Tuesday, August 03, 2010


The annual Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators conference took place this past Friday thru Monday, which means I'll be catching up on my sleep until at least next Monday. So how did this year hold up against previous years? You'd think I would be jaded after attending this event for eleven years straight, but the 2010 conference is neck-and-neck with the 2000 conference (which was pretty flippin' amazing) for my favorite conference experience.

The keynote speeches were better this year than any year I can remember. Speakers who inspire, entertain, and get across nuggets o' wisdom are rare...but they were in abundance this year.

The best part of any SCBWI conference is catching-up with old friends while also stepping out and making new friends. This year was a wonderful mix of new and old for me and I'll definitely be keeping in contact with several people I met for the first time this year.

And now for some photos!

Two of the authors I was most looking forward to seeing were M.T. Anderson and Carolyn Mackler (both were keynote speakers).

Mr. Anderson is one of the most down-to-earth smart dudes you'll meet. He also loves doing character voices, though his Grover sounds a tad more Yoda-ish.

Ms. Mackler and I actually did meet briefly years ago when she signed my copy of Vegan Virgin Valentine, which is one of my favorite books. She claims to remember meeting me, and I think it's very sweet that she tells me that.

Of course, the conference ain't complete without a costume and a dance! This year's theme was Heart & Soul, and before I show you a good photo of my costume this year, see if you can spot me:

Several weeks ago, I found a cupid costume online. It was an embarrassing costume, which made it the perfect costume. I sent the link to Ms. Mackler to show her that, yes, people do dress wacky at SCBWI. In her keynote speech, she claimed that I asked her to dress up with me. In truth, she asked me if it'd be cool to dress alike. And of course it was cool! So while our origin stories may differ (I personally think she can't believe it was her idea to dress like...as she dubbed the costume in her speech...Skanky Bo Peep), it was absolutely less embarrassing to dress as S.B.P. with someone else. And when our friend Rachel Vail (an amazing speaker) agreed to dress up with us, it was even less embarrassing and much more fun!

We even tied for first place in the costume contest!

Finally, just before everyone went home, the attendees stood in long lines for autographs. The one autograph I was most looking forward to was from Loren Long.

This will be Baby Isaiah's very first signed picture book:


Lisa Albert said...

OMG, Jay! Love those costumes!!

Congrats on your baby boy!!!!! I just moved my son out and have 1/2 a next empty. Bittersweet, for sure, but all good, too.

Anonymous said...

Love it!

Kimberly J. Smith said...

Sounds like a blast! I've GOT to get there one of these years.

Rita said...

Awesome. This year's speakers were awesome, your outfit was awesome, and the fact that you got your baby his first signed book is awesome.

Jay Asher said...


Cuppa Jolie said...

Good to see you again, Jay. What a perfect first book! Perfect. And I'm with you on Team Vegan Virgin Valentine...one of my very favorites.

Julie Musil said...

Oh how I wish I could have been there to view those costumes! That's funny.

I'm a new follower of your blog. I recently read "Thirteen Reasons Why" and absolutely loved it. I'm even blogging about it tomorrow. Your writing is exceptional.

Dawn Simon said...

Awesome conference summary!

I met you in M.T. Anderson's line and we took each other's pics. Even though you can't possibly remember me, I feel sort of famous since the photo made the blog. ;)

Huge congratulations to you and your wife on Baby Isaiah! How great that he's already collecting autographs! I read the post about feeling him move. So exciting! My kids have been running around the planet for years now, but my hubby and I still remember those firsts. Very special.