NESCBWI 2013 Conference

I’ve been meaning to write a recap of the New England SCBWI (NESCBWI) conference all week, but time has gotten away from me. Here it is at last!

This was my first time attending a conference alone–I usually go to conferences/writing events with at least one friend. The introvert in me was initially nervous about this solo adventure, but that worry was totally unnecessary. The kid lit writing community is so warm and welcoming. Seriously, everyone–from the women I met on the short walk from the train station to the hotel, to the volunteers and faculty members, to the attendees–they were all so nice. I ended up sharing a hotel room with MarcyKate Connolly, who I hadn’t met before but followed on Twitter. We hit it off right away and I was glad to have her to hang out with all weekend. Not only is she super sweet, but she’s talented, too. Her debut middle-grade novel, Monstrous (<–click to add to Goodreads!),  is coming out next year from Harper Collins. The premise sounds amazing and I can’t wait to read it!

photo1Roomies! MarcyKate and me. :)

The two of us also hung out with other writers–some I knew from Twitter and was excited to meet in person, and others I met for the first time. We all had a blast, and I can say that getting to know these ladies was one of the biggest highlights of the conference.

5f2ccb28b52d11e2940422000aa80010_7Clockwise from top left: Jennifer M., MarcyKate, Jennifer E., Monica R., Dee, Taryn, Kip, Me, and Ronni.
I also met a few other writers not pictured, including Monica T., Annie., and Alicia.

Click the links to follow everyone on Twitter!

What were some of the other highlights?

*Hearing keynote speeches by author Sharon Creech and author/illustrator Grace Lin–they both spoke so eloquently and were very inspiring.

photoSharon Creech

*The quality of the breakout sessions–I enjoyed each of the ones I attended, but my favorites were Kate Messner‘s session on revision, Erin Dionne‘s session on crafting realistic dialog, Natalie Dias Lorenzi‘s session on writing multicultural stories (no matter what culture you’re from), and the Q&A with the hilarious and wicked smart agent Jennifer Laughran.

*Tagging along with 20 other writers to a Verla Kay blue boards-organized dinner at a local Italian restaurant.

*Late-night hotel room shenanigans, which included lots of laughing, a champagne toast, and bed jumping. (Here’s proof!)

photo3Cheers to friends and fun times!

*Getting 17 and Gone signed by Nova Ren Suma, an author I admire. (She has a fantastic blog!) I’d also signed up for her Sunday workshop–about place as character–but unfortunately she came down with laryngitis. There was mention of a rescheduled webinar once she’s better so fingers crossed…

By the time I got back on the train to return home to CT, I was so happy I’d broken out of my comfort zone to attend a conference without knowing anyone beforehand. Because by the end, I’d gained a handful of new friends, some inspiration to get me through my revision, and a bunch of happy memories. Win, win, and WIN. I can’t wait until NESCBWI 2014!

For more about NESCBWI 2013, check out Dee’s, Annie’s, Kip’s, and Taryn’s recaps.

32 thoughts on “NESCBWI 2013 Conference

  1. Good for you for going on your own! It looks like you had an amazing time. Seeing this makes me wish I didn’t live in the middle of nowhere so it would be easier to go to some of these conferences. :)

  2. This conference sounds really good! I think I would have gotten a lot out of those breakout sessions. I was kind of hoping for something like that at SCBWI NYC, but it wasn’t really set up that way. Maybe a regional conference is more up my alley. I’m glad you had such a good time and got to meet so many awesome writer friends. :-)

    • I’ve been to SCBWI NYC and I have to say the breakout sessions at the regional conferences (in my experience are better). It’s the keynotes at the NYC conference that are so great. You should try a regional one sometime! (Like maybe NESCBWI next year? *hinthint*)

  3. Ooh, Sharon Creech! She was one of my very favorite authors as a kid. That conference sounds really cool. Glad you had such a good time! (Oh, and too bad about Nova Ren Suma and her laryngitis! I also think she’s awesome and I really liked 17 & Gone.)

  4. I love going to regional conferences! My favorite SCBWI region is Florida — they are so good down there. Sounds like you had a great time NESCBWI. Thanks so much for sharing. :)

    Sorry to hear about Nova — I hope you do get a chance to do the webinar — I’ve been taking her YA Media Bistro class and she is AMAZING.

    • Oh right! I forgot you’re taking Nova’s class. I really hope the webinar happens because I was really looking forward to learning from her. She’s fantastic.

      I love the regional SCBWI conferences too. I’ve heard good things about the Florida conference. Maybe one of these years I’ll go down and check it out! :)

  5. This always hits at a bad time of year for me– but sounds like such an incredible event. I hope to be able to go some time in the future. Natalie Dias Lorenzi sent some nice swag to my middle-grade book club this winter. She is fantastic and her book Flying the Dragon was STELLAR. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
    Good for you for going, Ghenet!

  6. Sorry I am so late to comment, Ghenet. Thanks for writing up this post. I wasn’t able to go and was really sad about it (except I had a friend visiting so that was fun), and I love reading these recap posts. It feels like I was there without actually being there. ;)

  7. Ghenet, I’m so glad you enjoyed my workshop on creating characters from different cultures. I agree that this conference was wonderful–so much expertise under one roof! And the kid lit community is so warm and generous. Hope to meet you in person at the conference in the future! :-)

  8. Looks like an awesome time–I’m so jealous that you saw Sharon Creech! She is one of my very favorite writers. :)

  9. I finally posted a recap of the conference today. I can’t believe we were both in Kate Messner’s revision workshop and didn’t run into each other! The conference was great, but oh boy was it overwhelming. :-)

  10. WOW! Sounds like you had a wonderful time! I’m so happy for you! I’ve often traveled to conferences solo, and the introvert in me HATES it, but I have gained many wonderful CPs and friendships through it. Totally worth it!

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