I say this every year, but cross my heart it’s the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The New Jersey SCBWI Annual Conference is the BEST conference ever!
What makes it great? I’m so glad you asked. Here goes my laundry list:
Critiques, first pages, workshops covering every imaginable kidlit topic from picture books to YA, pitches, connecting with editors and agents, and more editors and more agents, getting solid feedback on your stories and illustrations (the good, the bad, and the sad ugly truth), inspiration galore, and lifelong friendships. Shall I go on?
Here are a few photographic highlights:
Behind the scenes the day before the conference.
Opening Keynote with Stephen Savage
Blake Hamilton and Matthew Winner
Sheela Chari and Leslie Zampetti
Me with Detectives Wilcox and Griswold on the job
Anita Arakelian and me (Mawrters in the house – Anassa kata ’89)
Virginia Law Manning, me, Leslie Zampetti
The Liza Royce Crew!
(Left to right: Me, Laurie Wallmark, Darlene Beck-Jacobson, Liza Fleissig, Leslie Santamaria, Yvonne Ventresca)
Me and David Lubar
(Top row, left to right: Kathy Temean, Darlene Beck-Jacobson, me)
(Bottom row, left to right: Katey Howes, Jody Staton, Colleen Rowan Kosinski)
Me and Hallee Adelman
Cathleen Thole Daniels and Rosanne Kurstedt
Stephen Savage, Mike Ciccotello, Annie Silvestro
Cathleen Thole Daniels, Kirstine Erekson Call, me
Closing keynote with David Lubar
I’d like to shout out a HUGE THANK YOU to the amazing, incredible, you-take-my-breath-away NJ SCBWI team, including but certainly not limited to, Cathleen Thole Daniels, Rosanne Kurstedt, Karen Romagna, Annie Silvestro, Kelly Calabrese, Charlotte Bennardo, Guy Olivieri, Mike Ciccotello, Linda Bozzo, Tami Charles, and to all the incredible volunteers.
And do you want to know a little secret? If you close your eyes, take a deep breath, and cross your fingers and toes and hope the publishing gods are on your side, you’ll notice the hint of publishing contracts in the air. How could any conference ever get better than this?