When Writers Go to Conferences That Aren’t for Writers

I went to the Hubbs Children’s Literature Conference Saturday, which has an audience of mainly librarians and teachers. Here’s a quick slideshow:

I debated going. I was exhausted and had work to do. And it’s not aimed at writers, so the practical me wondered, “What will I get out of it?” But?I went and had a great time.

Best moments:

1) A school librarian I walked in with recognized Stampede and talked about specific poems and how much her students enjoy that book. She even bought my single copies of BookSpeak! and A Leaf Can Be… later in the day. They were my personal copies, with “Laura’s Copy” stickers on the backs and Post-Its sticking out all over. I did not take them with the intent of selling them, obviously :>)

2) Christopher Paul Curtis gave a funny and heartwarming speech about his career?and his mom’s influence on his writing. The man is an amazing storyteller.

3) Linda Sue Park, who also publishes with Clarion, recognized me and had heard of BookSpeak! We’ve met before (sat at?Clarion’s table at the Newbery banquet a couple of years ago). But she must meet a bazillion writers and industry people every year.

4) Linda Sue gave a passionate and heartwarming speech, much of it centering around A Long Walk to Water, which sounds absolutely amazing and is based on a true story of a good friend of hers. I teared up several times. (I know, I’m a wuss.)

5) I got to catch up with some local kidlit friends like Steve and Vicki Palmquist of the Children’s Literature Network and?Quinette Cook, recent Hamline graduate. Waved at John Coy and said hi to a couple of Red Balloon Bookshop people, too. Talked with writer Faythe Thureen, who also kindly took some pix of me and Linda Sue.

6) Bought myself Chris and Linda Sue’s newest books (The Mighty Miss Malone and Long Walk to Water) and can’t wait to read them.

It was fun meeting librarians and teachers. I talked with a potential client or two of Mentors for Rent. I got some cool ideas for single-sheet books. I learned how the Caldecott Committee functions. So, I got a TON out of this conference. It was inspiring and satisfying, and a great reminder that I need to leave my comfort zone more often. Just because a conference isn’t specifically for writers doesn’t mean writers shouldn’t go.

8 Responses

  1. What a great time you had. I loved both books you bought & have recommended A Long Walk To Water many times already. And it must have made you feel good to be recognized, have your books remembered and bought! All good news!

    1. It did! OK, I know that’s completely shallow. But I never ever come across random people who know any of my books, so that was amazing. It was a moment of, “You mean people out there, people I don’t know, are actually reading this?” (Of course, based on sales numbers for Stampede, that is not a high number, so it really is a feat to run into one of them!)

  2. What a great time you had. I loved both books you bought & have recommended A Long Walk To Water many times already. And it must have made you feel good to be recognized, have your books remembered and bought! All good news!

    1. It did! OK, I know that’s completely shallow. But I never ever come across random people who know any of my books, so that was amazing. It was a moment of, “You mean people out there, people I don’t know, are actually reading this?” (Of course, based on sales numbers for Stampede, that is not a high number, so it really is a feat to run into one of them!)

  3. Good stuff Laura. I just read Long Walk to Water this week. I’m so impressed with Park’s writing style, now I’m going to read everything she wrote. I’d read the adult telling of this story by Dave Eggers (What is the What) so had a lot of background on the story and the subject, but I still wept throughout Park’s book–both because the truth is heartbreaking, but also because of how beautifully she tells the story.

    Also, yes, great reminder that we all need to push ourselves out of our comfort zones! Good stuff. Thanks.

    1. Thanks for weighing in, Aimee. I have read a few news stories about the Lost Boys of Sudan, but I have only a superficial knowledge about this whole issue. I know this book will be great, and I will have the Kleenex handy. I’m not a big historical fiction person, but A Single Shard was amazing. Linda Sue is so talented. Enjoy her other works!

  4. Good stuff Laura. I just read Long Walk to Water this week. I’m so impressed with Park’s writing style, now I’m going to read everything she wrote. I’d read the adult telling of this story by Dave Eggers (What is the What) so had a lot of background on the story and the subject, but I still wept throughout Park’s book–both because the truth is heartbreaking, but also because of how beautifully she tells the story.

    Also, yes, great reminder that we all need to push ourselves out of our comfort zones! Good stuff. Thanks.

    1. Thanks for weighing in, Aimee. I have read a few news stories about the Lost Boys of Sudan, but I have only a superficial knowledge about this whole issue. I know this book will be great, and I will have the Kleenex handy. I’m not a big historical fiction person, but A Single Shard was amazing. Linda Sue is so talented. Enjoy her other works!

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