New York Winter SCBWI

Superb, awesome, glorious, wonderful … FUN! These are just a few of the words for my 5 days in New York. Then one can add to that tiring, wearisome, jovial, hilarious, inspirational, and invigorating. Of course it wasn’t all just fun and games. There was much work completed as well.

My most exciting part though was strolling on stage to introduce myself (Lin Oliver normally does the intros but she told me to introduce myself) announcing the winner of the BiG competition – our Illustration Gallery competition, part of the SCBWI Bologna Showcase, that is judged by three leading practitioners of the craft. These amazing judges took over 500 entries whittling them down to a shortlist of 43, that was transformed to a list of the final 9, that morphed to the final 3 which resulted in the over all winner and two honourable mentions. And having the overall winner at the New York conference was thrilling … but not as mush as it was for the winner Roya Ma (have a look at her website). She, like all the other entrants,  didn’t know that the winners were being announced at the conference. She was shaking and speechless with more than a drop of emotion coming from her eyes as she walked onto the stage. I knew that Roya was at the conference (I checked the attendee list beforehand) but when there was no initial response it was slightly deflating (my fun was gone). Thankfully the delays was because the announcement was only just sinking in as suddenly the eruption from her corner of the ballroom heralded her arrival. Thanks to my friend Debbie Ohi for these piccies.

It was also super catching up with two of the Australian / New Zealand members as well as a number of other internationals with whom I have chatted a deal over the email. So, just a few stats: there were a record number 1,151 attendees with 337 published authors and illustrators and 813 pre-published – and here is one who didn’t nominate either and they all come from 19 countries.

A comprehensive look of the SCBWI Winter Conference can be found at the SCBWI Conference Blog.

Highlights for me:

  • The autograph party is always a chaotic blast – but not so chaotic this year. I didn’t have to use a booing aussie voice as much!
  • Rita Garcia-Willimas talking about Dos and Don’ts in Children’s Publishing
  • Seeing the glorious art in the portfolio showcase
  • The International Social – always conficlts with other socials that I want to attend too! I just so want to hang out one night at the illustrators social (even through i failed art in kindergarten)!
  • Listening to William Joyce talking about ice cream sandwiches and traditional books – “The hard stuff’s on the outside, the good stuff is in the middle.” and I especially loved his comments about tech companies wanting help creating great interactive books – what the heck do they think a kid opening a book and reading is!

But even better that all that was catching up with SCBWI friends – it really is the best part of these conference, the networking and the friendship and the chance to swap oodles and oodles of gossip.

And yes – it wasn’t just COLD! It was FREEZING as this image will attest to.



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