Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Keene State Lit fest

This weekend's festival was fabulous! As Elaine already mentioned, the speakers were PJ Lynch, Paul Zelinsky, Kevin Hawkes, Tracey Campbell Pearson, and Patricia McLachlan. Each and every one was fantastic, and they had to be, after all the 400 plus attendees sat for 5 hours listening to one speaker after another... it is a tribute to the speakers that we sat mezmerized and entertained for the length of the presentations, hanging on every word.

PZ did drawings in Photoshop and showed animations of characters from his new book. PJL showed clips of his art process, and the way he uses models in his work (often posing himself). Everyone who spoke mentioned their dogs and cats and children, and how they show up in their books. As a group, we illustrators/writers seem to be obsessed with our pets in particular!

I'd say the most encouraging thing for me, as an author/illustrator, was to get a sense for what the span of a lengthy career in this business can look like. How, after decades in publishing, an artist continues to develop their work, nurture their creativity, and draw from all aspects of their lives to nourish their books. I've been doing this for about 7 years, and while I feel like I have something of a feeling for the direction I am going in, and what my work is about, it really puts things in perspective to hear from people who have been doing it for 15, 20 and 30 years!

The authors for next year look just as exciting, I highly recommend checking it out (you will see many of us BRG's attending!). Compared to many kid lit festivals, this one is very affordable, and draws an interesting crowd from all over the country. Plus you get to poke around the Keene State campus, where they have a fabulous gallery of original children's book art by artists like Tomie dePaola, Arnold Lobel and Trina Shart Hyman.

I am a meticulous note taker... here are a few inspirational quotes from Patricia McLachlan's talk:

"We revise our lives in our books so we don't have to make the same mistakes again."

"Writers are spies, users and stealers."

"Read a story and find out who you are." (actually her dad said that)

PS A special thanks to Elaine for inviting me to dine with the staff and speakers, it was a great time!! And, for the record, she had no broccoli in her teeth.


Elaine Magliaro said...


Thanks so much for the wonderful write-up of the Keene State College Children's Literature Festival. I thought it was the best festival I have attended at the college to date.

I watched you taking copius notes, which is something I cannot do. I can't listen to speakers and write at the same time. Heck, I can't walk and chew gum!

You don't need to thank me for inviting you to come along. It was great having you and Bruno as company. I usually go to children's literature conferences alone. It's much more enjoyable with friends.

alvinaling said...

Sounds wonderful--I hope to make it next year!