HITTING THE HIGH NOTES AT THE SCBWI WINTER CONFERENCE, NEW YORK

Better late than never! Here’s a guest post from SCBWI West’s Reporter-at-Large and Regional Advisor, Frané Lessac, illustrator, and Susanne Gervay, SCBWI Australia/NZ RA and author. Thank you, FranéSCBWI_2013_NY_blog headerHave to admit, I was a wee bit anxious leaving an Australian summer for sub zero temperatures of the SCBWI Winter Conference in New York. I need not have worried. The Conference hotel was conveniently located smack bang above Grand Central Station with gazillions of restaurants, shops and public transport right downstairs.

The bonus of attending SCBWI New York is that many of the top US children’s book editors, agents, publishers and art directors get involved. With 999 attendees, 17 countries represented, and 45 US states, it was a constant thrill in the elevators to find out who was from where. When they realized WA wasn’t an abbreviation for the state of Washington, West Australia always got the biggest wow. 🙂 new-york-new-york_Frane-

Meg Rosoff gave the first keynote entitled “So When Are You Going to Write a Real Book, You Know, For Adults?” She was hysterical when she translated that into a list of people she wanted to punch in the face for asking. Most celebrity authors were targets. Jay Leno’s book, IF ROAST BEEF COULD FLY had a roasting for sure.

I must have heard Shaun Tan speak over a dozen times. He never ceases to amaze me. Every time his talk is different – even if he’s talking about the same piece of art. He received a standing ovation, not only from me, but by the other 998 attendees too!

Another keynote was by NY Times bestselling mother and daughter writing team, Julie Andrews and Emma Walton. Although their presentation was heavily scripted, it was a highlight seeing Mary Poppins in person.

Mo Willems gave the closing keynote – inspiration and infotainment at its best.

A major US children’s bookseller had some good news to share. In her opinion: The library and school markets are healthy. Schools have money to buy books, although mostly paperbacks. They’re looking for short stories, fairy tales and folktales relating to the curriculum, and narrative non-fiction. Also the go: action packed novels, bullying, movie tie-ins, war, survival and diversity.

There are funds for author school visits with Skype visits on the increase. Bookstores are coming back and the balance is changing. In the future, stores may be used as showrooms, as people buy an ebook after viewing the print version. The balance will never be equal again, but children still want a book to hug.

Frane in America1

Frané keeping company with pumpkins.

If anyone would like more information about attending the New York or Los Angeles SCBWI Conferences, please feel free to contact Frané Lessac.

Conference blog link: http://scbwiconference.blogspot.com.au/

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A new chapter for SCBWI QLD

Hello, everyone, on this auspicious occasion! 

Yes, things are moving along in a very positive direction for SCBWI Australia/New Zealand members in this very big country and region.

Here in Queensland, we have at last become a separate region under a new Assistant Regional Advisor, author, Sheryl Gwyther.

(c) Lynn Priestley 2012

We will also retain our Queensland SCBWI committee and sub-committees (Prue Mason, Pam Rushby, Tina Marie Clark, Peter Taylor and Jennifer Poulter.) We look forward to working with you and for you in our wonderful, networking organisation.

Members’ input is also valued and we urge you to become involved in any way you can manage. The world of children’s writing is special, and so are the creators and those who are involved in the industry because we believe in the value of what we do for the young.

Here’s more information on the changes:

The SCBWI Australia & New Zealand Chapter will now be subdivided into the below regions, under the leadership listed below.

Australia East & New Zealand

  • Susanne Gervay (RA); Sarah Davis (IC)
  • New South Wales: Deborah Abela (ARA)
  • Victoria (incl South Australia and Tasmania): Corinne King (ARA)
  • Queensland: Sheryl Gwyther (ARA)
  • New Zealand: Francis Plumpton (ARA)

Australia West (WA and NT)

  • Dianne Wolfer (RA); Meg McKinlay (ARA); Frané Lessac (IC)

Moving on into a new post will be former Regional Advisor Chris Cheng. Chris will now be wearing a number of hats including Co-Chair of the SCBWI Board of Advisors, Regional Advisor Emeritus (RAE) and his newest title as International Publication and Awards Coordinator. 

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