that makes us silly and approachable, generous and thoughtful, imaginative and big-hearted. Plus, we’re really really smart (and humble). Our wisdom is is found in our words and pictures and permeates the fabric of time and generations. It’s fun to attend a conference and it’s fun to volunteer. In fact, if you want to volunteer at this year’s conference, you can write to me at:

The New England regional conference is a great place to make friends and connections. Learn a new skill, go deeper into your work, find a support group. Inspire and be inspired. Get involved. You’ll find what you’re looking for at NESCBWI’s Spring Conference.