Friday, August 12, 2011

SCBWI 2011

The annual Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators summer conference has been over for several days, and I've finally recovered enough to post about it. This year's conference ties with my first conference in 2000 for memorable moments. So let's begin!

Over 1,300 people attended this conference, and here's a portion of them as seen from the stage.


When I introduced myself into the microphone, I told the attendees who pre-ordered one of these delicious donuts from me where they could get them. The first one was scooped up by Dan Santat, seen here nervously inspecting his bacon donut. Within seconds of this photo, that baby was gone!


I critiqued ten manuscripts at the conference, sitting down with each author for twenty minutes. While I love speaking at conferences, doing critiques is almost as enjoyable...which, apparently, makes me very weird (something I've never denied!).

Because I critiqued manuscripts, I was officially a faculty member. So I got to do something else I love...signing books! For some reason, there are a lot of great authors with last names beginning with A. Every time we sign books according to last names, I get to sit beside some of my favorite people. This time, I shared a table with Jim Averbeck.



Like most years, I had several books with me that I wanted other people to sign. Unlike previous years, most of them were signed for Isaiah. The one I meant to get signed a few months ago while visiting the illustrator's hometown is The Lord's Prayer. It's a beautiful picture book illustrated by Richard Jesse Watson, and written by...well...God. (Authors don't usually get to handpick their illustrators, and while I never asked Richard about it, it's obvious that was the case this time.)


Celebrating their 40th anniversary, SCBWI definitely brought out the biggies for this conference. Here's Mary Pope Osborne (Isaiah now owns a couple books signed by her)...


...and Gary Paulsen. This guy can probably get away with calling himself The Most Interesting and Funny Dude On the Planet.


Being in Los Angeles, there were movie people everywhere. But there was only one movie person I was excited to meet, Alison Greenspan from Di Novi Pictures (the producer of one of the two movies I'm most excited about seeing on the big screen...The Future of Us).


We went to an amazing restaurant called Rock Sugar and I heard all about what's going on with "the next great Facebook movie." And yes, it does sound like it's going to be great! That night I emailed Carolyn Mackler all the details. I was still so excited over what I heard, I don't think I used paragraph breaks in that email, I just typed as fast as my brain let me.

Being the 40th anniversary, the theme for this year's afterhours party was 40 Winks, so people dressed in all sorts of pajamas and sleep-related attire. My sister-in-agent, Shannon Messenger, had a t-shirt made up for the occasion. On the front it read "My agent can beat up your agent..." And on the back...


For my costume, I dressed in Ralphie's least favorite pjs from A Christmas Story. Not everyone knew why I was dressed like this, but the cool people did! One of those very cool people was Stephanie Roth Sisson, a local illustrator and good friend.


Someone who's felt like a friend for years, though this was the first time we've met in person, was Alan Silberberg. Alan was the well-deserved recipient of this year's Sid Fleishman Humor Award.


At the faculty afterparty, I finally had the chance to speak one-on-one with one of my (and probably your) literary heroes. My friend Jolie Stekly saw this conversation occurring and decided to take a paparazzi-style photo.


So who was I eating peach cobbler with? Oh, just someone named Judy Blume.

9 comments:

Sera Rivers said...

SOOO jealous! I MUST go to the LA SCBWI conference one of these years! All the tweets and all your pictures look like so much fun!

I love NY but I think they need to step up their A game :)

kathleen duey said...

SCBWI: Where the cool people meet the amazing people then go home and write better books! ((Love the pink bunny suit.))

Lisa Albert said...

Always great to see you! Great conference round-up! Being an "A," I look forward to signing next to you some year. *swoons* ;-)

Margo Gremmler said...

This is so great - thanks for posting, Jay. I've loved seeing others' posts about the conference. I'll post my own shortly.

I completely agree with Kathleen's amazing people comment. I was so glad to meet you (and cut a rug with your bunny-suited self at the 40 Winks Pajama Gala). We writers and illustrators certainly know how to have fun.

You say this year's conference ties with your first in 2000? This WAS my first SCBWI conference. Talk about the epitome of thrilling and exhausting (in the best way). On the second day, I started planning next year's trip. I still can't get over how, everywhere I looked, I saw dedicated storytellers. Yeah. I'm so hooked.

Sabrina said...

Man, am I ever jealous! SCBWI 2011 sure does look like it was a totally fantastic event. Wish I could've been there...

And I do love your Ralphie bunny pajamas - I knew that's what you were going for with those! "He looks like a deranged Easter bunny!" LOL...

SilberBook-Blog said...

Great to finally meet you too, Jay ...and that Cocoa Puffs donut was one of my happiest fattening memories of the conference.

Christine Bernardi said...

Dear Jay,

Thanks again for the wonderful and thorough critique. I am so glad to hear you enjoy doing them because I really appreciated how much time you spent on my manuscript and all you had to say. My critique group partners and I were on the lookout for one of your famous costumes at the party, but we didn't think we saw you--and now I know that was YOU in the hysterical Ralphie costume! Ha! I didn't recognize you in pink feetsie pj's.

Thank you again, and great photos from the conference!
Christine

Colleen Ryckert Cook said...

Totally knew you were Ralphie. Had to explain it to a couple of people who -gasp- had never heard of the movie.

Wild About Words said...

Fantabulous! Thanks for sharing, Jay.