We were 600+ people strong, all with the common focus of children's books, spanning from picture books to young adult. We were writers, illustrators, editors, agents, art directors, faculty, published authors and pre-published authors. We were there to learn, make friends and connections, and bathe in children's books from Friday afternoon till the last workshop was over Sunday at 3:00. We left limp but exhilarated and motivated anew.
Peter H. Reynolds gave the Saturday morning keynote address. Whatta guy... Supremely talented, humble and inspirational. I signed up for his fireside chat workshop after his keynote, just to drink in his presence and hear more in a smaller setting. I spoke with him afterwards, feeling akin to meeting a rock star, and had our picture taken together (made my day). I told him he was "my William Steig" meaning he's incredibly inspirational to me, and I think he was touched.
I also loved meeting Laurel Snyder whose keynote toggled between hilarious and inspirational. We'd have never known she'd been nervous over her first keynote if she hadn't shared that and more. Laurel is bare all honest, funny, and extremely charismatic.
Another stellar keynote presentation was "Pitchapalooza" by The Book Doctors: Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry. They rocked as did the contestants who had the chutzpah to go up and pitch.
Two of my workshops that were standouts: Patricia Newman's Six Steps to a Killer First Page and Anna Staniszewski's Don't Let Common Writing Missteps Hold You Back.
A tremendous thank you to all the organizers and volunteers for their countless hours. I volunteered for my first time and will certainly do so again. I'm tickled that Heather Kelly, whom I know as the sweetest founder of The Writer's Loft, will be co-chairing next year.