Conference Celebrations

A weekend at the end of November was the perfect time to take a moment out from writing deadlines and Christmas preparations and head off to the beautiful town of Winchester for the SCBWI  conference. What  a joy to meet so many talented authors and illustrators, all gathered in one place. There was so much going on I can't hope to capture it in a million years, so here are my three highlights:
  • The keynote talk by the wonderful Frank Cottrell Boyce (author of Cosmic, among many other great books) who shared his philosophy of writing for children to 'pass on all the good stuff' and whose talk moved me to laughter and then to tears and then to laughter again within the space of five minutes (usually it's only my kids that can provoke such emotional acrobatics!).
  • The speech by Candy Gourlay (author of the wonderful Tall Story) in acceptance of the Crystal Kite award. Her inspirational words about the journey to the publication of her book had us all laughing and crying once again!
  • The Saturday night party featuring the Mass Book Launch; 28 SCBWI authors (including me! Yippee!) celebrated the launch of our books during 2011. There may have been a few tears here too, but mainly kissing (lots) and laughing (lots and lots). There was a spectacular cake featuring scenes and cover designs from all 28 books (see my very poor attempt at a photo - if you look carefully you can see The Mystery of the Whistling Caves cover - and this is just one little part of the cake!)
walking to the conference through the graveyard on a misty morning

And, just to add to the excitement, both my lovely agent, Jenny Savill, and editor, Amber Caraveo, were there to join the fun. For a much rounder round-up of the conference and lots of photos (including one of my cheesiest grins EVER!) see this Notes from the Slushpile blog post.